The Official Xena and Hercules Convention 2001
PAGE 6 of 8

Saturday Cabaret

After everyone got settled in, they announced that the evening would start off with Claire and Alex’s Triple XXX Review. The house lights went down, and Alex and Claire stepped onto the stage wearing black high heel, black French-cut bottom-hugging bikini bottoms, little black tops and black tuxedo jackets with tails. They each had on black derby hats.

Alex was carrying a silver hard-sided briefcase with XXX on the side. Alex put the briefcase in Claire’s arms and opened it up. She took out two black binders and handed one to Claire, who then put the briefcase down on the stage. The did a sort of shimmy dance with the binders held to their chests and then sauntered across the stage to where there were two microphones and two music stands. Then they turned the binders around and showed us what was written on the front: Fan Fiction. This elicited thunderous cheers from the crowd.

They opened them up and Claire proceeded to thank LN James, CN Winters and Mil Toro for letting them read their works. Claire read first…Bedtime for Warriors and Bards by LN James. This is a fairly innocuous, but hilarious, little story that is fraught with all kinds of double entendre about how warriors and bards have to sleep very close at night for safety. And sometimes after especially tough days with lots of fighting, warriors have to sleep on top of bards to make sure they are especially safe. Sometimes at night, when warriors are sleeping on top of bards, they call out each other’s names to make sure the other is safe, at which point Clare started calling out “Gabrielle,” alternating with Alex’s “Xena,” in breathy tones and the crowd roared in approval.

Next was CN Winter’s Down Home, which is a follow-up to the episode, Old Ares Had a Farm. Claire read and acted out Gabrielle’s part, and Alex did Xena’s. Very funny!

Then they did Mil Toro’s Sinful Adventures. This story is in script format and is the tale of Xena trying to explain to Gabrielle what she had been up to during Adventures in the Sin Trade. Claire played Xena and Alex was Gabrielle. At one point in the story, Gabrielle kisses the wound on Xena’s hand, which Alex did when Claire put her hand out to her. Then Xena explains that her hand really hurts and Claire put her hand out again. This time Alex not only kissed Claire’s hand, she nuzzled into it. Again the crowd went wild!

Next up was Mil Toro’s Xenafanaddicts ‘R Us. This is a script about a group of fans meeting with Rob Tapert and RJ Stewart about what the show should do in the sixth season. There was Missy fans one through six, disillusioned fan, subtext fan, het fan, Joxer fan and Gab fan. They alternated throughout, but Claire always did Rob’s part in a sort of weasely tone. At one point Claire commented that she’d probably never work again. This was a fun little sketch with the audience quickly picking up that Missy fans two through 6 always said, “What she said,” and so we took over that part.

The final story was Mil Toro’s Xena’s Kisses and Alex played Xena with Claire taking Gabrielle’s part. This story is about the two of them talking about how they kiss everyone but each other. It goes through all of each of their romantic interests and culminates with them realizing that they want to kiss each other, and unlike other times, there’s nothing to stop them. At that point Claire and Alex turned to each other and walked up until they were facing each other, chest to chest. They took off their hats and leaned into each other as if to kiss, except that they blocked their faces with the hats. The crowd went crazy screaming and cheering. They stood that way for probably a full minute while cameras were flashing and then dropped the hats away from their faces, and we could see that they were, in fact, kissing. The sight blew us all away. Everyone was on their feet shouting and cheering and the flashes were constantly going off. They stayed like that for probably a good minute or two. Then Alex reached her arms around Claire’s neck and they broke off and turned towards the crowd grinning like Cheshire cats. After the pandemonium died down, Claire thanked the fans for the fan fiction and the chance to do this for us. She said she got to read tons of it preparing for the act and that there was many a hot night for her because of it. They then walked off the stage to thunderous applause and wild cheering.

After things settled down a bit, Claire came back on stage and the cheering started up again. She let things wind down and announced Robert Trebor, and then exited the stage taking the binders with her. Robert came out and talked a bit about the depression and then started singing Brother Can You Spare a Dime. He has a very good voice and certainly knows how to perform <G>. He followed that up with The Useless Song and then wrapped it up with a great rendition of If I Were A Rich Man.

Alex and Claire came back on together to introduce Tim Omundson. He came out and did a great job with Minnie the Moocher (with the audience joining in on the chorus), I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and One for My Baby. The songs definitely suited his voice and style. He wrapped it up with Mack the Knife.

Next Alex introduced Karl Urban. After stating that he really couldn’t sing very well, he proceeded to pretty much butcher Help and Ticket to Ride. He had another song listed but apparently decided that enough was enough. You got to give him credit for enthusiasm, but he didn’t seem to be very in tune with his audience. He changed the lyrics to Ticket To Ride from She’s got a ticket to ride to Xena’s got a p*ssy to ride…didn’t seem to go over that well.

After that Claire introduced Ted Raimi, who came on stage looking very dapper in his suit. Ted did a great job with his songs, singing Moonlight Becomes You, Evening in Roma, Shakes Hands With Your Uncle, and Return to Me. Then he called Tim back on stage and they did a great rendition of Papa Loves Mambo together. After that everyone came back on stage for their final bows. Alex and Claire of course got the biggest cheers.

I have to say that I wouldn’t have wanted to be the guys following their act, since everything after them seemed almost anti-climactic. But since they were playing the hosts for the evening, I suspect they moved their act to the front so they wouldn’t give away what they were up to by appearing in their outfits before their time on stage. Overall, it was a great evening and definitely something that everyone was buzzing about afterwards.

Sunday, May 6th

Sharon started off by answering a few questions from the audience and getting the sound check taken care of and then she called Missy Good to the stage. Missy came out to raucous applause and cheering from the fans. She started off by saying that in the past she wasn’t really the type to be a fan of anything, but something about the show touched her creative engine and she couldn’t stop writing. She said that obviously it’s had the same effect on other people.

Then she stated that the Xena fandom was one of the most giving and loving fandoms on the face of the earth. She talked about Sword and Staff and how they had recently reached their $250,000 mark in raising money for various charitable efforts. Then Missy brought Deborah Cassetti (Mist) on stage to talk about it. Deborah said that so far with the events that had happened at the con, they had reached $284,000. This generated a lot of applause from the audience.

After Deborah left the stage, Missy was asked if it was difficult to write the characters of Xena and Gabrielle. She said “hearing the character’s voices isn’t the problem. Getting them to shut up is.” Then she was asked what it was like to meet Lucy and Renee. She said that Lucy and Renee are both wonderful and gracious people. She also said that it never occurred to her that she’d end up on a Creation stage as a Xena writer.

She was asked about whether she was going to give up her day job. She said no, and in fact, she had gotten paged right before she had to come on stage that day. She’s always getting paged on vacation.

She was asked who her favorite author is, and she replied, “Lois McMaster Bujold.” She said her love of writing really didn’t show up until she saw The Quest and just had to write about the characters.

Someone asked her if everything we saw in Legacy was as she had written it. She said that she had originally intended for Gabrielle to be drawn and quartered, but they decided to change that to the polo match with Gabrielle’s head instead. She talked about how going to New Zealand was difficult for her. She panicked right before she got on the plane and called Kym Taborn. Kym told her not to worry and that she’d be braindead after the 12-hour flight and it wouldn’t be a problem. When she got there, she found that Kym was right. She said that New Zealand has loving people and is very beautiful.

Missy then talked about how she used to run screaming from the room when her roommate had Xena on. Then one day, she was doing some work on a rail and had gloves on and couldn’t reach the TV to change it when the show came on. That was the day that she saw The Quest and realized that there was something very different going on with the show. She’s been hooked ever since.

Missy was asked what tips she could give to writers. She said to write what you know and love, and to write from the heart. She also said not to expect things to happen the way they did to her because the course she took was definitely the wrong one. She said you really need to join the Writer’s Guild, get an agent and go through the proper channels. How she ended up writing on the show is just not the way it’s usually done.

Missy was asked whether she got a chance to see the cabaret the night before. She said she had been contacted by the participants and asked if she had suggestions for source material. She directed them to Lunacy’s site. They gave it their highest recommendation <G>. Missy then said that she didn’t get to see the Cabaret performance because she had given her seat to one of the authors so they could see their work performed.

Someone asked Missy how she got the writing spot on the show. She said she received a number of e-mails from Steven Sears one day asking her to get in touch with him. She figured he had some question to ask her about his computer. Once she got in touch with Steven, he asked her if she wanted to write a script for the show. After getting over her shock, she said yes, and he hooked her up with Rob Tapert. Then she said that when Steven left the show he retired his fedora hat and gave it to her. She didn’t realize what a big deal that was until she mentioned it to the writer’s staff and they were all impressed.

Then she acknowledged Lunacy at one of the microphones. Lunacy wanted to know when she was going to write the Conqueror story she kept promising to do. Missy said she’d see what she could do about it. After that she called Steven Sears on stage with her.

Steven came out to cheers from the audience. He admitted that he hasn’t kept up with the show because he’s been busy with another series, but he wasn’t going to mention the name. He realized how out of touch he was with the show when he was having lunch with Ted Raimi a while back. He asked Ted when he was going to be back on the show and Ted said he probably wouldn’t because he was dead. Steven laughed and said that dead doesn’t mean diddly in the Xenaverse. But Ted corrected him and said that he was dead, dead. After they got that settled, Steven asked him how he died and Ted told him that Xena’s daughter had killed him. That brought Steven up short. It really brought home how much he had missed on the series. Finally, he started musing on the name of Xena and where it had come from. This eventually turned into a little plug for Sheena, after which he and Missy left the stage.

Next up was the Mentor’s video. The song was Thank You, but not the song by Dido. It sounded more like something Jewel would have sung. At any rate, once that was done, Ebonie Smith came on-stage. She commented that she always wants to cry when she sees that video (it’s very well done and a tribute to both M’Lila and Lao Ma). The first things she was asked was whether she had developed any kind of a backstory for M’Lila. She said that she had envisioned her character as someone who had a sort of sixth sense since she was very young. She thought of M’Lila as an ethereal creature who had never really fit in, but was sure she had a purpose to fulfill in her lifetime. Once she was on Xena’s ship, she realized that her purpose was to help Xena turn to the good. This was why she taught her all of the skills she knew. She also felt that she would always be able to reach Xena spiritually.

Then Ebonie was asked about how she selects roles. She said she feels very strongly that she wants to play characters that have a positive impact. Not that she’s looking to turn work down, but she won’t play a role that is completely negative.

Someone then commented that because of Destiny, they had started to learn Gaelic and asked if she had spoken Gaelic before the episode. She said that she was actually coached on how to speak the Gaelic lines that she used in the episode. The producers of the show were very aware that they couldn’t get away with having her speak gibberish, so they made sure that she was legitimately using the language in the episode.

Ebonie told us that she had started off taking voice and acting lessons when she was very young. However, last year was the first time in a long time that she had sung in front of an audience. Then Ebonie said that she has decided she wants to change her career and hoped that we would be as supportive of her with her new direction as we have been with her acting career. She said that she’s decided she wants to enter medical school and become a Doctor. She’ll still take parts but will be focusing on that goal in the future.

Next she commented that she hadn’t understood the magnitude of the fan following when she joined the cast of Xena. She said it had been the best production she’s ever been involved with. Last year was the first convention that she’d been involved with and she said that the fan appreciation makes it all worthwhile.

She was asked if she’d seen the show before she got the part. She said she’d seen it a couple of times, but that her father was a huge fan and filled her in on the show. After she did her role, she started telling all her friends to watch.

Then she was asked what the shoot was like. She said it was during June, which is winter in New Zealand, since the seasons are reversed down there. It was very cold, and they were always trying not to freeze, while staying in character. Overall, it was very challenging. She also said she was taught how to do the pinch, so that it would match up with how Xena had done it before. Finally, she stated that she doesn’t know what she’s going to do next, but she’s ready for whatever comes her way.

Next up was the Varia video which was done to Love is a Battlefield. Then Tsianina came on-stage. Before she came out, Sharon explained that her name was pronounced Chianina so we would be addressing her properly. She was quite overwhelmed by the crowd since this was her first convention experience. She mentioned that the first thing she had done that morning was dump coffee on herself. She hoped we couldn’t see it.

She was asked how she liked being on the show. She said it was fun because she got to be tough and fight like crazy. She is very competitive and that fit her character well. She was also asked if she had any experience with martial arts. She stated that most of her background is in dance, but her sister is a martial artist and taught her some moves.

She was asked what her favorite fight was. She said it was the one between her and Gabrielle. They didn’t really use the doubles much for that one, so they got to do most of it. Someone then asked her what she thought of her costume. She commented that the loincloth seemed to shrink in every ep. (I think there’s a pattern in how the costume department works here <G>). They had to use sticky tape to keep it in place.

Then someone asked her to do a cheer from “Bring It On.” She said she couldn’t remember the moves but she could do the words, so she did. Then she went back to talking about her experience on Xena. She said she had been stoked to get the part and that it had been a great experience for her. This was the first tough girl character she had gotten to play. She said she had learned a lot and it had helped make her a more rounded actress.

She was asked whether she had been cast for all of the episodes to begin with. She said she had only been cast in Coming Home and Dangerous Prey and that the other episodes had been offered to her later. She also said that she enjoys dancing but now she wants to focus on acting. After doing Xena, she would love to do action roles.

Someone asked what it was like to be in New Zealand. She said they were on the set for 12 hours a day and they put her up in a beautiful hotel. It was a lovely time.

She was asked what else we could look forward to seeing her in. She mentioned that she’d just finished shooting American Pie 2. She won’t be in any more Xena episodes however.

Then she was asked what it was like to be on set. She said the first day is hectic because you get there and there are fittings, stunt rehearsal, makeup and lighting to get all figured out. She was nervous to meet Lucy and Renee, but she said they were both so sweet and helpful that it was easy to relax with them. She said they helped her with how to block for TV so you’ll always look good for the cameras, and they are both wonderful. She also commented that Renee was awesome as a director. Really good, patient and kind with her.

She mentioned that she had seen Xena a couple of times before she got the part. However, she doesn’t really watch TV so she hadn’t seen it often.

Someone asked her how she got into such great shape. She said she used to do fitness competitions. Now she does yoga and some weightlifting. She said the key is to really focus on the part of the body you’re working on…think into the muscle as you’re using it. Then someone asked her to flex for us. After giggling a bit, she took off her jacket and did some flexing on stage for us. She’s in great shape, and we all had a lot of fun appreciating her finely sculpted muscles <G>.


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