10th Anniversary Xena Convention
What a weekend! The 10th Anniversary Xena Convention was much above anything I would ever have expected. This was my third Xena Convention, and though they all were
great - for me, this was an experience of a lifetime. Right now, I can‘t imagine that this one can ever be topped by another Convention. Although, on the other hand, it looks like that the Xena Conventions have become even
better with every year.
The atmosphere among the Xena fans was unique, and there were so many people with awesome costumes at the Costume Contest this year - I really enjoyed it! Plus, the music videos
created by fans, and the Xena movies were just fantastic, as was the Art Show. Xena fans are very creative people.
Creation did an awesome job by inviting so many celebrities and creating such a full and fun packed program. There was so much to do, so much to see! Plus, the staff was so
friendly and helpful all the time, especially Brian who was really sweet. Sharon Delaney stood next to the stage most of the time, and posed very good questions to almost every actor on stage. All her questions were
Xena-related, and I really appreciated this a lot. She did a great job with this and I hope that Sharon is willing to continue this kind of questioning next year. I was only sorry that Claire Stansfield was unable to come
because I would have loved to meet her again.
Beside all these many wonderful moments I had, there were two things I certainly will never forget: Lucy Lawless spoke German to me (yeah!). And Reneé O‘Connor “married” me. Well,
actually, it was more a “group wedding” since it happened at the Photo Op--- together with some hundred other people, and it only took about 15 seconds. But - Reneé really wore her wedding costume from “Married with
Fishsticks” at the Photo Op and held everyone‘s right hand during the “ceremony” photo shooting! She was so sweet! When I sat in the chair beside her, I asked her: “Are you going to marry me?”. Guess what she said? “Oh -
yes!”, and looked directly into my eyes. She held my hand, very tightly. She has very soft hands, and a remarkable grip, by the way. I could really feel her enormous energy in this grip. I guess I was not the only one who
didn‘t wash her right hand for some hours?
Despite all these exciting events and the fabulous program, it would not have been as magnificient as it was without all the people I met. Xena fans are great folks.
My special thanks to Kathy from Illinois (I loved dancing with you!), Pat from New Mexico, Linda and Nancy from Missouri, Lisa, Toni and KD from Texas, Mary and Kathy from
Illinois, Tracy from Wisconsin, Sandra and Sonja from Austria.
But most of all I want to thank Pat from New Jersey for being such a wonderful friend.
There were so many people at this Convention! The lines were really long in front of the Convention Center. From the beginning, it was obvious that the 10th Anniversary
Xena Convention was meant to be an extraordinary event.
The “10th Anniversary” symbol was just everywhere, on every Xena poster, on all those Xena Convention T-shirts which were hilarious, on the baseball caps, the sweaters,…
I loved it! There was a funny white T-shirt, drawn by Lucy highlighting the 10th Anniversary logo, and featuring Xena and Gabrielle on it. Reneé had painted another design but this was not available as yet.
The stage was surrounded not only by huge posters showing Xena, Gabrielle, Callisto, Joxer, Ephiny and Alti, but they also had put a huge cake (not a real one, of course) near the
stage. The atmosphere was fabulous like always, but this time I definitely could sense the excitement - we all knew that this Convention was going to be a blast!
Meighan Desmond (Discord)
After showing us some wonderful Xena Music Videos, and another great work of the people from “Xenaversity” - “10 Villian Moments” - Meighan Desmond entered the stage.
Meighan is fragile and very pretty; she still looks like a teenager although she is currently 27 years old. She is very funny and obviously likes to laugh a lot.
She told us how much she had liked playing Discord. “Isn‘t there a bitch in every woman?” she wanted to know from the audience. She had never watched Xena before. Discord was
originally meant to be a “sexy girl” on the side of Ares; later it was decided that the character would be Ares little sister but still with some sexual tensions between both of them. Meighan was then asked about how she
liked Kevin Smith and whether she was attracted to him. She told us in her opinion all the women on set had “a thing” for Kevin. He was a guy everyone would have thought very much a “macho” from the first impression but
as you knew him better, he was a very soft and gentle man, and a good friend. Meighan was asked about her favourite episode which was “Married with Fishsticks” because they all had so much fun on set. A fan asked Meighan
about a scene where Aphrodite was pushed with her face in a cake, but Meighan replied in a very funny way: “Oh no, that was not Aphrodite, that was me! I was the one who got the cake in her face!”. The topping of the cake
was real, the cake itself wasn‘t. During the shooting, she had to stay in the pool for a whole day. But since she loves water, she actually enjoyed it.
She remembered that she got a call before they did the episode “Motherhood” and learned that Discord was going to be killed, which she actually didn‘t like. She was indeed very
happy, when she found out that not only Discord but all the Gods would die!
A man from the audience told Meighan that he loved Discord but didn‘t like her hair. Meighan answered in a very funny way: “Where were you, sir, when I needed you?”, because she
didn‘t like her hair, too, but there was now way for her to change that.
We saw Meighan again at the “Dessert Party” at Saturday night. She obviously enjoyed herself a lot there and danced for hours. By the way, Meighan is a very good dancer. It was
great to watch her. She not only danced with many of the fans but also with Steven L. Sears.
Sheeri Rappaport (Otere)
Sheeri is a quite sportive looking young woman. She appeared very gentle and was so friendly to everybody. In the beginning, Sheeri even seemed to be a little shy. She spoke with a
very smooth and pleasant voice. She still looks so youthful! When Sheeri had entered the stage, the first thing she told us was that all she remembered was being beaten by Xena with a switch in a sweating hut! Fortunately,
she remembered much more, and she responded to most of the questions in a very humorous way. Sheeri was asked about her height, but we never got a real answer to this question. She only laughed, showed us the high heels
she was wearing, then shared with us:
“In fact, I am short. We all were. We were short Amazons!” She told us that she had been practicing Tae Kwan Do for a couple of years already before she was casted. Then she even
proved her skills to us! First, she threw off her shoes - “You can‘t do kicks with these!”. Then she did several air-kicks and punches which were really impressive! Wow! Sheeri is truly a sportswoman. One could see this
from the way she moved.
During the shooting of “Adventures in the Sin Trade” it rained most of the time. But this was not a problem for Sheeri who, in fact, really loves rain. (Maybe you have to when you
live in New Zealand? On the other hand, I remember that Lucy told us two years ago how much she hated the weather during the shooting for these episodes.) Working with Lucy was just great for Sheeri. She had a very good
time on the Xena set. She didn‘t spend much time with Reneé but she remembered that Reneé had been there too sometimes, watching the shooting. When Sheeri was asked how she felt about the shamanism part of these episodes
she told us that she in fact had always been interested and had become familiar with this practice.
Steven L. Sears
Next on stage was the “man with the hat”, Steven L. Sears. Steven is a great guy... obviously really interested in the show and in the fans. He just belongs to any Xena Convention.
In fact, I can‘t imagine a Convention without him! Since I don‘t sit in the first row - sorry to say! - I can always see his hat somewhere in front of me, taking pictures most of the time. He is very easy-going and
obviously enjoys being among Xena fans. This year, he even looked like one himself, wearing a beautiful piece of chakram jewelry on a necklace chain. Unlike the last times I had watched Steven on stage, he hadn‘t brought
one of his “surprise boxes” filled with stuff from his time on Xena. Although he still has plenty of these boxes at home (which makes me happy because I really liked to listen his stories about all the items he had
unpacked in front of us).
He had collected questions Xena fans had written to him before. My favourite question was: “When did Xena and Gabrielle become lovers?”. I really liked Steven‘s answer: “Well -
remember how Xena looked at Gabrielle when she saw her the very first time in “Sins of the Past?” After a pause he added that this had been his answer. At the “Dessert Party” at Saturday night Steven danced a lot. He even
danced with Meighan Desmond!
I also have to give Steven lots of credits for the awesome “Xena Puppet Show” he had specially written for the 10th Anniversary Xena Convention. It was splendid! Of
course, the puppet players did a great job, too. And the dolls were so cute! The story included Xena, Gabrielle, Callisto (the evil one!), and Ares.
It opened with a scene showing Gabrielle in a house she had bought after Xena‘s death, dusting the urn with Xena‘s ashes in it. Then we heard several familiar war cries...a chakram
flew above Gabrielle (thrown by a rope). Xena appeared, and Gabrielle was very, very happy about that. They both wondered why and how Xena had been able to return to life. Finally, they decided it must have been their
love which had brought Xena back. Together, Xena and Gabrielle sang a funny song - I can still hear the melody in my ears - with the refrain: “We are L - L - L - - - we are friends!” Then they accused the writers in their
song claiming because of them they never were allowed to tell what they really were.
Because of Callisto‘s and Ares‘s appearances Xena and Gabrielle realized that it was not THEIR love which brought Xena and Callisto back but - the love of the Xena FANS! That was
really cute. Eventually, Xena and Gabrielle even spoke out the “L-Word”!
What a story! What a performance! We all jumped on our feet, and applauded for minutes. Steven then came on stage, and introduced the puppet players to us.
David Franklin (Brutus)
David arrived late because he was caught in a traffic jam on his way to Burbank. After a very well-done Brutus video, he jumped on stage, and with his enormous energies got
everybody‘s attention immediately. David was so lively, so funny - it was great to watch him! Someone asked him about the stroke he obviously had had a few months ago only. He lifted his T-shirt, showing us the scars on
his chest. David told us that a surgery had been necessary, but he was much better now. He used to be a heavy smoker. Even though the scars were visible they didn‘t look ugly in any way. He then thanked his fans in a very
kind way for the many letters and good wishes he had received while he was ill. David shared with us that he would never have thought they would cast him for the part of Brutus because he is from Australia. Therefore he
really was surprised when he finally got the job. He was asked about a possible “special chemistry” between Gabrielle and Brutus in “Endgame”, and agreed to this. He and Reneé had talked about this during the shooting.
The fighting scenes on the warship in “Anthony and Cleopatra” had been a real challenge for him, because of Reneé! “Reneé is a born fighter! She is so good!”, David told us. He
generously gave Reneé lots of credit for her amazing fighting abilities. He even shared with us that she probably would be able to beat him up. He is really adorable! In “Ides of March”, there was a scene where Xena
glanced down at Brutus´s fly then raised her eyebrows in a contemptuous way. When David was asked what Xena‘s reaction had meant he replied that Xena was so impressed about what she saw! Meaning of course --- AHem!! Not
impressed about anything concerning David, of course—no—but about his character—er---that is Brutus. That‘s why Xena gave him that strange glance. David painstakingly explained this to us. Thank you, David.
We met up with David again at the Sunday Charity Breakfast. He was so funny and easy-going with everybody there again. He is really cute! Hopefully, we will meet David again
Gary Jones (director) and Steven L. Sears (writer)
I was more than happy when I learned that we would watch another Xena episode on the big screen. Watching a well loved episode together with so many other fans is just terrific!
Gary Jones, one of the directors of Xena, and Steven L. Sears made their comments as we all watched “The Greater Good”. It was very interesting, indeed. Gary is such a nice guy. He
seemed to remember a lot. Both Gary and Steven recalled the very tough horse training needed to prepare Argo aka Tilly and the other horses. In fact, they had to work very carefully on all the horse scenes.
Steven laughed out loud each and every time the camera took a close up shot of the face of an extremely ugly looking warrior. “This guy! He always gets to me!”, Steven said
laughing. He also noted that Salmoneus’ portrayal in this episode was extremely funny. Pointing out the respect Salmoneus had for the warrior princess, it was the only time Xena was called a “warrioress”.
Gary told us that in the scene where Xena‘s dead body was thrown to the ground, it was not Lucy who took that fall but her stunt double. Lucy just gently laid herself down in the
next scene. The most important part of the story was Gabrielle´s reaction to the loss of Xena. He really liked Gabrielle‘s fighting, and told us how the fighting noises were added on later which were very effective in this
episode. Reneé had lots of fun playing Xena in this episode. One of the straps on Gabrielle’s costume had been loosened previously so it could fall down just at the precise moment. Most parts of the armour Gabrielle wore
were really taken from the original Xena costume.
Tsianina Joelson (Varia)
Adam from Creation tried to prepare us by announcing Tsianina would be looking a bit different this time. And she did being quite visibly pregnant. Her belly was rather big
already. A baby Amazon? Wow! But nope. Tsianina told us that the baby was going to be a boy. She already is a mom of a two year old son who is very naughty but also very cute...she added! She admitted to being a little
afraid because it is a boy again...
Tsianina‘s first name is Native American, and she is also partly Native American herself. She recalled somebody had asked her at the Xena Convention 2001 to flex on stage. Every
time she had seen a picture since that showing her flexing, she couldn‘t believe that she really had done this in front of so many people. Tsianina even seemed to be a little embarrassed about it.
Tsianina was asked along wth all the other Amazons this year about her height. This was so funny because almost every Amazon that appeared was pretty short. And yes, Tsianina is
short too, only 5‘ 5” ... She shared with us the first time she met Lucy. She looked up at her and then said, “Hey, I wanna kick your butt!” She was asked whether she had to stand on a box to look taller. She told us that
wasn’t necessary because if Xena and Varia ran up a hill together Varia would run more down-hill than Xena to compensate for the difference.
Tsianina really fought both Lucy and Reneé in various scenes. While fighting with Lucy in “Path of Vengeance”, Tsianina was even injured. It was easier for her to fight Reneé. The
shooting of the boxing scene between Gabrielle and Varia took a whole day, so they had more time and opportunity to try different ideas for the fight. Plus, they had more freedom to be creative. In her fights with Lucy,
everything had been precisely planned in advance which made it more difficult for her. The stunt people were awesome.
They prepared her patiently and gently in every single fighting scene. Sometimes they even did the very same moves while standing so close by, she merely had to copy them.
She was asked how she developed her firm athletic body. Tsianina told us a funny story about this. As a young girl, she moved to Oregon where there was nothing there for her to do
except go to the gym. Because she had plenty of time, she was able to develop her great body. (Hmmmm... I definitely should think about moving to Oregon).
Alexis Arquette (Caligula)
There were rumours that Alexis might not show up at the Convention for some reason. On Friday afternoon, Sharon Delaney told us that it was still not certain whether Alexis would
be able to sign autographs but at least he had agreed to host the Merry Muses of Melodia Night Cabaret. Fortunately, he did finally make it for the autographs but I almost didn‘t recognize him at first. As he sat behind
the autograph desk, Alexis looked radiant flipping back his long blonde haired wig and fluttering his eyelashes thru meticulously applied makeup. His shimmering, clinging dress revealed a perfectly proportioned showgirl
figure. And let me tell you he looked splendid as a woman! You can bet even Caligula would have easily fallen for her and would have made her his “drag” queen.
The Merry Muses of Melodia Night Cabaret later this evening was hosted by Alexis, as announced, and he did a fabulous job with this. Of course, he was in drag again. He really is
very entertaining. At the beginning, he reminded us that he probably was the only person here in this room who was ever kissed by Xena. Though he complained about the biting part. Alexis really impressed me not only with
his presence on stage which was remarkable but also with such a wonderful singing voice. What a talented person he is! I definitely would love to see Alexis again at a Xena Convention!
Alison Wall (Minya)
Saturday‘s program started with Alison‘s appearance on stage. Like last year, Alison was one of the celebrities who generously intermingled and remained closest to the fans. You
could find her every night at the Hotel bar, talking and having fun with everybody around. Alison also really seemed to enjoy moving with the fans on the dance floor at the Dessert Party at Saturday night.
At the Cabaret night on Friday Alison introduced parts of her one-woman-theatrical show, “Blossom”, which she had performed at a theater in New Zealand. In this piece she portrayed
several different characters, men and women, using only changes in body or vocal language to convey these various figures. Alison is just a very dedicated and talented actress and it was a delight to watch her. Saturday on
stage, she told us that she had thought about people she knew in real life. A friend of hers had the idea for this show, and then Alison began creating the different characters. One of the funniest characters, an elderly
cranky lady, was taken from her aunt in real life. While writing the script for this part of her performance, Alison would ask herself:
“What would my aunt do now? What would she say?” Alison had travelled a lot during the last two years, she had spent a long time in Morocco and Great Britain. Now she is back in
New Zealand. She was asked about her character, Minya. She told us that she would highly recommend to everybody never to be nervous while holding a goat because these animals tend to climb up when they are afraid of
something. In “A Day in the Life”, where the character of Minya was first introduced, Alison was feeling anxious about getting the scene finished perfectly so the crew could all go home for the day. But the little goat she
had been holding in her arms during the scene sensed her anxiety and tried to climb up her body. After this, she had markings of the little hoof prints all over her chest.
Concerning “The Play‘s the Thing” she told us that she actually had some difficulties with the pronunciation of the word thespian and thought:
“Thespian? Thesbian? What‘s that supposed to be?” Then a lot of questions were asked about “Send in the Clones”. Alison told us that it was not her own idea to play a Gabrielle
fan. It was in the script. Though she thought it would be a perfect fit to the character of Minya. They all had so much fun doing this episode. Lucy and Reneé had to stand quite a long time motionless in their coffins, and
they had so much fun eating all the burgers, French fries, and sipping pop. And, yes, that was real junk food they were eating...
Zoe Bell (Lucy‘s stunt double) - Double Dare Presentation
Two women entered the stage, one of them was Zoe Bell, Lucy‘s stunt double for the last three seasons of Xena. The other lady was Danielle Renfrew, the producer of a new movie,
called Double Dare. First, they showed us several parts from Double Dare, which seemed to be a very interesting movie. It is about stuntwomen telling the successful stories of Xena and Wonder Woman, the actresses who
portrayed the main characters and the women themselves. The parts we watched showed Lucy as well as a number of action scenes from Xena and Wonder Woman. After this, both Zoe and Danielle told us about their work for this
movie. Lucy had been very helpful to them. Zoe later shared with us that she had only been 18 years old, when she started working as Lucy‘s stuntdouble. She had so much wanted to become part of this show. Of course, she
had watched Xena before, and had loved it. She almost freaked out when she finally got the job, and could only think: “Oh my God, I‘m going to work for Xena!”. In all of New Zealand at this time there lived only about 6
stuntwomen. Three of them were short, three were tall. Since Zoe is tall, she had a quite good chance to get the job. During the casting, she was actually only asked which stunts she would be ready to do. She answered that
she was able to do everything. And that she would do whatever was necessary. Zoe is an attractive young woman, tall with an athletic looking body. She was funny, and responded to all the questions from the audience in a
very friendly way. I really liked her.
She not only did the fighting scenes and some bungee jumping from bridges, but also did Xena‘s famous somersaults aided only by a rope for security reasons. Lucy decided what she
could do herself, everything else was a job for Zoe. Because of her broken pelvis, Lucy wasn‘t able to do everything anymore. Although she still did a lot herself. In her first job on Xena which Zoe remembered very well,
she had to climb up on a castle‘s wall. It was the first episode of Season Three, “The Furies”. For Zoe, it was a wonderful experience to work with Lucy. She was very kind, and spoke with her a lot. The directors asked
her about her opinion every time, and she really was a part of the team. She now knows how great the atmosphere on the Xena set really was and how nice she was treated by everybody. She had very different experiences on
other sets in the meantime.
Danielle Cormack (Ephiny)
We first saw Danielle at Friday night, at the Merry Muses of Melodia Night Cabaret. She was so funny, danced a lot on stage, including a breakdance where she whirled on the ground.
Very well done, indeed. You need to be in a good shape to dance like this. She also sang several songs on stage including native New Zealand chants and she really did this in an electrifying way. She has quite a nice
voice. On Saturday, Danielle entered the stage in a long dress. She is a beautiful woman. Her hair is dyed black now and she looked very slim, even fragile. She thanked the audience for being so generous, concerning her
singing. Of course, we protested since we all had truly liked it. When someone asked her about her character, Ephiny, she answered dramatically, “Oooh Ephiny. Why do we have to talk about her?” Later, she said, “Forget
about Ephiny. I am Lucy!” Then she stroked her long black hair seductively. She explained to us that she was wearing her hair that way because she wanted people to think she was Lucy! „Yes I
am Lucy!” After a while she changed her mind, saying, “Well, forget about Lucy. I am Angelina Jolie! Oh yes! Even better!” And she grimaced to let her lips look like Angelina‘s lips.
Danielle was so funny! A woman from Germany asked her if she remembered her visit to the German Xena fanclub some years ago. She did remember it very well, even recognised the
woman, and then shared with us how the German Xena fans had made fun of her during that visit. They taught her to say hi in German, at least that was what they told her. Danielle still remembered the words: „Ich habe
einen grossen Steifen“. Translation: I have a big hard cock. (Heck how could they teach her these words??? I can hardly translate this without blushing!!) The kick for them, of course, was when they took Danielle to a
store where she could prove her new language skills to the shop assistant. “Hi, my name is Danielle Cormack. Ich habe einen grossen Steifen!“ It is not surprising that
she still remembered this story. Actually, I am quite sure the shop assistant does as well.
Before she left the stage, Danielle highly recommended we all try the Margarita cocktails they served at the Hotel bar to us. Danielle has always been close to the fans and is for
sure one of the most favourite celebrities at a Xena Convention. She is very funny and so natural. Hopefully she will come next year again. I was only sorry that she didn‘t share more stories from her time on Xena with us.
Maybe next time.
Bruce Hopkins (Rahl)
Bruce, unlike everyone else, did not enter the stage from behind the curtain. Instead he jumped on stage, literally, from the side. His noisy landing was very loud thus creating
some extra attention. Bruce is a big man yet I was impressed by the way in which he was able to move and jump around so easily. Although he told us later that he had been nervous this time because he hadn‘t done jumps like
these for quite a while.
Bruce shared with us that he was the first person who was killed by Xena. This is quite a distinction, isn‘t it? He also portrayed several evil warlords before he played Rahl, the
father of the Daughter of Pomira. Bruce told us how much he liked working with Lucy and Reneé and that he really enjoyed being at the Convention this time. We had seen Bruce before, at the Merry Muses of Melodia Night
Cabaret at Friday night where he entered the stage with exactly the same unbelievable jump. His performance was funny and entertaining. He juggled with balls, and moved very fast all the time.
Rob Tapert (Executive Producer) and Chris Manheim (writer)
From the very first moment Rob and Chris entered the stage and sat down on their director‘s chairs they were immediately asked about a possible Xena movie. (Which we all can hardly
await!) In fact, I am still thrilled about the news we got from Rob. He said that there was someone interested in a Xena movie and would be willing to take care of the financial part of it. He noted that this person
almost had signed a contract for the movie! It should have taken place--- I am not kidding!-- on Friday, the 20th of January, which means just one day before Rob told us about! Unfortunately, at the last second,
it was stopped. Now there is a 50 % chance for a Xena movie, but Rob couldn‘t tell whether it will work out or not. Imagine how we all would have freaked out if Rob could have told us about a contract for a Xena movie at
the 10th Anniversary Convention! Wow! I am so sorry it didn‘t work out.
Rob tried not to sound too optimistic about the movie. He even remarked that in about 10 years there certainly will be a Xena movie, though with different actresses. We all booed
like crazy to this! He then told us that the casting would not be changed since both Lucy and Renee are still ready to do the job. Yeah!
Rob and Chris were then asked about their work on Xena. Chris didn‘t recall any problems in the team because she was a woman (most writers for Xena were men). In fact, the
atmosphere was fantastic and every single team member had the same right to be part of any decision. They all were equally valued and she appreciated this a lot. To the point that even Chris wasn’t able to tell who had
which position in this team because she didn‘t notice any differences. For her, working for Xena was a great experience.
Chris was asked why she had written a few stories in which Xena formed intense relationships with men in whom Xena seemed to be interested. In Chris‘s opinion, it would have
limited the characters to do otherwise. She thought the characters were just more interesting this way and showed Xena as having many facets to her personality. For her, humans just have a wider variety to act and this
was what she wanted to show. Rob told us that he really liked “Anthony and Cleopatra” - followed by a huge applause from the audience. But the main story was always about the relationship of Xena and Gabrielle. In
“Anthony and Cleopatra” what they felt for each other was expressed in Gabrielle‘s jealousy. It was all about “the love!” both Rob and Chris told us.
They were asked whether looking back they would change anything about Xena. Rob answered, without even hesitating, “Yes! I wouldn‘t do ‘Married With Fishsticks’ because this
episode was never meant as a Xena episode but as a Real Simpson story.” He then was asked whether he would have changed Xena‘s Finale episode now knowing about the reactions of the fans. At first he said, “Maybe.” Then
thinking really hard about this after a short while, he said, “Probably not”. For him, as for Chris, it seemed right that somebody like Xena would eventually sacrifice herself. After all, Xena‘s story was about redemption,
so that seemed to be pretty logical.
There would have been many more questions for Rob and Chris, but it was time by then to prepare for the event we all had been waiting for so impatiently . The Main Event ---the
reason so many of us crossed continents and oceans to attend this Convention (including myself)--- watching Lucy and Renee together on stage!
Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Reneé O‘Connor (Gabrielle)
As soon as Rob and Chris left the stage, the excitement began building considerably. We all knew that the performance of Lucy and Renee would be extraordinary since this was the 10th
Anniversary Convention. After a while, a very well done Xena music video titled “ Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was shown on the big screen. After the video we then listened to a dramatic piece of music and the lights in
the hall went down, but nothing else happened at all. Sharon Delaney from Creation told us that we wouldn‘t believe what was going on backstage at this moment. The audience started to yell: “Xe-na! Xe-na!” Kinda like in
the way Xena‘s army often chanted. Suddenly, we heard Lucy‘s voice from somewhere, saying, “Keep going, Reneé”. On the right side of the stage, there was this really huge birthday cake. I heard some folks assuming that
they both might come out from the cake. But it took a couple of more minutes until Lucy came out of the cake, waving to us with both hands and singing. The applause was deafening and lasted for minutes. Lucy looked
fantastic! No doubt, Lucy Lawless is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She had on a black Afro wig and wore a Go-Go-Outfit exactly like the one Gabrielle had worn in “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire”. She sang the
pulsating disco number “Whip It” with this pure rich voice and then climbed from the cake down to the stage. She then returned to the cake and helped Reneé out. After this, she turned to the audience and said, “I just like
to touch Reneé”. Together, Lucy and Reneé entered the stage and sang together, Lucy had the leading voice.
Both danced in a very professional looking way. Reneé looked great, too, with her purple wig and Go-Go-Outfit from “Lyre, Lyre”. They sang, danced, and goofed around for quite a
time.Their performance was just fabulous! I could have watched them for hours. Neither Lucy nor Reneé had ever sung at any Convention I had attended so it really was a unique experience for me.
When the music part was over Reneé went backstage and changed her costume quickly. When she came back her arms seemed to be bare but with lots of colourful tattoos on them. Reneé
explained to us that these were tattoo sleeves and she really liked them. Lucy obviously didn‘t want to change, or maybe she only wanted to tease us. Reneé even tried to remove the wig from Lucy‘s head like she did last
year, but Lucy didn‘t let her. She stepped back...air-kicked in Reneé’s direction and said to Reneé, “Oh no, not this time!” The audience wanted her to change but Lucy said that we might think we want her to change but
actually we wouldn‘t want it. Because we all knew what had happened last year how fast she had left the stage after her wig was removed. Most people yelled that they wanted her to remove the wig. Finally, Lucy went
backstage, too. Only a few minutes after Lucy left the stage, the fire alarm went on! Maybe Lucy changing her costume was too much for the security system. We will never know. Reneé said,” Oh no! Not again!” Because it
also had happened last year during Renee’s performance.
Fortunately, it was only a false alarm .
While Lucy was backstage, Reneé told us that her favourite painter used to be Monet but now was Vincent Van Gogh. She even was influenced by him when she created her art work for
her 10th Anniversary T-shirt. Lucy returned in a short dress with slippers, and her hair flowing. She looked terrific! Sharon Delaney from Creation asked them lots of good questions. Lucy obviously tried not to
respond to more questions than Renee did. Whenever Renee was speaking Lucy would walk to the opposite side of the stage often standing there silently. Her gaze looking down. Later, I became aware that some people
thought this was pretty arrogant of Lucy but for me, it was obvious that she only wanted Renee to get her full share of attention. I thought it was very sweet and considerate of Lucy.
Lucy was asked who had been the better kisser--- Kevin Smith, Kevin Sorbo, or—Reneé? She responded that it certainly wasn‘t Kevin Smith because they had known each other for such a
long time, and had been such close friends. During the shooting, they often had to stop their conversation just long enough to kiss in some scene. Then as soon as the scene was shot they started right back where they had
left off in the conversation. Or sometimes went to drink some water together and went back to kissing again So there never was any sexual attraction. Lucy obviously enjoyed teasing us by thinking out loud, “Well, let‘s
see... Kevin Sorbo or Reneé? Who was the better kisser? Hmmm?” That was really funny, because there was no doubt that Lucy knew all the time what we wanted her to answer! But she took her time. Admitting that Kevin was
good, she said it had to be Kevin Sorbo. But then good naturedly succumbing to the crowd’s yelling and cheering, she laughed and said, “All right. I give you Reneé.”
Sharon began walking around with the microphone in her hand, taking questions from people seated in the audience. But Lucy and Reneé also pointed to people who just raised their
hands, so they could just ask as well. They both responded to all the questions in such a kind and friendly way. Someone asked Lucy to do her war cry and she agreed. Reneé laughed and said she had better go back and keep
some distance. Well, Lucy is still able to do that cry! It came out really loud and impressive! For me, it was the very first time I heard Lucy actually do her war cry on stage! Then a woman asked Lucy about her favourite
ice cream, which was a special ice cream bar. Lucy even knew how many calories it contained.
After the question about the ice cream I decided that I would ask Lucy a question myself. I had always wanted to. Even more, I had always wanted Lucy to speak German to me. So I
rose to my feet with quite trembling knees and asked in my best German (with only a slight Austrian accent, I hope), „Lucy, stimmt es, dass Sie deutsch sprechen?“ (Lucy,
is it true that you are able to speak German?). Lucy looked directly into my eyes (sigh!), and I could really see that she was seeking the right words for a response. But it was not more than a moment, and she actually
responded very quickly that she used to speak but, “Ich habe alles vergessen.” (I have forgotten everything). Her German was brilliant, by the way, she only had a slight accent, which I would have called a British accent.
Then she added, “Ich habe keine Praxis.” (I have not practised). All the time, Lucy looked at me. Wow! Wow! For me, this was worth flying all the way from Austria to Burbank, and I certainly will never forget these
moments. Actually, it is still unbelievable for me that it really happened.
A woman from the audience asked Lucy and Reneé what they thought about gay marriages. Lucy answered immediately, “Oh it‘s great! She thought for a second, then turned to Reneé and
said, “I mean that‘s my opinion, I don‘t know about you, Reneé”. But Reneé had the very same opinion and responded in a very kind way. Lucy said that she was sure that these things were going to change quite soon. Lucy
then told us, “All my friends in L.A. are gay.”
Reneé affectionately held onto Lucy‘s arm at one point and they walked around on stage together for quite a long time. It really was such a delight to watch Lucy and Reneé
together. They were both gorgeous! Their performance did not only meet my expectations. It was much, much more above anything I had expected. I do hope so much that both Lucy and Reneé will agree to attend the Xena
Though there is still one more wish I have. It is not much--- just a
little photo op with Lucy for the next Convention like the one we had
with Reneé. And Lucy wouldn’t necessarily have to wear a wedding
costume like Reneé had on --- leather would work just fine.<g>
Hudson Leick (Callisto)
Right before Hudson’s much anticipated appearance, the Costume Competition had just finished giving out awards. Debbie Abbott, dressed as a grieving Xena, had been carrying the urn
that held Akemi‘s ashes and being true to her character had spilled some of the ashes on stage. So when Hudson appeared directly after the Costume Competition, there was still ash on the floor. Almost immediately Hudson
noticed the ash on the stage. She scratched it with one of her shoes. Then she made a disparaging gesture and in her best Callisto voice commented, “Pffhhh---
Xeeenah!” That was so Hudson-like! This woman is just amazing and probably able to entertain a full house for hours! Plus, she is really good looking, and very impressive about
everything she does. After a while, she came back to the same place. Scratching the ash with her shoe again, she said in a flirtatious way, “Oh, this was Xena. I like this!” Then Hudson announced that after doing so many
Xena Conventions she didn‘t want to tell us any more about Xena. Several people from the audience immediately explained to her that there were so many virgins at this Convention. “Virgins... huh?! Hudson said, looking
intensively into the audience, “Well, I can‘t help you.” We all laughed, and lots of people protested. Then Hudson said,”Well, I mean, I COULD but I am only one woman!” Of course, she got us all laughing with this! She
wanted to know from the audience how centaurs were able to make love because she had trouble imagining this. She got the same answer Danielle Cormack used to give at Conventions--- Several people yelled out,
“Carefully...very carefully.” Hudson only rolled her eyes. Next, Hudson wanted all those people who never had been on a stage in their life to raise one hand. But she reminded us to be honest! Many hands were risen. Then
Hudson told us she wanted only the shy people to raise their hands who had never been on stage. She chose my friend, Toni, and asked her to join her on stage. Toni had to tell her name. Hudson asked her a few questions,
then walked off leaving Toni all alone on the empty stage . Then Hudson reappeared and encouraged the audience to cheer and applaud for Toni. Finally she asked her how she had felt. Hudson also asked the lady from the
Ellis Foundation on stage. She hugged her and introduced her as her best friend in the world. That was so sweet of Hudson. She told us that this woman had not only lost her father some years ago but in the meantime her
mother was suffering from cancer, too. Although her friend had a fulltime job, she would drive her mother into the hospital every week, and pay all the bills for her. Therefore, Hudson wanted to auction the dress she was
wearing on stage and wanted us to know that 100 % of the money would go directly to her friend. A woman from the audience auctioned Hudson‘s dress for more than $ 3.000-- and Hudson thanked her so warmly for this on stage.
These were very touching moments, indeed.
We met Hudson again on Sunday morning at the Charity Breakfast. Since there were more tables than last year, she only had about two minutes for every table. I was so sorry about
this because meeting Hudson had always been a blast! Though I have to point out that she managed to sit again ON TOP of the table I was sitting with some friends. And as far as I know, it was the only table where she did
so! My friend, Pat, apologized to Hudson for having sat along side of her on the table at last year’s con and promised not to steal the spotlight from her this year. Hudson fluttered her baby brown eyes...smiled...
shrugged her exquisite shoulders and at the same time gave a chewing gum response, “Hey...no problem. That’s what tables are for”. There is no one quite like Hudson. Her highly perceptive humor is remarkable and unique.
Roger Morrissey (Grindl)
Roger actually looked like a giant with a height of 7‘4”! He told us that he is used to being around short people since his girlfriend is only 5‘3”. He was very gentle and friendly
to everyone who talked to him, patiently responding to every question. Unfortunately, Roger didn‘t appear on stage but signed autographs on Saturday. He told us that he had only played one of the monsters from the Ring
Trilogy, actually the transformed Grinhilda. Grinhilda‘s son, however, was played by an actor from New Zealand. He had to wear a huge costume but he didn‘t look through Grindl‘s eyes. In fact, the holes where he actually
looked through were in Grindl‘s chest area. It was a tough job and in one of the fight scenes Roger was even injured by Lucy involving Xena‘s sword. But in his opinion this was just part of the job and pretty normal.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Boadicea)
Although she was not scheduled to appear Jennifer fortunately showed up at the Dessert Party on Saturday evening. It was her own decision to join us fans. When she came to the
table where I sat with friends I was struck by her charming personality from the first second. My goodness--- this woman is a true beauty! Well, she did look attractive as the ancient queen, Boadicea, too. But in person
she is really beautiful. I am still wondering how they managed to make her look so full figured as Boadicea since she is in fact very svelte. She told me it was because of the armour she had to wear.
On Sunday, Jennifer was on stage together with Gillian Waters and Paris Jefferson. Wow! An ancient queen, an Amazon ruler, and a Goddess, all sitting in director‘s chairs on stage.
It was just a delight to watch them together, and a great idea from Creation to do so. This truly was a performance of three powerful women!
Jennifer speaks and expresses herself beautifully. She told us that her husband - who is none other than the famous actor, director and sidekick to Hercules (Iolaus)--Michael Hurst
- wanted to greet us and wished us the best for the Convention. A long applause followed Jennifer‘s words. Michael had remained at home in New Zealand, looking after their two sons. “Someone just had to stay at home”,
Jennifer told us. She is a very tall woman, 5‘11”, whereas Michael is 5‘ 6” only. She told us what a wonderful and intelligent man Michael is and that they are still very happy together.
There were a lot of questions for Jennifer from the audience. She was asked about her children and told us that they are both very well. Then she was asked about her work on Xena.
During the shooting of “The Delieverer”, as Boadicea, she was breastfeeding her older son. This kept her very busy because at every break she had to run to her trailer...remove
her breastplate, hold her baby to her breast, lay the baby back in its bed, put on the breastplate again, then quickly return to the set. Obviously, a very busy time. But she really liked playing Boadicea because she had
always liked strong women. And it was great to portray such a historical heroine like her. Although the real name of this warrior and queen actually was Boadicca, they decided to name her Boadicea for easier
pronunciation. The stunt people were very helpful and patient. They showed her exactly what to do before every single fight scene. She especially loved the scene in which Boadicea came very fast, in her cage with the
horses and stopped in front of the Roman soldiers.
Jennifer enjoyed working with Lucy and Reneé a lot. It was a very familiar atmosphere on the Xena set. She already had known Lucy well before because in New Zealand most actors
know each other. Working for the episode “The Play‘s the Thing” was particularly funny. She really enjoyed working with Reneé who is a wonderful person. Actually, she couldn‘t tell which episode was more fun to do. She
liked both the same way. Jennifer was also asked what she likes more, in general, drama or comedy. She has done a lot of drama, and a lot of comedy so far, mainly in theaters. “I really like both. Do I have to choose?” she
Gillian Waters (Amoria)
I met Gillian first at the Dessert Party on Saturday. She came over to our table, and was very funny and so easy-going. Gillian is truly adorable! She was so sweet and took her
time with everybody. She told us that this was her first Xena Convention and that she was happy to be here. She genuinely seemed to be enjoying herself. Gillian is a very attractive woman with a gorgeous, sincere smile
that reached her eyes every time. I liked her from the first moment. On Sunday, she appeared together on stage with Paris Jefferson and Jennifer Ward-Leyland, sitting between them. She told us what a great experience it
had been for her to do the episode “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire”. She loved the fact that this was a musical episode and she could act, sing and dance all together. Plus, the atmosphere on the set was unique, and it was so
much fun to work with Lucy and Reneé. She recalled at the end of the episode, Lucy who was already very pregnant by this time showed up wearing Reneé’s Go-Go-Outfit! She danced around in front of everybody and called “Look
at me! Look at me!” Circling her belly, really enjoying herself.
Since obviously most of the Amazons were short, Gillian was asked about her height, too. She is 5‘8”, which means that Amoria was one of the tallest Amazons. And probably the one
with the best singing voice! Gillian sang “Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves” for us which was just terrific! She has such a full and beautiful voice! I do hope that we will see this talented woman again! I would really
love to listen again to her fantastic singing voice. Maybe there is a way to invite her to appear at the Cabaret Night next year?
Paris Jefferson (Athena)
I was so happy that Creation brought Paris back to the Convention since Athena has always been one of my favourite characters on Xena. Paris is just adorable. She is a very pretty
and fragile appearing woman. I think she looked really hot in her almost transparent dress. I first met Paris at the Charity breakfast on Sunday morning. She was so kind and friendly to everyone there! Plus, she was so
funny. There were probably dozens of group pictures taken with Paris in the center. Paris obviously enjoyed all the questions she was asked about her character, Athena.
On stage, Paris, of course, was asked about the relationship between Athena and Ilainus. She responded to this question very sincerely, “We loved each other!” After a pause, she added, “I really loved her!” After Ilainus
died, Athena never had another girlfriend. She was faithful. She then was asked how she liked working with Lucy and Reneé and answered that both were really great to work with. But most of the time she had worked with
Kevin Smith, who had been such a wonderful person. Paris told us that she is very short, 5‘3” only, in fact. During the casting she had to wait together with many other women in the same room. All of them were really tall
and she thought as being a short woman she would never get that job. But one of the other women said, “Look how pretty she is! She could be Athena!” This was very uplifting for Paris. Most women practiced the sword fight
during the waiting hours but Paris decided to concentrate on her text only. This was also what she did in the casting situation. She just spoke. And it worked because she got the job on the same day!
Even as a child she had been fascinated by Greek mythology and was therefore familiar with all the names of the Gods. It didn‘t sound funny or strange to be having a conversation
with a Zeus or an Ares. This was probably an advantage for her, too.
Katherine Fugate (screenwriter)
Just like last year, I missed a lot of what Katherine said on stage because I was at the Photo Op for Paris Jefferson at the same time. I was really sorry to have had to miss any
part of Katherine’s appearance since she is just one of the sweetest persons I know. Fortunately, I had met her at the Sunday Charity Breakfast earlier that morning where I had the opportunity to talk to her. Before she
entered the stage, a very well done music video from “When Fates Collide” was shown on the big screen. Katherine liked it a lot and wanted to thank the person who did it (unfortunately that person was not present). She
even wanted to get a copy of the video. She sat in a director‘s chair on stage, surrounded by several personal items from her movie, “The Prince & Me”, including a beautiful necklace she had made herself, a backpack, CDs,
and several notes she had made. Everyone from the audience who asked her a question could choose something to keep. Katherine told us she had wanted to bring items from her time working on Xena with her, but Creation
didn‘t go for this idea! (Personally, I couldn’t understand Creations decision about this and think it was very disappointing).
Katherine told us that she had met Lucy yesterday. Lucy was totally struck by the fact that there are so many Xena fans who would still come to the annual Conventions. And that so
many people would travel from around the globe just to attend the Convention - they even would come from Austria and Germany (Lucy really mentioned Austria! Wow! That made me so happy.).
Of course, there were questions about a possible Xena movie. Unlike Rob Tapert, she sounded much more confident about it. Katherine was asked if she had lived in ancient Greece
with whom would she have become friends, Xena or Gabrielle? She answered it would be Gabrielle and that she had always identified more with her. After all Gabrielle was a poet and writer, too! Plus, they both had blonde
hair and were short. To Xena she would say that she could clean--- was a good cook, and that she needed someone to look after her. Together with Missy Good, Katherine signed autographs for everyone later at separate
autograph tables apart from the show’s actors. They were very patient and never tired of responding kindly to all the many questions asked by the long line of fans. I hope so much that Creation will bring Katherine back
next year! Like Steven L. Sears, she has become a part of any Xena Convention.
Missy Good (writer)
Unfortunately, I missed most of Missy‘s time on stage because I was at Ted Raimi‘s Photo Op which took place at the same time. Missy was very funny, obviously, because I heard the
audience laugh quite often while I waited on line.
Missy was asked with whom she identified more when she was writing, with Xena or with Gabrielle? She told us it was definitely Gabrielle and she was initially fascinated by the
character of Gabrielle. There were several questions about Missy’s fanfiction stories. Missy signed autographs later, sitting next to Katherine Fugate. She was so friendly to everybody! I asked her to sign her first book
which was (recently) translated into German, “Tropical Storm”. She told me that she hadn‘t seen the German copy so far and was very interested in it. In the line for Missy‘s autograph, there were lots of people holding
books written by Missy in their hands.
Ted Raimi (Joxer)
I first met Ted at the Sunday Charity Breakfast. I was surprised to discover what a soft, sensitive and intelligent guy he obviously is. For some reason I just didn‘t expect that
the actor who portrayed Joxer would be in fact one of nicest people.
Ted made a special effort to give everyone a chance to have her or his picture taken with him. Even to the point when my friend’s camera malfunctioned and she became upset, Ted
asked her what her name was--- so he could personally address her concern. Then he gallantly suggested I use my camera to take the picture and send her or mail her a copy. That was an extra special gesture. Yes, Ted was
not at all Joxer-ish in person but more like the dashing hero in “For Him the Bell Tolls”. He spoke to everyone at my table and was obviously interested in his fans. Plus, he was really charming and even gave me extra
time for pictures with him because I had made such a long trip from Austria to come to the Convention! This was really sweet.
There could be almost no better finale for the Convention than Ted‘s appearance on stage. He was so funny and sincere at the same time, showing us that he is equally capable of
being a comedian as well as a serious actor. He asked the audience how Joxer‘s voice sounded in different languages. When a woman from Venezuela told him that Joxer sounded funny in Spanish, he wanted to know: “Funny? You
mean funny in a GOOD way, or funny in BAD way?” Well, the lady wasn‘t sure about that. Ted was asked about Joxer‘s two brothers, Jett and Jace. He told us that during the discussion about the character of Jett, someone
had the idea for Jace, and they all had fun with that. Much later, the episode “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire” was written creating a good part for Jace. Making this episode was a lot of fun but Ted had some problems with the
choreography. He was told that someone would teach him the dancing part when in fact, Ted had to compete with a group of the best dancers in New Zealand. They all were very athletic and danced and jumped around with ease
and wanted him to do the same. So the dancing really was a challenge for Ted.
He also told us about his favourite comedians including The 3 Stooges and that he tried to copy them partly for the character of Joxer.
Ted is 6 feet tall, and looked quite handsome in his dark suit. Someone brought an original costume worn by the character of Jett and wanted Ted to auction it for the Charity. What he did was amusing. He took his time and
tried to raise more and more money by stroking the black leather seductively, trying to convince us about the quality with a very smooth voice (“Look, how soft it is and it‘s goooood leather, really good!”), or smelling
it. Finally, a woman made a bid on the costume for more than $ 2.000,--, and Ted invited her to come up on stage. He helped her gallantly to put on the jacket which belonged to the costume, and signed it afterwards for
Although the 10th Xena Anniversary Convention has officially ended---the memories will forever linger on in our hearts.
Many thanks to Pat Romano who helped me again with the report!
Sonja Pospisil, Austria