April 30, 2010

Casa de Toller

Sorry folks ... I said in the last post "a day or two" and then I left you hanging. I'm sure you haven't been able to eat or sleep. Sure, Miss Ice Charades, you only have three readers and one of them is your mom...

But I've had a touch of something (hope it's not la gripa porcina, because I came down with that last year and it was not fun). Yup, you'll have to look it up if you're curious.

Anyway, I've also been avoiding posting about my monumental meeting with Toller, because I want to get it just right. We spent about four hours at his place (4 hours!!!! he gave almost a stranger). And it's not like he didn't have anything to do that day. He had been busy in his studio that morning ... paint was still drying. There was paint left on his arm too. He had lunch with some important art patrons out in the countryside, he had a building contractors meeting with him, there were three older Canadian women (not skaters) staying at his house, and for dinner he had to head off with other art patrons after he met with us.

That's a busy guy. That's a guy who has a lot going on in his life post-skating.

So, let me first talk about the house. It's amazing. 2.5 acres near the famous church in an expensive, colonial Mexican town bought up by Canadians and Americans. Now it is one pricy piece of property. Repeat that three times, folks ... "pricy piece of property", "pricy piece of property", "pricy piece of property". And it is chock full of art. Every room, every spot on the wall. This picture ought to give you a hint.

Here's me on one of the two rooftop areas that gives you one of the best views of the city.

I felt funny about taking too many pictures, so we didn't take them of the bedrooms. Now I wish I had and I don't think Toller would have minded. The whole house has a museum feel to it. You need to see it in it's entirety and it's amazing he is so open to guests. A very generous person.

We've been invited back, so I may get some more pictures yet. In my next post, I'll talk about the skating that Toller and I talked about. Yet again, stay tuned ....

April 26, 2010

Meeting Toller Cranston

photo of the The Parroquia church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Hello folks. Just got back from a most incredible weekend. Yes, it's true the Ice Charades family drove to San Miguel de Allende on a pilgramage of sorts to meet Toller Cranston.

The Man - Extraordinary!

The House - Amazing!

Our Visit - Unbelievable!

It is going to take a day or two to boil down the essence of our 4-hour conversation and house tour. I want to think it through, so I can give you a proper description of our time there. But I will leave you with this quick recap:

It's almost impossible to count the number of talavera (Mexican-style pottery) plates throughout the 15+ bedroom estate ...

There may or may not have been artwork broken by my 6-year old ...

and we almost made off (accidentally, of course) with a pair of Toller's underwear ...

please stay tuned ...

April 23, 2010

Christopher Mabee

Photo courtesy of Willy Bietak Productions

Okay, there's no category for "Show" Skaters on Ice Network's Skater tab .... yet, but former Canadian competitor turned star of Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas, Christopher Mabee, has made Ice Network's news.

Click here for the full article.

Juicy quote here:

"Frozen in Time" is the 11th ice show Royal Caribbean has produced. Choreographed by Emmy Award winner Sarah Kawahara, it brings to life the works of author Hans Christian Andersen, such as "The Snow Queen" and the "The Red Shoes."

"We've done 150 shows, and every one has received a standing ovation," Mabee says. "I love it!"

I wish I could spend a day on that cruise ship. Just a day, because I don't think I could handle any more than that. I can't even handle a scratch spin anymore.

What happens if a showgirl gets seasick on the ice? Throwing up in costume has to be a HUGE fine!

Have a great weekend everyone - I have the chance to meet skating royalty this weekend. Stay tuned for an update soon.

April 21, 2010

Title Contest!

As you've seen reported on other blogs like Required Elements and Axels, Loops, and Spins, Johnny Weir will release on book in Jan 2011.

Aaron wrote:
Well, the speculation can end. It was announced today that he has entered into a deal with Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books to publish a yet to be named book.

As someone who's been there, I can tell you it takes a lot of time to write a book. No, kidding, Ice Charades - 5 years? Seriously? And you had a lot of time on your hands.

Yes. Yes I did. And I know Johnny Weir is a busy busy boy, so I thought we could help him out. At least with the "yet to be named" part of the book.

Any ideas?

I've got three,

Weir Not Going To Take It

Weir So Beyond This

Bravo Johnny Bravo

Okay, that last one is for the "15 and under Cartoon Network" crowd. But hey, I bet you can do better - come on, tell me what you would name his book. There could be prizes!

April 19, 2010

There's Another Reunion

... in the works, don't let Eyjafjallajoekull get in the way!

It's for Holiday On Ice, Sept 10 & 11, 2010 in Nice, France. In case you haven't seen the announcement, I've copied it from the HOI Facebook info page here.

"The Reunion in Nice has now been definitely confirmed to take place on September 10 & 11 of 2010.

On Friday September 10 there will be the “welcome to Nice” and official registration from 13:00 until 16:00. Location to be confirmed.
Afterwards, from 17:00 to 22:00 there will be a cocktail party and snacks at the Opéra Plage.

On Saturday 11 September there will be a gala dinner at 20:00 with live music and opportunity to dance until 24:00. This will be at the Acropolis, the congress center of Nice.

With regard to the cost, I am still negotiating to try and get the best deal possible. I am hoping to keep the cost of these events below 200 Euros per person. The exact amount will be confirmed soon.

I am also negotiating with several hotels and will come with information and suggestions soon.

Have received lots of encouraging reactions and hope you are also looking forward to this 2010 Reunion!

Best wishes,


Please email Jose at 2010nice@gmail.com to let him know if you are coming, and how many in your party so he can continue to make plans!

Man, I wish I could get there ... but that's a steep ticket. I think a lot of people from the US are feeling that way. Still ...

April 15, 2010

She Can Skate and Write!

... and I'm impressed.

Hmmm, did Brian help her with the rough draft?

Here is an article from morethanthegames.co.uk mentioning the latest achievement for Kim Yu-Na.

Kim, 19, collected gold at the Pacific Coliseum in February, achieving world record scores in the short and long programs and underlining her status as the world's best.

Superlatives have been bombarding ‘Queen Yu-Na' and despite failing to defend her world title last month, she remains South Korea's hottest sporting property.

Indeed, she even received praise from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who admitted to South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan she had stayed up until the early hours to watch Kim's breath-taking performance.

And Kim, clearly touched, took it upon herself to respond with a letter, hand-written in Korean.

"It was very humbling to read newspapers reporting that you had complimented my performance," read the letter.

"It was all the more touching as I have always held deep admiration for the inspiring woman that you are and the momentous work that you do.

"As I strive to do better on the ice, it is highly motivating to know that more people are enjoying my performance and that your thoughts are with me, Madam Secretary. I will push myself harder."

So now we're just waiting for President Barack Obama, Clinton's former rival Democratic candidate, to speak out about his long-standing admiration for men's gold medallist Evan Lysacek.......maybe not.

April 13, 2010


Having a birthday while you're skating in a show can be really great.


With a chorus of twenty to thirty skaters, there is a built-in, captive cast with a lot of time on their hands and no need for an excuse to party. You usually don't have those circumstances when working at an office, at the rink, or even a college dorm - although the college dorm comes close.

So the skaters can throw you a hell of a party that comes with the perfect storm of a well-thought-out theme, costumes, and the next morning to sleep in really late. Sometimes there were drag shows, sometimes skits or dances with choreography, usually lots of booze and the occasional postponement of weigh-in days. Good times.

I admit it makes it harder to have a birthday later in life when the skaters have retired and moved to all corners of the world. All we have now are birthday wishes via emails and Facebook ... happy birthday Darin and Piotr, by the way, and the photos. Yes, there are the photos and now probably incriminating video too.

So, here is Terry Martin, appearing as the stork, at the best bridal shower I've ever been to.

p.s. this combo also works on bridal showers, baby showers, middle-of-the contract parties, opening night, closing night, and the mother of all showgirl parties - Halloween!

April 10, 2010

Costumes For Sale

Tired of the same ol' competition dress?

You can have this ...

Looking for something new to wear to the office?

You can wow them with this ...

Planning to out do Lady Gaga at the next Halloween party?

Hey what happened to the other leg of the mannequin? Is that the Heather Mills-edition for Dancing On Ice? ouuuuchhh - that was cruel, Miss Ice Charades.

No, these costumes and many more are for sale by Holiday On Ice. Really!

Go here and check them out. Tell me which ones are your favorite. And since they don't have any prices listed, tell me what it would cost you.

April 8, 2010

Back from vacation

... and while it was good to get away from the emails, I missed all the skating blogs out there.

So, while I was gone, I see Ice Mom's new website is up and running. Wow, wow, wow. She's gone big time! Congrats.

I also want to thank Xan at Xanboni, for her help in answering questions and comments about present-day life in an ice show on my stint at Ice Mom's "Ask The Expert". Some things never change, but I'm glad to say some ice show habits are changing for the better.

I'm also glad to see I can follow along on DWTS, because I don't get that show on our cable stations. Laura at Required Elements always has a good run-down. For some reason, I get older seasons (what year was Marie Osmand on the show?) on the BBC channel. Apparently, the Brits love dancing too. Although, I would prefer they show the British show, Dancing On Ice with Torville and Dean because I've always wanted to see that show.

I was excited to see Susan at Lifeskate scoring big-time interviews with celebrities and boosting Figure Skating in Harlem, which is a great organization. Susan - could you ask "The Donald" to put in an ice rink in his new Trump building in Panama City, Panama? You know it gets so hot down there, that would really be cool.

And I'm looking forward to Aaron posting his awards next week on Axels, Loops, and Spins ...

Having only seen parts of US Nationals and the Olympics, I don't consider myself qualified to vote on the entire season, although I'll vote for Brian anyday! But I would have to say I'm still in awe of Yu-Na Kim's long program at the Olympics. So many other great performances too, but that one stands out for me.

As for Blog Of The Year - Jumping Clapping Man has my vote! He's put a "Best of JCM" here so you can catch up.

Am I allowed to vote in that category?

Aaron, maybe you could have a new category next year for best skating book. But if I have to go up against Johnny Weir, I have no chance. I can't make up anything as good as his real life. I'm screwed. Just like he was at the Olympics. Ooohh, did I say that? Hey Johnny, can I tag along on one of your book signings, pretty please?

So one thing I learned on my vacation is that I've lost my ability to not get dizzy. Skaters learn early on how to spin fast and never feel sick. And I thought that stayed with you forever, like riding a bicycle. But noooo. Even before I left for vacation, I tried a scratch spin at the local rink. The spin was pretty good - for this old gal - but I was naseous for almost an hour after that.

Then I went sea kayaking for the first time on pretty smooth water, but I still got naseous. I should have stayed put on that beach chair, right there. My friend John, a/k/a Judy of Ice Charades, says don't worry you can get that back. But I'm not so sure. I'm going to have to ask him "how" and I'll post that in the future.

In the meantime, my hats off to John for skating again in an adult synchro team and doing a solo in an exhibition at his home rink next week AND for turning the big 5-0! Way to go.

April 1, 2010

Ice Charades Is 3 Years Old

... and that's not an April Fool's Joke, although I did purposely start my blog on April Fool's Day. I felt it was an good day to ease into the world of blogging.

I never thought I would have enough material to blabber on and on for two years, but somehow I've learned I can relate almost anything to an ice show.

I am humbled by all the great skating blogs out there that post such informative, in-depth coverage of all things skating. Thank you for allowing me to tag along with my silly stuff.

Obviously, I needed a place to promote my book, so there you go... Ice Charades is born. All the websites about publishing say "you need a blog" and I obeyed.

I hope all of you have a great April Fool's Day. In Mexico it's on December 28, so I'm hoping I won't get punked today. Actually, the Ice Charade's family is on Easter vacation for a week, so I may not be blogging until next Friday, unless I find some WiFi in Acapulco.

Happy Easter everyone!