When it comes to vicious sports rivalries, perhaps none is quite so well known (at least to those of us who, frankly, don’t devote much brain space to sports rivalries) as the kneecap-busting feud between 1994 US championship figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. And now, thanks to Upright Citizens Brigade comedians Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins, that rivalry will receive its laudatory museum due — in the hallway of a third-floor Williamsburg walk-up. According to a Washington Post write-up, Olen and Harkins were in need of decoration for their apartment and, after watching the ESPN documentary “30 for 30: The Price of Gold” on Netflix, decided that decoration ought to be pictures of their new favorite figure skaters; they posted a Kickstarter page seeking $75 to print posters at Duane Reade. But much like that one dude’s quest for potato salad, their mission received an unexpectedly passionate following. By the time they breached the $1,000 mark, plans for Matt & Viviana’s Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum had expanded out into the corridor, which they painted a uniform black, and included eBay-sourced memorabilia, fan art, even some oral history commentary from journalist Lois Elfman. And as of Thursday afternoon, the Kickstarter officially closed with a whopping $2,036 — meaning Harding and Kerrigan will indeed be honored with all the prestige this hallway can muster (and by the sweet t-shirt and button swag gifted to the campaign’s backers, below).
The opening gala is officially slated for April 18 at Standard Toykraft, but in the meantime, you can follow the duo’s progress at their joint Twitter account, @MattandViviana. So far, in addition to the unexpected funds, they’ve managed to invoke the wrath — or, rather, the irritated bafflement — of Keith Olbermann, who branded them among his “Worst” on Tuesday, an allegation to which they responded most genially in a Kickstarter update:
Obviously we’re thrilled. He actually didn’t say anything too mean and the exposure is great but it also kind of represents something bigger. It’s cool if he doesn’t “get” it. He’s not really supposed to “get” it.
We love that this is *our* museum and *your* museum and it makes it so much better that we have something that belongs to “us” as a collective. Everyone we’ve talked to that feels connected to this story, to Tonya’s homemade skating outfits, to Nancy’s under breath comment after getting the silver, to the beauty and the terror of these events and how it defined a moment in our consciousness, has shown themselves to be our kindreds.
Isn’t it just the coolest that we found a way to meet?! Isn’t it incredible that this Museum will exist because we chose for it to exist. It feels like a secret dark cave that only our eyes have adjusted to.
And that’s perhaps the most delightful thing about this idea — beyond, even, the glittery costumes and gory scandal: the fact that a joke is becoming reality, fueled by the sort of genuine, kids-in-a-candy-store enthusiasm to which we can only say “break a leg.” But not, y’know, that way.
— Anneliese Cooper (@DawnDavenport)