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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

Day 3 - Surprise Suprise!

Okay. we all know by now that the Big Kahuna herself paid a surprise visit to the con. And I just can’t resist starting my con reports with Lucy’s appearance.

Renee had been on stage, showing us some clips of some of her works in progress. She had just finished showing us a very serious and somber film, one that hit many people in the audience very hard. We were all very sober and thoughtful, some of us were angry and some of us were hurt and some of us were very supportive of the work Renee had done. It was one of the most deeply serious and unusual mood sets that I had ever experienced at a con.

Then after a period of discussion that included many passionate responses from very varied and deeply felt emotional states, Renee had a moment of quiet and then suddenly said, “I know you guys are missing Lucy”.

She then replayed a small clip of Lucy saying hello to us that had already been played the first two days of the con.

Sharon told us the first time they had played it that this was taped in Lucy’s dressing room when she was doing publicity for Spartacus on the George Lopez show.

Lucy was looking really good. She had her regular dark hair which I personally think is far more becoming to her than when she’s a blond or a redhead.

She said hi and that she was sorry she couldn’t be there with us. She mentioned how busy she’s been with publicity for Spartacus and that her kids were due back in school in New Zealand. She said she wished she could be there with us. And then she ended with, “And I’ll see you next year”. (Which was very thrilling to many of us.)

When the clip ended and the lights came up in the auditorium, Renee started to say something. Suddenly, there was a wave of sound coming from the audience on the right side of the room. I turned to look over that way and just like when audiences do the wave in a sports stadium, people were suddenly standing up section by section, screaming loudly and pounding out applause. Lucy had suddenly appeared from behind the curtain and was striding towards the stage.


It was great. This was one of the loudest and most sustained howlings of delighted, surprised and wildly happy welcomes I’ve ever heard in my life. It was total ear-splitting pandemonium and lasted for a long, long time. There was lots of laughing and buzzing and excited talk.

Earlier some people at the con said that Renee had posted somewhere that she would have a big surprise for us during her con appearance. The guessing contest began immediately. The two main theories on what the surprise would be were “I think she’s pregnant” and “I bet Lucy’s coming to surprise us again.” So, one outta two ain’t bad, eh?

After long, LONG excited adulation and glee, we finally settled down in our seats.

Luce beamed at us. We beamed at Luce. There was just a lot of happy laughter going on.

Now: Big Caveat—Luce is on stage in front of me. I will be looking at her a lot. I will write down parts of many of her answers, but I don’t always get down the questions. Much of the below material will be filled in from oh say, one or two goofy looking words that are sprawled across my notebook page, most of which I scribbled without looking down at what I was writing because-yes, Lucy was on stage in front of me. These goofy looking words/phrases  no doubt pretty much match the goofy looking face I have on whenever I get to see Lucy on stage. Everybody grab a grain of salt—we’ll build up a reconstruction palace of possible questions and answers in no time at all.

Another caveat-I was so excited to see Luce that I forgot at first to write an initial to indicate who said what. So I’ll just have to make a best guess on that…

A fan apparently asked a question about if there were differences between acting in film and acting in TV.

Lucy said it was the same process (for the actor). One difference though was that, “I was Xena so long that aspects of my life began to come through the character”.

Fan: Your method of acting has changed. Lucy looked at her and said in a thinking it over and trying to decide, “Is what I just heard right?” tone of voice, “Has it?”

They mentioned their different acting styles. Renee chimed in and said that she tended to stay in character more. And I guess she said that she has to get into character, “But Lucy-she shows up and she’s there”.

Lucy said she “likes to play shadowy, dark characters. Not villainy-just dark.”

A fan brought up Spartacus. And I’m thinking nudity must have been mentioned. Lucy was talking about the men and said something like, “Everything dangles”. And I think Renee replied to that with, “You’re so funny”.

A fan asked Renee if she would be on Spartacus. There was a bit of giddiness in the air on stage. Renee said something like she’d be wearing a giant sign. (I believe she was talking about one of those so called sandwich board advertising signs which cover the carrier’s body from the neck to the shins.) But, the sides are open…grin. Here’s a picture:  Not sure why everybody’s waving-they all look like they’re flagging down a taxi. Lazy bums.

One of the grrls said “You’d just see my head over the hedge”. I get a tickle of memory that Luce said that, but it sounds more like Renee continuing her thought about walking through a scene wearing a sandwich sign. And actually, I think it would be hilarious if all the cast wore advertising signs. I think if I ever do a review of Spartacus again, I’ll toss that thought in there, with some suggestions for what could be written on the signs.

I think it was Renee, but it might have been a fan who said that Renee could be a dignified noble instead of a slave. Someone again says, “You’re so funny” and someone replies, “You’re turning red”. Damn, I hope the DVD of this con comes out soon, she said forlornly.

Renee’s last film clip came up. (Maybe Lucy mentioned it?) Oh-the movie is named “Infinity”.

Renee said that Randy (?) who had been the dad in her film “Words Unspoken” had written and directed the film. She said that PTSD is a major problem. “We’re seeing it more in our country and around the world. I read it and my heart just dropped. Why do people commit such horrible traumas? I personally wanted to do it because of our soldiers. I wanted to produce it. I asked Dawn Higgenbottom (to be a co-producer ( I think. Dawn worked with Renee on “Diamonds and Guns”). My busy life intervened and Randy took on more of the work.”

Then I have a notation, “Dead quiet”. And Renee asks, “Are you alright?” And a person in the audience firmly answered, “No”.

One of the grrls said, “I had a lovely time backstage” (Sounds more like Luce than Renee, eh? ‘Cause it’s more Brit to say, “lovely”.) And then they brought out two young girls who were dressed as Xena and Gabrielle. They asked who had made their costumes and the Gab girl said, “My mother”. They called for the mother to come up on stage and she was also all dressed up. She was wearing an exotic dress made of various colored shiny fabrics that were draped around her. She had a thick accent and we found out she was from Russia. I didn’t quite get some of this, but ultimately it came out that the woman was involved with new methods for cancer treatments.

Renee went back to talking about “Infinity”. “Certain things I’m afraid of. I want to overcome my fears. I want to grow as a human being by doing this role. I want this to be noticed and talked about.”

A fan asked, “What do I do about it?” Which got a small bit of applause which then built to huge applause I think because people realized this was what the movie was about-not just showing the problem but making people begin to think about how to solve it.

David Franklin who played Brutus suddenly came out through the curtain – wait, there is the stage which has no curtain, but has a big screen at the back upon which Creation projects the video they are shooting of the live proceedings onstage. Down on the floor and on each side of the stage are black curtains through which the actors access the room. David was on the stage right side. He gave the grrls a whooping “Hooo! Hooo! Hooo!” As I looked toward David, I realize that just about all the Creation staff who were working the con were standing around him, all there to watch Lucy and Renee. You don’t usually see them near the stage except when they’re coming and going—but damn, there they stood, just taking in the show. And not just the volunteers, either. Now I have written down, “Everyone’s excited”. I THINK maybe David said this, referring to Lucy being there. Because then she says, “I wasn’t going to be. The guys from Creation have been really good for the show, and to keep you (meaning us fans) able to get together.”

Someone said that they had an earache. (I think David, most likely in reply to an “How are ya?” don’tcha think?) He added, “I feel better though”. And then someone said, “It’s the good will”. (It’s getting worse-now we have THREE unidentified sources for words that were flying around loose in the air. Phffft.)

Lucy started talking about her newest gig, guest starring on the show “No Ordinary Family”.  Some of the Lucy/Xena fan lists had posted that she had been tapped to do a five part arc, which I consider just delicious news.

Lucy said it’s something that’s family friendly. She said it’s a nice crew and nice producers. The show has a “great culture. That’s not always true”. She was asked if she has super powers and replied, “Not that I know of”.

A fan asked Lucy, “Who was your favorite character on Xena?” Lucy: “Gabrielle”. The audience had a mixed reaction of laughter and excited cheers from some of the grrls.

Someone asked, “How were the brownies?” I don’t know if this was a reference to Lucy’s famous story about inadvertently eating marijuana brownies while waiting in a green room to go on a show or what. Because according to my notes, Lucy answers, “Look at your skill set. Perhaps you have great organizational skills. You may not know how few others can do that.”

Someone asked about becoming an actor. Lucy repeated her common answer, “If you can do anything else, do that.” She added, “I’ve tried to do other things. I’m hopeless.”

A fan at the mike, “Remember me?” Luce immediately answers, “No”. The fan says something about a Spartacus phone book. I have no further notes on this interaction…

A fan asks, “What was the most rewarding challenge working on Xena?” Renee answers, “I’d say working with Lucy”. I believe Lucy made a comment or a face or something that seemed to indicate, “Whaddaya mean, ‘challenge’?”

At any rate we all laughed. Then someone said, “How to work together so we’re more hopeful.” Wait-that could be “…so we’re more helpful.”  I WROTE hopeful but that doesn’t quite make sense, does it?

Renee asked Lucy, “How is it now, working with so many others?” Lucy answered, “I don’t try to change them at all.” She mentioned being younger on Xena and essentially being different now.

Renee said something about how she approached maybe a scene or acting with others maybe and Lucy said, ‘You have a director’s mind.” Then I think it’s Lucy who also says, “Just act off whatever they give you.” (“They” being the other actors I believe).

The inevitable question came up on when we’d see them working together again. One of the grrls replies, “Both of us on a screen together?” Lucy adds, “I’ve got in mind a little scene for you and me. MWA-HAA-HAA-HAA-HAA!”

Short silence, then Renee declares, “We don’t have an answer for that.

One of the grrls says, “There are still new fans. Pretty cool, isn’t it?” And I think it was Lucy who added, “This is a peculiarity of our show, this fan base.” She was saying that we are unique, that we’re special. She always praises us, for our generosity to others and for our loyalty to each other. She’s proud of us and honored by us being their fans.

In answer to a fan’s question, Lucy said that she and Renee had tried to write something for the show. “It was hilarious”. Renee said they went in five different directions. They each had their own ideas apparently. Lucy declared that their attempt at writing an episode was hopeless.

Lucy was asked if she had much influence over things on Xena. She said, “I never wanted to and never succeeded in influencing anything.” I believe the fan persisted, perhaps bringing up that Lucy was married to Rob? I think maybe that was suggested.

Lucy looked down at Steve Sears who had apparently suddenly perfected the art of invisibility or else was just kneeling down on the floor taking pictures of the grrls on stage and so was out of sight and she asked him, “Steve-did I ever have a single influence in the writer’s room?” Steve laughed and said, “You influenced the whole show!” Lot’s of laughter in the audience.

Steve repeated his often told story of how the writers would throw things at the grrls and they’d take them and run with them. And so they’d challenge them even more. “It was an upward spiral”.

Lucy was asked to do her war cry. She did this soft, tiny weenie little one. It was perfect but it was minute. She said, “I never do that anymore, but just for you…” It was very funny.

They were asked if they had made any sacrifices in order to be on the show. Lucy said, ‘I made a big sacrifice for art—my education.”

Somehow there’s another question in there about would it be okay with her if she had a gay son on Spartacus. Lucy: “Yes”.

Renee answered the first question, “I gave away my childhood”.

Someone noted, “Not great” but I have no idea who or am totally sure what it was in reference to.

Lucy then declared, “I guess that tells us that we have no regrets”. (Perhaps I missed something just before she said that?)

Renee said, “I missed my family while I was in New Zealand but the family I gained was excellent.” Lucy said something in reply but I can’t make out a word of what I wrote.

Fan: Which season was the funnest for you?

Lucy: "Not 6. Not 4".

One of them said, “3 was fun”.

Then they ran down the list.

1 We were feeling our oats, feeling unbeatable

2 We were not unbeatable

3 The show was rising in popularity

4 Didn’t like

5. Renee said, “It was hard for me. I was missing you.” (Lucy was pregnant in season five and wasn’t on set as much as usual.) Lucy said to Renee, “You were cross with me.” Lucy mentioned something like being on set but having to rest a lot and kind of acted out looking and feeling like a tired whale. Then she looked at us and said of Renee, “She thought I was skiving off.”

A fan asked how they would have liked the show to end. One of them said, “Did I hear someone just say I should have knocked over the bowl?” I believe Lucy said, “How would that have helped the show?” Then she added, “We hurt the fans. We decided, ‘Let’s make a hard hitting story. But not for this fan base.”

Lucy said about Renee, “She lives outside her comfort zone”. (Very cool praise, eh?)

Rennie said, “The line’s here” (And indicated it on the floor.) “I want to go here” and I think she moved a step away.

Lucy, “Oh yeah, outside the comfort zone. I like to live over the edge.”

A fan asked something like since many of the same people worked on both shows, were Xena and Spartacus much alike?

Lucy explained that, “Tonally, the shows are so different”.

Renee: “Same crew. Seven years older”.

Lucy talked about having had great fun on Xena. And I think it was here that she said that she really enjoys that-being silly and over the top and outrageous. But that on Spartacus, “Gotta be really real. You can’t be schtickty and funny. When doing outlandish things on Spartacus, you have to be really (contained?)

Fan: “Are there any body doubles used on Spartacus?”

Lucy: without a second’s hesitation: “No”

Lascivious and delighted giggles ripple throughout the audience.

Lucy: "I don’t LIKE that response…"

“I am in denial. I see NOTHING. Somebody can be there having things cut off them. And I’m all, ‘La La La La La. Big chop—never saw it. Real (thoughts?) We guffaw in shock and awe. We can’t believe the horrors that are unfolding with the scenes.”

She talked about the characters having to be real-“The more relatable they are, the more tragic the story”.

And that was the end. Lucy said, “I’m off!”

My last note on the Lucy/Renee page says, “I love you waving”. Jeez-Did L or R say that? Did *I* say that? Did we wave back to them when they walked off set? Only the con shadow knows for sure.





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