Call it loyalty. Call it
devotion. Call it complete insanity, but every year thousands of fans flock to
California to attend Creation's Official Hercules and Xena Convention, and this
year was no exception. 'The Big One' was held in Pasadena over the weekend of
the 21st - 23rd of January 2000 and saw a whole host of
stars from both Hercules: The Legendary
Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess,
as well as cast of the new show Cleopatra
There was the usual guest talks
and signings, music videos and presentations, competitions and auctions and now
a full part of the convention on a regular basis are the celebrity breakfasts
and cabarets, where the guests have a chance to show off some of their other
talents. And if that wasn't enough the weekend included the Back
2 Back Action Pack premieres of Jack
Of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525.
Friday got under way with Tim
Omundson, better known as the teacher in the way of love Eli. Bereft of his long
dark locks and beard Tim told everybody of the first time that he met Lucy
Lawless and Renee O'Connor - they both ignored him! Later he discovered that the
two actresses were put up to it by none other than Ted Raimi, who Tim worked
with during SeaQuest DSV.
Tim was followed by the
premiere of Jack Of All Trades; one
of the replacement shows for Hercules.
The show gives Bruce Campbell the lead as Jack and the chance to dazzle us with
his particular brand of humour that we have come to love in his other roles with
Renaissance. He is joined by Emilia Rothschild (Angela Dotchin) who with her own
style of wit ensures that this volatile relationship will keep the show fresh
and entertaining.<< (Paragraph removed in final publication. Wasn't sure
whether that was because my insincerity showed through, or because the show
really did suck!)
Finishing up the day was a very
enthusiastic Danielle Cormack who greeted the audience in at least a dozen
languages before singing a song about Ephiny (with very dubious lyrics) and
staging her death sequence the way she would have liked to have seen it.
Danielle also gave a sneak preview of what to expect of her new character Rainer
in the Cleopatra 2525 episode Mind
Saturday came and brought with
it Joel Tobeck (Strife), Meighan Desmond (Discord) and Jeremy Callaghan
(Pompey). Joel, no stranger to the convention circuit, proved once again how
different he is to his onscreen persona, but can become Strife in an instant
should the need arise. Meanwhile Meighan, appearing for her first time, fielded
the audience's questions with ease and much more patience than Discord ever
could. Jeremy, also making his debut, showed a completely different side to the
usual arrogance of his character Pompey, answering questions with thoughtful
responses and marvelling over the joys of his new found fatherhood.
Then came one of the highlights
of the weekend, the first episode of Cleopatra
2525 followed by a guest talk with the actresses Gina Torres (Hel), Victoria
Pratt (Sarge) and Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra). All three were happy to talk about
their new roles as well as their previous outings into the land of Hercules
and Xena as Nebula (Torres), Cyane
(Pratt) and Amarice (Sky). They've promised to deliver the goods in the
butt-kicking, bravado and subtext departments, so watch the show and see if they
Then came the long awaited
arrival of Ares, the God of War himself Kevin Smith. Stepping onto the stage for
the loudest cheer of the weekend proved how popular the character is in both
shows, and a loveable rogue as well. Answering each question with great care and
finishing with a 'cheers mate', Kevin even took time to sign some of his
responses for the members of the audience who were hard of hearing.
Sunday kicked off with
convention veteran Rob Field. As editor Rob has access to all those 'never to
see the light of day' show reels, including bloopers and deleted scenes, plus
some examples of how they edit together the more ambitious sequences, like the
Xena and Alti skeleton fight from the episode Them
Bones, Them Bones.
Then all making their first
convention appearances were Ebonie Smith, Willa O'Neill and Alison Wall. Ebonie
reminisced about her time playing M'Lila and encouraged the audience to request
that the character be brought back into the show. While Willa talked of her
numerous roles with both shows, including Gabrielle's younger sister Lila, and
of her stage career and the theatre company that she works very closely with.
Alison proved quite a surprise as she took to the stage with blonde hair; a
stark contrast to Minya's dark hair but the bubbly personality was just the same
as she warned aspiring actors about the perils of acting with goats!
Friday and Saturday evenings
were reserved for the celebrity cabarets. Friday night featured Tim, Danielle,
Joel and Kevin Smith backed by The Bards Band, the Cosmic Orchestra and
Solstice, they performed some fantastic covers of rock classics including 'Bad
To The Bone'. Meanwhile Saturday had Ebonie, Willa, Gina, Jeremy, Kevin Smith
and Michael Hurst joining the bands with Claire Stansfield (Alti) as mistress of
ceremonies. A real crowd pleaser had to be Ebonie's alternate lyrics to 'Fever',
"Xena had a friend named Gabrielle…" I think you can guess the rest.
For anyone wishing to own a
piece of Xena or Gabrielle then the auction was the place to be. Following on
the heels of the Chakram and sword, auctioned in previous years, was Xena's boot
dagger and Gabrielle's fighting staff, and it could have been yours for a mere
And for the finale, it was a
chance for fans to say a fond farewell to Hercules:
The Legendary Journeys. Both Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst turned up to mark
the occasion and were greeted by a standing ovation. They shared some of their
favourite memories and their final moments of the show in true Hercules and
Iolaus style, side by side to the end.
A weekend of great
entertainment. What more could you ask for? Well if the welcome video that they
sent to the convention was anything to go by then Lucy Lawless and Renee
O'Connor would be my guess!