Saturday at the con

G: She scares the crap out of me, Xena.

X: It's just a poster, Gabrielle.


First up was Musetta Vander. I didn't realize that Musetta had such a large body of work, and that I've seen her in so many things. She was in the first season of Buffy, playing the teacher that was the praying mantis, she was on Star Trek Voyager in the episode The Disease, playing Harry Kim's love interest, she's been in Highlander, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, and she has a Stargate SG1 episode coming up.

She talked about her first fight on Xena, where she got a little carried away with the action and pulled a hamstring. So when you see her running away, and she looks kind of goofy, she's really limping. She said the costume was really restricting as far as arm movements and she wound up fighting from the elbow.

When asked if her character, Ilainus, had a "special" relationship with Athena, she chuckled and wondered how Paris had answered that question. On that subject, she would only say, "Of course Ilainus had a strong relationship with Athena, she was willing to die for her, for crying out loud." (uh huh)

She told a lot of travel stories (she's from South Africa, but she lives in LA now). Interesting lady.

Next up was the trivia contest (I won the first question! Sorry, Cindy <g>).

Next was a brilliantly funny silent film by the Xenaversity of Minnesota. The premise was that Xena's humor has been stolen and Gabrielle has to get it back before Xena turns to the dark side. It's a very creative film, using clips from the show, rendered in black and white, skipping and hopping and scratched just like an old silent film, with word screens flashing between the clips explaining dialog or moving the plot along, complete with the tinny piano accompaniment. Brilliant, brilliant job, guys!!

Jay Laga'aia was the next guest, and he announced proudly, that he was a Con virgin. You wouldn't have guessed it from his stage presence. What a fantastic guest. He is quite a story teller.

His first story was about walking on set for the first time to shoot his first scene, which happened to be a fight scene with Lucy. Lucy came walking out, all leather and blue eyes, and he froze, stunned at the sight. "Whoa!" he said. He looked at her skimpy costume and then to the sword in his hand and said, "Where do I strike?"

When asked about Renee, he said she was amazing, and he was surprised when he came back to film more episodes later in the series, because she was like the kid sister who had suddenly grown up and now she's got attitude.

He told a funny story about riding the horse in Comedy of Eros. Apparently, he lied and said he could ride a horse, when in fact, he'd never been on a horse before. He thought he could fake it, how hard could it be? Quite hard, apparently.

He talked about working on Lord of The Rings, The Matrix 2 & 3, and talked a bit about working on Attack of the Clones. He said when he met George Lucas, Mr. Lucas welcomed him to the Star Wars family, and Jay wanted to say something really brilliant, something that would stay with George forever, and when the time came, he found himself a bit flabbergasted and just wound up saying, "G'day."

He said his next role is playing Mufasa in the stage version of The Lion King in Sydney.

Next Jay sang for us. He was given a guitar (still with the price tag dangling from the end), and proceeded to blow us away. The man could be a rock star. He is an awesome musician. He sang Shower the People You Love With Love, followed by a Kiwi song and he did impressions of Elvis and Michael Jackson. The guy is incredible.

He left us with these words of wisdom: "Choose a job you really enjoy and you'll never work a day in your life."

Melinda Clarke was the next guest. Melinda is a self proclaimed, Chatty Kathy. She said she sat next to Hudson on a plane once and talked her ear off until Hudson finally said, "I'm going to meditate now…" and Melinda supposed that meant to shut the hell up.

She talked about working on CSI, and Charmed, and the movie, Spawn. When asked about her experience on Xena, she said that Hudson scared the shit out of her when she released her evil Callisto scream during the filming of the rope bridge fight in Necessary Evil. Gulp. Me too.

Someone asked for an embarrassing moment, and she was hard pressed to come up with one. "I'm trashy show folk," she asserted proudly. "I don't get embarrassed."

She was a lot of fun.

Next up was the charity auction, the highlight being the sale of Lucy's huge Xena banner to the tune of $6200 (Lucy will sign it). Wow. (I apologize for not knowing which charity this went to)

The next guest was Steven Sears. He brought a box from his office that contained all kinds of gifts given to him over the years by Xena fans. He said he keeps everything, and all have special meaning to him. As he put the box on the table he said he thought he'd just drag these things out and show us, and then he added, "It's amazing what comes out after the series ends." (heh heh heh)

He gave away a draft of his Intimate Stranger script, which originally was titled Intimate Stranger (Callisto's Nightmare). He also showed us his personal set of Sais that he brought into the meeting when he was showing TPTB his idea for Gabrielle's new weapon(s). He said the production office made exact duplicates of them for Renee, but they forgot to take into account that Steven's arms are longer than hers (the end of shaft is supposed to come to the elbow when held backwards in the hand), so the first set was too long until they eventually cut them down a few inches.

The possibility of a Xena movie was a hot topic this weekend, and someone asked if he would write one if he was asked. "That'd be cool," he said, "But it won't happen." Shouts of "why" filled the auditorium, and he explained that Hollywood tends to go outside of a TV series to hire big directors, big writers, recast, etc… That's just the way Hollywood is. (groans from the audience)

Someone asked if it's hard coming up with new ideas for stories, and he said there are basically only 6 storylines and they all keep getting recycled. He said it's not unusual to have two writers come up with the exact same storyline, independent of one another. The key is to be creative with the 6 options.

He said he's working on a drama show, cops, detectives (something of that nature), and he enjoyed the change of genre. It gave him a fresh perspective.

He ended his panel by thanking everyone for being a part of his life. Steven has some fantastic photos of the con.

Darien Takle came out next, and she was delightful. Quite a cheeky lady. Loads of fun. Someone asked what kind of tavern Cyrene had, and what exactly did they do there? "Oh, we played slag the warlord, cross dressed, you know, the usual…" LOL!

She was asked what kind of relationship she had with her daughter in law, Gabrielle, and she paused for a moment, wrapping her brain around the question and burst into a huge smile. "Oh! Gabrielle! Yes, wonderful girl, lovely wedding, wish you could have been there!" (cheers from the audience)

When asked what she thought when Xena brought home a baby, she replied, "This'll mellow the ol' girl out." Then she smiled. "As long as I don't have to do the nappies. Turned out I didn't. She got her wife, Gabrielle, to do them." Darien was having a great time with the subtext.

She said she didn't like Cyrene's bitter end, and the filming was scary too. There was a fire, of course, because she was burned at the stake, and as the crew cleared out for filming they said, "Darien, jump clear if there's a problem." She laughed and said the scream for Xena was genuine.

She ended her panel with a poem she'd written for Kevin. I don't remember most of it, but these are a few lines: "Don't think we've forgotten you! You're here, you're there, you're everywhere." Then she looked to the heavens and shouted, "Hey friend! Stay close! Stay cool! We love you!"

Next guest, Meighan Desmond. I think Meighan said she was working as an agent for actors, or something like that. I apologize, I don't have many notes for Meighan's appearance. I don't know why, she wasn't a bad guest. People asked questions like, "What was it like working with Lucy and Renee?" to which everyone has the standard, "They are awesome," answer. What were you the god of (Discord…hello? <g>), how did you feel about your end on the show…things like that. I'm really having a brain fart about the whole thing, so if someone else wants to chime in here, be my guest! Sorry, Meighan and fans of Meighan's. (sheepish grin)

Hudson Leick. Three words. Oh. My. God. The end.

Just kidding (but not really). She's something else. Loaded with looks and attitude, and usually not much else, she could just stand on the stage for forty five minutes and that would be fine with the crowd. Today she had a long spandex silvery dress which she said, "Felt like being hugged all over, all of the time", and she did just that, spending the first few minutes fondling herself (ok!). When the questions came, there was the typical "Do the Callisto scream," request, so Hudson stuck her gum on her toe, asking us to please remind her that it was there, because she'll forget.

A fan asked if she ever felt "cheated" that she turned good and didn't get to have her revenge on Xena, and Hudson, in her unique way, looked at the fan sympathetically and said, "OK, for all the new people..." she pointed to her picture on the banner behind the stage, "Callisto," then she pointed at herself and said, "Hudson." (LOL. Thanks, Triplestripe, for the reference)

Someone asked about her video game obsession, and she said she's been clean for a year, but the fan did announce that Hudson is the voice in the video game, Primal for Playstation2.

She said she's doing absolutely nothing with her life, and then paused and said she highly recommends it.

She ended her panel as she always does, by auctioning off her dress for charity. It went for $1500, then she put another one on, this time a pink sequined number, it also went for $1500.

Saturday Night

Saturday night finally arrived. Lucy and Renee came out and were soon joined by Rob on stage. Screams of, "Give us a Xena movie!" rang out and Rob said all three on stage would like that very much. Good place to start, I suppose <g>.

After that, Lucy and Renee got down to the business of watching clips from the show and commenting on them. These two are just a delight to watch together, and I know some people were disappointed that this was not a "theatrical performance", but I've seen Lucy and Renee act. They're good. I'd rather see them being themselves. And commenting on the show? Bonus.

Who would control the remote was a constant amusement. Renee started with it, Lucy referring to her as the technical expert, but a few missed pause buttons, and Lucy soon had control, that is until she hit fast forward instead of stop (several times) and she humbly gave it back to her technical expert, and so it went, back and forth all night. Some of the best moments were the ad libbed bits caused by remote control blunders.

They announced before the performance, that pictures would be allowed, from our seats for 10 minutes, and then all cameras were to be put away (at Lucy and Renee's request). When the 10 minute mark came and security started motioning for cameras to be put down, Lucy said, "Aw, blow me. Let them keep the cameras." (whoo hoo! Thanks, Luce!)

Some highlights from the clip discussion included Renee revealing that the episode In Sickness and in Hell was based on actual events, when she came down with Athlete's foot, and Lucy got lice from her daughter (she was not happy that Renee shared that little tidbit, but Renee was quite delighted <g>). Another was Renee revealing how she felt quite victimized when she was tied up and put on the spit to be roasted in The Abyss. She said she wound up staying very still in that scene, because if she'd started to struggle, she would have been out of there. It was very much a freak out moment for her. Lucy commented that no one on set knew that Renee was having a hard time with that, because she's not one to complain.

When they commented on how cold the river was in The Abyss, Lucy said to Renee, "Remember when you got hypothermia during the crucifixion scene (IOM) and you were like, Nah, nah, I'm fine?" Renee laughed and said, "It wasn't that bad." Lucy looked at the audience and dead panned, "See? Never complains."

One particularly amusing moment came while they were watching the jail scene clip from Ides of March (just before the crucifixion). Renee remarked that she really loved that scene because she'd never seen Xena that way, and Lucy said, "What? With Gabrielle on top?" (LOL!) What Renee meant was…she'd never seen Lucy as Xena act that way, so vulnerable. It was very funny. One of several "Xena and Gabrielle were more than just friends" comments over the weekend. Lucy remarked that she just loved, loved, loved, Ides of March. "Brilliant all 'round."

Another episode that specifically got applause and an "Absolutely beautiful," remark from the two stars was When Fates Collide. Someone yelled out that it should have been the final episode, and Lucy said, "What? Only five seasons?" They were showing the clips pretty much in order from beginning to end, but when they got to season six, they hopped back to season four, and then back to six and I think perhaps Lucy was confusing the seasons, thinking WFC was the end of season five. I don't know how that's possible, but we all know Lucy doesn't exactly keep close tabs on these things <g>.

Lucy made the remark when they showed a clip from Adventures In The Sin Trade (where she was carrying the dead deer) that that really wasn't a dead deer, he, sleeping...yeah. That's it. "And he woke up after that scene and wandered off into the forrest to live a long happy life.' (heh) And later, after Renee gave her WWF Smack Down commentary on her fight with the rabid bunny from In Sickness and In Hell ("Take it down, Gabrielle!" she barked. "Take it! Take it! Now! Now! To the tree! That's it! Ugh! Ugh!) Lucy said, "And the little bunny wandered off into the woods after that scene and lived happily ever after." (LOL) Renee looked at her seriously and said, "No, he was stuffed, I'm afraid." Lucy leaned in and said, "Shhh, Ren. We'll have PETA all over us any second now."

They were very playful, both looked beautiful, and happy, and I really enjoyed it. I felt like we were all in a big living room watching our favorite show, and after all, it is the reason we're there--the love of a TV show called Xena: Warrior Princess. They ended the evening by thanking the fans for their support and generosity.

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