Whenever we hear the word, "convention", only one word comes to our minds, "Xena." So far we have attended nine Xena conventions and each held wonderful memories. So when the new year rolled up, friends asked whether we were going to be there. We wrote back and told them, "No, we are dealing with some issues right now and our hearts and minds are not in it." When the days to the con neared, we had a change of hearts. We decided to surprise our friends, leave our troubles behind just for a day and we found ourselves attending the Sunday's events even though the fun and excitement began two days prior.
February 1, 2009 became our tenth Xena convention and we still had butterflies. "Deja vu all over again" because we did not know what to expect at a new venue and just like our very first con, we were in our business-like suits. Actually what I (Lourdes) wore at our first Xena con (Santa Monica 1999) was what I (Virginia) wore this year.
The Marriott hotel lobby was inviting with its comfortable sitting areas. The ballroom facility was spacious and had a bold, state-of-the-art look. The dealers/exhibit room was expansive while the merchandise prices were expensive. As we roamed the place, we could not recognize anyone. The only familiar faces were the Creation staff and some of the volunteers. Many new fan faces, but we only missed a year, we thought. As we waited to get in the auditorium, an older man in front of us looked back and recognized us. He said he missed us last year and asked whether we will be in the costume contest. We replied, "Yes" and added, "It's nice to know that we were missed."
As the doors finally opened, we found some great general seating seats and waited. Waited to see familiar faces. We did not know when and how to surprise them. Then we saw them arrive. They found seats at the other side of the auditorium. When Zeta (the last con she attended was in Pasadena 2001 and so we were thrilled that she was able to attend this year's con) walked back towards our direction, that was when we snuck behind her and she literally jumped back upon seeing us. The look on her face was absolute astonishment. She was sooooooo happy to see us as she hugged us at the same time. She led us back to where Deborah Abbott (aka Worldwidedeb) was and we told her we would hide and walk behind her as she was tall, but Deb walked and met us half-way. She was sooooooo happy to see us, as well, as we made a little commotion. She said she was not surprised because she kept telling Zeta, we would be there. After some pictures were taken, Deb and we signed up for the costume contest. Now we were the ones surprised that she would be dressed up as Mel Pappas, too. She said she emailed us about it, but we told her there was no attachment. We all went back in the auditorium as the music video salute started for Joe LoDuca.
Wendy Woody and Tara Chadwick's "Wicked", a Xena musical, was wickedly fun, entertaining and witty. It glued us to our seats from beginning to end. Deborah Abbott made a cameo appearance as an Amazon and evil Callisto. "Wicked" was well-edited and a brilliant homage to the show. Creation enjoyed it as much as Wendy and Tara were invited backstage by the man, himself, Robert Tapert.
Deborah Abbott's "Does Your Mother Know" music video was next. It was very cute, artistic and charming. Deborah was awarded a $100 Certificate. Well done, Deb!
A clip of the new tv series, "Legend of the Seeker" was shown. Since we were not fans of the show, we went for a bathroom break. When we got back, Rob Tapert, Stephen Tolkin (Co-Executive Producer) and Nicki Paluga (staff writer) were on stage discussing the show. A fan asked whether "Legend of the Seeker" will hold conventions, too. Stephen replied, "It depends with the fans." Rob was asked whether Lucy Lawless will be in the show and said it's better to ask Lucy that question. Rob was also asked if it was "love at first sight" upon seeing Lucy Lawless. He pondered about it and said, "Yes, it was love at first VIDEO sight" since at that time he was checking out the audition tapes for a Hercules episode.
Then Jennifer Ward-Lealand had a sit-down interview with Michael Hurst as Widow Twanky. Widow Twanky's antics were hilarious. Michael is such a versatile actor, indeed. He and Jennifer really make a great couple.
During the auction, we ate and took another bathroom break. While preparing for the costume contest, we surprised CorXy. We took some "photo ops" with CorXy inside the ladies' restroom! There was a sofa and a great art painting - a perfect photo op. Fee: Priceless.
Then it was Victoria Pratt's turn on stage. Victoria was bubbly and energetic as ever.
Renee O' Connor seemed to look younger and prettier (must be her Taekwondo classes) everytime she comes out on stage. She showed us her short film titled, "Words Unspoken" about the relationship of an abusive father and his son and the relationship of a brother and a sister. A grown man (played by Jed Sura) who was physically and verbally abused as a child (played by Miles Muir) was seen spending the last hours with his terminally ill father on a bike ride. The father asked if he can forgive him and the son replied, "I'm trying." At the jail cell, Renee (who played the daughter), scolded his brother for the selfish act that he did. Was his brother fulfilling their father's last dying wish or was it payback time?
Renee also showed clips from the web series, "Ark". It looked futuristic, suspenseful and mysterious.
Lucy Lawless came out to thunderous applause. She was asked whether she would appear in "Legend of the Seeker" and she quickly replied, "No." "No" was also the answer when asked whether she would want to join, "Dancing with the Stars". A fan asked her a question in German and asked Lucy to reply in German, too. At first Lucy was hesistant to reply in German, but she eventually did. When another fan asked her a question, Lucy asked her whether she is from the Philippines because she could tell. Lucy said that among all of the Asian countries, only in the Philippines does Xena hold the number 1 spot all the time. (We did not know this info and must remember to ask our relatives). She said she should go to the Philippines. Yes, Lucy, you should visit the Philippines. MABUHAY! Long live XENA!webmaster's note: yeah you really should visit the Philippines. it would be a dream come true for us pinay xenites
Then Lucy brought out a friend - CLAIRE STANSFIELD! It was great to see her again. Claire did not know that there was a Xena convention going on that weekend until a friend of hers asked her about it. She went to the Creation site and lo and behold saw the con schedule. She told herself she should be there somehow. She got to be. She thanked the fans for being a part of her success. She now works for Oprah.
Renee then joined Lucy on stage. They were fascinating to watch as they complimented each other well as always.
As the gold and preferred patrons lined up for their complimentary autographs, the costume contest was being held. It was the last event of the day. We dressed up as Mel Pappas & Xena from "The Xena Scrolls." As we were about to step up on stage, Adam Malin recognized us and welcomed us back. He said he missed us in years. (Actually we only missed two (2006, 2008) Xena cons since we first began attending). 3rd place went to Jillayne Xena Marie, dressed up as Bitter Suite Callisto who did a little ditty, 2nd place went to Mandy Johnson, another great-looking Xena and 1st place went to Deborah Abbott, a well-seasoned costumed fan, who did a Mel Pappas imitation complete with accent. She was a hoot!
We were thrilled with the consolation prizes we received: 2009 Xena Calendars, Xena Mugs and Lucy Lawless' Live In Chicago concert dvds.
Seeing the stars especially Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor was the highlight of the day, but seeing our friends was what we looked forward to.