Friday, January 28, 2011

An Announcement!

Valerie, the long-suffering woman who is in charge of security at Creation conventions, told us a minute ago that E Entertainment TV will be following us around tomorrow for their broadcast. So Val encouraged us to dress up in "your battle gear." I don't have any metallic breastplates with me, so I guess I'll just wear my Spartacus t-shirt.

Xena con 2011 - Hudson, Hudson, Hudson!

Friday on a three-day convention is typically slow. The one-day price for a Friday is usually less than for any other day of any convention. Today was a slow day at the annuall Xena convention, except for one thing: Hudson Leick.

I've missed a few years, I must admit, of this annual event. But I'm grateful I was around for the first couple of years, where I saw a young woman change before my eyes. Her slow take on us as fans changed to a masterful manipulation where we all had outrageous fun.

Hudson - whose birth name was Heidi - started out as a young actress who wasn't sure why she was on stage. She seemed mystified by it all. She tried to answer the fans' questions about Callisto, her infamously evil character. She has told a story of flying to New Zealand and reading the script for one of the Callisto shows - perhaps the second one where she kills Gabrielle's new husband, Perdicus. When she reached the part where she is unfathomly cruel to Gabi in a game called Truth or Dare, Hudson starts laughing, right there on the plane. She was perfect for the part.

After a few years of appearing year after year to mostly the same fans at the convention, she dresses to the nines, entices us, engages us, in a totally unscripted conversation. And then she auctions off the dress for charity, usually to benefit the James Ellis Foundation, which allows kids with cancer or whose family members have cancer continue in college.

This year, the young woman from Russia bid $400 for the dress. A couple in the second row kicked in another $300 so that the Russian woman could have the dress. There have been no other bids, nor would there be. All of a sudden, other people kicked in $50 here, $20
there, so that she would get the dress and Anita could go back home to New York with $900. It was very touching.

By the way, I saw the young woman who won the dress in the restroom later. She said to anyone who would listen: "I have two dresses. But now I have three!"

I was touched by something else as well today, as slow as it was. Steven L. Sears is also at every convention. Steve was a producer and
writer on the original Xena. I always enjoy his talks very much because he talks about the writing process and storytelling.

This time someone asked him if he used real-life experiences when he wrote. He hearkened back to his memory of writing "The Price," a
particularly hard-hitting Xena episode where our 'hero' kills without mercy and the effect that ultimately has on her sidekick, Gabrielle.

Steve told us that he wrote that episode about his father. His father was a military man as a career. He was a sniper in the Korean War and a special forces member in VietNam. In short, "My father killed people for a living." Steve has spent a great deal of his life sorting through how that killing machine could be "the same man who tucked me in a night," and was a super father to him. So he wrote The Price to speak to that issue. Awesome.

I guess I'll have to go home and watch that one again.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Xena Once Again

I was all packed last night. And, as usual, as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, I would remember things I forgot to pack. And then, it suddenly came to me: I didn't have my ticket to the convention.

I got up and went to my office. I went through all my paperwork for the convention. Nothing. So I went through all my visa bills for the first four months of the year, but couldn't find where I had paid Creation for the ticket.

This was an unusual circumstance. I signed up exactly one year ago, during the convention, in hopes of improving my seat. I rummaged through my big pile on my desk, and found last year's program where I had written in my new seat number: F26. So it wasn't just my imagination. I just had no proof. And when I stand in line at the LAX Marriott, I will have nothing to give them but an excuse.

So I found the email address to write to on the Creation Entertainment website -- knowing that would belong to Leticia -- and I simply told my story. The next morning I found that she had emailed a PDF of the ticket. By that time, however, I was just shy of the Grapevine, and moving rapidly south.

Fortunately, the motel I was staying at has a computer - and a printer! - in the lobby. After I checked in, I sat down and printed out my ticket. Good to go!

Creation's customer service has gotten better and better throughout the years. This is their 40th year. And I'm a loyal customer.