Curve, March 1998 Vol. 8 #1

Xena Mania

It's the first Tuesday of the month and Meow Mix, a bar in New York
City's East Village, is packed. Baby dykes with dog collars and
40-somethings clad in jeans and flannel enter the bar, along with
several Xena look-alikes wielding toy swords. There is anticipation
in the air, as the crowd awaits its weekly dose of feminism-meets-
ancient-Greek-culture, with a tinge of subversive girl-bonding

That's right, it's Xena Night, one of the most popular events at
an already-trendy dyke hangout. Three episodes of 'Xena: The Warrior
Princess are shown back to back, commercial-free, while drag king
Lizerace hosts the night's events.
Elizabeth, a 22-year-old student, has fond memories of the
night the famous "kiss episode aired. "There was this tremendous
rumbling, a noise of approval, when Xena kissed Gabrielle," she
says. "But Xena suddenly became a man. We all moaned, then
everyone started shouting Rewind!"
But the onscreen events are not always the most provocative
part of the evening. "What makes Xena Night so much fun is the
audience participation," says 24-year-old Tara Rodgers. "The most
essential part of the Xena Night experience is whooping it up in a
mosh pit of strangers united in the Xena cause."
There's also the occasional Xena (and Gabrielle) look-alike
contest. (who could resist scantily clad women wielding swords?)
As one zealot declares, "Xena has permeated American culture
as a figure of strong womanhood. I'm always looking for an excuse
to 'be Xena' in everyday life." A mock swordfight between audience
members usually wraps up the evening's festivities, leaving satisfied
regulars proudly victorious--or, equally acceptable, well-beaten--by a
real-life Xena of their own.
Last fall, when Lucy Lawless was in town playing Rizzo in the
Broadway production of 'Grease', eyes were glued to the door in
hopes that Xena would actually appear for the event; and appear
she did on at least one night. Lawless told the 'Lesbian News'
that gay women are some of her favorite fans. "They're not
confused about the character," she said. "They don't demand I
be the character. I feel easy in their company."

Written by Pamela Green. Xena Mania, Curve, March 1998 Vol. 8 #1

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