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Johnny Weir dazzles the local crowd
August 8, 2010 - Christie Sausa
By 10 pm on Saturday night, a line stretched from the doors of the 1980 rink almost to the 1932 rink. Clutching programs and photos, fans waited patiently for their hero to arrive and grant requests for autographs and photos. It was clear that this was not a routine Saturday night ice show; the iconic Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir was in the building, and the audience and skaters in Lake Placid were honored to welcome him.
For Johnny, it was an unexpected season. “This season absolutely did not go as I expected. The first competitions were shaky, but after that I started to get my feet under me. Then I was involved in controversies, first because of my costumes (Johnny was targeted by PETA for his use of fur on his skating costume), and then there were some saying I shouldn’t be allowed on the US Team at all.” Still, Johnny competed for the US at the Olympics, earning a 6th place overall for his efforts. “I was proud of my performances; I had the skates of my life, and I continue to be inspired.”
This season, Weir has announced that he will take a break from competitive skating, choosing to focus on other projects. “Skating is on the back burner for now, “he remarked. Indeed, Johnny will certainly not be bored without competitions and training; he already has several projects in the works. One, an amusing book filled with essays and anecdotes about skating, fashion, and pop culture, is expected to be published in January 2011. The other is his fashion line, which is going to be on the Home Shopping Network. “At first, I really wanted to design a fashion line for girls my age (20s) but I am designing a line for HSN, and I realize the demographic is different. I’m designing for older women, so I had to rethink the line. I want women my mom’s age to feel fabulous in my designs, because they are fabulous”.
Of course, Johnny can also be found on the television; his reality show “Be Good Johnny Weir” on the Sundance channel chronicles his life on and off the ice. The first season of the show started with a 90 minute first episode, which was filmed between 2006 and 2008; the following episodes gradually focused on the season before the 2010 Olympics. But unlike some of his reality show compatriots, Johnny believes in “keeping it real” with every facet of his life; including his hit reality show. “My show is best described as “Real”. There are many reality shows that are scripted, but on my show that doesn’t happen. Everything really does happen; it is how I live my life”.
Meanwhile, in Lake Placid, the skaters were thrilled to skate with Johnny in the same ice show. Johnny was also happy to skate with them. “I like skating with the summer skaters training here”, he said. “It is fun to inspire them and remind them to be fabulous no matter what”.
Although he is taking the season off, Johnny still wants to stay involved in skating to some extent. Like many other Olympic level skaters, Weir has performed in many different ice shows across the US and world; what makes him different from other performers, however, is that he wants to tackle the challenge of creating his own ice show. “I’m working on my ice show idea; I’m currently in talks with Cher’s production company about producing several shows in the US and abroad”. Another factor that will differentiate Weir’s spectacular is that it will include more than figure skating performance, but other creative performers as well. “I’d like to make this more than just an ice show; there will only be four or five skaters performing. I want to involve singers like Cher, Lady Gaga, and Elton John to perform. It’s going to be a variety show and have many different acts.”
No matter if he is skating, starring in his reality show, or designing clothing lines, Weir is refreshingly honest and forthright about himself and his life. We wish him the best in his future projects, and look forward to endeavors that are as unique and captivating as he is.
*For the original article, check out the August 6th-12th edition of the Lake Placid News.*
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Johnny competes in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics