A Part Of Creation (01-02)
$13,000, Is That Your Final Offer? (03-05)
First Contact With the Stars (06-08)
Singing Sweet Nothings in My Ear (09)
Cupid Paradox (10)
My Final Close Encounter (11-13)
Not A Goodbye, But A 'Cya Later Mate' (14)
A Part of Creation
Fans not only attend conventions, they volunteer to work at them as well
(photo by Lida Verner)
 I have been working with Creation Entertainment as a volunteer for almost two years. It all started at the Cherry Hill Convention in 1999. It was the first Charity Breakfast and the first time I met Anita Ellis. We offered to help her with the breakfast and that immediately earned her trust. Since then, I have worked 11 of the 13 breakfasts and Anita has become a good friend of mine. Several Xenaversity members were later introduced to Anita and have helped during the breakfasts. I was never able to offer Anita's charity money, but I did create three charity breakfast music videos for her to show.  While working these breakfasts, I got to know several of the Creation staff as well, Gary Berman, Adam Malin, Lori Malin, Tina Giangiacomo, and Dr. Ben. I started earning their trust and enlisted other Xenaversity members to do volunteer work for them. Another of our Xenaversity members, Matt Savelkoul, was already known by Gary and Adam through the music videos that he allowed Creation to use. I later started to make music videos for Creation too, tribute videos for stars such as Adrienne Wilkinson, Gregory Lee, Tsianina Joelson, Meg Foster, Paris Jefferson, Allison Wall, and Karl Urban. Creation always showed their appreciation of our hard work, and their trust in me by allowing me to help at their biggest Xena con to date, the Pasadena 'Big Farewell" Con.
$13,000, Is That Your Final Offer?
The Xenaversity Banner
(photo by Lida Verner)
 The Xenaversity had a good reputation with Creation, so when we asked them for their help with auctioning our Xenaversity Banner, they were more than willing to do so. Over the past several years, we had been collecting signatures of Xena stars on a huge purple sheet with a chakram painted on it. We had over 30 signatures on the banner when we then set it up to go to New Zealand! Our hopes were that the cast and crew would sign it during the filming of their last episodes. The banner came back home to Minnesota and it had 186 signatures, from practically every crewmember on the set, as well as Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. We had set up this through Creation and Renaissance Pictures and had sent a letter explaining that the proceeds from this banner auction would go towards child abuse prevention in Minnesota. They were more than willing to help. While in Pasadena, the banner acquired five more signatures: Karl Urban, Katherine Fugate, Missy Good, Tsianina Joelson, and Darien Takle.  Gary Berman auctioned the banner live on Sunday. Xenaversity members including myself were on stage holding the banner as he fueled the bidding war that started for the banner. Eight thousand, ten thousand, the final bid that won was $13,000. My eyes were completely watered up and I was so happy. I could not believe the money we raised and it made me feel good inside. We cannot thank Creation, and the buyer of the banner enough.  The weekend set records in many different ways. Creation raised over $100,000 for charity that went to the Starship Foundation. They also raised thousands of dollars for the James Ellis Foundation as well. Dawn McDermott also raised thousands of dollars through her T-shirt and crossword puzzle projects. As Lucy Lawless said on stage, it is amazing the "Force of Good" that the fans have become.
First Contact With the Stars
Darian Takle won over many new fans
(photo by Lida Verner)
 One of the coolest experiences you can have is being 'first contact' with a celebrity who has never been at a convention before. One thing I learned about these stars is that they do not think they are above us. They are like a child in a candy store, acting like we would in their shoes and appreciating every fan they meet. Adrienne Wilkinson, Meg Foster, Ebonie Smith, Gregory Lee, Vicky Pratt, and Paris Jefferson are other stars who I was lucky enough to help through their first con jitters and I am still in contact with most of them. In addition, all of those same stars are VERY appreciative of their fan base, which have supported them in their ventures after Xena. Several of them had met my son Cory as well and wrote letters for him for me to bring back.  There was definitely one special lady I met for the first time in Pasadena that I will not soon forget, Darien Takle. I met her on Thursday night while she rehearsed for the cabaret. She was extremely nervous and did not know what to expect from being at a convention. She said she had called up Michael Hurst before she left and asked what to expect. He said that the fans are very loveable and they will make you feel right at home. That is exactly what happened.  She said she could not believe the gratitude and appreciation of her fans compared to New Zealanders. They just remain so quiet about how they feel, but not the fans in Pasadena! Her adrenaline was pumping as she signed FOR HOURS on Sunday after having performed the cabaret on Friday and the charity breakfast on Sunday. She was tired in the end, but still loved it. She kept hinting that she would love to return. I am sure we will be seeing more of her.
Singing Sweet Nothings in My Ear
Ebonie Smith was a favorite of the cabaret
 I stood backstage on Friday night as Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell performed their comedy act. Immediately afterwards, Bruce and Ted left and Ebonie Smith ran up to me. "James, I need a favor." Here I thought she needed me to grab her something to drink or get her a coat, but she said that she wanted me to come on stage with her! I thought it a joke initially, but she looked at me with pouty brown eyes and said that Ted was supposed to sit on stage while she sang to him, but he left, so now I was the next candidate. I was nervous as h*ll, but I agreed. She said she would call me on stage. She went on stage and requested the assistance of a 'certain' blond guy with wings. I went on stage and sat in the chair as she sang "You'd Be Surprised." I could not wipe the sheepish grin off my face the entire time. Although it was initially embarrassing, I got over it, and was very happy and honored that she had asked.
Karl Urban, a wild and crazy guy, flanked by Deb Abbott and Mr. Jamester
(photo by Deborah Abbott)
 I had met Karl Urban in New York last February, a meeting of the Cupids as I wore my costume for the last time and put it into retirement. We had hung out that weekend and had a lot of fun. I met up with him at the cabaret rehearsal on Thursday and he gave me a hug. Long black hair and bare feet were not what I expected, but got used too the rest of the weekend. It was nice to be remembered. I did not want him to think I was a crazed Cupid fan because he had seen me in the winged outfit. However, he was glad to see a familiar face and went on to rehearse his songs. I sat with him while he autographed and we had a fun time laughing and making jokes. Later that weekend, I went to the Sheraton bar and there he was, drinking with my friends KimmieKat and Deb. He invited me over and we drank for the rest of the night. Those Kiwis can hold their liquor. Karl was not as shy and quiet as I had heard he was. It will be nice to see him again, too.
My Final Close Encounter
Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, the final act
(photo by Lida Verner)
 There I was, standing mere feet away from Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. I was very calm as I contemplated approaching either of the two stars after they had just finished their two-hour stage appearance with Sharon Delaney. Amongst the people roaming the backstage area were Claire Stansfield, Tsianina Joelson, Ebonie Smith, Alex Tydings, Darien Takle, Ted Raimi, R.J. Stewart, and Rob Tapert. Lucy and Renee were saying hi to a couple children who were allowed access back to see them. I did not want to act like a crazed fanatic, so I waited for the right moment to approach either of them. Renee had backed away from Lucy and was standing alone so I took my chance. I approached her slowly and got her attention."Renee?" She turned to me with a smile. Renee turned back to Lucy who was now stepping away from the kid she was talking to. Rob Tapert put his hand around her shoulders and they all started to leave.  Although I did not get to say thanks to Lucy Lawless, it was nice to have had the chance to say it to Renee O'Connor. She seemed genuinely touched.
"My name is Mr. Jamester and I am part of the Xenaversity of Minnesota fan club. Do you remember this?" I had a clipboard in my possession with a 8 1/2 x 11 photograph of the Xenaversity Banner we had just auctioned off. She looked at it and smiled.
"Yes, I do!" I smiled back at the positive reaction.
"I just wanted to say thank you. The banner auctioned off for $13,000 and it is going toward child abuse prevention charities back in Minnesota."
"That is great. I think it is wonderful what you guys did."
"I just wanted to thank you personally. Have a good day."
Not A Goodbye, But A 'Cya Later Mate'
'Cya Later Mates
(photo by Lida Verner)
 This was by far one of the greatest cons ever. I really worked hard during most of it and missed most of the stars on stage, but made up for it in bounds through the banner auction, the onstage serenade, and seeing Lucy and Renee for the first time. The Triple XXX Revue was something that will go down in history. Claire Stansfield and Alex Tydings really hit the nail on the head with that idea. I thought this weekend would be very emotional and sad, but at the end, I was very content. I knew I would see most of these stars at future cons and/or on screen projects, and I knew that Lucy and Renee would now take a much-deserved break and raise their families. It was so good to see fans and stars alike and I do not think I will be cutting back on the con circuit any time soon.
Mr. Jamester (member of Xenaversity of MN - http://www.xenaversity.com) I am a 31 year old fan of one of the best television shows ever. Because of this show, my life will never be the same. I have made friends for life, done memorable and remarkable things I never thought I'd do and expressed myself in ways that not only are fun for myself but for others as well. Xena will always live in through me, my son, my friends, and especially the Xenaversity
Favorite episode: DAY IN THE LIFE; BETWEEN THE LINES
Favorite line: Callisto: "Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone, blood of my blood, can't wait to see all of that" MATERNAL INSTINCT
First episode seen: GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN
Least favorite episode: The ones there were rumors about but were never shown