December 30, 2008

And the #1 - There's Always The One

I love that all of the comments reflected a different favorite skater for each of us. Who knows with the new competitive season, there may be new favorites on the scene. For those of you who didn't comment the first time, you tell me ... who's the one?

I'm still stuck in laptop limbo ... waiting for a new computer ... checking posts at the library, internet cafes. But I wanted to get this topic posted in honor of the guest speaker at the annual PSA conference.

Let me backtrack a little. When you ask most skaters to name their favorite skaters it's hard to narrow it down. We easily mention four or five and then pause while the next batch of ten great skaters comes to mind. There are so many. Think of any one Olympics and then three or four pop out.

But I really think if you ask the same skater to name their ONE favorite. We can do that ... we have one saved for superstar status. And for every one it's a different skater (again pointing out how many great skaters there are out there.)

For me that skater is Brian Orser. Of course, the picture gave it away. I'm a huge fan, although I'm not one of the official "Orser Endorers" and I haven't joined any fan clubs. I'm just sitting back waiting for someone to ask me who my ONE favorite is and then I'll jump up and down and say Brian. Sir Brian Orser to you.

Besides being such a great skater (too many titles and honors to type up), smart, cute, and funny (how do I know this?), he is downright down to earth and nice to boot. Canada, you should be very proud.

I was in a show where Mr. Triple Axel was the principal and I was hanging back, way back, in the chorus. I didn't talk to him or hang out with him much -- I was too star stuck and tongue-tied -- but I still witnessed all those great qualities.

So for those that went to hear him at the PSA conference this weekend, let me say, I wished I could have flown in for the big speech, cheered him on like a crazed Beatles fan and then ducked out before security nabbed me.

Here's to the One! Let me know who you would pick.

December 29, 2008

#2 Skating Dreams

and I don't mean getting to the Olympics ...

The other day my colleague at lunch asked our server if she'd ever had waitressing dreams. "Oh, all the time," she answered.

Back when I waited tables, I had them too. I would get all my tables' orders mixed up ... I'd have to go through locked rooms with piles and piles of food .... I couldn't find my way to the kitchen, etc, etc

Well, those were short lived. Skating dreams (or should I say nightmares) took over and twelve years after my last show I still get them. How about you guys?

They always revolve around two themes: 1)not knowing the choreography, but having to go out and skate anyway or 2) making a mad dash to the ice, frantically putting on my costume, but never making it on time.

In the ice show world there are big fines for either.

I suppose the adult skaters out there have similar themes: forgetting their program or having their named called for the start of their program but not being on the ice.

Oooh, our brains do crazy things when we're not looking. Tell me your dreams (or nightmares) ...

December 28, 2008

#3 - Ice Shows Getting Some Repsect?

Well, maybe things are turning around for ice shows. We've gone from the butt of jokes from the outside world -- like the Woody Allen quote from the movie Hannah And Her Sisters --

"And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we're gonna live over again the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I'll have to sit through the Ice Capades again."

To this from today's Washington Post -- "The chief of staff to a former senior of the House Appropriations Committee pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to commit fraud, becoming the latest casualty of the scandal centered on disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

John C. Albaugh admitted to accepting gifts -- including tickets to sporting events, concerts by groups such as the Wiggles and a Disney On Ice show -- in exchange for helping lobbyists and their clients, according to persecutors."

That's right folks, someone is going to the slammer because he (and I bet he has young daughters!!) wanted free tickets to Disney On Ice. I know it's not as simple as that, but still ... prison. There's your "Amazing Journey" right there.

Although I'm not crazy about the Wiggles getting top billing, I bet Mr. Albaugh wishes the reporter hadn't singled out DOI and the Wiggles among the "sporting events" at the top of the article. The other boys in the pokey will have a field day with that.

The full article right here mentions other concerts by Tim McGraw, George Strait, American Idol and Washington Redskins football games.

So congratulations to the skaters from Disney On Ice for being so desirable ... one Dad was willing to go that extra mile.

December 27, 2008

The countdown continues

#4 The Best Ice Show Themes in Movies or TV

Well, I finally saw the movie "Blades of Glory" yesterday and it inspired me to put down my five top ice show themes from tv and movies ... it may be that there aren't too many more than these five out there, but here is what made the list.

5. "Jeffersons On Ice" from the movie King Pin.

There isn't much of a visual on this one, just a line near the end of the movie, "Look, the Jeffersons on Ice. I love that Sherman Helmsley." Makes me crack up every time. "Go, Weezy, Go".

4. "Smoochy On Ice" from the movie "Death To Smoochy"

This ice show gets much more play in this movie and though the Smoochy character, which is suppose to be a parody of Barney, reminds me more of the Smurfs from Ice Capades. Never mind it's a children's show, the ice show theme steals a sequence straight from the film "Manchurian Candidate".

3. "Krusty On Ice" from the Simpsons

The opening of this episode shows Krusty at the center of a pinwheel with all the skater babes in line around him. My favorite part of this show is when the crew comes in during the second half to tear down the ice to put in the basketball floor.

2. "Grublets On Ice" from the movie "Blades of Glory"

Obviously after the Jeffersons and Smoochy, they had to ramp up the "D-list ice show" theme, so "Grublets On Ice" was a pretty good choice. While I never personally skated as or with the "Evil Wizard" (Will Ferril's character), I have felt like throwing up in my skin (a.k.a. character costume) before.

and my #1 Fake Ice Show Theme from tv or movies?

1. "Ice Capades - The Reality TV Show" with unknown skaters, judges (except for JoJo Starbuck) and tv network.

This one hasn't even aired yet, so I really shouldn't compare it with the other four. Perhaps the real show will be behind the scenes of the lawyers as the old owners/producers of Ice Capades sue the new ones.

Stay tuned!

December 26, 2008

The Year In Review

Yup, lots of "best of" critics lists this time of the year, so Ice Charades decided to have one of her own. Since I've only been in business since April, I don't think I have ten good ones to offer. But I think I can give you five - one for each day until the eve of 2009!

Let's start the countdown ...

#5 The Showgirl Pose

Las Vegas has inspired me to throw out my theory of the "showgirl pose". See those Ice Charades girls in the photo up on the upper right hand corner? The ones with their knees bent and thighs turned in. They have some old showgirl to thank for trying to figure how to make her legs look their absolute thinnest.

Could it be Miss Chicago?

In this photo I dug up, only Miss Chicago is working the bend and flex. And don't you think it makes her look thinner? If she had a higher arch in her left foot, her whole leg would look thinner because we would see more of her knee area, the thinnest part of her leg.

Yes, someone long ago thought to put one leg directly in front of the other - so we see only the width of one leg - twist her thigh slightly inward - to hide some of the fleshy part - and then keep the leg facing front from the knee down - this time hiding the bulging calf muscle. Too bad she couldn't patent that move. She could have made some big bucks.

I know this doesn't have much to do with skating, but like I said, Vegas, baby, Vegas.

December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays

Sorry the picture is a little dark, but the lighting was that way on purpose.

This was Brian Wright performing to Mannheim Steamroller's Silent Night, waaaaay back in 1987. I know that song's been overdone now, but to see Brian skate this number as you heard the song for the first time was otherworldy.

I'm sorry there's no video, none of us had video cameras at that time.

Happy Holidays to you all! Stay warm, except when you're on the ice.

December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian!

You may know by now that I'm a big, big fan.

December 16, 2008

The Bachelorette Skates

This isn't in my usual realm, but the notice did come via the Professional Figure Skaters Cooperative. I'd nominate my friend Sylvia, but she only looks 32.

December 14, 2008 Dear PFSC Members:

ABC's The Bachelorette is now casting for their next season and would love to cast a figure skater. According to Sunny Willebrand who is the contact for casting, if you are or know a woman who is between 25 and 32, who currently or has competed in figure skating as an amateur or professional, is beautiful, charming, educated successful and looking to settle down, this person may become next season's Bachelorette.

Send a photo and contact information to nominate yourself or a friend. Casting will run through the end of December, with taping to begin in March and will run for six weeks. The program likely will air in the summertime.

So, who would you nominate? Any of you reading this looking for love? Let me know.

December 15, 2008


I was feeling the urge to blog today, but couldn't think of a topic. Don't worry, Miss Ice Charades hasn't run out of ideas ... I have a finale that starts Thursday to finish out 2009, but today I feel like I'm coming to the middle of the second half.

In show business, that's probably the worst spot to perform. You know, strong opening (second best skater), strong close to first half (third or fourth best skater), again a strong start to the second half (third or fourth, take your pick) and big solid close (the best skater). Unfortunately, today I feel like the poodle act jumping through hoops.

So instead, I'll take this opportunity to thank all of the skating bloggers out there who keep us on top of the competitive elite. Without you guys, I'd be lost. I value your opinions, because going to sites that only gives me results is not helpful. I want to know what their programs were like, how they skated to it, and what you think was on the judges minds. Can anyone really know that?

Again, my thanks.

p.s. I couldn't find any images of skating poodles (why didn't I bring mine along?) so I give you the circus on ice act instead.

December 11, 2008

More on Christmas

If you read the last post, you might think that I was all Scrooge about Christmas, but for a skater, Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Lots of ice rinks open for the season, lots of Christmas shows and lots of jobs.

Take the annual Charles Schultz show in Santa Rosa. Every year it was great pay, new costumes, a beautiful setting - seating at tables with cookies and hot chocolate, and premier guest stars. Robin Cousins, Dorothy Hamill, anyone?

The only problem was the show was over by Jan and you'd be looking for another job.

December 8, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

ah Christmas ...

Maybe you started hearing that song in the middle of October, but whenever I hear the Frankie Avalon - big band version - of that song, I think of sweat rolling down my face from a muggy afternoon in southern Japan.

That's right, two of the three amusement park shows I did in Kumamoto, Japan featured a Christmas production. In August. It's a strange association for me, but at least I can still tolerate the song.

I have a harder time with the music from the Nutcracker. I skated with two productions of Nutcracker and probably because the shows came along at Christmas time, I got so tired of the music. Years later if I heard that music in a department or grocery store, I would get nauseous and start counting in my head, as in "right-2-3-4, left-2-3-4."

The only songs I liked from the Nutcracker were the Arabian Dance - because the music's cool and dark and mysterious, the Waltz of the Flowers - because it is one of my all-time favorites and the final Pas De Deux - because it was Brian Orser's big finale (and the show was almost over by then).

But time heals everything and this year I'm taking my kid to see the Nutcracker. Alas, it is the ballet version, so it will be a lot stuffier than what the skaters did and there will be no Brian Orser. So instead I give you this ...

He's looking down in the photo because someone cracked a joke, but that's him.

oh - ps - that's Natalie Seybold, as Clara, standing next to him. I told you she was much cuter than Sarah Palin. So is Lisa on the right!

December 4, 2008

Code Red!

A relative of Red McCarthy - seen here starring in Ice Capades in the early 1940s - is compiling a family history and has asked for personal Ice Capades stories to fill in the family tree. Did you know Red skated in three full-length movies in the 40s? Alas, they haven't made it to YouTube yet.

So, any ex-Capettes out there who skated with Red and stumbled apon this website, please email me.

We've got to get all of the early ice show history on record. A great website to start with is the Historical Foundation of the PFSC. The link to PFSC is on the right, the link to the Foundation here.