Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Amazing Race's Amazing Moment

This past Sunday, December 9th, the conclusion of the twenty-first season of the CBS television show 'The Amazing Race' was broadcast.

For those of you who do not know, 'The Amazing Race' is a multiple Emmy Award winning competitive reality show that takes eleven or twelve teams of two contestants each to various locations around the world. (One season the teams consisted of family units of four contestants each.) The prize for the winner of the finale is one million dollars in cash, and there are prizes for winning each particular leg along the way.  For example, second place finishers Jaymes and James each won a new Ford Escape for winning the next to last leg of the race.  The show's exotic locales are often visually stunning as well as eye opening to both the contestants and the show's fans. 

Another good thing about the show is that, unlike some shows like 'Survivor', it is not necessary to be devious or to trick other contestants to win. It does happen once in a while on 'The Amazing Race' (There was an incident on this season of the show involving contestants James and Abba's money that upset some fans.); however, sneakiness is not generally a part of this show.  

At each location the teams must perform some task that is usually related to the local culture. There is often a choice of two tasks, and if the tasks can not be completed there is a four hour penalty. Most weeks one team is eliminated, but some weeks it is a non elimination, and the team that finishes last that particular week has to perform an extra task to stay in the race. The final task of the race is always something related to the places the teams have traveled to during the race, and this season was no different. In the shadow of the United Nations building in New York City, the final three teams had to match the words for 'hello' and 'goodbye' with the flags from various countries the teams had been to during the course of the race.

So, what was the amazing moment for 'The Amazing Race' this season? It was the winning team of Josh and Brent. Josh and Brent are a gay couple with a fifteen year relationship.  For the past three years Josh has been living in the city during the week to work while Brent remained on their farm.  They wanted to win the money so they could pay off their bills and live in the same place together again. (Other contestants have interesting stories as well; for example, James wanted to win to help out his father who is battling cancer.) 

The fact Josh and Brent are a gay couple is not what is amazing; there have been gay contestants on the show before, and there are certain to be more on the show in the future.  Underdogs and discounted nearly the entire race, Josh and Brent slipped under the radar and won the race.  Even as the final three teams raced, third place finisher Lexi Beerman was still discounting them as competition.  Moments after host Phil Keoghan pronounced them the official winners of the race, Josh kissed Brent. 

What is so amazing about that kiss?  The fact that a loving couple of so many years was able to show that love on a highly rated television show like 'The Amazing Race' is amazing.  It shows that we have actually made some progress in the United States in recognizing LGBT couples as equals.  I am virtually certain that there are those out there who do not see things the way I do, and didn't like Josh and Brent kissing each other on the show.  These are probably the same people who are against the gay marriage initiatives in various parts of the United States.  I, however, thought it was wonderful.  I give Josh and Brent kudos for persevering, having a loving relationship, and for not being afraid to show it.  I also compliment Phil and the other contestants for being happy for them.   

Cast member Rob French, a monster truck driver who practically defines the term redneck, stated at the end of the show Josh and Brent had really opened his eyes and that it was not for him to judge other people's lifestyle.  There's that word 'lifestyle' again, as if it were a choice, but at least Rob is making progress.  If even one person can learn something from people like Josh and Brent, then we are indeed making some progress! 

Click here to watch the full broadcast of the final episode of 'The Amazing Race'.

Click here to watch full episodes of each week of 'The Amazing Race'.

Click here to watch a video clip of the winning moment.

Click on this link to meet the teams from this season of 'The Amazing Race'.

Click here to meet the show's adventurous host Phil Keoghan.

Watch this exclusive secret scene-Josh and Brent 'Underdogs On Top'.

Click here to view photos from this season of 'The Amazing Race'.

Visit the Human Rights Campaign website for more information on how you can help support the campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equal Rights.

Click here for more information on the state of marriage equality in the United States.

The Amazing Race's amazing moment captured.

One CBS official photo of Josh and Brent.

Join Josh and Brent on Facebook, and subscribe to their newsletter.  Also, click here to follow them on Twitter, and here to visit their official website!  Josh and Brent also have a show on The Cooking Channel known as The Fabulous Beekman Boys that chronicles their life on Beekman Farm in upstate New York.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Johnny Weir Announces His Return to Competitive Figure Skating

Update:  Please read Misfit Mimes' blog 'Unstoppable'!  Wonderful in it's simplicity and the beautiful photo of Johnny and Vitya!

Vote for Johnny Weir as 'Best Improv Ice Skater'

One vote per person per day.
Voting ends on January 31st, 2012.
The “Best Improv-Ice Skater” will be announced during Pandora Unforgettable Moments of Love on Ice on Saturday, February 4, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. EST on NBC.


Ever since Johnny Weir announced in late 2010 he was taking a year off from competitive figure skating his fans have been wondering if he would return to competition.  The 2014 Olympics are set to take place in Sochi; a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, on the coast of the Black Sea.  Any fan of Johnny's knows how much he loves the Russian culture and the Russian people, and the feeling is mutual.  These factors would seem to influence his decision on whether to try and make the 2014 Olympic team or not.
There is also a sense of unfinished business where Johnny Weir and the Olympics are concerned. 

Weir, though he did not perform badly at Torino in 2006, faltered and failed to win the Olympic medal he so desired.  The next four years were up and down for Weir competitively, and he fell out of favor with the United States Figure Skating Association.  There was no love lost between the organization and Weir; however, he performed well enough at the 2010 U.S. Championships in Spokane, Washington to qualify for the United States Olympic Team and competed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Washington. 

Any fan of Weir's knows what happened next.  After performing a near perfect short program titled 'I Love You, I Hate You', Weir performed a stunningly beautiful long program he had named 'Fallen Angel'.  He had placed sixth after the short program, and he remained in sixth place after his Fallen Angel free skate.  While some believe the placings were fair, many figure skating fans were shocked at Johnny Weir placing sixth in Vancouver.  Without going too heavily into the politics of figure skating, the hurtful comments made about Weir and any other issues involved; Weir's sixth place finish was extremely difficult to understand for many figure skating fans. 

Since the Vancouver Olympics, Johnny Weir has absolutely thrived.  He has skated in numerous figure skating shows, appeared on talks shows and at events, written an autobiography and embarked on a book tour, designed a line of ladies dresses, released a single titled 'Dirty Love', been interviewed and photographed numerous times including for the JW Art Project, appeared at fashion shows and walked runways at New York Fashion Week, become the face of 'Glitter and Ice' for Mac Cosmetics, and filmed season two of his reality show 'Be Good Johnny Weir'.  And that list is only part of what he has been up to in the last two years!      

Oh yeah...  There was that little thing about getting married on New Year's Eve to the wonderful Victor Voronov!

But back to the unfinished business...

As a long time fan of Johnny Weir there are few things I would like more for him than for him to have the Olympic medal I feel he so richly deserves.  I'd love to see him compete and make the team in Sochi and just show everyone for the umpteenth time just how good he really is.  I do have concerns, however. He's never been a favorite of the figure skating establishment, and that is unlikely to change any time soon.  The current scoring system does not favor a skater with the artistic brilliance he possesses, though he can certainly hold his own technically.  And of course, he IS a three time United States champion.

He'll be twenty nine years old in Sochi; not old in human terms, but certainly not young in competitive figure skating terms. However, I'm a fan and I will support him in whatever he decides to do...  And as a friend of mine on Facebook said, figure skating desperately needs Johnny Weir.  At a time when the sport is in a slump, at least partly due to the convoluted judging system and the near robotic state skaters, especially male skaters, are forced into to score enough points to win; as I stated above, Weir is thriving.  He is enormously popular, possibly the single most popular skater around the world; and yes, competitive figure skating DOES need him.  However, as another friend stated, HE doesn't need IT.

Now that I've said those words...  Oh Wednesday,  January 18th, Johnny tweeted his fans these words:

"Coming to you guys tomorrow with some BIG news! Life is funny & it can change in a second. Cherish it all. The good & the bad."

This tweet caused an enormous amount of buzz amongst Johnny's fans, some of whom speculated for hours on Twitter and other sites about what Johnny could possibly mean by that.  Obviously it was something good, right?  But the tone of the rest of the tweet...the good the bad?  What on earth did THAT mean?

Well, we found out Thursday, January 19th 2012 when Johnny Weir announced his return to competitive figure skating! 

After releasing an official statement about his comeback, Johnny appeared at a press conference at which he announced his plans to return to competitive skating with an eye toward making the 2014 Olympic team and competing in Sochi.  He will retire for certain after the next Olympics.

Almost immediately skating fans, especially Johnny's fans, were abuzz with talk of his competitive return.  Within a very short period of time a number of articles had already been written, many of them from major journalistic entities such as Sports Illustrated, USA TodayESPN and the New York Times.  More are certain to follow.

All I can say at this point is, GO JOHNNY GO!

VIDEO of his twenty minute press conference may be found here and here!  (I can't figure out how to embed it, so leave me alone about it, okay?)

I have also posted sixteen photographs from his press conference. He looks great, doesn't he?  Beautiful smile and I love the hair!

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Figure skater Johnny Weir announces his competitive figure skating comeback at a press conference at West Bank Cafe on January 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photos by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)   


Read my friend Misfit Mimes blog 'The Official Johnny Weir Blog'!  She rocks!

Johnny Weir on Twitter

Johnny Weir's Official Website


@JohnnyGWeir tweet:
The moment I tweeted you all from my press conference about my comeback as captured by

The Tweet in question:

And one more Tweet for the road:

Along with my response: