ADVENTURES IN AN AUTOGRAPH LINE,
JANUARY 12, 1997

By Diane Silver (dswriter@idir.net)
Content © 1997 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 1997 held by Whoosh!
2575 words


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Lucy Lawless signing her autograph
...
Lucy Lawless signing more
Photos courtesy of Betsy Book and Kym Taborn

Heart pounding, exhilarating, dizzying: That is what it felt like to stand in the autograph line in Burbank on January 12.

First the line inched toward Lucy Lawless, who was signing autographs on the right side of the auditorium, then the line veered toward Ted Raimi and Hudson Leick, who were signing on the other side of the room. As the line moved, women and men, teenagers and children clutched glossy color photos, posters, even t-shirts. The adults smiled at each other and nervously practiced what they would say to Lawless when they finally had their 20 seconds in front of her. Children clutched their parents arms and were silent.

One woman in line tried frantically to enlist the aid of the people standing next to her to take her picture with Lawless. No one would do it. All said they were too stunned or scared or confused and would not necessarily remember how to even click the shutter. Finally, as the woman got close to the autograph table, a convention worker was pressed into service to take the picture.

In their own words, here are the stories of just a few people who stood in that autograph line. For the record, both Lawless and Hercules star Kevin Sorbo stayed and signed autographs until every fan who wanted an autograph got one, said Sharon Delaney of Creation Con, which organized the convention. Sorbo signed autographs for two hours on Saturday, while Lawless stayed for three hours on Sunday, Delaney reported. Lucy Lawless probably wrote her names alone over 2,000 times that day.

NOTE: Some people asked that only their on-line handles be used in this report. On-line handles are given in parentheses)

...

Lawless thanks a fan
Photo courtesy of Betsy Book and Kym Taborn




(kyotey)

The last time I asked for anyone's autograph was almost 20 years ago. I just don't do things like that. The autographs were for two friends, so I was an outsider, coolly looking in.

After three hours of waiting about 100 feet away from LL, my heart started beating faster, and I got excited and nervous. Once in front of her, all remaining shreds of coolness disappeared. I couldn't have spoken to her if I could have remembered something to say.


Elisa Hissong (Gila!)

Lucy spoke to me. I was carrying a Xena script.

"What script is that?" she asked.

"Sins of the Past" I replied.

"Oh? Where did you get it?" she said.

"At the auction."

"Where?"

"At the auction." I was soooo weak; I couldn't tear my eyes away from hers.

"Oh! Well good for you!" she sang. I died and walked to the Elysian Fields, the quilt falling gently upon my shoulders. I still feel wrapped in its downy embrace.

I zombied over to Ted and Hudson's table. I told Ted that I have always liked Joxer, and he said thanks. He said he liked my hat (the Xena hat I had purchased earlier) and he signed my picture. Over to Hudson. Where Lucy's eyes were icy warm, Hudson's were EXACTLY what you saw in Callisto. Piercing, dark, soul searing. Her smile perfect and sincere. She stared into the very being of me and I am deeply in love - and afraid, very afraid.


Patricia L. Ennis (DAx =/\= Warrior Trill)

I was wearing a T-shirt I had made for myself and a few friends. The shirt has a drawing of Xena and Gabrielle in a passionate kiss. When the autograph session came, I whipped off a shirt (Let me tell you, it was odd, sitting there in just my bra under a letterman's jacket!)

I asked Lucy, "Will you sign something odd?"

She smiled. "I'll sign any d*mn thing you like!"

I laid the shirt down, kiss side up. Lucy laughed, signed it, and put a little x at the end (You know, like xxxoooxxx?).

Now, Hudson! Hoo boy! I laid the shirt in front of her. Once again, and incredibly wicked look, a raised eyebrow and she said "This is seeexxy."

She looked at it for a few minutes (During which time, Ted Raimi signed it, unasked, across another autograph Lucy had put at the bottom .)

Hudson looked at me and said "I never get in the pictures." An adorable little pout and she continued, "And I never get to kiss Lucy! I tried to lick her once but she leaned away."

I laughed myself silly! She then signed it on the other side of the picture (across from Lucy) and I went on my way.


Stacey Robillard (Stacey -- the XENA obsessed)

I was carrying the T-Shirt my friend made with the Xena and Gabrielle kiss. I placed it in front of Lucy.

"I hope this doesn't offend you, but this is how *I* view the show."

"Well then, you're gonna love what's coming up," Lucy said while scribbling a big signature on the shirt. "I just spent the past week filming in a hot tub with Renee, playing 'Where's the soap?'."

"Ohhhh...you're killin' me!"

Lucy flashes me that mega-watt smile and hands me the shirt.

"Thanks!"

"You're very welcome," Lucy said..


(Cathbad)

LUCY {smiling brightly}

CATHBAD: Hi, I'm Cathbad.

LUCY {vague look of recognition}

CATHBAD: Actually, I'm the number one poster on your Xena Forum right now .

LUCY {remembers the name - from where I don't know} Oooh! Thank you for coming! {scribble scribble - hands back my book}

CATHBAD: Thanks, Lucy -- for everything -- and I mean *everything.*

LUCY {no smile now, dead serious look} No - thank *you*.


Dyann Esparza (geekgrrl)

As for my autograph story? Not much of one about Lucy, except that I was and still am amazed that she made eye contact with every person that she signed an autograph for. Something about those wonderful eyes, and that smile.

On to the Hudson and Ted autograph line -- I had been incredibly charmed by Hudson during her appearance on stage during the Q & A session. I began to see why they had chosen her as Callisto, not in a negative way, but here was a woman who was as gracious and charming as Lucy herself in her own way.

So, back to standing in line and chatting with new people I had just met, I get up to the table and hand her the picture. She begins to sign it and I thank her for staying so long to sign autographs etc. and it must be a long day.

She starts to say "Oh, no, it's my pleasure." She looks up, with those beautiful Autumn eyes, and pauses and asks "Do I know you?" to which I replied, "Not that I'm aware of."

She cocks her head, still gazing at me fairly intently and says "Hmm. You look really familiar to me..." Then she smiled that dazzling smile and handed my photo back to me.


Michelle Frazier (MICKISIX)

I asked Lucy if she was going to learn the rest of "Deep in the Heart of Texas" so she could be an honorary Texan. She said she was already, had a plaque signed by (Governor) George Bush and all. (Some snide comment about George Bush, Jr stirred in my head and I refused to rise to it, it wasn't the time or the place).

I only answered, "That's great."


(platypu9)

I got in line to get a signature from Lucy herself. I chose a pic of Gabrielle hugging a soaking wet Xena sitting on the bank of the Ionian Lake (from MORTAL BELOVED (#16). She is stunning close-up, and all I can do to keep from freezing up is to concentrate on moving.

I did manage a weak "thank you".

Lucy beamed at me and said, "No, thank you."

Somehow I manage to stumble away.


Clayton J. Powers (lrdnlson)

Since I was way in the back I had to wait nearly an hour and a half to get an autograph, but I did finally get into line. I was taking deep breaths to keep from dying or weeping, but to no avail.

When I got to Lucy's table and handed her my beloved picture from UNCHAINED HEART (HTLJ, #13) all I could say was "Thank You!" in a strangled whisper.

She saw that I was terribly wound up and took a long second to look deeply into my eyes and say "No, thank you!"

I WAS GONNA DIE!! I walked away and at first totally forgot about Hudson and Ted. I walked over to Avicus (Xena editor Robert Field) and saw I couldn't put the picture back into its sleeve. I was vibrating like a turning fork. He snatched them from me and put them back. He put both arms on my shoulders and yelled, "Down Clayton!" I regained enough composure to go over and get Hudson's autograph.

I was at first scared to look at her eyes, but they weren't the dark brown "Black Pits of Callisto" but light brown and very inviting. I really relaxed. "Lady, you scared the bejesus out of me more than once!"

She smiled.

Ted was great. I told him to not let the criticism of the internetties get to him. I like Joxer!

"Sure!" Ted said. "I just beat the SH*T out of two of them in the back room before I came out!"


Melanie Buckner (MushGod/Hobbes)

I decided to make a set of nunchuks for both Lucy and Renee with their names engraved on them. (Nunchuks are a martial arts weapon. Two wooden handles are connected with a length of chain).

When I got to the autograph table, I handed the photograph I bought to the person at the table, and stepped in line until I was in front of Lucy. As she was signing, she looked up and smiled. I set the 'chuks down on the table next to her right hand with a small 'clunk' (The chains were noisy).

Lucy looked at them and then up at me.

"This is a very early birthday gift," I said.

Lucy raised her eyebrow, and shook her head quizzically. "You guys are crazy," she said.

'No, I didn't buy them, I made them for you,'

Lucy smiled, touched my hand for a second (my hand was still on the chuks to keep them from rolling on the table). "Thank you," she said.

She then had to look down to sign another autograph, but looked up a second later and smiled again for me as I took her picture.


Vicky (Bandit)

My friends and I waited for 2 1/2 hours for this. (Please note, I've NEVER done this before!) Lucy had made a comment about needing to leave soon to catch a bus.

When I reached the table and she was signing away, I told her "Thank you very much for staying!"

She looked up at me with those eyes and that smile. "No, thank YOU for staying."

My roommate was right behind me and told Lucy "Yea, we were getting kinda worried back there."

Lucy looked up at her with a perplexed smile. "About what? That I'd run out on you?"

We looked at each other, nodded and said "Yea".

Lucy replied with *that* smile and said, "Never!"

When my turn came around for Hudson's autograph, Hudson was all smiles. When she was signing, I asked if her hand was cramping yet.

She smiled. "Nooo, but I'm sitting here all woooing around" She swayed her head around with her hands up.

I told her it was probably the permanent markers they were using to sign their names.

She looked at me and then Ted with an "AH HA" look, and smiled. "You're probably right."


Saroj Selvan (Apollena)

When it was time for autographs, I being in the "no class" section (general admission without a seat) left to go have a business dinner, feeling extremely sorry for myself and my poor hubby (who would have to settle for a beautiful color 8x10 glossy instead of her autograph) as there was no way in Hades I'd ever get to her.

On returning to the bar after dinner I ran into a friend who had worked security that day at the con. She told me that Lucy, Ted and Hudson were still signing. Now once again that junior high track training came in handy as we sprinted up to our room to grab the photos and over to the auditorium. Lucy's line was still long so we went over to where Hudson and Ted were signing. I placed my photo in front of Hudson and thanked her for my being able to come to the con, explaining it was my husbands desire for me to get her and Lucy's autograph that got me here.

Hudson smiled a sly grin and slashed her autograph across the photo ... much like Callisto would have I'll bet.

Ted was a sweetie. I reiterated that he had many supporters and fans, both of himself and of Joxer. I told him most of the HerKuleans loved Joxer. He was surprised and happy to see my name tag again and up close. I mentioned that Bruce Campbell had talked about him.

Ted said it was nice cause they are good friends and I told him he should have heard what he said about him and Ted laughed out loud.

We headed over to the Lucy line. When I got to Lucy, I handed my photo to the Creations personnel. Speaking quickly, so as to get the sentence out before I was scooted along, I said, "Hi, I'm Apollena, Queen of the Amazons. You may have read some of my Xenaverse fan fiction while you were recuperating".

She glanced up with a smile but caught sight of my name tag, I LOVE JOXER. Lucy grabbed the name tag with one hand and my hand with her other. She pulled me across the table, saying something akin, "This is wonderful. This is great. He's so good, you know? Have you shown this to him? You must go over and have him sign this. This is really great."

Lucy signed it with a big x and gave me that dazzling smile.

I ran right back over to Ted and told him, showing him Lucy's signature, that she said he should sign it. He did, giggling as he scribbled.


Druth McClure (deemcee)

Lucy Lawless started signing autographs about 6:30. Around 9 my row was finally given instructions to stand and join the line moving to signing table. The line bosses warned us that there was a possibility that Lucy might be too tired to stay. (Oh no, my mind screamed: Please, please, Sign on, Xena!)

As the line moved along, I would get a flash of her mega-watt smile. As she autographed a picture for me, I thanked her for staying as long as she had.

She then thanked me.

If I was not a complete Nut-ball before, this gracious gesture by Miss Lawless would have convinced me.


Jacquie Propps (JACQRAT)

A little girl of about 5 and her dad were in front of me. I had been sitting next to this charming girl all afternoon and had the opportunity to get to know her and her dad -- a really nice guy/Gabfan, who saved my place in line. (I have trouble standing for any length of time.) I knew that this girl's absolute favorite character on the show is Xena.

Lucy took a lot of time with the girl, asking her name, what she wanted to be when she grew up. And the last thing Lucy told the girl?

"Remember," Lucy said. "You can be ANYTHING you want to be. REALLY! Anything at all."



...

Lawless at the autograph table
Photo courtesy of Catherine M. Wilson




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