LOS ANGELES 2010 - Con 5-7 FEB 2010
MARRIOTT HOTEL LOS ANGELES
Friday 5th February 2010.
We arrived one day prior to the beginning of the convention, matter of already getting to find your way through the hotel and for us to get over the jetlag a bit. Although it is only a 10hrs flight, which is a piece-of-cake versus the 24hrs flights to New Zealand, you still have to let your body adjust to the time difference.
For the first time we booked a room at the Marriott Hotel, first time a room where also the con is held. And this was a marvelous idea and something to do again for a next convention. We even had a better rate with more extra' included than the Xena-deal-rooms.
Fun thing is when you arrive that early, you start looking at people and wonder if it are Xena fans or not. It already starts at the airport. Ofcourse the ones wearing Xena t-shirts do make it simple. But the other one? Is she one, or she? No , she definitely not! Xena fans have that certain flair about them, well not all of them but mostly, yeah, yes. And we (Karin and I) well, you can find us looking a our luggage. In February we decided , when traveling again to New-Xenaland, euh, New Zealand, too label our luggage in a certain way. What could be better then put a design of the chakram with a picture of the Xena character and one with our lovely lady in it. So we have a luggage with Lucy and Xena labels and one with Renée and Gabrielle labels. Recognisable? Oh surely! One purple and one red coloured. How much more Xena can you handle? And it helps to open doors in New Zealand. But we are nice ladies and do know already a lot of how things are in Kiwi-land.
Lucy appeared already on the first day!!!! This is something we are not used to. Normally she appears on the last day, keeping the convention weeked excited until the last day. But hey, no complaints, we love to see her any time any day she can grant us.
LUCY IS HERE!!!!! As always when Lucy come onto the stage, she gets a thunderous applause and a very long standing ovation while the Xena thems is played and a lot of Xena yells are thrown in the air. I loved the way she looked. Very relaxed and contented. She was wearing jeans and a black jacket over a dark blue t-shirt. Her hair (yep brown again) tucked up in a knot (like in London). She looked very happy.
My first convention was in 2007. And my first real look at Lucy was at the Roxy Concert. At the con her appearance was the day after, but we went for the first day concert. I still remember how still I became inside of me. While everybody became wild and started screaming I just leaned back in my chair, relaxed and started enjoying. I couldn't believe that I saw Lucy or Xena just a few meters in front of me. "I'm looking at her, seeing the woman of the tv-screen!". I was smiling and kept on thinking that this is a wonderfull moment. I never could have expected this moment or feeling until it happend. For me the first time, for my wife a second time but for many of the other fans a yearly returning moment. This is something we cannot expect to happen in Belgium. Meeting even a singer is impossible! And her you are a few meters away from an actress that made a hype from a TV show, that went the world around. And you simply can see her like that! Amazing!
And although I joined a couple other convention, between our voyages to New Zealand, I always get thrilled when Lucy comes onto the stage. The same feeling comes up and warms you up deep inside of you. I treasure it very much! And I thank and respect Lucy for it very highly. I don't know if people really know the value of being so near your hero as a fan? Anyway, my wife and I do!
Lucy immediately told us that she and Renée had a surprise for us. She told us that they would perform a little play together. She said "Ren said to me, 'I've got this play' and I finally got around reading it (Lucy said that she first read it like two nights ago) and it had way to many people. Lucy said : And it was crap! (you know how she can say it) 'So I ran off to Barnes and Noble and bought something just for me and Renée." Lucy went to Barnes and Noble and pulled out all the book wih short plays for two woman in them. Lucy said Renée and she herself thought it would be real interesting for us to watch 'Her and me in a cold reading, working on the acting process'.
Lucy told us that she and her family moved back to New Zealand (good choice darling!), and that she is working on a new show (yeah we all know about Spartacus!). "You may have noticed that my blog dried up". About Spartacus Lucy told us : Nobody knew what it was first;' and that she had to work very long hours 'Mostly involving hair!?' Then a couple of question about the nudity in Spartacus came along. And you already guessed it, the nudity thing was THE topic. There was a question about the merkin. Lucy said : 'I never wore it, I never did full frontal nudity.' And as we know her sense of humor she told us that she wanted a merkin that would make her look like Mr Tumnus! (You know him? The character out of Narnia!) If you know that character of Narnia well you have to laugh all out. But only a few of us laughed about it, so Lucy asked if we knew who it was. There was no reaction at all, so I wonder if Mr Tumnus or Narnia is known. Well we did! LOL! And Lucy continued on the funny tour about her merkin. She said that she wanted to have a merking, explaining as follows : "With hair here (holding her hand palm down against about her navel, or lower) to here (holding her hand palm down against her upper thigh, or you even can say against her butt); "It would look like a big old pair of britches" she added. Lucy told us "Spartacus is really challenging, it's great and edgy;" Further she talked about her character, how Spartacus has challenged her to find ways to get inside the head of Lucretia (her character on the show)."It has taken me a while to figure her out."She is a bad character but again she is not all bad. She told us that any sparks of humanity in her character are constantly snuffed out by greed and fear. It's a kind of battle within herself. A kind of battle within the person itself. "And I'm enjoying it a lot." Lucy said."She has only bad qualities. No character thinks they are bad.They figure out the justifications for their actions. She loves her husband. She is boffing a gladiator. She wants a friendship with Lythia. But there is no selve love. There is longing on each side but they were not raised to love. That pure spark, of wanting to be friends, is constantly smothered by their greed, desperation and fear."
There was also a question about the colour of her hair. If Lucy does love her red hair? "You know it's a wig, right?" But when you watch the episodes you can notice that she becomes blonde when her counter character Alithya. Lucy laughed and said 'It is like Single White Female."
It took a while until the next question came up. It is always amazing. You can feel the questions hanging in the air, real hot questions and then again there is hesitation to pose the question. For us Europeans talking about a show as Spartacus is nothing real hard. We have no refrain about the nudity and sex topics. But being in the US, we must be very careful as other standards about that are applicable and we don't want to offend anyone. So it was interesting to hear the next question when a fan asked if Lucy liked watching herself work. The fan also mentioned that Lucy had talked about being traumatized by the nude scenes. (Well, I don't know if Lucy that really said cause that info was put all over in the papers and online magazines. Therefore I was happy with the answer of Lucy clearling it all out.) Lucy answered that it didn't really traumatize her. She said that at a private party that was filled with journalists and they ran with it. (In fact what you need to know is that she was traumatized in a number of press interviews and online interviews I heard around me. Not surprising, media guys take 2 or 3 words and hup there goes an article!)
Someone else asked how she feels about watching herself, especially the explicit sex scenes in Spartacus? Lucy admitted that it is cringe producing but then again it is very choreographed. "There are always two layers of clothing between the two of you, so it is not like you"re going to accidentally have sex. There is always a layer between people, two layers, one on each person; There is no danger of accidentally having sex." and she continued with a funny note : "Try explaining that to your husband!".
Continuing about Spartacus cause that subject was very much alive during this convention as this was a new show where a lot was spoken about already.
This years convention was also a convention with a lot of newbies. And with newbies I mean fans who discovered and became fans most recently. A young woman who asked asked Lucy how it feels being a role model for young woman, actually used the phrase "next generation fans. So in fact, we fans from the beginning are the first generation! Must we feel old now? I hope not, well, I don't! Hehehe! But it is amazing to see how the show revives even after it ended about 10 years ago. So I repeat it again : Xena Warrior Princes, the actresses, actors and the whole filming team made history! Indeed, cause even when there is no movie made (or ever will be) the show is reviving, while other shows needed several movies (X-files, Stargate, Star Trek) or even needed spinoff series (Voyager, Star Trek next Generation, etc....). This is the first show who keeps standing and keeps going on, even after it has been ended and is no longer broadcasted. Right, back to the question about the role model. Lucy said it was Xena who is the role model and that she was the face of Xena.
When a fan asked if she had ever acted like Xena in real life, Lucy told us that she lost her temper once. She found out that " I can go from zero to Xena in half a second" when she thought she saw a man pushing his child up a hill, when she was walking along the park.Lucy told us she walked past and then thought that that was a little strange. So she had bad gut feeling about it. So she picked up a stick and turned back. She knows if she gets that feeling, she knows without a doubt that she would protect a child. "I would hope there would be a cleaver handy, and if not, my bare hands would do". That's a strong woman in my opinion. The man and boy were gone when she got back there. She said that this had "Made me all over red-Xena blood rising."
A next question was what Lucy would do for a job if she couldn't act. Lucy said :"I would love to be like Dr. Gee". So she loves forensic phatology. This gets me thinking about an interview I recently saw with Abby from Ncis. She studied the profession she is playing on the show. Right, that was an info quote!
Up to the next question : Does Lucy get recognized a lot? Lucy told us that she went years as a blonde and nobody recognized her. But once she cut bangs into her hair again and darked it again, all of a sudden she is recognized all the time. In addition she said that she gets a lot of guys coming up and asking "Are you who we think you are?". And when she says yes, they run off.
The new generation fans identified themselves as being the new fans which gave Lucy the opportunity to reply in her funny way : "Fresh fans! They're not disillusioned yet! I love it!".
Lucy told us about her recent trip to China with her daugther. In fact it was a bit of an answer to a question which country she has enjoyed the most. "China was the most interesting. I was there working on Warrior Women." She doesn't like just lying on a beach; "I'm not a relaxer." she said and continued "China would blow your mind". She likes being completely immersed in the culture. She said you would see things like 500 chicken feet in a vat. "There is an incredible poverty, but the people are handy and amazing" Lucy said she realized how similar to us the Chinese are when she saw her daughter playing cards and yucking it up with a group of Chinese teenagers. They had a good time although Daisy didn't speak Chinese.
I remember a question of (I think) a newbie (a young man) and I got the strange feeling about it. The fan asked if Lucy had ever become close friends with a fan. Lucy said that the people she becomes close to don't see her as a star or expect her to be hero or make their dreams come true. So her answer was "No". The guy then offered himself to be her friend making a very appealing face. Lucy answered that look with "That puppy dog face won't work with me." She further told us : "I did become such good friends with one fan that I was at her death bed." And added "I'm not here to make anyone's dreams come true." To her such a relationship is to hard to keep being her famous and the fan just remaining the fan. "It's not sustainable. And then they died."
Someone asked "Did you ever have a dream in which you were your character?" It made Lucy look pleased and happy as she replied "I have never answered that one before. No. But when I was married to my first husband, one night I had a dream that I was bobbing for apples. I woke up with my teeth sunk into his shoulder. That was the beginning of the end of us."
It is obvious that a lot of fans do seek the same answer. We got the following question which over the years has been asked in several ways : Did playing Xena make you stronger? Lucy told us that Xena had to come to accept the serenity prayer. That there are things you can't change and you have to have gratitude fof what you have.
Did she talked about so much in only 30 minutes? Gosh! And I still have some funny and interesting moments to tell about. Well when you start writing you don't know where it will end (especially in my case!).
Crazy questions such as a fan asked Lucy about where they went to the bathroom when shooting Xena outdoors. I loved the way Lucy reacted with "Another fresh question!" (Get it?) "We had porta-johns. They splash back at you." "Go like a bear in the woods to avoid the porta-johns."
Interesting was when Lucy talked about acting and how they value some scenes. I always love when they reveal a little bit of their job. It is not only standing and performing before the camera but a lot happens beside it, kind of homework and having interests in your job. Directors do ask the actors how they felt about a scene and when they thought they had nailed it they usually hadn't. "I wasn't really there. When we felt really good about it, it was bad acting, And then sometimes we would just let go and not control the output. If when the director asked how we felt about it the scene, we would answer I just don't know - that is a good sign."
A small but good question was where they got the line "I have many skills". There was some interactivity between her and Steven Sears. Lucy laughed about the reaction of Steven and said that it was aline written by some free-lancer and it became a bumper sticker. Ofcourse this question was a thankful hint for the next one when a fan called out that for Spartacus they should say "I have many wigs". Lucy replied "Can't do that" because if they did the fan would say "Where's my 10%?". Having touched the wig subject it seemed that everyone was put loose and someone asked how many wigs Lucy had on Spartacus. Another start of funny moments. Admit it, Xena fans love doing this as we love to see and her Lucy's reaction on that, which we partly already can foresee. So Lucy started to joke around. She said "One" and pantomimed pulling an imaginar wig off of her head, making an almost unzipping noise as she did so, "Two" pulling an imaginary merking off of her crotch, same sound as before and then "Three" bending over and pulling one off of her butt and again the same sound. Big laughing all around. We asked for that and we got it! Yep we are transparant!
Same goes for the next question. The lady sat a few chairs away from me, so it was double fun to see and hear the question : Does the merkin match the wig color? Again we asked for a funny reaction and we got it. For me it was fun watching cause I had exactly the same idea and I would react the same way. Lucy slid immediately into acting again and she looked into her trousers, checked out her crotch and said "Oh damn, that's yesterday's!" She continued talking about the merkin, now that we are hanging into that topic! "It has never been worn. The crew framed it for me. As if I would put it on the wall of my house! They all signed it. Not the merking, but around the frame." Yeah, let's keep it clear cause some would believe the merking would have been signed, imagine that! LOL!
There was also the returning question about Kevin Smith. Lucy told us " We were like a brother and sister. We took eachother for granted; We would kiss, but there was no 'schwing'. Then he died and I said 'Damn! I should have enjoyed that more." "He was a wonderful man and everyone feels he's still present in their lives."" He was fantastic." This reminds me of the sculpture I saw in an antique show in New Zealand. It was the head of Kevin Smith as Ares. You get the frizzles of it! If you take the link to the Loyaltoxena.com Xena Film locations you can see the pictures I took. Lucy said "Ren and I were just talking about him yesterday. He doesn't feel gone. He's very present!" It left a moment of stillness in the audience.
And the Renée came out!!!! That story can be found on the other pages.