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Convention Information

Fri., Sat. & Sun.
28-30 January 2011
Los Angeles Marriott at LAX
5855 West Century Blvd.

Renee O'Connor,
Brittney Powell,
Jacqueline Kim
Hudson Leick
Michael Hurst
Jennifer Ward-Lealand
Claire Stansfield
Melinda Clarke
Charles Mesure
Charles Keating
Steven L. Sears
Ted Raimi
Katherine Fugate
David Franklin

Spartacus Panel
Steven DeKnight
Rick Jacobson


Los Angeles, California, USA

28-30 January 2011

Convention Report by KT

Jacqueline Kim (Lao Ma)

Okay, I’m going to do these out of order yet again. For my money, I felt that Jacqueline and Claire provided the best experience at the con. (After Lucy of course-she wins just by showing up. I truly think that for a large number of the fandom, she could just show up, smile at us, not say a word and we’d be all squiggly and happy.)

Claire – wait no, I’ll talk about what I enjoyed about Claire’s appearance when I write her up next.

I was happy to see that Jacqueline Kim was making yet again another attempt to visit with us. We have a kind of checkered past with Jacqueline. I’ve seen her I think maybe two times at the LA area Lucy cons. I’m not sure what year the first time was but I do remember that she was doing fine and seemed to be enjoying herself okay. Then someone asked a question about where she lived and my impression was that this scared her. It seemed to me that she got cautious and less open to talking with us. I always figured she was imagining Xena fans camping out in her yard and peering in her windows, wildly waving and swinging out a cheery, “Good morning, Jacqueline” when she tried to escape out a window.

The last time I saw Jacqueline at a con was apparently in 2009. I had to go look that up online because I can’t find anywhere in my con reports where I wrote about her appearance. I do remember that she sang for us and that I thought she was very good at it.

NOTE:  Sometimes when taking notes, I lose a word here or there or I sometimes actually can’t read words that I wrote down. So if that happens, I put potential words/translations in parenthesis. I try to follow the intent I believed the speaker was working from. Which has its own limitations. Grin. As always, perfection in transcribing is an elusive art that just gets more elusive the older I get.

Jacqueline came out toting a guitar. I’m pretty sure we gave her a standing ovation. (We do that a lot-we’re generous with our SOs.) At first, she just stood there very quietly and calmly looking around at all of us. After a few slow, measured, totally silent scans checking out the whole audience, she said, “I just want to take you in.” Pause. And I think she smiled at this point-not totally sure, but she shoulda if she hadn’t. “Wow. It’s like Christmas. You’re like a gift under the tree.”


She tested her mike. “Are we on?” Then she said, “Are we hot?” And then she laughed—not sure if she laughed before the reprobates in our audience laughed or not. But she was definitely amused at the double meaning.

She started to sing, but then she began to talk and ask questions. I think she mentioned at this point that she made a CD. The title of the CD is “This I Heard” but that’s also how she referred to herself. She said, “I’m AKA This I Heard”. (AKA means “Also Known As” referring to aliases or perhaps something as non-dramatic as what we used to call someone’s “maiden name”, in the days when we still had maidens.)

She indicated that AKA This I Heard was her singing persona. She said that one of the fans backstage (I’m guessing one of the folks who pay extra to sit behind the black curtain and get to have a meet and greet thing with the stars before or after their performance), asked her if it was a reference to a Buddhist concept. Jacqueline gave the fan props for knowing about it. She said that there’s a phrase, “This I heard the Buddha say one day”. (Though when I just checked it out online, it appears that I misheard-the phrase is apparently, “Thus I heard the Buddha say one day”). Jacqueline said “Yes, this stands for that. Like a student of the Buddha. I’m a Buddhist”.

She began to play and said, “These are melodies I’ve heard. Music is incredibly natural and incredibly (important?) in my emotional life”.

She told us that when she was here two years ago, she sang for us.  I believe she said because she told us she was appearing in the play, “Passion” by Steven Sondheim. And that after she sang, we suggested that she should make a CD. And if she did, we would buy it. And so she did. And so we did.

She talked about being at the Deer Park Monastery. Which has “S.D” jotted next to it in my notebook. By which I thought she meant South Dakota, but on the internet, I see that it’s near San Diego. (Or as a bumper sticker I saw there once had it, “Sandy Eggo”).

She talked about seeing young kids at the monastery singing the “Two Promises”. She said that first you try to live in peace. And then “You protect the life in animals, plants and your own.” She mentioned Burma. And then talked about the experience of having 80 children sing the Two Promises to her.

She began to sing the song she wrote that was named “Two Promises”. This was an extrapolation of the concept of the two promises of peace and protection.

She said, “Feel free to sing with me”. And being the accommodating souls we are, we did.

The song was very simple but very moving. It was a simplicity that presented as authentic rather than unsophisticated. She had set the words to a simple tune and that went along with the words very well. She sang with a very soft voice but again to me it wasn’t that it lacked power, but that it fit with the message. It enabled the message to be true. She was making powerful promises with beautiful sincerity and mindful serenity. Like the fitting beauty of a Japanese scroll, the “carrying” of the message was as important as the message itself.

When we finished, she smiled widely at us and said, “A real hootenanny. Reminds me of my college days. But I used to mumble more.” We older folks in the audience laughed at the hootenanny reference

When she said “Hootenanny, I suddenly remembered the year when Sharon Delaney played the guitar while Lucy sang to us on stage. This was before she did concerts for us. Music features strongly in these Xena cons-unexpectedly on stage but also in the cabaret and certainly in Lucy’s various concerts.

Now the stars at the cons always talk about the community that Xena fans have made. And we are a community. And just like any community, we experience life, simple and grand, aggravating and sublime, glorious and tragic.

At the big charity breakfast that Creation holds every year, the designated charity is the James Ellis Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to help kids whose family have been hit by cancer by giving them financial aid so they can continue their studies at Hofstra University.

Every year at the breakfast, they ask the cancer survivors to stand up. And a lot of people stand. Some of them are “over it”, some of them are currently fighting it. And many of us know or at least know of members in our Xena community who have already passed.

So in our community are people who have cancer, people whose loved ones have cancer and people who are gone from cancer, leaving their loved ones and their community behind.

My spouse and I are both cancer survivors. So I know the terror of cancer from both sides, from the side of the stricken and from the side of the beloved facing the loss of their partner. And this song just spoke to me. But in a very soothing way. It is a validation of both aspects of facing a life-threatening disease, from the side of the diseased and from the side of the one who loves them. And it speaks to just how common a human experience is the pain, fear and incredible sadness a serious illness brings to your life. That’s what love of life and of others does to ya.

I kept thinking about this as Jacqueline sang this song. And I saw a number of people in the audience crying and some couples holding unto each other and comforting each other as she sang it. It was deeply moving.

It’s called, “Everything changes”. It was incredibly beautiful to me. And Jacqueline’s voice was as lovely and powerful as the words and the melody.

Here are the lyrics:

Everything changes
Nothing remains
Everyone moves on
No one’s to blame
So let us live in
The moment that’s here
And change together
Till we disappear
Please don’t change. I’m afraid
Please don’t change. Stay the same
Please don’t go. ‘Cause I won’t
Make it here on my own.
I am changing as I sing this song,
My life is moving further along
Towards things I have thought of
And spoken upon
This is what singing the things I have done.
In my dreams
You survived
Clear and warm
Are your eyes
And you know
You survived
You wait to
Everything changes
And it remains
Everyone moves on
And everyone stays
So let us live in
A moment that’s here
And change together
Till we reappear

I looked around on the internet—you can hear the song here:  (And after I looked around on the internet, I discovered from my notes that Jacqueline gave us this URL before she left the stage. D'OH!)

Jacqueline talked about performing in I’m not sure if it was a bar or hall or what. But that it was a loud place. “A REALLY loud place. And I have this little music.” She laughed. And said that she could see people looking bewildered and going, “Huh?” (I think kind of in the sense like, “Is that music I hear? Who’s doing that?”)

A fan got up and said something. Jacqueline laughed. And then kind of diffidently said, “She said that I was perfect for Lao Ma”. She smiled and said with a little bit of a flutter, “It’s hard for me to say!”

She was asked how she got the part.

“I was sent the script. I hadn’t really watched Xena.” She added, “And to be going to New Zealand!” as a point in favor of taking the job.

“I didn’t understand the power of the show and the narrative”. She mentioned flying through the air I think in terms of what a WOW! thing being on Xena was.

She told us something I hadn’t heard before—that The Debt was meant to be a feature film. But that hadn’t worked out so they made it a two parter on TV. But that does explain why it was so grand and so epic—the beginning battle on the “steppes” of New Zealand’s North Island featuring galloping armies shot from a helicoptor —there hadn’t been anything like that in the series before.

I think someone asked her something like if she was like Lao Ma, maybe?

“A lot of what she was saying, I didn’t understand at the time. Wow, she was WISE.” She talked about the scene where we see that she keeps her husband in a coma.

She said that she did agree with the dialogue in that scene. When Xena asks why she gives him the credit for her work. “It’s great she gets to help this person in his name. That resonates with me and the women in my life-like my mother. It’s karma. It doesn’t matter in whose name it's done, the effect on others is the same.”

(You know, I think Jacqueline must talk slowly—I have a lot more quotes and full sentences than I have for other folks.)

Ah, but then the very next note is “Argo! Why is she like this?” (Maybe it wasn’t Argo, but ARGH!?”)

“RJ was (trying to bring this out), that this whole question of a person getting credit is somewhat immature. Thank you, very wise. I have since learned more.” She was very complimentary about RJ’s writing.

She was asked if her study of Buddhism helped in her role of Lao Ma. “It’s really Taoist. I study with monks at Deer Park Monastery. They are the opposite of sequestered monks and nuns. They play basketball. I don’t think there are (mistakes?) anymore. I just don’t.”

I think she was asked if she had watched the episode again. “I watched it two days ago.”

Then I have written down, “I want to say lucky. But I think it was meant to be. A lot of it has to do with being present, being in yourself.”

A fan said that fans had differing interpretations of Lao Ma’s actions. (Heck-what DIDN’T we have differing interpretations on? Laugh!)

That some folks felt Xena was taking up the slack for Lao Ma which she felt obligated to do because she, Xena, had created the monster. And so was responsible for cleaning up his mess. The second theory was that Lao Ma had not wanted Xena to kill him. Because she was his mother and so had strong feelings for her son.

I think this is Jacqueline speaking now. “Xena had left a strong, strong mark on him when he was little. Gods come here to your life to help you.” (And I have the words, “Ordinary/extraordinary” written above the word Gods.

Jacqueline thought it over and said, “It’s not A. Or B. I guess…D.”

We laughed – we enjoyed that. (Actually just this minute thinking of it, that is SO a Lao Ma answer. And one that would have driven Xena nuts.)

I think in answer to a question, Jacqueline talked about the fact that she chose not to speak with a Chinese accent. (Note: Jacqueline is Korean by the way.) This was after she had been hired and got to New Zealand.

“There are so many battles in Hollywood. A person of color can be (dehumanized) in many ways. There were two Kiwis playing (other Chinese roles). I talked American. The Kiwis said (Jacqueline here put on a thick and very well done, I thought Kiwi accent), ‘Is she gonna talk like that?’ They’re like, (laughing), we’d like you to try to do an accent.;”

“Will you hire me a dialogue coach then? If you give me time, (like weeks), I can do it.” Then the coup de grace, “But Xena is Greek and she doesn’t have an accent. They were like, ‘Ahhhhh’”.

Then I THINK she said they (or maybe somebody in the audience?) asked if she could do an English accent. “No.”

I have a note here that says, “Applauding Jim.” I think that refers to one of the Creation staff who came close to the stage and did something. I’m pretty sure she said, “Thanks, Jim” so we applauded him. We’re total fools, what can I say? Though at least we didn’t give HIM a standing ovation.

A fan asked something about Lao Ma and Xena. Jacqueline said, “She’s supposed to be like water moving through Xena’s mind.”

(Now THAT’S interesting…hadn’t heard that before either.)

Back to the accent issue, she said about the other two actors playing Chinese characters, “Damn, those guys hung me out to dry! They’re doing the accent.” Then, “They decided they had to”.

“Art is a creative sadness”.

Jim came back and gave her the five fingered, five minutes left of her time onstage sign. This time we screamed at him, “Five minutes! Get lost”. (Oh how fickle and transitory friendly fame is.)

“(There is a) responsibility as an artist to plant wholesome seeds. Film and TV are very powerful mediums. They can affect people’s minds. Be mindful. The director’s mind set covers the film. I want to be mindful. I want to be pro-life.” Then she laughed and said something that indicated she wasn't using that phrase in the current political usage people have labeled pro-life. “Pro-life is not what I am at all”.

“Be very mindful of sadness-you take people with you. I hope this album makes people feel light and calm.”

She was asked about working with Lucy. “We didn’t discuss things. We just worked together. The part was so physical. We had to practice moves over and over.”

She talked about shooting the Xena underwater in the pool needing air scene. Something like the crew was worried about the technical details of shooting it. “Lucy said to me, close your eyes, I’ll find your mouth. It was very murky water-if you put your finger in it, you couldn’t see your finger. (I said), “That’s so generous of you” and then she said something about a mouth. Mimes? Finds? Shrug.

“Lucy is so present. I just want to play with her. (Giggles and snorty agreement sounds from we cheerful audience sluts.) “That’s definitely there in the episode.”

“Lucy took me out to dinner. (Laughing) She picked me up in a helicopter and we flew over the southern part of the North Island.”

I think Jacqueline asked us, “Have you seen her? I saw her in a blond wig.”

We yell out, “She’s good!” Jacqueline asked, “Have you seen her lately?” Some of us scream out, “Yeah!”

Then Jacqueline really did need to get off the stage.

She ended her stage time by telling us how we were so inspiring to her in encouraging her to make a CD. And indicated that our appreciating her so much when she sang to us at the last con she went to was a real impetus for her having done it.

She said, “I just want to say from the bottom of my heart that your enthusiasm and your courage have meant the world to me.” And she got teary and her voice broke as she said this to us. It was very sweet.

I think maybe we don’t scare her anymore. (If we ever truly did.)






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