Whoosh! Issue 57 - June 2001

By Jodi Walton
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
18500 words

Page Four

Robert Trebor

Brother, can you spare a dinar?

Robert Trebor, an entertaining guy
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[95] After things settled down a bit, Claire came back on stage and the cheering started up again. She let things wind down and announced Robert Trebor and then exited the stage taking the binders with her. Robert came out and talked a bit about the depression and then started singing "Brother Can You Spare a Dime". He has a very good voice and certainly knows how to perform. He followed that up with "The Useless Song" and then wrapped it up with a great rendition of "If I Were A Rich Man".

Tim Omundson

Joe Piscopo stand-in

Tim Omundson, a regular guy
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[96] Alex and Claire came back on together to introduce Tim Omundson. He came out and did a great job with "Minnie the Moocher" (with the audience joining in on the chorus), "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", and "One for My Baby". The songs suited his voice and style. He wrapped it up with "Mack the Knife".

Karl Urban

Why grunge died

Karl Urban, just a guy
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[97] Alex then introduced Karl Urban. After stating that he could not sing very well, he proceeded to pretty much butcher "Help" and "Ticket to Ride". He had another song listed but apparently decided that enough was enough. You have to give him credit for enthusiasm, but he did not seem to be very in tune with his audience. He changed the lyrics to "Ticket To Ride" from "She's got a ticket to ride" to "Xena's got a p*ssy to ride". It did not appear to go over that well.

Ted Raimi

Doing his Jacques Seur impression

The suave and sophisticated Ted Raimi
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[98] After that, Claire introduced Ted Raimi, who came on stage looking very dapper in his suit. Ted did a great job with his songs, singing "Moonlight Becomes You", "Evening in Rome", "Shakes Hands With Your Uncle", and "Return to Me". Then he called Tim back on stage and they did a great rendition of "Papa Loves Mambo" together. After that everyone came back on stage for their final bows. Alex and Claire of course got the biggest cheers.


[99] I have to say that I would not have wanted to be the guys following their act, since everything after them seemed almost anti-climactic. But since they were playing the hosts for the evening, I suspect they moved their act to the front so they would not give away what they were up to by appearing in their outfits before their time on stage. Overall, it was a great evening and definitely something that everyone was buzzing about afterwards.


Missy Good

Who am I and why am I here?

Missy Good addressing the masses
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[100] Sharon Delaney started by answering a few questions from the audience and getting the sound check taken care of. Then she called Missy Good to the stage. Missy came out to raucous applause and cheering from the fans. She started by saying that in the past she was not the type to be a fan of anything, but something about the show touched her creative engine and she could not stop writing. She said that obviously it has had the same effect on other people.

[101] Then she stated that the Xena fandom was one of the most giving and loving fandoms on the face of the earth. She talked about Sword and Staff (http://www.sword-and-staff.com) and how they had recently reached their $250,000 mark in raising money for various charitable efforts. Then Missy brought Deborah Cassetta (Mist) on stage to talk about it. Deborah said that with the events that had happened at the convention, they had reached $284,000 [as of May 17, 2001, the total was $306,859]. This generated much applause from the audience.

Rehearsing the Lucy and Renee appearance

Missy Good with Sword and Staff spokesmodel, Debbie Cassetta
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[102] After Deborah left the stage, Missy was asked if it was difficult to write the characters of Xena and Gabrielle. She said "hearing the character's voices isn't the problem. Getting them to shut up is." Then she was asked what it was like to meet Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. She said that Lucy and Renee are both wonderful and gracious people. She also said that it never occurred to her that she would end up on a Creation stage as a Xena writer.

[103] She was asked about whether she was going to give up her day job. She said no, and in fact, she had been paged right before she had to come on stage that day. She always gets paged while on vacation.

[104] She was asked who her favorite author is, and she replied, "Lois McMaster Bujold". She said her love of writing did not show up until she saw THE QUEST (37/213) and just had to write about the characters.

[105] Someone asked her if everything we saw in LEGACY (117/605) was as she had written it. She said that she had originally intended for Gabrielle to be drawn and quartered, but they decided to change that to the polo match with Gabrielle's head instead. She talked about how going to New Zealand was difficult for her. She panicked right before she got on the plane and called Kym Taborn. Kym told her not to worry and that she would be brain dead after the 12-hour flight and it would not be a problem. When she got there, she found that Kym was right. She said that New Zealand is filled with friendly people and is very beautiful.

[106] Missy then talked about how she used to run screaming from the room when her roommate had Xena on. Then one day, she was doing some work on a rail and had gloves on and could not reach the TV to change it when the show came on. That was the day that she saw THE QUEST (37/213) and realized that there was something very different going on with the show. She has been hooked ever since.

[107] Missy was asked what tips she could give to writers. She said to write what you know and love, and to write from the heart. She also said not to expect things to happen the way they did to her because the course she took was definitely the wrong one. She said you need to join the Writer's Guild, get an agent, and go through the proper channels. How she ended up writing on the show is just not the way it is usually done.

[108] Missy was asked whether she got a chance to see the cabaret the night before. She said she had been contacted by the participants and asked if she had suggestions for source material. She directed them to Lunacy's site. They gave it their highest recommendation. Missy then said that she did not get to see the Cabaret performance because she had given her seat to one of the authors so they could see their work performed.

[109] Someone asked Missy how she got the writing gig on the show. She said she received a number of e-mails from Steven Sears one day asking her to get in touch with him. She figured he had some question to ask her about his computer. Once she got in touch with Steven, he asked her if she wanted to write a script for the show. After getting over her shock, she said yes, and he hooked her up with Rob Tapert. Then she said that when Steven left the show he retired his fedora hat and gave it to her. She did not realize what a big deal that was until she mentioned it to the writer's staff and they were all impressed.

[110] Then she acknowledged Lunacy at one of the microphones. Lunacy wanted to know when she was going to write the Conqueror story she kept promising to do. Missy said she would see what she could do about it. After that she called Steven Sears on stage with her.

Steven Sears

Hey!  Who let that SHEENA guy in?

Steve Sears making an unscheduled appearance
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[111] Steven came out to cheers from the audience. He admitted that he has not kept up with the show because he has been busy with another series [Sheena], but he was not going to mention the name. He realized how out of touch he was with the show when he was having lunch with Ted Raimi a while back. He asked Ted when he was going to be back on the show and Ted said he probably would not return because he was dead. Steven laughed and said that dead does not mean diddly in the Xenaverse. But Ted corrected him and said that he was dead, dead, dead. After they got that settled, Steven asked him how he died and Ted told him that Xena's daughter had killed him. That brought Steven up short. It brought home how much he had missed on the series. Finally, he started musing on the name of Xena and where it had come from. This eventually turned into a little plug for Sheena, after which he and Missy left the stage.

Ebonie Smith

You cannot exorcise *me*!

Ebonie Smith, bitten by the medical bug
(photo by Lida Verner)

[112] Next up was the Mentor's video. The song was "Thank You", but not the song by Dido. It sounded more like something Jewel would have sung. At any rate, once that was done, Ebonie Smith came on-stage. She commented that she always wants to cry when she sees that video. It is very well done and a tribute to both M'Lila and Lao Ma. The first thing she was asked was whether she had developed any kind of a backstory for M'Lila. She said that she had envisioned her character as someone who had a sort of sixth sense since she was very young. She thought of M'Lila as an ethereal creature who had never really fit in, but was sure she had a purpose to fulfill in her lifetime. Once she was on Xena's ship, she realized that her purpose was to help Xena turn to the good. This was why she taught Xena all of those skills. She also felt that she would always be able to reach Xena spiritually.

[113] Ebonie was asked about how she selects roles. She said she feels very strongly that she wants to play characters that have a positive impact. Not that she is looking to turn work down, but she will not play a role that is completely negative.

[114] Someone then commented that because of DESTINY (36/212), they were learning Gaelic and asked if she had spoken Gaelic before the episode. She said that she was actually coached on how to speak the Gaelic lines. The producers of the show were very aware that they could not get away with her speaking gibberish, so they made sure that she was legitimately using the language.

[115] Ebonie told us that she had started off taking voice and acting lessons when she was very young. However, last year was the first time in a long time that she had sung in front of an audience. Then Ebonie said that she has decided she wants to change her career and hoped that we would be as supportive of her with her new direction as we have been with her acting career. She said that she has decided to enter medical school and become a doctor. She will still take parts, but will be focusing on that goal in the future.

[116] Next she commented that she had not understood the magnitude of the fan following when she joined the cast of Xena. She said it had been the best production she has ever been involved with. Last year was her first convention and she said that the fan appreciation makes it all worthwhile.

[117] She was asked if she had seen the show before she got the part. She said she had seen it a couple of times, and her father was a huge fan. He filled her in on the show. After she did her role, she started telling all her friends to watch.

[118] Then she was asked what the shoot was like. She said it was during June, which is winter in New Zealand, since the seasons are reversed down there. It was very cold, and they were always trying not to freeze, while staying in character. Overall, it was very challenging. She also said she was taught how to do the pinch, so that it would match up with how Xena had done it before. Finally, she stated that she did not know what she would be doing next, but she is ready for whatever comes her way.

Tsianina Joelson

Alex Tydings impressions

Tsianina Joelson before she disrobed
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[119] Next up was the Varia video which was done to "Love is a Battlefield". Then, Tsianina came on-stage. Before she came out, Sharon Delaney explained that her name was pronounced "Chianina" so we would be addressing her properly. Tsianina was quite overwhelmed by the crowd since this was her first convention experience. She mentioned that the first thing she had done that morning was dump coffee on herself. She hoped we could not see it.

[120] She was asked how she liked being on the show. She said it was fun because she got to be tough and fight like crazy. She is very competitive and that fit her character well. She was also asked if she had any experience with martial arts. She stated that most of her background is in dance, but her sister is a martial artist and taught her some moves.

[121] She was asked what her favorite fight was. She said it was the one between her and Gabrielle. They did not use the doubles much, so they had to do most of it. Someone then asked her what she thought of her costume. She commented that the loincloth seemed to shrink in every episode. (I think there is a pattern in how the costume department works.) They had to use sticky tape to keep it in place.

[122] Then someone asked her to do a cheer from Bring It On. She said she could not remember the moves but she could do the words, so she did. Then she went back to talking about her experience on Xena. She said she had been stoked to get the part and that it had been a great experience for her. This was the first tough girl character she had gotten to play. She said she had learned a lot and it had helped make her a more rounded actor.

[123] She was asked whether she had been cast for all of the episodes to begin with. She said she had only been cast in COMING HOME (113/601) and DANGEROUS PREY (123/611) and that the other episodes had been offered to her later. She also said that she enjoys dancing but now she wants to focus on acting. After doing Xena, she would love to do other action roles.

[124] Someone asked what it was like to be in New Zealand. She said they were on the set for 12 hours a day and they put her up in a beautiful hotel. It was a lovely time.

[125] She was asked what else we could look forward to seeing her in. She mentioned that she had just finished shooting American Pie 2. She will not be in any more Xena episodes, however.

[126] Then she was asked what it was like to be on the set. She said the first day is hectic because you get there and there are fittings, stunt rehearsal, makeup, and lighting to figure out. She was nervous to meet Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, but she said they were both so sweet and helpful that it was easy to relax with them. She said they helped her with how to block for TV so you will always look good for the cameras, and they are both wonderful. She also commented that Renee was awesome as a director. Really good, patient, and kind with her.

[127] She mentioned that she had seen Xena a couple of times before she got the part. However, she does not usually watch TV so she had not seen it often.

[128] Someone asked her how she got into such great shape. She said she used to do fitness competitions. Now she does yoga and some weightlifting. She said the key is to focus on the part of the body you are working on. Think of the muscle as you are using it. Then someone asked her to flex for us. After giggling a bit, she took off her jacket and did some flexing on stage for us. She is in great shape and we all had a lot of fun appreciating her finely sculpted muscles.

Kevin Sorbo impressions

Tsianina Joelson, flexing
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

Charity Auction

Proposed new road sign -- 'Warlords ahead'

The Xenaversity banner
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)

[129] After Tsianina left the stage, they set up for the charity auction. I took a break at that point. When I came back, they were just wrapping it up having raised another bucket of money for charity. They ended up the auction with the Xenaversity banner that went for $13,000.

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