Whoosh! Issue 57 - June 2001


By V. Anderson
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
4438 words

DAY 1 (05-21)
     Settling In (05-10)
     Robert Trebor (11-12)
     Hudson Leick (13-16)
     Zoe Bell and Paul Grinder (17)
     Karl Urban (18-19)
     Bruce Campbell (20-21)
DAY 2 (22-35)
     Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee (22-24)
     Tim Omundson (25-26)
     Auction (27)
     Claire Stansfield (28- 30)
     Alexandra Tydings (31- 33)
     Ted Raimi (34-35)
DAY 3 (36-46)
     Those Others (36-38)
     Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor (39-45)
     That's All Folks (46)



Click here to spend money!

Creation Entertainment is THE leader of Xena live entertainment

[01] A year ago I was innocently surfing through the Creation Entertainment Web site, checking out the new Xena merchandise, and having a lovely time. In the privacy of my own home I can let my obsession for all things Xena hang out and no one is the wiser. Look, a new mug. Nice likeness. 2001 calendar? I am ordering that pup. Should I join the photo club? Hmmm, I don't know. Oh well, time to head to Lunacy's site and see if there is anything new posted.

[02] However, before I could jet, I saw it! Pasadena Convention May 2001, Renee O'Connor and Lucy Lawless were scheduled to appear. Renee AND Lucy. Whoo hoo! Chance of a lifetime. I have got to go! Where is the order form? Where is my credit card? I'll need a plane ticket, rental car, new shoes and a map of Pasadena.

[03] Even with a year to prepare, walking up to my first convention was a bit like sacrificing my virginity to the volcano gods. I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I had read about the conventions, but I had never been to one. Few people even know I am as obsessed with the show as I am. Few people I know even like the show at all (and I still associate with them, although I am not sure why). Until Pasadena, I kept my Xena/Gabrielle obsession firmly locked in the closet.

[04] I stood at the doorway to the Pasadena Convention Center, and watched as hundreds of women like me crossed the threshold into no man's land (so to speak). It was GREAT! All these people love Xena! All these people have bought T-shirts, mugs, posters, pictures, shot glasses, and action figures! All these people can speak intelligently about who is the better villain: Alti or Callisto! Come on in! The lava's fine!


Settling In

No ticket, no admittance!

The spirit of Evil Callisto was felt by many at the Pasadena 2001 Convention

[05] I was thrilled to be there, and the convention did not disappoint. Day One's highlight was undoubtedly Hudson Leick. However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let us go step-by-step, shall we?

[06] I show up at the door, hand over my ticket, and receive a lovely silver wristband. This little beauty lets me in and out the door all three days. Once inside, I can go one of two ways: left toward the vendors or right towards the auditorium. Naturally, I go right because I want to find my seat. Just outside the auditorium doors are Creation Entertainment vendors. They are selling posters, fan club kits, autographed pictures, and other assorted goodies. I already have all the kits, so I peruse the autographs. Hmmm. Lucy AND Renee for 400 bucks? Lucy for 300? Renee for 200? Wait! Why does Renee rate only 200 bucks? That is just not right. I want all of them, but [07] I knew if I returned $900 poorer, I was gonna be sleeping on the couch for a while (my honey does not share my fascination with the show. And still I love her, although I am not sure why). So, I head to the posters. High quality images, cool! Both sets of abs showing, very nice. Bonus: cute woman behind the counter, "I'll take those three."

[08] I saunter into the auditorium. It is huge. I find my seat, AA37. Not a bad spot. But as it turned out, my photos were crappy. I had high- speed film, but my camera is auto focus, so the heads of the people in front of me look great. The stage is just a bit fuzzy.

[09] There I go, digressing again. I realize after I have been sitting in my seat a while that no one will be on stage for another two hours. I was just a little excited and got there a wee bit early. Wait! I just dropped 30 bucks on posters and I forgot there are more vendors across the way. Oops.

[10] With two hours to kill, I head to the vendors. Items for purchase included Star Trek stuff (not even), some fairly realistic weapons I just knew I would never get back on the plane, lots of scripts with photos (I gave this some thought, then declined), miscellaneous Xena items that I would have no place to store, and two very long tables full of photos from the show. Since I knew Hudson Leick was signing autographs on Sunday, I bought an 11x17 photo of her in traditional Callisto drag, a photo of Lucy Lawless from WHEN FATES COLLIDE (130/618) (I just love that costume), and a photo of Renee O'Connor in the season 5 costume. I was quite proud of myself for not succumbing to temptation and running up my credit card. I must remember to tell my sweetie when I call her.

Robert Trebor

That MAC chick isn't going to throw a hammer at me, is she?

Robert Trebor and Big Brother
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[11] I returned to the auditorium in time for Robert Trebor. Seems he is quite popular with fans. Not my personal fave though. He told a story about one of the first shows he did with Lucy Lawless. Some Hercules thing when they were still making TV movies. Apparently, all SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) actors get a trailer to live/work from as a standard part of their contract. Mr. Trebor had one, but Lucy was not a SAG member at the time. He saw her walking by, shivering in the cold weather, and "graciously" invited her into his trailer since she was wearing next to nothing. She "graciously" declined.

[12] He then told a story about the first time he met Renee when she was playing Princess Deianeira in Hercules and the Lost Kingdom. The main gist of that story was that she was very young at the time. He also mentioned that he was talking with Missy Good about the possibility of working on the TV version of Tropical Storm. If those folks do manage to get that pup (no pun intended; ok, maybe a little one -- you mer-people know who you are) off the ground, I would be interested to see who gets cast as Dar and Kerry (wouldn't we all!). I honestly do not remember anything else he said that was of interest. Sorry.

Hudson Leick

I'm not Alice, and this ain't Wonderland!

Hudson Leick in vinyl
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[13] Next up was Hudson Leick. She sauntered out in a fabulous red vinyl dress and had a long blonde hairpiece. At one point during her Q&A, she grabbed a huge (and I mean huge) bowl of Hershey's kisses and started throwing them into the audience. I am sure the Creation people were not very happy because she went out into the audience, with no protection from us rabid fans. I personally managed to scrounge three kisses. I have not eaten them, but they did melt slightly in my fanny pack on the plane ride back. I cannot really frame them, so I am not sure what to do. Maybe drag the wrappers to the next convention and force Hudson to sign them? You think I am joking. OK, I am, but do not tell Hudson's fan club.

[14] As for her stage presence, she is one of the most gracious, funny, charming, silly, and personable people I have ever seen on stage. That woman can work a crowd. She auctioned her dress for The James Ellis Foundation. Got 5000 bucks for it. She called the winning bidder up on stage and gave him a kiss and hug. Never in my life have I wished that hard for a spare $5200 (ha)!

[15] Interestingly enough (or maybe not, but I am gonna tell you anyway), I sat next to the gentleman who bought it on the plane home. He spotted the tube I had to carry my Xena posters as I put it in the overhead compartment, took a chance, and yelled out to me, "Hey, Xena fan!" I turned and recognized him from the bidding. We sat next to each other all the way back to Austin, and had a great conversation about the show, how cool Hudson is, and our favorite episodes. He offered to have the dress framed, then auctioned off at the next convention (Orlando) with a minimum starting bid $1000 over his bid. Cool, huh?

[16] Where was I? Ah yes, Hudson. She seemed genuinely touched by the adoration of her fans. Here is what I remember from the Q&A. As she has said before, she hated having to play Xena in season two. She and Lucy are two different body types, and she found it very challenging to "become" Lucy/Xena. She was not too keen on playing the angel in season five because bad chicks are way more fun. She loved playing the devil in FALLEN ANGEL (91/501). Both of her parents came on stage and her mom sang a quick song. She told us to be thankful she took the microphone away because her mom would have kept going. She also said, "Now you know why I didn't actually sing in the musical."

We actually sent away for her from a cereal boxtop

Hudson Leick and her patient and proud parents
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

Zoe Bell and Paul Grinder

Rehearsing for a part in an artsy French flick

Zoe Bell breaking the news to the crowd that she is not Xena, she just pretends to be when Xena needs to be roughed up.
(photo by Lida Verner)

[17] Next on stage were Xena's stunt double, Zoe Bell, and the 2nd unit director, Paul Grinder. They did some cool stunt stuff with swords and members of the audience. If you have seen the "Who's Gurkhan" documentary from the Xena Fan Club Kit #4, Zoe is the stuntwoman that Renee O'Connor beats the crap out of in the harem. Man-o-man, she can "sell" a punch! She is hot to boot. Okay, I will try to refrain from objectification of the actors and their stunt doubles, but it will not be easy.

One way to get a souvenir without paying for it

Hey! Who gave this member of the audience a weapon?
(photo by Lida Verner)

Karl Urban

Don't you think I look a lot like Caesar?

Karl Urban first appeared in the Xenaverse as Mael in ALTARED STATES

[18] Karl Urban was next. He wore a goofy leather hat and socks without shoes. Very casual. He too has a number of female fans that swooned over his every word. He had autographed posters from the movie he did with Danielle Cormack, The Price of Milk. They were given to the two people who asked the most original questions. For the life of me, I cannot remember what the questions were.

[19] The best story he told was from the DESTINY (36/212) episode. He was 24 years old, a young thing, and he said, "Here's this 'goddess' crawling panther-like at me across the bed, and all I can do is this." He proceeded to display a blank, open-mouthed stare. "Then," he said, "my contact slipped and I couldn't see a d*mn thing." Lucy had hysterics watching him try to get his contact back in place using only his facial muscles so as not, to ruin the scene.

Bruce Campbell

Is this a luau or am I just the ham?

Bruce Campbell dressed up in his Hawaiian best
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[20] Last, but not least, came Bruce Campbell. He is HILARIOUS. The man should seriously consider doing stand up. He was promoting his book, and I was disappointed he did not have copies for sale at the convention. He will, however, be doing a book signing in Austin, as well as premiering his documentary, Fanalysis, at a local movie house. You can bet I will be there. Check his web site to see if he is coming to your town on his book tour: http://www.brucecampbellbook.com. He made all of us stand up and take an oath that we would buy the book. I have to do what he says, right?

[21] Talking about Xena specifically, he mentioned that during the kiss in THE QUEST (37/213) he kept "accidentally" removing his hands from Renee O'Connor's b*tt, and had to shoot the scene repeatedly. Naturally, I doubt he was quite that lecherous, but he did say she has "buns of steel".


Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee

So, like, you know, I says to Xena, like, you know...

Adrienne Wilkinson addressing the masses
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[22] I did not get there quite so early on day two. In fact, I completely missed the video introduction for Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee. I did get there in time to see them waltz on stage together.

[23] If you have ever been to my web site ( http://www.geocities.com/vandersonsc), you know my opinion of the character "Eve", which is not so hot. I was fully prepared to equate Eve with Adrienne. What an idiot I am. Of course, she is nothing like the character she portrays. She was sweet and thoughtful in her responses to fan questions. She seemed to adore Renee (what is not to adore?) and sang high praises for Renee's professionalism and support on set. She liked playing Livia much better than Eve (yes, we liked Livia better too).

[24] Greg had blonde streaks in his long-ish hair, and looked much more like the character he plays on Dark Angel than Virgil. He seemed very nervous on stage and a bit unsure. I think also the number of people who wanted to take his picture surprised him. Hey Greg! Note for you: you are a cutie pie, so deal with it! Without provocation, he said three or four times that he does not hate Adrienne for "killing his father" and that they are the best of friends. Think he has gotten that question a few dozen times at the conventions?

Duran Duran's younger brother

William Gregory Lee, taking a break from Dark Angel
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

Tim Omundson

Duran Duran's older brother

Tim Omundson, what a dresser!
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[25] Tim Omundson was next onstage, and he was hilarious! He does not look a thing like Eli in real life. He gave the impression that he got sick of being a goody-two-shoes. In fact, he got up on stage, and said "Hi, I'm Tim Omundson and I play Eli. For those of you who don't recognize me, here's a sample of my character." He then proceeded to whine out several times, "No, don't, stop fighting. Put your weapons down. Stop fighting." The last words accompanied by a petulant foot stomp.

[26] I left at that point to go to the bathroom. "Renting" those $5 beers (yes, they were 5 bucks, highway robbery, but I hate Pepsi, and that is all they had at the convention center) took its toll.


I wonder how much this will go for with my lip prints on it?

Chakram stock went up that weekend

[27] I came back in time for the auction. Those gold seat people had some moola! I am sure you have heard by now that Xena's new chakram went for $40,000. This is not an error. I did not add too many zeros. Forty thousand dollars. I am glad it went for a very worthy cause. They also auctioned a foam Ares sword (I think it went for 3 or 4,000 dollars), an aluminum Amazon sword ($7,000) and various autographs and props.

Claire Stansfield

So I ****ing said **** you to the whole ****ing bunch of those ****ing 

Does any one have any soap?
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[28] Claire was next up on stage. Needless to say, she is quite tall and breathtakingly gorgeous. She said that the Creation folks had set some ground rules, like no cussing. Then she said, "F*** 'em" and swore several more times during her chat. She also called the woman up on stage that paid the 40K for the chakram, and thanked her by planting a big kiss on her lips. The crowd went wild and green with envy all at the same time.

[29] Claire's real voice is nothing like Alti's. She said she borrowed the gravelly voice from the wicked witch of the west who was the "scariest villain ever." She favored us with everyone's favorite line, "I've always wanted to be inside you, Xena." She also said she and Lucy were flabbergasted when they read that line for the first time. "We thought, 'Are they serious?'"

[30] When asked if she and Lucy were still playing golf together, she said neither of them is very good, so they usually opt to go shopping instead. She expressed her thanks to the fans for their generosity and affection. She also said that until she was on Xena, she had never been terrifically comfortable in her body. To paraphrase, the first day of shooting ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I (69/401), she thought Lucy Lawless could see how uncomfortable she was becoming in her costume, and interacting as Alti. Lucy came over to her and gave her the advice to just go for it and get into the spirit of it. As she grew more comfortable as Alti, she grew more comfortable with herself, and learned to appreciate her strength and her height.

Alexandra Tydings

Like, this is soooo tubular!

She wanted to swear but Claire had used up all the good words, so she settled for reptile anecdotes
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[31] Alexandra Tydings was a hoot, and she jumped on stage after Claire. After seeing Claire, who is this stunningly voluptuous woman, and knowing just how Alex looks in her Aphrodite costume, which is also stunningly voluptuous, I was quite surprised by the real thing. Do not get me wrong, Alex is gorgeous, and I will be joining her fan club because she was just that much fun on stage. But I have to say, those casting people make the most interesting choices when filling roles on the show. With the exception of height, Claire seems the exact opposite of Alti and Alex is not as formidable as I would have pictured the Goddess of Love. Anyway, just my two cents.

[32] Alex also expressed her thanks to the Xena fans, as well as tooted Renee's horn as a very cool person. She said when she first got the script for Hercules, she could not figure out why Aphrodite talked the way she did ("Tubular!") because she thought Hercules was a drama. Her agent told her to go with it, and she said she was glad she did. She also said she knew Kevin Sorbo before the shoot, and he was directing that particular show, so she was very comfortable.

[33] She told a very lengthy, but funny, story about filming Sheena. I cannot remember the character she plays, but she had a dangerous scene with a cobra that wanted to give her a 'love bite'. If it was not for the plexiglass between her and the snake, she would have been bitten a couple of times.

Ted Raimi

Um, which way is the restroom?

The one, the only, the Tedster!
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[34] Last, but not least, on day two was Ted Raimi. I always thought he affected that pigeon-toed walk because Joxer is such a goof and uncoordinated, but he really walks that way. Personally, I think it is adorable. He was asked to sing the Joxer song, and asked some fans to come onto the stage to sing it with him. He was surprised when so many people wanted to give him hugs, but he graciously complied. After the song was finished, he asked two Xena/Gabrielle look-a-likes (in costume) to stay on stage. One of them (Xena) was six years old and the other (Gabrielle) was five. The Xena-child professed to knowing all the words to the Xena theme song, then sang them. The kid was great!

[35] No offense to Ted or any of his fans, but I left a bit early in the middle of his spiel. I had to meet my parents for dinner, so sue me.


Those Others

I don't have any other children -- well, none that I know 

Darian Takle, chanteuse
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[36] Finally, it was here! The day I had been waiting for! Renee O'Connor and Lucy Lawless together on stage! I admit, I waited very impatiently for them to take the stage. Okay, a brief description of the others on stage because I am trying to cover the whole conference.

[37] Missy Good was unassuming and droll, and seemed a bit bemused at the amount of attention she was getting. Ebonie Smith was full of energy and seemed very sweet. She said that she is eventually leaving acting for a medical degree and will soon be Dr. Smith. Tsianina Joelson was cute and did a routine from her part in Bring It On. She also said it took all day to film the fight sequence with Renee in PATH OF VENGEANCE (126/614) and that Renee is a great help in fight scenes.

[38] Darien Takle was very charming, and an excellent singer, who favored us with a rendition of a French song, the name of which escapes me now. You would know it if you heard it. Xena film editor, Rob Field, brought tapes with a six-season retrospective and the infamous bloopers. I do not remember what all was on the tape, order the fan club kit in the fall if you want to know.

Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor

But which one has more sensible shoes?

The Lucy and Renee Show

[39] Finally, it was time for Renee and Lucy to appear. Renee came out first to thunderous applause. As I am sure you have seen from pictures on the web, she was wearing a light blue, sheer blouse, and black pants. Although she is five months pregnant, it is not that evident. Once the crowd simmered down, and she was able to get a word in edge-wise, they cued up some music for her, and she started to sing "Last Dance". She did well until the point where the song goes "oh, oh I need you, by me, beside me to guide me" then she could not quite hit the notes, and did a cute little squeak at goofing up. That was okay, because at that point Lucy Lawless started singing the next verse from off stage. The crowd went crazy again, and she came out on stage wearing the outfit she wore for her cameo in Spider-Man. If you have not seen the pictures, it is a one sleeve (yes, one torn sleeve) dark gray shirt with skull and cross bones on the front, red plaid pseudo-capri pants, and big black Doc Martins with spikes. Definitely a departure from her Xena costume, or then again, maybe not.

[40] About a month ago, Sharon Delany, the person at Creation Entertainment responsible for the Official Xena/Hercules fan clubs, sent an e-mail to a few mailing lists soliciting questions for Renee and Lucy. She would then ask these questions at the convention. I did not respond to the e-mail, but she had a few zillion people who did, and she managed to squeeze in somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 questions in two hours.

[41] When asked whether either of them had any future projects coming up, Renee pointed to her belly and said, "Yes" which drew a huge laugh from the crowd. Lucy mentioned Spider-Man and that she was currently loving her freedom and being able to set her own schedule. They discussed their different acting styles. Lucy joked that Renee will not let her read lines with her. Renee has a completely different acting process than Lucy and first reads a script "flat" without any inflection to get only a sense for the words. When Renee has requested that Lucy read "flat" Lucy has replied, "There is no room for flat in my process." They both laughed about this.

[42] No one would answer whether a Xena movie is really in the works, but Lucy did say it probably would not be for another five years or so if ever. When not speaking, Lucy would walk back into the shadows on stage, cross her arms, and put her head down. Not sure why. Shy? Did not want to upstage Renee? Tired? Who knows? She did it consistently though, so I do not think it was an accident.

[43] They both agreed that they and the show's producers never wanted the subtext to become a "dirty little joke". They tried to address the issue as honestly as possible. The interaction between the two characters was always viewed from a position of love.

[44] Renee said when she was first cast in the role of Gabrielle, she never thought she would be on the show longer than a year. She anticipated she would be killed. She said she grew up on the show much like Gabrielle had, and that she was glad she had such an opportunity in her 20s to discover who she is as a person. Sharon talked about how Renee packed up everything and moved to a foreign country to take the role of Gabrielle. She then asked Lucy if the reverse had been true, if she had been asked to move to the US to take the role of Xena, would she have done so. Lucy replied that at the time she would have done anything that did not require nudity, but that Xena was really the role of a lifetime, so, yes, she would have moved.

[45] Lucy said she took her costume and the original chakram when she left the show. Renee said she took something too, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what it was. I know they both said more over the two hours, but I have a memory like a sieve, so it has all lost until they release the video. Creation cranked up the music, and Lucy and Renee sang another duet of "Last Dance". Very cool. At the very end, as they were saying goodbye, Rob Tapert came on from backstage, and then the rest of the cast joined them in a farewell wave.

That's All Folks

[46] I must say, I could have actually wept. My favorite television show has finished filming, and the convention will certainly be the last time all of these people are in the same place at one time ever again. In all seriousness, this show has meant more to me than I can express. It was my saving grace through a devastating relationship breakup. It has inspired me to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. Goodbye to everyone at Xena and thank you for six fabulous years!


V. Anderson V. Anderson

V. Anderson is a Web developer living and working in Austin, Texas. She and her partner of 3 years have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and do not want any more, thank you very much. When not watching Xena, she likes to write, develop black and white photographs, and fix up her new house.
Favorite line: I couldn't pick just one, but I laugh out loud every time I hear this: Gabrielle: "Xena, this was our only frying pan. Why do you do that?! You do have weapons, don't you?" Xena: "I like to be creative in a fight. It gets my juices going." Gabrielle: "Can we cook with your juices?" A DAY IN THE LIFE
First episode seen: CRADLE OF HOPE
Least favorite episode: CHARIOTS OF WAR; FORGIVEN

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