CHAKRAM LOVE STORY:
AN $8,500 DREAM COME TRUE
By Diane Silver (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Content © 1997 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 1997 held by Whoosh!
All photos this page courtesy of Chris Clogston.
On Hercules day at the convention (Saturday, January 11, 1997), the hottest item in the charity auction, a Hercules shirt, went for $1,000. On Xena day (Sunday, January 12, 1997), the bidding on a chakram passed the $1,000 mark in about a minute.
During the first few moments of bidding, Chris Clogston, a protein biochemist with a healthy income from a California corporation, sat silently in the second row, listening to the bids quickly mount up. The auctioneer announced that the winning bidder would have her picture taken with Lucy Lawless. The bidding became even more intense.
The bidding quickly passed $2,000 and then $3,000. Clogston did not say a word. When the bidding passed $4,000, Clogston raised her hand. Soon only Clogston and one other woman, sitting about 20 rows behind her, were bidding.
"My friend sitting next to me said that she turned to me on two occasions and was about to tell me to 'let it go'," Clogston said. "But, she said that the look on my face told her that I was determined and willful. I don't remember it that way at all, I remember feeling fairly freaked."
In about 10 minutes, the other woman dropped out of the bidding and Clogston was the victorious owner of a real chakram and a few minutes backstage with Lawless.
From the moment she won the chakram, the experience took on a surreal quality, Clogston said.
"I mean people actually took pictures of me writing out the check," Clogston said. "Several people asked what I did for a living ... People took pictures of me and Sharon Delaney (of Creation) with the Chakram." After the check was written and the first pictures taken, Ms. Delaney "stashed me backstage" while photographers backstage took a series of photos with Lawless holding the chakram.
"Many people came by to say thank you for the donation," Clogston said. "Everybody was very nice. They were just excited that the chakram had raised so much money for charity."
Clogston described the crowded back stage atmosphere as "wild". Lawless was "extremely gracious."
Lucy and Chris
"She was really patient with everyone around her," Clogston said. "Everyone was asking for something. Everyone was making demands on her."
When it was time for a photographer to snap pictures of Lawless and Clogston, the two "tussled" with the chakram and then chatted.
"She joked, 'Guess you'll be taking out a second mortgage!'
"I joked about a college education now fading into the future. She said that it was wonderful that I could do this. She asked if I was local to Southern California and I said I was. She said everyone she had met that day was from out of town. We talked about the Chakram being the singular 'symbol' or 'icon' of the show, instantly recognizable."
Later, Clogston stood in the autograph line.
"When I got up to the table, I handed the Chakram to Sharon Delaney to pass on to Lucy, but she handed it back to me saying, 'No, you give it to her.' When I placed in front of Lucy, she said, 'You want me to SIGN this?'
"I replied, 'Of course, absolutely.' At that point, she signed, 'Lucy Lawless', and then said, "Chris, MUST have this personalized", and then she added the 'To Chris', and the 'XXX'.
"Her eyes are seriously BLUE. Was I a bit overwhelmed? Most definitely. Who wouldn't be?"
Clogston then walked across the auditorium to the table where Hudson Leick was signing autographs and asked her to sign the chakram. Leick added her signature directly opposite Lawless' on the other side of the rim.
"I asked her to sign it because Callisto is the only other one who can catch it and throw it," Clogston said.
The chakram is a metal prop used on the set of XENA, WARRIOR PRINCESS. Weighing almost one pound, this particular chakram was recently replaced on the set by a new chakram.
"Rob Tapert told me that he has 'a couple' of them and to be careful," Clogston said. "He said he once hit himself in the head with one. I promised to be good."
Clogston plans to have the chakram placed in a framed display box along with photographs of her and Lawless. Looking back on the auction, Clogston said that she's not certain why owning the chakram was so important to her.
"I'm not entirely sure my reasoning was rational. I had a very visceral reaction to Sharon Delaney's first posting on the NetForum that she had received a Chakram for the auction"
Clogston said she thought it was significant that most of the bidders for the chakram were women.
"The Chakram is female and the singular identifiable icon for Xena, instantly recognizable. I would not have been nearly so interested in Xena's sword(s), for instance."
"Why was I willing to go so high in the bidding? A combination of things -- first, that 'gut reaction' I had originally. But, I didn't think the bidding would go so high. The fact that the money was going to charity was a major motivation for me because if I was just buying it from a dealer, I would not have spent that much money. To put it bluntly, I also needed the tax deduction. I do normally donate to charities, but usually through planned giving throughout the year (primarily to AIDS charities)."
A total of about $12,000 was raised by the auctions on both the Hercules and Xena days. The money was sent to Pediatric AIDS and Futures for Children, Delaney said.