Whoosh! Issue 57 - June 2001
Letters to the Editor

Page Three

Convention Memories

From: Sulli
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001
Subject: Pasadena Con 2001

My thoughts etc. on the Pasadena Con:

I'll start with the critical:

While it was wonderful to see all my favorites up on that stage one last time I felt that it was a rip off for anyone beyond 50 - rows. You would think that with as many conventions that Creation puts on that they could get it right. They failed miserably in Pasadena as they have with other Xena conventions.

I decided to go to Pasadena only a couple of weeks before the con, so I decided that I would just pay for the general admission tickets instead of the last few rows of Preferred. I went to pre-registration on Friday night and they had the room open so that people could locate their seats beforehand. When I saw the layout of the room, the sound system and the fact that they didn't even have video screens so those in that back of the room(GA) could see, I immediately put out the word that I was looking for preferred seating. I might as have been watching and listening from Atlanta (Ok... that's a stretch..LOL) I had luck and ended up spending MORE money on preferred and sat in row R (18th row). I could still barely hear with audience noise and all. I felt sorry for those poor souls that were in the back, you know the ones, they kept screaming that they couldn't hear...especially when Lucy and Renee were onstage. The ones that were yelling out for the camera man to put the camera on the one who was talking at the time.

As someone who does this type of work for a living, I can say that overall production stunk. Creation needs to find a fulltime production manager to advance their convention dates for them because they have no idea what they are doing ...but they wont do that because it costs them money. So, we the fans in turn, suffer for it.

And it all comes down to the mighty buck...of which they made a fortune in Pasadena.

On to the highlight for me:

Of course the highlight of the con was seeing Lucy and Renee up on that stage together. They were wonderful. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Renee start singing "Last Dance". For someone who admittedly says that they cant sing, Renee did a fine job. Gods, that took some guts. Kudos to her for even attempting such a feat. Then with entrance of Lucy...wow amazing. I was floored to say the least. It was a grand moment of which I will never forget. Over the almost two hour period of time they poured their hearts out to us. Left me in tears and speechless by the end.

I hope they came out of the con experience knowing that they are loved...really loved. I know that I will never forget them.

Atlanta, GA

From: Trish
Subject: Convention
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001

Who boy.

I could go into a long protracted story about lost luggage and such. I could go on about damned Murphy's Law that decided the battery I'd just put in two weeks previous went belly up 25 minutes into the LL/ROC segment. I could even go on about the poster that Sue bought for all the pups to sign and the fact that it went missing. Or how about the super shuttle driver from hell who only knew one speed: super sonic Guess he figured it was a 'space shuttle'. I swear we kissed a couple of guard rail/sound wall thangs more than once!

But I won't. Horrah!

What I will say was here I am this grown woman...hell, I have two teenagers in the house...no brain, but that's beside the point...and as the cast took the stage right after the last note was sung I sat there, tears streaming down my face, at a total loss, emotion wise. I expect it's akin to watching IOM. At least for me. Heart wrenching.

I thought to myself, nothing will be the same. While cons might go on, this magic won't come this way again. Oh, to be in the right place at the right time and have things click like they have these past six years. Okay, so there were bumps in the road...makes the destination that much sweeter, I suppose. Ah, but the ride!

I felt momentarily foolish as I walked up the aisles in search of Sue, wanting and needing that one place I could find solace...her arms. She would understand, she would see the truth of my pain and we'd be fine. And then I thought, why the hell should I be ashamed for feeling emotions? Does it make me a wuss? A cry baby? Well, I suppose it does. Do I care?


I blame the lack of Sambuca! I blame the lack of sleep! I even blame...well...EVERYONE! Why couldn't you all have just broke down like me, acknowledged the pain of the situation and just let it roll over you?

But no....you had to just sigh deeply and use words instead of an emotional by product.

NOT FAIR, says I.

Life without filters is a crazy existence, trust me. Oh, and Di? Hope I didn't scare ya too much. You and Po can rip up those Bellevue commitment papers, k?

Sue asked me what my favorite part of the con was. I thought it must be LL/Roc, but no. I guessed again, thinking it must be the wild air of unpredictability when it comes to Claire, Hudson and Alexandra, but no. Surely it must be meeting so many online friends in real life. That has to be it! But no. It was everything and nothing you could put your finger on. It was a slice of life that had a shelf life...best consumed before a certain date: yesterday. It had its highs, lows and in betweens. It was filled with laughter, shock, amazement, happiness and yes, sorrow.

My favorite part? I guess was that I was wishing my kids could have been with me to share the moment, introduce them to some of the most amazing and talented people I know, and the most loving, and tell them how important you pups are to me. Someone asked me if I knew my kids had over 2,000 'aunts' and 'uncles'.

THAT connection. THAT moment when I wondered if Lucy/Roc knew just how much of an impact they've had on our lives and then realizing it doesn't matter - we've been changed, like it or not.

Favorite moments: seeing Merpups everywhere we went; sharing the love in two friend's eyes, their joining a happening on Friday night - brought together by XWP; hearing Lucy sing with Renee; seeing Debb Abbot crawl in chains; meeting a best friend for the first time and realizing the past four years were real and true and so very special; having a total stranger hold my arm and tell me that my tears were hers too; talking with Lunacy; seeing CJ's face after sipping my Sambuca; being in the same room with a kazillion bards; watching Claire and Alex kissing; having fanfic publicly acknowledged; hearing Miss Ellie and her guitar; meeting Ro, TS, and glimpsing Xenamour (you were hiding!); watching my Sue hugging Missy; sitting for hours with Alias and Meleager, feeling like a family; watching my friend Judith's gleeful face during the auction and she plunked down another huge amount; taking a few quite moments to talk to Sharon D; having a few unanswered questions dealt with by Steve; and finally, knowing that even though the con is over and a sense of depression was setting in, I had friends to share it all.

There isn't one moment I would change about the interview, if push came to shove.

Lucy was chewing on a fingernail. She hunched her shoulders at one point and looked very sheepish. I think it was when Sharon asked her if she'd picked up that guy from QAF. We saw Renee pondering that big camera and whether she should go for the tennis ball mounted on it. We got to hear Renee say that her character's feelings were very maternal at the start and then watched as Lucy stalked over and held up four finger..."I'm FOUR years older than you!" We heard them sing together! We saw them looking very relaxed together, hugging, smiling at each other...gods. We saw Renee five months pregnant and looking so darned cute! We saw Lucy fiddling with the zippered pockets in her plaid pants; pout her mouth at the comment about her boobs; make faces at the audience. We saw her a million miles away, pondering the contents of her imaginary navel, for all we know, zoning nicely in front of total strangers....and lots of 'em! Was she thinking about where she'd be when Renee had her baby? Or how about her own son? She didn't talk about him nor did Sharon. That seems significant. She's been out of the harness for a little while and gets to actually have a private life in chunks larger than small increments. We had a chance to hear her voice...after hearing how badly doing Xena's voice was affecting her vocal chords...and still take pleasure in its tone and vibrancy. We heard her talk about how much money was raised by Sword and Staff and the ongoing convention auctions with pride. We heard Renee say that her character had fallen in love with Xena. Renee seemed a bit self conscious about her pregnancy when she first came out but she warmed up quickly. Her voice was a joy. Neither woman seemed to be overwhelmed to me. They both had a genuine friendship that was palpable.

There were some things during the convention that I could have done without: that bit with Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi...if I hadn't actually fallen asleep, I think I would have been embarrassed for the rest of the cast. I didn't particularly like the segment with Adrienne Wilkinson either.

Ted surprised the h*ll out of me. Who knew he had actual talent? I didn't. Not only can the man move a crowd but he can sing! Oh, and speak Italian. That was marvelous. I've come to associate the name with Joxer. And that's a mistake I won't make again - as Hudson rightly pointed out, this is my character and this is me...not the same.

And seeing Hudson, Claire, Alex, Tsianina, etc.? What about the fanfic reading, the kiss, the shameless antics of the first three actresses?

Do overs?

Nah. Not one minute.

IMO, the folks that are upset by the interview are because they were expecting Lucy to be Xena and Renee to be Gabrielle. As much as we'd like to say we 'know' both actresses, we can't. We can only know a small bit of who and what they are and even that has to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, who wants to go out there and strip themselves bare in every interview? You say and do what you can while keeping that part of you that is your own to yourself. I think they've done a great job at showing us bits of themselves over the years.

Yes, Renee is a private person and trust me, being pregnant is like a magnet to some people: they feel they can invade your personal space and put their hands on you or impose their knowledge, negating your own, so having 5,000 strangers all looking at you when are preggers with your first is more than a little daunting - it must have been quite nerve racking.

Lucy seemed to be taking a back seat while on stage because that truly is what she was doing, IMO. She hunched her shoulders, put her head down and looked to be trying to disappear. Let Renee have the spot light, the fun, the thrill of being the center of attention. From what I've heard of Renee's other con, she was overwhelmed. I think she's grown up since then and knows what to expect now. In fact, I was expecting some trepidation and wow, she delivered!

I don't think I'll ever wonder what Xena sees in Gabrielle any more. I mean, the character of Gabrielle has never really grabbed hold of me in such a way as to show me why the warrior would keep her around. Oh, aside from the usual risque comments I've heard and spouted myself, there had to be a reason Xena stuck around. Well, if what I saw on the stage is even a small part of who Gabrielle is, and it must be simply because they've been doing this for six damned years and some of Renee must have leaked into Gab and vice versa, then it makes perfect sense. Faltering with the lyrics of the song, looking so cute as she confessed that Gab's feelings for the warrior were maternal and being confronted by Lucy/Xena stating that there is only FOUR years difference between them!, watching Lucy playing with those damned zippered pockets, looking like she'd forgotten to put something in them, and that lovely part when she told Sharon that getting back into a routine with the kids and house and wifedom was really a chore: 'What, do those kids need to be feed again? And you want ME to do it?', and seeing how very relaxed both women were about their characters and themselves were things I'll never forget. They truly were just two best friends that happen to have done a tv show together...not the other way around.

I looked at Lucy up on the stage and just...ate her up. I kept thinking what an utter joy it would be to just sit and have coffee with the woman. My damned camera crapped out twenty-five minutes into the segment so I tried doubly hard to just memorize every moment. I also knew this was probably going to be the last big con...probably the last one either woman did, in truth. I've seen oodles of pictures and avi files and eps of Lucy being Xena and of Lucy being the on-screen actress, the one who poses for men's magazines, the one who does interviews...but to see her just being LUCY...what a gift. There she was with a pouty look on her face, kicking imaginary stuff with her Spider-Man boots, chewing a fingernail (and me saying loudly, 'stop that!' Don't mar those hands!), hands behind back, waving her fingers at the crowd, fiddling with her ear, rubbing her chin...all the things one would do if they weren't being observed...gods, I reveled in all of it.

Little things I noticed: Renee wore tight clothing! There she is in her first pregnancy and she's just so damned happy about it that she wants to show the world. When Renee first came out I thought, 'is that Meg Ryan!?' And the comment that Lucy made about subtext and her not wanting it to be reduced to just being 'a naughty joke' really hit me...call it an epiphany. Their love, in what ever way we want to view it, is so damned rich that it defies description and therefore can't be labelled.

Lucy said something about how important the show was for that segment of society that feels disenfranchised. It sounded to me as if she were acknowledging that love IS love, and that it doesn't matter how you see the relationship. It erases the need for labels completely. When Lucy says she doesn't want the relationship to be tainted by naughty jokes it was clear to me that she was saying love IS love, that's all. Don't label it, don't justify it, don't qualify it...it's beyond labelling. The love between X and G beyond sex? I can't see she'd ever say that, not about characters that have meant so much to each other over the years...everything they've shared, the emotions they've discovered in themselves and each other...the learning curve they've both undergone. No...I just see her as saying what X and G have IS love.

It took me half an hour into the interview before it registered that Lucy had a faux nose ring and then another bit before it sunk in that Lucy's breast size had shrunk. Me, the observant one, the person with sex always on my mind! Why? Because I wasn't seeing a Maxim picture, I wasn't watching an ep, or a tv guide shoot or stills from an interview. I was seeing Lucy the person. Did it matter what she looked like? She could have come out in some outrageous number with hair pink and looking hung over and I would have seen past it and just enjoyed who Lucy is. When I think of the many ways she shows how much she cares about the world and everything in it, it blows my mind. That she did this con is truly a gift.

So I'm easy...I feel privileged.

From: Sharan Eikelberger
Subject: Con reflections
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001

Of all the impressions (and there were many more than deserve to be listed here) there were first a couple of visible differences from other large gatherings I've attended. (This was the first fan/celebrity type event though for us)

First, my partner observed that the crowd was very quiet and orderly while in the convention areas and respectful of the lengthy lines that formed during pre-registration and for the first night's show. This was surprising when you consider the number of people present and that many of them had some pretty intense feeling about the show and the "stars". Despite the flat, narrow seating arrangements and the limitations of the technology for the large video screen, no one complained loudly or rebelled against the constraints that were imposed. In fact, they followed the instructions pretty quickly when directed to sit down and clear the aisles. It looked like the convention area was left pretty clean as well at the end of each day, considering there were relatively few waste containers.

The crowd was extremely emotional and reacted instantly either cheering the segments of the videos they enjoyed or applauding the celebrity's comments or actions. But, they seemed so intent that they immediately became silent waiting for what came next. I believe most were truly there to experience the entertainment and entertainers, especially their favorites which they supported with compliments and questions. It seemed their need to connect overcame any shyness or inhibitions, which was embarrassing at times, but that just means I still have a few unresolved issues perhaps. There was a little less control and a lot more noise when Renee and Lucy came out but still it was not overwhelming considering that the audience could not interact directly with them (too bad Sharon was in charge of the questioning) as they had the other actors.

Plus, the people that spoke up did not bring up any other issues or complaints and allowed the agenda to develop as scheduled. I was amazed to find it perhaps 95% lesbian, way higher than any Gay Pride parade I've ever attended. We know what we like ... and so do Alex and Claire. That XXX review was a generous act on their parts and I hope they benefit from giving us such a treat. Overall, it was really quite amazing.

We didn't fit the demographics (which is the way Missy put it) either but I was determined to see Lucy and Renee together so we braved the masses and took the two friends that introduced us to the show less than a year ago.

Hope this is useful input. Thanks for asking for our take on everything. By the way, I've really enjoyed your WHOOSH! website, especially for catching up on the past episodes. Too bad (way understated) you didn't get to MC the question session with Lucy and Renee. Maybe next time???

From: Bob & Gail Futoran
Subject: Convention
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001

they love the show!! no, not us, the fans. i'm talking about the actors. bruce may or may not have been joking when responding to the question of what's the best part you played: if this is the Xena con, the answer is auto.

is there any doubt claire loved playing alti, alex loved playing 'dite, hudson adored playing callisto, and so on for most of the other guest stars? is there any doubt they loved acting with lucy and renee'? not! to both questions. when lucy said it was "magic", she was speaking for just about everyone who appeared onstage. and that came across all weekend.

that all those talented, smart, accomplished, hard-working folk love the show and the two stars as much as we HCNBs do, made me proud yet again to call myself xenite.

Date: Thu, 17 May 2001
Subject: Con Issue
From: Antonia Villasenor

This was my first con ever any maybe last. I went-all three days- because I 1) I1m a huge fan and 2) I felt like I1d regret it if I didn1t go since the series is ending and 3) I rarely do 3silly things and this felt totally silly and fun.

I was glad I had a friend-a Xena buddy-to go with and share the silliness with. We planned for months and bought three-day passes. So come the con weekend I took the day off of work and we showed up Friday afternoon strolled around checked out all the photos and booths. The merchandise right outside of the main hall especially jazzed me. When I saw the replica sword, chakram, sais and staff up close, well, I had this physical reaction that I didn1t expect. The silliness dissolved away and I wanted to touch them, to connect with the story no-the myth.

The series has become a myth, a shared telling of a culture1s traditions and values. It1s way beyond a cool story with cute ass kicking chicks. Xena and Gabrielle have graduated from heroines to become archetypes. They embody ideals, values that some of us fans have come to connect deeply with. Their courage, action, strength, love and transformation and fun are aspects we resonate to. And of course they1re very cool.

My friend and I walked into the large room and found some empty seats up ahead in the reserved seats and we sat and enjoyed watching Hudson Leick talk about the show. The vibe was felt totally girl positive. I turned around and sitting behind us I recognized and got to meet one of my favorite fanfic authors SX Meagher, another connection to the Xenaverse. Aside from seeing Lucy and Renee I had the most fun watching the episodes and video clips together. The shared reactions, cheers, yelps laughter, jeers transformed the room. In the 19801s I went to a women1s music festival and this was as close to that energy as I1ve ever been in, just a couple of thousand of women hanging out having a good time. I imagined us as a reincarnated Amazon village, brought together a couple of thousand years later to commemorate, to celebrate our heroines. The two events shared this energy delight, a joining together, and a celebration.

Seeing Lucy Lawless and Renee O1Connor was absolutely electrifying. The room exploded when Renee O1Conner took the stage and as Lucy Lawless1 voice joined hers in singing Donna Summers "Last Dance" the audience went absolutely nuts. A large video screen above the stage projecting them didn1t do them justice. I kept craning my neck and looking through my binoculars-since I was sitting in the back section. When I spared a few seconds to look around the rest of the room were all sitting high, their backs stretched as straight as possible.

I've been to many large public events over the years and I1ve never seen people pay such intense attention as in this audience. And I was right there with everyone else. What surprised me the most was how much I felt when I saw Renee and Lucy. I was nothing less that thrilled. Again, I had the unexpected physical reaction the adrenaline of seeing them with my own eyes. Both of them were too cute for words. They were gracious and charming. Now, I know they1re actresses-playing-their-parts but on another level especially when they had flashes of expressions that Xena and Gabrielle had-I got goose bumps. There they were right there right in front of me! What I didn1t know was, I needed closure and got it. That was why I went after all - to commemorate a new myth.

From: EDeSchooley
Subject: Con Issue
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001

My feelings about the Xena Convention 2001: it was my first and last one I would ever attend. I knew I would spend some money if I wanted to buy some items, but having to buy the autographs, I thought this was OUTRAGEOUS! We are fans, we have supported these actors, and made them famous. The thrill of being a fan, is to be able to get rewarded by the person we admire, with a signature, a smile, maybe a handshake, eye contact, etc. Where is the excitement on buying a picture already signed? And the prices, $300 for LL and $200 for ROC, or $450 for both. Then $30 each for any of the other actors autograph, although I have to say that at the very least these actors were very gracious and gave us a great time in Pasadena. I did like Hudson, she was awesome, Claire was so sexy and exciting, Bruce was charming and Ted was funny, Alex was bubbly and Adrienne was friendly, Tim was a surprise to me playing the harmonica, and the rest of them were a thrill to watch. So much talent put together in one place, it was unforgettable.

Now, Lucy & Renee, they were GREAT! But I feel that they let us down, nobody could get close to them, nobody could ask a question, unless it was Ms. Delaney, since there was no interaction with us, their fans, I feel that there was no connection, no thrill involved, just watch and listen to them. Not enough! Are they afraid of getting personal? Or just became as snobbish as the Hollywood crowd. I hope this was not the reason, I still admire them and think them as the best TV female duo in a long time, and certainly wish them the best of everything in their lives, I know their incredible talents will put them on the very top of their professions, and THEY WILL BE IN MY HEART FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE!!

Date: Sun, 20 May 2001
From: Katherine Kelly
Subject: Convention

It was about love.

It was about love and valor and honor. It was about horrifying bitterness and soul-scourging journeys. It was about dying for love and living for hate. It was about nothing I'd ever seen before on television.. It was about my life magnified, intensified and dramatized. My life, only with a really good score, sound effects and neo-classic props. (Geeze, I'd love to have my own sound effects . and a sidekick. I'd REALLY like to have a sidekick.)

I started watching this silly show, because my brother was in love with Callisto. I tried to watch, really I did, but I never saw ANY kind of "rockin' feral blonde babe", so I gave up. And the guy in the blue vest really creeped me out. So did the toothless food vendor. Come to find out I had Sinbad and Hercules and Xena all mixed up. When I finally got my channels and times straight, the show was well into the second or third season. I caught "A Day in the Life" late at night, while practicing insomnia.

I was hooked.

My goodness, it was an amazing show. I saw reproduced and condensed, every moment of my summer days at camp. I saw two female actresses, in character, behave with an ease and economy of motion that reflected my relationship with my dearest friend. I was absolutely stunned. How on earth had they managed to do it? I watched a few more episodes. Fight scenes, tongue-in-cheek "homages" to spagetti westerns and Hong Kong cinema, amazing one-liners, catch phrases. Here was a television show which cried out for a drinking game! So my brother and I created one. Soon we were having Xena-watching parties. Then I noticed a web site address.

"What fun!" I thought "A web site!" I was a computer-neophyte. If my computer had been a banana seated Schwinn, I would have put straws on the spokes and streamers on the handlebars. Dressing it up with Xena sound-effects seemed just as logical.

Then I found the Forum.

"What fun!" I thought "A forum!" I thought I'd go peek in a few times, run some kinship charts, do a couple of interviews and "poof" I'd have my thesis all done. Then, I read some poetry. And some fan fiction. And "eavesdropped" on a few "thread-parties". In short order, it happened just like they warn you in Field Work 101, I became a part of the culture I was studying. And like so many nameless ethnographers, I threw away my tape recorder and joined the dancing circle.

And I've been dancing ever since. I grew up in the dancing circle. I learned how to be social and gracious. I learned how to stick up for my beliefs. I learned how to listen to others. I met people from all walks of life. Some with stories similar to my own, some living light-years away from me. I made friends. And enemies. I learned how to sing with the written word. I learned how to write. How to really write.

When I started watching the show, I was Gabrielle. I wanted more than anything to be able to do what Xena did. But I wanted to be able to do it with words. I wanted to be able to persuade and woo. I wanted to be able to slay my foes and lop off dragon's heads. I wanted to wield a punsword and parry with the masters. I wanted to make strong men cry with my romantic verse and incite strong women to feats of valor. I wanted to express every hope and fear I met. I wanted to write about the manifestation of inspiration. I wanted to write about love.

Hell, I wanted to understand love.

Every episode of the show, the whole journey, Lucy and Renee said, was about love. All of it was about love.

As Gabrielle journeyed through her own spiritual quest(s), as Xena journeyed through revenge and anger and fear and memories, I learned to love.

As I write this, my partner is watching "Many Happy Returns" for the fourth time, because she wants to write a review about it. Earlier tonight, we watched it together, and cried during the last scene.

We talked about this at the Con, my partner and our 'net friends. We talked about how much the show affected our lives, about how bizarre and slightly embarrassing it is to admit that you learned valuable life lessons from a Saturday afternoon action -adventure show. In the end though, I don't think it much matters whether Xena and Gabrielle taught me to tell the truth when I write, or to love with all of my being when given the chance. It only matters that I learned the lessons.

The rest is just sound effects and props.

From: Lori Crandall
Subject: Convention
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001

I wanted or rather needed to write you and thank you for your most accurate report of the Xena Con. I want to tell you a little about myself. I have lived through and in severe abuse in my life. There were times I thought I wasn't going to live it got so bad. When I saw Xena it was like a pillar of light embraced all my darkness and showed me a path out through empowerment and a love (through Xena and Gabrielle) that I had never before seen, but knew I wanted and craved. In many ways that show has sustained me. There were episodes I hated and thought were wicked and dark and I almost stopped watching, but I figured if Lucy could endure the crap and hell, so could I.

I have alot in common with Lucy, so she really grabbed me more than Renee, but I love her too.

Anyway, last summer was particularly difficult, and I saw this con coming up in May and so I bought tickets and thought about it everyday as a way to survive what was happening. I didn't have enough money for hotels there in Pasadena, so I slept in my car both nights in the car park. I didn't care too much as long as I could see with my own two eyes the woman who had touched my heart so much when it had been so destroyed. Who was this person that could take a totally animated heart and make it feel whole again? Very amazing and puzzling. I'm a pretty strong person, and for someone to actually validate my pain was astounding. No one had ever done that before.

Anyway, just like you I am totally looking forward to this thing. I drive from Boise Idaho to California alone not caring, a dream was about to come true. Yeah right.

I thought the whole thing was stupid, in bad taste and a totally let down. I had no desire to see all those actors/actresses (except Hudson and maybe Claire)go up on stage and sell their books, future projects and crap to me.

I wanted to see and hear what Xena meant to them. I was disappointed that the subtext was such a major issue. I have no problem with it, but it was Xena and Gabrielle's realness with each other and their friendship that inspired me. I wanted to see some seriousness and reality of what Xena had done for others. It was stupid to see Carl Urban with a hangover, and Ted Raimi apologizing for everyone thinking he was a stupid idiot as Joxer. Frankly, I liked him, but how would you feel getting up on stage knowing 3/4 of the people hate your guts. How demoralizing.

On to the prices. Good grief. I refuse to pay money for someone's signature. They are people just like you and me and they are probably embarrassed by what people had to sacrifice momentarily just to get someone's handwriting. I know it is important and special to see someone that has touched your life so much, but 450$? That is ridiculous. I spent 12 dollars and I couldn't have afforded anything else.

Vent, vent, vent,

About Lucy and Renee'. O.k. The tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. No, you weren't off when you said Lucy looked unhappy. Heck, she looked positively miserable. I couldn't understand why she was standing so far away from Renee'. Really if you didn't know who they were, you would have had no idea what they has just been through together. Personally, I think ever since Lucy married Rob, she has been so closed and afraid to touch anyone especially female for fear of his retaliation or something. I have seen her self-esteem suffer and she even said this has made her feel worse, as Renee' said the Xena thing has helped her grow up. Did you catch that? Dang, how hard is it to see that Lucy has been totally unhappy for a long time now and having rats dumped on your head, constantly crucified, never allowed to say how you really feel at home or in the media certainly takes its toll. Trust me, I know. It just makes me so fricken mad! Why doesn't someone step in and help her? Does she have to be another Marilyn Monroe before someone says, "hey, maybe we should have listened to her". Hmmmmm. I have just seen it for so long that it irks me to no end to see her up there hurting and no one giving a care except the fans who have watched her through all this and having no way whatsoever to help her. Yea, the money to help her foundation is nice, but as she has said, "that doesn't keep you warm at night". I have just lived through so much of it, I can see it so clearly. In season three when she was having her hardest time, I actually called Creation and talked to Sharon about her as I was worried about her. I got the Hollywood answer that all was well and don't worry about it. Whatever. I don't think Hollywood wants to care about people, they just care about the bottom line.

I was just very disappointed and I didn't even see traces of Xena and Gabrielle. I saw two people who were standing so far away from each other that it was uncomfortable. If Lucy did have a death threat against her then by God they better have had security there. I was a security officer at a maximum security prison and know all there is to know about security. Lucy should have felt comfortable out there on that stage because someone should have briefed her on where exactly every security officer was stationed, what weapon they had to defend her and then asked her if she felt comfortable to go on. I swear, if they would have told us anything of what was going on, not one of us would have begrudged her not even coming out. No one should have to look that scared and miserable on the day that was supposed to be the big bash. It really makes me so mad. She really is as are all of them puppets. Creation is a very poor company and should be ashamed of themselves. But maybe that is all of Hollywood. They forget that people are just that, people. And we wonder why actors turn to drugs, alcohol, sex and prison. Gads, people, wake up!!!!!

O.K. I feel better now. Thank you. I was just so disappointed. Everyone sacrificed so much to be there and there was really nothing Xena about it. The videos were nice, but that was about it. I will not be surprised if they kill off Xena again at the end. It would be par for the course. It is just so sad. Xena could have been so much better if the writers would have stayed focused and committed the entire run. It is just so sad.

From: John Mcclure
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001
Subject: How Many Angels

I was at Pasadena, on Sunday, May 6, 2001. And to shamelessly paraphrase, and rip off Shakespeare's Henry V:

"Many shall think themselves Accurs'd they were not Here,
"And hold their Personhoods Cheap,
"When Any speaks - that was at the Pasadena Con with Us,
"Upon the 6th of May - Saint Lucy's Day!"

Having thus deftly grabbed the intellectual high-ground, I will now present to you what I saw, felt and gorked in Pasadena that day.

I was absolutely impressed by the manner in which Lucy, Rob, Renee, and the whole crew of Renaissance extracted themselves from Xena and its fans Sunday afternoon. And they did it as gently as one's long-time lover does, when that person has found it imperative to the leave their intimate relationship with you - but still genuinely desires to remain your friend.

They all - but Lucy in particular - signaled that they want to live new lives, and go forward in many ways, and I love them for the grace with which they did so. Let me list some of the signals that I caught (in spite of the words I missed because of my cranky ears, a so-so sound system, and the fact that many of the words were spoken in Kiwi...).

They all - but she again in particular, showed a tender loving concern for the fans in a way that was very touching, but at the same time was cheerfully light, and not maudlin at all. Bottom line, I thought the whole appearance given by Lucy and Renee that afternoon was done with a rarely-seen classic style and grace (including their attention to the sub-text issue), and one that displayed the true characters of these two people who have paid their dues many times over, while they entertained us for the last six years.

Now before we proceed, I want to remind you that Lucy Lawless is not only a highly intelligent person, but she is also a woman with a wicked sharp sense of humor, and on top of it all, she has all the genetically-based tendencies for subtlety of a true Celt! Be ye warned, this can be very dangerous - to you non-Celtoids out there...

Having now done my duty, I will proceed (he says pompously) to offer some observations on their appearance at the Con - and on the replies both gals gave to my emailed query, "What Comes Next?" that Sharon Delaney asked of the two (with attribution, for some unknown reason).

1). Allowing no questions from the floor was obviously the best way to control the agenda for their last appearance, and to let Lucy and Renee get their message of loving devolvement across to all of us whackoids in the Xenaverse - without our whining interruptions.

2). Lucy wore clothing this time that was classic punk, even down to the colors of her plaid shorts, as well as the proper placement of the rips in her stockings and arm stockings (and as the nose ring, which I found about later). Please remember, this is the gal who wore funky clothes to the last convention she attended that included a very big artificial flower on her chest - a fact noted negatively by some WHOOSH commentators. Hello! This is a mommy with a lonesome daughter back home in Auckland, at the time 12 years old, named Daisy!! And at the Con Lucy attended before that one, she wore an outfit that I recall as being very close to the same color as a blue screen, before which she has done a lot of her work... I say again, Lucy is Irish, which should be sufficient warning to you that the things she does may not always be just what they seem. Speaking of which, did you note her crooked seams in the Maxim magazine spread? Intentional, or not? You figure...

3). In her rambling response to the question of "What's Next", Lucy said that she might let her hair revert to its natural color - light brown. Or cut it and change its color every two weeks... Sounds like a determination to do something different, dontcha' think?

4). She also brought up the possibility, and discussed the professional and personal pros and cons of, a sit-com. But then pretty much talked herself out of it there on stage, while leaving its potential dangling slowly in the wind...

5). And, while Renee, so beautifully proud of her five month-along mommy-tummy as well as her increasing cup size, stayed in one spot mostly and gleamed in blue and gold under the spotlights, Lucy danced and pranced in and out of the lighted areas on the stage, but mainly stayed away from under the spots (subconscious? maybe, but then again see above).

6). And when Rob and all of the others of the cast and crew who were back stage, came out to join Lucy and Renee when our applause was at its height there at the end, you saw a classic final curtain call. And it is a d*mn shame we didn't have a thousand bouquets of roses to offer up to them all, as they stood there smiling and taking our applause and tribute...

7). And Finally - NO, repeat NO Xena war cry this time! Get the picture gang? It's OVER!! Live with it and Cope already!!!

Xena is the major construct of Renaissance to date - but remember that this is show biz, and it is time for all of them to move on, because if one sits still for any time at all in the mantic arena they have chosen - one dies. Additionally, Renaissance and StudiosUSA have changed forever the economics of independently syndicated shows - for good or ill, by their fantastic success with HTLJ and then XWP.

Out of envy, as well as greed, the smarmy little MBAs who have no taste or sense of history, but who now run the entertainment conglomerates today, have created a plethora of 4th rate SciFi/Fantasy network or otherwise captive shows themselves (see "Beast Master", if you don't gag...). They have done this in order to use all their air time that otherwise would be available (at a higher cost) for independent syndications from people with the creativity of Rob and Sam, and the enthusiastic talent of Lucy and Renee and all of the other special bunch that supported them.

Therefore all of our good friends are doubly driven to move on, because even if they wanted to do a fabled "7th Season" for us, Rob and Sam couldn't sell it for a reasonable profit today, so they couldn't even find financing backers for the production in the first place. So if your disappointed passions make you want to hate someone because of no more XWP - try the network conglomerate managers first!

There is a second, and much more important factor at work here though. Our dear friends need to move onward and upward personally. Rob and Sam have so much more to give us with their beautifully warped worldview and ability to innovate. So, as much as I like watching chicks in leather and old goats in bathrobes being knocked down down under in New Zealand, I really want to see what these guys can come up with next.

Renee obviously now has a new mommy-gig which she gleefully welcomes - but her talent is also extraordinary, and she (easily having the capabilities to be a Super Mom, and now having a major backup in Steve) will want to use it again soon, in some new direction.

The same with all the rest of the larger-than-life people who played the major characters in the series - they were stretched to their limits by Rob's leadership and by Lucy's example, and now they are bigger people than before XWP, and so must also take their talents on toward their individual lodestars.

As to the future, what do I know? Nada! I think however, that a Xena movie would be the worst career choice Lucy could make, and I think also that it would be inordinately expensive, and impossible to do in the original genre because the old necessary XWP units - props, makeup, stunts, wranglers, cameras, costumes, and all those other wonderful assets that XWP had, have all been disbanded. But mainly, Lucy and Rob MUST move on beyond the leather chick. Otherwise (as I noted above) they die.

However an edition of DVDs does make a lot of sense, once Creation's stock of ep tapes has all been sold, since by this means they (and we) can keep the fan income flowing quite nicely, with residuals going to Lucy & Rob (I hope).

Now, Gentle Readers, let me tell you what I think is the Noble, Significant, and Necessary New Direction for The Xenaverse!

All the major religions in the world have either monastic or otherwise learned wise people(s) who have sat around in monasteries, lamaseries, temples, or mosques and schules, and debated endlessly the finer points of their revealed religions. And all of these religions started with a moment of magic, and then became established around a fixed body of knowledge.

Obviously, it is now time for we in the Xenaverse to don our monastic robes (for patterns, see any Greek market ep, before the usual attack - less bloodstains that way...) and to begin our eternal debated on the nuances and subtleties of the body of knowledge that has been granted unto us - yea even vouchsafed us unto!

This is because we all have had a moment of Magic, as Lucy said, that could have only have happened at the single time that it did. So now we have - something. You name it, I can't.

Anyway, I wait for Lucy to soar up into the Sky and begin gathering the Diamonds she deserves. And I really do want also to see if she can make me cry, in only 45 seconds...

But in the meanwhile, I announce with a grin, "Let our debates begin!"

"How many angels can dance on the head of Eve's diaper pin?"

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