Lucy and Renee On Stage at the Con
(each had 30 minutes solo, then they were together for 30 minutes for a total of 90 minutes.)
Well, folks, this part may be a bit fuzzy. I have to admit, while I made notes, I wasn't too careful. I was too busy watching those lovely women on the stage. So if I get something wrong, other attendees can put in their two cents' worth and fix it. Thanks in advance. And I'm not trying to go in strict chronological order, but will likely combine comments on various topics that came out at different times during the Q&A session. Just an FYI.
Renee was introduced by a music video made by contest winner Shannon. The title was "Story of a Girl." Really nice, Shannon. For you Gabfans, it was just one big banquet of Gabrielle close-ups. Thanks for sharing, girl.
About the first thing Renee said to us once she came out- looking lovely, of course, and yes, she's lost the baby weight, thanks- was that last night was Lucy's idea. Start to finish, apparently. She'd called Renee to tell her she'd started a rumor that Renee would show up at the concert and do a go-go dance. Renee told us Lucy'd even bought that blue dress. When Renee looked at it, it was "this big," showing us about a 2-inch space between her fingers. She'd asked if there was a bottom to it, and Lucy'd told her just to wear "fluffy panties" and she'd be all right. But she had a lot of fun doing it, and she was going to go back tonight and do it again. At one point she said that in that dress, you have to keep moving because the dress doesn't stop. She had worried visions of going onstage and falling, sailing into Lucy and knocking her over after Lucy was doing so well. Fortunately, that didn't happen!
She told us that Diamonds and Guns was finally finished. Now she has to learn to sell it, so the saga isn't quite over yet. But she hopes we'll finally get to see it sometime this year. She's very proud of it. She's also hoping to do more producing as well as acting, starting with vehicles for herself or for her friends. She is doing more acting now, though. She'd stopped for a while, she wasn't exactly sure why, but then Katherine wanted Renee to do her new show in the role of a cop, so Renee went on a ride-along with the police, and asked a ton of questions. She realized then that she loved the research and the work of developing a character, and that she really is an actor and loves it. She also said that she didn't get the part in Katherine's new show, but that's okay because it's being filmed in South Carolina, and while she likes South Carolina, it would mean living there, possibly for years, and that's a "huge commitment." Also in regard to acting, she said there had been times when playing Gabrielle that she'd gone home and had nightmares because of what the character was going through, and that she gets "close" to parts.
She is currently working on Boogeyman, playing a psychiatrist- "You know they're really in trouble when I'M the psychiatrist." She mentioned her first job when she came to LA was to play a schizophrenic girl in a short film for an institution (I guess a sort of educational piece?) called "A Place for Sarah." She had a friend at that time who'd been diagnosed as schizophrenic, so she really learned a lot about it.
Near the beginning of her talk, she mentioned having gone to see Lucy at the Roxy the night before. She watched the concert before participating, and she said that as she watched, "I could see why you guys love her." And then she started to cry. It was an "aww" moment for all of us. It took her several seconds to regain her composure, and we loved her all the more for it. Keep that heart open, Renee. We'll stand by you.
She answered questions then.
Someone asked her to twirl a staff as she did at her first con, so she did. She did fine for a couple twirls, then dropped it and it banged her thigh. She did an exaggerated limp to return it to its owner.
She also said she'd be on board to do a movie if there was one.
She talked about her side of the speech in Helicon, where it was supposed to be a speech by Gabs as if she were like Patton, urging the troops to war. Steve Sears had mentioned that in his talk. She just thought the speech didn't fit Gabrielle at all, so she changed it. She didn't seem to remember any epic battle, like Steve did.
Renee was glad her character of Gabrielle got to grow. She wasn't sure what she'd have done if she'd stayed a flat, 2-dimensional side-kick. Her favorite episode was If the Shoe Fits, just because they all had so much fun making it. All the comedies were fun, and it was great that there was no one from the studio there to tell them they couldn't do something, or that they had to tone things down or be "more ladylike."
Katherine Fugate is doing well, with a new baby and a new show, so she's very busy. She's in awe of being a mother. Renee will tell her that we miss her.
She agreed that Gabrielle's "way" was the Way of Friendship, or Love, that the core of the whole thing was love.
One Weekend a Month. Eric had written a full feature script for that, and she loved it. There'd been some funding, and it looked like it was really going to happen, and it was moving really fast, and then he told her he didn't want her in the role anymore. Bummer! But Renee was philosophical about it, and told him that if he had a different idea of what he wanted for the character, she respected that and definitely didn't want to get in the way of that. She hopes it will still happen for him.
Her art- it takes her 6 months or more to finish a piece, because she needs to feel like she has no other distractions when she's painting, and of course she has work and the kids. She talked a little about her latest paintings, but I didn’t get it all. So sorry, art buffs. I do remember her saying she was into landscapes, and her latest pictures also depict Xena and/or Gabrielle.
Her favorite costume- "the little brown leather with the beads." She liked that she could do the kicks required, but it didn't expose too much when she did.
The monologues she did at the 2004 convention were from a play by Jane Martin, and I believe she said it was called "Talking With." It was funny, she said, because there was a note by the author that you shouldn't have one actress do all the parts, but have many actresses. She hoped the author wouldn't be too upset that she didn't listen.
She is also trying to get a sci-fi western going. She didn't go into detail about this. She was then asked by Sharon, quietly, to introduce Lucy. Once Lucy was on stage, Renee left and Lucy had the spotlight.
Lucy told us she had spent the entire day in bed with a pillow over her head. (It was 4pm.) She'd come without makeup or anything, but of course she looked great regardless. She also apologized for the sound problems at the concert the night before. The band was too loud, and the sound mixer guy needed to turn up her mic some. She talked about how she'd had all of us in the audience that night turn around and face the sound guy while she told him that "these people came to hear ME, and if they can't hear ME, you're going to have to deal with the wrath of 500 angry fans." I remember that moment, and it was funny at the time, but he needed to hear the message. Not sure what happened the next night. Anyway, Lucy reckoned he'd do better with Xena on his tail than the angry fans.
She also talked about her family's reaction to her run on Celebrity Duets. "I was on TV in the dress and the makeup and everything, singing with Smokey Robinson, and my brother, David, is going 'It's just not right, man! It's just not right that that's my sister up there!'"
Lucy was clearly stoked from the concert. She says Creation really made it happen. "I mean, can you see me putting together a flyer, getting them out? I'd probably be putting papers up on poles with masking tape. I'd have my daughter out there, 'come see my mum.'" She said she'd originally wanted to do something with both Jai and Alfonso, but it just got too big, so they stuck with a smaller venue, just for her and her fans.
She explained that the songs were chosen because she thought they meant something about her and her fans, and about the fan relationships, particularly in the cyber community. One of the band members wanted her to do "Heartbreak," I think was the title, but she said no, that's not what we're about. She opened with Feeling Good because she loves that song.
About Battlestar Galactica, she said that they will suck your imagination dry. She had a lot of input in the beginning, and after that, they just keep drawing things out of you, even if they don't use it all. Asked how the threesome came about, she laughed and said she thought it was just improv.
She was asked about what she really thought of Marie Osmond, and she finally responded that she thought Marie was the most constructive, in the beginning, but she got less constructive and more bitchy as the time went on. Someone said they thought they'd seen a couple of "Xena glares" from her on the show, and she said "Oh, if I could go back now…" She also mentioned that Alfonso might come to her concert that night but she didn't know for sure.
Twink came to the microphone and thanked Lucy for giving the fans the cyber community and thus an opportunity to express ourselves, but Lucy said all the credit went to Sharon. Without her, she'd still be lying in bed with a pillow over her head.
Someone mentioned the Roxy manager's comment that in 20 years he'd never seen a fan reaction like that. I think Lucy was really proud of us all.
What favorite songs hadn't she sung yet? Well, she wanted to really sing Pull Up to My Bumper, 'cause she'd only done a bit of it at the concert.
A questioner asked if Lucy could tell us other ways and times her spirit had affected other people, but with characteristic modesty, she sort of pushed the question off. The person added then that Lucy is very generous, and Lucy responded yeah, just give it all away, 'cause it all comes back to you. Don't be afraid to let it all go, it all comes back to you, and put things out to the universe and see what comes back.
She was asked a couple of questions, like the favorite songs one, and kept answering, laughing at herself as she did, that she's an "in the moment sort of person," so she can't think of answers to things like that off the top of her head- she doesn't have any of those lists you're supposed to have for answering questions like that.
Asked about the final episode, FIN, and what it was like to film Xena's demise, she said that she was so exhausted that she was out of her mind, literally. In the "mental" scene in FIN, when she's got the short hair and all, she says she really WAS mental. She had nothing left to give by the time that episode was done because it was so hard physically just from the really long days- they were doing 80 hour weeks.
She would love to perform on stage again as an actor.
Charlene came to ask a question, and Lucy recognized her as the woman whose chakram tattoo she'd signed at the Roxy, and had then found out that Charlene went out right away and had the signature actually tattooed onto her arm. (Talk about seizing the moment- way to go, Charlene!) I think Lucy was a bit gobsmacked at that one.
At some point here, Renee came back out. She mentioned that a woman named Deb had come out from England to the con, but that Deb couldn't travel unassisted, so an unnamed Xenite actually flew out there to come back with her, and another, Marcy, had come in from another state to help Deb negotiate the con in her wheelchair so she could experience it all. Now that's the Xenite community we all know and love.
Renee said that she felt that the concert took Lucy on a journey, and Lucy agreed. She mentioned that Sharlotte was a real find, and a huge help to her. If she does ever go on tour, she'd want to take Sharlotte with her.
Lucy commented that 2006 had been work, not a bad year, but just bloody hard work, as she was in Canada and Rob was in New Zealand. Renee teased her by saying that now Lucy and Rob were going away on a romantic holiday- with the kids. Lucy said that to her, just having her whole family under one roof was really the best.
Lucy was interested to know if Renee's appearance at the concert got such a huge reaction not just because she's Renee, but also because, perhaps, it made the friendship seem real, and the crowd agreed that was true.
Someone asked if they'd sing together again, and Lucy said "I'd LOVE that," with an evil grin at Renee. They ended up sing "Deep in the Heart of Texas," except Renee had a bit of trouble with the words at first, and Lucy was laughing, saying "You taught it to me!"
About her role in Darkroom, as an abused woman, Lucy said it was scary, but that she'd THOUGHT she could pull it off, though she wasn't completely sure at the time.
Both were asked what the most important thing was they had learned from their characters/the show. Lucy said "to stand up for the little guy," and Renee answered "the greater good."
Asked what they would have been doing if they hadn't gotten the parts of Xena and Gab, Lucy reckoned she'd be in a soap in New Zealand, pushing a tray around a hospital (yes, I think every NZ actor ends up on "Shortland Street" at some point or other), and Renee envisioned herself as the merciless, ultra-fit, sort of insane aerobics instructor/gym rat.
About the last bit was someone asking about Lucy's meeting Barbra Streisand. Lucy loves Barbra, says her voice is one of the greatest in the last hundred years. When they were introduced, (and here Lucy did a pretty good impression of Babs) Barbra said "Lucy Lawless! What a great name!" She'd obviously never heard of Lucy, but I don't think Lucy minded. She was very funny about it.
Then Lucy had to go. She was already running late for a rehearsal at the Roxy. It was another great time, and I think we're very lucky that Lucy and Renee both try so hard to get to the con each year whenever possible. And this year, I thought both of them were really at ease, at home with all of us, and maybe finally realizing that we love them for who they are, not necessarily for some image we have of them in our minds. We don't need to idolize them because they really share themselves with us in a way that a lot of other stars don't, and we get to see the good, and a little of the bad (Lucy's "I talk like a sailor" is right there on her website, after all) and we know they're human, just like us, and that we're all working together for the greater good.