Whoosh! Issue 88 - April 2004

By Sarah Packard
Con photos by Katie Wilks of The Warrior's Hut
Content © 2004 held by authors
WHOOSH! edition © 2004 held by Whoosh!
22,725 words

Introduction (01-05)
Wednesday, January 28th (06-07)
Thursday, January 29th (08-17)
Friday, January 30th (18-38)
Saturday, January 31st (39-65)
Sunday, February 1st (66-94)
Conclusion (95)



[01] Since late 1999, I have been obsessively attending conventions, mostly Xena conventions run by Creation. Year after year, I keep meeting more stars and fellow fans, moving further along from con virgin to con veteran. And yet, I somehow never managed to get to the "big con" - the annual Xena con held in the Los Angeles area (usually Pasadena, but it's also been in Burbank and Santa Monica) with an ever-impressive lineup of around a dozen stars, frequently including Lucy (Lawless) and/or Renee (O'Connor) themselves!! My excuse? Well, California is far away from me here in Ann Arbor, MI for one, and while my dad has been getting me free trips to CA to visit my mom in recent years, that's *northern* California (the Bay Area)...but more importantly, the cost. Tickets for the big con are often twice the price of a regular con, and that's not including hotel fees and other travel expenses. (Plus, tickets for these cons sell out verrry fast, and the good seats are usually gone before the general public gets a crack anyway; people reserve their seats at the previous year's con.)

[02] Still, it does kind of amaze me that I never did get there. I almost went in 2001 in fact, the con that ended up being known as "Last Dance in Pasadena" because it was around the end of the series (and featured Lucy and Renee together onstage, for maybe the first time?). Someone online was going to sell me her gold ticket - I even got the money out of my account and everything, and a friend bought me cheap Spirit airfare - but then informed me at the last minute she had already sold it to someone else. :( I still remember that incident with sad regret...so this year when I had the opportunity to buy someone else's ticket again (this time it was Laren, a Xenite online/con friend of mine!), I jumped at the chance. In fact, at first I was considering buying another person's ticket, but knew I just couldn't afford the $389 or whatever...and she found another buyer. But then when Laren had one to sell too, it was like a sign that I HAD to go to this con! And Laren agreed to sell it to me for less than he paid (only $300 altogether!) and also let me pay it in 2 installments...I couldn't resist. I mailed him a money order for $150 and began to make my plans, with only a few weeks before the con. :) I emailed my dad and begged him to help me with the airfare situation, cuz Goddess knows I couldn't have afforded to do this if I'd had to buy my plane ticket as well...even though it wasn't a trip to visit Mom, Dad used his zillions of frequent flyer miles to get me free flights anyway, yay! :)

[03] I decided to fly out there the Wednesday evening before the con (twas a 3-day con, my longest ever! Fri-Sun.), and return Monday morning, and managed to get the time off work...the hotel situation worked out too, because I found out that one of my livejournal friends, volcano_gurl (Laura) was going and was willing to let me room with her at the Burbank airport Hilton (the con hotel)! Our other roommates would be another lj friend, starrfaerie (Stephanie, who I'd actually met at a con b4 in Chicago!), and her friend sexyjanet (Heather). All 3 are a lot younger than me, around 20 (I'm 25). I still needed a place to stay Wed. night though, because Laura wasn't getting in till Thursday (and Stephanie and Heather on Friday)...I ended up crashing in another Hilton room that night, with some of my other friends. More on that in a bit!

Xena! Con! 2004!!!

There's a Con a-comin' to town--better hide your womenfolk!

[04] Anyway, so Burbank ended up being my 10th Creation con (and my 19th con in general), which seemed very fitting! :) And it was also to be my first time seeing Renee O'Connor, at last....I have long idolized her because I am a huuuge Gabrielle fan. So she was another reason why I was so eager to go this year, even though Lucy wasn't in the lineup. :) There were to be 15 guests altogether, 12 actors and 3 writers. They were: Renee O'Connor (Gabrielle), Hudson Leick (Callisto), Gina Torres (Cleopatra on Xena, Nebula on Hercules, Hel on Cleopatra 2525, Jasmine on Angel, Anna Espinosa on Angel, whatsherface on Firefly, and the list goes on and on!! I'd been wanting to meet Gina for a long time, too), Danielle Cormack (Ephiny), Adrienne Wilkinson (Livia/Eve, who was replacing Ted Raimi, who had to cancel. Alex Tydings also cancelled), Victoria Pratt (Cyane, Sarge on Cleo 2525, Shalimar on Mutant X), Alison Bruce (Melosa, Talia, Kahina), Alison Wall (Minya), Charles Mesure (Archangel Michael, Darnell, Mercer), Charles Keating (Zeus), Bobby Hosea (Marcus), Murray Keane (Hower), and writers Steve Sears (too many episodes to name), Missy Good ("Coming Home," "Legacy," and legions of fanfic and novels), and Katherine Fugate ("When Fates Collide," one of the best eps ever!). 15 people! Your average regular-sized Creation con usually has maybe 6 guests at most, so this was quite a first for me.

[05] I was also really looking forward to getting to southern California again (I grew up in the San Diego area), as I hadn't been anywhere there in almost 10 years. (My mom and I went there during the spring break of my junior year of high school, back in 1995.) I hadn't been to Burbank in particular since I was maybe a baby? And I realized early on that Burbank is where they film all the TV shows (sitcoms, game shows, talk shows, etc.)! I was determined to go see a show. And after much research online, I ended up getting a free ticket to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (which films right at NBC Burbank!) for the Thursday of my trip, Jan. 29th! Alas, tix to "Will and Grace" and 'That 70's Show" were sold out, ditto for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show". If I'd had more advance warning, maybe...it was the perfect time to jet off to Cali too, seeing as it's currently freezing and snowy here!

Wednesday, January 28th

[06] My journey began on Wednesday night, when I flew from Detroit to Burbank by way of Denver...I wore a Xena shirt under my jacket, in case I happened to run into anyone else traveling to the con (hey, ya never know!). :) I even packed all 6 of my Xena soundtrack cd's, although I ended up not listening to any on the plane...I mostly slept and read my issue of Bitch magazine. When I finally got to Burbank around 9 pm, it was so strange and surreal to get off the plane to a night that wasn't bitterly cold (and no snow!). As we were landing I could actually see the Hilton from the airport, that's how close it was! I could have practically walked across the street, but I waited for the free shuttle over to the hotel anyway...first I had to call my friend Molly on her cell phone. Molly is one of my "con friends," someone I met at a con (the Palo Alto con in 2000, back when she got kissed by Hudson ;) ) and who I see at almost every con now...she's a fellow Hudson groupie, for sure. The girl is hardcore; she used to take the bus to these cons all the way from Kansas, which usually meant living on the bus for a couple days!! Anyway, I'd told her in email about my dire straits; the week of the con came and I still didn't have a place to stay Wed night, and wasn't keen on spending $70 or more on a hotel room for that one night ($70 was the cheapest room I could find, at a diff hotel! No way could I afford the Hilton alone)...Molly said she already had a lot of ppl in her room (it was gonna be 7 I think, but ended up being 5), but she'd see what she could do.

We luuuuuve us some Gabrielle!
Creation's huge Gabrielle poster

[07] So when I got in I called, and she asked her roomies if it was ok if I crashed with them, which it was (phew!). Her roomies turned out to be people I knew as well - Annie (a Californian who I first met at that same Palo Alto con and have seen several times since! Annie is a fellow Renee devotee, yay), and 3 gals from the Xenaversity of Minnesota, Karen, Kathy, and Jaz (of the bright blue hair). I'd met them all before, except maybe Kathy I think? Jaz remembered me from the Brooklyn con last August, and Karen still remembered when I roomed with the XOMbies back at the Chicago con several years ago. Twas a great room to be in, with con addicts who know how to have a good time! Right away everyone was showing each other their photos, autographs, scripts, etc. (and everyone seemed to have their photos from the Brooklyn con, myself included!). Annie wanted to play with my Gabrielle Amazon Queen doll, who I brought along on the trip in honor of Renee's appearance. :) Jaz even got out the video camera and asked us to introduce ourselves, say our first con, and our first episode I think. We also went around and answered which Xena actresses we'd want to a) marry, b) have a one night stand with, and c) have an affair with. Everyone had their preferences - Kathy was all about Lucy, Karen obsessed with Vicky, Molly diehard Hudson, Annie all Renee, etc...I said I'd marry Renee (ditto for Annie, of course), have the one night stand with Hudson, and the affair maybe with Danielle or Vicky? We all stayed up late (till at least 1, probably later though), and I had to sleep on the floor, but it actually wasn't so bad. I had blankets and stuff down on the floor, and no-one tripped over me, so it was all good.

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