If you watched the men's short program last night, you have to read Joe & AB Chao's hilarious live blog. But, if you didn't, some costume gazing:
From left to right we have Japan's Noburani Oda (#4), Russia's Evgeni Plushenko (#1), Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel (#5), Japan's Daisuke Takahahsi (#3), and Canada's Patrick Chan (#7). You are not actually required to wear black to compete but apparently you can't make it to medal contention without it. It makes your lines on the ice cleaner or something... very photogenic. Black and white movies still look sensational for a reason, you know.
These costumes are so modern superhero. I feel its time to share my theory that the unacknowledged patron saint of male figure skating is actually a Canadian. I'm talking about Jean-Paul Beaubier aka Alpha Flight's elf/mutant Northstar. He was even a star athlete before superhero-ing (albeit a skier instead of a skater). Basically if you're going to compete at the highest level of skating you have to work a certain costume equation and I think it's something like
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari + Northstar x Edward Scissorhands ÷ The Dark Crystal (the latter because you have to harness some mythical sparkly powers. Little known fact: that missing shard that caused the Skeksis so much trouble has been crushed and reconfigured in mosaic form on thousands of show costumes since 1982!).
The braver figure skaters will
But back to Northstar. He's a tasty hunk o' mutant but he'll never be transferred to the movies like the other X-Men because he's gay. Which brings me to the unruly hilarious prince(ss) of figure skating, USA's Johnny Weir (a lowly #6 but the score should have been way higher) and his arch-nemesis, Evan Lysacek (#2). Basically Johnny is giving everyone who worries about figure skating being too femme the hot pink middle finger. With a corset no less. So funny.
Mysteriously, humorless Lysacek gets a big name designer (Vera Wang) for his duds. He provides the perma-scowl, bronzer and self-regard. She imagines him as the Dark Sith Lord of skating... with feathers!
It's continually clear that the greater sports world and the mainstream channels which televise their competitions still aren't comfortable with gay athletes (I realize that Weir doesn't directly address this but whatever). But it's particularly galling in the figure skating world which is totally a 'lady who doth protest too much', if you know what I'm saying. So Evan ("Hetero... Thank God!" you can practically hear the talking heads whispering) is showered with unconditional compliments while Weir generally gets droplets of praise in a backhanded sort of way. So bless Weir for continually sticking it to them with panache, diva disregard for their delicate (read: homophobic) feelings, and good humor... plus hot pink tassels, hip swivels and air kisses. I'm not a fan of his fur-wearing antics but with divas, there's always a whole package. You can't take the parts separately. It's love them or hate them. I love him. Or should I say Я люблю его
I hope you've been watching the Sundance Channel's Johnny Be Good reality show. Weir is just what the Olympics need: curveball entertainment. You have to have some performers who aren't easily shoehorned into those soft focus 'triumph of the human spirit' puff pieces, you know? Man cannot live on one (formulaic) flavor alone.
Have you been watching the Olympics and will you be watching the men's skating finale tomorrow (READ: TONIGHT)? Speak up.