the fab four..erm..three

June 2nd 1999, finally added scans of some of Fran's photos.

click the thumbnail to see a larger photo.

January 23-24th 1999, Santa Monica, California

Exclusive reports from both days of the Official Creation Fan Club Convention in Santa Monica now posted. Brought to you by intrepid reporters Michael Lynch and Joann Walker....

(Saturday) (Sunday)

Highly illegal recording of Lucy singing "You Take the High Road"(but not very Scottish!) and only 546Kb!!

Saturdays line up of guests:
Kevin Sorbo
Alexandra Tydings
Joel Tobeck (Strife)
Gina Torres (Nebula/Cleopatra)
Ryan Gosling (Young Hercules)
Chris Conrad (Young Jason)
Paul Robert Coyle (Producer - Hercules)

Sunday's list looks like this:

Lucy Lawless
Karl Urban (Caesar, Cupid)
Claire Stansfield (Alti)
Steven L. Sears (Co-executive producer)
Robert Field (Editor- with blooper reel)


Michael, Joann and Fran sent this....

When we got to SM we then couldn't find the Civic center again so we drove round the streets for a while - and we actually arrived about an hour late so we missed seeing Gina Torres (Nebula) on stage.

First thing that I saw then was the Hercules bloopers reels. They had like a big projector screen on the stage and dimmed the lights. It was still a bit dark and hard to see but it worked reasonably well.

Next thing was one of those movie video things - 'Video Tribute' to Ares with 'Bad to the Bone' playing and just a selection of clips of Ares (oh here's a very strange thing that happened throughout the day; every time certain characters appeared on the big screen parts of the audience started cheering. I was pretty supprised by the numbers that cheered every time Joxer was on screen (he got about the same cheer for say someone like 'Ares')

Then they brought on the next speaker who was Paul Robert Coyle who is the producer of Hercules and is the guy that's played by Michael Hurst in the 'present day' ones (and he was at great pains to point out that he wasn't a cigarette smoking alcoholic at all !) He also hinted that they might be working on another Xena musical next season as they are finishing up this season in 6 weeks. Also, he said that the new T.V. series that Melinda Clarke was in was canceled but she resigned another deal and they couldn't get her for Valesca but would like too in the future. Salmoneus will do Xena twice this season, plus a couple of more of Hercules Ephiny is to appear in Hercules this season.

After that was a short music video for Aphrodite (Barbie Girl) then they brought out Alexandra - wow - wearing leather trousers, a black 'top' and a little cyan coloured stole or pink boa.
She talked a little about new upcoming eps, one with a big fight between Discord and Aphrodite which she really enjoyed since she got a chance to do some action stuff again. Loads of the 'usual' sort of questions - some about how she felt working down in the us (some about the 'perfect' job i.e. the one that gets to 'bronze' her up)

Next was a trivia quiz - which I didn't stay for - but wasn't anything really hard (actually every question seemed obvious to me - I think the 'final' questions was what was 'kaltaka' !!)

I came back in at the end of the trivia quiz and then they had an charity auction, in aid of a foundation for inner city kids named "A Better world for Kids." It was a strange thing, the bidding was in increments of $10 and the limit was the 'actual' price of the stuff (ie you didn't pay more than it cost) Nothing really went for 'big' discounts (mostly $10-$50 cheaper) - best was a leather Herc jacket which went for $150 instead of $300. The highest bid was 1000 dinars for a bag used by Herc in one of the eps
Some of the ones were special editions, ie with the autographed plaques they were selling things like 'number 1 of 300' and stuff like that so if you did actually want to buy them you were getting something 'special' for the same cost as regular.

After that they cleared the stage again and brought out Joel Tobeck (Strife) - who had not long arrived from NZ (and was heading back again - loong trips for him.) He did a little talk at the start about his background, his 'band' (he and Kevin Smith are in a band together-called Wide Lapels) , his past (used to be a punk) and quite a bit about 'Young Herc' - seems Strife is a major character in there (since its in the past he's still alive) Most of the questions to him seemed to relate to his 'death' or some about the costume etc etc. He is the son of Liddy Holloway, who was one of the actresses to portray Alcmene!

Next up was the Young Herc producer who came out and gave a short talk about the series - and then showed the bloopers reel for the show. (Not seen an ep but some bloopers. A great one of Kevin Smith all done up in his costume with 'hay' all over him. He coughs and splutters then his 'beard' falls off and he cracks up ;-)
Then they brought out the starts of Young Herc (Herc / Iolaus / Jason (who wasn't billed to be there) - they came across pretty well on stage but had to put up with some really ridiculous question (someone actually asked was the show also shot in NZ (Doh!) they seemed pretty taken aback by all the events. It was obviously a 'big' thing for them and they were onstage with cameras taking pics of the audience etc.

Next up was a short music video for Herc then they brought Kevin Sorbo on stage. He did about an hour - nothing 'big' just the same regular questions. Quite a few more akward ones about the direction the series is going in (since the very dark arc this season) and a few people asking for 'autographs' (which he did so I expect a few for Lucy today then!)

When Kevin finally left they put tables up on the stage and brought everyone out for the autographs and dimmed the lights to show the 2 new eps for this week. The sitting waiting in the seats there was pretty rough (I was really tired by then) but finally we got called up and went along the row. Everything was a bit hurried I thought (but I think that's understandable by the sheer numbers there!) so I got a signed piccie of all the Young Herc people / Gina / Joel / and Alexandra (I bought a 'big' pic of Aphrodite. There was the 'old' pic, this big one - and a smaller one taken from 'The Quill is Mightier' which was a really nice pic of her with Ares but I wanted the 'big' one ! I felt like going along the line saying anyone want to swap an Aphro for any of the other ones ?????


Okay Sunday we got up early and left about 1 hour before yesterday (just in case we got lost again !) We made good time and ended up there before most people were seated, got the seats (I was in row 9) which wasn't that bad - only a few behind yesterday.

The day started off with a music video "sisters" which was a montage of stuff with Aretha Franklin/Annie Lennox singing "Sisters are doing it for Themselves".

Next we were told that all the young Herc stars (Herc/Jason/Iolus) and Joel (Strife) were all signing autographs in the lobby if anyone had missed them earlier (I just stayed put - only left my seat for a few mins all day!)

Then we had a presentation of the Xena CD-rom game - a sort of 'storybook' adventure thing (this one was based on "girls just wanna" had some nice pre-rendered graphics but the voices werent 'real' - which really didn't work. The rest of it looked fine but I think it would be a must if they had actually managed to get Lucy / Renee / Ted to really do the voices.

So then they brought out the first of the guests - Claire Stansfield (Alti) OK so you've already been told that she looks 'nothing' like Alti in real life, but she really doesn't. She's 6ft 1 and a really great looking lady. She came out in leather trousers (and someone asked her that question - why does everyone like the leather?) and a light brown jacket which was half open at the front (no comments about her ummmm 'assets'?) She did the Alti voice a few times and she talked about how she had originally read for the story and thought it was to be Cyane (since Alti is described as an 'old' hag/ bag of bones) , oh and a SPOILER !! - she said - in a 'taunting' voice - that the ep she'd just finished (Between the Lines) she has a haircut, well, she GIVES someone a haircut !!!!!!! (wooooo !)

She got some advice from Lucy when she was starting - she wasn't sure about the character at the start and when she was told to 'go for it' Lucy took her to the side and told her to "own the part and Focus." She also got to do some sword fighting in the new ep and the first time was just given a sword and walked through the scene and she was concentrating that hard on the scene that she just had this scared look of concentration on her face which was NO good !! Her favourite part was the change to 'hang' up in the trees for the flying parts. Also Renee was 'helping' out behind the scenes for Sin Trade getting some info/background about her upcoming directing role. When Martin Crokas (Borias) threw her from the room he really did throw her from the room.
Lucy recently took her to the Golf world cup and on the way there Lucy told her to say that they were much better golf players than they really were and when they stopped, someone asked her what sort of golf clubs she used ! But she had a boyfriend who played so she said 'Calloway' and Lucy turned to her and went 'phew'.
The stunt guys were amazing, they asked her things like 'would you like a backflip?' She'd say yeah and she 'waved' her sword at them and away they'd go !
Shes much taller than Lucy but she commented that Lucy just stands so 'god-damn-tall-and-proud' that she looks so much bigger (she's 4 inches or so taller than Lucy)
She also said that she's done about 3 more Xenas and is killed at the end. Then someone turns round and asks Xena 'Oh you did so well to kill her that time when she was as strong.' Xena turns and goes 'huh?' and the person answers back, oh didn't you know ? You cant kill Alti !

After that we got a 'long' trailer thing for next weeks ep which looks really weird - "If the Shoe Fits" Loads of costumes, though most of it centered on Joxer dancing (to start, with Renee and a 'slow dance' then the flashing lights and 'disco' type stuff.)

Next up was one of the things I'd heard of before the Con, the music video tribute to Gabby "Wind beneath my Wings" which was amazing. Whoever did that really picked the images well to go with the song - everything all just fits in so perfectly for it (just a pity that it isnt available anywhere :-( )

After that we got Steve Sears out. He is the co-exec producer of Xena, and he gave a talk on the show - and some of the episodes. He said that at the start they didn't know how things would go on episodes, if the actors could manage to get the 'feelings' behind some of the scenes he'd written, and how there were specific scenes which when he saw them he 'knew' that the actresses could cope. For Xena it was some small thing - in Hooves and Harlots when she exchanged words with Ephiny (the 'what you looking at' line) - and for Gabs it was The Greater Good after she thinks Xena is dead and is trying to keep things together to get Sal to prepare the defences etc etc. Also how he was really proud of the part in The Greater Good when Gabs took her anger / frustration out on the tree and how she managed to follow his directions soooo well. She captured the scene exactly as he imagined it and when he checked back for the script, all he wrote was 'Gabrielle bashes a tree' :-)
In Season 5 they are no longer 'exploring' where they are going, they are exploring who they are. A few comments on the India stuff. He made a comment to the fan-fic authors that that's what he really likes about the show, the chance to write his stories and see them up on the screen.
He also said the name Xena means either Stranger or Visitor.
Subtext? "At a certain point I wrote the characters are closer than sisters, what the level the relationship is is up to you. They are a complete circle to each other and closer than many married couples."

A video showing was next of a lot of background stuff from 'Bitter Suite.' The usual sort of interviews and things that were on just before it was done with some good behind the scenes stuff showing some 'walk throughs' of scenes and showing how some of the effects and things were handled - all interesting stuff.

After that we had Robert Field (Editor) who came out and had his props with him (big cue cards.) He did a talk about the editing process (and really presented it all well) Then he showed some examples of how editing could be handled (2 different cuts of the ending for Destiny with the fight and Xenas 'death'.) He also showed some other stuff on how the eps could overrun and they ended up cutting out some scenes. Of the two he showed, one was the 'campire' scene from Sacrifice with Xena and Callisto chatting about life and death (which was wonderfull - I wish they'd managed to keep it in!) and the other was the 'Argo' part from The Greater Good when Gabrielle comes out and bashes the tree and then Argo comes out and they have a 'chat' that they are all that's left etc etc.
In the Sacrifice cut scene - C> Callisto X> Xena :-

C> In the beginning there was hatred and the resentment was delicious - now there is nothing left
X> I'm going for a walk
C> (looking up with an evil grin) - Did we bond ?
X> (snarled) No
C> Good !
C> (as Xenas walking away) I'm going to miss our fireside chats..

He then showed a number of 'continuity errors' things that were mistakes, chakrams moving to wrong sides, the gas tank in GJWTHF, swords and staffs moving from hand to hand in the same scene, and a scene from Death in Chains where Argo just wanders around in the background eating grass (and it was the only shot they had so they had to 'cut' it all together!!) That was followed up with the bloopers reel (the same S3 one that's in the fan kit #2).

Next up was the auction (I missed the start since this was the one time I left my seat). The usual same stuff and some special things for charity like scripts / autographs / etc -etc. Then they came to auction Xenas Sword, the original one from the very first episode which was used in a number of other ones. The bidding started off low but soon went up and up and up !! The original Chakram went for about $8,500 at one of the other cons and when the sword reached that everyone started cheering but they kept bidding and bidding - higher and higher and it passed !. $10,000 .. $15,000 .. $20,000 !!!!! and kept going and going .. (and one of the people bidding was sitting in the seat right behind me !!) $25,000 .. the person behind me finally bid $30,000 !. The other bidder went to $31,000 and that's what it went for - $31,000 !!!!!! It was bought by the same (wealthy and dedicated) fan who bought the chakram. Hope she has good insurance. (I hear Hercules' sword went for $525.)

Next out they introduced Karl to the stage - wow - he really knew how to hold the crowd. He came out and said he'd just got off the plane (ouch!) and was going back again (he did look slightly 'dissheveled' but he came out and was just blown away by the sheer numbers there. There were literally no seats anywhere in the place ! Then he took out a camera and took a photo of the audience and said he wanted to answer the question everyone wanted to know , "Boxers or Briefs" and dropped his trousers there and then ! After a start like that he just kept going on about 'stuff' in general. Quite a few times getting some audience participation. He said a few lines (like 'Break her legs' - his favourite Ceaser quote) and "whats your name little girl" - his favourite Cupid one. He talked about how he got the part (someone asked how he ended up with 3 chars on the show)and that he'd tried out for Cupid first then went back for 'Maell.' He talked a little about getting the 'wings' put on for Cupid and the position he had to take (slightly bent over).

Next up was a salute to Lucy video -Tina Turner 'Simply the Best' then they came out and "changed" the format before Lucy came on; there would be no questions :-( Only 10 people pre-selected by Sharon (Sharons friends ? - Fuzz was one) would get to ask 'pre-set' questions and at the start to avoid all the 'same' questions there would be an 'interviewer.' So they put two seats out in the middle of the stage and brought out the interviewer who started off reading a top ten list of the answers to the questions that Lucy is most constantly asked ..

Top ten answers to the most asked questions

10. New Zeland not Australia
9. no American actress wanted to leave the US to spend 5 years in NZ
8. yes I was a miner - no hardhat or canary.
7. letters from lawyers who want me to walk over them in her boots.
6. its derived from a ululation from women in the mid east.
5. if you don't see my face it probably wasn't me
4. rats, eels, tarantulas and he has left the country.
3. very happily married, thank you
2. 5'10 and they are real
1. they are really really really really really really good friends

Then they brought out Lucy and the crowd went wild, literally everyone in the place standing up shouting, cheering etc etc. The interviewer then started asking Lucy questions (and she seemed to ask a lot of 'silly' ones that Lucy has already been asked before (like she didn't know ?)
She said that 1 hours ago she was at home, curlers in her hair, watching the Learning Channel (about some guy with an operation)
She was wearing :
Olive green tanktop
silk brown drawstring trousers.
black 1/4 heel pumps
she said her socks didn't match
and she had a large 'sunflower' in her hair.

Her first commercial she got $1,300 and took a trip to Europe and didn't have any money to get home.
In LUATD she was so scared she'd bite a 'real' rat (for the chakram shot) said it was the first smell.
She was asked if she'd run for Persident (and she said they would overlook so many things)
Domination - Xena's not into domination just don't cross her or make her mad !
Meg is her fav character.
In her past Xena was so damaged there was no-line she wouldn't cross
Would you and Xena have gotten along ? yes absolutely danger excites me (doesn't it everyone?)
She loves SNL and she didn't get the Stevie Nicks thing. She wanted it cut since she just couldn't see the funny side of it (no Mexican food in NZ)
During the Sin Trades it was a very tough time for her but she was the moral officer, she just had to tough it out. If she acted badly it would set the tone for others
Someone asked did "Renee cut her hair?" She hummed and hawed then eventually said "no." Everyone cheered and then she gave a sheepish look and said "I did".
India ep has new outfits but not for her and they are the most beautiful stories every told. In the spiritual quest Gabs gets a tattoo ?
She talked about her life altering experience when she pulled up at a set of lights next to a van with music blaring and then when they changed to green she just pulled out right into the path of a fire engine which she missed (only just.) That was something that still stays with her, how close everything was.
Books she's reading just now - she always has 2 so she can just dump one "The 7 lives of Lady Beecham" by Gilbert Dale and "The Chosen" or "The Chosen" (2 books in a set)by Chaim Potok
The biggest one that ever got away a Mike Newell movie that she did an audition that she didn't hear back on, but no fish ever got away from her.
One thing she's learned from VH-1 no-one gets off unscathed.
After the little 'interview' they went on to the audience ones but some people did just shout out questions and she answered some of them, so I guess it was possible to get a question asked. Towards the end the interviewer and Sharon were just prompting her with a little 'background' to a story or two for her to tell (like in Tsunami she, Renee and Bruce Campbell had a bet going about who would 'crack up' (laugh out loud) first, and during all of Renee's takes they kept 'floating' stuff (mostly mouldy cabbages) towards her !
Then the interviewer said "oh that'll be the end of the audience part now," and loads of people started yelling "nooo" and "sing!!" So she did - 2 verses of "You take the High Road.."(546Kb) got a biiiiiiig cheer and was then escorted off stage.

After Lucy they lowered the stage and set up for the autographs and started bringing on the costume competetion. About 30 or so in the juniors (it was obvious from the start who would win that - a little 2 year old dressed up as Gabs who couldn't stay still for 2 seconds and kept wandering around the stage. 2nd prize was a little girl (7 or 8) dressed up as Callisto from "Bitter Suite" which was a really well done costume (complete with little bag hanging on a stick) 3rd was a young girl dressed as 'pirate' Xena (ie Destiny with the robes)

For the Adult ones there was about 40 or so on stage mostly as Xena (in various guises) When someone came on as Ceaser, Karl (who was sitting at the front doing the autographs jumped up and started cheering and a little later a guy came on as Cupid and Karl ran up onto the stage and signed his chest. There was just about every character - a few Joxers, a Janice and Mel, an Autolycus etc etc.
3rd prize went to the Cupid, 2nd to a lady dressed as the Widow Twanky and first prize was just about set as soon as they came on stage - 2 girls, one dressed as Xena from Armageddon Now (with the robes, headress etc) dragging someone dressed as Gabs behind her with a rope. Every time the focus of attention was on them they would 'act' up ie Xena would knock Gabs down etc etc and at the end when they won Xena spent a few mins untying Gabrielle (ie her hands really were tied up)

The Autograph lines went pretty slow - but I did get mine - and Joann and Fran got theirs ok. A few last minute shopping things and that was us !!

Michael Lynch -25th Jan 99.

If you want a more detailed account, take a look at Erin's Conventions Page that has a very good report.

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