Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Casual Figure Skating Fan's Guide to Sochi 2014

I know more than my fair share about figure skating and follow it very closely every season, but I'm also aware that most people do not. Therefore, I give you "The Casual Figure Skating Fan's Guide to Sochi 2014". If I see a facebook status asking about Johnny Weir, Michelle Kwan, or 6.0, I will probably post this link on your wall to keep me from saying something catty.

General Notes:

-Figure Skating is no longer an art form, it is a math problem
-You will be confused and frustrated because the best programs rarely score the highest
-If you think all the programs look the same, you're probably right; IJS programs are very cookie cutter
-Skaters are scored on TES (the old technical mark) & PCS (the old artistic mark)
-Every element (jumps, spins, lifts, throws, footwork sequences) is given a base value and/or a level and a grade of execution mark
-There is no "best score," though the NBC commentators will likely compare skaters' scores to their own Season's Best of Personal Best
-This season will be the debut of a Gymnastics-style Team event where skaters from all 4 disciplines will combine their scores and the "top country" will win gold; this even will begin before Opening Ceremonies and conclude before the individual disciplines begin
-Here is a link to the full IJS code of points if you want to confuse yourself even further


2013 WORLD Medalists: Yuna Kim (KOR), Carolina Kostner (ITA), Mao Asada (JPN)
-If anyone outside of Kim, Asada, or Kostner win Gold it will be a Sarah Hughes-esque surprise
-If we do have a Sarah Hughes moment, it will be Russian teen Julia Lipnitskaia
-If Yuna Kim skates cleanly, expect her to win a 2nd OGM, regardless of how the other ladies skate
-The US ladies have an outside chance at a medal but are in no way favored
-NBC will talk up Gracie Gold, and probably Ashley Wagner as medal favorites, but they will only medal if others make mistakes
-The fully rotated triple-triple combination is key for the ladies, expect NBC commentators to talk that to death
-You will be able to tell which skaters NBC loves because they will drop phrases like "complete package," "complete program," or "fantastic transitions"
-A US lady hasn't won an Olympic or World medal since 2006, expect to hear that from NBC commentators on repeat
-A certain 'top lady' waves during her spiral sequence, I'll let you look for it in Where's Waldo fashion


2013 WORLD Medalists: Patrick Chan (CAN), Denis Ten (KAZ), Javier Fernandez (ESP)
-Johnny Weir has retired and Evan Lysacek is injured, neither will compete
-Patrick Chan has won the last 3 World Titles, and though he is sputtering this season, it will be an upset if he doesn't win Gold
-The Quadruple jump (Quad) is key in the mens event, it will be hard to get near the podium without one
-The elder statesman Evgeni Plushenko has returned for one final hurrah and the Russians will be doing their best politicking to get him back on the podium
-You will probably prefer Yuzuru Hanyu's more artistic programs and you'll hate it when Patrick Chan wins regardless
-US men have little to no chance of winning a medal, we haven't won a World or Olympic medal since 2010
-Jason Brown (USA) will be one of the darlings of the games and will probably rise to the occasion under pressure, but without the Quad he will have a hard tim finding the podium unless others make mistakes

Ice Dance:

2013 WORLD Medalists: Davis & White (USA), Virtue & Moir (CAN), Bobrova & Soloviev (RUS)
-There are no longer 3 phases to the Ice Dance competition, there are now only 2
-Expect to hear the phrase "Finn Step" a lot as it is the compulsory pattern that all teams will perform in the original dance
-Free Dances range from Classical and Opera to Musical Theatre and Michael Jackson
-Gold & Silver will go to Davis & White (USA) or Virtue & Moir (CAN) and it will likely be very close; they are far above the rest of the field and will take the top spots on the podium
-Davis & White are slightly favored for Gold because they beat Virtue & Moir at the 2013 Worlds and this season's Grand Prix Final and their scores have been consistently higher
-Bobrova & Soloviev (Russia) will likely win bronze, primarily because of Russian politics; if you personally feel that their performances are not deserving of a medal, you would be correct
-The other teams that have a shot at bronze are Pechalat & Bourzat (FRA), Ilinykh & Katsalapov (RUS), Cappellini & Lanotte (ITA), and Weaver & Poje (CAN)
-The top dance teams are coached by the same small cluster of coaches; become familiar with names like Marina Zoueva, Igor Shpilband, Pasquale Camerlengo, Nikolai Morozov, and Alexander Zhulin
-All 3 American teams are likely to finish in the top 10
-It's tough to tell the difference between average, good, and great ice dance programs because there are no jumps/falls; you should look for speed, overall flow across the ice, synchronization, and smooth transitions in and out of lifts


2013 WORLD Medalists: Volosozhar & Trankov (RUS), Savchenko & Szolkowy (GER), Duhamel & Radford (CAN)
-US Pair Teams will be very fortunate to finish in the top 6 and have about a 1% chance of winning a medal
-Volosozhar & Trankov (Russia) will win Gold unless they make major mistakes
-Savchenko & Szolkowy (Germany) will win Silver unless they make major mistakes

-Pang & Tong (China) will most likely win bronze, but Canadian teams have a shot
-The pairs event directly follows the Team Trophy event; fatigue/training could play a role in this event
-Expect some drama with the top two teams, they've been going back and forth in the standings for several years
-Commentators will make a huge deal about Russians retaking the top spot on the Olympic pairs podium

Monday, January 27, 2014

ROMEO & JULIET Comes to Movie Theatres Near You!

Is there anything more perfect than the world's most famous star-crossed lovers for Valentine's Day? Rome & Juliet could not possibly be arriving in theatres at a better time.

ROMEO AND JULIET starring Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean) as Romeo and Condola Rashad (Smash, Sex and the City 2) as Juliet, will be opening at a movie theatre near you this Valentine’s Day! The film has an exclusive run in movie theatres from February 13-19.
The stunningly modern stage production has received acclaimed-reviews, including this from the New York Times: “Mr Bloom in a first-rate Broadway debut and the gifted Rashad exude a too fine for this world purity that makes their characters’ love feel sacred.” In addition to Bloom and Rashad, the cast includes Christian Camargo (The Hurt Locker, Dexter), Justin Guarini (American Idol, American Idiot), Tony Award winners Brent Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sleepy Hollow), Chuck Cooper (Law & Order, American Gangster), and two-time nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Follies). Romeo and Juliet was captured for cinema on November 27 at New York’s Richard Rodgers Theatre by the multiple, Emmy award-winning Don Roy King (Saturday Night Live).

While ROMEO AND JULIET is the most famous love story of all time, this production marked the first time in 36 years that the play was produced on Broadway.

We will be giving away a pair of tickets to see this theatrical experience in the comfort of your very own neighborhood movie theatre. To enter, answer the following question in the "comments" section below by Sunday February 2nd at 11:59 PM. Please include your email address so we can contact the winner.

Question: Condola Rashad came to Romeo & Juliet directly after appearing in the Roundabout Revival of which play? Good luck!


For movie times and tickets, visit http://broadwayhd.com/


Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 US Figure Skating Championships: NBC & Ice Network Viewing Times

As per usual, NBC is giving is very sparse coverage of the US Figure Skating Championships. The rest of the events will be shown live on Ice Network. Enjoy watching and be sure to follow @barbiebackstage for all of my live updates, thoughts, and opinions. Cant want to watch with you all! 

2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships
NBC Broadcast Schedule (all times Eastern, subject to change, check local listing)

Saturday, Jan. 11
LIVE pairs free skate and free dance
3-6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11
LIVE Ladies free skate
8-11 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 12
LIVE Men's free skate
3-5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18
Smucker's Skating Spectacular
4-6 p.m.

2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships
Icenetwork Broadcast Schedule (all times Eastern, subject to change, all events live unless noted)
Sunday, Jan. 5
Novice pattern dance
Novice ladies short program
Novice pairs short program
Novice men's short program
9:15 a.m.
12:20 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
6:15 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 6
Novice free dance
Novice ladies free skate
Novice pairs free skate
Novice men's free skate
9:40 a.m.
11:50 a.m.
1:35 p.m.
3:35 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 7
Juvenile pattern dance
Juvenile pairs free skate
Junior short dance
Junior men's short program
8:30 a.m.
11:10 a.m.
3:25 p.m.
6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 8
Juvenile boys free skate
Juvenile free dance
Juvenile girls free skate
Intermediate pattern dance
Junior pairs short program
Junior ladies short program
8:30 a.m.
9:55 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
1 p.m.
4:10 p.m.
6:20 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 9
Intermediate ladies short program
Intermediate free dance
Junior men's free skate
Intermediate pairs short program
Junior free dance
Intermediate men's short program
Senior pairs short program
Senior ladies short program
8:10 a.m.
9:40 a.m.
10:45 a.m.
1 p.m.
1:05 p.m.
2:35 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
7:45 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 10
Intermediate pairs free skate
Junior ladies free skate
Junior pairs free skate
Intermediate ladies free skate
Intermediate men's free skate
Senior short dance
Senior men's short program
8:30 a.m.
8:45 a.m.
10:50 a.m.
12:10 p.m.
1:45 p.m.
1:45 p.m.
8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11
Senior pairs free skate (early groups)
Senior free skate (early groups)
Senior pairs free skate (late groups)**
Senior free dance (late groups)**
Senior ladies free skate (early groups)
Senior ladies free skate (late groups)**
11:30 a.m.
12:45 p.m.
6:45 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 12
Senior men's free skate (early groups)
Senior men's free skate (late groups)**
12:50 a.m.