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[01] Once again, history was made at Valley Forge, PA. Renee O'Connor made her first convention appearance, taking the stage amidst thundrous applause. After a few brief comments, she asked the audience, "So what do you want to talk about?"

[02] Someone immediately requested the "Gabby Rap". Renee said she can't keep a beat very well, so the audience would have to help. They happily complied, clapping hands, and Renee did the rap.

[03] Renee said she thought Gabrielle's least favourite person/character was Callisto, because of all the bad things she's done.

[04] Once again the Belgian contingent expressed their fondness for XENA in general, and Renee in particular. This time someone came on the scene to translate and move things along a little faster.

[05] Gabrielle walks most of the time, but at one time they were looking for a pony for the character. Not now, though. But speaking of animals, Renee sometimes has trouble hitting her mark, but Tobias (the donkey in A SOLSTICE CAROL) hit his mark *every* time.

[06] A little boy came on stage to give Renee a bouquet of roses.

[07] Someone wanted to know when we'd see a Gabrielle spinoff show. Renee said it would probably have to be a talk show.

[08] Renee would like to direct someday, but probably not a XENA show, not right now. She sees it as very complicated and would have to learn a lot more about it before she'd feel comfortable with that.

[09] Someone made a staff that he wanted Renee to use on the show, but of course that wouldn't be possible. She did twirl the staff a few times though, to the delight of the audience.

[10] As for advice on would-be actors, Renee advised the questioner to do as much locally as long as possible to get experience before setting out for New York or Los Angeles.

[11] Her favourite meal at Threadgill's is chicken fried steak and pretty much all the fried stuff one isn't supposed to eat.

[12] Renee also mentioned how Gabrielle has a lot of food-related scenes. There's one coming up in which Gabrielle eats chicken livers, cherries, and cheese sauce all at one time.

[13] Speaking of food, someone asked about the "squid" in LOST MARINER. Renee points out it was marinated octopus. She resigned herself to eating it, and then decided she might as well try to gross out everyone on the set possible.

[14] She does like to do outdoor things and she and her mom have a hiking trip planned to the South Island of New Zealand.

[15] Someone asked about injuries received in the course of XENA work. Renee commented that she herself hasn't been hurt badly, but in COMEDY OF EROS she had chewed Ted Raimi's ear so much that after the next day or two, it was very black and blue and looked pretty bad. Ted came back on stage for a moment to clown around with Renee a bit and "set the record straight" as to the extent of his injuries. Those sure looked like crocodile tears to me!

[16] A little girl asked if Renee had "any personal feelings" for Ted. Ted popped out from behind a curtain and hammed it up. But Renee said they were just very good friends.

[17] Renee mentioned she admired Holly Hunter and her work, as well as Lucy Lawless. Renee also said she'd love to be in a musical and dance back in the chorus, but no burning desire for other roles came to mind.

[18] Someone asked if Gabrielle was going to have a relationship with Iolaus, but Renee said no, she didn't think so. Iolaus was more a confidante and friend now.

[19] Renee said that language sometimes gets her into trouble. She told the story of what "bonk" means in the US versus NZ. ["Bonk" in US means to get hit, "bonk" in NZ is similar to the US "boink"] But now being back in the US for a bit, some of her NZ language difficulties get her into trouble here. She'll find herself getting blank stares in a restaraunt when asking for a "white coffee" (coffee with milk). Also in NZ, "partner" means companion of the opposite sex, whereas in the US it often means a companion of the same sex.

[20] As regards the fish/eel scenes from A DAY IN THE LIFE, the fish were dead, but the eels were very much alive. She mentioned that the director, Michael Hurst, used the first take of her getting whacked in the head by the fish, but "for some reason he kept doing it over and over."

[21] When asked how much of Renee O'Connor was in Gebrielle, Renee said that she actually put a lot of her mom into Gabrielle. In fact, the "Gabby Dance" was something her mom used to do, and Renee adapted that.

[22] Renee said that in some episodes coming up, she was very challenged in playing Gabrielle and she didn't agree with a lot of the choices the character made. "That'll be interesting," she stated, somewhat hesitantly.

[23] Next was a request for her to do the "Porky Pig" dance, but Renee said if *she* had to do it, then *everyone* should have to do it -- and she taught us all how! This was in reference to a time when she in fact played Porky Pig as a character, dressed up in a suit. One night, she related, the head on the costume broke and started spinning around as she danced, to the moritification of all children watching.

[24] At this point, it was announced Renee had a phone call.

[25] Lucy Lawless put on an "old woman" voice and it looked like Renee didn't know what was going on.

"Renee?" the voice called weakly.

"Yeah," Renee answered, very unsurely.

"AY-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI!" came the response and there was no doubt it was Lucy.

[26] Lucy asked a couple of times if Renee was going to come to New York to see her. Renee didn't want to reveal the day and answered tenatively "Soon."

"Tuesday?" Lucy asked.

"Yeah, thanks Lucy," Renee responded, mainly in mock indignation. "Tuesday." Renee then smiled. "And you're gonna have a full house."

[27] Lucy warned that there's going to be a challenging episode for the two friends coming up (Xena and Gabriele) and she said it's going to challenge the audience, too. She said the friendship will be under a lot of strain. "Whatever happens," Lucy said to the listening crowd, "You aren't allowed to hate either one or the other of us 'cause the writers made us do it." The crowd responded enthusiastically.

[28] Lucy expressed thanks to everyone also, as well as to Renee and was looking forward to seeing her soon. With that, the call ended.

[29] Renee confirmed her height at "a little over five foot four."

[30] More food questions -- what is Gabrielle's favourite food? Renee said she had a great time with nutbread, but apples are easy to manage. She also said the cherries on the show were really grapes, because they don't have pits and they're easier to talk around.

[31] Renee said her most difficult episodes so far are the ones coming up because she didn't agree with what the character was doing.

"Like what?" someone shouted.

"I can't tell you!" Renee retorted.

[32] When asked what her favourite episode was, Renee said she did like A DAY IN THE LIFE, but she'd have to choose BEEN THERE DONE THAT because it too was so much fun.

[33] Ted and Renee sang "Joxer the Mighty" by request. And with that, the hour was up.


[34] It was FINALLY TIME for Renee to come out!!! She did and had a standing ovation!!! I was so excited to actually see her in person!!! She looked quite nervous and not sure what to think of us all!!! Someone yelled out, "I LOVE you Renee!" She laughed and said, "That's my brother". She said that they referred to her as the "Virgin Con Girl". Someone asked her to do the Xena Rap and she said that if there were anyone under 10 they were to close their ears because she was going to say a 'swear' word. In NZ, they call the Bad Guys ..Baddies. To the question of who is her least favorite character, she said that Gabrielle has a problem with Callisto. They were planning on giving Gabrielle a horse, but it was going to be a 'shaggy little horse'. Someone mentioned Tobias and she told the audience how that donkey embarrassed her. She said that she sometimes has a problem being on her mark, but the donkey never had a problem, so she learned *a lot* from Tobias. One thing she said about the crowd cheering for her, "No one in NZ is going to believe this!"

[35] Someone asked when Gabrielle would be getting her own show and Renee said that if she did, it would have to be a TALK show. Everyone laughed!!! She said Gabrielle could interview Autolycus, Salmoneus, etc. She would LOVE to direct someday, but not for Xena. Someone gave her a hand made staff and asked her to perform for us. She warned the first ten rows to watch out. Someone asked about her advice on acting. She said to get *a lot* of experience where you are now before going to LA or NYC as there are many actors there already.

[36] Someone asked what her favorite meal at ThreadGills is and someone in the audience yelled out Nut Bread ..she laughed and agreed. She said she likes their Chicken Fried Steak. She told the audience that the squid she had to eat in a XWP episode was really marinated octopus. She KNEW she had to eat it, so she tried to gross out the crew as much as she could by acting like she *really* liked it. She's going to the South Island to go rock climbing with MommaROC for six days. She's always trying new things. She looked at the other side of the audience and said, "Are you OK over there?" They cheered!!!

[37] Somebody asked her about her least favorite scene and someone in the audience said something about kissing Joxer. She said that she had to bite his ear in one scene and had to do it a few times and later in the week, Ted's ear was all black and blue and he didn't want to come near her. To this Ted came up on stage and said he HAD to set the story straight!!! They also talked about how they are friends off the set and like to entertain the New Zealander's with American humor. They did a little impromptu skit about "Mimsi and Harold" (can't remember the names they used) and talking about their kids going to Harvard and Yale ..Very dry humor, but the New Zealander's love it. That's how they amuse themselves off the set.

[38] Holly Hunter and Jessica Lange are her two favorite actresses. Someone asked if she'd seen Grease yet and she said no, but she'd be going this week. Someone asked if Gabrielle is going to have a love interest. She said, "I hope not. They'll die." She would LOVE to sing in a chorus. Ted stuck his head through the curtain a few times here and there to check on things. Lucy likes to sing show tunes in between takes and is quite the joker. Someone asked if there would be a possible upcoming romance for her and Iolaus, she said she didn't think so as he is more of a confidant than anything. She's tried Sledging, which is a boogie board that you ride down a river. "It's really fun and not too dangerous".

[39] She does have a problem with American slang in NZ. In an episode, she'll tell the Baddie that she'll use her staff and hit him ..Bang, Bang, 'Bonk'. She said, "Bonk means something sexual". Now that she's in the States, she finds that she's bringing the NZ slang over here, by asking for a 'white coffee' which is coffee with milk in it. And that in NZ they refer to their boyfriend/girlfriend as partner and when she refers to her boyfriend as her partner, people are confused as to what gender that is.

[40] She is sometimes a 'fly' on the Netforum. She said that when Gabrielle learned how to use the staff, she was also learning. She kept hitting herself in the beginning, but she has come a long way and is learning new tricks all the time. In the episode "A Day in the Life", Lucy couldn't get the eels out of the lake and what made the episode so funny was that those were her real expressions. The eels were live, but the fish were dead. She said that Michael kept the first take, but for some reason, kept it going for a total of 8 takes. She had scales in her hair and stunk!!! "No one wanted to come near me!"

[41] Someone told her that XWP has saved them TONS of money in therapy. To this, Renee said, "Me too!" Someone asked if they could have their picture taken with her. The audience was saying ..NO!!! Renee held out the microphone to the audience and said, "Survey Says.." Everyone yelled NO! and laughed. Someone asked if she's interested about doing more singing. To this she said, "You never know". Someone said that they are lucky enough to get XWP four times a weekend. She said, "That's *lucky*!?!"

[42] Someone asked how much of Renee is in Gabrielle? She said that in the first season, she used a lot of her mother in the part. The whole Amazon Dance thing was a dance her mom used to do and when "Hooves and Harlots" aired, she got a phone call from MommaROC saying .."Renee!?!" She's more comfortable with Gabrielle now that she's grown up some, but she's very uncomfortable with some future episodes.

[43] Someone asked her to do the Porky Pig dance and she said she would, but ONLY if we ALL did the dance along with her. She showed us how and we all tried our best. She said that she had an unfortunate experience with being in the costume. The head was made of Porcelain and during one performance, it broke and started spinning around like The Exorcist and that the children were mortified!!! Everyone laughed!!! At this point, one of the Creation guys said that Renee had a phone call and that they were trying to fix it so that we could hear the call over the loud speaker. A voice came over the loud speaker and said in a NY accent, "This is your mother". Then the Xena war cry was heard and the entire audience erupted in applause!!! It was Lucy!!! She asked Renee when she'd be coming, to this Renee said, "Very soon ..This week". Lucy then said, "Tuesday, right?" Renee said, "Thanks a lot Lucy!" Lucy made a comment for everybody to be quiet as she's trying to talk to her friend. Lucy said, "Now, don't hate anybody during the China episode." She said, "Well, Ren I got to go, but wanted call to wish you luck". everyone cheered and said "Bye Lucy"!!!

[44] Renee started taking questions again and was asked about her trip in which she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with MommaROC and that she had an allergic reaction to some medicine to help her with the climb. How did that affect her in the boat scenes? She said that she LOVES boats and has no problem with that. The high altitude affects people in different ways. It can take away your appetite and cause insomnia (as in Renee and MommaROC's case), or it can cause you to have a good appetite and cause you to have wild dreams. Some other travelers would tell of their wild dream while they ate their food. The crowd murmured and Renee said, "You Guys!"

[46] Someone asked about Gabrielle's hair color. She asked the audience, "What am I? I should tell you". Someone yelled out, "Gorgeous!" She said, "Thanks!" and everyone laughed!!! She said she's almost 5'4". Someone asked what Gabrielle's favorite food was. She said apples. Some people yelled out nut bread and cherries. She laughed! She said, "I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but the cherries aren't really cherries. They're grapes with cherry stems in them. That way you don't have to stop to spit out the pit. You're stuck with a mouth full of grapes, but you are able to keep going." Someone asked what her hardest episode was. She says it's coming up and that she didn't agree with Gabrielle's choices. "You have to have a balance in life".

[47] Someone asked if Gabrielle had a crush on Joxer. To this, Ted peeked out yet again from the curtain. She said that Gabrielle has a plate full. Ted agreed that Joxer definitely has a crush on Gabrielle and wouldn't dare to think of Xena!!!

[48] Renee said that she fell into acting by doing a church play. She loves Shakespeare and poetry. Somebody mentioned the term "Good On Ya". She laughed and said, "Yeah, Good On Ya". Her favorite episodes are "A Day in the Life" and the upcoming episode "Been There Done That". She said that this episode is "Very fun". She was born in Katy, Texas. To the question on what's it like to be Xena's sidekick, she said, "Tiring!" Lucy calls her 'Gabrielle the pack horse'. If anything has to be carried, she says, "Give it to Gabrielle". Someone asked if she was intimidated the first time she met Lucy. She said that the first time they met was in LA and that she wasn't. Someone asked her to sing the Joxer song. She said she would, but only if Ted came out and helped her.

[49] A little boy dressed to look like Strife came up to the microphone. Renee said, "Look at you, you're spunky." A mother commended her for being a good role model for her eight year old daughter who was there. A five year old boy wanted to give her the flowers he picked out for her. Everyone cheered so that he could give them to her on stage. It looked like she really enjoyed herself and had A LOT fun with the kids!!!

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