Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD, Rat Catcher, and ARTSY Torvill & Dean, John Curry 2 of 2

JEAN SHEPHERD, Rat Catcher, and ARTSY Torvill & Dean, John Curry 2 of 2


So that Monday I get myself some rotten liver at Oshenslauggers.  I take it to work and by nightfall, my god, I had forty or fifty rats!  And by the end of the week I got maybe seventy-five rats one day.  I walk into the tin mill assorting office and Chester looks up and says, “You know, you’re even better than Stanley.”

I say, “Aw, nothing to it.”

Herman calls out, “Yea, he’s pretty good!  He’s damn near as good as Stanley.”

I walk out to the tin mill floor that day, tall and straight.  I walk up to Sophie and I say, “Sophie, how about going over to the Red Eagle with me after work.”

She says, “Where’s Stanley?”

I say, “The hell with Stanley.  I’m movin’ in.  Ya goin’?”

She says, “Well, if you put it that way, yes.”  And she did.

After all, I am one of the truly great rat catchers to come out of Inland Steel.  Better than Stanley.  Even today, kids are being measured against me.  I am a legend.





John Curry won the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal.

The fundamental basic of ice skating is an obscure form called “school figures.” It involves precision of movement, and represents an important element in learning to skate well. It used to be a part of high-level competitions, shown on TV in a short segment. But, probably because it was not “exciting” for the mass public, and virtually impossible to adequately depict on camera, it was eliminated. Apparently, Curry was its master. He commissioned modern dance choreographer Twyla Tharp to create a piece for him. She called the 7 ½ minute solo-program, “After All.” The New York Times writer described it as “a luminous study of edge work, in which a skater’s shifting weight emphasizes inner and outer edges.” That, with the patterns inscribed by the blades on the ice, is “school figures.” When I first saw Curry perform “After All,” because of its mostly simple skate-blade movements, I saw it as a tribute to school figures, the basic origins, the wellsprings of skating, and as a statement of defiance against its downgrading in the figure-skating world. It showcases Curry’s superior skill:

John Curry and Twyla Tharp.

“After All”

Images From What Seems to be

the Only Internet Sources Available.

(“After All” and Curry’s other work embody unsurpassable purity and elegance.

That such smeared video renditions of “After All” is all that seem available

on the Internet is an ironic travesty.

That John Curry died of AIDS, nearly penniless, at 44, is a tragedy.

I strongly suggest avoiding the sad details of his final time on Earth.)

Comments upon his death in 1994

“I think he brought the purest form of ballet to the ice,” Peggy Fleming, [1968 Olympic Gold] said of Mr. Curry. “He was a real purist, totally devoted to the art of skating. He also had the technique and athleticism to make that art look effortless. It was a wonderful blend of what skating is about — art and sport. It’s a huge loss.”

Dick Button, men’s Olympic champion in 1948 and 1952, said yesterday in a statement that Mr. Curry was “the finest and most intelligent all-around skater I’ve ever seen. He skated with a combination of superior athleticism, solid technique, classical line and musical sensitivity. And he was choreographically inventive.”

Bill Jones, author of Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry: “Figure skating’s gibberish lexicon, with its lutzes and loops, meant nothing before John Curry took to the ice. In five hypnotic minutes gliding across the ice, he transformed a discredited Olympic event into a glorious art form.”

How Dare I Discuss Motion and Music in a Static Blog?

None of the Elegance in Actual Motion Above is Available for this Blog,

But all of the Above can be Seen on YouTube.


Movement and Music are the Most Emotionally Satisfying Arts (for me).



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