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Photo courtesy of Amy J. Putnam

Hudson's Arrival

[157] Many jaws could be heard dropping upon seeing Hudson slink on-stage in her spandex/lycra combo. Hudson had been, to my mind, classically dressed in Valley Forge, with her French chignon hair-do and gold lame frock but she managed to top that outfit with what I've heard described as a "catwoman" outfit. Funnily enough, the first word out of her mouth was a lazy, "Meow!" She went on to say, "My heart's a-poundin'," prompting at least one fan in the audience to yell out, "Our's too!"

[158] Clearly, Hudson was in femme fatale mode. She asked the audience, "Ya wanna play with me?" which was greeted by many enthusiastic and positive cheers. And play we did!

Photo courtesy of Amy J. Putnam

Questions from Fans

[159] Questions ranged from flirtatious to serious to poignant. Following are some of the highlights:

[160] Someone asked what doing the "quicksand" scene from RETURN OF CALLISTO (#29) was like. She described the experience as "chilly." The crew rigged up the dirt on top of a plastic sheet and literally pulled Hudson through a hole to make it appear as if Callisto was sinking.

[161] Asked which food is better, American or Kiwi. Hudson diplomatically answered that, while there was more choice in the U.S., the Kiwi food was more organic.

[162] An enterprising fan asked Hudson for a date, gallantly kissing her offered hand. She said the fan would have to ask her lover and when asked if that lover was male or female, she teasingly said, "That's none of your business."

[163] Of course, what would a Hudson appearance be without someone asking her to do the Callisto scream. She laughed as someone in the front row, knowing what was to come, had already put her fingers in her ears. Even though I'd heard Hudson scream before, the blood chills every time. And that's sans microphone.

[164] Hudson was told that, in Valley Forge, Renee had described her as "spiritual, calm and cool." After joking that Renee was "ruining my career," she answered the question as to what type of meditation she practices, "TM."

[165] Hudson was asked if she'd ever done anything stupid or dangerous. She related that when she was 18, a strange man bought her some soap and she went in a car with him. She mused that that example fit both categories.

[166] Asked about doing her own stunts, Hudson said she'd begged to do certain flips with Kevin Sorbo but had been told the risk was too high. Later, someone asked if she had done the "ladder flying" stunts in the CALLISTO (#22) ep but no, she said she was happily drinking tea elsewhere while the stunt doubles did the work.

[167] Several similar questions were asked about playing the role of Callisto. When asked what her favourite element of the Callisto character is, she replied that she's mean but that she also liked her sensitivity. Responding to the laughter this answer elicited, she said, "I'm not kidding." She says she doesn't think of Callisto as bad; just scarred. She considers her fun to play because she is so split. And yes, she prefers "naughty" characters to, say, Celeste on TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL. And her favourite Callisto line? "Here Comes Trouble!"

[168] What episode or scene is Hudson most proud of? Instantly, she picked the "Truth or Dare" campfire scene from A NECESSARY EVIL (#38).

Hudson is Serenaded

[169] One of the highlights of Hudson's time on stage was fan Ephany, who gained fame singing for a visibly moved Renee in San Francisco. Citing Hudson as her favourite, she serenaded her with "32 Flavours" by Ani DiFranco (as redone by Alana Davis) in her Tracey Chapman-esque voice, saying, "This is for anyone who's ever underestimated you." At the end of the song, Hudson knelt down and kissed both of Ephany's feet!

[170] Hudson was egged on by the audience to attempt the Xena yell but she was clearly shy to give it a go. She made us promise to make Lucy try the Callisto scream the next day.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Cassetta

[171] Asked about other projects she'd been working on, Hudson mentioned a recent stint on SEVENTH HEAVEN. No air date was provided so watch for it. And yes, her character is "not nice."

Photo courtesy of Amy J. Putnam

Hudson Photo-Op

[172] As if Ephany's song to Hudson wasn't poignant enough, mom Janean Timber came up to ask some questions on behalf of her "shy" son, Benjamin. Benjamin, currently a sophomore at Brighton High School in Rochester, NY, which is where Hudson attended school, wanted to know if she enjoyed going there. Jokingly, Hudson said she felt that's where she discovered Callisto.

[173] Janean went on to ask what Hudson would recommend for someone having difficulty in high school. Her answer, "Go where the love is. It matters what *you* think of *you*."

[174] Hudson agreed to have her picture taken with Benjamin who, when Hudson threatened to come down into the audience to find him, popped up on stage. Hudson leapt into his arms while mom Janean happily snapped away. I spoke to Benjamin and Janean later. This was their first CON, and needless to say, very memorable. Benjamin revealed that he was "a little nervous" with Hudson but otherwise seemed to be taking the experience in stride. Janean is definitely her son's champion. "He made me aware of the planet before it was fashionable." Benjamin said he'd like to finish high school and then pursue a degree in chemistry in the hope of going into the research field, i.e. maybe find a new vaccine. Good on ya, Ben!

The Rest of the Questions

[175] Asked if Hudson had kids or planned to, she said she thought it would be very unfair to a child right now. But yes, she does plan to have children. She revealed that she had thought of how to explain Callisto to her child and joked about the typical schoolyard conversation, "Hey, your mom's a babe."

[176] Hudson joked about wanting to raise her arms but alluded to Lucy's unexpected exposure earlier in the year, i.e. falling out of her costume. Of course, she teased the audience when there were encouraging cries, "Oooo, *bad* audience!"

[177] Asked what it was like to work with Renee and Lucy, Hudson joked, "I hate it." Getting serious, she said both of them are lovely, down-to-earth people with no egos. She said when she and Lucy face off as Xena and Callisto, they just play off one another.

[178] Someone asked if Hudson would ever be able to forgive someone in real life if they did to her family what was done to Callisto's. Paraphrasing, Hudson, clearly gobsmacked, asked, "What, you want to know how I'd feel if someone slaughtered my family?" She went on to attempt to answer the question, saying that, first of all, she hopes she never gets to find out and that she would probably go through the usual anger and depression that an unthinkable act like that would produce. However, she added, "It destroys you if you don't forgive."

[179] Now, for those of you who wish to remain spoiler-free, skip this part because Hudson revealed that Callisto's day has come. She joked about a spin-off for Callisto, "This week, Callisto kills a small family; stay tuned." She commented that Callisto can only die so many times. Rob Tapert had earlier done a tap dance about Callisto's fate, just suggesting many colourful possibilities for the character.

[180] Hudson's time on stage was again as high-energy and vampish as at Valley Forge. As she kept reminding us, she owned the stage and yes, she did work it! She is clearly grateful to all fans and very glad to be working as Callisto. The comment I heard the most after Hudson had gone was, "I was a fan of Callisto before but now I'm an even bigger fan of Hudson's."

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