Convention Information

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January 12-14, 2007
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Hilton and Towers
2500 Hollywood Way

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Lucy Lawless
Renee O'Connor
Claire Stansfield
Michael Hurst
Robert Trebor
Adrienne Wilkinson
Jennifer Ward-Lealand
Patrick Fabian
Jay Laga'aia
Brittany Powell
Zoe Bell
Steven L. Sears
Rob Tapert
Liz Friedman






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Claire Con 07

by KT

I was going to write up Rob and Liz next because I always enjoy hearing
what Rob has to say about the show. And I LOVE listening to Liz talk-she's
been a real hilarious highlight for me on the DVD commentary. Then I'd
probably do Steve next, again because he's so interesting and was part of
the show for so long. And then I'd probably start at the beginning and go
through by the schedule. (And finish sometime in 2010 most likely. . .)
But the (n)ever patient Bonnie has requested that someone write up Claire
next. (Good report Jules, by the way!) And the ever praising Bev has also
privately written me that she loves Claire also. So for the Bonzer and the
gentle Bev, here's my report on Claire.

Claire made her first appearance just as the Charity breakfast was ending.
We were just about done and beginning to get ready to leave when a
Creation employee came in the door and announced, "Miss Claire
Stansfield!" She came swooshing in behind him and then immediately grabbed
a chair and climbed up on it so everyone in the hall could see her. And of
course we all screamed with delight to see her again. Except for Jennifer
Ward-Leland who was sitting at our table with us and asked, "who's that?"
(Don't be like that-she never worked with Claire.)

Claire looked absolutely gorgeous! Now this is something I was noticing at
the breakfast. That every single one of these XWP people are getting more
and more beautiful as they grow older. I thought it about Jay and about
Jennifer and about Michael and now about Claire.

These guys just look fabulous. They're like hitting their prime-and they
are all just a visual delight to look at. They're not just beautifully
formed, they've also got lived in faces. These are all people who have
been through life. With its ups and downs. With its real experiences and
its challenges, disappointments and successes. Through relationships,
through friendships, through parenthood. They are vital people. And that
makes them gorgeous in their souls also. They are all people who you look
at and think, "They've got an interesting story to tell." There are real
people looking out from their eyes-not just actors doing a gig.

Okay. Claire at the con.

Claire came out with that big smirky smile of hers plastered on her face.
The hall went wild-we haven't seen Claire for a few years now and she's
always been a fan favorite. When things finally quieted down a bit, Claire
put on her Alti voice and growled deeply at us, "The bitch is back". Which
of course threw us right back into paroxyms of joy. Rocking the house
applause, screams and cheers.

Claire said, "I have missed you guys SO much! I probably would have done
this for free." It was a pretty mutual feeling-I heard scads of people
talking about how jazzed they were that Claire was back at the con again.
Claire has been part of so many cons and has her own distinct place she's
carved out in them. Everyone has a different presentation when they get up
on stage in front of us. They are all every individual and very specific
in how they present themselves to us. It's really cool that we get such
diversity. The fact that they're not just all the same springs from their
own characters. It never seems like they're creating the role of a con
performer. It always feels like they're just hanging out with us, even if
they are on a stage and we are in the audience.

And people that do the cons regularly, like Hudson and Danielle and Claire
and Michael Hurst (and now Jennifer Ward-Leland) and Adrienne--they are
totally comfortable and yeah, "in the zone" of the con. And it always
seems to me to that it's a mix of a private and a public persona. Of
course they are on stage. But yet it's like being onstage in front of a
bunch of well, not exactly personal friends, but people closer than just
the general, generic public. Over the years we've carved out bonds of
affection with the actual person, not just the character they played. So a
con has an atmosphere kind of halfway between an extended family reunion
and a school play. It's a performance and yet it's a performance where the
audience REALLY likes you and not only wants you to do well, but every
little thing you do they will wildly appreciate and applaud madly for. It
feels that these stars are not there just to entertain us, they also like
us and so they also share their lives with us. Sometimes on a very
personal level.

Back to Claire! She said, "Of all the things that I've done, conventions
were the best f*cking part of my career. You can do 'Vagina Monologues' on
Broadway for 400 people. I did it for over 4,000 Xena fans."

She brought up how she made those doll movies using XWP dollies and I
think it was the dollie of an actress from Babylon Five. They were really
funny-she showed them at the con and I think Xenaversity (maybe it was
Xenaversity) was selling them for charity.

She said how she had sequed into various things as a result of her
appearances on Xena. "And you supported me in them all."

She talked about how when she decided she wanted to get pregnant, she
realized that there weren't a lot of good-fitting, comfortable clothes.
That clothes are all made for people like Brittany Spears. Those who have
abs and want to show them off. She wanted to make comfortable shirts for
bigger women. "Every penny I made from cons I put into my business." She
said something about trying to make clothes for her Barbie who was trying
to get pregnant.

"My trying to get you into my story, to come up with a monologue to engage
you-it prepared me to sell my company. I had learned on these stages how
to make people laugh. How to cut through the corporate bullsh*t. I now
know why I did this."

She told us she now has a child, a son named Lucky. Lucky Speals. (That's
what his last name sounded like to me anyway.) "He has his daddy's name.
Well, I THINK that's his daddy." As Claire talked a baby began to cry in
the audience. Claire looked over and immediately said to the mom, "I have
some breast milk if you need it." When the laughter died down she said, "I
figure I'll be breast feeding Lucky until he goes to college. He's 19
months old now." Then she looked at us and said, "Well that was

She talked about how once she and her business partner sold their business
to Liz Claiborne, that they were included in the package, so now she's
part of the corporate world. "I was an employee. I had a number. I got the
sexual harrassment handbook." She was hilarious talking about how
according to the handbook, everything she normally talks about and every
opinion she has is sexual harrassment. I was laughing way too hard to get
all the things she said down. She said something about "You can't talk
about baseball. Second base means something. Forget about titties!" Which
reminded her that, "The L Word is my new favorite show. My husband will
ask me, 'Honey, why are you watching that show?' I tell him I'm doing
research for Liz Claiborne."

"I'd much rather make out with Karina Lombard. I made out with Karl Urban
and he farted."

She said that when Rob announces they're going to do the Xena movie she's
going to put an Alti hex on him so that Alti will be in the film.
(Editorial note: That has definite high drama possibilites. Alti trying to
claim Xena's soul from the Egyptian pantheon. Hoooo!)

She said, "I do channel Alti when anyone messes with my kid." She talked
about being in a mommy group. Someone asked her if Lucky was sick and she
replied in her Alti voice, "NO!" And then she continued in her Alti voice
to the mommy, "Boy-you look hot in that sweater".

She said "I do inappropriate Christmas cards. (People?) giving the finger."

She's always carrying Lucky around-"I never put him down." She told us
she's clumsy and trips as she walks. And when she trips, she says, "Shit!"
so Lucky hears that word a lot. But at nineteen months, he's not talking
really well yet. "I'm at the mommy group, he's constantly saying 'sheet'
and I'm saying to a mommy (dip into a seductive Alti voice) 'Want some

She says they ask her what pre-school Lucky will be going to. "How the
f*ck do I know, he's 19 months old!" She said that there's some fancy
stroller that most of the mothers have-"You need a degree to open or close
it. WE have the one from Target".

Then she said something about trying to communicate with her
housekeeper-"Donde a mi. . . breakfast?" while Lucky, sitting on her hip
keeps repeating, "sheet".

I believe someone asked if Lucky had seen any of her work. She said it's
going to be cool when he's older. He'll by saying, "My mom's an evil
shamaness bitch who kicked Xena's ass five times." She said she probably
won't let him see some of her movies.

"I have a new crush on Angelina Jolie. I'm on team Angelina for sure."
Lots of appreciative hoots from the crowd for either Angelina or Claire's
crush or both.

"I'm trying to adopt another baby and then Angelina and I will be in a
mommy group together and I'll ask her to rehearse with me for my "L Word"

Then she told us that she'd been pregnant five times and kept losing the
baby. It was pretty quiet in the hall when she said that. I don't think
many of us knew that. And that's a hard thing to hear about someone you
like. She's been married for two years. She said, "I feel comfortable
enough with you guys to share the good and the bad with you."

"My favorite memory is the Triple X cabaret". (When she and Alexandra
Tidings read fanfic stories.) She said they could hardly believe they did
it-"We are NOT reading dirty fan fiction!" But they did. As they came off
the stage, Ted Raimi was in the wings waiting to go on. He told them,
"Remember this." That it didn't matter what anybody else did-they could
have gone out there naked and the audience would be screaming, "Bring back
Claire and Alex!" Claire added, "Naked".

Claire wants to go back to New Zealand. She wants to show it to her son
and husband. "I want to hang with Danielle. Pay my respects to Kevin's

Last year or maybe the year before, Steve Sears posed a question to
us-"Who of the Xena people do you think has the most money?" And the
answer was Claire-that she had become a millionaire from selling her C&C
company to Lis Claiborne. And they were all very happy for her.

Claire said, "You get a sense of who people are when you come into money.
After you buy some stuff, it's kind of meaningless. I'd give it all back
to keep my family and friends safe and happy. I'm giving it all to
charity". She gave us her wide smile. "I can just hear Lucky-'SHEET'!"

She talked about playing Alti, how she was supposed to be a big and
powerful person. And how usually, "I was strong and big, but I always
played that down with a little, pretty voice." When she auditioned for
Alti, she thought about the Wicked Witch of the West and channeled her
voice for the audition. Claire has talked in the past about what a
pleasure it was to audition and work for Rob-that he truly appreciates big
and powerful women and wants the actors to present the characters that
way. She's also talked about how Lucy taught her to stand proud and tall
and not slouch down and go for "girly", but to revel in being a big and
powerful person.

I think possibly thinking of questions she's gotten in the past about
playing someone so evil, she said firmly, "She's a character. I don't feel
morally ashamed. Alti reveled in making people miserable like she was."
She said that there was a real vengeance there due to her history with
Xena. "She wasn't part of the chick group. So it was like 'F*ck you
bitches, I'm gonna come get you'! I always saw Xena as the reason why I
wasn't more beautiful, more popular. She was swimming around in purgatory
all her life." (I thought this was great--I hadn't really heard Claire
talk about how she perceived Alti before and what she connected with to
show those feelings in that character.)

Someone asked about Hudson/Callisto. Claire stared at us and asked, "Who's
Hudson? Does she have a clothing line too? Alti vs. Callisto. THAT'S an L
Word episode." (Alti voice) "Want some breast milk, Callisto?" She
compared Alti's feelings when fighting with the different characters.
"Working with Lucy-I was never afraid (of Xena). Fighting Callisto--there
was a little fear. Callisto is a psycho husband." (I THINK she said,

She said that her husband told her that in her spare time when she's not
breast-feeding and not running her company she should make an Alti My
Space page. Then she looked around and said, "I've now cleared the room of
all the kids. Nice church-going Republicans going out the back." Steve
Sears was taking pictures of her as he does of all the stars. She looked
over at him and said, "Steve-check it out!" And she turned and pushed her
butt out high and proud for him to take a picture of.

She began to talk about how huge and cumbersome Alti's costume was. It was
heavy and it took up a lot of space-she said wearing the costume was like
wearing a tent. I think she also mentioned the head dress--how big and
wide that was also. The first scene they shot with her was the scene where
Alti is first introduced. Claire said she had a lot of trouble physically,
just trying to get through the flap of the yurt in that outfit.

She added that she'd never heard of the subtext and had no idea on what
was going on. She didn't know what Alti was doing with that young Amazon.
She said that later on when she started going to cons, "I found out that
you guys had decided that she was an offering." She repeated "Later on"
and then asked, "Have they copped to that yet?" It was quiet around me but
I did hear some yelled out "Yeah's!" after a slight pause. Claire added,
"Later on, if I could have gone back, I would have presented her as an

She talked about this scene being her first day on set. "When I finally
managed to get through the door, the first thing I see is Lucy on all
fours under a bear skin rug with this guy behind her and I'm like, 'What
kind of show IS this?!'" Then she said that when Martin pushed her away,
he apparently thought she weighed about 400 pounds but she only looked
like she weighed that much because she was wearing that big heavy tent. So
he gave her a very hard push which, since she doesn't really weigh about
400 pounds, tossed her across the room AND knocked the wind out of her.
She said she was just cringing in the corner. Not the best first day.

Then she talked about coming to the con, "Thanks to you guys for filling
me in. On the autograph line you told me, 'You were offering her to her'.
I asked, 'Why?'" (Pregnant pause.) 'Ooooooh'. And then you said, 'Want
some more wine?' And 'Niiiice sweater'."

She was asked what her favorite Alti ep was. She said she liked "Send In
The Clones" because she got to play Alti as a normal person. But then she
looked thoughtful and delighted at the same time and said, "Sin Trades was
so epic". And added, "They have the talent to make a wonderful film."

Next I have Claire saying, "I was living with somebody else. I was not so
happy. I was going to Gold's Gym. Trying to keep my body together for
Xena. Well, not for Xena."

At this point, my notes get a little confusing. I THINK we went into a
Claire fantasy. I have written down: "I was naked on a horse with hair.
They (Xena and Alti I think she's referring to) go into a jacuzzi and get
it on. But Lucy was scared. NO! She was bummed too! Rob was jealous. I
mean c'mon--me--Rob. But Rob had a bigger bank account." Then she added
with a diabolical smile, "THAT'S changed."

A fan went up to the mike and I couldn't hear everything she said but
apparently she suggested to Claire that they stage the introduction of
Alti scene. Claire looked a bit baffled. The fan offered Claire an
assistant. A young woman came up out of the audience and took her shirt
off, stripping down to her sports bra. Claire said, "NOW I'm terrified."

Then Claire began to get into it. She put a pack on her head to represent
her head gear. The young woman said something and Claire admonished her,
"No-you didn't have any lines-you're a New Zealand actor." Huge laughter
from the audience. Though I don't have it in my notes, I seem to remember
that Claire shook her head at us and said. "No, no--they were great." (But
quiet. Grin.)

Someone on stage asked, "Do we have a Borias in the house?" A young man
came up onstage. Claire reminded them that Borias was behind Lucy, under a
bear skin rug. The fan playing Xena got down on all fours. The guy went
behind her and kind of stood there for a second or two. Claire asked, "Do
you need me to show you how to do this?" The Xena was bucking and getting
into it. He joined her.

Then Claire began to direct the scene. "Okay, I'm petrified outside the
yurt. I have a head dress on. You guys get it on." (She begins to act out
her part.) "She throws the girl. (Who makes a very dramatic drop and
roll). 'Here's the offering'. You push me out. Now I don't know what
happened in there. And THAT was my first day in the Xenaverse. Anymore

She talked about the Xena and Alti fight in the trees scene. "It was a
Mary Poppins moment. It rains there every twenty minutes. So every twenty
minutes, they'd have to stop filming. But it was too much trouble to take
us up and down. So they handed us up umbrellas. And that's how Lucy and I
became friends." (Just hanging around together. Heh.)

Then I have the curious notation, "Bump". But I don't know why that's
written there. (I put in things that I don't know because often lots of
helpful people will fill me in if I do this. And I can stick it into an
addendum later.)

A fan asked something and Claire repeated to see if she'd heard right,
"Did Alti have a crush on Xena? I don't think so." The fan said something
else and Claire said, "Messing with Xena's little bitch". The fan said
something further and then Claire said, "Always wanted to be involved with
Xena? Yeah, okay-you're right, you're right. Just because you want to be
inside someone, doesn't mean you like them". (Pause) "Sometimes it's
better that way."

She was asked about her son. "I want to teach my son to not be afraid and
to have an open heart to anything. My husband is African-American. I have
a lot of gay friends. I have strong political views. To be open to
anything. I'm still astounded when I'm with my husband. Women hold their
handbags tighter when they see him-even in fancy places."

A stirring of disgust and anger rippled through the audience.

Claire was just about out of time. She thanked us for all our support,
loyalty and inspiration. She ended by saying, "Thank you from the bottom
of my heart. All things that I have achieved is because of you guys.

It was great to see Claire again-what an excellent comeback.

Welcome back Claire-many of us missed you as much as you missed us.





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