|XENA PASADENA 2003 COVERAGE|
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This convention report was written by KT,
Creation dedicated this convention to Kevin Smith and the proceeds of many of the charity items were donated to his fund. They kicked off the con with a video homage to Kevin. It showed Kevin's whole career from when he was just a young pouty boy all the way up to being the God of War. I think Kevin got even more beautiful physically as he matured -- like Lucy, he's a classic beauty and just kept getting better and better to look at.
Paris was charming and witty and, just like everyone else associated with Xena whom I've ever seen or read about, totally into self-deprecating humor.
She told about meeting a Xena fan unexpectedly. She was out, without make-up, without any thought of being noticed. And this guy recognized her and said something like, "Oh, it's you! You know, you look ..." And Paris said, "I thought he was going to say, 'You look good even without make-up and nice clothes.' But what he said was, 'You look better with the helmet on.'" She claimed to find it highly insulting, but kept laughing about the audacious tactlessness of the comment as she told us about it.
Someone asked her about the relationship between Ilainus and Athena. And she said she thought it would have made a great scene if she had come out of their tent pulling a little piece of hair out of her teeth. (And she pantomimed doing that.)
Paris said she likes it very much when fans ask her about what her character was thinking or how she felt about some of the things that happened to Athena as a result of her actions and decisions. She's thrilled that we think about this stuff so much and that we try to analyze it and make sense of it, treating it as serious work rather than just fluffy junk.
She said she loves doing Period work. That playing in old time costumes is really fun and rewarding for her. She talked about how great it was to get to go to New Zealand to work because the country is so beautiful and the people are so nice. She had nothing but praise for Lucy and Renee, for their down to earth attitude, their hard work and their generosity towards the guest actors.
She talked about the outrageousness of being on Xena. The grand scale of the themes and getting to play a goddess. She happily mentioned the joy of discussing catapulting a cow.
Next up was Tim. He's had a baby girl since last year. Someone mentioned to him they were glad to see that his role on "Judging Amy" had been expanded some, since he had often commented in the past about how frustrating it was to have to play this very superficial and undefined character week after week. He sang for us, a couple of songs, making like a young, handsome Frank Sinatra lounge lizard.
Then the Xena Charity auction ran, with Kevin Smith's family, Starship Foundation, the James Ellis Foundation and William Shatner's Hollywood Horse Show Children's Charities being the recipients.
The biggest money maker of all the Creation charity auctions during the whole con was made from a HUGE signed poster of Lucy as Xena. The first person who got it paid $6,200 for it. She then donated it back to be auctioned off again. The second person who got it, got it for $2,000. And she ALSO donated it back for another auction. The third person who got it paid $1,000 for it. This money went to Kevin's family. So that poster made a grand total of $9,200 alone.
The next highest amount of money was for an original production run of Xena's first Chakram, signed by Lucy and Renee. This went for $5,200 and was donated to Kevin's family.
The next was for Lucy's "Bitter Suite" armor outfit. This was donated by a fan and went for $3,600, also to Kevin's family.
The next highest was the HUGE hanging signed poster of Renee as Gabrielle. That went for $3,200 for the benefit of the James Ellis Foundation.
Those were the big ones. Then there was Lucy's Annie outfit from Deja Vu/Soul Possession that went for $1,000 for Kevin (one can assume that if she hadn't been hosting Joxer's soul, it would have drawn a few more bucks-grin), a fan made quilt, signed by Lucy and Renee, with pictures of scenes from eps went for $900 for Kevin. The bottle that Lucy drank from and Xena got drunk from when carrying Akemi's ashes in "Friend" went for $700 for Starship. Xena's whip signed by Lucy went for $450. And there were also numerous other things -- signed calendars and plates and fan drawings. Altogether by the end of the three days, over $40,000 had been raised by the Creation auctions alone. On top of this amount, there was also the breakfast for the benefit of the James Ellis Foundation and a number of fan run auctions and fund-raisers going on. The generosity and kind-heartedness of Xena fans never ceases to amaze me.
Danielle was funnier than I have ever seen her. She said she was sorry that the skirt she was wearing was too short to do any break-dancing in. She had rented a vehicle when she arrived in LA and they gave her a pick-up truck which she thought was way cool. She said, "I feel like Daisy Duke when I drive it!"
She joked about her famous, often repeated line, "Amazons ATTACK!" She played with it, saying it in a tentative, wienie, childishly irritated way so it came out as more of a whine. "Amazons attaaaack!" And she was flouncing around like a girly girl as she did so.
She told us she was staying with Lucy and that she had been absolutely starving at dinnertime the night before. And that Lucy is also usually starving since she's nursing again and a nursing mom is ALWAYS hungry. So last night they raced each other to the refrigerator, seeking the sushi they knew was in there. She said that it definitely escalated into a battle, adding, "It was just like that time we had the tree fight in the show" and that it was a really close call as to who would get to the food first. She indicated that this was a fairly common event and that "if Lucy is hobbling tomorrow night during the show, you'll know who won the dinner fight."
Then she talked about how she didn't realize in the past how important Ephiny was to people. She said that if she HAD realized that, she would have tried to convince Sears to put Ephiny into a coma instead of killing her off in "Endgame." "And THEN I could have asked for my own spin-off -- the Ephiny show!" she laughed.
But she really loves theater. The reality of it, the "live" aspect of it. That you can't yell "Cut," you can't stop, that whatever happens, you have to continue with the show. She also enjoys the immediate response from the audience, that absolutely-in-the-present interaction between the artist and the viewer.
She talked about having worked with Kevin Smith in "A Streetcar Named Desire." At one point, Stanley has to open a trunk and get something out. And Kevin just could not get the trunk open. So everybody's kind of standing around on stage waiting for him to do the bit. He got SO frustrated that he started mumbling, "F*ck. F*ck. F*cken trunk" and then got louder F*CK! F*CK!", as he was scrabbling at the lid. And she said, "I knew that most people had seen or read this play and I figured that they probably knew that those lines were NOT in the original."
She said, "I didn't really understand 'The Price of Milk' until I learned that the director was a crack head." He's the same guy who did "Topless Women Talk About Their Lives." She said it was very impromptu --"You show up, he writes a scene while you stand there and then you do it."
She talked about the fun she had at past cons singing with Kevin and Joel. She talked about doing the Vagina Monologues in New Zealand. Her favorite character was this "old lady from Queens. She's FANTASTIC!"
Another fan asked her if it was hard to play a part that had her doing something she, Danielle, wouldn't do. Danielle scowled a bit as she said, "We're PAID to play other people. If you can't do it, get out of the game." That generated a lot of applause.
Then she suddenly dropped to the stage and did a little break dancing, holding her skirt tightly against the back of her thighs while she twirled around on her back and her side. When she stood back up, she said, "Oh my god --I didn't put any panties on today!"
There was a young girl there who was dressed as Gabrielle in the BGSB. She came up to the mike and said to Danielle something like, "You had the smallest costume on the show."
Danielle said, "Well, you know, when you first got in in the morning, your body is all cold and kind of all shrunk in on itself. Then your body is expanding all day from the heat and from the free food. That's what I always ask when I go for a part -- is there food? So your costume is all nice and loose in the morning but by 5 or 6 pm, I could hardly breath because it was so tight."
She said she had done about 7 or 8,000 auditions for Herc/Xena before they hired her. They said, "She's too hard. She needs the push up bra. She needs make-up." And she'd go off and try to soften herself up, fix herself up and then try again.
Then she said, "Kevin. I think about him. I ALWAYS think about him, but particularly when I do cons. I've worked with him since the beginning of my career 16 years ago. We did 'Gloss' together. He was never appreciated as much as he was in this country."
She said she had never publicly spoken about him since his death. But that here, at the cons she's at this year, she would talk about him publicly for the first time since he died. She said that only here, only among the Xena fans, are people who are fully appreciative of his work. That he was never revered, never held in esteem the way he should have been, he was never treasured anywhere else the way we treasure him. "As his friend, I applaud you for recognizing his worth. He never got that in New Zealand." And she did stand there and applauded us.
She talked about the day when she had to shoot the "famous flaming piece of grass" from a bow. The scene was scheduled for just after lunch. The shot was set up so she crouching down first, then she leapt up, released the "piece of grass" and then crouched down again. She said the boom mike was right behind her to get any sound effects from her swishing in the bushes. Well, she crouched down, leapt up and then crouched down again. And as she returned to her crouching position, she ripped out a HUGE fart. She said, "I immediately clenched my butt cheeks so tight, that you couldn't have pulled a needle out of my ass with tweezers!" Then she said she looked around at the crew and they were totally oblivious. No one had heard it! So she was feeling pretty good about it until she turned back around and saw the sound man who was shaking helplessly as he brayed out hysterical laughter. She then demurely finished the story by saying, "Next time I will ask the director, 'Can we do my shots before lunch?' Or I will make the suggestion to the catering crew to maybe not offer the bean salad."
Danielle talked again about how bizarre some of the stuff on Xena was. She said that at the time you just get into it and everything seems perfectly natural. Then just a little while ago, "I was walking along and I suddenly just stopped dead in the middle of the street and said to myself, 'Oh my GOD! I made love to a centaur!"
Someone asked her something how could a person know they'd lived a good life. She quickly replied, "Look back on your path. Is it a path you're really proud of?"
Then she asked if we were ready to sing "something" with her to the tune of Frere Jacques. She realized there were children in the audience and explained that this was a bit from the Vagina Monologues and it featured a four letter word. She asked if anyone would be offended if we sang it and one person said they would. Some others in the audience yelled for her to do it anyway, but she said no, that wouldn't be right. Then she said that her mother and grandmother had been in the audience one night at the VM when Danielle's character led the audience in song. At first they were all weirded out, but by the end of the endless refrain, they both found it "incredibly FREEING!" So she thought about dropping the first consonant and singing it as a three letter word, but then she said, "But that doesn't count then!" So we didn't do it.
She talked about singing with Kevin and Joel at the cabarets at the cons. She had to hit a really high note that "Just about ruptured my bladder. I figured I'd have to wear an incontinent pad next time."
Finally, she said she just couldn't stand it anymore and said she just had to sing with us. With that warning, she began to lead us all in singing to the tune of Frere Jacques,
"Unt unt unt unt unt unt unt unt unt unt unt. Unt unt unt.
Then she talked about trying to play an old Jewish lady when she was auditioning for the Vagina Monologues. "I started off well but somehow ran into a southern accent by the end of the scene. I said to them, 'I used to be really good at that accent.'"
And that was it. She said to us, "You bloody beauties!" and, as she walked to the edge of the stage to applaud us, she said to someone in the first row, "Don't you look up my skirt!"
Danielle and Claire Cabaret
First up was Danielle and Claire's show. They came out on stage, sat half facing the screen behind them. They were dressed very modestly, very academically. Danielle had her hair in a ponytail and was wearing heavy black/brown nerd glasses. They proceeded to show us slides of the lives of Xena and Gabrielle. It was a combination of a lecture and a tabloid expose. It was a pretty crazed, very witty, extremely funny show with very clever commentary. Claire told us later that she and Danielle had written it. My favorite part was when they said the next slide was a picture of Gabrielle's parents. And up on the screen flashed a slide of Ellen DeGeneris and Anne Heche. Their hair colors and styles were exactly like Gabrielle's.
Darien Takle Cabaret
Darien came out and sang three Edith Piaf songs for us. The last one was "La Vie en Rose" which is THE song you always heard in old movies whenever they showed Paris on the screen. Darien has such a lovely, lush, old-fashioned voice. She said, "This may be my last go at Piaf" but didn't say why. She had a CD for sale at the con, a new one. She sang a funny little song from it, very quirky and odd.
Tim Omundson Cabaret
Tim came out and sang a number of songs for us also. He was smoking and drinking and kind of hanging on the mike as he sang. I think he's trying to lure the soul of Frank Sinatra down (or up) to channel him.
Hudson Leick Cabaret
Then Hudson came out. She was wearing a short, pale green, Chinese patterned kimono. Her dancing partner, Forest Walsh, joined her. Then she got up and stripped off the kimono, revealing a shimmy like outfit. Ultimately, she wound up in her black undies and black stockings with a garter belt. Forest kept all his clothes on, even his hat. They danced to songs which HAD to be from "Chicago".
Hudson and Forest performed a complex and strenuous routine -- it's very obvious Hudson is an extremely limber woman. It was also very obvious once there were lots of new fans/con virgins at this con because waves of "ooh's" and "aaah's" sounded around the hall as Forest tossed Hudson around the stage, and as she positioned her body into graceful postures and held them, as Forest supported her high in the air.
Melinda said her mother is a ballet dancer and her father is an actor. She kept looking over at her daughter and smiling. She tried to get the little tot to come up on stage with her but that was a wash.
A fan asked Melinda what was the most embarrassing thing she'd ever done. And she kind of stared at the fan and then declared, "Nothing embarrasses me. Nothing. Because I'm just 'Trashy show folk' as my Mom says."
You know the stars all talk about meeting Lucy and how kind she and Renee are to all the set newbies. They usually rhapsodize about how down to earth Lucy is, that there isn't any "star crap" going on. And they often add, if Lucy ain't pulling star crap, who can?
All of them talk about their stunned and frightened reactions the first time they fight with Lucy. Claire has said numerous times how she and Lucy were strung up in the trees for "Adventures in the Sin Trade." How all her interactions with Lucy up to that point had been so friendly, so welcoming. And suddenly this wild, vicious, BIG, crazed harridan is flying towards her, screeching this horrific sound at the top of her lungs and lunging at her with her claw-like hands.
Melinda had the same kind of reaction -- but to Hudson. She said they were working on the bridge there in "A Necessary Evil." The director yells, "ACTION!" and Hudson suddenly lets out this horrific scream and goes hurtling towards Melinda, wild-eyed and crazed. This is such a great comment to me on how Xena saw the female characters and how they used them.
Melinda also mentioned that they decided on set that Valesca needed a trademark yell. So she said she just ripped out a scream. She and Hudson just had a great time screaming, fighting and whaling away at each other that day. Before she left, Melinda said again that nothing bothers her. Because, "I'm recognizing my child in me." And then she looked over at her baby and smiled.
Next up was Darien. The first thing Darien said was, "I feel like I'm coming home." Then she thanked us for all the support we have given her over the last few years. She said, "You got me through a lot." She writes songs and has recorded a couple of CDs.
One fan asked what Cyrene thought of her daughter-in-law. Darien gave her a very baffled look. The fan repeated it and Darien still looked confused. Finally she realized what the question meant. She smiled and said, "Oh, Gabrielle. She's a lovely girl."
She said she wanted to read us a poem she had written for Kevin. She said, "I'll try not to cry." It started off, "Hey Kev!" It was about his ways and his life and how she missed him just so much.
She said since she was the mother of Xena she was, therefore, the mother of all of us. It made me smile.
Next up was Meighan Desmond who played "Discord." Some of the folks who had never seen her before were very surprised at how young she was. She's a very self-possessed young lady.
If a character has been killed off on the show, fans often ask how the actors feel about that. Meighan said, "If you've got to go, you might as well be decapitated by Xena." She sounded right proud of her fate.
She said that first she was supposed to play Ares' daughter on Hercules. And then she was going to be his niece. Then they decided to make her a god. (Godlet?) And eventually they settled on her being "Discord."
Her favorite Xena ep that she worked on was "Married With Fishsticks." It was so much fun to make. She admired that it was so way off on a tangent. She said that was a really neat thing about Xena and Hercules -- how daring and original the creators were. They constantly pushed the envelope and were not afraid to do really outrageous things.
Hudson came out wrapped in opaque Saran Wrap. Well, at least it looked like that. Either that or her skin is now silver.
She was chewing gum. She could barely walk in the dress, it was so tight. So she stiffly stomped across the stage with her legs spread apart, holding the dress taut. Then she snapped the skirt. She snapped it again. Then she snapped her gum. She was obviously enjoying herself already.
She was asked to do her yell, as always. At first, she demurred and pouted that she didn't want to do it. But she gave in and asked, "With the mike or without it?" which caused a big laugh. Then she asked, "With my gum or without it?"
She took the gum out of her mouth which caused a frisson of joy in some members of the audience. She looked at them with a somewhat disgusted smirk and said, "I'm not auctioning off my gum. (Pause) But you may take a picture of my toe." And she thrust her toe at us, said toe peeking out of her open-toed shoes. She looked down at her tight, tight no-pocket dress and said, "Where can I put my gum?" Finally, she bent over and parked her gum on her toe so she could do her yell unfettered. Then she screamed. She put her gum back in her mouth and said something like, "It's not disgusting. It's MY toe."
Hudson had taught a yoga class that morning. She talked about how relaxing and how good for one doing yoga is.
There were two long banners hanging on either side of the stage with pictures of the characters played by the stars who were at the con. They were really kewl -- I think they were about the best decorations I've seen at any of the cons. The stars each signed on their character when they finished their set.
There was one fan who kept coming up to the mike to ask each star about the violence in the show and how they dealt with that, how it affected their real lives. Hudson just looked at her for second, pointed to the picture of Callisto on the banner and said, "Callisto." Then she pointed to herself and said, "Hudson." Then she turned and walked away to the other side of the stage.
She did her usual auction of the dress off her back and made $1500 for the James Ellis Foundation. The winner went up on stage and got thanked with a kiss. Then Hudson ran backstage, "To get into something more comfortable."
She came running out in a pink, sparkly, tight dress. Well, about three-quarters of a dress. As she pranced around and posed for us, she said that the dress was giving her a "Marilyn Moment."
You know, Hudson is definitely the most active of all the folks who appear at the cons. Most of the folks actually talk to us, about the show, about their characters, about their lives. Hudson never does -- she always performs an act instead. And in the course of the act, she moves from one side of the stage to the other, she postures, she often literally rolls across the stage, she squats down, she pulls the winners of the auctions up on stage with her, she often plays with her image on the big screen, etc. Last year she turned her back to us and the camera and then bent over and stuck her butt up towards the camera lens and then waggled it around, laughing and commenting as she watched the five foot high image of her butt on the big screen.
Back in the present, she offered us her dress. As the bidding got higher, Hudson smiled at one of the bidders and said, "I'd flash you but THEY'D all look," tipping her head to indicate the rest of us. The "Marilyn" dress went for $1500 also.
As always, Hudson put on a great show. She is just so damn funny and outrageous. She also raised $3,000 for the charity of her choice. Having done her job for the day, away she pranced.
LUCY AND RENEE COVERAGE COMING SOON!
|DAVID FRANKLIN made his first convention appearance with us. Xena fans know him as Brutus, but our Farscape fans also have followed him on that series.|
|What we won't do for charity. Here, Creation CFO poses with a charity costume item at our auction!|
|A look at one of our most popular attractions: Creation's famous CHARITY BREAKFASTS: there's famous guests to mingle with, drinks to drink, fine friends to meet, and food to eat! And with the mega-bucks we've raised for The James Ellis Foundation of Hofstra University: what could be better! Thanks Anita Ellis for spearheading this with us!|
| They are sexy and sensational: two of television's strongest
Danielle is one of New Zealand's most popular talents and Claire is off to
become a titan of business with her new fashion line! We can always count
on Claire and Danielle to put on an awesome show for us!
|Adrienne W. and Tim O. are two young talents that Hollywood is fully coming to appreciate. Adrienne is popping up in major television guest shots of late and she's sure to land another series soon. Tim O. will soon a regular in a new major series for HBO, and no one deserves that great job more. Congrats, Tim: you are the best!|
|Paris Jefferson was a big hit at the convention.|