Xena Pasadena Convention 2000
A Xena/Hercules Convention?
I received a rare opportunity to check out the Annual Hercules/Xena Convention in Pasadena, California on Saturday 1/23/2000. The rareness stems from the fact that I was granted backstage access. This is a chronicle of those events.
|Guth||Robert Guth was Post Production Supervisor for the Xena series.|
|Wedge||Wedge runs his own business called Topographic Productions||Tone||I am an Internet Programmer/Consultant.|
The Expedition There
Wedge picked me up at my apartment around 9:30am on Saturday morning. We drove from Goleta south in Wedge's Toyota truck to meet up with Guth at his apartment. The weather was somewhat overcast but bright. As Wedge pointed out, it was perfect weather for driving.
In the CD player were a bunch of Wedge-discs. His Nakamichi kept skipping on the CD-Rs, but played fine on Godsmack.
We picked up Guth at his cat infested-mold-incubator apartment and decided to get some lunch. Guth had some serious drag-ass going on, so he was in dire need of coffee. The restaurant was the Red Robin, a place that Guth frequents. He is known there; all of the waitresses were saying things to him like "hi sweetie". As for cuisine, Wedge had chicken strips, I had a crunchy chicken sandwich, and Guth had shrimp. I also partook in a creamer shot, trying to convince Guth to do the same. He wouldn't. Even though he would put two of those puppies in each cup of coffee, he called the shooter "gross". That's Guth for you.
After lunch we headed to the Pasadena Civic Center. I got the back seat of the Toyota truck, which really wasn't too bad if you sat the long way.
Brush With Death
We arrived at the convention center around 12:30pm. We didn't quite know where it was because we didn't have a decent map. Wedge had a Thomas Guide, but that was of no use. Whether that was because Guth couldn't read it (recall the drag-ass) or an intrinsic flaw in the map is unknown to me for I didn't see the map. Instead we received information from a gas station. "Go left on Colorado, left on Morango, then left on Green." That is exactly what we did.
We arrive at the Pasadena Civic Center and are unsure where to park. As we were deciding to take a left into the parking lot off of Euclid, Guth starts yelling "Don't turn! Don't turn" or something like that. Turns out that someone was barreling down our ass at a high speed on our left and nearly clipped us. Fortunately Wedge heeded Guth's expletives and we were safe. We parked the truck and were no worse for the wear.
At The Convention
We went to get our tickets at the front door. Already you could see the enthusiasts. A woman entirely decked out in Xena costume (with sword) was registering at a table. Guth procured our tickets for us. He was on the right list, so we received our orange VIP badges! Yeah! We were in like Flynn.
Guth wanted to ditch his jacket so we headed backstage. They gave us some grief about that, but Guth was able to straighten it out. They wrote a black star on our VIP badge which gave us full access to the backstage ready-room. Nothing was really going on yet, so we headed back to the main floor.
The convention was like any other convention. There were tables selling photos, swords, knives, and other souvenirs. There were also a lot of fans dressed in the garb of the show. There were at least six Xenas and a handful of Gabrielles in both long-hair and short-hair mode. One girl sitting directly in front of us was dressed as Sarge from the new series "Cleopatra 2525". Pretty amazing since the show had only aired three days previous (1/19/00).
Wedge, Guth, and I mostly just bummed around for the day. They had shows to watch and actors from the series giving Question/Answer presentations. We didn't check out the full itinerary, but we did see the pilot episode of "Cleopatra 2525". Most of our day was pretty laid back.
The best part of the day was after the Question/Answer session of the women of "Cleopatra 2525". These were Jennifer Sky, Gina Torres, and Vicky Pratt. These actresses went to the backstage ready-room for news interviews and to start bulk-signing photos. We watched quietly through the interviews.
Once the interviews were over we asked each of the three actresses if we could get a photo. Three beautiful women, to be sure, but also quite gracious. Having a VIP badge has its perks!
We were winding down for the day and getting ready to leave when we saw that Kevin Smith (regular on Xena and Hercules as Ares) was having his photo taken with a bunch of people. Wedge guessed they were contest winners. Although Kevin had an interview to do before going onstage in ten minutes, he was still taking time for fans. We quickly jumped in and got a picture. Now Kevin Smith was the most friendly of all the celebrities we had met. Not to say that the others were unfriendly, it was just that they seemed interrupt driven. That is, they would acknowledge you for a moment, but when your turn was done, it was done. Kevin made it seem as though he was genuinely interested in meeting us. It was almost as though he was there for the fans and not just for promoting. He is a very tall person with an outrageous accent.
We were pretty hungry by this time, so we headed to
Duke's Malibu for dinner.
Apparently Wedge had prior experience with Duke's in Hawaii. The parking lot was filled
with idiots, but eventually we able to eek the truck to the valet area.
There was a wait, but we were hungry so we went into the Barefoot Bar and ate at the counter. I had the Marinated Ahi which was the special and was quite good. Guth ordered two portions of some spherical appetizers and Wedge had the marinated chicken. The food quality was right up there.
Wedge decided to sample a Mai Tai. Turns out that he enjoyed the Mai Tai very much. It was very "Wedge-like", meaning that it hid the alcohol. After he was done with about 3/4ths of it, it was decided that I would be driving home. Wedge soon followed his Mai Tai with Drambuie.
Guth was drinking Rum and Coke followed by a Mai Tai(?) and then a shot of Cabo Wabo Tequila.
I drove us back to Guth's place to drop him off. Wedge made a call back home to his wife and Guth was having way more fun than a person ought to. He was running around his apartment yelling "Ling", "Ling", "Ling" while Wedge was leaving his message.
Eventually I get us back to Santa Barbara. From all the activity, caffeine, and driving, I crashed hard. I woke up only to write this chronicle.
The convention was a unique and interesting experience. There are fans and there are fanatics, but overall the people were pretty cool and enjoy their hobby with a passion.
I don't know if Cleopatra 2525 will take off or not. That is really up to the fans.
It was really a great experience to be able to meet stars and upcoming stars in the backstage area. Guth is way cool and I really appreciate the gesture.
I must tell you that having a backstage pass is the best way to go. You are able to brush with fame and see a whole other facet to the business.
Pretty good for a guy that doesn't own a TV.