SATURDAY, MAY 5TH
 Before Sharon Delaney came on to start the day, they showed a video to "I Need A Hero" that was a mix of Xena, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl clips. They followed that with "Here and Now" which was a Hercules and Iolaus video. Then Sharon came on stage and introduced the video for Livia/Eve, "Walking on Broken Glass". This was followed by "It's My Life" that was a video for Virgil. Then she introduced Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee.
Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee
Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee in a small little picture
(photo by Lida Verner)
 Both came on stage and Greg hugged Adrienne and said "We really don't hate each other", and Adrienne agreed. The first question was for Greg about whether he would be on Dark Angel again. He said that the upcoming episode would have him on it as well as a few others. Then Adrienne was asked which she liked playing better, Livia or Eve. She said she enjoyed playing Livia, because she was a much more interesting character. She did say though that she enjoyed Eve cussing Michael Hurst out in YOU ARE THERE (125/613). She told us how the extras did not know that was going to happen and they were very surprised when she started in on Michael. Also, poor Michael had to do the fall repeatedly, but she said he was a great sport about it and seemed to be having a lot of fun.
 Greg related a story of his strangest encounter with a fan. He said he was walking down the street one day and someone came up to him and asked him if Lydecker was still after him. He told the fan yes, instead of trying to explain that it was just a TV show. He also said that being on Dark Angel was what kept him from coming back on Xena. He said he was not sure what ended up happening to Virgil but he thought it would have been great to have had an opportunity to explore that more.
 Adrienne was asked what was the hardest part about getting the role. She said that she did not know how to fight. However, she was a dancer and that helped her figure out what to do since the fights are choreographed like dances. Greg said that Renee O'Connor helped him to learn how to fight. He said she was great at it and helped him learn how to sell the hit.
 Greg said that originally he was not supposed to be Joxer's son. His character had a different name, but when he got to the set he found out that his name had been changed to Virgil and he was now Joxer's son. He also mentioned that WHO'S GURKHAN (116/604) was the most enjoyable episode for him since he did not have to worry about the tension with Eve and he could relax and have more fun with the character.
 Adrienne was asked about where she got the rage for Livia. She said the director just kept telling her to make it bigger. She does not have all that angst in her. She said that her mother called her after seeing the first episode and wanted to know if it was her fault that she had all that anger. She had to reassure her mother that there was nothing wrong. She commented that the entire time she was on Xena, she did not have to wear heels, which was quite enjoyable for her. She also related that she did not originally know she was cast as Xena's daughter. In fact, she thought she would not get the role when she went to the audition because she felt she looked too much like Lucy. As it turned out that was exactly what they were looking for.
 Greg was asked what he brought to the character. He felt that his contribution was Virgil's clear love of his father. He felt that was an important aspect of his character. He was originally only cast for two appearances, but they kept calling him up and bringing him back for more episodes. He also mentioned that Ted Raimi is very animated and it was easy to pick up his characteristics when he needed to include them in Virgil's character.
 Adrienne was asked if she had seen the show before she was cast. She said she had only seen bits and pieces, but when she was hired, they sent her three episodes to watch. The first was CALLISTO (22/122), then there was one that focused on Evil Xena, and the final one was the first episode they did with baby Eve [GOD FEARING CHILD (102/512)]. She said that she decided to play Livia like an angry teenager, although the character is actually 25 years old. She felt that that captured the sense of abandonment that Livia would have felt after growing up without a mother. She also mentioned that she did not get an explanation of Eve's birth.
 Adrienne commented that she and Renee O'Connor are the best of friends, but every time she turned around, Gabrielle was hitting her. She wondered if Gabrielle was jealous of Xena's attention to Eve. She commented that she would have liked to see the dynamic between Eve and Gabrielle explored more.
 Adrienne mentioned that they cut a lovely little scene between Eve and Virgil out of WHO'S GURKHAN (116/604). It was a scene where the two characters reconciled over the fact that Livia had killed Joxer, but they did not have time for it so it was cut from the episode. She reiterated that she loved playing Livia, and did not enjoy as much playing Eve because she was not as multi-faceted as Livia. It took them quite a while to get the right note for Eve and she seemed pretty one-dimensional most of the time.
 Greg tried to coax Adrienne to sing but she was not willing to do it. Adrienne commented that one of the things she had wanted to do on Xena was dance, since that was her background. She said that Renee O'Connor did not like to dance that much on screen and it seemed like all the time during the sixth season that she had to. Adrienne wished she had gotten a chance to do a bit of dancing.
 Greg commented that one of the biggest surprises for him in being involved with Xena and Dark Angel was the level of dedication among the fans. He said he loves doing the job but is just amazed at the reaction he gets from fans. Adrienne agreed and said that it takes adjusting to get used to the adoration. "We're not worthy," she said.
 When asked when he started acting, Greg said his mother claims he has been acting all his life, but he only started when he was 20. He also mentioned that he was from Virginia. Adrienne said she also started acting when she was 20. Greg was asked who represented him and he said STV Partners was his agency. He was also asked who his favorite Star Wars character was and replied it was Han Solo. He also admitted to having a tattoo, but would not show us where it was.
 Both actors commented on how beautiful it was working in New Zealand. The people are friendly and giving and there is so much to see. The county is stunning. Adrienne said she was inspired every day by getting to do all sorts of wonderful things and that everything was a great game.
 Adrienne was then asked to do her war scream. She admitted that she could never remember it and they always have to play it for her before she does it in the recording studio. She did give it a go though and did a pretty good job. The actors were asked if they were a fruit what would they be. They hemmed and hawed a bit and then Greg said he would be an apple. Adrienne said that there was not a good fruit to be because you could read anything into it. You might as well pick the horny fruits and get it over with.
 Finally, a fan gave Adrienne a teddy bear and then Greg and Adrienne hugged again. Adrienne said about Greg that "He's so cute and we like each other", and then they left the stage.
WHOOSH Panel Discussion
The WHOOSH Panel, left to right:
Philip Tracy, Beth Gaynor, deb7, Kym Taborn,
Katherine Fugate, Bret Rudnick, and Jeff Lundrigan
(photo by Carolyn Bremer)
 After that, I decided to go to the WHOOSH discussion on "Six Seasons of Xena: What Went Right and What Went Wrong", instead of staying for Tim Omundson. They had Jeff Lundrigan (ign.com Xena reviewer), Bret Rudnick (WHOOSH interviewer and Graphics Editor), Katherine Fugate (writer for WHEN FATES COLLIDE), Deb7 (fan reviewer), Beth Gaynor (Rate-A-Xena and Woolgatherings) and Philip Tracy (freelance journalist - LA Weekly and Village Voice) on the panel.
 Jeff talked about how the relationship, however you chose to define it, was the driving force behind the fascination with the series and that the Fifth season suffered because that was not as central to the story. Bret had done some analysis of ratings and shared that with us. It was interesting that Seasons 1 and 2 showed steady growth in viewership, there was a slight drop in Season 3, but Season 4 dropped further, and then Season 5 showed a marked drop in audience. Season 6 has shown an improvement as some fans returned to the show.
 Katherine talked about how she had not started out watching Xena, but her sister kept encouraging her to do so. She began to watch the show and was hooked. Then her grandmother developed cancer and she had to essentially drop everything and take care of her in her final days. She took a bunch of Xena videos with her and watching them helped her through the process when she did not feel like she could carry on as the strong caregiver that everyone expected her to be. Because of the contribution the show made to her life, she wanted to give something back and she decided she would write an episode of the show. She said that RenPics must have been quite surprised when her agent contacted them and told them that a features writer wanted to write an episode for a syndicated TV series. She also said that she considered the episode her gift to the fans, and hoped we would enjoy it. At this point, I headed back to the main auditorium so I could watch LAST OF THE CENTAURS (129/617) with the rest of the fans at the convention.
 I have to say that watching a Xena episode with thousands of other Xenites is quite a unique experience. It is a rush when you have thousands of other fans reacting and cheering Xena on, instead of watching it by yourself or with a small group. After the episode, they showed some trailers for some upcoming science fiction movies including, The Mummy Returns, Planet of The Apes, and Tomb Raider. The audience was quite excited about Tomb Raider. Then they set up for the Charity Auction and I went to take another break and check out the photo line.
Now THAT'S a chakram!
(photo by Heather Perkins)
 When I came back, I was told that one of the new chakrams that had been used by Lucy Lawless had sold for $40,000. This topped the price of her sword that was sold a couple years ago. It was purchased by Chris Clogston, who bought the first chakram and subsequently, the sword.
Claire Stansfield, elocuting
(photo by Heather Perkins)
 After the auction wrapped up, Sharon Delaney introduced the Alti video, which was to the song, "Control Your Soul". Then Claire came on stage.
 Claire came out and said that Creation had told her not to swear on stage. Her reaction to that was "F*** them!" As the audience was cheering that sentiment, she said "I f***ing love you guys!" Then she told us she had a surprise for us, and pulled out a tape recorder. She held it up to the microphone and played it. It was hard to hear, but she told us it was Danielle Cormack and Kevin Smith saying Hi from New Zealand.
 She was asked how many more shows she would be in. She said just one more. She commented that just when she gets it right, "they f***ing cancel the series!" Someone asked her what it was like to be inside of Xena. "Warm," she said. Then she commented that she could not believe that they actually had her character say that. She and Lucy Lawless were amazed that it had been written that way into the script.
 She commented that "Creation is never inviting me back. F*** Them!" To which the crowd responded enthusiastically. Claire commented that she had learned a lot from Alti. Before, she had always wanted to be small, since she was such a big girl. Playing Alti helped her be a big strong chick that could stand up to things. She said that when she first got on set, she was having trouble owning the character of Alti, she was slouching around. Lucy came up to her and told her to go for it and own who Alti was, so she did.
 Then Claire mentioned that this was the first convention that both she and Hudson had been at together. She hoped she would meet up with Hudson, because she thinks she could kick Hudson's *ss. Someone asked her to say "Xena's little b*tch" in Alti's voice which she did.
 She said she did not like to work on sit-coms. She mentioned that she had been on the show with the Olsen "trolls". They had hired her because they did not have enough money to get a supermodel. She was walking around the set one day, and the twins were talking. She heard them commenting to each other that she was not a supermodel, which certainly did not endear them to her. She does like doing sit-coms though when they are well run, like Fraiser.
 When asked what her most favorite work is to do, she said whatever she can get, especially when she does not have to take her clothes off. She said that she and Alex had talked about that since they had both done shows where they had been naked, and now the shots were all over the Internet. She had done a Red Shoes Diaries and was told that there was only one love scene in it. What they did not tell her was that every time the guy in the show thought about her they had him daydreaming about that love scene, so it ended up being shown seven times and was just awful.
 She commented that before Alti she did not feel comfortable being in a dominant role, even though that was what she was most often cast as. Now, though, she is much more comfortable with that. Then she commented that she was probably going to miss the show as much as we are because she has become quite a fan. She said she would probably be bawling her eyes out with the rest of us on Sunday when Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor were on stage.
 Someone asked her what it was like driving the car in SEND IN THE CLONES (128/616). She said she loved it. It was great doing donuts in a big muscle car. She said that they had shot that on second unit and there was no one else around. They let her just have fun with it, since they were not all that worried about her hitting anything. The car cost about $2000 and they ended up destroying it anyway, so she had a blast doing it.
 Then someone asked where the Alti look came from. She said she had pulled a picture of a high fashion model from a magazine and took it to the make-up people. The makeup was used to enhance the power of the Alti stare, since that was what she thought was Alti's most powerful weapon.
 She was asked what her inspirational roles were. She mentioned she was a big fan of The Graduate and Anne Bancroft. She liked the whole idea of what Mrs. Robinson got up to. Then she said she wanted to be a flight attendant when she was younger.
 Someone asked her if doing the voice hurt. She said it did not unless she had to do it for long periods of time. It was fairly easy for her. She did mention that she had stolen the voice from the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
 When asked what she was currently up to, she said that she was directing short films for the Internet, but that sort of fell through. Now she is working on short films that can be released straight to DVD. She is trying to put something together with Claudia Christian. She also mentioned that all you needed was a digital video camera, some stolen software, and you could make a DVD. She had wanted to do a series called Con Artists, but she has let that go and moved on to something else.
 She was asked whether she knew if there was going to be a Xena movie. At first, she said no, she did not know for sure. Then she said that actually yes, she did know, but she could not tell us.
 Someone then asked her if she still played golf with Lucy. She said not really. Now they shop together. She said that neither of them are good golfers. So, they would get together to golf, look at each other, and say, "f*** it, let's shop."
 One thing that was very clear from the things that Claire was saying, was she was very conscientious of the lesbian fans of the show. She said she wanted to give the person that had bought the chakram for $40,000 something special, so she called Chris Clogston onto the stage. When Chris got there, Claire gave her a big kiss right on her lips. Then she said that she would be doing more of that later that evening with Alex. This, of course, got big cheers from the audience. Then, after thanking the fans for their support, Claire commented again on how much she would miss the show and left the stage.
Alexandra Tydings discussing snakeology
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)
 Next up was the music video for Aphrodite, to the tune of "Barbie Girl". Alexandra Tydings came bouncing onto the stage. She cavorted for a bit and then commented on being blown away by the number of people there.
 After regaining her composure, she said she had recently done an episode of Sheena and that she has not worked in America lately. It was quite a different role from Aphrodite, since she played a thief, had her own hair, and got to wear clothes. She had a number of wild experiences on the Sheena set. She had to run through the woods and jump over a log. They did this a few times and she felt like she had it under control. The next time, though, she was trying to make it look like she did not know where she was going, although she did. She was running full out, came to the log, and when she went to jump it she caught her foot on the log. She fell face first into the dirt. After that, they all called her Grace.
 Another time she had to act with a cobra. She said that cobras are method actors. When she got the script, she was quite disconcerted to also receive a whole page of instructions on how to work with venomous animals. She said that before they use a cobra or other snake on stage, they milk their teeth of the venom. Other times, they have removed the poison sacs, but there is no way to tell if they have grown back without operating on the snake again. In the scene she had to do, she is walking along beside Sheena, trips, falls down, and then finds herself face to face with a cobra. Sheena is supposed to tell her to roll to her left, then grab the snake, and kill it. The way it is set up, they have the snake behind a piece of plexiglass with two handlers, who have golf clubs, on each end of the glass. She was thinking that the golf clubs were not going to do anything if the snake came after her. So, they tell her that they are going to let the snake out, and not to worry since it will probably be more angry at the handler than her. They release the snake, she falls down in front of it, and the snake immediately focuses on her, not the handler. After staring her down a bit, it struck at the glass trying to get her. She was sure that it wanted to get through the glass at her. After that take, they all stood up to discuss what needed to be done and the snake stayed completely focused on her. Then the next take, they told her to roll to the left, and she was just sure that the snake was going to follow her, and all there was to protect her were the wranglers and their clubs, since the plexiglass did not extend very far. They give her the cue, and sure enough, the snake went after her as she rolled. Obviously, it did not attack her but it certainly made quite an impression when all was said and done.
 As Alex started to take questions, one of the fans asked how it was for Aphrodite to kiss Gabrielle. She said that she had a good time. Then someone asked her about her costume. She commented that it was very cold, especially when they are outside, it is raining, and all she has on is essentially her underwear. Very uncomfortable. She did comment that playing Aphrodite has been a blast though. Her first episode, Kevin Sorbo was directing, and she had to surf onto the beach in a giant clamshell. That was a blast.
 Then someone asked her to pose for a sexy picture and she made as if she was going to take her shirt off. Again she was asked how it was to kiss Renee O'Connor and she responded, "Fabf***ingtastic!" She said she had a lot of fun in that episode, especially doing her model on heroin walk. She also commented that "Renee is gorgeous!"
 Alex then explained that she was wearing New Zealand pants, which are very tight on the top and have big bell-bottoms that start at the knee. She said that they are very comfortable. Someone asked where the Valley speak came from. She told us that initially it was the writers that put it in, but after a while she got good at the Valley talk and she would make suggestions for what Aphrodite would say. For instance, her comment about "that was so 5 minutes ago", came from seeing it on Buffy. Next, someone asked her what the dumbest thing was that she had ever done. She said she was not going to give us that one.
 Someone else asked how it was to play a dumb character. She sort of stopped for a second and then said that she did not see Aphrodite as being dumb. She finds Aphrodite manipulative, crafty, and very clear on what she wants, but certainly not dumb. She speculated that Americans have trouble seeing a sexy blonde without thinking that she is dumb. Personally, she thinks that Aphrodite is brilliant, since she often gets what she wants.
 Next, someone asked her about practical jokes on the set. She said that she and Renee O'Connor were always trying to play them on Lucy Lawless, but they rarely had success. She told us that she and Renee were sitting in a tavern together, and since all of them have short skirts on, it can be a bother if they sit on something. There was all sorts of icky set food on the table in front of them, and she and Renee were gathering up crumbs and putting them on Lucy's chair and giggling to each other. They had managed to put quite a number of crumbs on the chair, when Lucy came in. She just automatically wiped off the chair and sat down, completely ruining the joke.
 Alex mentioned that she has a fan club website up at http://www.alextydings.com. She also said that she and Claudia Christian were trying to create a show for themselves. Then she talked about how marvelous the whole Xena phenomenon is and how groundbreaking it has all been. Finally, she told us that Claire had called her up a bit ago to arrange for their costume fittings for the Revue that evening. She was surprised, since she did not realize that it was going to be such a big thing, but she was very excited about what they had planned for us during the revue. After that she thanked us and left the stage.
Joanna Sandsmark and DJWP
 I did not stick around for Ted Raimi, since I was meeting friends for dinner. As I was waiting outside, I hooked up with Joanna Sandsmark who mentioned that there was going to be a showing of "The Bitter Treat" (http://whoosh.org/issue19/sands2.html) in one of the hotel rooms at the Sheraton, and invited me and my friends to join them. DJWP and the rest of the crew that put the video together did a wonderful job. It was so funny to watch the episode and hear the words that Joanna had written instead of the original verses. Then after dinner, we returned to the convention center for that evening's cabaret.
SATURDAY NIGHT CABARET
The Alex and Claire Show
Alexandra Tydings and Claire Stansfield doing penguin impersonations?
(Photo by Heather Perkins)
 After everyone was settled in, they announced that the evening would start off with Claire Stansfield and Alex Tyding's Triple XXX Review. The house lights went down, and Alex and Claire stepped onto the stage wearing black high heels, black French-cut bottom-hugging bikini bottoms, little black tops, and black tuxedo jackets with tails. They each had on black derby hats.
 Alex was carrying a silver hard-sided briefcase with XXX on the side. Alex put the briefcase in Claire's arms and opened it up. She took out two black binders and handed one to Claire, who then put the briefcase down on the stage. They did a sort of shimmy dance with the binders held to their chests and then sauntered across the stage to where there were two microphones and two music stands. Then they turned the binders around and showed us what was written on the front: Fan Fiction. This elicited thunderous cheers from the crowd.
 They opened them up and Claire proceeded to thank LN James, CN Winters, and Mil Toro for letting them read their works. Claire read first_"Bedtime for Warriors and Bards" by LN James (http://www.squonk.net/users/lnjames/bedtime.txt). This is a fairly innocuous, but hilarious, little story that is fraught with all kinds of double entendres about how warriors and bards have to sleep very close at night for safety. Sometimes after those especially tough days with lots of fighting, warriors have to sleep on top of bards to make sure they are especially safe. Sometimes at night, when warriors are sleeping on top of bards, they call out each other's names to make sure the other is safe, at which point Clare started calling out "Gabrielle", alternating with Alex's "Xena", in breathy tones and the crowd roared in approval.
 Next was CN Winter's "Down Home" (http://members.tripod.com/~cnwinters/bos/downhome.htm), which is a follow-up to the episode, OLD ARES HAD A FARM (122/610). Claire read and acted out Gabrielle's part, and Alex did Xena's. Very funny!
 Then they did Mil Toro's "Sinful Adventures" (http://www.sirensong.co.uk/xenastories/sinful.html). This story is in script format and is the tale of Xena trying to explain to Gabrielle what she had been up to during ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE (69-70/401- 402). Claire played Xena and Alex was Gabrielle. At one point in the story, Gabrielle kisses the wound on Xena's hand, which Alex did when Claire put her hand out to her. Then Xena explains that her hand really hurts and Claire put her hand out again. This time Alex not only kissed Claire's hand, she nuzzled into it. Again, the crowd went wild!
 Next up was Mil Toro's "Xenafanaddicts 'R Us" (http://www.sirensong.co.uk/xenastories/xenafan.html). This is a script about a group of fans meeting with Rob Tapert and RJ Stewart about what the show should do in the sixth season. There was Missy fans one through six, disillusioned fan, subtext fan, het fan, Joxer fan, and Gab fan. They alternated throughout, but Claire always did Rob's part in a sort of weasely tone. At one point Claire commented that she would probably never work again. This was a fun little sketch with the audience quickly picking up that Missy fans two through six always said, "What she said" and so the audience took over the part.
 The final story was Mil Toro's "Xena's Kisses" (http://ausxip.com/fanfic2/xenakisses.html) and Alex played Xena with Claire taking Gabrielle's part. This story is about the two of them talking about how they kiss everyone but each other. It goes through all of their romantic interests and culminates with them realizing that they want to kiss each other, and unlike other times, there is nothing to stop them. At that point Claire and Alex turned to each other and walked up until they were facing each other, chest to chest. They took off their hats and leaned into each other as if to kiss, except that they blocked their faces with the hats. The crowd went crazy screaming and cheering. They stood that way for probably a full minute while cameras were flashing and then dropped the hats away from their faces, and we could see that they were, in fact, kissing.
 The sight blew us all away. Everyone was on their feet shouting and cheering and the flashes were constantly going off. They stayed like that for probably a good minute or two. Then Alex reached her arms around Claire's neck and they broke off and turned towards the crowd grinning like Cheshire cats. After the pandemonium died down, Claire thanked the fans for the fan fiction and the chance to do this for us. She said she read tons of it preparing for the act and that there was many a hot night for her because of it. They then walked off the stage to thunderous applause and wild cheering.
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