I’m not doing clothes this year. Just go find some pictures on a website.
You know, I was thinking this morning about how things have changed since we first began doing these cons. In those days of a decade plus ago, VERY few people could get stuff out onto the internet so immediately. Some high tech geeks could, but laptops were not prevalent then, nor was broadband. So even those folks who had access had access only on dial up. And access was also paid for by the minute-there were not these monthly plans with unlimited access for a set amount. So uploading pictures was not a regular event. And of course regular folks having cell phones that could take the pictures and send them out to friends and interested companions in real time was still the stuff of Buck Rogers. More than anything else in my life, my tenure in the Xena fandom has given me awareness of how much this digital information technology has changed daily life. Without wanting to be online to get more and more and more Xena in my life, I would have participated only peripherally in these things-I would never have cared about any of these mind-boggling advances, heck I’m betting I would hardly have noticed them if they didn’t enable me to enjoy Xena more. Work—who cares if they can get a hold of me wherever I am-I hardly consider THAT progress anyway.
So-Renee-um, no wait! I have to correct some and expand some of the report on Lucy’s show from last night first.
I wrote that Lucy sang "Mary Chapin Carpenter’s "Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About" and of course, that is a Bonnie Raitt song, not one of Mary’s. And I wrote and I quote (Hey a RHYME! Cool!)
"As she sang each song, Lucy rocked and rolled, shook her shoulders, bucked her hips and swung her butt as she moved across the entire stage." What I forgot to mention was that she also jack-hammered into head banging, flinging her head around with such fierce abandon that I was just waiting for her hair extensions to go flying off into the wings. Or out into the audience-and wouldn’t THAT be a real souvenir score? And that at the end of the show, she began to toss shirts and CD’s out into the audience. And I heard the next day from a friend that at least one CD had landed up among the lights. And she added darkly, "So, if the Roxy burns down during the night, we’ll know why."
I think that’s all the important stuff I misspoke about or forgot. However, in my defense, let me state that I wrote that little blurb after downing three rum and Cokes at the Roxy (purchased by friends, how could I refuse their kind offers?) and four Jack Daniels and Coke after we returned to the hotel and continued the party in our friend’s room. I got back to my room around 2:30 a.m. but the damn caffeine in the cokes made it impossible to fall asleep. (Next time I’m skipping the cokes-I’m going to drink Jack Daniels with rum as the mixer. And I bet I’ll fall asleep just fine.) While bouncing around the room, I suddenly remembered that I had promised a friend that I would write up something on Lucy’s performance that night. So I did. Under those circumstances, I figure mixing up the name of the original performer is understandable.
Okay so now Renee. Most years since the show ended, we have had Lucy and Renee appear together. Last year we had them alone onstage, on separate days. This year we’re getting a hybrid-first just Renee, then just Lucy then the two of them together. I like this plan-I enjoyed the single time because it meant that they paid full attention to the audience and didn’t get distracted by each other. On the other hand, when they chat together some of the most interesting, amusing and/or amazing things about working on the series comes out. So I’m happy with this mix.
Renee came out to thunderous applause. She walked across the stage smiling widely. The first thing she said was that her dancing at the Roxy last night was Lucy’s idea. Renee had gone out to shop for a dress to wear but Lucy had already had one picked out for her. A little bitty dress. She held her fingers about three inches apart and said, "It was this big". "I asked Lucy, ‘Is there a bottom to this?’" Then she imitated Lucy’s Kiwi accent saying, "Wear those fluffy panties and you’ll be fine."
She was asked how the baby was and she said good. Then she was asked about Diamonds and Guns and she said she had finally finished it. "Now I have to learn how to sell it." She said it was a funny movie that she thought we would like-and that she had added funny sound effects to it.
She was asked about Ghost Town. She said that it’s a little western and finished off her sentence with a cowgirl yelp. She said that the people making it knew her and wanted her to be in it. She read the script but there wasn’t really a good part for a woman in it. She suggested to them that Little Jack become a girl and that worked for them so she worked for them. She said that filming it was a lot like Xena in some ways because it was really cold. They shot it on an old strip of a western town. (Later people were saying that it is a theme park that had been closed but is reopening.) Renee said it reminded her of a place in New Zealand. She said, "Xena was such an event for me that everything brings it back."
She’s going to be in Rob and Sam’s new film, "Boogeyman 2". "I play a psychiatrist." She laughed and added, "You KNOW they’re in trouble if I’m a psychiatrist." There was some very early work she did in a film called "A Place For Sarah". She asked if any of us had heard of it and amazingly enough, no one had. This surprised even Renee. And it immediately led to murmurs in the audience, soft vows of "We’ll find it." She played a schizophrenic and said happily, "I got to learn about schizophrenia." She added, "That’s what I love about acting", that it gives her the opportunity to study many things so she can play her parts well.
She talked about being at the Roxy. "I had a great time last night." She said, "Just sitting back and watching Lucy, I can see why you guys love her so much." She said something about really being able to see the love from Lucy to us and from us to her. She teared up as she talked-and began to cry over our love. She walked across the stage with her head turned away trying to gain control of herself. She sniffed and snuffled her way through the next two questions. It was really sweet.
Someone asked how she kept herself in shape. She laughed over that and said, "I just run around after the baby and Miles, I go for walks, I clean the house. My body loves physical activity-dancing-it’ll come back, I promise you." There was a huge ripple of amusement when she said that and lots of "I wish I looked half as good as she does!" types of comments. Along with testimonials about how great she looked for someone who had had been pregnant twice within the last few years.
Someone asked her about the speech in Helicon that Rob and Liz Friedman had talked about. They said that Renee had refused to do the speech as written because she felt that Gabrielle wouldn’t have said what was there. And after they talked with Renee, Rob and Liz knew there was no way she was going to do that speech. Renee said it was Gabrielle being Patton-it just didn’t have the heart of Gabrielle. While Gabrielle was always the warrior, she always wanted to be compassionate. So the speech she gave was all about love and heart. She said the speech as written was more Xenaic in style (not Gabrielle). She sounded very determined and very sure she was correct in her choice of refusing to follow the script and modifying the speech to better suit her character.
A fan held up a Gabrielle staff and asked her to give it a twirl. She walked over to get it and then went back to the center of the stage, mumbling about hoping she could still do it. She started off while still holding the mike in her right hand and I believe that someone in the audience suggested that she might want to put the mike down. She laughed and said, "I SHOULD put the mike down, it’s true." Then she began to swish the staff around and was doing really well-right up to the moment when she hit herself in the crotch. She gave a little jump and huddled over and put her hands over her crotch. And then straightened up and laughed and said, "Just like old times!"
She was asked how many outfits from the show she still had at homet-hat we’d already seen her in three during her photo ops. She said that she had a few more at home. And that she was fortunate because they happened to fit her perfectly. Heh.
She was asked about the Xena DVD movie. She said, "Can you imagine? That would be fascinating."
A fan asked if she would have stayed with the show if she had continued to be just a sidekick. Renee said it would have been 50/50. "I constantly looked for things to do to grow. Lucy was so gracious too-to have the ability to become a duo."
I think the next question was what her favorite comedy was. She answered, "’If The Shoe Fits’. Seeing Lucy on the stairs making those faces. It was just a free for all. No one was saying, ‘You’d better pull it back, girls-be a little more ladylike’." I think she mentioned as others have how lucky they were to be so far away from the studio suits in terms of doing what they wanted.
She was asked if she’d be back that night for Lucy’s second show at the Roxy. She teasingly hesitated for a minute and then said yes. Screams and howls of joy from the audience. "I’m thinking of having a couple more moves on." (For her dancing bit that night.) "Lucy was doing so well. I was afraid I’d have a big prat fall and would take Lucy out with me and we’d wind up in the pit."
There was some question about Gabrielle’s path. She said it was the way of friendship, the way of love. There are times you have to be a warrior but it would be the way of love. (I think maybe I missed some comments on that one.)
Actually, speaking of missing comments, I have a confession to make. As always they had these two great banners on stage with half the folks who were appearing this year on one and the other half on the other. I was sitting a bit to the left of the stage and so was looking to my right to see the actors. And therefore in my line of sight right behind the actors was the banner that had Xena on the top of it. It was Xena from the ending act of One Against An Army, all wet and fierce and dripping and threatening and all razor sharp cheekbones and deep, determined blue eyes and black, black hair, just a total picture of an absolutely unmovable, implacable no one gets past me warrior-in other words total Xena at her most basic and primitive level. Every so often as I looked up from writing, I would be caught, instantly dropped into total lost bemusement, just staring at that iconic figure. It’s a wonder I noticed anyone on stage at all, never mind being able to tear my mind away from staring at that figure on that banner to hear and record what they were saying. Sheesh.
Um…where were we? Oh yeah. Renee was asked about One Weekend A Month. She said that Eric had written a feature film. "I loved it. I wanted to be Meg again." They looked for investors. And then, "Eric said he didn’t really want me in the part." There was a real swell of dismay and disbelief in the audience. Renee said she was very disappointed. She didn’t really know why he had not offered her the part. I THINK she may have mentioned that that a better known actor would be more helpful. She added, "I respect his artistic vision." Then she also added, "Dang."
A fan asked her about her artwork, how much time she spent on her pictures. "It takes me forever to finish pictures." She mentioned having worked on something for about six months so far. "I usually paint out of emotion." She is working on a picture of Gabrielle with a dragon. "The dragon’s great. I don’t know what happened to Gabrielle." She’s working on another one of Gabrielle and Xena walking through the woods. She said that working in the mountains of (some eastern state) on Ghost Town had inspired her.
She was asked which Gabrielle outfit she liked best. She said the little brown leather one which had those beads hanging down from the top. I believe she talked about how that one was a nice mix, that it left her free to move and yet it still protected her modesty.
Someone said that they had greatly enjoyed her performance in the monologues she’d done for us a few cons ago. (I wrote the title and the author’s name down and now I can’t read it.) Renee said that one actor shouldn’t play all the roles. Some of the audience demurred over that but Renee said, "No, it said specifically in the script to never have one actress do all the roles."
Someone asked if Renee would be touring with Lucy. We all laughed and cheered and whooped for that idea. I don’t have any notes on Renee’s reply-when I tipped my head back to laugh, my eyes must have fallen on Xena on that banner again and made me forget where I was.
Renee talked about how she’d been focusing on directing and producing and finishing up Diamonds and Guns. "I realized I had forgotten about acting." I believe she said that the scripts she was reading were not overly inspiring. She got involved in some project with Katherine (I’m guessing Katherine Fugate). As part of that project, Renee did a drive-along with police officers. And just got a real charge out of it. "I’m an actor. I LOVE the research and creating a character. Because of Katherine’s project, I realized that I wanted to act again." She said, "These parts aren’t as well written as Gabrielle. I’m adding dialogue. I learned that from Ted Raimi."
She was asked about separating her acting emotions from her real life. She said, "There were times as Gabrielle that I would go home with nightmares." She talked about working on playing a strung out lady. (Perhaps this is for Boogeyman?) "If you haven’t done the drugs, how could you play it?"
At that point, Renee’s individual time was over and she was told it was time for Lucy to come out for her "private" half hour. We gave her a standing ovation as she left the stage.