Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September 1, 2010 JW Art Project Update

Ping Is A Boy, Part I
Ping Is A Boy, Part II

Ping Is A Boy, Part III

Drowning in shots of ice, daily アイスショットに溺れる日々 by #JWArtBook design team (floor of studio スタジオフロア)
Art Book Tweet with link to Twitpic

Art Project Tweet About the Team Going to ‘Friends On Ice’

Art Project Tweet Thanking Itoi Shigesato and 1101complus

JW Art Project Website
JW Art Project on Twitter
Photography by Hidemi Ogata
Hidemi Ogata's Blog
Art Direction by Yumi Hamano

August 31, 2010 JW Art Project Update

Art Project Ping Tweet in English

Art Project Ping Tweet in Japanese

Photography by Hidemi Ogata

Art Direction by Yumi Hamano

JW Art Project on Twitter

Monday, August 30, 2010

'Johnny Weir!!! Johnny Comes to Our Office': Episode II

'You Weren't Competing Against Anyone', Episode Two of ‘Johnny Weir!!!  Johnny Comes to Our Office’ was posted today.  The interview was conducted at Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun ("Almost Daily Itoi News") abbreviated as 'Hobonichi', the office of Itoi Shigesato.  There are five new photos and a new video included with Episode Two.

Here is the text of Episode II of the interview (photographs may be seen at the website):

I’m so happy that you’ve come. (laughs)

Yay. (laughs)


She is from the Starbucks next door.

(Looking at the served Iced Latte) Perfect! (Chuckles)

I’m feeling funny in my office.

Why is that?

It’s usually not like this.

It’s a special day.

Special day, Special day.


Well, why did you decide to come visit us?

You know, it’s for this.
(Pointing at the toys he received from Itoi.)


Even if you didn’t invite me, I would come for this and steal them from your office.


Um, I’m not very familiar with figure skating, so I do regret, and I need to apologize that I won’t be able to appreciate your brilliance in a full way.

I think it’s good that you don’t understand everything about my sport. If you have eyes like a baby, you can watch different pieces of art with fresh eyes, plus you won’t be jaded by anything. It makes you unbiased, and that’s great.

Yes, I think you’re right. When I saw you skating at the Vancouver Olympics on TV, I really understood it like a baby.

It’s good to hear that, thank you.


In figure skating, so many things go into the result, and it is also very political. The only thing I can control is my performance in the way they can see me. I want to take them on my journey, and I’m so happy that you could go with me.

You stood out amongst others, you looked very different.

Was it just the rhinestones?


How can I put it...you weren't fighting. You weren't competing against anyone.

No. When I skate, I skate on a cloud, on a different universe. I think that’s how people can make great art.

Yes, it’s just like painters; they do not compete. But, to see something beyond competition in the Olympics, which is the realm of competition, was very surprising and moving.

Thank you.

I still remember how excited I was. I remember thinking that there needs to be a person like you, and that everyone should see you performing.

Arigato gozaimasu.

I’m very happy that I’m actually meeting that person I saw.

It’s my honor, thank you.

To Be Continued......


This interview was conducted with the invaluable assistance of interpreter Makiko Shinoda.

Surprise! Johnny Pops Into a Meeting Room!

Episode Two Announcement in English
Episode Two Announcement in Japanese

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Episode One (Prologue) of Johnny Weir: Johnny Comes to Our Office.

While Johnny Weir was in Japan in July 2010 he accomplished several things; he skated in Fantasy On Ice, he announced he would take a year off from competition, he shot numerous photographs and a couple of videos for the Johnny Weir Art Book, and he was interviewed by respected Japanese editor, writer, video game designer and essayist Itoi Shigesato.  The interview between Mr. Shigesato and Weir came about after the agent working on the Art Book came upon these words written by Mr. Shigesato February 20, 2010 after he saw Johnny Weir's performances at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics:

'Right now, my interest and attention goes to Johnny Weir, the figure skater.  He was as if the definition of art had come to life.  Medals, scores, nationalities, the crowd...he seemed to have transcended them all.  To my eyes, he seemed as if he had an uncontrollable desire to express himself, devoting that energy solely to himself.

I felt that I witnessed "Art" as discussed with philosopher Takaaki Yoshimoto.  I'm really happy that I was able to see his performance.'

She (the agent) then contacted Mr. Shigesato and his people.  They exchanged ideas, Johnny showed interest, and the idea for the interview came about.

Episode One of Johnny Weir: Johnny Comes to Our Office was put up today (August 30th) at the 1101.com Website.  The website contains the interviews in both English and Japanese; as well as several wonderful photographs and two videos!  The interview will be released to the public via this website in ten parts.  Here are the titles of the ten parts and the dates on which they will be published:
Note: The times and dates in the index are for Japan (GMT plus nine hours) at 11am local time.  The release of episode one in the United States, for example, corresponded to Sunday August 29 at 10pm EST, and 7pm PST.  You must figure out where you are in relation to the dates given here if you wish to read the interview parts as soon as they are posted.  You can find information on the time difference as well as a world time zone map on My Blog here.

The interview between Shigesato Itoi and Johnny Weir was conducted with the invaluable assistance of interpreter Makiko Shinoda

Photography by Hidemi Ogata
Art Direction by Yumi Hamano

Episode One Tweet in English

Episode One Tweet in Japanese

Johnny sitting on a chair at Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun ("Almost Daily Itoi News") abbreviated as 'Hobonichi', the office of Itoi Shigesato.  The chair was designed by Taro Okamoto.

Johnny arrives at Hobonichi.

Johnny is introduced to the Hobonichi office staff.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 29th JW Art Book Update from JW Art Project

Johnny sent this Tweet at around 11:30 p.m. EST Saturday, August 28th. 

If you then go to the JW Art Project website you will find it has been updated.  The home page contains information about the book along with a photo of a page from the book with an on ice picture not yet seen by the public.  The team page contains a street shot photo of Johnny we have not seen yet, along with biographies in both English and Japanese of the team members involved in the project.  The bio page contains one of the pictures we have been gifted with as a preview, as well as a biography of Johnny Weir in both English and Japanese.  The info page contains the photo of Johnny in bed released the previous day along with information in both English and Japanese on the book, what countries it will ship to, how to contact Johnny Weir, and his management; as well as links to JWArtProject on Twitter, JW Art Project Twitpics, and You Tube behind the scenes videos.  

Also on the same day we received an answer to the previous day's question of how old Ping is!

Ping's Age in Japanese Tweet

Yumi Hamano (Art Director for JW Art Book)

Photographer Hidemi Ogata on Twitter

Official Blog for photographer Hidemi Ogata

JWArtProject on Twitter

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 28, 2010 JW Art Project Update

The wonderful people at JW Art Project, who are working on the JW Art Book, gifted us with another photograph that may be included in the book!

Included with the photograph was the caption:


Ping's Q&A starts today for a week randomly.『Q. How old is Ping?』

Tweet with Twitpic

English Translation

Tweet About Art Book Cover

Translation, Part One 

Translation, Part Two

Photographer Hidemi Ogata on Twitter
Official Blog for photographer Hidemi Ogata
JWArtProject on Twitter

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More About the @itoi_shigesato Interview with Johnny Weir

Here is a fifteen second preview video of the interview @itoi_shigesato conducted with Johnny Weir!

Thanks to wonderful interpreter Makiko Shinoda for her assistance with this, and also to 1101.com!

Information About the @itoi_shigesato Interview with Johnny Weir

Tweet from @itoi_shigesato regarding the interview he did with Johnny Weir when he was in Japan a few weeks ago:

This is a translation of the above Tweet, provided by JW Art Project:

The interview will be posted at the 1101 Complus Website beginning August 30th, and updated at 11a.m. daily local time.  What time that corresponds to where you live depends on what time zone you are located in.  The Tweet indicates posting occurs at 11a.m. daily GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) plus nine hours.  You may locate your own time zone in relation to GMT at this website, or by using this official time zone map.  In the United States this time corresponds to 10p.m. EST and 7p.m. PST.   

This is a Tweet JWArtProject sent to a friend of mine:

1101 Complus Tweet explaining the interview will appear in more than one part:

Another Tweet sent to my friend regarding the interview posting in both Japanese and English:

JW Art Project Tweet thanking the interpreter Makiko Shinoda and looking forward to publication of the interview.

Photo of Johnny Weir with Mr. Shigesato after the interview was conducted.

Johnny Weir with Mr. Shigesato during their interview.

Even though as JW Art Project stated in one of the above Tweets the JW Art Book is not related to the interview, on the second day of shooting for the book Mr. Shigesato came to the rink where some of the photos were being taken and skated with Johnny.  As you can see both men had a great deal of fun; and in the time since the interview and the skating lesson they have both had some very nice things to say about each other.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Eric Violette is No Longer the 'FreeCreditReport.com' Guy!

Eric Violette's latest Blog on why is no longer the 'FreeCreditReport.com Guy'!

This is a good article/blog regarding what really happened with the FreeCreditReport.com commercials.  Eric Violette, the star is actually a talented, trained French-Canadian actor and singer with his own band!
By Charlotte Chevalier
by Charlotte Chevalier
25 Aug 2010 

Eric Violette and FCR: Behind the scene

The TRUTH behind the Freecreditreport.com commercials

Looks like the popular Freecreditreport.com band has lost its gig. There will be no more commercials featuring the trio lead by the slacker dude with the impish smile and perpetual credit woes.  Freecreditreport.com is offering varying and rather nonsensical explanations for their decision.

The commercials which began airing in 2007 were an immediate hit. The infectious, sing along jingles had Americans, from babies to grandmothers, memorizing the tunes. Country singers sang them at their concerts, crowds at sports events did too. We hardly needed prompting to launch into “They say a man should always dress for the job he wants….”

As interest in the recurring characters increased, lead singer Eric Violette was revealed. Rather than the American garage band frontman he symbolized, we found out he is a French Canadian actor/musician lip synching the pre-recorded jingles and his “band” was not really a band. Nevertheless the public continued to love the character and the commercials while increasingly complaining about the product. Consumers seethed when they discovered the product the band was promoting was not actually “F-R-E-E that spells free”. We loved the commercials despite the product they promoted.

Helped along by a story line that everyone could identify with—the young man who dreams big, but rarely hits the mark—the public anxiously waited for each new installment of the band’s continuing saga. Ultimately nine commercials were filmed.

Yet with all the success of the commercials, the back story was quite different. Complaints against Freecreditreport.com rose so much that the government stepped in to help consumers understand what they were signing onto when they accepted their “free” credit report. Using a video parody of the commercials to get out an accurate message, the FTC also began prosecuting Experian (owner of Freecreditreport.com) for their less than “truth in advertising” message. Federal laws were amended to protect consumers from unscrupulous vendors of credit reports which consumers were entitled by law to receive for free once a year anyway.

The other back story involved yet more deception on the part of Freecreditreport.com. Back in 2007 they hired the Martin Advertising Agency to produce the commercials. The agency was recently rated America’s top advertising agency and is the creative mastermind of other memorable commercials such as Geico’s gecko and cavemen. The Martin Agency chose to outsource the production of the commercials to Montreal. Flying under the radar of Canadian unions such as the actors' union ACTRA (AFTRA and SAG's Canadian affiliate), the Martin Agency was able to buy the silence of French Canadian production staff and actors’ agents. The unknown actors were paid a minimum day rate and an annual use buyout of a few hundred dollars. Consequently, the Martin Agency achieved its goal. The commercials were made for a fraction of the cost an American production would have demanded. This allowed them to spend their budget on air time and run the commercials ad infinitum.

While Violette became the face of Freecreditreport.com and the public’s interest in him increased, Freecreditreport.com took advantage of his popularity to again be less than forthright with the public. Not content to mislead consumers with the so-called free credit reports, nor content to produce commercials on the sly in Canada, they also impersonated Violette on their Freecreditreport.com websites and Facebook pages. Fans posted messages on these sites clearly thinking they were communicating directly with the “band” members. FCR even created a Facebook character named Roadie Jack who pretended to be the “band’s” roadie. When Jack’s Facebook friends (there were thousands) asked him about the band, Jack would invent bogus answers. Unsuspecting fans did not realize the sites were simply a marketing tool.

The impersonation continued in 2008 when Freecreditreport.com held a contest on Youtube. All you had to do was upload yourself singing one of the commercial songs. The grand prize was $15,000!! Ironically, this was more money than Freecreditreport.com had paid to all three “band” members for acting in the commercials. During the contest fans posted comments on the Youtube page believing the members of “FCR band” were hosting the contest. Again fans' presumptions about who they were communicating with were never corrected by the FCR.

Meanwhile Violette, who made only a few thousand dollars for the entire series of commercials, was still a struggling actor and musician trying to cope with his sudden pop icon status. Accosted by the American media, who naturally expected Violette to have reaped the financial rewards of his fame and the TV residuals, he graciously deflected their questions delving into how his new found “wealth” and “life changing” windfall had changed his life. Neither Freecreditreport.com nor the Martin Agency offered him assistance with public relations.  Freecreditreport.com watched nervously as the actor began doing more and more interviews and making appearances in the US. Their discomfort with his popularity was because they knew the more media queried the actor or scrutinized the background of the commercials the more likely the truth behind the commercials' productions and FCR's disingenuous manipulation of the public might be exposed.

Last year, that is just what happened. As production for the third set of commercials began in Montreal, ACTRA heard about it and angrily intervened. Production could continue, ACTRA stated, but only under ACTRA guidelines. That meant the Martin Agency would have to pay union rates and residuals to the actors. Consequently, these last commercials were aired far less often than their cheaper predecessors and now they've been pulled completely. 

Apparently, the Martin Agency intends to continue the “band” concept but with different actors. What are they going to do? Head off to a third world country? No, they're going to hire some inexperienced American band who is hungry for fame. That band will be exploited just as badly as Violette and his bandmates because that's what Freecreditreport.com does best--scam people. And in a few years, the decision to drop the original band will appear on the list of worst marketing decisions of the decade.

So ends the story of the Freecreditreport.com guy.

By Charlotte Chevalier

Some Twitter Wall Contests to Vote In

Again I would like to encourage everyone to vote in some Twitter wall contests!  The vote Wall of Fame lists previous winners as well as the Top 25 in each category!   

You may vote once every twenty minutes, and you do not have to be a member of Twitter to vote. 

After you cast a vote in each category, wait twenty minutes and then refresh the page and you will be able to vote again.  Please remember to uncheck the two boxes below if you are a Twitter member, however.  If you leave the boxes checked everyone who follows you will get a Direct Message copy of every vote you make, and every vote you make will show up in your Twitter feed as well as that of the person or site you are voting for.   

You can also case multiple votes in each category.  For example, if there are three actors you like in the Actor of the Month category, you can click on each name to vote, then wait twenty minutes and refresh the same as if you were only voting for one in each category.  Of course you do not have to take my suggestions, you may certainly vote for anyone you like in any category; and there are many more categories than I have listed here.  However, please consider voting for all my choices!

Please vote for Apolo Ohno in this category!  Current rank number one!

Please vote for @JohnnyGWeir in this category!  Current rank number three with six days left to vote!

Please vote for @JohnnyGWeir in this category!  Current rank number four!

Please vote for @VanyaBonBonWeir in this category!  Current rank number eight!  @JohnnyWeirsPing, @Vanya and @Ping are also in this contest!

Please vote for @JohnnyGWeir in this category!  Current rank number three with ten days left to vote!

Please vote for @JohnnyGWeir in this categroy!  Current rank is Number One!!

Please vote for Matthew Gray Gubler (@gublernation) in this category!  Current rank number thirty-one!  Also, please vote for @JohnnyGWeir in this category!  Current rank number thirteen!

Shameless plug here: please vote for Wheres My Koppy's Blog in this category!  Current rank number seven.  Please also vote for Gender Test THIS in this category!  Current rank number nine!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Interview with KIMMI!!!!!!! - Eric Violette's MySpace Blog |

Interview with KIMMI!!!!!!! - Eric Violette's MySpace Blog

Interview with Eric Violette and his band God Against God's guitarist Sebastien!

A Follow Up to Some Recent Blogs…

I am writing this Blog to post some responses to subjects I have recently written about.  Rather than create an entire Blog I am just going to post links with (brief) summaries.

In relation to my recent Blogs I’m Glad Someone Finally Said Something About the NY Mag Piece!, Some Wonderful Johnny Weir Outtake Photos!, and NY Mag Comments:  Week of August 30, 2010, all related to the NY Mag article The Johnny Weir Spectacular and it's aftermath; Outsports.com has published the article Some Johnny Weir Fans Angry at NY Magazine. The article was published August 24, 2010 and is written by Cyd Zeigler Jr..  This article focuses on the response to the NY Mag article, and mentions the NY Daily News mention of Johnny's response, as well as a long but very well written letter by Lynn V. Ingogly that details point by point what was wrong with the article. Ms Ingogly is a free-lance writer who has also written the Blogs Guuuuuurrrrrrlll... and #YoureACar about this very subject. This article also contains links at the bottom to other pieces of interest about
Johnny Weir. There are also numerous reader responses to this article following the article itself.

In relation to my recent Blog Unfortunately It’s All About Hate and Ignorance…, which focused partly on the ordeal of umpire Billy Van Raaphorst, I am posting a link to an article that appeared in Outsports.com.  This article details the outpouring of support Van Raaphorst has received since the incident in a game on July 31st.  The article Gay Umpire Overwhelmed By Positive Response appeared in the August 18, 2010 issue and was written by Jim Buzinski.