Pop Star On Ice

Pop Star On Ice

USA, 2008, 85 Minute Running Time
Bay Area Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Biography / History, Documentary, Family Friendly, Gay, Gender, Sports
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTORS: David Barba, James Pellerito

Johnny Weir’s figure skating career has a fairy tale quality: almost literally plucked from a frozen Pennsylvania cornfield — where as a lanky 12-year-old boy he glided among the broken stalks, emulating his inspiration, Olympic gold medalist Oksana Baiul — Weir quickly rose to become a three-time US National Champion (2004-2006). Then, at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Weir triple-axeled into the pantheon of celebrity athletes. Though he finished a disappointing fifth, his flamboyant, provocative personality and lithe grace both dazzled and scandalized the image-obsessed figure skating world.

What makes Weir so beloved and controversial? It’s all on display in this intimate documentary, Pop Star on Ice. How many other Olympic athletes would let themselves be filmed in a bubble bath and blonde wig gleefully play-acting the Russian interviewer to another naked man (in this case, “best friend” Paris)? We’re guessing none. For over two years, the filmmakers shadowed Weir — interviewing him, longtime coach Priscilla Hill and adoring mother Patti — as he prances the catwalk during Fashion Week, criticizes judging, throws tantrums, competes to victory and tries to harness his immense natural talent.

Ultimately, Weir refuses to answer the question dogging all male skaters — well, is he or isn’t he? But, as the film makes clear, his uncompromising, passionate life makes the question irrelevant. Johnny Weir is simply himself — world-class athlete, diva, fashionista, superstar. — JEFF CAMPBELL

Text Voting Code: D316

Copresented by

CounterPULSE and San Francisco LGBT Community Center



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