Con Report by Towanda at the ROC Forum „Talking Xena“ (23.10.05)

 Hi guys!

You’ll get my little report from the BardCon earlier than expected. Unfortunately my friends and I had to leave the BardCon earlier than originally intended because of the approaching hurricane. We had to drive directly towards the bad weather, from Orlando to Boca Raton. We arrived safe in the house of our friends, and now I’m sitting in Boca Raton with a very slow internet connection waiting for “Wilma”. It gives me time to tell you a few things about the convention. More will follow next Thursday when I'm back in Germany.

Again I have to mention my favorite theory about Renee. Do you remember when I said that ROC reminds me of a diamond and that you discover new colors every time you look at it? Well, this metaphor was again on my mind when she appeared at the convention. Actually I could see several more colors on this diamond. Literally and metaphorically. Literally because Renee’s a redhead again – and she looks more beautiful than she ever did (but I say this every time, so maybe you shouldn’t take my words too serious).

The whole convention was just so overwhelming to me that this is a hard thing to do right now. My friends are cooking on my left, the radio is balking news on the right, and behind me the windows are being prepared for the storm. But I’ll do my best. I assume that most of you aren’t interested in the BardCon itself but in the appearance of Renee. If you want to know more about the BardCon, please email or pm me. This is the ROC forum, so I‘ll only talk about Renee.

It was a big surprise when Renee’s mother shook my hand. I didn’t know that it was her mom because I never saw a photo and this woman looked so young that I would have never considered it. But Carol Stephens from the BardCon introduced her to me and Renee's mother seemed to be impressed that we came all the way from Germany (oh yeah, she should be impressed because it was a 13 hour flight and we knew that Wilma would wait for us. But of course nothing could stop me.) She looked more like an older sister to me than like her mother. We only talked to her very briefly but it was enough time to notice that she seemed to be one of the nicest persons I‘ve ever met. And she was so casual and kind with the fans. She told us that Renee would like to see us and that we should go to her when she has arrived (which we didn’t do because we thought it wouldn’t be appropriate. Renee was quite busy all the time).

BUT: I got my photo! With an autograph and personalized by Renee. You could buy most of the photos she had already offered on ebay and they were even more beautiful when you stood right in front of them. Of course I wanted to buy them all but I haven’t enough money and so I bought only one. I was so happy that I could have such a beautiful photo and support Diamonds and Guns at the same time. You could also buy two of her paintings (photoprints) and I have to say that they, like the ROC photos, look even more beautiful than on the internet. I wanted to buy one but couldn’t. When I tried to change money people informed me that I could only change to Disney Dollars. Just great. But I’m sure she will upload the photoprints on her website and I’ll be the first to order them.

Now to Renee: One of my reasons why I’m a Renee fan that she is so courageous and the way she opens up to her fans. She impresses me every time and yesterday when I was actually in the same room, she did it even more.

First we all had the opportunity to get our photos personalized and Renee volunteered to pose for pictures. Renee did it all for free, just because of her natural kindness. That’s so different from the conventions organized by Creation.

Then the next surprise came up: Reneé read fiction and fan fiction!

I was surprised that Renee was nervous when she entered the stage. But after a few minutes it became clear to me why: Renee told us that she just visited Israel and how much the situation of the people there affected her. That’s why she chose to read something first that had to do with Israel and Iraq war. She was barely able to read it because she started to cry already when she read the first words. She took a break several times until the reading became more easily for her.

You know that’s what I meant when I said that she impresses me every time, and that’s what I meant when I said 'courage'. Of course this is just my own point of view but I can tell how hard it must be to read something that is so close to your heart. It would have been so easy to choose a different text and not something that probably makes you cry in front of your audience. But Renee chose these extracts nonetheless, because she wanted to share her experiences and feelings with her fans. Can you imagine how honored I felt? I think that Renee must feel safe with her fans, otherwise she would choose to protect herself and not open up so much.

Renee read some other things also but I’m in a hurry and can’t list them all. I loved them all. I knew some of the things she read and for some reason it was even more touching listening to Renee’s voice. Some of them I didn’t know but now I can’t wait to read them.

Then Renee started to read fanfiction. Hot fan fiction, to be exact. She read a story I knew and that I actually hadn’t liked when I had read it. But the way she read it yesterday was so funny that the audience laughed all the time. The fanfic (I forgot the name but I can tell you later when I’m at home) was nothing else than a hot sexual phantasy with a pretty dominant Xena Uber character and a Gabrielle Uber character who was anxious to learn more (about sex).

After that Renee started to read extracts from Uber books that the BardCon TPTB had picked up for her. Actually I wished they would have told her which pages she should read. Instead of that she had all those books and randomly opened a page and started to read. It was fun anyway but I think it would have been more fun if the extracts had been chosen before she started her performance.

To me it was an unexpected experience. I was so looking forward to see/hear Renee reading Xena/Gabrielle Fanfiction but actually it were the texts she had chosen herself that touched me most and that I enjoyed most - maybe because they were important to her. You could feel it and it moved you too. By the way, one of the books she read from was “Voices from the front”, another one was “If I had my life to live over (I would pick more daisies)”. Anyway, I really enjoyed Renee on stage reading fan fiction. Every now and then she interrupted and talked about Lucy, Xena and Gabrielle or she made funny noises or she just had to laugh out loud. It was really fun.

If you had any doubt that Renee might feel uncomfortable with lesbian topics or lesbian fans or lesbian love, forget it. She seems to be even more comfortable with it than I do – and I’m gay.

So this was really a highlight. But it wasn’t the last one. I’d recommend that you sit down before you go on with the reading. Saturday night we had a talent show moderated by Renee. And when she appeared she wore a different dress. Well, 'dress' might be the wrong word, or maybe the most correct one. She wore black leather pants, actually everything she wore was black leather and her heels were more endless than Uber Xena’s legs. And yes, she had a whip in her hand. And it wasn’t just for decoration, she actually used it. Every "talent" got some whiplashes after the performance. I mean, I’m not into that SM stuff but being hit by Renee... well... that’s different I guess. Besides, I have to say that these were quite tender whiplashes. At one point a fan shouted „Renee, you look good with the whip!“ And Renee swung it and said „Yes, I’m practicing!“ I don't want to know what happens when she has practiced enough...

Renee’s moderation was breathtaking. She was so casual and funny and exciting. And sexy. She has a fantastic feeling what an audience needs and what the people who perform need. I feel really sorry for all of you that you weren’t there yesterday. After the show ended Renee stayed with the fans and bards a long time, so that people could take photos. (By the way, this talent show was so brilliant that the most of us laughed tears.) I was surprised how polite the fans were. Everybody behaved and gave Renee the space she needed.

I think I love to be a Renee fan. Did I mention that before? I can’t wait to join her fanclub! I’m still a little bit overwhelmed by the experience because of so many things. Well, there’s a little bit of disappointment too but it doesn’t have to do with Renee but with me. When Renee’s mother invited us to Renee’s table I didn’t follow the invitation. I wanted to tell ROC how much I love her new website und how much I appreciate it that she gives us the opportunity to support her projects, but I didn’t say anything. And when she looked up at me I avoided to look at her. I guess I have to work on this. My dream was to meet Renee one day and I still can’t believe that this dream came true. I think one meeting would be enough but right now I think another meeting is in order and the challenge will be not to make myself invisible.

So that’s my report, sorry for the length. I hope you’ll get more reports in the next days. I hope everybody in Florida will be safe when Wilma comes (including me). Take care, I miss you all.

Towanda