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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
July 17, 2018 Edition - SPECIAL 100th MEGA-ISSUE
(C) 2018 Portland Ice Skating Society
Today we celebrate the 100th edition of "The Portlandian" - yes,
it really has been that long - so we've got an absolutely massive
issue, with details of another Tonya appearance, a recap of
Tonya's tenure on DWTS, a special soundtrack offer, our long-
awaited "I, Tonya" review, the rock opera making its debut in
Texas, and a chance to own your very own Tonya.
COME OUT TO THE COAST, WE'LL GET TOGETHER, HAVE A FEW LAUGHS...
Thursday, July 12, saw a movie being screened on the top of a Los
Angeles skyscraper. But it wasn't "Die Hard", the action classic
which celebrated the 30th anniversary of its premiere on that
date - but rather more a case of "Die Hard-ing".
Yes, Tonya was back in Tinsel Town (and described as "the
legendary Tonya Harding" in the PR blurb). And she was attending
a special presentation of "I, Tonya" that was organized by the
Alamo Drafthouse as part of their Skyline Sound + Cinema series
of outdoor screenings of classic movies:
Pre-show entertainment was provided by a live performance from
Los Angeles' Ray Little, an alternative band with lead singer
Lauren Little, former front woman of the LA rock band Queen
Skyline Sound + Cinema is produced by Alamo Drafthouse's
Rolling Roadshow team, known across the country for outdoor
screenings at incredible settings, like CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE
THIRD KIND at Devils Tower, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS
MIND on a beach in Montauk, and their annual JAWS On The Water
screenings (and by the way, if you want to see "Die Hard",
that's screening at the same site on August 9).
Tonya posted the following Instagram message and photo the next
day, thanking those who turned up:
Thank you so much for all of you that came to the I Tonya movie
showing tonight it was wonderful for me to feel the energy of
the crowd behind me I truly thank you and hope you enjoyed the
evening thank you again for all your support.
All of which is enough to make any Tonyaphile want to yell
"Yippee ki-yay, motherf&*#%r"! Thankfully, no Eurotrash criminals
showed up and tried to hijack the event. Happy trails, folks!
1986: A SKATE ODDITY
It was the second dose of Tonya that week for Los Angelinos -
"I, Tonya" distributors Neon have acquired the distribution
rights to Sandra Luckow's 1986 Tonya doc "Sharp Edges" and gave
it a one-week theatrical run in L.A. from the 6th to the 12th,
with Sandra doing a personal Q&A on the 9th, 10th and 11th. She's
also been doing Q&A's in New York as it's also been screening
there that same week.
And if you couldn't make it to those, there's even better news -
it'll be coming to digital streaming platforms soon afterwards.
Shot on a non-existent budget on VHS tape, "Sharp Edges"
originated as a course assessment by Luckow, a Portland skater
who was also taking a film studies class at Yale. When Tonya's
coach Diane Rawlinson wanted a showreel of Tonya doing her stuff
to show to potential sponsors, Luckow knew she had the topic for
her assignment. The results were highly praised by her tutors,
with it winning Yale's Louis Sudler Prize in 1987.
Unfortunately, the candidness that makes it such a great
documentary ultimately proved to be a problem - Diane Rawlinson
became concerned that if USFSA officials realized Tonya's
proletarian upbringing, it would hurt her marks, so at her
insistance, it was buried, and forgotten about until The Incident
resulted in segments appearing on "60 Minutes" in 1994.
Hard to disagree with the sentiment here: "More Tonya content is
what we deserve"
Sandra also posted this photo of the New York theater, where one
of the other films screening is "2001: A Space Odyssey". Who
would have thought that a low-budget student documentary about a
young Tonya would one day share a marquee with a Kubrick film?
Okay, so Tonya's life is more like a cross between "A Clockwork
Orange" and "The Shining" than "2001", but things have definitely
come a long way...
NEW TONYA-RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
As we already alluded to above, Tonya now has her own account on
There's also been two pro-Tonya Facebook pages emerge recently.
The first was founded by Mickey Davis of New York and has around
400 members so far. He says:
Okay I've had enough. If you really want to see how women are
treated unfairly and grossly differently look at Tonya Harding.
No other male athlete has ever been treated like this. She is
not allowed to work on the ice, even as an advisor FOR LIFE.
Can you think of any male athlete banned for life from even
coaching in the sport in which they excelled globally? We will
get her reinstated. First we need a group. Please join the
The second is run by Olivia Rose Sanchez of Minnesota and was
founded more recently:
Both these people appear to be hard-core Tonyaphiles, so we'd
urge you to check them out.
"DANCING WITH THE STARS" RECAP
Without a doubt the highlight of the last two months has been
Tonya's appearance on "Dancing With The Stars". So let's recap
ROUND 1 - BALLROOM BLITZ:
April 30 was the first episode of the all-athlete's season of
"Dancing with The Stars", featuring Tonya and her dancing partner
With this round being a double elimination, many predicted it
would be a case of Last Tango In Portland for our skater-turned-
dancing queen, but Tonya survived. Allison Janney, Mckenna Grace
(mini-Tonya) and "I, Tonya" scriptwriter Steven Rogers were in
the audience cheering Tonya on. You can view Tonya & Sasha's
Afterwards, Tonya talked to E! about surviving the double-
Tonya and Sasha later appeared on the Kelly and Ryan show in NY.
They danced part of their number from week one, and then Tonya
talked briefly about the difference between dancing and figure
skating. She also showed a pendant that had been given to her by
Tonya and Sasha also gave this interview to KXLY in Spokane, WA.:
Tonya's ballroom debut had been a spectacular success, with her
scoring high marks and good comments from the judges, who unlike
in figure skating seem to be prepared to give her a fair shot.
And ballroom dancing has at least one other thing going for it
over figure skating - Tonya doesn't need to worry about breaking
ROUND 2 - TONYA BEARS ALL:
The tension was positively un-BEARable as Tonya and Sasha entered
the second week of "Dancing With The Stars", quickstepping to
Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman", complete with a dancing bear.
We needn't have worried - the performance can only be described
as a Tonya classic, one that will rank right up with some of her
best skating routines in terms of being memorable!
And although there were no Hollywood superstars in the audience
tonight, there was someone with much more significance to Tonya:
her son was there cheering her on.
Later in the team dances, Tonya & Sasha joined Josh Norman,
Sharna Burgess, Chris Mazdzer, Witney Carson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar,
Lindsay Arnold, Artur Adamski, and Brandon Armstrong dancing to
"... Baby One More Time" by the Baseballs as Team 1950s Tennis:
Afterwards, Tonya & Sasha spoke to Access Hollywood about making
it to the semifinals:
A few days later they did another, lengthier one with Access -
about 12 minutes long, but well worth watching - and one for E!
The critical reaction was positive as well:
Tonya Harding & Sasha Farber
Considering her story, it was pretty hilarious that
Sasha chose "Redneck Woman" as their song this week,
but Tonya absolutely owned every bit of it. Once again,
she came out fierce and ready to compete, and what a
triumphant and joyous performance she gave us. The
quickstep is usually the death knell for any dancer on
this show, and Tonya got it the second week. I couldn't
believe what I was seeing in her feet. Not only was she
nailing the choreography, but she was light on her
feet, had wonderful carriage and her partnering with
Sasha was fabulously on point. That's twice now that
Tonya has come out and blown me away with what she is
capable of in dance. Maybe she missed her second career
path. Maybe it's not too late?
Judges Scores: 8, 9, 8, 8
My Score: 9
Sasha was also interviwed by Us magazine:
Tonya has proven to be one of the show's big drawcards -
according to Goldderby, her performances are third behind Adam &
Mirai's in YouTube views:
Tonya has already garnered one new fan - a former DWTS pro is
rooting for her:
Derek Hough already has a favorite on "Dancing with the Stars:
Athletes." The six-time champ is still following the show and is
pulling for Tonya Harding.
"The one that got me a lot was obviously Tonya Harding," the former
pro tells "Entertainment Tonight" of Harding and Sasha Farber's
elegant foxtrot that earned a score of 23.
But more so than her dancing, Hough, who's now judging "World of
Dance," was most touched by the disgraced figure skater trying to
make the most of her second chance.
"It's so interesting hearing people when they just attack people,
but I don't know, I'm always on the defense for people who have
done something wrong and who are looking for redemption," Hough
says, invoking renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell's "hero's
journey" myth. "Joseph Campbell's hero's journey is, like,
redemption is such an important part. I believe we all deserve
redemption, and I love that 'Dancing with the Stars' offers that
in some way. So I'm really rooting for her."
By this stage, some were predicting Tonya could go all the way to
the final. Goldderby believed that people may be underrating her:
But danger lurked: although Tonya had escaped elimination this
week, we must remember that there are evil forces at work - the
Tonyaphobes - that want to see her fail. Her fans knew we could
not rest on our laurels and must continue to hammer those phones
and keyboards until our fingers bled.
And that's just the BEAR facts of the matter.
ROUND 3 - NOBODY PUTS TONYA IN THE CORNER:
The third week would see a triple elimination, with three couples
being sent home.
This time round, Tonya & Sasha danced a Rumba to "See You Again"
by Tyler Ward. The theme for this dance was MVP - the Most
Valuable Person in the dancer's life. Not surprisingly, Tonya
chose to dedicate her dance to her late father:
The second part of the show featured a Ballroom Battle with two
pairs facing off against each other while dancing to the same
music - in the case of Tonya & Sasha they were opposite Jennie
Finch Daigle & Keo Motsepe, performing a Cha Cha to "Dance" by
Tonya & Sasha made it to the final round, where they would face
off against fellow skater Adam Rippon and footballer Josh Norman.
The night also saw the shock elimination of Mirai Nagasu, so
there would be no Battle of the Axels the next week. Also sent
packing were Jennie (who was widely seen as one of the weaker
members of the pack) and Olympic luger Chris Mazdzer.
A couple of post-dance interviews, first with Access:
and then ET:
and an interview with Access from May 17:
There was now serious talk of Tonya's odds of winning.
Tonya (described as a "figure skating legend") was even spotted
on the GMA newsrunner in NYC!
They said she wouldn't last the first round - Tonya proved them
They said she'd get booted out the second week. They were wrong
Then they said she'd be sent packing in the semifinals - and once
again they were wrong, wrong, wrong.
But people seem to have a habit of underestimating Tonya. A bad
Tonya had come much further than even she had dared to dream. What
seemed absurdly optimistic just a little over a month earlier was
now a reality - Tonya was through to the final. And now we faced
the very real possibility that Tonya could actually take home the
Mirrorball Trophy. It's not quite the same as an Olympic gold
medal, but it would be a good substitute.
ROUND 4 - DISCO INFERNO:
As the end on May approached we were counting down until one of
the year's most important sports showdowns, and we're not talking
about the Indy 500.
The final saw each couple perform two dances. The first dance was
inspired by their journey on the show, and each couple was to
perform a jazz, foxtrot or Viennese waltz routine. In the case of
Tonya & Sasha, they did a Viennese Waltz to "The Time of My
Life" by David Cook.
The second was a "no holds barred" freestyle dance. Much as we
would have liked to have seen Tonya & Sasha dancing the pogo to
"God Save The Queen" by the Sex Pistols in honor of Prince Harry
& Meghan Markle's wedding, they decided to go a different route,
still kicking things up a notch with Tonya descending on a
platter from the Jumbotron above and boogieing on down to "I Will
Survive" by The Pussycat Dolls. Talk about a disco inferno - if
they ever decide to remake "Saturday Night Fever", they know who
The season then finished off with an All-Cast Finale that saw the
previously eliminated dancers return:
The final result saw Adam & Jenna crowned the winners - a not
unexpected result. Although it was not announced at the time, we
later learned that Tonya & Sasha came in third:
This one also scotches some nasty rumors spread by Tonyaphobes
about a non-existent "feud" with Adam:
Tonya & Sasha reenact their Viennese waltz on Kelly & Ryan Live:
Tonya's weight loss is obvious!
A brief interview with Tonya after the finale:
According to Goldderby, Tonya's performance was preferred by
viewers over that by that other skater from the New England
Here's something you probably didn't think you'd hear a month
ago: Tonya Harding is more well-liked than Nancy Kerrigan. At
least among our readers. In a recent poll asking which of the two
they preferred on "Dancing with the Stars," Harding skated away
with 51 percent of the vote.
"Thank you to America for giving me the chance to finish
something I started along [sic] time ago, last night felt like it
was the first time I landed the triple axel," she wrote on
Instagram. "Thank you to @sashafarber1 for absolutly [sic]
everything, you are the best, and we friends for life."
And this change in attitude has also been reflected in the media
coverage - we're now seeing Tonya being described with words like
"living legend" and "badass":
You also can't leave out Kristi Yamaguchi, who won Season 16, and
Adam Rippon, who just took home the trophy for the recent all-
athletes cycle, beating out fellow figure skaters Mirai Nagasu
and living legend Tonya Harding.
Less heinous crimes have also received a fancy regurgitation: a
kitschy satire staged like a commando raid, I, Tonya, starring
Margot Robbie as skating badass Tonya Harding and Allison Janney
as her chain-smoking, abuse-barking momster, applied a cheesier,
staccato, cartoonish mode of attack to rivet its message of
lower-rung resentment and stymied upward mobility. Only director
John Waters has managed to pull off camp comedy free of class
All of Tonya's performances can be seen here:
Tonya's journey on Dancing With the Stars has finally come to an
end - and what a journey it was! Although it didn't have quite
the fairy tale ending we'd prefer - as expected, Adam won - it's
been one that went alot further than we dreamed was possible. In
the process, Tonya made many new friends, created a whole heap of
fans, lost a pile of weight - and learned that she can dance!
We've also heard judges and critics using words like "graceful"
to describe Tonya's technique - not something that was ever used
by the skating community about her. She's finally being treated
with the respect that was absent during most of her skating
Hopefully the Great Tonya Comeback is just getting started, and
this will open many new doors for her.
NEW TONYA PORTLAND TRIBUNE ARTICLE
June saw a new, very lengthy and positive article about Tonya by
Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune (which has generally treated
Tonya much nicer than other Portland newspapers), including
several new photos:
On the past few months: "It's been a whirlwind, but it's been
very exciting," says Harding, 47, her blue eyes beaming. "Who
could have imagined that my life would have ended up on the big
screen? Or that I would get the chance to do 'Dancing With the
Stars'? I never could have imagined things could be like they
"This has changed all that for me. Now I feel like I can walk
with my head up high. Yes, there is always going to be somebody
with something to say. It doesn't matter. I feel good about me.
Our future will always be good, because we are always going to be
"I'm most happy and proud that, after so many years, the truth
came out," she says. "God must be weighing on everybody who has
been bad. My son will know as he grows up that his mother was
never a cheater."
On her family: "I've been really happy since Joe and I got
together, but this newfound me had been lost for so long," she
says. "Now I feel good about me. When you walk around anywhere
and you feel people are judging you and not liking you, then you
don't like you.
"Our son has a little bit of my attitude, but Joe's brain. He
loves swimming, baseball, football. He loves science and outer
space and knows everything there is to know about fish. The way
he looks at Mommy and Daddy every morning makes it worth it."
On the movie: "My mother never smoked on the ice. I never had the
opportunity to tell the judges to s-k my d-k in front of
everyone, but that was great."
Did (LaVona) really throw a knife that landed in Tonya's arm?
Tonya shows the scar, time-worn, to prove it. "Yes, she paid
people off to try to make me mad (while skating)," Harding says.
"I didn't know it at the time. The line about if I'm mad, I skate
better, I never understood that. I loved skating. It pissed me
off, but it didn't make me want me to do better. I wanted to do
great just for me.
On the performances: Robbie's performance, Harding says, "was
wonderful. She's a good friend of mine now. We correspond all the
time." Janney, too, has become a good friend, Tonya says. Her
performance was better than spot-on.
"I was like, 'Holy crap, is that my mother?'" she says. "She was
The movie premiere: "It was really neat," she says. "I was
scared, a little nervous, but Margot made me feel so much better.
She was so warm. And Joe being able to be there with me to be
part of this journey."
The Golden Globes: "I was in five-inch stilletto heels in shag
carpet, trying to walk in a dress that is painted on," she says.
"My knees were shaking."
Dancing With The Stars: "When I got that call, I started
bawling," she says. "I could not believe it. I'd wanted to do
that for so many years. I love music, and I love performing,
something I've not been able to do since 1994.
We also finally discover how much weight Tonya lost while on
DWTS: 12 pounds (5.4 kilos) to get down to 120 pounds (54 kg). "I
found muscles I didn't know I had," she says.
On the final dance: "We needed to go balls out," she says.
"Anything and everything I could think of, I threw in."
"During the final (sic) show, Mckenna (Grace) gave me a gift,"
Tonya says. "I opened it up the next day. She gave me a card and
this little box. It's a necklace and it looks like the Mirrorball
(the trophy given to the winner). Right then and there, I put
Harding chokes up at the memory. "It gets me every time I think
about it," she says. "It was so thoughtful. She is the most well-
spoken little girl I've met in my life."
There is also a hint that Tonya may be on the move sometime in
the future, as problems with allergies & asthma make her consider
moving to a drier climate- but don't worry, she's not abandoning
"We don't know when or where, but my health is not good here,"
she says. "We hope someday we'll be able to afford to buy some
property and build our own home, probably in some place on the
eastern side of the state. I love working outside and building
fences and decks and doing yardwork and landscaping. But I love
it here, too. It depends on life in itself and what comes our
On her life now: "I really enjoy talking to people and letting
them know that life is too precious to throw it away," she says.
"Always know that God put you here for a reason. You have to find
that reason and believe in yourself and keep going, no matter
"I love me. My family loves me. My friends love me. And now
America has turned around and seen the real me and known the
TURNING JAPANESE - "I, TONYA" GETS THUMBS-UP FROM COMPUTER NERD
May saw the final step on I, Tonya's theatrical run, with it
opening in Japan.
We haven't heard much more about Japan (at least not in English)
but there is this tweet from Hideo Kojima that gives the film
high praise. He's one of Japan's top video game designers, being
the guy behind "Metal Gear Solid" amongst others, so his
recommendation gives the movie some serious geek cred:
A WHITER SHADE OF PALE - "I, TONYA" SOUNDTRACK SPECIAL OFFER
Here's a chance to get ahold of a unique piece of "I, Tonya"
merchandise: Milan Records is releasing the soundtrack album on
pearlescent white vinyl - just like the ice Tonya skated upon!
It's a limited run of 500, and was released 18 May - so order
If you dip out, it will also available in boring old black:
Note that these are both cut-down versions and don't contain all
the tracks on the CD.
The irony, of course, is that vinyl LPs were pretty much dead at
the time Tonya was at the peak of her career. But hey, if vinyl
can make a comeback, so can Tonya. No word on whether they plan
to go authentically '90's retro and put it out on cassette.
ROCK OPERA MAKES TEXAS DEBUT
The Tonya/Nancy rock opera made its Texas debut in late June at
Ohlook! Performing Arts in Grapevine, near Dallas.
This production features Kristin Payne Smith as Tonya and Lacey
Jane Dangerstone (is that a badass name or what?) as Nancy, with
Samantha Padilla playing both mothers. Justin Rowe (Jeff), Jason
Solis (Shawn) and Maxwell Skaggs (Shane) round out the rest of
Director Jill Lord explains how she came to be involved in the
production: "New York Musical Festival is where I saw Tonya and
Nancy. I tried to get them to let me do the show right after I
saw it but they were making some changes and didn't want to
license it yet, so when we were planning our summer season this
year, I thought I'd reach out again and fortunately this time
they said yes! I think it's important to champion new works and
"I met with the writer in New York and she said she has always
been just a little obsessed with the story. I know she was
writing it before she knew about the movie, so it's just kind of
a weird coincidence that all of these happened at the same time.
She is trying to make it to the final weekend of our
performances. I haven't read The Ice Treatment, but now I think
I'll have to order it!"
On her production: "Oh it's definitely campy. Or at least our
take on it is. How can an 'opera' about ice skating be anything
but? Ha ha! When I saw the NYMF version I thought they played a
lot of it too straight so as I was watching it I was thinking,
'Oh, they should have done it like this, or that, blah, blah..'
Of course I tend to do that with almost everything I watch. I
feel like I'm either re-directing everything in my head or
watching thinking, that's so cool I'm going to steal that!"
On the music: "Some of the music is very challenging. Nancy's
music is very 'operatic' in parts and written for a true soprano.
I think the writers have taken a bit of a stretch calling it an
'opera' since there is dialogue as well (it is not completely
sung through) but it also just adds to the comedy to think of it
in an operatic fashion!"
The reviewer describes the show as "appropriately campy and over-
the-top. As expected in a rock opera, the music is guitar-heavy,
and most of the performers jibe with the style. Dangerstone nails
it in the post-attack song 'Why Me?' and my favorite number is
Gillooly's song 'When You Wake Up Sleeping in Your Car in
Estacada.' The two leads sing beautifully, and chorus numbers are
mostly strong, with Breanne Jackson and Mallory Roelke as
This production was unfortunately only for two weeks and not
widely advertised. Hopefully, given the positive write-up, it'll
return to the Texas sometime soon for a longer run.
COSTUME AUCTION RESULT
Last issue we made reference to an auction for one of Tonya's
costumes that she wore at the Olympics.
This closed on May 6 with a bid of $14,730.00, including buyer's
premium, after attracting three bids. We think who ever got it
made a sound investment.
"I, TONYA" - THE REVIEW
And now, what you've all been waiting months for - Terry Hall,
Head of the PDXISS Special Duties Section, gives our verdict on
"I, Tonya". He says:
Okay. I've now seen it several times from a screener and four
times on a big screen - two small arthouse cinemas, a large
multiplex, and an outdoor screening. All were well-attended. I'm
not going to go through it scene by scene - you've all seen it by
now and know the story. So let's take this sucker apart, and see
how it measures up against the Special Duties Section's exacting
Let's cut to the chase: it's just as badass as I hoped it would
be. I don't really see it as a comedy - with the exception of
LaVona's parrot and the bumbling antics of Shawn Eckardt and his
"agents" there's not really a great deal to laugh at at all. I
don't see it as making fun of domestic violence or rednecks as
some critics have complained. Certainly no-one was laughing
during the violent bits at any of the screenings I was at.
Firstly, the casting. Margot doesn't really look much like Tonya
- but they do seem to have bent over backwards to try and make up
for it by emulating Tonya's hair, makeup and costumes down to the
last sequin. And Aussie Margot does a passable Oregon accent. I
was worried that as somebody who is more familiar with Tonya than
most people I wouldn't be able to suspend disbelief and buy into
Margot as Tonya, but this wasn't a problem in practice. Certainly
it won't be a problem for the vast bulk of the audience who have
only a vague idea of what the real Tonya looks like.
Sebastian Stan is excellent as Gillooly - much better than I
initially thought he would be. He sounds creepily like him, based
on what little material is available of the real one, and should
have got a Best Supporting Actor nom. And that terrible mustache
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