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Aug 20, 2017

Various Russian Ladies' LPs: Part II

This is the very belated second part of my post dedicated to reviewing the Russian ladies' long programs this in the 2015-2016 season.

Note: Freshly unearthed from the Morozombie private archives, I originally wrote this post around December 2015/January 2016 some time after the 2015-2016 Russian Championships, but inexplicably never published it for some reason. Better late than never, I guess?

Aug 16, 2017

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Since news of skaters' music choices for the upcoming Olympic season has started to hit the presses, the prevalent theme of such music choices has not quite been La La Land to the extent I'd expected, but rather recycling--that is, re-using previously-done programs and/or music. For example, off the top of my head:
  • Yuzuru Hanyu is re-using his Chopin's Ballade No. 1 SP and Seimei LP*
  • Duhamel/Radford are recycling their old Muse LP
  • Shoma Uno is returning to his Turandot LP
  • Mirai Nagasu is re-using her Chopin's Nocturne No. 20 in C Sharp Minor SP
  • Elena Radionova is repurposing her Porgy and Bess SP
  • Ashley Wagner is recycling her Hip Hip Chin Chin SP
  • Polina Tsurskaya is re-using her Light of the Seven SP
  • Alina Zagitova is returning to her Don Quixote LP
  • Javier Fernandez is reusing Chaplin music for one of his programs,
  • . . . and so on. 
In other words, typical Olympic season.

As noted previously, skaters generally eschew avant-garde artistic concepts or groundbreaking music choices during the Olympic season. The stakes are just too high, given that the chance for a coveted Olympic spot--much less an Olympic medal!--inconveniently only comes around once every four years. Moreover, the temptation to return to a previously-successful music choice is understandably quite strong in light of the rather conservative figure skating judging establishment, which seemingly never tires of yet another Carmen or Phantom of the Opera program.

Aug 13, 2017

Old Times

With features of contemporary life such as fifth generation mobile networks, Amazon Same-Day Delivery and Verizon Fios becoming increasingly ubiquitous in this present year of 2017 anno Domini, it's difficult to deny that we live in a culture that aspires towards instant gratification.

But there are dinosaurs among us that remember slower times. I started watching figure skating seriously over ten years ago, practically a lifetime for any self-respecting millennial. Admittedly, this was still considerably after the truly ancient days when figure skating fans presumably shared footage of figure skating competitions and shows by swapping videocasettes wrapped in brown paper tied with twine behind abandoned warehouses, but I distinctly remember staying up at odd hours patiently refreshing online figure skating forums so I could find out--from an intrepid poster's written report posted on the forum after returning to their hotel/home, of course--how, say, Stephane Lambiel skated at Swiss Nationals last night. These days, footage of Mr. Lambiel's Nationals skates would be dutifully streamed from Periscope live, or at the very least, uploaded onto the likes of Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube within mere minutes of the performance for immediate worldwide consumption. The idea of waiting hours, much less an entire day, to watch how skaters performed at a skating competition seems like a herculean feat of patience now.

Jun 2, 2017

Gems from the Youtube Vault

One of my favorite Youtube channels ever belongs to the incomparable Mintaka Alnilam, who--undoubtedly aided by the forces of cosmic goodness--somehow possesses the wherewithal to constantly upload crystal-clear, high-definition footage of ancient, decades-old figure skating events. This superb Youtubist uploads high-definition videos of skaters both famous and obscure skating at a staggeringly wide spectrum of competitions and exhibitions for the benefit of the figure skating faithful.

Having watched much of these decades-old performances exclusively through grainy, pixellated videos on Youtube for many years, suddenly being able to watch incredibly clear, high-definition videos (often with different camera angles!!) of the same performances is like being able to see the newly restored Sistine Chapel frescoes for the first time after only ever being able to view them cloaked with centuries of grime--just extraordinary. Whoever you are, Mintaka Alnilam, thank you.

Without further ado, here are some select gems from Mintaka Alnilam's Youtube vault:

May 29, 2017

2016-2017's Best and Worst Dressed

Ah, the figure skating post season--with the next competitions a mere glint in the milkman's eye and scant news available about our beloved skaters, now is the time of the year for figure skating fans to indulge in favorite pastimes such as arguing over disputed, decades-old competitive results, swapping tales of rink gossip and intrigue, and engaging in costume-related discussions. Incidentally, the lattermost topic happens to be the focus of today's post: my picks for this year's best and worst figure skating costumes.