Year 1: Burbank 1998 (03-09)
Year 2: Santa Monica 1999 (10-15)
Year 3: Pasadena 2000 (16-25)
Introduction I am no long-term veteran of Creation Entertainment's events. I have only been to three conventions in my Xenite life. I was very happy each time I got to go to a convention, but each has had its ups and downs. If you have ever been to a Creation event, you will know why some people call it "Cretin". If you do not know what Creation Entertainment is, it is the company that sells Xena merchandise to fans and puts on tons of conventions for sci-fi television shows.
 This article will explain, based on my experiences, what Creation is like, and why, perhaps, we put up with them. When I say the word Creation, I mean it in a generalized way - not every employee, but just the company itself. I am in no way trying to be evil or mean, but these are my views and the views of others. You may have had a good time at conventions. So have I, but at some point during the convention, did you think, even once, that something was not right? Or perhaps you did not enjoy a certain part of it. I am sure most of you will be in agreement with me, but I will not bash Creation throughout this essay. Let's start at the beginning.
Year 1: Burbank 1998
Lucy at Burbank '98. Photo courtesy Debbie Cassetta.
 Arriving with my friends, I go to the front of the Burbank Airport Hilton. I see that the parking is seven dollars, and I do not understand why they would make us pay for parking. Later, I realize why, but hey, I was only twelve at the time. There is a huge line and people are already packed inside. We had chosen to go at the last minute on Saturday because Sunday was sold out. No Lucy Lawless for me this year. Still, I am all keyed up and ready to go in.
 After talking to a couple of other Xenites, we go in. We get three general seats and look around trying to find a place to sit. Walking through about 1,000 people, we get to the seats. Oh look, we have to choose them, and if we leave we do not get them back.
 As we shop, we see tons of people in costume and others who are not. I happen to be wearing a Xena T-shirt, but I admire those who dress up.
 When the trivia contest time comes, I raise my hand and get picked to go up on stage. After answering about three questions with my Xenite partners, we are told to go back to our seats because we did not know enough. Actually, they asked a lot of Hercules questions, and only one was about Xena. Of course I did not know what so- and-so's name was in some wacky Hercules episode! It is true that we did not know as much as we should, after all I had just started to watch the show, but I was still crushed. "Don't worry. I'll get 'em next year". That is what I think.
 Later when the stars come out, I realize how lousy these seats are. Later, my pictures come out all faded, and you can only see little figures. Hey, it is my first convention, so sue me. Next year I will get good seats and a good camera.
 When Hudson Leick gets up there, I have to use the restroom. The people are asking dumb questions, so I just decide to go, and whom do I see in the lobby? Karl Urban! I run and ask for a picture! I get one! Yaaaaaaayyyyyy!!! As I run back from the bathroom to my seat, I am told to slow down. The heck with you! I race to my seat anyway. I tell my friends whom I saw. Truly this is the most awesome time I have ever had in my life.
 The only problems I have this first year, probably because I am too excited to notice others, is that I did not get any autographs. Oh well.
Year 2: Santa Monica 1999
Paul Coyle stepped in for Messrs. Orci and Kurtzman at the Santa Monica '99 convention when the two received death threats.
 Another year has passed and it is that time again! This year I get to see Lucy Lawless on Sunday, and I have 10th row tickets! I am cooler this year than last year, and I am slowly starting to see how unorganized and mean Creation (or at least the employees) can be at times. After a while, a friend of mine lets me go sit in her 2nd row seat! So now I can see Lucy and Karl up close!
 The civic auditorium is an excellent place to have this event, and it is so much more organized. I sit in my seat until intermission, watching Claire Stansfield talk. Since I love Alti, I stay and sit wide-eyed as she talks. I have to wear my badge and be careful not to loose the little sticker or else I cannot go back to my seat without taking out my ticket stub. When we eat outside, the food is expensive, the tables are not clean, and my food is a ham sandwich. Yummy-yummy. What happened to catering like last year?
 We are reminded not to video or audio tape the convention. "Well that stinks," I said to my seatmates. Karl comes on, and I am screaming. And what I think is very nice of him is that he let girls and women come up there to hug or take pictures with him, even though Creation does not want him to. I realize that you can take a long time with that stuff, but hey, he's a good guy.
 After, my throat is raw from screaming, but I get to see Lucy. The first two rows do not stand up when she comes out. This I find funny, because everyone else had to. This is a grievance I have at the start, and I am glad they do not do it anymore. They have an interviewer, some famous chick, who is asking most of the questions. Observing Lucy, I can tell she is probably a bit frustrated too. She waits and after a guest talks to Lucy, she proceeds to ask stupid questions. Big problem. Xenites all around me are grumbling about how rude she is being. She had her time at the beginning, now let others talk.
 Lucy does not sign autographs, but Karl and Claire do. They tell us: "Only one autograph, no personalization", as if that would stop us! Claire signs whatever people gave her, and she does personalizations as well. I go to Karl and have him sign my autograph and tell him he is so hot (what a loser) and show him the picture I took with him last year. I was only showing him, but he quickly scribbles his name on it. See, I told you he is a good guy.
 The down sides to this convention are the attitudes of the people working it, and also that I do not get to do the trivia contest. I was so prepared. Now I think I know what to expect out of Creation. Boy, was I wrong.
Year 3: Pasadena 2000
Willa O'Neill got her first covention experience at Pasadena 2000. Photo by Nina Knapp.
 I think for this convention they should make a TV show out of it called: "When Good Conventions Go Bad!" It would be on the Fox network and very interesting for other non-Xenites to see how we have fun. This truly is the convention from Hades. As you have seen in my past two conventions, everything was great, almost everything anyway. I am not saying I did not have fun here, or that I am ungrateful that I got to go, but this was the worst put-together event ever.
 To start off, it takes me FOREVER to get my tickets. For some strange reason the computer will not let me order them online, and Ticketmaster will not be selling them until a month before. I am a bit frantic, because I want some good seats for 50 bucks. Creation jacked up the price of tickets this year, so I decide to get the preferred seating. I later learn that if I had just stuck with the darn general seating it would have been the exact same as getting my seat. I sit in row Z, which is right next to general. I cannot see the screen or the stars, and this is only the beginning.
 I go on Saturday and Sunday, hoping that I will be able to be in the trivia. I know EVERYTHING there is to know, and but they hold the contest on Friday. Have they ever heard of school? I have to go to school on Friday! Oh well, next year. (Do not get your hopes up, Jen.) We even go TWO days this year. Oh well.
 The screen is very hard to see this year. I am not sure if it is lighting or what, but I cannot see it as well. The preview of CLEOPATRA 2525 is awful. I eat while it is going on. Wow. The food is terrible too. I would have preferred eating a raw shoe to nasty hot dogs. Thank goodness for vending machines. Still, I think I should not have to pay more for food when I all ready paid $50 and $20 for my seats. So my friend Kim and I decide to go across the street in the rain to get food at the mall.
 Wearing my Christian Xenites T-shirt and angel wings, I even get hit on by a 15-year old employee. Do not get me wrong, it is cute, but for crying out loud! Shut up, you wanna-be security! All they do is stand at the curtain and act tough. When I get done being disgusted with that, I sit in my cruddy seat. I have to rush up quick to even ask a question.
 The good sides to this convention are many, however. I get good pictures of the stars and ask questions of Kevin Smith, Jeremy Callaghan, and Vicky Pratt. I receive a nickname from Jennifer Sky: "Angel girl". That is the price of wearing wings to a Xena convention. We get to see LYRE LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510), the new episode, and I absolutely love everyone's reactions to the different songs, even though half of them knew what was going to happen. Spoilers are a killer sometimes.
 Now that I have described what was fun, here is the biggest thing that upset me at this convention. The auction. In the past the auctions have been great. I was there when they sold the $31,000 sword. This year it is not as big. Sure there are a couple thousand-dollar things, but not as much is for charity. This is the big thing that people are appalled by. On Sunday, as we watch, they sell a lot of Xena stuff. They do not sell many Hercules things. Seeing as it is the "Farewell to Hercules day", you would expect a lot of Hercules items to be sold. Not. They sell a lot of Xena stuff that should have been sold the day before. I sympathize with the "Herculians" and "Iolausians". I have a few in front of me. If Creation had done this to Xena, there would have been a big problem and some fights would have broken out, most likely. I know I would have been mad.
 The announcer who usually does the auctions is VERY rude. I do not mean just a little, I mean he argues with the Xenites. Let me repeat that, HE ARGUES WITH THE XENITES. Here is the situation: They are selling off Gabrielle's staff, a used staff. You would think that they would make it for charity, just like they did with Xena's sword last year. Creation does not. I may be wrong and I might get bad emails from Creation associates, but I am sure they do not sell as much for charity this year. Kevin's charity could have sold a lot more, and so could have Lucy's charity. They make a huge mistake. Anyway, the announcer guy, I do not know his name, is asking why there are not as many bids on the Gabrielle staff as he obviously thinks there should be. Some people yell out: "Because it's not for charity." He says: (and this is a paraphrase), "Oh, so you can write it off?" An argument between he and some Xenites in the front row ensues. After a minute of arguing he says, "We'll sell it anyway, whether you bid or not". This gets them horribly angry. After a while the announcer relents and says that they will give half of the profits to charity. I sincerely doubt that he will do that.
 What strikes me as being barbaric, other than this, is the fact that Creation has jacked up the price of tickets and still they grub around for money. If you get an autograph at this convention and survived, I commend you. Creation shoves everyone in the Annex and tells the stars not to talk to the guests. How rude!
 Now everyone take a deep breath and realize the good aspects of conventions. Just relax, it is only once a year.
Conclusion I would say that Creation has done a poor job. Their attitudes toward the fans are terrible. They think we are selfish people. I for one will still go because it is really fun, once you get past the bad stuff. We get to meet each other and realize that we are not alone in our obsessions for Xena and Hercules. I never talk too much to people there, because I do not know a lot of people. I will recognize a person from a mailing list, but I still do not get to talk to many people. I still have fun. I still ask questions, and I still love this show.
 I know I will probably get a bunch of emails from people who like and do not like my views. Creation might send me one as well, but at least I got to do what I wanted to since that Pasadena convention. I got to state my feelings to the whole Xenite and Herculian community.
 Do we know why we still go to conventions? There is no other way to see tons of other Xenites and the stars, and some of the employees at Creation are actually nice to us. Creation or Cretin? You decide.
Jen is a high school student on the West Coast. She writes fanfic and reads like crazy. Right now she's working at a day camp and hopes to become a writer or singer.
Favorite episode: PAST IMPERFECT (73/405)
Favorite line: Minya: "He's just another man. Just another, big old, leather clad, big hunk of bad boy man." THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER... (56/310)
First episode seen: WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115)
Least favorite episode: THEM BONES, THEM BONES (95/505)