Whoosh! Issue 88 - April 2004

BURBANK CON REPORT 2004
By Sarah Packard
Content © 2004 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2004 held by Whoosh!
22,725 words

Page Four



Saturday, January 31st

[39] Saturday I think proved to be the most exciting day of the con weekend for me (Laura's was Friday cuz of Hudson, heh)...even when I got up that morning (a bit later than Friday - 10 maybe?), I still couldn't believe I was going to finally be seeing RENEE O'CONNOR!!! :) In honor of this event, I of course had to wear one of my Gabrielle t-shirts, the black one w/ the 3 Gabby's (Bard of Poteidaia, Amazon Princess, and Amazon Queen). That shirt, appropriately enough, was the first X:WP shirt I ever purchased myself, at my very first con (Chicago, Thanksgiving '99). It was my 10th con, I was coming full circle...I wanted to wear my chakram necklace too, but the damn chain broke :( and I didn't have another one with me...and my labyrs necklace didn't go as well with the shirt. Oh well. Laura and I had breakfast in the lobby again, I had the same ol' onion bagel and she had a massive muffin...we didn't actually spend that much time with Stephanie and Heather that weekend as they hung out in the room and elsewhere a lot (and didn't even go to the con on Sunday).

[40] When we got over to the convention center, there was definitely a feeling of excitement in the air...there was an auction going on in a side room that started at 12:20, I didn't go to that though. (No use torturing myself with things I can't afford, lol...) I did buy a couple more things on Saturday though - a t-shirt from the $5 table (the black one for the ep "The Debt", with Xena, Lao Ma, and Ming T'ien on it; I wore it to work when I got home, and everyone was like, what the heck is that from? Figures!), and a script, for Katherine Fugate's brilliant episode "When Fates Collide". (They announced she would be signing and I knew I wanted to get that signed! It was $15 though, ack; at least it came with an 8x10 photo of Xena and Gabby on Argo from the end of the ep.) Steve Sears had been wandering around the center all weekend, sitting in the audience, hobnobbing with fans and stars alike...I tried a few times on Saturday to talk to him (and get him to sign my "Hooves and Harlots" script that I'd brought with me), but he always seemed to be surrounded by people.

[41] At one point that morning, b4 the con started, I was standing off to the side balancing my backpack against the wall, trying to put stuff in (the t-shirt I think?)...just then a guy approached me and asked if I would be interested in being interviewed for an upcoming Xena dvd!! (I had noticed a small camera crew stationed in a corner talking to people earlier, but hadn't really investigated what they were doing..) Naturally, I got very shy/nervous at the prospect and almost said no...what if I sounded like a total dork on camera? What would I talk about? But they guy assured me it would just be some simple questions about my fandom from the interviewer...so I said ok! He escorted me over to the crew, and had me sign a short release form basically saying Davis-Panzer (or is it Panzer-Davis?) can use my image and words and such. They explained this was for the extras on the official Xena DVDs for Seasons 5 and/or 6, I think? They wouldn't necessarily use everyone (who knows, maybe not even anyone?) but they were giving it a go. Funnily enough, when I got over there they were just finishing with my friend Molly (and this other girl Molly knows, Song)! I watched as the woman asked who their favorites were or something, and Molly of course said Callisto! The woman actually said she was surprised that other people thus far *hadn't* picked Callisto! (Interesting...)

[42] Once it was my turn, they had me sit in one of those director's chairs that was up kinda high (and put down my backpack)...the woman interviewer was directly in front of me, and the camera to the left of her. I was still nervous but determined not to show it. :) She asked me a series of questions - why did I like the show? (I babbled about Lucy and Renee and the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, and how it was just a damn good show altogether, everything from the writing, directing, cinematography, costumes, music, etc...I could have been waay more articulate and specific, but again, I was both feeling pressured and trying to hide my fear. It's so much easier to explain in *writing* what Xena means to me, which is what I did for Nikki Stafford's book How Xena Changed Our Lives: True Stories By Fans For Fans - which I actually recommended to the interviewer woman afterwards! She sounded genuinely interested in checking it out.) What do I say to people who don't like the show? (I told her about how I've actually converted several people to Xena fandom, obsessive fandom even. ;) And that a lot of people who have disdain for the show just haven't really seen it and have no idea how high quality it is, that it has a bad rap. Once I show people some of the best episodes they usually tend to come around!) Who did I like the best? (She pointed to my Gabby shirt and guessed it was Gabby...and I said yep. :) I talked a little about how I identify more with Gabrielle and her journey, and how I was excited to see Renee. And that if I could ever meet/talk to Renee, I would want to thank her for inspriring us so much, blah blah blah. I added that I'm also a huge Callisto fan and "Hudson Leick groupie," heh, and that I love the Amazons a lot as well, particularly Danielle Cormack as Ephiny.) What was my favorite episode? (I said I couldn't pick just one...and since I was so flustered, I just threw out "The Bitter Suite," since I'm such a musical freak.) Where was I from? (Ann Arbor, Michigan; she seemed surprised!) Do I travel a long way for conventions like this a lot? (I said yes, that cons have taken me to New York, California, Chicago, etc.! I would have elaborated on why I love cons if she had let me, lol...)

[43] At the very end she thanked me and said that she was very impressed with my responses (the crew nodded). I said she'd probably get a lot of good responses from people at the con, and she said people had mostly been saying just how they loved Lucy and stuff, whereas I addressed more the show as a whole I guess? I dunno, but it made me feel cool. :) And trust me, I thought I sounded totally lame! Had I not been so nervous and if I'd had some time to actually *prepare* I could have spoken much better, sigh...still, I at least got to represent for Gab fans a teeny bit, yay. :) Now I'm reeeally curious to see if I or any of my friends actually make it onto one of these dvd's...I think that was such a cool idea for them to do, actually get the fans involved!! Even the Buffy people haven't done that...and Goddess knows without all of us hardcore nutball Xenites the show probably would not have taken off like it did, and made the same cultural impact. :) When I found Laura again a little later, with Stephanie and Heather, I told them about the dvd thing - and as if on cue, the same guy came over and asked them if they'd be interested in doing it too! Laura told me later that they had mentioned how they love Aphrodite (they're big Alex fans); apparently no-one else had really singled 'Dite out yet either. My friend Kiari (Valerie) told me after the con that she got interviewed, too. That would be so sweet if any of us show up on the dvd...even if it's not me. :) (And if I do get on there, I hope I didn't look/sound too silly!) There were cameras around at the con all weekend; some were Creation (filming the entire con for possible future dvd release), and maybe the Xena dvd people filmed a bit too? Not sure.
Cyane's return

[44] So after all that excitement, it was time for the con to finally start!! :) It kicked off around 1 with more music videos, and then the intro music video for Vicky Pratt. It was a Cyane/Sarge video (alas, no Mutant X footage), I can't remember the song though. By the way, shortly before Vicky came out, I realized to my horror that I had forgot my glasses!! :( They were back in my hotel room, I'd left them in my jacket pocket from the Fri night cabaret, ugh...I didn't have time to run back and get them before Vicky (or Gina Torres, who was right after Vicky!), so I just suffered with my poor nearsighted vision for those two...I tried squinting a bit...sigh. At least I knew I'd have enough time to fetch them before *Renee* that afternoon, thank Goddess!! And at least I was sitting close enough that it wasn't too bad...Vicky came out to thunderous applause as usual, wearing a shiny velvety tank top and tight pants. Her gorgeous blonde hair was all long and wavy! I hadn't seen her since Chicago 2000, so it was quite a thrill...I wish I hadn't stopped watching "Mutant X," I didn't even realize it was still on the air! Maybe I need to get back into it... ;) As Annie had told me beforehand, she's not quite as majorly muscled these days as she used to be, because the stupid Mutant X people apparently told her to tone it down and not be so buff. :( Grar. But she does still have abs and biceps of steel, of course! She's kinda like Hudson, but shorter, curvier and athletic like a track star. Yowza! And she still has that amazing laugh - this loud, hearty distinctive laugh that is just so contagious, it makes everyone else laugh. She even talked about how she can't go to movies and stuff because her laugh annoys people or something. :)

[45] She talked mostly about Mutant X (Annie congratulated her on them getting renewed for another season, Vicky said it wasn't 100% certain and official yet though...), although she did answer a few questions about working on Xena on the SIN TRADE episodes (and being naked and cold with Lucy Lawless!). I think people brought up Cleo 2525 a little too. Vicky called up 2 of her biggest fans, both of whom I recognized from online (I used to be on the Vicky Pratt list; I eventually unsubbed cuz the volume of mails, especially off-topic ones, got too much for me) and other cons - Larissa (aka Sarge's little goober) and Jessie, who runs the Vicky site The Pratt Pack, onstage with her! Vicky is very into her fans, which is so wonderful...she actually brought cd's she'd put together of party music to give away to fans in a contest! She came up with some tough Mutant X trivia questions and some lucky winners nabbed the CDs - and Annie was one of them!! (Annie knows all the episode titles of Mutant X even, lol...) Vicky also talked about her hubby T.J. Scott (a Xena director responsible for eps like CALLISTO and ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE!) and what he's up to these days, apparently he's very busy as well...someone mistakenly thought they had kids now, and Vicky assured them that she has no desire to be pregnant any time soon - she laughed about how she always kinda thought of pregnancy as "unnatural" and archaic. Apparently she and Gina Torres used to kid around on the set of Cleo 2525 about being the ones without kids.
Gina Torres

[46] Gina Torres was of course next up; the audience was especially excited to see her since she hasn't done any cons in a long while, and the last time she was at the big California con, Kevin Smith was still around! :( (They both sang in the cabaret...) And of course since then, Gina has been in just about *everything* - after Xena and Hercules she did Cleo 2525, Alias, Firefly (which is also being made into a movie now!), and even Angel. (And I remember seeing her in a memorable episode of La Femme Nikita once, in which she had total subtext with Nikita! I meant to ask her about that but I forgot, doh.) Not to mention the two Matrix sequels!! She is a busy woman. And now she's married to Matrix actor Laurence Fishburne! (Whom she spoke about with much love...they both take a lot of time away from filming to be with each other, cuz she says what's the point in being married if you're not going to spend time together? They would both love to work on a project together, too.) Gina looked amazing as well - incredibly tall and statuesque, in a turtleneck and long skirt, with long straight hair. Incidentally, we learned that Gina is actually Afro-Latino, her family is from Cuba. Someone in the audience mentioned a magazine that she's currently on the cover of, in which was interviewed about being a black Latina (a population that Gina noted gets overlooked a lot).

[47] Gina was asked about virtually all of the aforementioned projects...one of her favorites was playing Anna Espinosa on "Angel" apparently, cuz she got to be just plain *bad*. :) (An audience member noted the slight subtext between Anna and Sydney, and Gina didn't really comment, lol...) She said she'd love to come back on Alias sometime, and it might happen! (Yay.) The Angel gig came around because Joss (Whedon, creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly) felt bad that Firefly's cancellation put her out of work, and she enjoyed working with David Boreanaz and the Angel cast, who were all very welcoming...when asked about the difference between doing something like Herc or Xena and doing a huge Matrix movie, she pointed out that the Zion set turned out to be not that different from a Xena set - one big dirty cave basically! Just a much, much bigger one...so they spent zillions of dollars on what was essentially a glorified RenPics set, heh. :)

[48] At one point Gina addressed the fact that the last time she was here, Kevin Smith was also, and that she, like everyone else, really misses him. :( (That was another recurring theme of the weekend - We Miss Kevin!!) Someone asked her to sing, and she said she would at the end - and she did! Man, it's a pity they didn't get her for the cabaret (it sounded like maybe she wasn't available on Friday?), because that woman can SING!! I'd seen footage of her before belting out songs at the Pasadena cabaret, but in person it was just incredible...so much power, such a beautiful soulful voice. She sang a song about an angel fallen from heaven, and it just gave everyone chills. Later when I got her autograph, I told her how impressed I was by her singing, and that she should record a cd! (She laughed and said she didn't want to try to compete with all the Britney Spears's out there, and I said that's all the more reason why we need someone like her!)

[49] The auto line afterwards was interesting - Gina was moving much faster, but Vicky takes a lot longer, so they ended up splitting up the line into 2 separate lines to facilitate the process...some people would bitch about how Vicky slowed things down, but I personally loved the fact that she really insisted on taking time to talk to every single person in line. Cuz isn't that what this is really supposed to be about? Not treating everyone like robots? I know Creation staff and others tried to hurry Vicky up too, but she persisted...when I got to her, I told her I hadn't seen her since 2000 and how great it was to see her again...and that I loved her muscles! (Which she appreciated, although I think she did mention how she's not as buff as she used to be...) She was the first person of the weekend to personalize autographs too I think, for everyone! Hence the long line. I'd almost forgotten how much I love Vicky...I really wanna see her again now. :)

[50] During the Gina/Vicky auto session, they were originally supposed to do a fan panel, but I guess they kinda realized that idea hadn't worked out so great...so they ended up having Steve Sears come onstage and talk instead. (Finally! He hadn't been on the schedule initially, which surprised me...) Steve brought this drawer of *stuff* he hadn't even looked through yet, old Xena stuff, and sorted through it onstage with commentary, lol...he threw some random goodies out into the audience, even his old business cards, heh. I was in the auto line for his entire talk though, I think! (He also took a photo of the audience, which he says he always does...) Next up was something I was looking forward to - another short film from famous Xenite and Lucy lookalike Deborah Abbott (who, alas, was not at the con this year for some reason :( ), a convention travelogue! Unfortunately I ended up missing it, cuz that was my only chance to run back over to the hotel and fetch my glasses. :( It was either then or miss Katherine Fugate, and I really wanted to see Katherine, so...

[51] I raced to my room and back, glasses in tow, and got back just about in time; Katherine was already onstage doing her Q&A but I don't think I missed too much. Katherine was a real treat - funny, honest, intelligent, very classy...and stunning, too! She's a petite blonde with actress good looks, she coulda been a Xena babe herself. Anyway, she is now revered throughout fandom for writing "When Fates Collide," which has to be one of the best eps of all time (and many think should have been the series finale!). I'd participated in an online chat with her on Xena Palace once, and found her to be very down-to-earth and sweet. I guess when she first came out she must have launched into talking about the future Xena movie, because that's what I walked in on...she has the official scoop on her website, katherinefugate.com, so I won't go into the details, but the gist of it is - there has been significant progress over the past year as far as getting a Xena movie made!! (Hooray!) Rob got Katherine to agree to write it, so that's a definite (wahoo!), and Lucy and Renee have both agreed to star!! Now their roadblocks involve things like the rights and studios and blah blah blah...apparently Rob had to wait 6 months before he could start securing the rights or something like that for some legal reasons, and now that that time has passed, things can progress some more...this is exciting news indeed, and everyone at the con was understandably jazzed about it too. I'm soo glad they were smart enough to get Katherine, because she will be able to do this movie properly...all weekend people kept asking the stars if they'd be interested in being in the Xena movie, and of course everyone said they'd jump at the chance! :)

[51] Katherine also talked about some of her recent, current and upcoming writing projects...she did an indie film called "Carolina" (mostly autobiographical!) starring Julia Stiles and Shirley MacLaine (she had some funny Shirley stories), and it's now available on dvd in Canada and will hopefully get a limited theatrical release in April or so...she also wrote a mainstream film called "The Prince & Me," also starring Julia, which will be released everywhere in March! And, everyone was impressed to hear about her upcoming movie starring Jennifer Aniston, which has been heretofore known as "The Untitled Jennifer Aniston Project," but which had just gotten a title, which she told us for the first time...except now I can't remember it, lol. ;) It seems like Katherine's career is really on the rise! She's also good friends with Gillian Anderson (from X-Files) and they are going to do a movie together as well. By the way, Katherine and Steve did a writers' workshop at the con Saturday morning, I didn't attend (couldn't afford it, for one) but I hear it was a smashing success!

[52] After Katherine it was time for RENEE...and the crowd was gearing up. Soon just about every seat was suddenly filled! I had my glasses so I was good to go...there were only 10-13 pics left on Laura's digital camera, and I was determined to use every last one of them on Renee. They informed us that we were not to take flash photos during Renee's one-woman theatrical performance, but we could do so afterwards, during her brief Q&A period...everyone everywhere had their cameras ready; Steve Sears was even sitting in the middle aisle to my right with his camera! :) (And he got some amaaazing shots, on his site at pondalee.com!) Annie was practically ready to faint, and I was just thrilled beyond belief...James and others were setting up the stage for Renee's performance with many and assorted props - a table, a coat/hat rack with various coats and sweaters and scarves on it, a bottle of wine and a glass, a wooden box, etc. etc...even a Gabrielle staff, which James suddenly took backstage again before the show started, to everyone's amusement... (guess that was a mistake, cuz Renee came out with it!) There was a long period of just *waiting*, even after the props were all assembled. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife!

[53] When Renee finally made her entrance, slowly, I didn't even recognize her at first...she was in character as "old Renee," hunched over like a little old lady, wearing a tattered BGSB and skirt over a sweater and pants, and a short gray granny wig, carrying the Gab staff. She tottered to the center and eventually sat down...cameras everywhere were going off, including some flashes despite the warning. I managed to sneak in *one* flash photo (I had to get just ONE! :) ) and then the security woman motioned for me to stop, which I was going to anyway...her show consisted of a series of (memorized) monologues, and the first one she had actually written herself. She was basically playing an old-lady version of herself, and talking about coming to one last convention to see, as she explained to her grandkids, "some old friends" (which made everyone smile/laugh/cheer)...She told a touching story about the last day on the Xena set and showed us a green stone that had been given out to everyone in the cast and crew. This was going to be about letting go, she was going to "put the bard to bed", and she finally removed the BGSB (which took a while; she joked "now you get to see how this thing comes off!") and skirt, and later the wig...the transition to each monologue involved a careful costume change. She had a tan sweater and pants underneath, and managed to cleverly use various tops and such over it to slip into an entirely different persona, it was amazing...

[54] KT wrote this in-depth description of Renee's show for the Chakram-Refugees list (and MaryD later posted it on her site), so I'll let y'all read that for more details on each monologue, probably better than I can tell it...there were 5 monologues after the initial intro, and each one would end with some vaguely Appalachian recorded music (and major applause!) while Renee prepared for the next one. Her transitions were so startlingly seamless, she really *became* all of these characters! A young, vulnerable theatre actress (who brought the house lights up so she could stare at the audience the way they stare at her); a rodeo cowgirl frustrated with the changes in the business that sucked the life out of the rodeo tradition; a daughter recounting the final days of her dying mother; a southern woman from a fundamental church that did "snake handling" talking about being bitten and almost bitten (how you have to have some kind of faith in you, faith in anything, or else the snake will see your emptiness and bite you); and finally a woman covered with tattoos (Renee had fake ones colored in all over her arms, chest and abs for the show; they did them backstage beforehand!) who urged us to let ourselves be "marked" by life, as she was marked by the angry scar on her cheek (done with pen) given to her by a would-be rapist and by the self-chosen tattoos inspired by specific people and events in her life...each monologue was extremely meaningful and moving (and Renee covered every emotion so perfectly), but it was the last one that finally got me to actually cry, it really resonated with me, as did Renee's raw performance of it...wow. I mean, she has moved me many times as Gabrielle, but this was unlike anything I'd ever seen! What a talent, what a special moment shared! That performance alone was worth the price of the entire weekend...

[55] And there was more to come! ;) At the end of her show, everyone rose to a mighty standing ovation, and many people had tears in their eyes...Renee talked about how it was good for her to finally be "opening up" in her acting, and soon Renee started to cry too!! Everyone was showering her with such love, and she was visibly overwhelmed...it was clearly a cathartic moment for Renee too, she even had to turn around to hide her face as she burst into tears...and she kept saying "thank you, thank you" (and Annie later told me she was mouthing "thank you" back to Renee!). Unfortunately, Laura's digital camera chose to run out of batteries at this point :( , so I had to quickly whip out my own non-digital one (which can't zoom, alas) to try to get some quick Renee pics...she was about to start talking about her current projects, and Sharon said they'd maybe open it up to questions from the audience, when all of a sudden this crazy fan got up...
those pesky fans

[56] This all happened so quickly, so it's hard to say how it all went down. Basically, there was a sudden hubbub - this woman with massive, afro-y messy brown hair dressed in all blue denim got up and was shouting "Renee, Renee!" and stuff...people were standing up, and word quickly passed through the crowd that it was none other than LUCY LAWLESS herself, in disguise!!! She had been sitting in the crowd during Renee's entire perfomance! Everyone stood up and was practically clambering over seats and trying to get pictures, it was pandemonium, utter chaos...Lucy bounded up to the stage, Renee immediately recognized her (before many people in the crowd, I think), and was obviously even more surprised than us!! The whole thing was an elaborate surprise, Sharon Delaney later explained to us, and as Lucy said, she hadn't seen Renee in ages and really wanted to see her show. (Lucy wasn't originally gonna come to the con because she was supposed to be doing some finishing up filming stuff on "The Boogeyman" or one of her film projects, in New Zealand...she only ended up being free that week and decided at the last minute to make a quick appearance to see Renee...they hadn't even decided whether she was really gonna do it till that Thursday!!)

[57] Now, Lucy was not only in total costume, she was also very much in character, as a crazy fan...she was soo unrecognizable, with this massive wig that covered a lot of her face as well (and she was out of makeup and had red, ruddy cheeks), lots of padding to make her fatter, baggy pants and a bulky denim "Rosie O'Donnell Show" jacket (which she showed off proudly), and just an overall older butch woman look. Definitely dyke-y. :) She also had this weird geeky low voice, basically an American accent, and even walked around in kind of a lumbering fashion. It was a parody of a fan, but obviously way exaggerated - real fans sitting around her during the performance in fact thought she was obnoxious and weird! :) And Jaz, who came up right after all this, screamed to us, "I was sitting next to Lucy the entire time and had no idea, ahhhh!!!" :) We were all jumping up and down, still in shock and disbelief. Apparently James had known about the trick, but hadn't told Jaz, cuz he wanted to see her reaction, lol! Renee's reaction was also priceless...they of course hugged onstage several times, and after it all went backstage to go talk.

[58] Anyway, so Lucy runs up onstage, and asks loudly, "What was it like kissing Lucy Lawless??!" and Renee, laughing, is like "Why don't I show you?" A million fans grabbed their cameras :) but alas, Lucy didn't accept Renee's offer...dammit. ;) She insisted on staying in character, and didn't want Renee to take off her wig...finally Renee did so, but Lucy was clearly uncomfortable, she wanted to maintain the act. :) The wig-less Lucy made the fans happy, though! The only drawback of the stunt is that in all the Lucy and Renee chaos, they never really did an actual Renee Q&A and Renee didn't get to talk very much at all! Sigh...but hey, finally seeing LUCY was so frigging cool and unexpected that it was well worth it for me, and mostly everyone else!! :) (Afterwards I found Katie and we were both still stunned and overjoyed! I mean, it was Katie's first con and she got to see Renee AND Lucy! It was kinda hard to top that, the rest of the weekend was almost anticlimactic...) This stunt will go down in Xenaverse history, that's for sure...and it helped make up for the fact that I missed seeing Lucy and Renee in Pasadena back in 2001. :) It would have been nice if Renee and/or Lucy could have stuck around onstage longer and done a proper talk, but oh well.

[59] Everything was running kinda late by this point...but they made up for it by having Charles Mesure and Bobby Hosea do their Q&A together, anyway. Before that was a quick mini-auction of "special items," like a sword from the show auto'd by Lucy, and things like the giant banners around the stage (with pics of all the con stars, autographed by all of them too!). Those kinds of things went for thousands of dollars, as usual, and mostly for charity too. The Pink Lady next to me bid on and won a t-shirt handwritten on by Lucy for a breast cancer charity (it said "There's nothing wrong with BOOBS", lol!). Finally Bobby and Charles came out...it was the first con appearance for both of them (and they'd only added Bobby to the lineup like the week before the con!), so that was cool. Now, both seem to be lovely men, and Bobby was very funny and friendly, but it was Charles who really knocked my socks off, so to speak. :) I always found him kinda hot on Xena and Herc (mostly as Archangel Michael, although Darnell had his charms), but in person he was even yummier, although not blonde...tall, hunky, and well dressed in a suit with a teal shirt. There's just something about that man's eyes, and his wry smile! *drool* His kiwi accent is great, too.

[60] Both men seemed to enjoy the whole con experience, although they were maybe a bit overwhelmed...they answered questions about the show - Bobby insisted that Marcus was the only man Xena ever really loved :) Charles talked about how Darnell was his impersonation of Kevin Smith, aka "Smithy"...he and Kevin were good friends. Kevin even played his boyfriend on some TV series/movie in NZ where he played a gay bartender! (He said that if it had to be anyone, he'd want it to be Smithy!) He informed us that yes, the Michael wings were a real pain to wear, very heavy and cumbersome...they also mentioned what they were up to now. Bobby is going out for TV pilots and such since it's pilot season, and he recently played that D.C. sniper guy in a TV movie...Charles is contemplating moving to the States (yay! Come to Michigan, Charles! ;) Heh, as if...) to pursue acting here, because he explained that he realized he didn't really have anything tying him down back home - he's single, has no wife and kids, etc...hmmm...oh, and Charles is in that kiwi movie "The Boogeyman," he plays Lucy Lawless's husband! :) He told us a little bit about the plot (it's about this guy who grows up in this bad family where they traumatize him by telling him the boogeyman's gonna get him, etc. etc.; Charles and Lucy are the parents, and I think they both get killed? Or Lucy dies, anyway...).

[61] After the Q&A, it was time for the last con event of the day, the auto session with Charles and Bobby. Both of them were personalizing! Charles was up first...I was a bit shy face to face with the kiwi hunk, and stammered out a hi...while he signed, I said "I just have to say you're even sexier in person!" (I think he just smiled, lol...) I went on about how tan he is too...it's summer back in NZ right now, after all. He said he liked the California weather, too. I thanked him for coming or something else lame like that, and moved along...he signed my Michael photo "To Sarah, love, Charles Mesure" with a little smiley face, very cute. Kiari actually got a Creation photo op with him (see her report and pics at the end of this report!), lucky grrl...she was similarly weak-kneed in his presence. Katherine Fugate was also signing at the table, so she signed my WFC script. I told her how excited I was for "The Prince & Me" because I'm a big Julia Stiles fan as well! She explained it was indeed a coincidence that Julia ended up in both her films, and that she of course got to meet her and was very impressed. Katherine signed my script "For Sarah, believe in your fate..."

[62] Once the con was over, we still had the Dionysian dessert dance party that evening (for gold ticket people only), yay!! I went back to the room and had just enough time to change...I'd brought a dress to wear, cuz I figured I wanted to look nice, and wear something more dance-y than just jeans and a t-shirt, right? Well, I ended up being pretty much the *only* person dressed up, lol...oh well, it wasn't like it was a prom dress or anything, it was just a simple long, flowing sleeveless black dress (with my heeled character shoes, ideal for dancing). I felt pretty in it, at least. :) I don't think I ever had dinner; I did get some cheese popcorn from the hotel gift shop, though. So I was ready for some free dessert(s)! Alas, Laura and the others couldn't come since they were gen admission...I went over to the convention center by myself, feeling a tad self-conscious in my dress. Once we got inside (it was held in the room next to the auditorium, same room as the Sun. morning charity breakfast), though (after another long line, naturally!), I found Annie and Molly and co. and sat at their table. It was a lot like the breakfasts, except with dessert! They had a buffet set up with pre-scooped bowls of ice cream in diff flavors - I picked one with a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of chocolate. And then they had fudge sauce and mini-M&M's and stuff to put on em. :) There were also bottles of soda - root beer or cream soda (I picked the latter). All in all a nice tasty sugar rush!
The author (l) with the photographer (r) and a friend

[63] After we'd eaten our fill of ice cream, we all kinda sat around at our tables while Adam from Creation got people to come up and do Xena yells and sing stuff from Xena into the microphone, things like that...there was a dance floor but some cheesy techno-y music so no-one danced...I was starting to fear the "dance" part of the evening just wasn't gonna happen. Soon the celebrities came in, though! The ones who attended were: Gina Torres, Charles Mesure (yay!), Bobby Hosea, Alison Wall, and Murray Keane. Since Alison and Murray weren't at the con till Sunday, this was our first time seeing them...Alison had frizzy brownish hair and wore a women's suit, Murray was wearing a sporty kinda outfit. Those two made the rounds together, and we didn't get them at our table till very late...first we had Bobby, who posed for photo's with everyone of course. Next up was Gina I think, who didn't have as much time with us...she posed for pics with everyone but when she got to me and I think Angie?, she had to move on, so I didn't get a pic... :( I was pretty bummed. At least I did get a photo with Charles... ;) He smelled really good, and was very warm (maybe I was cold in my dress, I dunno). With his arm around me for the pic, I couldn't think of anything to say...in my head I was just like "Oooh, he's warm," lol. ;) At least Molly complimented me on my dress while Charles was still there, and said that we looked really good together, since we were both dressed up (he still had on his suit from the con). That made me happy. :) I wish I could have been more brazen and properly flirted with the guy, though!! Next time...if he does more cons, hopefully...

[64] By this point there was an actual dj and he was finally playing some good dance music (I think they started off with Britney Spears' "Toxic"?)..so people started getting up and moving to the dance floor. Despite my fears, the dance floor was soon full and people were gettin' down!! :) I danced around with Annie, Molly, Karen, Kathy, and especially Katie, who was also very into it. There was this cute girl in a wheelchair (another Sarah! And a British one, too!) on the dance floor too; yes, people in chairs can still dance, apparently. She even had people take her by the hands and swing her chair all around! (Including Murray Keane!) Charles came out on the floor (!!) and danced, but only for a couple minutes, and he then retreated to go to more tables...dammit. :) Murray and Alison, however, once they'd made the rounds, came on the floor and danced in our midst until the VERY END of the evening!! (Which wasn't till 12:30 or so, even though it was supposed to end at midnight and the hotel people tried kicking us out once or twice, lol...) They started with mostly current top-40 type music, then did a lot of 80's stuff, and then 70's funk and disco...and finished off with a Prince medley. :) It was soo much fun; this was the first time they'd tried doing a dance at a Xena con (I think they'd done one b4 at one of their Farscape cons), and hopefully they'll keep it! It was nice to have a Creation event that for once wasn't about sucking more money out of us, lol...I'd been to dances at the Vulkon Buffy cons and really enjoyed them. Katie and I were glad we had gold tix and got to go to this.

[65] I have to mention also that at one point during the dance, Katie and I took a breather and had a drink of water off the floor...and we noticed Steve Sears there, talking to another woman! I didn't have my script with me, but I decided to seize the chance to get a picture with him...so Katie and I stood there patiently while this woman chatted with him, and finally it was our turn. Steve was very friendly and not star-ish at all...he posed for a photo with me (his arm around my waist :) ), and I had to ask him if there was a story behind the origins of his trademark fedora hat, which he always wears...he explained that he put one on one day and it just worked for him, and everyone thought so...except now everyone expects him to always wear it, so he always does. :) It does cover his baldness, though! I asked him if I could try it on, and he said yes! So Katie also took a photo with my camera of me wearing Steve's fedora, with him next to me. Whee, I have worn the famous fedora. At the end of the evening we stumbled back to the hotel, not drunk but very, very tired (and yet, I was still somewhat hyper)...my roommates were still awake, surprisingly, and intent on watching many movies on TV. I was trying to go to sleep, cuz I had to get up very early for the 8:30 am charity breakfast unlike them, and had to ask a couple times if they could turn down the volume. I got very little sleep that night, but it had been a wonderful day!!





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