A PILGRIMAGE (LS) [01-11]
 You may have discovered it yourself at the very beginning. You may have stumbled on it quite by accident. You may have received the word from another. In any case, you are now a fan. How you rate yourself on the "hardcore nutball" scale is irrelevant. How much trivia you know matters little. It does not even matter if you have seen every single episode. It is all you think about. It is all you care about. Most importantly, it is all you want to talk about with everyone and anyone. Problem is, no one else seems to share your obsession. You are frustrated, isolated and alone. You must take the next step. You must journey to the only place where you can find the solace you need. You must join the other supplicants at the altar. You must go to a Xena Convention.
 Without sounding disrespectful to other deities, Xena rules. She does no wrong. Her world should be our world. She lives on a diet of honor and loyalty. Ever vigilant against her own dark nature, she rests each night on a blanket of fortitude. Come the dawn, she endlessly searches for the absolution that may never come. She predates the other great seekers, she is the mother of us all.
 Yet, when you step into the light of day and travel hence to commune with others like you, anxiety and trepidation are unwanted fellow-travelers. Are there others like me? How will we know each other? Will I be able to express to others what I feel within myself? Has anyone else found the grail of truth amongst the pretenders and false prophets? Should a private obsession become a public rapture?
 Actually, yes and no. As with most things, it is
all shades of gray. Any Xenite knows that just as there
are lesser degrees of evil, so too are there many
degrees of understanding. Truth be told, (and that is
the real point here) everyone has their own version of
the grail. For some, it is a simple act of
participation. For others, it is the ultimate in
role-playing. A fan convention is the gray-scale of
 We enter with a quiet reverence, moving as one up
the two escalators through a space eerily reminiscent
of a modern-day Temple of Athena. At first, quiet hangs
over the main ballroom as the haunting sound of Xena's
theme echoes off the air walls. Quickly warming to the
spirit of the event, their voices and enthusiasm
gradually increase in anticipation of the coming
 It is the fine line between reality and fantasy that must constantly be drawn for the adults. They must be reminded that this is fiction, not reality. They cross that line, sometimes to a hazardous degree.
 When they use their children in the process, the danger becomes all the more ominous. A child's fantasy world is a precious and fragile thing. It is their own private world and if we as adults are invited in, we must venture with care not to impose our egos upon our children's individual holo-program. Actually, only children can leave the holodeck and take the world they have created with them and adults have no right to impose their dreams and aspirations on what is, ultimately, pure imagination. A child wanting to dress up like a favorite character is charming, but to listen to a parent directing that child from the third row is chilling.
 So too is the notion that adults somehow can recreate themselves in the image of their obsession. This is exactly the point where private obsession and public rapture collide head-on. This is the moment where you take the ultimate of risks: exposing your deepest inner self to the judgment of total strangers. You must confront what is inexorably the bottom line: Can our most private wishes stand up to the harsh truth that is our day to day reality? Or is it elementally this simple: it has never been the outer shell that matters, it is the internal life of a character that challenges us. Certainly, Xena and Gabrielle captivate us visually: the dark and the light; exotic and romantic; with grace and prowess they enchant us. Their lives are the stuff of legend and at our core we want a chance to step inside the shoes of a legend and walk around.
 The true joy is in the discovery of the greatness inside. To be the people we adore we must embrace their inner life. No outer trappings are necessary. It is the essence of Xena and Gabrielle that should be imitated: honesty, loyalty, justice, and goodness. Each week, regardless of circumstance we confront these issues. Trapped on a cursed ship we learn that love redeems us. When an old friend's life hangs in the balance, the truth must be uncovered and justice in the name of repression and fear is not justice at all. Sometimes in war choices have to be made, but there are not only lesser degrees of evil, there are greater degrees of mercy. True, a day in the life of our heroes bears little resemblance to ours on the surface; we can honestly say that we are rarely confronted with two villages in danger. But in seeing our hero decide with a flip of a dinar "Heads. We kill the giant" aptly demonstrates that divine inspiration rarely appears when you actually need it. Sometimes, you just have to shoot crap. Most of all, we can finally understand that while destiny might be out of our control we know that we are not alone while we fulfill it.
 We return each week like the ecstatics that we are, hoping to find some new truth or some inner wisdom to improve ourselves. Like all great scriptures sometimes the stories confuse us. Others bore us. Others enrage us. We always return, though, knowing that it is the sum of the parts that ultimately enriches us. After each lesson we depart, praying silently that the Gospel will never be completed, but knowing that Xena and Gabrielle's wanderings will end someday. When they do, we are comforted that we may always return, to re-read and re-tell the stories that have thrilled, bored, entertained and enlightened us.
 So what do we take away with us? A graven image
perhaps for 7 dinars, or a copy of one of the gospels
for 15 dinars. DREAMWORKER (#03) or A NECESSARY EVIL (#38)?
Actually, the main thing everyone left with was a
feeling of satisfaction, of community in all its
glorious and goofy permutations, and mostly, that there
is a lot of Xena and Gabrielle in all of us. And let us
 The Sacramento Convention Center is so much like the San Diego Convention Center in design that the same architect must have designed both centers. The room that housed the convention was very large and it was reported that over 1200 people attended.
 The convention ran smoothly and close to schedule. It was more relaxed than the atmosphere of the Burbank Convention, January 1997. Everyone seemed to have had a great time.
 The merchants row had a much wider aisle for people to walk through. Creation Entertainment had several tables and there was more merchandise to buy, particularly T-shirts and photos (lots of new Gabrielle pictures). Other new items were the Hercules and Xena pins, the Xena Chakram shot glasses, and the Hercules Leather and Wool jackets (the Xena jackets were still in the works).
 At the Official HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS Fan Clubs table, sample contents of the Club kits were displayed as well as samples of the new Gabrielle and Callisto T-shirts (and they were amazing).
 Several of the fan clubs were represented and had tables on one end of the aisle way. Other merchants were a couple of medieval paraphernalia vendors (swords, chainmail, helms), science fiction and toy/cards/collectable vendors, and a jewelry vendor. There were a smaller number of vendors but in a similar mix that was seen at the Burbank Convention.
 Food was a little difficult to obtain near the
Convention Center. There was a cart on-site with some
items. The Convention Center is located at the State
capital, and this part of Sacramento is a ghost town
during the weekend, with many of the businesses open
only during the week. There was one
espresso/sandwich/salad place across the street from
the Convention center that was open just before the
convention started (we had iced cappuccino's there),
but was closed after the convention was over. Eating at
the Hyatt Regency (a block from the Center) was a very
 In a time of modern-day Xenites, fan clubs, and
merchandise, a city in Northern California cried out for a
convention. Heeding the call were Hudson Leick, Robert Trebor,
and Brad Carpenter, mighty stars forged in the heat of
prime-time. The power. The passion. THE PHOTOS!!!
 Here is where approximately 1700 Xenites converged to
feed their fandom, the Sacramento Convention Center.
 The Xenites came from short and far (okay, so I think I
was the farthest away - I'm from Tucson, Arizona) to ogle, spend,
and worship. They even brought their weaponry to fend off the
other buyers. (No, this is not *THE* chakram, this is a $400
model that this young lady bought at a STARTREK Convention,
hand-made, but alas, not authentic.)
 Sharon Delaney from Creation Entertainment (the company
that puts on the conventions) delighted the fans with previews of
upcoming merchandise. Here, an upcoming "Gabrielle: Bard of
Potideia" t-shirt which should be available within a few months.
 Here, a "Callisto: Warrior Queen" T-shirt, which will be
available by the end of the year.
 Finally, the security guards opened the doors at 1:00 pm
and let the eager, anticipatory fans in (I believe the cry "TAKE
THE VILLAGE!" was heard). We rushed in expectantly, and found
ourselves in XENA merchandise heaven. There were t-shirts,
pictures, posters, and medieval weaponry galore. This is a
picture of Creation Entertainment's table at the convention,
where they were selling The Official XENA/HERCULES
Fan Club Kits.