CONVENTION DIARY - BURBANK, CA 01/10-13/97
By Saroj Selvan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Content © 1997 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 1997 held by Whoosh!
All events real and imagined are recollected through the fog and haze of a blissful, long and sleepless time, a time long ago, a time of myth and legend, when the ancient Gods were petty and cruel...or was that just the security guards? In any event, this account is no doubt riddled with inaccuracies and large gaps in both chronological and specific information due to a plethora of dead brain synapses brought on by lack of sleep, food and an over abundance of adrenaline, ale, caffeine and talking. Be kind in you assessment and be forgiving for my failures to be more accurate. Oh yeah, no Amazons or Hunters or other creative souls of various predilection were harmed in the writing of this diary, at least not on purpose. Thank you.
Excited, what? Me? I've been packed for four days, haven't been able to sleep for a week or more, yeah, I guess I was a little excited.
I awoke on this Friday morning to a dreadful sight, fog. All the flooding and rain had saturated the soil and the tule fog was in fine form. I could barely see off the porch. I thought screw little cat feet and the poet who wrote about it. I willed the fog to disperse, to no avail. Husband dearest, Vel, drove me to the airport, Sacramento InterGalactic (inside joke...it was Metro and they renamed it Sacramento International but it has no international flights nor immigration facilities, wishful hoping I suppose).
Poor Hubby fussed over me as I, in controlled panic, stood in line to check the bag. Those in front of me were being told their flights were canceled. Woe be the poor slob who tries to tell me MY flight is canceled. (I secretly imagined the painful kicks and punches I would deliver unto said bearer of bad news). AH, sigh of relief, my flight is delayed, there is hope yet! I finally got Vel to leave me in the capable hands of Hermes in a red cap, checked my bag and joined the milling throngs inside the terminal.
The bottom line was my flight was delayed just one hour and I arrived in Burbank without further glitches. I sat next to a most interesting lady on the plane, a worshiper of the Goddess and an artist of great talent. We talked and exchanged ideas and philosophies all the way which made the flight a speedy trip indeed.
I arrived at the hotel via the shuttle van and slipped into the registration area, straining to see who all the people in the lobby were, milling about excitedly. I recognized my Northern California cohorts, (I'll use netnicks to identify people) Marit (Drudd), Ceallach, Tyche and TaurusRat. I waved and hoped that the darling petite curly red haired person I blew a kiss to was Hebea. It was and she ran to the registration area to give me the promised hug. My first long awaited hug from a dear old friend on the occasion of our first meeting, ain't the net grand?
Zipping through check-in I join the group in the lobby, greeting many and forgive me for forgetting some: Becca, Riordon, Psam, Danae, Jan and some Xenites who were name-tag-less. More joined our group having just returned from Hollyweird with their treasured 8x10 glossies of the Big Guy. Let the drooling begin. MsMoo, Nuance~, Lady Pegasus, Gazelle, Lessa, Angelika, IRCMommy, Skeezix, Ephany and more (oh dear, where are the name tags when you need them?). Wow, then there was Lilac-erBabe (cohort and fellow Liar's Club Member) and the list Goddess her own self, Penthesilea, and what a beautiful woman she is, inside and out!
I got settled in my room with my roomie Marit and returned to the Lobby greeting more arrivees and making haste to the Bar. It was definitely time for a tall cold one. I am happy to announce they are now adding an Amazon Memorial Wing (to the Bar) in honor of our frequent and unrestrained use of said facility. It was a crowd of about 25 die hards that finally gathered with guests dropping in all night as well. We were a generally well behaved group, colorful and never audio challenged in the volume or content areas.
Sometime during this extended happy hour I was thrilled to put face to name and welcome some of our clever Hunters: Cathbad, Sal_Fan, Lord Nelson, and Kittle, all handsome and gallant. Hunter Luke and the lovely Robinsnest finally arrived as did Ciyeva and Vicki (bringing cookies and chocolates), Carriebaby, Tnemmocon, Cleavules, Calico, Just Tanya, Antares, Rapunzel, Sorsha, Thalia, LauraJ (our own Xena) and Kimba. There were others there too but this Amazon was in a blissful state of holding court, crown in place, and I need to review the movie to name everyone accurately. I truly wish my color printer cartridge had held out and I could have made name tags for everyone! All the people I met face to face at the Con were GREAT, even nicer and more fun than on the Forum and Lists.
We drank and ate and did some hard core hanging out until about 9 or 10 PM when Hebea or was it Ceallach, wanted to know if anyone wanted to go over to the Convention to see how they were setting it up. Hey sure, several of us said and off we went.
Photo courtesy of Apollena
In true Rock'n Roll style we barged in like we belonged there and sat up front while the guys from 'SWORDPLAY' did their run through, er, rehearsal I should say. We were treated to a lot of special showing off and antics and had a generally fun and flirtatious time, promising to cheer our swordsmen on the following day at their performance. We were quite impressed and some lucky (cute young thangs) amongst us were even privy to private swashbuckling lessons or so I heard. But too soon the swashes were buckled up and it was back to the Bar for those still able to keep their eyes open. I did try to bring HerK along to the bar but the guard said he'd have to shoot me if I didn't let go of him (okay it was only the life sized cardboard kiosk of HerK) so, promising to return for a close encounter with the real thing, I departed.
After sending all the sleepy Amazons to their rooms I returned to the bar and ran into Jean, an avowed lurker who knew who I was... (this came up a lot over the weekend... "Apollena? I know who you are!") and Mesmerized who had gotten in late from Springfield, Mo. We had a nice visit, at a new location at the Bar (not in the memorial wing) and were joined by Starseeker who had finally arrived from Denver after an 8 hour delay. I was thrilled to finally meet the eclectic Lady I had become good friends with over the last few months. You will come to know her name more in the next while. She is writing and producing a movie and I am to be her assistant. This was our first actual, as opposed to virtual, meeting and she had wonderful news to impart about the production. I guess I'll be pretty busy all summer! Ephany was kind enough to find and return to me my jacket that I had left in the lobby. I guess I wasn't dealing with a full deck at this point.
I finally made it back to my room, waking up my understanding roomie Marit and chatting in the dark until my voice gave out totally. My eyes had given up long ago.
We were up 3 1/2 hours later and I even got some reading done on the script before Marit and I headed out to have our continental breakfast meeting with Starseeker. Sal_Fan joined us briefly to chat about the movie as I sipped my coffee. I returned to my room to read more of the first draft and urged Starseeker to go work on the rest of it...Psam's psych profile said I was a "Field Marshall" personality type.... it may have some merit after all.
Of course I didn't stay long in my room, thinking I may be missing out on something, so I got dressed and went down to the Convention. I got in the side entrance, the guard recognized me from the night before and knew I meant business (yeah, right) and made my way to the Michael Hurst and Kevin Sorbo Fan Club Table. There standing tall and beautifully was someone I was hoping against hope to meet. I have been close friends with this lovely lady for over a year, working, laughing and crying together, and it was the first time I ever saw what she looked like, but I knew it was her. Olympiana, tall, black shinning hair and dazzling white smile, sparkling dark eyes. I tell you I cried when I finally got to hug her!
I helped her, Mary and Joy set up the easel with a new Kevin Sorbo picture on it guaranteed to draw crowds (the sexiest picture/poster of Kevin I have ever seen - just out of the shower in a white muscle undershirt looking you right in the eyes) and contributed my Kevin Sorbo Fan Club HerK Fest Scrapbook to the display table. I bought my official fan club T-Shirt (also a new photo, yummy) and visited for a bit. Olympiana had to leave for the MTV softball game so I walked with her over to the hotel. It was then that I gave her a few things for Kevin, to be hand delivered so we know he got them. The bag I handed Olympiana for Kevin contained the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Curriculum Studies from Deb. U, a hand made HerK doll with real woven pants made by me, a Kevin Sorbo Photo calendar by Marit and some chocolate chip cookies made by Ciyeva.
I took my T-shirt up to my room, checked messages and got my camera, duh, which I had forgotten in my crazed rush to get to the Convention. It was there in the lobby that I ran into the other List Goddess (Spikus we missed you!) attending the Con (and a very lovely one she is indeed!) SandiJ who was walking with Zobrion (one of my very first friends on chat way back when from undernet #Lawless). I was thrilled to meet them at last. SandiJ had some trouble getting out of Denver too and I was very happy she had made it! I think this is when I ran into Barbarella too, finally got that hug from her!
The rest of the morning is rather blurry, I do remember checking my room and getting a message from Trilani, looking for her name tag. I met her in the lobby and walked her over to the Convention. Then I went looking for Zepgirl who was outside standing in line, after rounding the furthest corner, having done enough walking already (and it was only noon) I finally just gave one of my authoritative amazon yells... "Is there anyone by the name of Zepgirl here?" and sure enough the yellow blouse and jeans attired blonde I had been told to look for came bounding out of the line (1/2 block down the farthest side of the Convention building) into my arms. Ah, to greet such dear Sisters so was really great! It was here that I first saw Lord Nelson and was so glad he had made it to the Convention all the way from NY state.
So we got into the Con and they were directed to get the pix for autographing, cause they were going fast, at least the Kevin Smith as Ares, that was most important for Zep, as Psam had nearly sold them out on her own. I didn't want to miss a thing and so went to lay claim to my Golden Circle seat...B-16. Great seat, Hebea was at the center aisle, then CarlD, then a guy who came to find out was an old school chum of Kevin Sorbo's, then me. Right behind me was Barbarella and Starseeker and JoBeth and well about 2,000 other people. I decided to make the most of this possibly once in a life time experience, and hearing some of the questions being asked, decided to get up and ask every speaker a question. (The only two I did not ask questions of were Lucy Lawless and Hudson Leick because I didn't want to take away precious time from their hard core fans.)
ROBERT TREBOR (Salmoneus)
Photo courtesy of Apollena
First up was the delightful and sweet, Robert Trebor "Salmoneus". He was disalarmingly open and generous with the crowd, telling us about the pleasures of working on the shows, with the stars and a bit of his own acting history. He was more youthful than he appears on the shows and seemed genuinely happy to be there and be part of the whole experience.
Photo courtesy of Catherine M.Wilson
We were asked to join the queue at the side of the stage to voice our questions. At some point I hope to be able to remember all that was said but as for now I'll relate what I remember. I do remember Robert sharing about a scene from CENTAUR MENTOR JOURNEY (HTLJ #36) when he and HerK are talking about their pasts and feelings, his best work and some of Kevin's too, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. It didn't move. His favorite episode was FIRE DOWN BELOW (HTLJ #22). The hot tub was NOT hot, far from it and he had to wear gloves cause his hands kept turning to prune skin, but he did finally get the girl in that one.
Photo courtesy of Catherine M. Wilson
He was very animated and thrilled when Sal_Fan introduced himself at the microphone before asking a question. Robert announced that very shortly he would have his own fan club and that we could sign up for more information when we got his autograph.
I asked and what he replied, albeit paraphrased galore:
Have you ever done stand up comedy? Do you or are you writing scripts for the shows?
I did stand up for a couple of years - 2, 3, 4. Do you remember Stiller and Meara? Nichols and May? It was like that. But you know it was tough, it was hard. These people don't want to hear the same jokes night after night and it's hard coming up with new material all the time. Writing scripts, screenplays? I have written up some ideas and they tell me that they are nice, good ideas, but they haven't used any of them (laugh).
He said that he was available to work for anybody, and mentioned an upcoming episode of HTLJ which deals with time travel to the French Revolutionary era. When asked about the Titus brothers and if he'd be in an episode with them again, he said he'd love to but hadn't seen a script yet. He also said he'd like to work with Cory Everson (Atalanta) again--well, who wouldn't? He promised he'd be available to sign autographs later and off he went to thunderous applause.
Next came the trivia contest and they stumped the Queen with a trick question. I've blocked it completely from my memory (LOL)... something about a stuffed owl. Tyche, Ceallach and a few others got to the final rounds, I didn't know the final winner.
ANIMATED FEATURE PROMOTION
We then got a sneak preview of the upcoming "Direct to Video" release of "Hercules and Xena" the animated feature. Though the animated film was not ready or available, we saw some of the drawings and some video of Lucy Lawless singing. We asked if Kevin was going to be singing too. The Lady giving the presentation didn't know if Kevin could sing, but thought that singing didn't quite fit the character. We, the crowd, disagreed rather forcefully and shouted out such illuminating statements as "YES HE CAN", "HE CAN PLAY THE GUITAR TOO", "WE WANT KEVIN". Note: we were screaming.
SPECIAL EFFECTS PRESENTATION
Next out were three talented magicians, Kevin Kutchaver, Kevin O'Neill and Doug Beswick of Flat Earth Productions, who presented video clips of their CGI contributions to the shows and gave an informative talk about how they go about it. The time was short but I found it interesting and loved seeing the Echidna model and another that I couldn't identify (maybe the Harpy from MORTAL BELOVED (#16).
Great fun came next with the Blooper reel. They were indeed hilarious, some of which you have seen on the Blooper TV show. I would have loved to have seen more. I know they have oodles and have an absolute blast on the set. Over and over I have heard different people who work on or have visited the set speak of the fun atmosphere on HTLJ, so you know they just have to have a ton of out takes.
This blooper tape is part of the Creation's HTLJ fan club packet. One of the highlights of the blooper reel for many of us Sorbonnes was a nice shot of, well Sorbo's buns. In an out take from HERCULES IN THE CIRCLE OF FIRE when Kevin jumps out of bed chasing after Deianeira, grabbing the coverlet to cover his bare backside as he runs out the door...his hands didn't connect with the fabric and he gropes masterfully for the draping fabric as it flaps in the breeze (the fabric) presenting a full view of his gluteus maximus, much to the delight of many in the audience. I foresee this blooper tape will be the main selling point for the HTLJ fan club.
BRUCE CAMPBELL (Autolycus)
Photo courtesy of Apollena
With a full somersault, Bruce Campbell made his entrance and the frolicking never stopped until he had completed signing every 'Auto'- graph several hours later. He was delightful, playful, handsome and bright. This guy was born to be in front of a crowd and played the audience with perfection and had us in fits of laughter. He began by telling us about how he thought the characters name was pronounced...with emphasis on the first two syllables: 'Auto' as in car, pause...'Lye' as in caustic materials - 'Cuss' as in swear. He continued to refer to and sign his 'auto'-graphs as Auto.
He was a laugh riot and was totally irreverent and treated everyone including the kids with the same acerbic wit. He was asked many times about his XWP work and particularly the scene where he was in bed, hiding the Ark of the Covenant with Xena on top of him. He had plenty to say about it, all funny. When pressed, Bruce said he payed them to have that scene with Lucy.
Other interesting bits of info...
His next XWP appearance will be in a dress.
When doing the stunt in ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (#17) he did not really hurt his chin as Xena pulled him down the stairs... "It's called acting! They padded the stairs with foam rubber and added the sound effects later!"
Someone asked if he was married. He quickly, hamming it up to the hilt, made to remove his wedding ring and stuck it in his pocket to the delight of the crowd.
Someone asked how much he got paid.. he answered (he used this answer a lot) "Go sit down!" Good naturedly of course and all in fun.
Small children kept asking if he was going to marry Xena. He answered he didn't think so.
When asked who was stronger Xena or Hercules, he said tongue in cheek, "HerK is a wimp!". Then went on to say what good friends he and Kevin Sorbo were.
He also talked about directing.. He liked bossing around the actors. "Kevin, I want you to do this, stand here, say this. Kevin would come in and say, I'm going to walk in and stand here and I'm saying it this way and what size lens are you using a 70 or 75. I only want a 75." Apparently he is not taken as seriously when he directs as he would like to be. It was all said in great fun and the point was that they have a pretty good time when he is involved in any way in the filming.
Here is what I asked Brucie:
I hear you have a deal with Disney to develop a prime time series for next fall (I got this info from Bruce himself from a bio for an article I wrote). Is there any word on what it will be?
(Laugh) Well, it was a show biz kinda deal. Naw, nothing happening on it so far.
AUTOGRAPHS - Robert Trebor & Bruce Campbell
Robert Trebor and Bruce Campbell signing autographs
Photo courtesy of Catherine M. Wilson
We then were herded, a row at a time, to the autograph table. I gave up my photos and said a quick thanks and hello to Robert Trebor. He graciously acknowledged me and I was goosed on to Bruce Campbell. I handed him the article I had written and reminded him of it. He grabbed it quick (we were told all 'gifts' had to go through Creation) tucking it under the table and promised to get back to me about it. He thanked me and I went back to my seat to await our next guest. When I got home from the Convention on Monday night, there in my In Box was a nice thank you from Bruce just like he promised.
Our boys from SWORDPLAY then put on their demonstration to the great glee of the audience. Tim Weske and the rest of the troop including Pat the Whip Lady, were great. I swear that whip and Tony's came within centimeters of the front row. Luckily I had watched them rehearse and knew when to duck (LOL). They gave an exciting and fast paced presentation and were rewarded with thunderous applause.
ROBERT TAPERT, Executive Producer
Rob Tapert was a surprise. I figured he was bright and personable, but he was also cute and very forthcoming about the creation and development of our favorite shows. Out of the mouths of babes... he was asked over and over again if he loved Lucy, was going to marry Lucy, etc. He finally laughingly asked, "Where are your parents?" and "Who told you to ask that?", what a good sport. He blushes pretty good too. He didn't however give an answer to those questions and proved to be a very good tap dancer of sorts, Of course Bruce Campbell was a tremendous help, chiming in every time an embarrassing question was asked, from his autograph station. He even bounded up on stage several times to emphasize his teasing. Robert Trebor too was brought into the conversation, when the question included something to do with his performance.
I enjoyed Rob's presentation/talk very much. When asked when or IF the 5 HerK movies would be available he answered in the positive that they have been available everywhere else, Europe, and England for a long time and they will be released this spring in the U.S. He received a very warm reception. I sure hope the Xenites were able to catch his presentation/talk. It was really interesting and packed with info (not much of which I can recall unfortunately). It was while I was standing in the queue to ask a question that Melite, another long time Amazon sister, introduced herself. I know I asked him a question but I sure can't recall what it was! I was already gearing up for Kevin and my concentration and focus we nowhere to be found.
The Charity Auction was next and to be honest us real die hard Kevin lusters, er, fans, found it very hard to concentrate on it. Two of our group, Lady Pegasus and Angelika were unknowingly bidding against each other on one of HerK's chamois shirts and got the bid up to over the $800.00 mark. Then a guy way in the back upped it over the $1,000 and we groaned as the beloved yellow shirt vest thingie slipped away from our grasp. Close but no cigar. I was just shifting in my seat hoping I'd behave and not dishonor my Amazon Sisters.
KEVIN SORBO (Hercules)
Photo courtesy of Apollena
So there I was, hyperventilating my brains out, and Kevin was introduced. He was easy going, joyful, friendly, unabashedly open and generous, covering every square inch of the stage so everyone could have a photo op and a clear look at him. He waved, smiled, blushed and laughed, taking in the pandemonium with as much awe as we emoted. He spoke for several minutes mentioning Michael Hurst and his very close friendship with him but anything else he said - well, don't ask my mind totally shut down. Fortunately some of my fellow Amazons have refreshed my memory. When he first came on stage he explained he had no idea what he was supposed to do or what he was going to be talking about. At that point several people showed their hotel keys. He said, "I have people showing me their hotel keys. What am I supposed to do?" (Laughing) He asked where everyone was from and who came the furthest.
I grabbed a Tic-Tac just in case from Barbarella and somehow came to stand in the queue to ask questions. I was the first in line!!! I have no recollection how I came to be there, but there I was. So finally Kevin looks over and says... "So I guess there are questions" and smiles at me.
Trying desperately to maintain my composure and equilibrium I said: "Hello Kevin, I'm Apollena, Queen of the Amazons" (whew, I thought I got that part out all right and he even seemed to understand what I said.
Kevin kind of did a jump and pointing his finger at me and grinning it up said, "I know you! I read your e-mails!!!"
At this point there was a burst of applause from my dear supportive Amazons. Then I said something along the lines of : "I wanted to thank you for the Christmas gift, the Golden Globe".
He smiled and was looking at all the howling Amazons. "You remember the Golden Globes?" I asked.
"Yes," he said laughingly (it's a long story about a rumor of a tattoo on his, er, well golden globe as in bottom. We on the forum had a long running thread about trying to kidnap him to verify if he indeed had one, go TTT). Then I said that I had a couple of things to ask.
He had to remind me to speak into the mike, I needed cement shoes to stand there I'm telling you.
I asked, "First, what scenes in HTLJ were the most difficult emotionally and physically for you to do?"
I only remember half his answer cause he was looking right at me with those baby blues and my mind was somewhere over the rainbow. He said the hardest scene emotionally was in THE OTHER SIDE (HTLJ #21) when he goes into the Elysian Fields and is reunited with his family. He said... "It was when I saw my family, thinking they were dead and I'd never see them again. I picked up my little daughter and well, it was the hardest emotionally." I'm sure he answered the other part to my question but like I said I was floating about 5 feet in the air about this time and my concentration was coming and going.
Then I did it. I decided that I wanted a hug. That all the Amazons who couldn't be here deserved a hug and that I should collect on all the hugs Kevin always sends, on his letters, gifts and autographs... So I asked. "Kevin," I said, "On behalf of all the forum Amazons who couldn't be here today..."
Kevin turned to the audience and asked, "Do you mean there are net forum Amazons here?" and the place exploded with shouts, cries and applause, Amazons bounced to the ceiling!
I started again as things quieted, "On behalf of all the Amazons who couldn't be here today, you know like Sandi/Rheana, I have been authorized to collect on all the hugs and kisses you have been sending us."
Apollena and Kevin Sorbo
Photo courtesy of Apollena
Well, Kevin got a huge grin and nodding his head he motioned with his hands to come up on the stage. He may have said "Oh all right" or something but to be honest I was concentrating on getting one foot in front of the other. (LOL) Apparently he did say come on up to me, thank goodness someone remembers these details! He took me into his arms and gave me a most wonderful, love filled hug. It was heaven and that's all I can say about it except he was tender and smelled fresh and clean.
I patted his back a bit and said, "Kevin you are a sweetheart" and he sighed in my ear. He is so sweet and he smiled back down to me (I'm 5'7" and he made me feel petite) as I thanked him. Then I turned and (thank goodness for the guy helping me off the stage) tripped back to my seat to the applause of the audience. When I got to my row Hebea turned in her seat and said something, I heard her voice but not the words, to let me pass and CarlD and Kevin's hometown friend said something like, you can just float over us cause you look like you're about 5' off the ground anyway. I managed to get to my seat and everyone was congratulating me for not fainting I think. It was a real dream come true.
Photo courtesy of Apollena
Some of the questions included are you married? He smiled and shuffled around and said, "Well, no, I'm still single."
How many girls have you kissed, asked by a youngster, caused him to walk to the far side of the stage shaking his head and trying to figure out how to answer this little guy. He turned and walked back towards him answering, "more than you"... and under his breath, .. about 4,832 (or something along those lines). He got a lot of laughs and the kid got a hug. Kevin gave each child (some were well over 30) a nice hug and some special attention. Taking all their questions seriously and trying to answer them honestly, not patronizingly.
He was also asked if he loved Xena. He really tried to separate his character from himself, explaining that Hercules and Xena were now just really good friends and that he and Lucy rarely see each other, both being so busy with their respective shows.
To be honest most of the people just wanted to tell Kevin how much they enjoyed the show and get a hug.
He even led a sing-a-long of "Happy Birthday" for one woman.
The questions were repetitive or inane for the most part. I noticed that this happened to Lucy Lawless as well. I was very appreciative for the few intelligent questions that were asked in both cases.
Photo courtesy of Apollena
AUTOGRAPHS - Kevin Sorbo
Somehow we got through the rest of the questions and answers and Kevin left the stage. He was going to sign autographs next, after a bit (he had an interview with ET backstage). Row A arose and the autographing began, row by row, golden circle reserved seating first. I felt so sorry for the general admission (that would be me tomorrow. Olympiana came and pulled me aside as they started to move my row into position, to tell me that we, the fan club, would have a few short minutes with Kevin when the autograph session was finished.
It is here I wish to make a most SINCERE APOLOGY. IF, and I know there were some, fan club members who did not get the word about this spare of the moment meeting, who were in the general admission seats or for what ever reason I was unable to get word to you that this meeting was taking place and you missed this opportunity, I MOST SINCERELY APOLOGIZE. I tried to pass the word along and have others do so too, but it was not security-wise safe (for Kevin) to make an announcement over the PA to the crowd. It may have started a mass panic, there were control problems enough for the security people as the time began running out and only 20 people at a time were allowed to go up for autographs. Kevin graciously (as did the other actors who signed at the Convention) stayed until every single person who wanted an autograph got one.
I had been busily trying to coordinate between Olympiana and the head of security how we, the fan club, would get back to where we were suppose to be with out causing a stampede or crush. We gathered the troops in the first few rows and waited what seemed like hours. We talked, joked and released our nervous steam by creating a new department of study for Deb. U. (and no it doesn't stand for Debutante and it rhymes with archery, kind of!). The Official HerK Hair Flipping Team, myself later voted as the captain (cause I'm the Queen and for no other reason as my hair was not the longest nor the curliest nor the shiniest), made several attempts at capturing the 'HerK Flip' on film ala the Access Hollywood shot of Kevin doing the same thing. He says on that segment "I'll show you the HerK Flip but then, of course, I'll have to kill you." I'm confident only MsMoo's video (done later at the Hoolie) will turn out, but that didn't stop us from doing it several times.
FAN CLUB MEETS WITH KEVIN SORBO
Finally we were shown back to the Vine Room, the 'Green Room/Waiting Room', and we milled about a bit wondering what would happen. Olympiana said there would be time to have our picture taken with Kevin and that was about it. He had stayed far longer than his itinerary allowed and we were very lucky to have Olympiana push for this. So the Field Marshall, yours truly, with her Queenly voice mustered the troops into formation (I got everyone to stand like a glee club or choir at different levels so everyone could be seen) then plopped myself on the floor in front and waited for Kevin. I took this opportunity to introduce Olympiana to everyone, in case they didn't know who she was and to thank her publicly for all the fan club members and fans of Kevin for doing so much and sharing so much with and for us all. Meantime, IRCMommy and JoBeth were trying out the different cameras to see which lens could get us all in the shot.
IN WALKS KEVIN! Again the Amazons made me proud to be in their number, they stood and cheered Kevin. They didn't rush him, grab for him or put him in any danger of bodily harm (which we totally could have done, there were about 50 of us;) He stood kind of shaking his head in disbelief and grinned, touched his hair and got a little red in the cheeks. He then asked this army of Amazons "Where do you want me?" and proceeded to climb into the middle of the bunch, spreading his arms out and touching, holding and reaching as many as possible. The Amazons reached to caress his hair, shoulders, anything that was him and they could get too. Gently and graciously he stood there and let them, all the while smiling nicely for the pictures and chatting it up to those lucky few who could still speak coherently. His comment during this time was a classic "Boy it's hot in here" or something like that.
Photo courtesy of Apollena
Then he stepped out of the crowd and walked up to the front and threw himself down on the floor right in front of me, his head right there in my lap. Olympiana jumped in on the other side and grabbed Kevin's leg and a great pose was made. Gazelle was right next to me a bit behind me and we were talking to Kevin and I couldn't help myself I had to stroke that silky hair. Unconsciously, I fondled his hair all the time we were talking and taking pictures, I don't remember it but apparently there are witnesses, with pictures.
Photo courtesy of Apollena
No one, including Kevin wanted the meeting to end. He graciously hugged some, accepted gifts from others and tried very much to make eye contact and connect with everyone there in that room, despite the rush he was getting from his 'people' (who were very kind really, they were just worried about other scheduled events he was obviously very late for by this time). He went out into the hall for one last photo op with the Creation people and a few more hugs. Then he was off. We spent a bit of time in the room, reminding each other that it really happened, then most left for Lady Pegasus' Hoolie in the Pasadena Room.
I went back to the fan club table and helped Mary, Joy, Tyche and Olympiana get things secured and to get a box of goodies ready to go back to the fan club headquarters. We got them loaded into the car and Olympiana came up to my room for a few precious minutes to talk and pick up several HTLJ promo posters that Stephanie (TaurusRat and brand new KSFC member) had generously donated to the fan club. We got to sit and chat for some time, finally, after working so hard over the last year on making the fan club a good one, a fan club worthy of Kevin. Too soon she had to leave, flying back home on the red eye. I am so happy she was able to get here and be the catalyst that made our meeting with Kevin possible.
I floated down to the Hoolie catching the last seconds of the KTLA interview with Kevin (anyone want to send me a copy?) and starving. Thank the gods there was some food left, I ate while MsMoo filmed.... how attractive, me chowing down like it's the last piece of teriyaki chicken on the planet. (LOL) Thank you so much Lady Pegasus and MsPooh for the fun party. I met the gallant Democratus and his young nephew Dwind'l though I didn't have the time to really visit much what with a renewed round of hair flipping and the honor of making an exciting announcement on behalf of Starseeker. I also got to talk with SueB/Susann on the phone. We must have woken her up but she listened to my crazed ramblings very politely.
I headed back to the Memorial Wing at the Bar for an ale, my whistle was dry and my voice was fading. Some of our favorite Xenites filtered through, Cathbad it was a pleasure meeting you!, CarlD please forgive me trampling over your feet all day at the con, but anyone between me and Kevin ... well I know you understand. Sal_Fan, I love you man, when you told Robert you WERE Sal_Fan you made his day! Penth I would have loved to have spent much more time with you and with Lilac and well the list is nearly endless. I remember having a beer with Ru Emerson and chatting into the night, making my way up to my room one very tired, happy, contented Amazon Queen.
Up at the crack of dawn again, to a dreary, rainy day. I made myself as presentable as possible and Marit and I went in search of caffeine. I can't remember much about the morning except I ended up in a booth with Starseeker, Marit, Lord Nelson and was it Lessa, Gazelle, Danae, Psam, Skeezix or MsMoo.. one of those ... I think??? The mind is a terrible thing to lose. Several cups of coffee later and I'm ready to face the sold out Xena day. I see so many Xenite friends, well all of them really, Athena, Lucia, Mystic Lady, MacGyver, Rudeboy, Dearcy, Heparin, Dark Muse, Quest, Xana, Kym, Paks, Gina and more. Tyldus and Maggie talking in the halls and Lucy and Renee fan club support team including Renee's lovely Mom, Mrs. Sandra Wilson.
Inside the auditorium there is nary a seat to be had. Starseeker and I 'faked it' sitting in unclaimed reserved seats and watch as our own Goddess Athena won the Xena Trivia contest. Kudos to you, the questions were tricky, they were tough, they were obscure and one was actually wrong! But the Goddess prevailed!
STEVEN SEARS & LIZ FRIEDMAN, Producers
Tyldus and Liz Friedman put on a delightful and informative talk about the writing and production of XWP and HTLJ. I got up to give my promised question.
I started off by saying my favorite episode of Xena is HOOVES AND HARLOTS (#10) and asked which theirs were and asked both which episode was the most difficult.
Tyldus made humble (cause he wrote H&H) and sincere and was so nice and personable everyone was entranced. Likewise Liz, she was wonderful and didn't flinch, well not much, even when Tyldus let her have it up the side of the head... okay he didn't really, it was an accident in the heat of a moment of expressive gesturing and he apologized sweetly!
I could have listened to them discuss plots, characters and the intricacies of putting these shows together for days. But way too soon their time was over.
ROBERT FIELD, Editor
Photo courtesy of Catherine M. Wilson
At that point I had to leave for meetings ( and finally had lunch) and missed the rest of the early talks, returning in time to catch the last bit of Avicus' presentation.
I slipped into the VIP section with Starseeker and sat next to Maggie Hickerson who was relieved that Hudson would be appearing and not her as previously scheduled. She is a delight and handles almost everything over at the Pacific Renaissance office. She was scheduled to speak in the preliminary program as "Writers Panel", she is Script Coordinator. Darn I'm sorry I missed Avicus' presentation!
The part I did catch was fascinating. Rob took the crowd through the multiple shots for the same scene, showing all the different angles, etc that went into making a complete scene of only a few minutes (RETURN OF CALLISTO (#29), when Callisto first sees Xena in the village). The crowd really enjoyed his presentation.
HUDSON LEICK (Callisto)
Hudson Leick was, well, floored by the initial response as she stepped onto the stage. She quickly recovered and was a delight to watch and hear. She was very naughty and nice, honest and direct. I was happy to see the crowd who just a few short months ago were bashing her and her shriek, turn and applaud her for the fine actress she is.
Next came the auction and the bidding was hot from the lowliest script to the grand finale, the Chakram. Unlike the HerK fans, these Xenites came with their check books or plastic in hand and by the end of the bidding those wallets were smoking! Scripts went for around $250 - $500, Cardboard Kiosk (full size standing figure) $500 (the bidding was so intense they gave the last two bidders each one rather than let it go any further) and the Chakram (with the promise of a photo op with the Warrior Princess herself) went for a cool $8,500.00. Sal_Fan, I was cheering for you bud!
TED RAIMI (Joxer)
Now I had been told that Ted Raimi was less than confident he would receive a warm welcome, having read posts on the forum and lists, but it took him one second to win over the audience. He peered from behind the curtain and promptly did a slap stick full face fall onto the stage floor, breaking the tension effectively and ready to present himself, Ted Raimi the actor who plays the character of Joxer. He was so entertaining and amusing. Of course, I'm biased as I've always loved Joxer and wore a name tag to prove it. Ted firstly explained that Joxer was a role he played and then gave some insight into why there is a Joxer. He chatted for a bit then took questions from the audience.
Many of the questions dealt with his work in SeaQuest and films. It was so nice to see him start to relax and enjoy himself. I got up to ask him a question but first held up my name tag (about 4"x 8" that had a pix of Joxer, my name and netnick and I LOVE JOXER) so he could see it and said that he had many fans on the net too though the disgruntled were more vocal. He walked across the stage to get a better look at it and I was rewarded with the sweetest grin! I asked if he had plans to work this summer, any projects in the works? He explained what he would be working on and thanked me for my support.
Next came the costume competition and our net forums were very well represented. Though the contest was not orchestrated very smoothly, Quest and Xana were fantastic in the most beautiful costumes. It was LauraJ and Kimba that won the whole enchilada, including a backstage audience with Lucy and pictures too! LauraJ (yes I was part of her pre-performance dressing team of sorts, well actually gave her a bit of a tip regarding, well the presentation of various assets) was approached all day for autographs, some believing she was actually Xena. Darrell/Kimba looked so much like Renee that Lucy remarked, when Kimba stepped up to the mike to ask her question, "I thought you couldn't make it?!" like she really was Renee!
The SWORDPLAY troop again took the stage and demonstrated their stuff. The crowd was pretty preoccupied with the upcoming guest and so were somewhat distracted, but the guys and Pat made all that clanging and clashing look real enough for those in front to duck again.
LUCY LAWLESS (Xena)
Photo courtesy of Catherine M. Wilson
Lucy came out and the auditorium went absolutely wild. She had fun and we loved it. She had us all repeating after her, Splendid and Excrement stand out in my mind. She was gregarious and totally candid and BEAUTIFUL. Her enthusiasm burst forth. She made a serious case for the support of Joxer. She answered wild and weird questions, sang "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts", threw an aerobee to the back row of the huge room, gave an answer in support of men "they are half of the population" and charmed everyone.
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 Ceallach who had worked security that day at the convention. She told Marit and I 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 convention, explaining it was my husbands desire for me to get her and Lucy's autograph that got me here. She smiled a sly grin and slashed her autograph across the photo ... much like Callisto would have I'll bet.
Ted was a sweetie and 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 had talked about him. He said it was nice cause they are good friends and I told him he should have heard what he said about him and he laughed out loud. I really enjoyed meeting him. Then we headed over to the Lucy line.
My short but meaningful relationship with the security guard paid off as we were allowed to enter the line for Lucy's autograph with less than 75 people left. I got to Lucy, handing my photo to the Creation 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, and grabbed it with one hand and my hand with her other and pulled me across the table saying something akin to this: "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" and she signed it with a big X! (Kiss) and gave me that dazzling smile. What a truly gracious Lady she is!
Now what would you do if Xena ordered you to do something? I ran right back over to Ted and told him, showing him Lucy's signature, that she said he should sign it and he did, giggling and laughing as he did. I was glad to see him really enjoying himself although they all looked completely tuckered out by then.
We left and returned to the, just guess.... Amazon Memorial Wing of the Bar. MsMoo was making her final shoot on the Convention video of Nuance~ singing her "Amazon Sunset" to the beat of many a cocktail table players. I hope you all get to hear this lovely song and Nuance~'s performance which was truly beautiful. We had already done the 'location shoot' up on the 3rd floor of the East tower where LauraJ(Xenaclone), Kimba(Gabrielleclone) and the Queen and her Amazons attack the unsuspecting MsMoo. Many tearful goodbyes were shared, hugs and promises that we would get back together, maybe this summer at the Super Fest in June in St. Louis. I can't remember anything else that happened but I did get to bed after 3, by this late date who needed sleep?
Well it was hard to say goodbye but we did after one last bar visit. (Where we had a continental breakfast) My plane was at noon so we made our way to the car, Ceallach, Marit and Tyche gave Skeezix, Hebea and I a ride to the airport on their way to Hollywood to buy up all the Kevin photos. . . okay so Ceallach bought the Michael Hurst ones up too;) We were running late so I hugged Skeezix and Hebea good bye. Tears, promises and genuine affection was exchanged and I walked alone to my gate and flew home without complication.
Again I apologize for leaving out names, activities and other stuff. I didn't know how much I'd forgotten already or how much never got to my storage area, until I began to write this report. I hope it helps some of you who were unable to attend to get a feeling for our Convention Experience, our close encounters and the fabulous time that was had.