Convention Report & Tribute to Kevin by KT
Word began to filter in yesterday to those of us at the con about Kevin's death. Most of us were in transit and had not been online and so missed the initial notices. And so the first day no one at the con seemed to be aware of what had happened. Later, during the early evening, one of our group called a cyber buddy back home and found out about it. She told us she had been to the New Zealand Herald site and read about it there.
When we went to the evening performance later that night, some of the people in line were talking about it, quietly among themselves, speaking in very hushed tones. People were sharing the news with friends, but not really making public declarations about it. Most people were still unaware of it.
Josie Ryan's show that night was very well done, witty, funny, and thought-provoking. The Hudson and Claire show was great. And of course one sits there and thinks about them having to set aside their grief to perform and clown around and play a part, because as we all know, the code of the trade is that the show must go on.
This morning, on that whiteboard in the main hallway of the hotel that we always use for messages at the con, there were comments about Kevin's death and some prayers were written for him there. At the bottom of the board, someone put up a drawing of Kevin as Ares with the words "We miss you" written on it.
I heard some people talking about it later and saying their first reaction was to wonder if it was a cruel joke that someone was playing. This morning at the con, Creation put notices on the seats about Kevin's death and this was how many people heard about it. Every year I meet people at cons who are just not on the Xena lists or even online at all.
And at that time there was no American news coverage of it so really the only way to know about it before this was to have seen it on line or from people who had heard about it from people who had been online. By early evening, some people said they had seen a mention of it scroll across the CNN newsline at the bottom of the screen, but that's all I've heard about so far in the American press media.
In the con hall, there were notices on the merchandise tables that all of the proceeds from any Kevin articles purchased would be sent to his family.
Lucy, Rob and Josie Ryan donated a basket of flowers that was auctioned off to benefit Kevin's family. I THINK it was a basket of flowers that Lucy and Rob had sent to the show to present to Josie for her performance last night. And she donated it to be auctioned off.
I missed the very beginning of the program this morning. The first person I saw who mentioned Kevin was William Gregory Lee who expressed sympathy for Kevin's family.
Then a woman who had purchased Ted Raimi's Jett outfit donated it to be auctioned off for Kevin's family. She brought it up onstage and Ted auctioned it off. I missed the final sum on this, but I believe it was near $1000.
Alexandra Tydings came out and expressed sorrow and cried a little as she talked about Kevin. She brought the Aphrodite costume she had taken home with her after her last appearance on the show and offered it for auction. And she asked us, "You think that's alright to do?"
She said she realized after she opened the bag that she had her costume jewelry and her costume bottom but that there was no top in the bag. She joked that maybe the costume department had thought her costume didn't HAVE a top. Alex's half costume went for about $3,500.
Later Hudson's turn came and she started off by saying how sorry she was, but that she knew Kevin was fine, that where he is, he's doing just fine and that it's his family that we need to send our love and support to. And there were short moments when she was unable to speak and she had to gather herself together. And then she said that Kevin would want us to enjoy ourselves. "So...Let's play." And she got that devilish looks she
gets and swung into her jazzy con self. But a not quite so frenetic version as she usually does. She was still hysterically funny, sexy, teasing and playful.
So then she said something like, "Okay, let's do it" and pretended to peel off her dress to auction it off as she usually does with her dresses. As always, her dress proceeds went for the benefit of the Ellis foundation.
But then she was teasing one guy who had asked her for a kiss. And a couple of people in the audience yelled out that she should auction off a kiss. And she said, "YES! For Kevin's family!" So first we started off having an auction, but then we all decided (and I mean that *we* all decided-the give and take and the connection between the stars and the fans this time is stronger and closer than it usually is, I feel) that she should just sell kisses so that she could raise more money than just the money she would get from the highest bidder. So we decided that $1,000 per kiss was a good price. And there were 6 takers, women and men. And Hudson valiantly stuck a couple of breath mints in her mouth, (which she said was for the benefit of the kissees) and then knocked them off one by one.
Hudson had been given an hour but went overtime-we are very relaxed at this con this year, time is stretchable and meant to be enjoyed together.
Creation had announced earlier that at 7 pm there would be a little memorial service for Kevin. So after Hudson was done at about 7:15 or so, they set up a table on stage. They put up a slide of Kevin in white leather as the God of Love from that Herc crossover ep which had Sorbo as the Sovereign, Lucy as his conniving girlfriend, Alex as the Goddess of war(?) and Renee as the executioner.
Bruce, Ted, William Gregory, Alex, Claire, Renee, Michael Hurst, Alexis Arquette (who came in drag by the way-when he first came out for his appearance, I honestly thought he was Hudson wearing a really bad wig), Vicki Pratt and Steve Sears came out and stood behind the table. Then they piped in a phone call from Lucy.
Lucy started talking about Kevin. She said she had jotted some things down so she wouldn't fumble around. It was hard to make out everything she said. She spoke of course in her natural voice, she was emotional and she was talking on a phone call run through speakers. After Lucy's homage to Kevin, Michael spoke, then Ted, Steve, and Renee all talked about what a great guy Kevin was, how special he was, how fun-loving he was. Michael talked about how he had run naked out of a bar once and done a haka (sp?) in the street outside. Renee had a hard time completing what she wanted to say and when she finally did get through her comments, Lucy gave her a little cheer. Then Alex (I think) and Hudson also spoke.
They then all left the stage and then Sharon Delaney came onstage and began to talk to Lucy again.
And Lucy thanked us for letting her be there with us at the memorial service.
This is something that moved me tremendously both today and yesterday. Yesterday, Claire thanked us for our loyalty, for coming to the con and continuing to be fans even after the show is over. Today both Hudson and Alex expressed thanks to us for being here for them, to help them get through this. They both talked about how much love they felt coming from us and how much they needed to feel our love at this time.
I've gone to a number of XWP cons. And I've sat in the audience and I've watched the stars all tease and toy and tell funny self-deprecating stories about themselves and other cast members and talk about their families-they tell us when they've had children and when they're getting married and they talk about their honeys and so on and so forth. So a bond grows with the public personas of these people. And then something like this happens and you feel so badly for Kevin's family and for his lost potential, for the loss of that funny, silly, living-life-to-the-hilt kind of guy he presented to us at these cons.
And then you suddenly find out from Alex, Hudson and Lucy that they take comfort in the fact that we share their grief and in knowing that we also feel so badly for them too, the people who knew the real Kevin, the people who truly had him in their lives. And that it matters to them that it matters to us. And they stand there and thank us for being part of their public life and for caring about them and for being there with them at
Because of Kevin's tragedy, this is a soft gentleness about this con that I've never felt before. From them up there on the stage down to us out here on the floor facing them. They have expressed to us that in a way that matters to them, we are all in this together because we have a relationship, we have bonded over this TV show they made and we watched. And certainly they are talking about all of us, all of you guys too who love the show and the folks who brought it to us. But who didn't make it out here to the con. On one side of the footlights or the other.
I wish all of us in the Xenaverse a safe night tonight.
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