Live-blogging the Xena Convention in Burbank! To see all Xena Con posts, click here.
Burbank, CA is the unofficial headquarters of the Lesbian Nation this
weekend — and the site of the official 13th Annual Xena: Warrior
Princess Convention, which begins at 12:20 PM Pacific Time this
Today we’ve got:
An opening greeting from Xena Fan Club manager Sharon Delaney, followed
by actor Adrienne Wilkinson who played Eve/Livia. Then at 1:20 PM will
be writer Katherine Fugate (Army Wives),
who wrote the ultimate subtexty Xena episode "When Fates Collide" as
well as a script for a possible Xena film. At 1:20 PM, we’ll hear from
X:WP writer Steven Sears — who sat down with me this morning for a
fantastic interview about lesbian heroes.
Just a few words about how I live-blog: Anything in quotation marks is
a direct quote. Anything else is a paraphrase or summary. I update my
live-blogging every few minutes, so if you’re following along live,
just hit "refresh" now and then. I’ll start a new post for each day.
There will be typos, which I’ll go back and correct periodically.
I’ll also be at Lucy Lawless’ concerts tonight and Saturday night, and
will wrap up each day’s coverage with photos and reports from that.
Renee O’Connor told me she’ll be appearing both nights with Lucy and
they have something very special planned. Lucy told me she’s letting
her inner cowgirl out this year — if that means a repeat of last
year’s chaps and jeans, I’m a happy fangirl.
I’ll be back soon!
12:20 PM Pacific Time… here we go!
After a fan-made video called "Subtext for Dummies" showed, fan club
manager Sharon Delaney introduced actor Adrienne Wilkinson, who played
Eve/Livia. She was out at the Xena day in support of the WGA writers’
strike, and she talked about that a bit.
She was asked for her favorite episode, and she said it was "Eve" — in
which she got to chop off a guy’s head. Which was actually a cabbage,
and a guy with an enormous syringe full of fake blood. But she did
suggest if you ever have to lift your arms to hack off someone’s head
on camera, just be sure they remember to put body makeup in your
For those who don’t remember or aren’t as obsessed, Eve/Livia is Xena’s
daughter. And Livia has two mommies, becuase through the same kind of
Xenaverse magic that let Xena and her daughter be almost the same age,
Livia’s "father" was Xena’s arch-nemesis, the leather-clad blonde
butt-kicking Callisto (Hudson Leick).
A fan asked what it was like to have Xena and Gabrielle as your
parents. She said they are so beautiful and loving, it was easy. "I
would never have realized how much you can affect people, I got a call
from my mother who was convinced that if I had so much buried rage at
Xena, maybe she and I had some things we need to discuss. But no, I
convinced her that I didn’t want to burn a village because of anger at
Fan: Is it hard being an actor?
Adrienne: "It is when you’re not acting." She talked about how hard the
WGA strike is on actors as well as writers. The strike is a big topic
here at the convention.
Did she like playing the evil Livia or the good Eve better? She loved
playing Livia — characters without boundaries are more fun to play.
She enjoyed playing Eve in "You Are There" — a sort of "time travel"
humor episode. She loved how Xena went all over the place in that way.
Adrienne left the stage to a standing ovation.
Next was Katherine Fugate, who got a standing ovation before she even
arrived on the stage. Katherine wrote the most lesbian XWP episode of
all time, the Xena/Gabrielle alternate reality love story "When Fates
Katherine gave a "special shout out" for the Xena fans who turned up at
the strike lines yesterday. "It’s so moving that people recognize the
writers’ contribution to the finished project." She said she cried.
She handed out prizes to people who will ask her a question — starting
with a Gabrielle doll and a Xena doll. She said that the Xena doll and
the Gabrielle doll will go to separate fans, but "perhaps those two
will make a love connection."
She also had items from her current (although shut down due to the strike) show on Lifetime, Army Wives.
(Note from Christie: Renee O’Connor told me last week that when the
show goes back into production, she’s going to be in a month-long story
arc on it — yet another reason to want the strike to end! UPDATE: More
on this later from Katherine!)
Fan: If you could have ended the series, how would you have ended it?
Katherine: I’ll give you the bad answer and then the honest answer. My
writing style is very romantic and emotional. Some people don’t care
for that. "That just happens to be the way I see the world." They
always meant for Xena to die, and given that, she’d have had Xena die
protecting "the women she loved," Gabrielle.
Katherine said it was her intention in "When Fates to Collide" to show
Xena and Gabrielle would find each other in any life, in any time.
Fan: When will you be producing a gay character on Army Wives?
Katherine: You know Renee is my best friend, and she’s going to be in a
5-6 episode story arc for me. Let’s just say you may see her in a
position you wish’d you seen her in on Xena.
Katherine said that in developing "When Fates Collide," she thought
about how the period when Xena was evil is what made her end up doing
good, and without it she wouldn’t have become who she was and she’d
have never met "the love of her life," Gabrielle. She was examining how
there are things that are bigger than everything, even bigger than fate
— after all, she said, something created the Fates and set them there.
(In that episode, Gabrielle burns the loom of the Fates when Xena is
killed, and restores them, and us, to the familiar main Xena timeline
She is creator, producer, writer, director of Army Wives.
She discusses what it’s like to battle with herself over when she’s
going to compromise and when she has to stand firm and say no. "It
doesn’t have to be my way, if it can still be good. You learn to lose
your control issues…. Compromise is your biggest lesson."
Fan: Did you have the whole story of "When Fates Collides" in your mind when you began it?
Katherine: Pitched it as Xena and Gabrielle destined to be together.
Rob and RJ trusted me and let me go. "I think they were afraid of me. I
was very honest and very sincere." They turned her down at first, but
she begged and "passonately threw out all my ideas and jumped on the
Fan: How miuch Xena had you watched before writing "When Fates Collide"?
Katherine: First episode she saw was "Ides of March." Then she
backtracked and watched almost everything. RJ said in your cover letter
you spelled Xena with an "X"… do you know how many writers spell it
with a "Z"?
They also let her see some of the episodes that hadn’t aired yet at the time. A layered process.
Fan: Sneak peak of next season of Army Wives?
Will have 19 instead of 13 episodes this year, and will have more time.
Yes, we have the drama and the sex, "and Renee having sex
with…someone," and someone will die, because that’s the world we live
in. She can’t say much more due to the cliffhanger ending of last
season. One of her priorities was putting Renee in the next season.
Renee wanted to show herself as a sexual, sensual woman. She’s going to
be the aggressor. "Now you’ll be happy."
"If I can touch one person with my career, I can die happy."
"I’ve never written a mainstream movie. My show is on a cable network."
She’s never gone after the big money projects. "If I"m sitting on a
porch at 85, and it’s my last sunset," I don’t want to have a lot of
regrets. "I doubt I’m going to say I should have had a big mansion."
2:20 PM: XWP writer Steven Sears, one of the industry’s most
queer-inclusive straight male writers. I was blown away by our
interview this morning.
He updated on the writers’ strike. "It’s a tragedy what’s going on…
It’s unneccessary we’ve been locked out of negotiations for this long."
They are working out individual interim agreements. Negotiations are
going on behind the scenes and there is a news blackout, but he’s
hoping within three weeks, people will be back to work. Says a lot of
people are out of work — not just writers.
WGA has a non-writer fund for non-writers who have suffered because of the strike.
Fan: Will you be at the London Xena convention?
He says he will!
Fan: What did Xena mean when she said Gabrielle was her light?
Steven: He said, we all write from our own perspective on what the
series is and who the characters are. He discussed the transformation
of Xena from someone who didn’t just want to DO good, but someone who
was herself full of the light. And to genuinely want to preserve that
light for all humanity. "Wow, I really think too much about all that
Gabrielle was a reminder of what Xena could have been. The importance
that Gabrielle had to Xena at some point paled next to what she
realized Gabrielle could be for the rest of the world. And she was put
in the situation to be the person to feed the light, protect the light,
preserve the light, not for her, but for humanity.
Even her evil past was part of the destiny that led her to Gabrielle.
She was the instrument. She didn’t like the evil she had done, but it
laid the groundwork — biblical analogies.
Fan: How would you have ended the series?
Steven: The way I would have ended Xena, she would still die. But I’d
have done it differently. A lot in our series we reference the Battle
of Corinth the broke up the Amazon tribes and the Centaurs. I’d have
recreated that, all the tribes of the world in one gigantic battle —
Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings. She’d have died because she knew her
love was the light of the entire world, to make sure Gabrielle and her
contribution were preserved.
I agree I’d have not made it about a person we didn’t know anything
about before that arc. The entire series was building this
relationship, and then it’s over here about this other person.
I’d have had an end kind of like Star Wars, with the cheering crowds
and Gabrielle on a throne, with a ghost of the Warrior Princess
standing behind her with her hand on her shoulder.
From Christie: I’m wrapping this up for now, and will be back
sometime after 10 PM Pacific Time with a report from Lucy’s concert at
Tomorrow’s guests include Lucy and Renee, as well as — be still oh lesbian hearts — Ted Raimi (Joxer).