Whoosh! Issue 88 - April 2004

BURBANK CON REPORT 2004
By Sarah Packard
Content © 2004 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2004 held by Whoosh!
22,725 words

Page Five



Sunday, February 1st

[66] Saturday night I think I got the least sleep of the whole trip, especially since I had my wakeup call set for 6 am on Sunday! :) I wanted to be sure I'd have enough time to get ready for the Sunday morning charity breakfast (always a highlight of these cons!)...and while the breakfast was set for 8:30 (earlier than usual!), I also knew I'd want to get there early, because a) there's usually a line, and b) they often let folks in early, and you wanna secure a good table, get your food, etc. At the dance on Sat. night Katie and I agreed to go over there together, I would come meet her at her hotel room at 7:45. On Sunday I wore a non-Xena outfit (gasp!), I just wanted to look pretty for the photos I knew I'd be in at the breakfast. :) So I wore a black and pink "ballerina school" top and black pants, and took extra care with my makeup. At least I didn't have to worry as much about food on Sunday, since you can load up at these breakfasts (it's a buffet) and hopefully be set for the afternoon...

[67] Katie, her roommate Skip and I met up and headed over to the convention center, while my roommates were still sleeping...the breakfast was in the same ballroom where the dessert dance was held, probably even the same tables! And yes indeed, there was a line already formed outside, which we had to stand in...when we got into the room we managed to nab a table up near the front, towards the left side of the room. I was kinda hoping maybe we'd get to sit with some of my XOM friends and Annie and Molly too, but they were a table over...we didn't know the other women at our table, they were all older. I recognized one of them from the con as a big Missy Good fan, or "merpup" as they call themselves. The Creation folks did pass around nametag badges to everyone - which Katie found amusing, since duh, the con was almost over, and *now* we get badges (and only the gold people at the breakfast)? :) Each badge had a Xeroxed photo of one of the con-stars in character, and there was a scramble to get the best ones...Katie and I got handed ours last, so I ended up with Darnell (Charles) and she got Zeus (other Charles), lol...I wanted a Gabby or Ephiny or Cyane, but oh well! We wrote our names, our hometowns, and our online handles on there, so I put "abbagirl" of course. Katie even wrote her URL on hers. ;)
A connish group
Recognize anyone?

[68] We did have a good table location, because we were close to the food, and the entrance where the stars came in (and the table where they sat to eat), as well as the tables for the silent auction for charity...the food always varies at these things, sometimes there's a disappointing lack of options for vegetarians like myself. :( This time around was no exception - several meat and egg dishes, but all I could eat was the potatoes, muffins, and fruit. At least there was a big-ass bowl of fruit slices/chunks, with everything from pineapple to watermelon. (Alas, the huge strawberries that initially looked so appealing tasted strange and not so good.) There were also Hershey's kisses on everyone's table, that was nice! The eating part of the breakfast was over fairly quickly, and it was on to the entertainment...they did a charity raffle (all of these charity things, including the breakfast itself, benefit the same charity by the way - the James B. Ellis Foundation, named after founder Anita Ellis's dad who died of cancer. They help students at Hofstra University in NY, where Anita works, keep attending college even though they or a family member is struggling with or has been lost to cancer. It's a truly great cause!), so I bought a ticket for $1. (You could also get an arm's length of tickets for $10 or something?) I didn't win (I never do, but I keep trying anyway :) ), but it was a woman from our table who did win the grand prize, which was like $500!! :) Damn...if I'd won $500, I woulda bought my con ticket for 2005 right away. They also raffled off hats signed by all the stars at the breakfast, among other things...the silent auction included everything from a dress Hudson wore at the Brooklyn con to copies of the Xenaversity's silent movies, and $1,000's were raised as a result.

[69] As always, Anita presided over the breakfast, and reminded everyone what we were really there for with her words of wisdom and gratitude. She usually has a student she's helped out come up and speak...this time it was a girl, whose parents I think had both died of cancer! :( (Or maybe it was just her father, and her mother was still living with it? I'm not sure.) She was beautiful and well-spoken, and even told us about how she got chosen to be on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"! (Her episode would air a few weeks later...) Everyone was very amazed by her. Anita thanked Creation and all the fans for our continuing support of the foundation...

[70] The stars had come in right before the speaker part, and they were - Hudson (of course! Hudson and Anita are great friends now and Hudson is very passionate about these charity events), Alison Bruce, Charles Mesure (yum), Charles Keating (our first time seeing him!), Alison Wall and Murray Keane. Apparently Danielle was supposed to come, but they couldn't find her! They later announced that she'd called; apparently she had car problems and was going to try to make it later...bummer. We were also a bit disappointed that Gina and Adrienne weren't at the breakfast, that would have been nice. I did see Adrienne at the breakfast at the San Jose con in '01, anyway. Still, I'd never managed to get a photo with Gina all weekend! And Laren had specifically asked me to take pics of Gina for him (since he couldn't go)...doh. I knew Vicky wasn't gonna be there, because Annie had informed me at the dance that Vicky had to go home Saturday night. I've also seen Vicky at a breakfast before, the last con I saw her at (Chicago 2000).

[71] Once they'd finished eating and all the auction and raffle business was over, the stars began making their rounds of the tables, talking to people and posing for pictures...our table seemed to be in some freaky Bermuda triangle, because it took us *ages* to get any of the stars! :( (They were all moving in very random, non-linear patterns around the room; one would get closer to us and then suddenly reverse, it was frustrating...) The first one we got was Charles Mesure, I think. I had my camera ready and snapped a few pics, although I didn't get a pic *with* him since I'd done so at the dance (and since the breakfast seemed maybe a little more rushed sometimes?). He was dressed a bit more casually in a tan sweater and pants, and still had on the same funky necklace (that I'd complimented him on on Saturday, I forget when)! It was this Maori symbol thing from New Zealand, it looked like carved wood or ivory or something. Faced with him on Sunday, I kinda blanked and didn't really say much, lol...we told him we'd had a great time at the dance, and that it had gone really late (and that Murray and Alison had stayed late with us - he was impressed).

[72] After Charles, we waited a lifetime for the next person...the Merpup woman even complained to James at one point, and I think someone else complained to another one of the celeb escort people...finally we got the rest of them, although not for very long. Alison Bruce was very friendly and polite, and posed for a photo with me and the others (yay!)...she had a cool outfit too, it was many layers and colors and rather hip and young, but extremely casual. Her hair was very simple as well. Alison Wall and Murray were again walking around together (they're not a couple though, I swear! I think Murray is even married! :) ), and by the time they got to us it was more like they smiled, said hi and walked on... :( I tried to thank them for staying so late with us Sat. night but never got a chance. Charles Keating, however, impressed us with the smooth, efficient way he worked the table...right off the bat he went all around it, posing for photos with everyone, so we all got our chance...and yet it wasn't a hurried, impersonal thing, he was very charming with us all. He had his hair down (even though it was in a ponytail when he first came in, I think?), and looked very Sean Connery, I think he had a suit on, as he was the first speaker at the con that day...Katie and I both got pics with and of him.

[73] It was Hudson who provided the most thrills and sorrows of the breakfast for us, though...Katie and I, like everyone at the damn con :), are big Hudson fans and were looking forward to getting at least a moment with the goddess herself. Me especially, because I had at least 2 things I *had* to talk to her about (and had been denied the opportunity during her speedy autograph session on Friday)...I wanted to tell her about how I'd just started finally taking yoga classes 2 weeks prior (and thank her sincerely for motivating me to do so, it was her yoga workshop in Brooklyn that got me into it again). And, I wanted to tell her hi from Laren, since when he sold me his ticket that was even the first thing he requested from me. :) Hudson knows Laren of course, he's even been to her yoga retreats (lucky man!) as well as countless conventions...Plus, I was obviously hoping to get a quick picture with Hudson, which I've been able to do at *every single con* with Hudson except for the very first one I saw her at (the Canadian National Sci-Fi Expo in Toronto, back in 2000, which was a very poorly organized con and another one where she was in total speed-sign mode)...

[74] Hudson was her gorgeous self in a pale pink dress, looking almost uncharacteristically gentle and feminine. :) Her hair was again flowing and wavy, so the overall look was a blonde, pink angel. Right away Katie and I started worrying when we noticed that her escort around the room, a hostile-looking hulky dark-haired woman, was trying to limit the fans' interaction with Hudson...*no-one* was getting pics with Hudson. :( And Hudson is famous for wanting the fans to have their chance, you know? But this woman, who Katie and I eventually dubbed "The Bitch," was totally dragging her to the next table, and didn't seem to even want people to really talk to or touch Hudson! Now, James in his con report actually cites her as a friend, and commends her for getting Hudson to all the tables within the time, but I have to say she was extremely rude to us. And Katie and I are nothing if not respectful fans, who would never demand anything unreasonable of Hudson! Hudson *likes* to talk to people...apparently this woman has experience as a bodyguard or whatever to some stars, so I think she was probably coming from that professional background and as such made the fans' experience less of a priority. All of the other escorts seemed to be balancing the whole time pressure thing with the desire to make sure that the fans get their moment, but this woman was acting like a Nazi to everyone (except for maybe people she knew personally). She was very inconsistent too - she would let a few people get a picture (I saw her sitting around having her OWN photo taken with Hudson, even! In no hurry whatsoever!) and then yell at other people that there weren't gonna be any pictures...I heard other fans vocally complaining to her about this hypocritical-ness, and she blew them off.

[75] So, we were afraid that when Hudson got to us it wouldn't be as fun as it normally is...and sure enough, the woman was right there scowling at us. When someone at our table asked Hudson if she'd do the Callisto scream (since she never got around to actually doing it onstage on Friday), the security woman was like already saying no! But Hudson went ahead and screamed, which made everyone in the room of course turn around and look at OUR table, heh. :) (I got a picture!) Hudson started rubbing a woman's shoulders from behind, and Katie, who was sitting next to her, started talking to her...Hudson moved her attentions to Katie and jumped in her lap!! I immediately took some pics :) and Katie was in heaven...it was only for like a minute, but it was exciting nonetheless, especially for a first-timer like Katie. She lucked out! I gotta say I was a little jealous though; I've seen Hudson 8 times now, and still have yet to get the lap treatment. :( She always seems to sit in the lap of the person next to me, the person I'm with - my friend Jenny in Chicago, my friend Jo in Dearborn, and now Katie! Lol. Heck, Molly and Stephanie have even kissed her. I have at least hugged her several times and even picked her up off the ground (along with my friend Jenny, cuz she's stronger than me) for a photo though! :)

[76] It wasn't a total loss though - Hudson did start "petting" my arms (well, my sleeves), and Katie's for a minute...which was funny to us because we had actually just been discussing a while earlier how we wanted to pet Hudson (in her soft dress) and touch her curls, and here she was, petting *us*! I barely had a chance to speak, but I quickly blurted out the thing about the yoga (she said she was truly happy for me, that it could help me) and the message from Laren (she said it was really nice of him to let me have his ticket). That was all I had time to say though, and barely even that, because the woman was already pulling her away! :( We tried to get a picture with her (for me, anyway; Katie had gotten the lap pictures), to no avail.

[77] Still, I maintained hope - maybe at the end, after Hudson had gotten to all the tables, there'd be a chance? After all, it doesn't take very long to snap one quick posed photo...and Goddess knows, by the time they were nearing the end, they seemed to have slowed down. Katie was also determined to help me in my quest, especially since I couldn't afford to pay for the $40 professional "photo op" with Hudson on Sunday (those things are such a ripoff, I hate that Creation is charging people for pics now!! At least you can still get your own pic with a star at the breakfast...in THEORY...) like she could. We tried approaching Hudson, because other people were and they were getting pics with her, but the woman totally cut us off...several times! She'd be like no, no pics, and then someone else would come up and get a pic with Hudson. Wtf?! :( The hotel started to try to kick everyone out (they wanted to set up the chairs for the con or something), and at one point even turned off the lights (!!) which was unbelievably rude since the room was still very much full, and people *were* trying to collect their things and get ready to leave!

[78] After everyone put up a fuss, I think they finally turned them back on, but my photo opportunity was missed, as the woman was physically dragging Hudson away from the fans. :( Now, I have seen Hudson left to her own devices at many cons, and she would usually stay till the very last minute, making sure everyone who wanted a photo with her could get one...and sharing conversations, hugs, etc. She is not standoffish. (Although she might be *slightly* more standoffish than Vicky "I love all my fans!!" Pratt, lol. :) Actually, scratch that, no; I haven't seen Vicky kissing anyone at a con yet, heh. They just have a different style. Ya know, I wish Alex Tydings and Claire Stansfield coulda been at this con tois con too...) I think if it had not been for that woman, I would have at least been able to get a photo (probably when she came to our table, as is customary). Sigh. But I should stop whining - hey, at least I got to go to the breakfast (unlike my gen ad roomies)! :) And just seeing Hudson is always a joy...I've just become spoiled by all the great experiences I've had with Hudson in the past. I think the comparative size of this con was also a factor - more gold seats (probably?), more people, less time with the stars. One of the drawbacks of the big cons indeed.

[79] There was still a lot of time left between the breakfast and the start of the con (1:20)...I was actually still hungry (or hungry again?) and had some food in the room before going back to the convention center. :) Hudson's photo op was at 12:45, Laura and Katie were doing that...Katie had to leave for home after the photo op, so I hung around trying to find her so we could say goodbye. The only thing I bought on Sunday was a $3 poster tube (so I could transport my 3 new free Xena posters home safely!) and 2 more 8x10 photos - two of the "art" prints by famous online Xena artist Lucia. (They were selling a t-shirt with one of her paintings too, of Xena and Gabs on a racing Argo!) I got the one with a white background of Xena with her arms around Gabby, and the one of X & G standing in an embrace by the ocean, smiling as dolphins jumped in the background...I think that one is gonna end up framed on my wall, it's beautiful. :) Alas, I never got to buy the official 2004 convention t-shirt, because they quickly sold out of both Medium and Large, and I definitely didn't want XXL or anything...sigh. I shoulda gotten that one at registration! Next time!

[80] I finally did run into Katie again, after she got her photo op...and just then, I was standing near Danielle Cormack! When I had wandered into the main auditorium to get some water, I had noticed Danielle walking around, and followed her outta the auditorium back into the dealers' rooms...she had turned up after all, although she'd missed the breakfast, and I guess just hung out for a little while to interact with the fans and such! Very nice. :) So I pointed her out to Katie...I managed to get a quick photo with Danielle before she had to leave (Katie took it for me), yay. :) Katie and I also hugged and said our goodbyes before she made her way out. I then ran into Laura again as well, who'd gotten her photo op! Laura just missed Danielle, though...we read over the giant whiteboard in the hallway that fans can write on (great for leaving messages for friends, or announcements of room parties, etc.!) together. Someone had written "Hudson rocks!" and someone else "Danielle rocks!" I think, so I added "Vicky rocks!" :) Lol.

[81] The con was definitely more subdued on Sunday, and there were less people...I mean, it's hard to top off something like Saturday with Lucy and Renee and all! :) But I like con Sundays, they're relaxing...they kind of ease you slowly back into the real world...and it's only the hardcore fans who are left. People who are truly interested in meeting even the minor stars. Sunday was also fun as it was a time to reflect on the events of the weekend; Adam and Sharon Delaney both talked to us about the antics that had gone on backstage before Renee's performance (and how Renee ALMOST accidentally got to see Lucy, which would have ruined the surprise! Sharon had to do some creative blocking...), and the 2005 con was discussed - what people want to see, what they're thinking about doing, etc. Adam mentioned they were considering maybe something like a fashion show (?!), since people are very into Hudson's outfits and things like that...so I guess the stars would model clothes for us? Very odd, but sounds intriguing. :) People also rallied for another Xena cruise all weekend...Adam said they have a cruise planned already for this spring, but it's a "multimedia" cruise - i.e. with Trek, Xena, etc. all shoved on one boat. Um, recipe for disaster, anyone?? They say it'll be separate media "tracks," but still...I think it wouldn't be quite the same thing. Not that I can afford it anyway, just like I couldn't afford the first one!

[82] Fans were able to start buying their tickets for the Burbank 2005 con all weekend; you could opt to keep your same seat or try for a better one. Alas, having no spare $375 with me, I knew I wouldn't be able to retain my (or Laren's, technically) perfect B20 seat the following year. :( I decided early on in the weekend though, that I definitely want to go back next year!! These big cons really are a special treat...and since next year's is the 10th Anniversary con, I'm sure they will make things extra exciting, with Lucy and Renee probably both booked as headliners and many more! :) It's gonna be next January, at the same Burbank Hilton and convention center...which many people aren't so happy about, because of the location - there really isn't anything nearby (unless you have a car, and even then...), whereas Pasadena apparently had a lot more to offer. *shrug* Oh well. At least I can maybe go see Leno again, or hopefully Ellen DeGeneres or a TV show like "Will & Grace"!! :) I'll have enough advance warning this time, after all! And I know Annie, Molly, and many more who will be there next year too - hopefully Katie as well??

[83] So...the con kicked off at 1:20 with some more music videos. Apparently there was also a video shown sometime Sunday morning that I missed (thankfully they replayed it later!) - it was a video greeting from Lucy Lawless! Filmed back before she knew she was gonna be coming, of course. :) It was funny, as she was just playing around with her baby son Judah (who no-one had seen till now!! And this video will not be on the fan club kits or anything, but she trusted us fans at the con with it), wearing sweats with her bangs tied up off her face in a teeny ponytail sticking on the top of her head, very cute. :) She basically said she wished she could be there with us, hoped we had a great con, the usual! And that Renee was sure to be fantastic in her performance.

[84] The first guest of the day was of course Charles Keating, who played Zeus in only one episode of Xena (Season 5's "God Fearing Child") but many more episodes of Hercules...he's very striking for an older man, and I've always found him kind of vaguely familiar. Well, guess where I've seen him before (at least in one thing)? Someone brought it up in the Q&A, he was on an episode of "Sex and the City" (the first season, I think)!! :) Lol...it was a memorable guest role too; he played an eccentric famous artist who invites gallery owner Charlotte over to his estate to see his work. And it turns out he paints women's vaginas, and wants Charlotte to model for him. Yep, that was Charles! Heh heh...weird. He also used to be a star on a hit soap opera apparently - now I'm forgetting which one, I think maybe "All My Children"? Hmm. (I'm not a soap connoisseur.) So he talked a lot about that, and what's it like working on soaps...he enjoyed playing Zeus, I mean, who wouldn't?

[85] Most of Charles's stage time, however, turned into a performance...he recited several poems and Shakespeare soliloquies, to much applause and cheering. Wow, now this is a classical actor!! He talked about all the theatre he's done (with the Royal Shakespeare Company even!) and his favorite roles, like Prospero and Lear and such...at the end of his stage time I think Adam said something about how maybe he should do a theatre performance at one of his cons in the future, since that went over so well with the crowd! (Like at a cabaret or something...) This was Charles's first con, and he seemed to really love it; he did great with the Q&A time because he is clearly comfortable with being on a stage and addressing people, and he was very honest and humble and courteous. He seemed to "get" the whole con thing too, and didn't look down at us or anything even though he's not exactly from the same fandom universe. :)

[86] Next up was the Xenaversity's first, original silent movie, "Curse of the Furious Femmes," which everyone enjoyed all over again. They also showed many more music videos and such, and at one point even a very old Dick Clark clip (which I think I saw like at my first con?!) in which they took a camera crew to one of the first Pasadena cons (I think maybe it was even the first one which was also in Burbank, at the same place! It did look like the convention center...) and interviewed fans on camera...as well as putting them in a hidden camera situation with some actors playing Japanese interviewers - it's a long story. :) But funnily enough, Carrie, one of Stephanie's friends who was at the con, was even in that Dick Clark segment! The Xenaverse really is a small world, folks...after the videos it was time for intermission. I think Laura left the con at either intermission or after the costume contest, and didn't come back...Stephanie and Heather went off somewhere all day.

[87] The costume competition is always one of my favorite parts of any con...because it's just fun to see people's creativity on display. I think the contest at the big con used to also be bigger than it was this year, though...there weren't any kids entered this time either, which was unusual - in fact, there weren't really any kids at the con at all! There were a few preteen types, and Adam's little daughter (or Gary's? I think it was Adam's though) was on the dance floor with us on Saturday night, but that was it...hmm. Anyway, I recognized several people in the contest! First of all Angie from Xenaversity of course; she'd told me her costume on Sat. night, it was "The Collector" from the Simpsons Halloween episode that Lucy Lawless guested in (with James and Karen as her collections, in giant ziploc bags)! An unconventional but very clever idea, and well executed...the girl who'd dressed as Livia was of course entered as well, to much acclaim. But some of the contestants I knew just because they're famous fans - Jo Marriott, from the UK, is a famous fan and Xena/Lucy lookalike who's been featured in Nikki Stafford's book (How Xena Changed Our Lives) as well as the official Xena magazine, etc. So I knew of her and what she looked like, it was practically like finally seeing a star! She was dressed, naturally, as Xena, but in the Empress Xena riding outfit from the beginning of "When Fates Collide" I think...and she had a sword and a snarl, and it was all perfect. :)

[88] Also entered was her friend Carly Bramwell, whom I also knew from both the book and the magazine as a Callisto costume-wearer...at this con she was dressed up as Gabrielle in the harem from "Who's Gurkhan" though; excellent costume too, it was the right shade of blue with the gold baubles, and she had the braided hairdo and everything! I also recognized the famous Xena twins, Virginia and Lourdes Sanchez (who are also in Nikki's book, and are just known from cons and such; they enter the costume contest every year!), who were going as Xena and Gabrielle in their farm-girl outfits from "Old Ares Had A Farm," heh. They are so tiny in person! I wasn't expecting that, I almost thought they were kids at first...they were very cute, though. :) Anyway, the other contestants included an old Cyrene...and I forget who else? Maybe that was it? Angie got lots of applause from her Xenaversity buddies, Jo had a huge swell of support, especially from the British contingent, and everyone all weekend loved the Livia girl's costume. So, the winners ended up being Livia (third), Angie (second), and Jo (first)! I had a feeling Jo was going to win...she was just wicked in that outfit, it was great. When I saw her up there, I kept thinking, ooh, I need to find her afterwards and see if I can get a picture with her dressed like that. :) (Alas, I never did!)

[90] You see, she actually had a booth in the convention center all weekend...she's an actress as well apparently, and is starring in a new TV series project (well, they're trying to get it made, they need a distributor or something I think; not sure if it's for the UK or here?) called "No Bounds", and she and her costars were at their table all 3 days of the con. The blonde with her (Beth Whitney I think?) I never got to see, but Laura and others said she was hot...Jo mentioned it briefly onstage, it's a chicks-kicking-ass series :) so it sounds promising to me! I somehow never got around to actually looking at their table though, even though I walked past it several times (doh!), although I did catch glimpses of the little video clip they had playing on their monitor in heavy rotation...and I took home one of their promo postcards cuz Stephanie or Heather left an extra at the hotel, but I still need to check out their website, www.noboundsproductions.com. It's funny, on Friday when I first saw their table, I saw that name, Jo Marriott, and was like, hmm...familiar...isn't that the Xena lookalike from the UK? But it didn't look like her in the picture, so I wasn't sure. :) Look, someone's got a whole site about Jo and Carly!

[91] Next up was Murray Keane and Alison Wall, who did their Q&A onstage together...they were actually one of the best Q&A's of the weekend, which just goes to show ya that a) Sundays can be good, and b) the minor guest stars often have the funniest stories! (And also often the less conventionally "hot" actors, the character actors, are just wonderful and talented people.) They are both VERY experienced and respected actors in New Zealand and have done TV, film, theatre, you name it...Murray's been doing more writing and directing stuff than acting lately. They talked about the NZ acting community and such, and what they've been working on (Alison has a one-woman play she's been doing called "Blossom", among other things)...they did talk about working on Xena (obviously Alison had more Xena stories since she was in so many episodes! She really liked playing Minya); Murray had the crowd in stitches when he recounted filming the scene where Xena is fishing in "A Day In The Life" (the one where Gabby and Hower are sitting on the banks, and Gabs gets hit with the fish repeatedly)...Lucy would bend over to grab the fish, and Murray could see her underwear almost all the time - and apparently Lucy had the most awful granny panties, with lots of holes!! Lol...that cracked everyone up. Ah, the things we learn at conventions. ;)

[92] After their Q&A, Murray and Alison came back out, this time with Steve Sears (who also did a little intro speech himself), to do an unprecedented "live episode commentary" for "A Day In The Life"! That is, they put in the Xena Season 2 dvd, and showed the entire episode on the big screen in the auditorium, and Steve (who didn't write the ep, RJ Stewart did, but obviously he was around for it), Alison and Murray sat onstage with microphones, commenting as the ep went along...terrific idea! The dvd commentaries only have people like Lucy, Renee and Rob, so it was nice to hear some of the guest and writer opinions as well...and when it got to the fish scene everyone was giggling over the Lucy underwear thing again. ;) Alison also had many stories about working with the goat in ADITL (and indeed, you can see it panicking and trying to "climb" her, as is a goat's instinct!)...during his Q&A Murray also told funny animal stories involving a pig in the "Hercules and the Amazon Women" movie, which I'd forgotten he was in! (By the way, Alison also did voice work for "Young Hercules" and the "Hercules and Xena" animated movie!) Everyone just loves ADITL anyway, so it was a good one to show at a con - even if we have all seen it a million times by now. Still a classic! ("Can we cook with your juices??")

[93] The final event of the day was the last autograph session (sob)...with Charles, Alison, Murray, and Steve! I didn't realize Steve was gonna be signing, otherwise I wouldn't have tackled him in the hallway earlier that day and gotten him to sign my "Hooves and Harlots" script. :) (Okay, I didn't actually tackle him per se...) Oh well. They had it set up separately so you'd get in one line for Alison and Murray, and then go get in the line for Steve and Charles...I finally got my chance to thank Alison and Murray for our good times on the dance floor on Saturday. :) Alison personalized her auto, although the guys didn't...when I got to Steve's table, he remembered me (yay), and I just looked at the incredible photos he'd taken of Lucy and Renee on Sat. that he had all laid out...everyone who saw them was impressed. With Charles, I just complimented him on the Shakespeare stuff he did for us, and asked if he'd ever been to the Stratford Festival (in Stratford Canada; he knew of it well, although I think he said he hadn't performed there? Not sure)...

[94] Once I'd gotten my last autographs, it was starting to kick in that the con was really OVER... :( Ditto for Molly and Annie, who were practically teary. The three of us all got photos together (in front of the giant Xena con banner to the side of the stage, of course), and I said my farewells since I had to leave early the next morning (and figured I wasn't gonna hang out in the bar that night or anything)...I gave Annie my email address again, we all hugged, and promised to keep in touch and of course see each other next year if not sooner! :) I headed back to the hotel, sad, but also thrilled by a wonderful weekend of memories...Stephanie and Heather came back from wherever but then they too were going home (that night), so it was down to just Laura and myself at the hotel. I was going to watch "Alias" that night but it wasn't on (grr) so we ended up watching the movie "Notting Hill" which was on instead...cuz I'd actually never seen that movie and have wanted to cuz I'm a Hugh Grant fan! We also ordered a pizza...so the weekend ended with another pizza and a good old romantic comedy. Not bad...


Conclusion

[95] Laura and I both flew out of Burbank airport the next morning, so we got very little sleep...and we didn't even get the same shuttle over cuz I was ready but Laura was still checking out (and my flight was earlier than hers). Oh well. I got hassled at the airport because my driver's license had just expired (I don't drive) - which pissed me off cuz not a single other airport has ever noticed or cared! But they made me sit through an entire search, of me and my bags. :( Thankfully my gate was right there - it's a very small airport! (The kind where they don't even have those things that connect the gate to the plane, so you have to walk outside and go up the stairs to the plane instead.) And amusingly enough, I recognized several people from the con at the gate and on my exact plane, including Tony the Hudson fan and Larissa the Vicky fan (who sat one row in front of me)! :) My flights home were uneventful, although it took me a while to readjust to Michigan time zone and temperature...and of course to "real life" in general. Where you're not surrounded by fans who are equally obsessed with Xena :) and by beautiful celebrities. Oh well - there's always next year!! Thanks for a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for reading my sometimes overly detailed report.


Biography

the author with Hudson Leick Sarah Packard
Sarah Packard currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but loves to travel the world - especially if a convention is involved! This wannabe Amazon dreams of a future career in arts and entertainment, and of someday having Hudson Leick grace her lap. Her previous website, Abbagirl's Domain (including the Xena Shrine, which housed many a con report) is offline for now, but you may follow her adventures day to day at her LiveJournal.


Favorite episodes: THE DEBT, THE BITTER SUITE, ONE AGAINST AN ARMY, BETWEEN THE LINES, THE RING TRILOGY, WHEN FATES COLLIDE, and many more (particularly anything with Amazons and/or Callisto!).
Favorite line: "Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you." -- ONE AGAINST AN ARMY
First episode seen: THE DEBT I
Least favorite episode: A FRIEND IN NEED, MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS

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