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WELCOME TO THE ZOCALO CONVENTION REPORTS

CONVENTION REPORTS

Ranger Anne sends along this report for DreamCon, June 2004

DreamCon
B5-related Guests: Stephen Furst & Peter David
Date: June 12, 2004
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Reported by:
General Anne Zecca, Vice Commander-in-Chief of EarthDome, Babylon 5 Sector, United Federated Planets (UFP)

Against the backdrop of the St. John's River and Sail Jacksonville 2004 (a tall ships festival), I made my official convention debut as Vice C-in-C of EarthDome (UFP's B5 Sector VP) at DreamCon, held at the riverfront Adams Mark Hotel. Our sector made initial contact with the con organizers as far back as February 17 and, on April 12, we were invited to attend.

While there were no recruiting tables available, I left a small stack of sector flyers on a communal table and retained a small stack of UFP applications, business cards & extra copies of our newsletter "Voice of the Alliance." But I made sure to set copies aside for the Babylon 5-related guests we were interested in--actor/director Stephen Furst and episode writer/author Peter David. And yes, they did receive those copies.

After meeting with some of the con staff, I was finally able to meet Ron Methvin, the main organizer. Although it seemed that he was being pulled in many different directions, Methvin was cordial and arrainged for me to have a complementary pass. I was, however, a bit surprised at seeing that the pass was marked "Featured Guest."

After getting "settled down" and learning the layout of the hotel floor where the convention was, I went to change into my only B5-related costume... the uniform of the Anla'shok Na, which I adapted from a Simplicity costume pattern. When I reemerged, I was complemented on my uniform by several attendees.

Prior to the B5 panel discussion, I met Peter David in the dealer's area. I asked him some questions pertaining to the several Babylon 5 novels he'd written, including whether he considered writing a Ranger-oriented novel. I found David to be friendly and very down to earth; he'd brought his family along for the weekend.

The actual B5 panel discussion lasted about an hour and involved David, Furst and illustrator Arne Starr, who offered fun insights into the early days of B5 fandom on the Internet. But for the most part, Furst & David answered questions from convention attendees and shared stories, which kept everyone laughing for almost an hour.

Among the many highlights:
David's recollections about writing the episode "Soul Mates" (Season 2), including Mira Furlan's "reluctance" about Delenn mentioning her "odd cramps" to Ivanova;
Furst talking about getting the part of Vir Cotto, including using liquid soap as a subsitute for hair mousse;
Both men's comments on the passing of actor Richard Biggs (Dr. Steven Franklin); and How a "thank you" gift from David's wife to J. Michael Straczynski ended up as a subplot in David's second B5 episode "There All the Honor Lies" (Season 2) and led to a game of one-upsmanship between the two (all in fun, as it turned out).

I did enjoy meeting Stephen Furst. He was funny, very cordial and made me feel comfortable... after all, this was the first B5 actor I actually met. Having a picture taken with him was, for me, the proverbial "icing on the cake."

All in all, my initial con outing as VC-in-C of the B5 Sector was a success. My thanks to DreamCon organizer Ron Methvin & his staff for the hospitality they showed me and, of course, General Ted Ochsenhirt (the head of UFP's B5 Sector) for giving me the go ahead to pursue this opportunity.

Hope you like the report...
Anne


Ranger Phil reports from ICON:

Saw Jason Carter at ICON this weekend. He was in good form, his usual wonderful self. We had a nice Richard Biggs memorial. I'm still shocked he's gone.

At ICON POWYS media had it's US premiere of their new Prisoner novel, The Prisoner's Dilemma by Jonathan Blum and Rupert Booth. Jonathan Blum was on hand to autograph copies at the Larry Smith bookseller table on Saturday afternoon. The Prisoner's Dilemma has a forward by J Michael Straczynski which might interest some B5 fans. Copies are now available from POWYS media at this link: http://www.cerebralmassage.com/Powys/Prisoner/book1.html . Early review of the book appears at http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/reviewsprisdil.htm and an interview with the authors appears at http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/webchat.htm .

NEW JERSEY EVENT

Report by Ranger Jan
Well, I'm back from my whirlwind trip to NJ to see JMS at the Hawthorne High comic con. I think a good time was had by all and I know I had a *great* time meeting and talking with so many friends I'd never met before from the newsgroup and forums.

Don't know if anybody's interested in a minute-by-minute report so I'm just going to concentrate on news that people might be interested in.

First - No new clues on TMoS except that while the words "It's a theatrical movie" never passed his lips, JMS did comment that a) the ratio clue sure got figured out quickly, b) he pantomimed a movie screen and c) commented that he's recently discovered a (resistance? prejudice?) toward people moving from TV to motion pictures.

When we fans were first gathering in the classroom where JMS' Q&A session was going to be, we joked about sitting at school desks and that JMS was the 'teacher'. We wrote on the blackboard "Mr. Straczynski" and below that "TMoS 101". That last, JMS erased as soon as he came into the room. He immediately told us again that he absolutely could not tell us anything without getting into deep trouble. He couldn't even discuss when the announcement would come when we tried to pin down the Ides of May clue. There were two questions that caused him to refer back to the erased "TMoS 101", though. The first was about the Techno-mages and the second was about Crusade.

- The long awaited "But In Purple, I'm Stunning" Babylon 5 quote book is due out around Christmas from Simon & Schuster.

-Asked whether he'd ever like to go back to animation, JMS said that he has been approached recently by WB Animation about a project.

- Dream Police seems to be a comic project he's having fun with. He say's he's writing it in a 'Joe Friday' type of voice.

- He's designed the set-up for the 'shared universe' project but may not have time to write for it. I think the project is called 'Distant Worlds'.

-In answer to a question about whether he'd like to work on Star Trek (the question referred to B&B being on the way out I believe), JMS said "Surprisingly, I can't comment on that".

-He's heard that WB netted $70 million from the first three and a half seasons released. (Yeah, I know they weren't released in half seasons but that's what he said). (later: Somebody pointed out that 'half seasons' might refer to the fact that not all regions are released at once.)

- The interviews and commentaries are done for the movie set DVDs but there may be a snag when it comes to the Crusade commentaries. JMS wants to talk about what really happened and why it was canceled and this makes WB nervous. Apparently there have been phone calls regarding the subject but JMS wants to tell the truth. Is insisting on it, in fact. For those who might not have heard that story: During/after Season 5 of B5, TNT studied things and discovered that when B5 was on, TNT regulars tuned out and when B5 was over, the regulars returned and the B5'ers tuned out. By the time Crusade was filming, TNT wanted out and the notes were actually a deliberate campaign to get them out of their obligation. The plug on Crusade wasn't pulled by accident, folks.

I think the con definitely gave this art dept. a shot in the arm. Joe Nazarro was there to help out JMS by collecting our donations and JMS presented the con coordinator with a large check from himself also. A few days after the con Joe N reported that with about 100 people in line, about $1300 was collected in about 3 hours. Also, Joe N followed JMS' example of selling autographs for a buck by having brought quite a number of signed trading cards and selling them for a dollar each. I got three of them. Thanks, Joe!

Thanks to Aisling Willow Grey of the moderated newsgroup, some pictures can be found here: http://www.fjordstone.com/jmscon/ and a local newspaper report can be found here: http://northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NTI2MTU5 Con newspaper article (yes, you have to register, but I haven't gotten any spam from them since I did)


UNITED FAN CON

United Fan Con Convention Report by
Tye Bourdony [bourdonyt@vrex.com]

The United Fan Con held on Nov 9-11th, in Springfield Mass., was truly a great show; as was the fun had by all in attendence. The guest list was also impressive as many of Sci-Fi's best shows were represented by several of the genre's favorite celebrities. From B5, our favorite station Doctor and Ranger were in attendance; Richard Biggs and Jason Carter. From Farscape, the beautifull Virginia Hey "Zahn" wowed the fans. Marina Sirtis also honored Springfield with her presence, as did the legendary Michael Forest "Apollo" from the Classic Star Trek series. And finally, the 6th Doctor Who himself, Colin Baker made an interdimensional appearence.

Of course, Richard Biggs and Jason Carter were at the fore front of the show's entertainment, as they were set up by Virginia Hey to perform a never before aired scene between Dr. Stephen Franklin and Ranger Marcus Cole at the United Fan Con's Cabaret Dinner. If the Zocalo's readers will remember, this intrepid pair were once sent on a covert mission to the Mars colony, in which they had to pretend to be gay in order to escape detection.

United Fan Con With this said, imagine if Dr. Franklin and Ranger Cole were indeed gay and celebrating their 25th anniversary of being together. Not only did we get to see this hillarious pair brilliantly perform this scenario to perfection, but; the sultry Virgina Hey brought the house down as she successfully managed to turn Marcus back into a straight man and steal him from Dr. Franklin's arms. In the end however; everything turned out fine and the crowd was tickled pink by both Richard and Jason's willingness to poke fun at themselves and their charcters for the sake of the fans. They really were two of the brightest stars at the show and they deserve a special thanks, along with the United Fan Con's promoters; Paul and Deb Aldred.

I had a wonderfull time and couldn't have imagined a show without the Babylon 5 dynamic duo of Jason Carter and Richard Biggs, thank you gentlemen!

DRAGONCON, Atlanta, Georgia

Hello Everyone!

Well, Dragon con 2001 was fun... I attended some of the events, spent some time walking the dealer's room and waiting on line for Autographs. I'll let you know what I though of the places I visited

Friday (day 1)
First thing was the James Doohan talk... The craziest pilot in the Royal Canadian Flying Corps started as an artillery officer on the D-Day Beach He was wounded on the beach and ended up being recurited as an observer in the flying corps... the story was entertaining, and considering his advanced age, he was quite lucid. Not too much talk of Trek (a good thing) and no mention of Homeboys in outerspace. (even better)

Then off to the artshow/exhibitor's hall/dealer's room/walk of fame. All set up in the Marriott Marquis this year. I think the mechandise mart was a better venue last year, tho there is no walking outside needed... Just hampster tubes from the Hyatt to the Peachtree center mall to the Marriott. The Basement room used for the dealer's room/Walk of fame was low celinged and a bit airless with all the people moving around. The B5 guests were in the same general area, but Jerry and Claudia didn't come in till saturday. Mira was there the whole time and was very nice. The Julie Caitlin Brown fan club provided assistance to many of the guests. Did you know that Julie now represents many of the cast members for the con circuit? The guy who was with Carrie Dobro insisted that I have my picture taken with her... Something I usually do not do. All in all a good set up except for sticking Mr Doohan at the end of a corridor so the large line for him blocked many other tables.

The Peter Woodward talk, "Confessions of a Technomagi" was quite entertaining, with talk of Crusade, The Patriot, and his Documentary work. The nomination of Egypt beyond the Pyramids for an Emmy award was a point of pride for Mr Woodward. His next Documentary will be on the Hebrew fortress of Masada. He is also trying to get some backing for a project on Homer's Odyssey. Sounds very cool if you ask me.

Then the Babylon 5 Advisory Council simulation put on their "Day of the Dead Party" Quite the group of characters there, and the normal folks (me) were welcomed with Skull candy and beads as well... I would have liked to stay longer, but I wanted to get over to the Marriott for...

MST3K LIVE! A room of crazy pissed off people returning the favor by assaulting that attack on film: Battlefield Earth. Gawd was that movie BAD. I had never seen it before and was eternally greatful that I had the pleasure of yelling back at the screen with 50 to 100 or other people. The MSK3K convention of laughing at anyone who laughs for effect was really put to the test by Mr. Travolta's over-use of that device, as was the line "Special effects by Home video Editor" The corny camera angle guy was getting a bit annoying, but that was the films fault as well, as they refused to shoot any scene level!

Saturday morning began with the Funniest moments of the con: The B5 cast Who's line games. The Babylonian Reductions. The room was TOO SMALL I ended sitting on the floor near the front and shot most of my pictures with a woman's head in frame. And I got there 20 mins early. Many people couldn't even get into the room. As for the silly games... They did Film and Theatre styles, with the Bud and Lou of B5, Rick Biggs and Jason Carter doing "The wizard of Oz" Jason found an excuse for slaptstick when they yelled Pantomime and rick mimed throwing a bucket of water on Jason. Jerry Doyle did not want to play and spent the better part of the hour trying to gather fan support to turn it into a Q&A session. They also played foreign film dub after Claudia made her entrance, with Stephen Austin and Claudia really stretching reality. Carrie Dobro ended up reading Jerry's lines from the Mars scene in SiL for "Every other Line" and did some of the reading from Jerry's lap. Lucky guy!

I had family stuff to do on Saturday, so other than getting Jerry and Claudia's 'graphs I missed a few events, the next thing I did was Julie's concert. (Claudia's line was almost as long as James Doohan's)

Julie's Concert was well attended, I hope not beacuse of early arrivals for the next event. Julie was in good voice, and she had backing from members of the band Spock's Beard. Quite enjoyable.

The room filled up fast for the next event, The annual Dawn look-alike contest. Anthony Daniels (C3-PO of Starwars) was the host and was in fine form, flirting and being flirted with by the contestants. There was a Japanese dawn who Daniels spoke to in Japanese and then slipped into charachter for his trademark "6000 forms of communication" line. Having heard Peter Jurasik talk about the contest at a con a few years ago, last years' contest was a bit of a let down. This year showed that to be a fluke. 30 Girls dressed in costumes ranging from the all covering to just a few leaves. The winners were all from the fan type as opposed to Mr. Daniels favorites who were all from the exotic dancer type... Mr Daniels worked the crowd to give the judges time to pick the winners and while that was going on the con directors came in to give Mr Daniels the Guest of honor award. "You are always working during the banquet" they told him.

Sunday I met a favorite author of mine Robert Aspirin. He talked about the 7 year absence from writing... his divorce, his battle with the IRS and the new books he is writing.

Heading on down to the room from Who's line I once again ended up sitting on the floor again for the B5 Security Breifing. Jerry Mira, and Rick answered questions about the show, their lives and current/upcoming projects. Mira seems to be enjoying the terrible twos with her child, Rick is back to Soaps, and Jerry is doing movies while waiting for another chance at the congress.

Over to the Marriott for Bob Aspirin's signing and Frank Kelly Freas slide show. His sci-fi art is really wonderful.

Dinner at the Highland Tap is a must for a trip to Atlanta. This ends the travelogue portion of the review.

The masquerade is always too full to attend, but I always hang out in the hallway outside to see the costumes. They set up a procession of Star Wars costumes in honor of Mr. Daniels. He came out to co-ordinate their entry. There were some wild costumes.

After that was the nicholsfilm presentation of Babylon Park:the movie and the claymation piece Crusade wars... It seems that beyond the rim is a casino... well, the end of the universe is a resturant, why not?

Monday saw the B5 cast reunion. Rick, Jason, Peter and Claudia left early for various reasons, but Carrie came along with the rest of the B5 cast members on the panel... The pics I took are a bit grainy, but it's Stephen Austin, Carrie Dobro, Robin Atkin Downes, Mira Furlan, Julie Caitlin Brown, Jerry Doyle, and Marjorie Monaghan. The most interesting topics were the makeup problems and Jerry's hangover (;->) it was a really great panel.

Danny

FEDCON, BONN, Germany

Date: 5/5/2001 6:31:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Florian.Priester@t-online.de (Florian Priester)

Hello Sandra

My name is Florian Priester and I' m writing form Germany (what I want to say is: sorry for my english, it's not always so good).

Maybe you or another reader is interested in some information about the Federation Con 9 at Bonn/Germany, on which Richard Biggs and Claudia Christian were last month.

The Con was from 6th to 8th April. It's one of the biggest conventions in europe. The convention is mainly a Star Tek con, but there are actors from other series too.

Claudia was very nice and funny and she answered all questions the fans asked her. And at Saturday morning she had the first star-panel for this day (at 9 o'clock in the morning). And she came out on the stage and had such a good mood, although she was in the hotelbar with some other actors and fans till 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning. And when a fan came and asked her for a picture, she never said no. She is really a very lovely person, and I would be glad if she would come back for the convention next year.

And Richard was really great, too. He was last year on this convention, but unfortunately I was not able to see him. He told us how sad it was for him to come one morning to the set of the sickbay of Babylon 5 and see that it was completely damaged. And he answered all the questions and was very patient with the fans whose English was not so good, too. I talked to him while he was signing some pictures and I think that he is one who knows that he had to be nice to his fans, because he needs their support. He is very reasonable.

And while both had signed photos (and there were an awful lot of photos to sign), they had the time to talk with each fan who had an question. And this was not normal, some of the other actors hadn't done this.

So, I hope my english was not too bad and you an understand what I mean. It was really a great experience.

Bye
Florian

VULKON, ORLANDO

Date: 11/22/2000 6:25:21 AM EST
From: JBONETATI

I went to the Vulcon convention here in Orlando the weekend of Nov. 18-19 primarily to see Tracy Scoggins, Julie Caitlyn Brown and Marjorie Monaghan. There were quite a few talks by other guests though, and I'm glad I went to most of them.

The 'presentations' by the stars were mainly informal question and answer sessions with the exception of Richard Hatch. He showed the trailer that he put together for his proposed resurrection of Battlestar Galactica. It was really good. A little too much action and a little too little indication of the story line for my taste, but most trailers are. He also showed a 'Making of..' video of another project he's trying to sell, The Great War of Magellan. This looks really good! And Jason Carter is in it! Richard went on at some length about going after what you want and are passionate about. Seems he has this workshop...

Dirk Benedict was, well...less interesting. Perhaps he meant it in jest but his constant hyping of his book(s) and sniping about Richard Hatch and references to his health and diet kind of made me glad that this was only a half hour presentation. The Q&A portion got interesting because he gave out a copy of his book for A-the best question and B-the rudest question. Unfortunately I don't remember either.

Julie Caitlyn Brown sang a song at the end of her presentation. She's really good! Marjorie seemed sweet and maybe a little shy. Not like #1 at all!

The highlight of the entire Con was having dinner Saturday night with Tracy Scoggins and her Mom. It was very friendly and relaxed and like being at a really great party where you meet great people to talk to all night long. We moved the table to get a little more room for Tracy's Mom (whose only name I caught was "Mamma Wombat"??!), joked about trying to hoard the items we could reach, reached over each other informally and kept the servers from taking the iced tea away. We talked about TV, acting, Jerry Doyle and a bunch of other stuff. At one point Tracy mentioned that she knew Dirk from a couple of episodes of A-Team that she'd done. We encouraged her to go say Hi-she would have politely stuck with us otherwise. Tracy said that we (the table) were more fun than hanging with Bruce and Jerry! High praise indeed, I thought.

After dinner Julie sang several songs and Marjorie sang with her in some. Julie is good alone but it was even better when Marjorie sang with her. I'd have loved to hear Marjorie sing a solo. On one song, they got Richard Hatch to come up on stage and he was no slouch either. At some point during the concert, Dirk had literally crawled out of the room to go to the bar. Julie had some fun planning her revenge but he hadn't come back by the end of the concert. I didn't stay for the dance since it was already two hours later than I'd told everyone I'd be home.

This was the first Vulcon that I'd been to, and it was...okay. I think for a company who's been putting on shows for this long there was a decided lack of planning and communication with attendees. Everything ran from 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours later than supposed to and a couple of the paid stars weren't there for the entire time they were supposed to be. I never did find the meeting room where a panel was supposed to be held that I was interested in. Even so, I'd probably attend another one if they had guests I'm interested in. I think I detected a trend toward returning to a more Trek oriented con though.

Oh, and it looks like all of the flyers I put out got taken. I'll make more for the next Con-probably Megacon in March.


TORONTO TREK

A report by Carmine (cnaccarato@dehavilland.ca)

I usually only go to one convention a year, and it is Toronto Trek (TT). I have been going for the last ten years or so. I pick this one because it is a fan run con and all the money they take in goes to the next years con. The con is run by many hard working volunteers whose work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. There is a charity auction on Sunday, a costume contest, a dance and a dinner with the guest stars. They have an Art show and a model display. A dealers' room, videos playing, gaming etc. The place is huge, and it takes over the entire hotel. This year the many guests included John DeLancie (Q from STTNG), two actresses from Xena (Aphrodite-sorry I forgot her real name and also, I believe there was Clare Stanley). Richard Hatch was there again this year with a co-star, many authors including Eric Stillwell and scientists within the space field. John DeLancie did a one man play. But the main guests, in my eyes anyway, were Patricia Tallman, Jeffrey Willerth and Robin Atkin Downes.

They were up and ready to go first thing in the morning for pictures. Of course, you know I had to get a Polaroid with them! After that it was down to the main room to listen to Pat and Jeff speak. Robin had his own time slot later that day. Unfortunately, I missed it because I was in the autograph line for what seemed like days. Jeff and Pat talked mostly about what they and some of the rest of their B5 friends were up to lately. They answered questions, told stories about what it was like to wear that Kosh encounter suit or the black contact lenses that didn't fit. It was great, I could have listened to them all day. Jeff usually does a little skit where he shows us what it was like to wear the suit, but his back was hurting and he couldn't move around to well. But you could tell because he was laughing and cracking jokes - - teasing Pat. Pat was definitely the showman: she would be telling some story with flair and excitement and Jeff would just sit there listening then make some sexual innuendo and get her all flustered.

The audience would be laughing....great fun.

Pat and Jeff were also there to promote the Canadian premiere of "Grudgematch". This is the cartoon parody they worked on with Robin and Maggie Egan. This one was the sequel to "Frightspace", done last year or the year before. Frightspace is a cross between Babylon 5 and South Park and Grudgematch is a cross between Crusade and Star Trek Voyager. You have to be a Sci-Fi fan to get the jokes. But it is something you definitely should see.

I was amazed at just how warm and personal the stars were. Really nice down to earth people. It was a pleasure meeting them. I can't wait til next year.

Carmine

AGAMEMCON

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 7:22:04 AM EDT
From: Kailin Yu
To: Sandra at the Zocalo

Hey Sandra, finally got home from Agamemcon, and thought I would send you a review, or notes from the con, or something that you could share with everyone. Now, you may want to get some reviews from other people as well, since I'm staff for Aggie, and was so busy with my duties that I ended seeing very little of the actual con, but then again, that gives me a different perspective to share. Anyhow, I'll try and keep this brief and entertaining, and then if you want something clarified, just shout it out.

Aside from Babylon 5 stuff this year, we also had a mini con for Prey and for Space: Above and Beyond. This gave the convention a very strange feel, as I only saw the Prey fans at those events, but I don't seem to remember seeing too many of them at the parties or dances, or anything. Of course, since they were all new faces to me, I could be very wrong about this. The SAAB crew were more familiar, because we have always had some representation from that show at our con. They throw good room parties, they always come in uniform, and they always have props, lots of props.

The Babylon 5 fans were out in groups too. Most notably were the chatters from the old comlink from the early days, now hanging out at Groucho's Yahoo site. They supplied many bodies to the volunteer ranks, thank you very much, and had some great parties, including the ones before the convention even started. They also had an active computer at the con, for purposes of providing con reports live on site, and they rented a VCR and showed episodes of B5 and Crusade, and were just way cool to hang with. The other notable group of fans were from the Crusade mailing lists, especially the Galactic-Core (David Allan Brooks list) and Technomages (Peter Woodward list). Not only did the ladies from these list help volunteer for various con duties, they also supplied the manpower for the Crusade for a Cure convention table and auction. Much kudos go out to both groups for all their help in and all their enthusiasm for the show, the convention, and the Babylon 5 community.

As for panels, I can't tell you anything about any of the celebrity panels because I didn't see any of them. I was on two panels, one called Think like a warrior, Fight like a girl, which was quite popular it seems. We discussed women in movies and films who use martial arts, including weaponry, and how this is helping to empower women in society now. There was even a little demo done of forms and some board breaking, which always impresses the heck out of people. Of course, I have the bruises to prove that we did it, and someone out there took pictures, so I look forward to seeing what I look like doing the Koryo in street clothes and not my normal, white Dobok. The other panel I was on was called So Johnny can surf the internet, the future of education. This sort of turned into a 'how computers are making children hate reading' sort of panel at times, but the questions in the audience kept us moving in other directions too. I tried to bring in my special education knowledge of Assistive Technologies, and how that will be one of the areas that future technology will be most influential on. It was an informative discussion, and it made me think more about the direction of education now.

After hours events were a bit tame at first, as our dance on Friday was not heavily attended, in favor of room parties, of which, there were at least 3 good ones going on. Saturday had the masquerade, of which I particpated, and won Best in class for my Female Master Controller from Planet X costume. Yup, that's right, I was an alien from the Godzilla movies, complete with ray gun and antennae on my head. We then converted the auditorium into a dance again and then people moved up to the room parties. Because I am part of the organizing committee for Crusade for a Cure, I did not go into any other parties, excpet for the Dragonslayers party, which was next door. Hence, I can not comment on the FBI party that was on another floor. I heard it was big, but later in the evening, our party became THE event to be at. All I will say about our party was that it was a pajama party, there was finger nail polish and make overs available, and it was the guys who took advantage of that fact. There ws some serious partying going on in this room, and once pictures start surfacing from this event, I will let you all know where they are and go into more detail on why this party will be talked about for years to come.

Because I didn't see any panels, and I was working the con suite most of the time, I also didn't get to talk with too many of the stars. I did make an effort to say hello to David and Peter from Crusade, Jerry Doyle and Tracy Scoggins were great, and Wayne Alexander was nice as ever. But the highlight for me was meeting Alexandra Tyddings, who plays Aprhodite on Xena and Hercules. I like those shows, but not being able to see the panels or get much free time, I didn't really put anyone into my schedule of things to see and do. It was more a 'if I happen to be free and in the area at the time, I'll stop by and see them' sort of con for me. Anyhow, I decided that I wanted to get a picture of Alexandra and say hello, since I haven't seen her yet at any of the Herc/Xena cons I have gone to. Turns out she's super sweet, smart, just started studying Tae Kwon Do, the martial art I do, and likes to do the Charlie's Angels pose (I got to take my pic with her and her friend in that pose). Now, why is Alexandra's frien important? Well, Deb is a make up artist from New Zealand who just happens to be working on the Lord of the Rings project filming down there. WAY COOL! My favorite guest for the weekend though, was Greg Keyes. Why? Because he knows how to have fun at a con, and how to really let go at a party. When you see the pictures from the above referenced party, you will understand my meaning on this.

The con wound down with the charity auction, which was for Crusade for a Cure. We raised somewhere around $1000, which will shortly be winging it's way to Search for a Cure, the organization we are supporting with our fundraising efforts. We had also had a raffle earlier on in the day, which Tracy, Jerry and Wayne helped us do the drawing for. We gave away some weekend passes to Crusade for a Cure and to the Galaxy Ball, and there were some very happy people leaving the con knowing they were going to get to come to another event later on in the year. You can find info for both of these events at http://www.ulyssesfoundation.org/c4ac/ and http://www.robertbeltran.com/galaxyball/. After all the charity events were done, the load out began. Things ran very smoothly, and a food run was done to Zankou Chicken, a local eatery of Armenian styled chicken that has become a bit of an addiction for many of the regular con attendees here. The dead dog party followed, and after the fruit sculpture finally spit out the apple and pulled the carrots from her shirt, a massage chain started. After a few hours, the party moved upstairs, at which point, I crashed big time. I have no idea when people finally dragged themselves off to bed, I just didn't have the stamina for the final night.

So, that is the story of the long weekend known as Agamemcon. I plan to do it again in September at Crusade for a Cure, and I hope that some of you will decide that not only is the cause noble, but that there might be some fun attached as well.

--


SheVaCon

Date: 4/12/00 1:04:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time From: JediMistressDrgn I went to this small, primarily gaming convention in Roanoke, Virginia area on Saturday only. My husband went with me. We had decided long ago to go at least on Saturdasy cause Peter Woodward was to be there. Later, because of ImagineCon 2000 having a table there and since being staff. . . Anyway ran into Gleda, an old friend from Shore leave and Novacons and we went to see Peter at his table and got our autographs and talked to him. Since I too do acting for a living he and I chatted alot. Can't wait to see him in The Patriot this June! Later on I listened to him during a panel he gave. the man is so, so....well, I'm sure you get it! LOL. He also asked about ImagineCon and i got John and Dennis to talk to him, so maybe, he might show up at ImagineCon! We'll see then. And that's all for this report (except for Peter and the masquerade not much went on this con.

Pam

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Best of Both Worlds
by Sonny Whitelaw (sonny@webspin.org)

Best of Both Worlds (BOBW) in Sydney, is run by Adele and Brian Carr, 2-3 times annually. Itıs a rather daunting task on numerous levels, not the least of which involves flying in guest speakers from other countries, accommodating them and acting as host and hostess during their stay in Sydney, whilst simultaneously organizing the convention itself. The population of Australia is small and with numerous competitive sci fi conventions offered in Sydney during the first half of 2000, numbers for this con were low. The upside, of course, was a friendly and intimate atmosphere second to none.

The guest speakers for this BOBW8, March 10-12 were Richard Biggs, Robin Atkin Downes and Stephen Austin (Pakı Maı Ra Ambassador).

Technically, the convention began on Friday night with a cocktail party. I say technically because in the past, after the conventions, Adele and Brian treat their wonderfully dedicated helpers and guest speakers to a Sydney Harbor cruise. This by way of thanks to the helpers, who pay for convention tickets, but rarely manage to see all the guest speakerıs talk. Itıs a delightful way for the assistants to spend quality time with the actors, while the guests in turn enjoy one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. Due to Rick Biggsı flight connections to the UK, the post-con Monday cruise was brought forward to Friday.

I have an indelible image of looking through the cocktail lounge to the far side of the foyer, and seeing four bright red faces; Arthur and Wayne, two of Adele and Brianıs assistants, Brian himself and Stephen Austin (Pakı Maı Ra Ambassador) shining like beacons in the night. Those red faces in the photos are the result of sunburn, not over-indulgence!

Probably the most unusual feature of BOBW conventions, is the easy, friendly, one-on-one access to guest speakers. Adele and Brian made a point of taking Rick, Robin and his lady Valerie, and Stephen, from group to group, introducing everyone. How on earth Adele remembers everyoneıs names is an act of sheer intellectual magic, but itıs part of what makes these conventions unique. Youıre instantly adopted into Adeleıs wide family of sci fi friends. No one is ever left to feel alone in a crowd of strangers, and everyone has the opportunity to strike up a conversation with the guest speakers. The cocktail party soon took on the comfortable feel of old friends, even though many had never met before, setting the tone for the entire weekend convention.

I had to admire Robin Atkin Downes and his lady, Valerie Morehouse. Theyıd arrived in Australia on Thursday, did the Harbor Cruise Friday, walked back through the city to the hotel, and then attended the cocktail party a few hours later. They were bound to be jet lagged, but made sure everyone who wanted to chat had the opportunity to do so.

Replete with wine and hors dıoeuvres, at around 10.30pm, a handful of us retired to the downstairs bar for coffee. Stephen Austin gamely joined in, graciously laughing at our very bad jokes and rewarding us with hilarious anecdotes.

I should mention here that although Stephen Austin was not one of the principal cast, he was a regular for four years as the Pakı Maı Ra Ambassador and occasionally, a human. Stephen provided a wonderful insight into the B5 world. More to the point, in addition to being an actor, Stephen is a stand up comedian and thus, a superb entertainer who recants B5 tales with a unique flare.

On Saturday, BOBW took over the first floor (second floor to Americans) of the hotel. Although BOBW helpers were in the dealerıs room to sell photos for the afternoon autograph sessions, Rick, Robin and Stephen made a point of being there more or less continuously throughout both days, autographing and chatting with anyone who dropped by. I have no idea how itıs done elsewhere and certainly the small size of the Australian conventions as a whole allows for an easygoing atmosphere, but I have never heard of conventions where the actors were so readily accessible, all weekend. Anyone taking a casual peek in the dealerıs room would see Rick Biggs and Robin Atkin Downes before anyone else. Many attendees double take at that, then looked again. Yep, they were real, not cardboard props, with Rick flashing a big smile and waving them in to come say hello. Just as people absorbed the shock of seeing *Dr, Franklin* and *Byron* casually sitting near the entrance, playing on the carpeted floor a few feet away, or walking around, leash in hand, was the (albeit sans suit) Pakı Maı Ra Ambassador with a Labrador puppy. (The puppy belonged to the Guide Dogs for the Blind, an Australian charity organisation). One of the attendees commented that it was more like being invited into a living room decorated with sci fi memorabilia and three real, live, very approachable, B5 personalities than any con theyıd ever attended, anywhere. That atmosphere continued throughout the entire weekend. Certainly security guards were around, but they were unobtrusive, friendly and helpful, there to prevent problems, not to prevent people enjoying themselves.

Ten a.m. and the first speaker was Stephen Austin, actor ­ and comedian. He spent an hour regaling us with some sidesplitting anecdotes, a great introduction to the rest of the day. Certainly, the big attraction of conventions is the primary actors and JMS. However, if youıre ever ambivalent about going to a con, and see Stephen listed, or if youıre unsure whether to attend one of his panels or not, donıt hesitate; heıs a *lot* of fun and a drawcard in his own right. Iım not going to repeat anecdotes and practical jokes here, but over the two days, he gave us a unique perspective into the B5 world through the eyes (and tongue through the eyehole ofŠ) the Pakı Maı Ra Ambassador and other aliens. Next time you see him, ask him about the time Bruce and Jerryıs cars were the accidentally spray painted, or Richard Biggıs stuntman aspirations.. "and the practical jokes between he and Claudia, or why it was important to retain a verrry good relationship with the puppeteer who manipulated the servomotors in his suit".!

Listening to Stephen talk about the days he attended Star Trek conventions as a fan, and now finding himself on the other side of the fence, and his reaction to seeing people like Michael York working on the set, puts a wonderful perspective on things. It also highlights the genuinely humble nature of these guys and their appreciation for ongoing conventions and fandom.

Between Stephenıs talk and lunch, a couple of tapes of Babylon Park were shown. Iıve never seen South Park so the humor was lost on me, but those who knew it said they were a very clever, very funny medley of the two shows. Both tapes were later auctioned off for charity.

With Robinıs talk scheduled immediately after lunch, rather than take a break to eat, he was happy to sit and chat to people. I offered to organize sandwiches for he and his lady, Valerie, Brian and Adele, then returned to my room to make a call. Now I would have preferred this incident to fade into oblivion, but it didnıt, so, to cut a boring story short, an hour and a half later, the lift mechanics jimmied open the doors and released me. As the duty manager groveled *are you alrightıs?*, apologizing for me missing Robinıs talk, getting stuck in their crummy 20 year old lift etc. etc., I demanded the mechanic remain in the hotel until I finally reached the first floor.

Being around these guys the past few days, a friendly banter had been established, so the *last* person I needed to see when the lift doors opened was the resident comic, Stephen Austin. Stephen had accumulated enough Sydney mishaps to keep him going at the Comedy Shop for weeks. He also had me pegged, so when the lift doors opened and he saw me, he curled up over himself and laughed his head off.

Adele came rushing across, full of concern. I glared at Stephen and, gathering what little dignity I could still muster, went and quietly apologized to Valerie for her and Robinıs lunches being late, then caught the last five minutes of Robinıs talk. Valerie is a very sweet lady who waved it off and said it was fine, for they had, in fact, eaten.

Five minutes later, Rick Biggs walked by with a mischievous, but slightly concerned expression on his face and says, *Hey, I heard.* *Not one word from you!* I interrupted, *Not. One. Word!* In the background, Stephen is still sniggering. A few minutes after Robin finished, he and Valerie came striding back, concern written all over their faces. Someone must have told them what happened and they asked me if I was really okay. At least *some* people showed concern for my welfare I mean, do not, repeat do *not* draw attention to yourself at these cons as you will find things like a photo of self pinned to an out of service lift with a sign saying *Sonny Memorial Lift* tagged to it - much to the consternation of the hotel manager. And an autographed photo from a certain actor (who shall not be named) with *To Sonny ­ stay away from lifts*

Assorted items were auctioned for charity, including the premier edition of Starlog signed waaaay back when by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (okay, I succumbed and now have to figure what Iım gonna do with it, ). At the finish of the auction, Richard Biggs came up and began with a huge thank you to Adele and Brian.

Every actor, Richard said, is grateful to the organizers of sci fi conventions. However when the B5 actors get together and talk about the various cons, one name stands as exceptional, Adele Carr, for she has taken them all into her heart. I had the same impression from Bruce last year and Rick reconfirmed it in the minds of everyone there. So, he brought her up on stage and presented her with a gift that she could choose to accept, or have auctioned. Adele, chose to have it auctioned.

The gift was a metal bound, *very* limited edition TNT B5 daily planner. Because of their affection for Adele, Rick had managed to get most of the cast, including Andreas, to sign the photos featured throughout. He further offered to get the remaining photos signed, then send the planner back to the successful bidder.

Bids reached $1,000 and yes, I was on the verge. Then Arthur, one of Adeleıs wonderful assistants sitting beside me, bid $1,100. Arthur had been very kind to me throughout and I would not bid against him. It was a real pleasure to see the look on his face when he won.

Rick Biggs is a very animated presenter and has some great anecdotes, not just about B5, but his life and his family. For an Australian audience who have virtually no internet contact with the B5 world, Rick also related his classic story of the differences between soap opera fans and sci fi fans. Iıve heard this before, but seeing it acted out by Rick was a treat. Again, because of the small numbers, it was easy for him to get involved with the audience, even insisting on answering someoneıs cell phone when it rang (Unfortunately the person opted to leave ). He explained how the offer to do a part in Crusade came through on his honeymoon, and the slightly weird deja vu, yet totally different feel, working on the Crusade set. Just as an aside to that, I had asked Rick earlier how the advent of so many television stations affected him as an actor. His reply was that it actually opened up a larger range of opportunities, however, because the industry is so advertising driven, the number of quality television shows, and the budget for shows, is certainly dropping at a time when overall costs are skyrocketing. The net result is actors being paid much less. But rather than being down about it, Rickıs attitude is, well, he likes to work and better a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing. At any one time, 90% of actorıs guild members are unemployed - a pretty frightening statistic. We, as an audience, get to see the hype and glamour, but reality is, of course, a great deal less glamorous.

Over two days of talks we learned about his work since B5, on Any Day Now and an (unfortunately failed) casting for a new sci fi pilot called (I think) Day One, to be shot in Sydney at Fox studios. Rickıs hair has a tinge of gray throughout. The reason? Because the role required an older male! With any luck the other two actors might not work out by the time the show is ready to shoot (hey, it happened on B5!) and fingers and toes crossed, we may yet see Rick in another sci fi role.

Following Rickıs talk was the autograph session. Since the guys had made themselves so readily available all day, it was a very easy and rapid session, giving everyone plenty of time to prepare for the banquet that night.

At eight p.m., the guest speakers arrived and we were treated to a great meal. However, prior to this, we were treated to an unexpected delight. Valerie Morehouse, Robinıs lady, is a beautiful, petite brunette who is not only an actress, but also superb opera singer. As an overture to dinner, Valerie sang for us an aria.

You did not have to be a lover of opera to appreciate her magnificent voice. I think stunned and awed pretty much summed up the look on everyoneıs faces by the end. Truly, an impressive and all too brief performance.

After dinner, Rick Biggs immediately hit the dance floor and more or less stayed there for the next few hours. Donıt be mistaken in thinking this was a trendy disco setting. It was just a bunch of ordinary, everyday people having a good time. And Rick made a point of involving * everyone* in the fun, whether they were twenty - or sixty. He also got up to a few other pranks, much to the ladiesı stunned delight, doing something that certainly rated a first for a sci fi convention.

Sunday followed the same pattern as the day before, except Robin was first up that morning, so I took the stairs. I had the feeling from the audience they were surprised at Robinıs easygoing, approachable manner. The Pakı Maı Ra Ambassador was so alien, no one had any pre-conceptions about Stephen Austin. Dr. Franklinıs personality was well rounded enough to see a little of Rick Biggs come through (the lighthearted side!) and thus it was no real surprised to see a vibrant, entertaining personality in real life ­ and Rick had been to a BOBW convention before. But with Byron, we only ever saw an angst filled, driven, pacifist martyr. It was fascinating to me to watch the changing expressions on peopleıs faces as they realized Robin is a normal, everyday, straightforward sort of guy.

Robin explained how JMS gave him very little to go on, not wanting to give away what was planned for Byronıs character, other than the obvious allusion to Lord Byron. To interpret and fill out Byronıs character, Robin developed a background, including the idea that Byron had been forced to undertake or witness some incredible wrongdoing. When Robin discovered the nature of this relationship with Bester, he was gratified to learn his thoughts closely paralleled JMSıs conceptualization.

Robin related some great anecdotes and insights, discussing his scenes with Lyta, especially the *you are my willow* and the love scene, with easygoing humor. Especially weird was staring at Lytaıs black eyes, red-rimmed with tears running down her face (her reaction to the uncomfortable contact lenses) and fifty extras staring at them through this very thin curtain. Very, *very* weird!

He loved working with Walter Koenig, specifically commenting on the scene where Bester runs his hand over Byronıs shoulder. Walter used a very soft, almost foppish, wet fish sort of caress which, Robin said, was absolutely perfect for eliciting a genuine expression of repugnance. As they have all said at different times, actors love to have something they can get their teeth into. For Robin, working off another good actor is a delight, for it draws out the best in him, like the surreal love scene with Lyta, or physical and mental abhorrence of Bester.

Stephen and Rick once again did one-hour sessions. Rick also pulled the winning tickets for a raffle. First and second prize winners were in the audience, and Rick telephoned the third prizewinner at home. With a little audience participation, he gave her something to talk about to friends for the next six months!

Again, because of the actorıs accessibility during the day, autograph lines were short, giving everyone time to get ready for the final wrap party.

Very much like the cocktail party on Friday night, the real capstone was Rick and Robin treating us to a wonderful series of B5 cast member impersonations. With everyone now comfortably at ease rather than slightly awed at Rick, Robin, Stephen and Valerieıs company, it was the perfect ending to a convention weekend long to be remembered by all who came.

Sonny

** For photos of the convention, visit http://www.webspin.org/bobw8/bobw8.htm.

VisionCon 2000 by Francesca Angelesco

Michael O'Hare was one of the main guests for this sci-fi/fantasy convention. Fans had the opportunity to meet Michael on both days at his scheduled morning autograph sessions and to attend his talks each day. (See report at http://www.crosswinds.net/~moh) On Saturday afternoon he thrilled fans with an unscheduled appearance at the Bab 5 Fan Club table to chat briefly and to pose for photos. The club had a large "Welcome Michael" banner above their table with photos of the actor.

Another Bab 5 actor attending Visioncon was Bob Krimmer who played Emperor Cartegia. Bob sat and signed autographs all day on Saturday and Sunday taking time to talk with each fan getting to know them and to pose for photos. One of the highlights of this convention was getting to know this very open and sincere actor.

On Saturday evening fans were treated to all five seasons of Blooper reels which Sandy had brought with her. It was worth attending the convention just to see these priceless film clips. Thank you Sandy!

Gallifrey

Panel Notes (Part 1)
by Cathy (kailin@ibm.net>

OK, I took notes on JMS's panel, and the format I followed was simply I'd write the queston being asked, and the answer given, and it is all numbered (32 questions, if I got everything). Anyhow, some of this is shortened from what the real discussion was like, as my notes are more like college notes (being the student that I am) and are therefore just highlights. Anyhow, enjoy the humor and wit that can be JMS, as it is not me adding to it. BTW, I was medicated on cold medicine, so I was a bit out of it at the beginning of the panel, but I got better as it went along. And right off the bat, there isn't a whole lot he is working on now that isn't already known.

1. Not a question. JMS says he is now enjoying the boomerang affect of B5. He created it, sent it out to be seen, and now it is entering the common lexicon. One Ph.D thesis on sig files sites B5 as a very big source of sig files. He also noted that a story in the New York Times (I think that was the newspaper quoted) discussed the loss of signal from the Mars Polar lander. It questioned what happened to it. Did it crash, did it fall off a cliff, was it taken by the Vorlons? Lot's of laughter when he said this.

2. JMS decided to try something new. He said that we could ask questions to various B5 characters, and he would answer in their voice, sans accents. The first question of this type was based on the Amazing Stories G'Kar and Lyta story, What did G'Kar think of Lyta and what did he find out about her? JMS and G'Kar answer that she's lost, on the inside, and doesn't realize the answer to her rage is inside as well (or something Zen like that).

3. What is the role of a writer? JMS- Sociopolitical issues should be pointed to, as well as entertainment value. He mentioned the CBS interview regarding what will happen in the next millenium, and how odd he thought it was that they thought he would know.

4. Will we see a resolution to Crusade, in any medium? JMS- that is a future question, he doesn't know, depends on fate.

5. Question to Rebo- What's his favorite film? "The Larabie Riots" a film about the riots on Mars. (remember, this is in character, there was also discussion about a fish of some sort, don't ask.).

6. To Mr. Bester - What do you want? "I want you in a concentration camp."

7. To Londo - What is your opinion on the TNT handling of B5 and Crusade? "on my world, we have such individuals, we execute them. When Vir asked me why this happens, I simply said 'they're human, that explains everything'."

8. When JMS was asked if he wanted to do a feature film - He would love to do one, but he wants to take time, wait for the right moment, with the right funding, take time to do it right, he wants it to be perfect, not rushed.

9. to Delenn - Can I get a job on Minbar as the Earth representative if Bush wins? Delenn diplomatically declined to comment on Earth politics.

10. Hypothetical question, Delenn asking Sheriden - Why didn't he ever mention the keeper on Londo. Sheriden anwers, if I tell, will it screw up the future as seen, when did the keeper show up, without these answers, would the knowledge have done good or harm?

11. What is the status of "World on Fire"? (the Chris Carter project that fell through). He will try and pitch it again this summer to other networks and the like.

12. What was Chris Carter's reaction to "The Strangers Down the Street"? he never mentioned it too him.

OK, I have to go to school now, so I will finish the rest later.
Kailin

Sci-Fi Cruise
Report by Janice Scott-Reeder (druid.gkar@thescifivine.com)

My cruise got off to an omnious start as I somehow walked right by my new room mate at Miami International Airport. We managed to get connected at the Howard Johnson's. I was so glad to see they were preparing for the next hurricane. They can sand bag the doors with the pillows and board up the windows with the mattress. Add no air conditioning in the restaurant and bar, and I almost passed out at dinner and breakfast. Carrie and Mark didn't make the Bon Voyage party (smart people), but Wendy Padbury and her husband, Simon, and John and Jenny Levene kept us entertained. We unofficially held the party in the lobby where the air was working. A couple drove all the way from Chicago to Miami just to see their favorite Dr. Who stars and then - drove right back! Now that's dedication! This is Wendy's last official appearance. After what I did to Simon, you'll probably not see him either, but more about that later. Getting boarded was an exercise in patience and finding the longest distance between two points. My only comment upon seeing the ship was that I thought it would be larger, but I've said that, a lot. An aircraft carrier, it wasn't. We really didn't all manage to meet up until the first dinner on the ship. For some reason the ship seated us at two small tables and one large table. Every dinner we rotated celebrities. We had one premeeting but with everyone still trying to get used to the maze they created in the ship, it took a while to get us all together.

Our first event was the Island tour and stingray swim on Grand Cayman Island. I won't discuss the tour except to say we now know where every hotel is on Grand Cayman Island, one house for sale and two landmarks, but we couldn't understand a word the tour guide was saying and English is his first language. But, we did manage to go to Hell in a bus, in more than one way.

We were dropped off at the Turtle farm, in the snack bar, which is where most tours end. We all thought it was a little evil to be serving turtle soup in the snack bar of a turtle farm. I guess if you don't perform, you get eaten, there. Finally we found the turtles and they even let us take them out and pose with them, the little ones that is. I proved my ability to catch turtles and hand them to people who really didn't want to touch them. Yes, even that early in cruise I was torturing Englishmen. If you don't know how to hold a turtle, they can really kick you. If you drop them, they drown you, out of spite. Aside from that, they are nice creatures. As usual with this tour, we had no time in the gift shop. I managed a few cards.

Finally we made it to the barge that was taking us to the sandbar. Skip the tour and go there right off! You must remember that the night before they had delivered a beach towel to our room and threatened to charge us $22.00 if we lost it. Everyone had been in their bathing suits, under their clothes, lugging this towel around day, except me. I wouldn't pay $22.00 for that towel new! Thus, I wrapped the towel around me, pinned it and wore it as a skirt. They were not amused. I told them I had never lost outerwear. I don't think they have caught that yet.

Once on the barge or whatever they were calling it, we had a quick lesson in what we could buy and where the snorkel equipment was. Then we started the long trek to the sandbar. They also assured us the rays were tame and didn't have teeth. If we fed them, they would be nice. Yeah, and it cures pimples, too. We anchored and everyone ran for the exit. We couldn't get Carrie and Wendy in the water. They stayed up on the boat and laughed at everyone else, taking pictures, probably for blackmail. Mark dove right in. One of the stingrays took a liking to him and promptly goosed him. That guy can jump! In all fairness, I spent a lot of time underwater, when I wasn't drowning from leaky equipment, and those rays have something unnatural for the guys. They never goose a woman. I won't say I'm making it a habit to torture Englishmen, but it is just so much darn fun! I don't know if Simon has forgiven me, but next time I say, "here!" you can bet he won't hold his hand out. I don't have a problem handling squid. I was just trying to be nice and give everyone one. Boy, John sure can swim backwards, fast! I learned to pick up the stingrays watching the guide. I chose slightly larger ones, like over three feet in diameter. I tried to hand one to John and he swam backwards, again. The English can swim forwards, can't they? Anyway, his wife, Jenny, petted it.

Finally the rays got even with me for teasing them with the food. One got me behind the knees and dropped me and its partner went over me, pinning me to the ocean floor. Without that essential $1.99 check valve even the cheapest snorkel has here, they almost drowned me. We made up later. I can't quite describe the feeling of having an animal almost as big as you are wrap its "wings" (they are disk shaped and all muscle) around your body and hold you for a moment, weightless. Their underside feels like sueded velvet. It is almost a completely spiritual and utterly sensual experience at once. It is beautiful ballet done weightless with sea angels. I can't wait to do it again, with better equipment so I don't drown. They can bite. They bit two people for no apparent reason. So, what was Carrie really doing? She was on the boat, laughing herself silly. It seems most everyone else was trying to get the ray's attention and as soon as the ray headed for them, they would scream and try to run. You don't run in salt water. Finally they made us leave by threatening to leave us. Now, we were dripping wet for the trip back. Once in town, Elsa wanted a rum cake for presents. We had seen a new bakery a block away and ran down to it because we thought they were loading the last launch. Once in the bakery, I discovered the free sample table. It was three and we ate really early that morning. I was starving. Around four samples later, I figured out I was getting a healthy dose of rum with my lunch and staggered back to the pier. Getting back to the ship was trip and a half. In the fine print, the very fine print, it had said to have a picture ID and your ship's ID. No one read that. They had stamped us with some invisible ink on the way out and we figured they would just check our hands. Fortunately I always carry my passport. I didn't realize they had such a terrible problem with illegal Cayman Island refugees. After that endless process, they rechecked our hands on the ship with a blacklight. I guess it's better than a gieger counter. Our next big outing was Chichen Itza. The first thing that happened was another ship broke down in our parking place or whatever you put ships in. You would think they had more than one spot, but no. We had to try to anchor and be ferried ashore. Unfortunately, the seas were very high and pushing the ship into a sandbar as they offloaded us into a Mexican ferry. I kept my mouth shut but I was thinking of every ferry boat accident in the world as they piled us in it, shoulder to shoulder. We made it to the pier. Carrie has a terrible phone habit we couldn't break her of. She has to check her answering machine at every port! She found a phone! Finally we found a bus and except for one extra person, the thirteen of us had the bus all to ourselves and that person will never travel with a science fiction tour again. It is a three hour trip each way over Mexican roads. Fortunately the bus had seat belts. Our tour guide was 3/4 Mayan and tried to teach us some Mayan history. It was nice to belong to an Ethic group that wasn't being blamed for the extinction of a civilization for once. How did the trip go? Well, all I can really print is....on the way back, the bus was strewn with clothing, the windows were all fogged up and the bus driver finally put an X or R rated video on to quiet us down. Mark thought it was G-rated but he is Dutch. No one came back in the same clothes they started with and I ended up in some Mexican's dress with no underwear. My room mate said she was so shocked that Mark had his hands all over my jacket with Carrie standing right there, but Elsa is from the Midwest. Suddenly, the guide announced it was two minutes to the pier, my how times flies when you are having fun, and we had to run through the bus trying to find our clothes. Since I was in the back of the bus, I had to gather everything from under the seats everyone missed and get Peter off the bus. It's a good thing I didn't have to get rough with him. My arms were full and I had my passport in my mouth with my cruise card. The guards kept looking at the picture ID's and us and back again. You know they were wondering what had happened to us, but they didn't ask. I was refusing to speak English and my mouth was full, anyway. John was trying to convince them he was a poor Mexican and wanted to be taken to England right away. Point to note: before teasing the security guards in Mexico, make sure they are unarmed. Our last day together was spent watching videos. Dan had assembled thirty six hours of video for us, but the cruise line had changed the rules about what could be played over the in ship system and we ended up with a few hours and a VCR. John showed us his award winning video and all I can say is, someone should hire that man as producer: now!!! Both John and Carrie have excellent singing voices. It was a really bad week for cameras so we are all sharing photos from the remaining working cameras and after all, we all got so close on the trip to Chichen Itza to see the pyramids, at least the guide said there were pyramids there.

One last note to Peter Woodward from the B-5 and Crusade fan contingency on the Cruise:
First you missed the hot tub party at the last con due to work. Now you missed a cruise with some of the best looking female fans around, going to Hell in the Cayman Islands, a really great swim with some very friendly wildlife (and the sting rays were nice, too.), and a really hot time in Mexico due to work. Zoe and I feel so bad about it, that we are thinking of chipping in and buying you a beeper. But, you'll have to get your own cell phone to call yourself, because we can't afford the kind of phone bills you'd run up while we are saving for the next cruise to Mexico. Well, it's almost happy hour and I need to stop at Denny's and pick up a Moon over My Hammy as bait before going to the pub and catching a new Englishman to torture, I mean date....I really meant date...Hey, come back here. Where did I put the tranquillizer to dip those darts in????

Janice Scott-Reeder

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
by Robert Elordieta (robe@i-o.net.au)

On Saturday, October 23rd and Sunday, October 24th there was a Babylon 5 Convention in Sydney, Australia. It was organized by Best of Both Worlds.

I had only 3 days off, so I drove up there. It took me 11 hours. I left on Saturday morning, which meant I only went to the convention on Sunday. I had a great time!

The convention was held at The Sebel of Sydney.

The guests of honour were Bruce Boxleitner (Captain/President Sheridan in Babylon 5), Majean Holden (Doctor Sarah Chambers in Crusade), Sandy Bruckner (Editor of The Zocalo, a fan newsletter for the US Official Babylon 5 fan club) and Richard Biggs (Doctor Stephen Franklin in Babylon 5). Richard couldn't make it in the end because his wife had a baby.

First up was Majean Holden. She showed a quick video of the movies and tv work she has done at the beginning and end of her talk. She was very nice and friendly. Fans asked about her work in Crusade and other work she has done in movies and tv. She is very good at martial arts and toting a gun. She is married and her husband comes from Perth, Western Australia. She loves SF movies like Dark City, The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Starship Troopers, etc. She loves Australia and would love to do a movie in Australia. She has written a script and wants to make it into a movie. In the future she wants to produce and direct. She wants to live in Australia.

Next up was Sandy Bruckner. She showed us the blooper reels of Babylon 5. They were really funny! There was a bit of swearing when the actor or actress messed up their lines! Does anyone remember the season 4 episode when Captain Sheridan was being tortured by President Clark's man, and he was restrained to the chair. Bruce started to imitate the main star in The Sling Blade. Also Jerry Doyle and Richard Biggs burst into the room and said druggie, druggie, druggie. There was one where JMS was on a stretcher being wheeled down to the psycho ward; Jeff Conaway kissing Claudia Christen on the cheek; Bill Mumy given a toy robot from the original Lost In Space saying Danger, Danger, Will Robinson; Londo and G'Kar doing an infomercial, selling the Book of G'Kar. After the blooper reels Sandy decided to do a Oprah segment where she would ask the audience questions and get their opinions. The questions she asked were which character changed the most in B5, what was our favourite episode of B5, what was our least favourite episode of B5. I told Sandy that War Without End Parts 1 and 2 was my favourite episode. Sandy also manages Michael O'Hare's fan club. One of her favourite movies is Raiders of the Lost Ark. She also runs a new web site called The Zocalo Today.

Next there was a talk from a person from the New South Wales Guide Dog Association, in Australia. She told us what they did and that they rely on the public for donations. They don't get government assistance.

We then had lunch. After lunch they showed the tv movie A Call To Arms while the guests of honour were signing autographs. The movie is great, great special effects. I got autographs from all of the guests, Bruce and Majean signed my photographs I bought. Majean even signed my Crusade t-shirt that I had bought.

After the screening of the movie there was an auction. They had stuff from Babylon 5, Star Trek, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, etc. There was some spirited biding at times. Some items were passed in because they didn't get to the reserve price.

Bruce was really nice when he decided to auction off his Babylon 5 jacket. It sold for $3 300 Australian. It was amazing how high that went. It was between Sandy Bruckner and a fan in the end. The fan eventually won. Bruce auctioned his B5 jacket for charity. The charity was the New South Wales Guide Dog Association, in Australia.

Lastly Bruce Boxleitner came on. He got a large applause. Fans asked about his role in space, Babylon 5, his SF book which he wrote. He did the Sling Blade imitation for the fans. I asked Bruce a question too. I said, "Claudia was in Melbourne in June and she described you as a cowboy, a man's man, All American, eats red meat, pro guns, how would you describe her?". He paused while the fans cheered and then answered my question. Bruce had nothing but praise to say about Claudia Christen.

We then had the closing ceremony where the guests of honour and organizers came on stage.

After that there was a BBQ event for people who had paid. It consisted of waiters going around with snack foods with fans helping themselves to the food. There was small hamburgers, chicken sausage rolls, pizza, fish, toasted ham sandwiches, etc. Fans and guests mingled and talked. I got my photo taken with Majean, then Sandy, and lastly with Bruce. It finished at 8:00pm. [you can see Robert with Marjean and Bruce over in the photo gallery!]

I left Sydney on Monday morning to go back home.

Regards,
Robert :-)


LOSCON, Los Angeles, CA

First off, Loscon was a blast. This was the 26th year for the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society to host this event, and it is always great fun. Aside from all the sci-fi stuff, there was a lot of peripheral things to do, which I want to make sure gets mentioned upfront so I don't forget. Loscon always hosts a blood drive and raised about 43 or so pints, which is great around holiday time. They also did a canned food drive at the party last night, and a toy drive as well. One unique thing they were doing was a paper crane campaign. This is the origami paper cranes, and the philosophy is that if you fold 1000 cranes, it will help promote world peace, or something like that. So, people could be seen folding paper cranes all weekend long.

On Friday, we were treated to Fiona Avery doing a reading. She doesn't have a lot of stuff in production at the moment, and didn't want to bore people by talking about old stuff, so she chose to do a reading. It was really funny, and we encouraged her to try and publish the story she read to us in some sort of serial format. She did have her three scripts for sale, and she was passing out info on http://www.sff.net, which publishes anthologies. She mentioned was currently working on a book now and is hoping to have it finished by January, so she can go onto something new.

There were lots of parties, and dancing, and ice cream for all on Friday night, and I made sure I hit it all. The evening was started with the ice cream social, a tradition on Friday nights at Loscon. They then started a dance, which lasted until about 2am. Since I am staff for Agamemcon, I had to spend a good deal of time at our party, but I did tour around the other parties as well. Our party theme was Mardi Gras, so during the day, I dressed up as a harlequin, which got lots of attention (it's a toss up as to whether it was the bells, the makeup or the mini-dress). For the actual party, I decided to class it up a bit and put on a nice, green lace dress and a feather mask. Again, this got lots of attention, but I figure it was the mask, people love masks, and this one has peacock feathers on it. We passed out beaded necklaces at our party and served hurricanes and gumbo, which went fast. A large massage party broke out on one of the beds, and then sort of spread throughout the room, which felt nice, I must add. We then decided to tour the other room parties, but not too many of them were very fun. The only decent party was a Centauri party that did not promote a convention or bid, it was just a party. They had games, such as "pin the attribute on Mollari" and "bomb the Narn Homeworld" and a "caption contest" on pictures of Mollari, Vir and others. The Centauri know how to party, and so their party, and our Agamemcon party, were THE places to be at Loscon on Friday.

After touring the parties for a while, we hit the dance downstairs, but it wasn't too terribly busy. We had fun for the time we were there, but it kept getting overrun by some of the teenagers that were staying at the hotel that night. A food run was definitely in order, and so we hit Jack'n'the Box. Didn't get to sleep until well after 2am that night.

Saturday was slow in the morning, so after working the Agamemcon table in the morning, I took a nap. I then got shanghaied into being on a panel. It was called "why don't you fight like a girl?" and was not what you think. The panel consisted of several women who do various forms of martial arts or fencing, and we discussed how women in film and tv in the US are portrayed fighting wrong. It got down to the issues of fight choreography, kinesthetics and mental focus. It was a really great panel, and we decided that we want to do it again at future local cons. So, expect to see this subject on the list at Gallifrey and Agamemcon next year.

After the days activities, we ordered pizza. Once the food was gone, we went to the party that Loscon was promoting. This is one area they need help in. You see, the LASFS people like to think that they are very entertaining, and they really aren't. They tried to put on a skit, but they lost most of the people before the first hour was over. We all took off around 9 to hit the parties, since I still needed to get my brownies to the Agamemcon party. Our theme was the Day of the Dead, and I had two very cute skeletons dressed as bride and groom, to bring to the party. We had lots of mexican style food and drinks, and there was an alter set up for our "dearly departed loved ones" (Captain/President John Sheriden). We watched the Season 5 episode "Day of the Dead", which was fun, and then started dancing. It was my 'World Cup 1998' CD and was infectious enough to get David Allen Brooks dancing. He had stopped by our party, even though he wasn't appearing at the con until the next day. He did a full tour of the room parties, then parked at ours, since we were sort of sponsoring the Crusaders.

My friends and I then decided to tour the other room parties, but chose not to go into most of them. There was one party that I know was still raging at 4am, but we didn't go into it because they were smoking there. The Centauri were still at it on Saturday, so we stopped by there, and I filled my water gun (it was a gift from one of my friends at the con). Anyhow, after dousing many people in many parties, I made the mistake of shooting the sheep. I got circled by Baaaaing sheep, and won't ever mess with herd animals again. Finally ended up at the dance and stayed there for the next two hours or so, dancing my feet off, and having fun doing it. I found a great dance partner, and so there was no need to go anywhere else. I learned how to dance to the Rasputin song, but was told we did the short version. Oh well, I got to dance in the middle and show everyone how high I can kick (being a black belt has some advantages). After the dance closed, we headed up to the room parties, of which many were still raging on. I ended up at the Agamemcon party for two reasons, wanted to retrieve my skeleton bride and groom, and my room was just two doors down. Went to bed at 4am, I'm so stupid.

Sunday morning and the alarm went off at 7:30am. Roomie had to leave early to catch a flight, even though it meant missing JMS and the Crusaders. I went back to sleep for about another hour, but then I had to get up and pack too. I wanted to load up my car before I started on the Agamemcon table at 10am. Carrie, David and Marjean were all at the autograph table when I finally got downstairs. I immediately went over to say hello to the ladies (I had chatted with David the night before at the party) and asked Marjean about Australia. Peter showed up and apologised for being late, even though he really didn't have to. The Loscon staff got them some food, and the Space:Above and Beyond group at the table next to them gave them water (I love the Ready Reserve, they are so much fun to hang with). This day was very crowded with activity, as I had to work the table, the art auction was starting at noon, the same time as the Crusade panel and the Marion Zimmer Bradley tribute, and then JMS was on. I was running around a lot, and can't really give a good timeline for most of what happened in the afternoon. I can say that Marjean must have left early, as she did not stick around for the panel.

Unfortunately, I am really tired and out of energy, and I want to make sure I get correct what went on at the two panels, the Crusaders and JMS. So, I am going to plead exhaustion here, and get back to this topic tomorrow. Until then, rest assured that I had more fun than I can process right now at this con. I will talk with you all tomorrow.

--
Part Two

On Sunday morning, most everyone at the con was feeling the effects of too much partying, so it was a fairly quiet day. I had a lot of things I wanted to get to on Sunday morning, but had to cut it back due to the fact that I am only one person. My friends and I got seats in the panel room for the Crusade cast, then I ran across the hall to the Art Auction to check on my friends over there. I also had to make a Caffeine run for sodas, but no coke, I was most dissappointed at that. Anyhow, I got back into the panel room just after the Crusade cast started taking questions, and sat back for a real decent panel.

Carrie, David and Peter joked around, as normal, but they also answered some questions quite seriously, so that was nice. Peter mentioned how very impressed he is with the Patriot shoot, and shared an interesting little bit of trivia with us. It seems that instead of doing some of the battle scenes using CGI to simulate maimed soldiers, they contacted SAG and hired as many disabled actors as they could find. So, when you see a soldier with his arm blown off, it won't be a CGI injury, it will be an actor who really doesn't have an arm. I rather like the realism that Devlin and Emmerich attempt, so this didn't surprise me in the least. Peter seems to be really having a lot of fun on this movie shoot, and said the movie should be out next July 4 holiday period, which makes sense.

David occasionally quizzed the audience, which was always funny, somehow. He wanted to know if people preferred character or plot, and said that on the east coast it was character, but at Loscon it turned out to be mostly both. Hmmm, I guess we west coasters just can't make up our minds. There was a really good question about how the cast have reacted to the fans of the show, and each of the cast members actually gave a really serious answer.

David said that he had come by the hotel the night before and visited several of the room parties. His comment was that while many people recognized him and said hello, for the most part, they were all respectful of his privacy and gave him his space. Since most actors only see the fans from the stage or at an autograph table, he thought this was a great way to really see them as people.

Peter said that while on occaision, some fans can be a bit hard to take (the preoccupation with minute details of a show that has been long off the air), the same people can turn around and start talking about quantum physics or relativity, or some such other subject. He likes the diversity of science fiction fans, and said that we should all keep that diversity. He also said that he prefers people who have passion, even if it isn't shared by him, that without passion, a person can be very boring indeed.

Carrie agreed with both comments and just said that she really appreciated the fans and that it was just so special the support that we constantly show for them. Remember, I am paraphrasing, I didn't write this stuff down, so it may come out slightly wrong, but I don't think so. I may end up putting the words of one person in another's mouth, wouldn't that be funny.

Peter also got some questions about his fight arranging and work on stage. He said that he wasn't really doing any of that in the States because he wants to concentrate on acting and writing. This is when he mentioned again the documentary series he will be doing on personal weapons.

When the panel was over, I had to go check in the art auction room again for our friends. One had just bought her last peice, but another friend ended up having to stay. So, we let him know how to find us in the panel room, and let him know that it was OK for him to walk in during JMS' panel. He was afraid that he couldn't come in after it started, he's new to the world of B5 and JMS. In fact, this was one thing that was sort of cool, the fact that someone new to the whole B5 universe was still intrigued enough to attend the panel.

JMS' panel started with the Crusade Wars claymation thing, which was funny, I hadn't seen the whole thing all the way through yet. JMS then finally set the record straight on the whole Chris Carter situation, which is now going to be synopsized by me. JMS and Chris got together and JMS presented Chris with an idea that both of them really liked. They pitched it to CBS, I believe, and were working out the details with Fox. I'm a bit sketchy as to the involvement of both studios, but I think one was a production thing, and one was an airing deal, or something. Maybe now that he told us all about this, he will post it up on rastb5.mod, or someplace like that. Anyhow, just a day or so shy of the deal being signed, Harsh Realm was cancelled. Fox's reasoning was that it wasn't up to par with Chris's previous work because it wasn't 100% Chris's work, it was an idea brought to him by someone else that he had developed. Fox said that Chris's next project would be 100% Chris, which left JMS' project with him out in the cold, so no deal. Now, JMS still wants to do this project, and is shopping around to others now, or at least, I think he is. It's called something like "The World is Burning" or "The World is on Fire", something like that, can't remember exactly now, how silly is that. Anyhow, he seems to really want to do that.

I asked him about what story he might do next for Amazing Stories, and he said it would probably be about the new crew of Babylon 5. I am not sure if he meant the Season 5 crew, or who ever was on it before Sleeping in Light. He also mentioned that there would be some new stories in the B5 magazine, as well as the timeline that is coming out now in the current issue.

Someone asked about what JMS thought was good about his relationship with the fans, or with the making of B5, etc, and the answer nearly brought tears to my eyes. He said that he has gotten on several occasions a note from someone that said they watched B5 with their dying friend, who was given encouragement from the show. Or that someone had taped all of G'Kar's speeches and listened to them over and over in their hospital bed. Or that someone watched the show with their parents and their children, all together. Stuff like that. He said that just one note like this would have made the work to bring B5 to us worth it, but to get it repeatedly really made is special. He just loves the fact that the show actually touched people, which was what it was supposed to do. He also liked the fact that it could bring diverse people together. The fact that online groups have people from all over the world on them was special to him as well. So, it is the personal stuff that made the show so special to him.

Someone also asked about how he did character development. They wanted to know if he had the characteristics of the Narn and Centauri set up first, or if he had G'Kar and Londo first, then developed their homeworld characteristics. JMS said that he had the people first, then started coming up with behaviors for them, then compared them to historical context, to help develop overall characteristics for the people, and then from there, he was able to give them motivations and histories and that the plots just followed suit.

Whenever the Crusade subject came up, he did not just discount it. He did seem to be saying that he didn't think it would be able to be revived, but that stranger things have happened (Star Trek being the prime example). He also said that he would never get in the way of anyone from expressing their passion, so he did not ask the fans to stop trying. I guess he has accepted the fact that many of us are going to keep trying, and since that doesn't really hurt anyone, why not just go with the flow. It was at this time that both Peter and David walked into the hall. JMS called each one up on stage, and they just said that they really enjoyed working with JMS and Babylonian Productions. JMS teased Peter with one of the sheep in the audience, which seems to have confused some of you. There were people with sheeps ears and furry vests on throughout the convention. The rest is just sort of something you would have to be there to witness to understand. Anyhow, both Peter and David thanked JMS for such a wonderful working environment, then left the stage to JMS.

OK, that is about as much as I can remember about the panel for both JMS and Crusade, I can't think of anything else at the moment. JMS didn't stick around, like usual, so I went back over to the art auction to pick up some artwork for a friend of mine who was absent on Sunday. The last really fun thing I did was got into a gun fight with some of the Dangerous Visions dealers. What does that mean? Well, DV is a sci-fi bookstore in the Valley, and while making last rounds in the dealers room, I ran into two of the dealers having a shoot out with little toy guns. They were trying to recreate some cool movie stunts, so I jumped in on that. I showed them the proper technique to do a double fisted, jump through the air and roll on the ground gun fight, never missing your target. In other words, it was a real John Woo moment. So, at 3:30pm on the Sunday afternoon of the con, you could walk into the dealers room and see three people rolling around on the ground, or flying through the air, shooting each other with little spark guns. Most silly way to end a con, but it worked for me.

Before leaving, I had to say good bye to the Space: Above and Beyond crew, who will be at Agamemcon 4 celebrating their 5th anniversary as a group. I also had to make sure I said goodbye to the Oasis group, who were at the table next to us. It was really cool getting to talk with Dr. Jim Busby, who works on the Internation Space Station. He also was a consultant on HBO's From the Earth to the Moon series, so he told me some of the behind the scenes stuff. All in all, this was one great weekend of a con, I had a blast. I can't believe I used to just show up for one day to cons like this, and always left before any of the evening entertainment started. You miss half the con that way.

OK, that's my Loscon report, in two parts. Hope you liked it.

Peace, Love and Rock & Roll,
Kailin

Peter's Notes on LosCon

Here is the first report I promised you all. Let me first state that I had problems hearing some of the questions since there was no microphone for the people who asked the questions. Also, I was bit tired Sunday morning so I did not write down certain questions, responses, and audience reactions that I either found unamusing or unworthy of my time to jot down. Please forgive me for any typos or grammatical errors. What I will be describing is for the most part from the beginning of each panel to the end. Feel free to forward this to any Crusades fan, posting, or group that might find this informative or interesting. Here we go.....

CRUSADES PANEL

Audience is quickly introduced to the panel of Crusades stars: Carrie Dobro(CD), Peter Woodward(PW), and David Allen Brooks(DAB). The panel consists mostly of Q&A.

Q. "Are there any plans for a Crusades movie?"

CD. No, none that I know of. You have to ask JMS, himself.

Q. "Did any of you know where you characters were going, what they were developing into?"

DAB. Prior to the show's cancellation, I really thought the character was getting interesting. We were learning so much about him in the last few eps. Max we would have learned through the grand arc plotline was gonna hit a wall. We would've learn that his character was learning matters of the heart.

PW. Jokingly stating that we would have learn that Gideon and Galen were going to get together and go live on a distant planet. Then he quickly says that we would learn something was going on between Galen and Dureena.

CD. Quickly retorts, "You Wish." Mild laughter.

Q. What are you doing now?

CD. I am currently doing a play. I just helped a friend finish a film for Sundance. (Did not hear if she was in it herself.)

PW. I am in a movie with Mel Gibson (did not get the name of movie) which is out Independence Day. Then he goes on to state how differently it was to work on a project with thousands of extras and wide fields compared to his previous jobs.

' DAB. I've done nothing. I have no life. Some mild laughter. No, I've been doing some writing. Keeping creative.

Q. DAB. "Let me now ask all of you, are you tired?"

A. Audience has to slowly admit that it is, (Considering the parties the night before and personally thinking he senses the room is sorta bored at this moment) DAB thanks the audience for its honesty.

Q. "Peter, what was it like working with your father."

A. I actually get asked this question a lot. It was fun. It was great. We've actually worked together before. It's great fun. Most of the time it is professional. Actually, the first time we worked together I had a difficult time calling my dad by his first name, Edward. Have any of you out there ever done that? It's actually strange. I'm used to calling him, "Daddy"; however, after that I got accustomed to calling him, "Edward."

CD. That's strange I actually heard PW crying out for, "Daddy, Daddy." Audience laughs.

PW. That was a totally different scenario.

Q. DAB. "Let me ask you all, were you more interested in the characters or plot of the show." After asking people to raise their right hands for characters, then left for plot, then PW stating it not fair to raise both hands. Surprised to find out that for this audience it was both. DAB tells audience when he goes to cons and ask this question it usually is one or the other. This is the first group that found both equally interesting.

Q. "As actors what do you bring of yourself into your characters?"

CD. Every role I do, I bring into it a little bit of myself to help develop it. Dureena obviously brings some aspects of my life. In real life, I'm non-confrontational. PW quips, "Oh, really?!" Audience laughs. So besides that a lot of Dureena is me.

PW. It was an on going process. Since JMS was adding things, as you all know he does to his arc. As we worked, things developed, so certain elements from characters had to be then raised to fit these new nuances, elements, inside the script.

DAB. Gives long, lengthy, description using the phrase, "Go to the Door." In essence, ask 3 diff. people to say it, then change it slightly from rushed excitement, to a command, to a nonchalant phrase, you obviously will get variations from person to person. It's a "Color of palette." Then PW always with that quick retort, jokingly states, "Just think if we had a better looking actor to portray Max, it would be a totally diff. character you would see then the one right now." Some audience members laughing while others hissing and booing from that remark. Hey I thought it was funny.

Q. "Considering on B5 in the EP, 'The Deconstructing of Fallen Stars' and other such eps, we sorta knew the fate of Earth prior to the shows premier in regard to the plague. Do you think that hurt Crusades chances?"

CD. If you know JMS, you then know that nothing is as it seems. You can go off in one direction then make a 180. I really don't think it hurt the show, that's just my personal opinion.

Q. "Can you describe how you reacted to that amoebae like alien attaching itself to the Excalibur?"

PW. For those of you who don't know what the questioner is referring to, there was an EP in which the Excalibur encounters some alien life forms in hyper space. Some amoebae like creature. Then one of the creature mildly put tries to hump the ship. I thought to myself this hard to describe and should needless to say remain indescribable. Laughter from audience. How do I react to this? This not something they teach you at school. Then some of us were discussing how do we do this? How would it feel inside the ship when it was being frankly, "Being Humped?" Then he goes on to demonstrate diff. types of movements of shaking, jerking, and undulating motions. Audience is just laughing at this reenactment. PW goes on to state that they took several shots since they were all unsure which one was the most suitable.

Actually, he thought this scene was going to be cut and never shown on air. Audience laughs again. Think about it, do you really think something as extraordinary as this scene regardless of cable would ever be seen. So, naturally everyone did their best never expecting them to choose the wildest and craziest shot out of who knows how many. Of course, they chose that particular one. Now I have to ask you, would you have ever seen this sort of thing with Star Trek? Room just explodes into laughter. Or Star Wars. Laughter continues but now some people begin to applaud.

DAB. I have nothing to say. I think he's done it all.

Q. "Are you afraid of being typecast as just sci-fi performers."

CD. I don't worry at all. I have done sci-fi series, Hypernauts with ABC and other movies. I don't look at as a genre binding.

PW. Jokingly states actually one day someone told me I was bald. Then I was force to make the decision should I go for bald or non-bald role. Then he moves next to CD, stoops down besides her, grabs a handful of her hair and drapes it over his head. This is how I look with hair. Room laughs. Now I ask you?

DAB. Typecasting is not an issue yet. In the past I have played a lot of murders and actually I like playing those killer type roles, but no I don't worry about it.

Q. "Do any of you read Sci-fi?"

CD. Yes, I do. I'm an obsessive reader. I read a lot maybe 3 to 4 books a month. (She might have said week) I read everything from mystery, sci-fi, romance, biography, etc. Actually, I really enjoyed The Oz Series by Baum.

PAW. No, I do not. I do not read fiction. I read a lot of biography and history for research and for writings.

DAB. I used to read a lot of it. Then I stopped then I recently started again with (missed the name) series.

Q. "Peter, what kind of writing do you do?"

A. I used to write for plays back in England. Now I write for screen.

Q. "Peter, do you choreograph sword fights?"

A. Yes, I used to do. Being a writer/actor is enough for now.

Q. "What do you look for when reading scripts"

DAB. First consideration, last time I worked. Room laughs.

CD. That's the most truthful answer you'll get.

DAB. I try to find scripts in which you wish you could do that special unique acting thing but then you just get some toxic scripts in which you say to yourself I would never do this but sometimes do. Actually, however, I once did a script which I thought was toxic but turned out to be totally diff.

CD. Actually I learned to read the scripts first after taking a role before reading it. Then realizing how bad it really was before I could get out of it.

Q. "What do you think of sci-fi fans?"

DAB. That's an honest question to ask. Actually, I was here last night during some of the parties and got to mingle with some of the fans. You get a unique cross section of people just like you would in today's society. I just appreciate the fact that so many care about us and our characters. I just think you're fine and great. PW and CD reiterate the same thing and thanks the audience for caring about them and each of their characters.

PW. He goes on to state how he thought it was fascinating how one minute you could be talking to fans about how high the skirt on U'Hura was then the next minute talking about particle physics then to black holes and time traveling. He thought it was fascinating. Then he goes on to state that you should do what interests you. If that's sci-fi then great. We all need something that captures our imagination and our interests to keep expanding our knowledge.

Stars thank the audience for joining them and the panel ends. Next email JMS' panel at Loscon


Part Two of Peter's Report

JMS PANEL
Panel begins with a video entitled, "Crusades Wars, Episode I" Then words scroll up the screen, like in Star Wars movies, and basically tells how darkness has descended upon cable TV. Then we begin our story. It is a claymation video. Basically the plot is that our hero, JMS, has been captured by the evil Empire and forced to write bad scripts for TNA. (TNA was used as a reference for the Empire and as a logo atop the Death Star) Anyway, it is up to the rebels aboard the Excalibur, with clay figures of Gideon, Galen, and Dureena, to save our hero. While the crew is discussing ways to save JMS, JMS is shown what the power of the dark side, The Nielson Ratings, can do. The claymation figure of a Darth Vader type figure orders the Death Star towards Babylon 5. Forgot to state that somehow our hero, is altered not sure by the dark side or what, anyway, our hero now has a hairdo similar to Princess Leia. Actually quite funny. Next we are on B5 with Capt. Lochley and Zack. Zack reports that their is activity coming in from the Jumpgate and that it is the Death Star. Lochley is dumbfounded and retorts that, "We had decent ratings," and is trying to figure out what they are up to. Meanwhile, back upon the Death Star, Vader shows our hero what can happen when he uses the Nielson Ratings beam. It is fired on B5 and we see the entire ship altered along with the crew. We see Capt. Lochley and Zack in some type of hot, steamy scene. Very funny, we here sexy music being played and the two characters are half dressed. Anyway, back aboard the Excalibur which is now on its way to B5, Galen makes a statement about how the "force" feels different as if something terrible has happened. The crew arrives and sees what has happen. They contact B5 and our surprise to see the Capt. in such skimpy clothing. Anyway, the crew decides they need help and they go "Beyond the Rim," which is a giant shaped martini glass with the words, Beyond the Rim, forming a ring around the martini glass itself. Anyway, once inside the crew finds Lorrien and the First Ones sitting inside having a drink. The crew explains what has happened and asks for help. Of course, the Vorlon responds, "Why?" After short banter, the crew decides yes why are they helping JMS. They decide to stay with the First Ones and Lorrien beyond the rim in this party like atmosphere. Now back to the Death Star, we find our hero, JMS, in the brig, chained to a typewriter. Darth Vader enters telling JMS there is no hope, that the Dark Side will win, throws some paper at him and forces him to write bad scripts for the Empire. That ends the story. It is basically 5 to 10 minutes long. This video was created by the same people who did Babylon Park. You can download or view the entire thing at their website. Sorry don't know the name. However, I do believe if you use a search engine using the words Babylon Park you should be able to find it.

JMS enters the room to thunderous applause. Then begins the panel by resolving the Internet rumors about his new series. He tells us the working title, "The World on Fire." He goes on to say that he pitched the idea to CBS who said they loved it. Anyway, he has been working on it for the past 5 months, doing the pilot movie and first episode. He was working in cooperation with Chris Carter and his production team at 10-13. Now, while he and Chris were working on this together, Chris was also working on a new series, Harsh Realm, which got canceled. Fox, naturally likes Chris Carter, and informed him that they would be behind his next (I believe JMS said solo) series 100%. Anyway, one day prior to the CBS agreement, Fox pulled out. Consequently, "The World on Fire" is off. He is hoping another network will pick it up.

JMS then comments how nice it was to work with Chris Carter and the people at 10-13 productions. That these people understood good characters and plotlines. That this is the essence of any good series or writings. He then comments that Carter is like a surfer, but one who surfs in a cemetery.

Then he goes on to tell us what he is doing. He is still doing his comic book series, "Rising Star." (It is basically the same thing he said back at Conucopia. Email me if you want a copy of that report) He is also doing some radio drama with NPR called beyond 2000, which will be out in the spring of 2000. He picked the topic of, "Marching Morons." Not sure if that was a joke or not.

Q. Will you be doing more stories about B5 characters, such as Gkar and Lyta in Amazing Stories?
A. Actually he plans to do some more story lines. He will actually have a contest where he posts 4 story plots and let the fans pick which one they want him to write about. One story could tell us what happens with Gkar and Lyta, or Londo and Vir, etc. He's not sure yet which four he will let the fans choose. Anyway, Amazing Stories, is run by Warner Brothers so not sure how you can vote on it. If any of you have read them email me so that I can give more details for people who ask about it.

Q. "Can you tell us anything about 'World on Fire'?"
A. Sorry, I cannot. It is still an ongoing process. It could be picked up by another network, but I promise you, it is something you wonder why no one has done this type of series before.

JMS then jokingly tells the crowd that he has been working on a secret B5 movie which he would like to show us. It is a black and white claymation video about 5 minutes long. It is like a cheesy early 50's type sci-fi video, with a rocket ship similar to Flash Gordon's. Sorry didn't think it was that funny so didn't take that many notes about it. At the end of the video, JMS comments, how he doesn't care what the fans on the net say about the actors, "They are not Wooden." Laughter from parts of the room.

Q. What did you think of the jellyfish, amoeba like scene?
A. Honestly, I did not write it, so I cannot comment on it. Read Crusades report to understand this question.

Q. "Are you writing novels, sci-fi?"
A. I am writing outlines with sci-fi elements in them.

Q. "Did you and Chris Carter ever compare fan bases"
A. Are you saying did we ever discuss our fan base size. Laughter from room. My fan base is bigger than your fan base. No, we never talked about it. Then JMS reiterates early statement how 10-13 understood good characters and plots vs. simple thrills and ratings.

Q. "Sci-fi Network, could they pick up Crusades after its time with TNT and finish its plot"
A. No, probably not. Comment from a fan about Mr. Kitty and JMS thanks person for inquiring. Missed the dialogue since no microphone.

Q. "Did you ever mention to Chris your parody of X-files you did on Crusades?" -Laughter from room
A. Did not mention it at all to him. In fact, no one knew about it at 10-13.

Q. Something about DVDs for Crusades
A. Don't know. Does know that back

Q. "Will you tell the Crusades arch by movies or such?"
A. No, no to movies and plot. Eventually there will be a Technomage novelization by James Kaloog. (Same info about it that I wrote in Conucopia report)

Q. "Greatest disappoint you have about B5?"
A. Don't have one offhand. Nothing he wanted to tweak. Really isn't one. Entire experience was "Golden"

Q. "Will you do any future shows or series with TNT?" - Some people hissing and booing at this question.
A. JMS joking states, "Now let me think about this. NO!" Slim to none. Then he makes a joke about TNT executives having a large piece of something lodge in their skulls and it isn't their brains.

Q. "Are there any plans for a Telepath War Novel?"
A. Eventually, yes. Would like to write about one.

Q. "Can you compare Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5?" - Lots of booing and hissing from room. JMS at this time is bowing his head as in shame that someone would actually ask this question.
A. "NO!". Room explodes into applause. "They are different things." It's like comparing apples with bananas. He doesn't know why, "Everything needs comparison to Star Trek," -JMS makes comment how today there is less resistance to Sci-fi today than before.

Q. Something about creating B5 characters.
A. Started with each specific character and from that you get certain attributes such as arrogance and conquest. From there you then back track to the planet itself and the aliens and then you get the entire history and scenario of the B5 universe. (More or less) -Then he recounts how the only souvenir he kept from the series was the Babylon 5 station prop that you see sitting atop Sheridan and Lochley's desk.

Q. "What can fans do to change the airdates and schedules?"
A. If the network is receptive a letter campaign, personal emails, etc. If not, nothing will suffice.

Q. "Ever intend to write for someone else?"
A. Become too cranky and old to do that again. Only happy to be producer or co-ex. producer.

Q. "Are there ghosts on sound stage at B5?"
A. JMS seems dumbfounded. Informing the person that was news to him. The person then begins to tell how actors and others have seen them. Retelling about an old lady or guy and some other entities, couldn't hear. JMS simply shrugs it off.

Q. "Any good practical jokes that haven't been told yet?"
A. Nope, most have been told in one form or the other. -JMS makes a comment how the Crusades cast was more serious than B5. But then again the show was more serious. That is why you do not see a blooper reel for Crusades. They were more serious and very few mistakes.

Q. Something about brining back Crusades with its original cast.
A. It's been too long. Doubt it will ever happen.

JMS is asked a question by a furry fan, wearing sheep head gear. Before, person can even ask question people in room begin, "Baaing" JMS then responds by stating, "You're not well" You guys out there are just not well at all. That's not a bad quality I mind you but you're just not well. Anyway, I missed the question between all the laughing, baaing, but you get the idea.

-JMS was interviewed by 48 HRS about the future. He made comments about the net. How he thought it was great to get an international view of the world while you in a room all by yourself. Some comments from room which gets some laughter. He goes on to state that it, "Increases your horizon but decrease your socialization with the outside world, itself." Then he goes on to answer some questions about the millennium. He stated that you can see throughout history that the first 10 years for a new century are great. New advancements talks about renaissance period and such. Anyway, he goes on to state that its after the 10th year you get trouble. So in essence he told the reporter, "First ten year you got free. Year 11 and beyond trouble." Then he jokingly states that he thinks the reporter actually bought that statement. Some people laugh at this remark.

Q. "Best thing you've heard from fan comments?"
A. There are a variety of things. Small personal stories. Tells of a story about a guy dying of AIDS who was a B5 fan. Friend of his put all of the Gkar speeches on tape then the fan would listen to them to keep up his strength to keep fighting and persevere. Fan did eventually loose the battle but it did give him strength and hope. Another story he retells is how it closes the generation gap with families. How a grandparent would watch it with their grandson and then after each episodes discuss what they just watched. Just the simple fact that the show has had an impact is the best thing.

-Next person to ask a question states how it has changed her families lives and brought them together. Then JMS thanks her and retells the story about a religious conference in Israel. How they had a hard time communicating with one another until one person mentioned they watched B5, then another religious leader said they also watched it and so on and so on. By the end, the table of religious leaders were discussing B5 and how it was similar to their religious teachings and aspects. JMS thought this was ironic considering it was written by an atheist.

Q. What about music on Crusades.
A. JMS says he "likes" the music. Goes on to say that you have to trust new talent and let it grow. That Evan eventually found the niche to fit the show. Later states that he would, "rather try something new and fail then never had ever tried."

Q. "Do you dislike British actors, since most of them seemed to be killed off on B5?"
A. No, he doesn't. He thinks they're all cute and fuzzy, like their sheep over there. Room laughs. Then he goes on to state that for some roles you would have 4 people who acted on TV daytime dramas and then you would have 1 person who has worked on stage in London doing Shakespeare. "Now who do you think I would choose?" Also, most of these roles were guest roles and these roles usually meant the characters were killed or were only needed for one EP to further the plotline. Then he makes a comment how they're all Connie Willis fans. Not sure if he was referring to furry fans or British fans or what.

Q. "What do you like to do for fun?"
A. Write. I write for fun. I have no fun if I'm not writing.

-Peter Woodward enters room trying to ask a question that I cannot hear. Then JMS asks Peter to join him on stage. Peter quickly retorts, "I wasn't expecting a twosome with you." Then he walks to the stage. During that time, JMS says, "Don't worry Peter, there's something here from your childhood, the sheep." People begin to baa, again. They hug each other on stage.

Q. "Peter, did you like working with JMS?"
A. Yes, he did. To which JMS replies, "He's lying." Room laughs. No seriously, Babylonian Productions was so friendly like a family. Enjoyed it. Great experience. In essence Peter was paying homage to JMS, saying what a great man this man was. JMS quips, "Another great lie from Peter Woodward." Room laughs again. JMS asks Peter to stay on stage with him but he declines stating he was in an earlier panel. JMS inquires if the sci-fi fans were treating him fine, to which Peter says, "Yes, they have. They were great." Then Peter departs and at the same time, JMS spots David Allen Brooks and asks him to join them on stage. David with a leery response, "I'm not coming up there to you." Room laughs. More comments about sheep, baas and laughter from room and David joins JMS on stage. David simply restates what Peter has previously stated. It was great fun working on Crusades and with JMS. After a few words with David, David leaves stage. Then JMS makes a reference back to Conucopia. He later comments that he will be working those actors again. "One way or another." Applause from room to that statement.

Q. "Will Crusades reair on TNT?"
A. No, probably not. But will eventually air in the future late at night whether it be on cable or on regular channels. (I'm guessing like some old ST eps.)

Q. "Can you recommend any good sci-fi series on TV?"
A. Don't watch much TV. "Too busy with my writings." I can probably recommend "The Others" by Steven Spielsberg.

Q. "Have your read either of B. Boxleitner's or P. Jurasic's new book?"
A. Haven't read them. Heard they were good. Then asks who has read them.

Q. "Can sci-fi ever be written in play form?"
A. Yes, it can. It will be very hard but I think it is feasible.

Hoped you liked the report. Please forgive any typos or grammatical errors. Will talk to you all later.

Sincerely,
PETER


PRAXIS, PITTSBURGH, PA
by John Wilson [jwilson@micro-net.com]

Hi, again, everyone!

It's me from the old Zocalo, finally back with you to chat about seeing one of B-5's coolest and most fun guys -- Jason Carter. Our resident Ranger brightened the skies over Pittsburgh a couple of week-ends ago, along with my good friend and his fan-club president, Teresa Mutchler.

Jason took a red-eye to arrive Friday morning, so he kept to his room most of the day to recharge his batteries, that we might experience his zaniness at full strength. From the moment we hugged a booming "HALLOUGH!!", I knew that the week-end had started. His hair and beard are shorter now, but those eyes and that mercurial face are his instant I.D.

The con attendance was small, which gave us lucky ones the golden opportunity to hang close, chat informally, and generally share him equally, rather than maintain that impersonal distance established at larger cons.

Even Saturday's breakfast proved extra special with his company in the hotel restaurant. We heard that Jason was up for a role where he needed to bury the British in him, and we tried like mad to encourage him to practice for us, that we might be the first to hear the "new Jason". Alas, the mood did not strike him at the moment; that we got him to actually eat a meal was an accomplishment in itself. Anyone who knows him has probably seen him go non-stop without regard for the needs of the body. Sometimes I swear that even Rick Biggs would grow tired trying to keep up with him. Must be that training back on Minbar.

During the day, we gathered aroung his table to hear of his latest endeavors, like Pipeline Productions, and see the several new photos he has for us. Those who follow him will remember his work in the original pilot of "Viper" where he portrayed Alec Connar, the arch enemy of the Viper driver, and as Caleb Wakefield, the evil circus ringmaster in "The She-Wolf of London".

Jason also brought along a supply of neat fan-club T-shirts, proudly displaying his trademark stick-figure of the Ranger with his pike. We loyal fans were easily identifiable, having greeted the day already wearing ours.

Saturday evening's banquet gave Jason a pleasant surprise when a fully-robed Minbari from the Third Fein of Chudomo approached him to be photographed beside our most famous Ranger, other than "Ranger 1". I have that shot for posterity.

Sunday went like most Sundays at a con, slower than Saturday, but still pleasant. The big thrill for me came after the con ended, and I escorted Jason and the other celebs out to dinner. I'm glad it was indoors, to keep me from floating away in the presence of Jason, Gene Roddenberry, and Richard Chevolleau from "Earth: Final Conflict". Imagine just running on about anything and everything, and having Jason fix those blue-green eyes into your own, actually listening to the things *you* want to say. And then answering. As in, he's actually talking to moi. His presence washes over you in waves; and he's very sharp on a world of subjects. I never had two hours fly past so quickly as that evening.

Come this way again, soon, Jason!

John Wilson


Slanted Fedora, Raleigh, NC by Julia Scott

The BIG event at Slanted Fedora in Raleigh was "dinner with the stars." It was a near sell-out crowd of about 200 people. Dress was whatever you wanted to wear, but everyone was encouraged to "look our best" to make the evening special. Several of the ladies took advantage of that offer and came "dressy." More than one man in the audience had a tie and/or suit coat. One of the guys at my table came in a very spiffy Next Generation Star Trek uniform... I think he was a "Data" rank, but I'm not sure...forget to count the pips.

We had plenty of time to get acquainted with our tablemates before the stars arrived, and that was a lot of fun. We were assigned tables when we picked up our tickets, and I was sorry to learn that Bailin and husband Bo (friends from the WB B5 board) were at another table. My dinner companions, however, were very pleasant company, two other women and seven men...nice odds for the one single female among us. We all had a good laugh after host Dave announced that tables 3 and 13 were all singles. I was at table 13; and when I mentioned I was NOT single, one of the ladies and the guy beside me said neither were they. We teased Dave about it unmercifully when he came by later to see how we "swinging singles" were doing.

The food was good, though many of us didn't clean up our plates because dessert had been pre-set on the table...chocolate over some strawberry mouse type thing. I obsessed about what was inside the chocolate until more than one tablemate begged me to go ahead and eat my dessert first, rather than talking about it incessantly! In case you've missed the point, dessert is my favorite part of any meal.

Host Dave announced that while Walter, Stephen, George, and Chase would be coming down to mingle while the meal was underway, Nichelle and Jimmy had asked to be excused from that portion because it had been a very busy day. Indeed it had; in addition to all the panels and signings, each of the Fab Four had handsigned special pictures for us of the very first Fab Four Slanted Fedora con...200 of them! They made wonderful mementos.

When the "stars" came in, we were asked to stay at our table and wait for them to come to us. For the most part, everyone did as asked. Table 13 was at the very back of the room, and Dave and other "workers" kept coming back to assure us we would get a turn with at least two of the group. Actually, three...Stephen Furst, George Takyi, and Chase Masterson, came by our table. George was very charming, and made a personal comment to everyone at the table, posing endlessly for photos. Each star had a "handler" who was supposed to be certain other tables didn't "cut in" on our time and move the stars along to the next table. George wasn't easy to "handle," he'd chat away with whomever wanted to talk. Stephen was very funny and friendly, though he was trying to fit in at least one more table before the program started, so he didn't tarry as long with us. Chase made a BIG impression on our guys. When the single lady and I asked for her to pose for a picture of the three of us, all the fellas grabbed their cameras. Let's just say it wasn't my picture they wanted! Her outfit was very attractive, and revealing.

Jimmy and Nichelle did make an appearance later and visited several of the tables. She worked the room, but shortly after Jimmy came in, Dave had him sit at one table (lucky Bailin and Bo's!) and asked folks to come there to pose for photos. One of my favorite photos of the convention is Bo beaming beside Jimmy...he's a long-time "Scotty" fan.

The stars were so gracious, and we were so enthralled, that the "visiting" portion of the program ran WAY over. No one complained, because everyone was enjoying the one-on-one time. But finally host Dave herded the stars out of the room, and the entertainment began. Dave and his wife Julie spent some time with each of the entertainers, either before or after the performance, talking about how much each meant to them personally. Nichelle sang at their wedding (apparently almost all of the Fab Four had been in attendance), and it was interesting to hear how all the personal threads were interwoven.

Chase sang some cabaret songs (she really does a good Marilyn Monroe type number) and Stephen did a stand-up comic routine. My personal favorite was Walter’s rendition of a poignant love poem. His costume was a scarf and skirt created from napkins (you had to be there.) Only on the last line did we realize he was talking about Captain Kirk’s love of the Starship Enterprise. He had us almost rolling in the floor. George belted out his show tunes with GREAT enthusiasm, and not a complete lack of talent. Jimmy sat on the stage and chatted for several minutes about his career, past, etc. It was as if we were sitting in his living room having a nice chat. He then sang a lovely Gaelic tune he memorized many years ago. When he began another number, Nichelle joined in from the back of the room, and they sang a duet as she came to the stage. They really seem to be very good friends. Nichelle did a couple of numbers, including one haunting song about the beauty of diversity. There was a pretty little blond girl, perhaps nine or ten, in the audience, and Nichelle sang the song to her.

The program ended too soon, but what great memories. My table gathered for one last group photo; then Balin, Bo, two of the guys from my table, and I went to find a quiet spot near the bar (and, yes, it was pretty quiet), where we swapped con stories and pix and B5 gossip until something like 1:00 a.m.

Perfect end to a perfect evening.

Julia


Tropicon
by Janice Scott-Reeder (druid.gkar@thescifivine.com)

Peter Woodward arrived early on Sunday Morning for the Tropicon. For the first time in weeks, it rained all day. So much for showing him sunny South Florida. I did get him to try a sip of Cuban coffee. He will live.

Mr. Woodward's interview was well received and as entertaining as always. He proved to be one of the easiest people I have ever had the pleasure of getting from one place to another. He is always patient and a gentleman. We look forward to seeing him in Patriot as General O'Hara. He also has a project currently before the History Channel on the use of weapons. You might want to drop them a line and encourage them to buy it.

He always remained assessable to his fans and willingly posed for pictures.


Far Point, 1999 report


Date: 11/17/99 6:31:49 PM
From: DelennToo

UFanCon IX, November 6 and 7, 1999

I've been to several conventions in the last few years, and once before to UFanCon, held in Springfield, Massachusetts, but this time was a first in my experience because my youngest children, ages 7 and 9, attended the convention with us. It was a lot of fun having them along, as the whole experience was exciting to them -- not just the convention itself, but staying in a hotel (with a **pool**!), sleeping in a strange bed (with someone else!), and eating in a restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

It was also an experience for me, both good and bad. On the one hand, I was not able to attend any of the talks given by the guest stars as my daughter and son needed my attention pretty much constantly. Usually, sitting in on the scheduled sessions with the stars is my main reason for attending a con. However, the good part was helping my 14- year-old son and 9-year-old daughter prepare for and participate in the Masquerade/costume contest. Therefore, my report will not bring good news, behind-the-scenes trivia, or spoiler info from any of the stars, but will focus instead on the costume contest.

The stars in attendance at this year's convention were Robert Picardo of Star Trek: Voyager, Sarah Sutton from Dr. Who (she played Nyssa), Lisa Howard (Lili Marquette of "Earth, Final Conflict" and Dr. Anne Lindsey of "Highlander"), and a last minute addition - Stephen Austin, the man behind the mask of the Pak'mara ambassador on Babylon 5. This last actor was of special interest for us as my son, Gary, runs a web page dedicated to the Pakmara and we have corresponded via email and met previously at another con. This time was different, however, as I finally had finished Gary's mask for his costume as ... you guessed it, a Pakmara!

The convention wasn't as big this year as in the past, but there was still a good representation of dealers in the dealers' room and lots of characters from different sci-fi shows wandering the halls. My favorite was a gentleman named Mark MacNeil, who was dressed as Vir. He did a great job on his costume, which he hand-sewed the trim onto himself, as well as molding his hair into the traditional Centauri 'do. He smiled and waved "The Vir Wave" good- naturedly to everyone who came by. Mark was also in the costume contest, but not as Vir ... more on that later!

When we stepped out of the elevator into the lobby of the sixth floor, the first person we saw at the convention was Stephen Austin! We walked right up to his table where he gave us a hearty welcome and presented Gary with an autographed mouse pad in appreciation for his web page. He told us he just finished filming a small part on X-Files; small as far as actual exposure time on the show, which was about 3 minutes. However, the scene was shot from several different angles and ended up taking 30 hours to complete!

Another person standing at the table when we walked up was a person in costume, a young lady dressed in white from head to toe, with silver dreadlocks. Gary and Douglas (age 7), both dyed-in-the-wool Dr. Who fans, immediately identified her as a Movellan. She was pleased that they recognized who she was supposed to be right away, and we became friends during the convention.

After registering, we wandered around the halls, checking out the fan club tables and dealers stalls, before heading off to get some dinner. As I mentioned earlier, the swimming pool was a **huge** attraction for my kids, so I took two of them swimming for a half hour or so, then returned to our room to get ready for the contest.

Douglas was going to be in the contest, wearing a store- bought costume, as C3PO, but the starting time of 9:00 was just too late for him -- he fell asleep on the bed while Pam and Gary were changing! Pamela was dressed as a medieval princess in a dress I had made for her to wear to a wedding with that theme. I had worked hard on it, just completing a little Juliette-style teardrop cap with cascading scarf for her to wear the night before, and she looked really pretty. Gary decided he wanted to wait to put his costume on downstairs, as the schedule and map showed that a room had been put aside for the contestants to change into, so we grabbed his blanket, shawl, and mask, tucked Doug into bed, locked the door, and went downstairs.

Unfortunately, the map and schedule were **not** correct, and when Gary, Pam, and I showed up in the lobby outside the grand ballroom, all the other contestants were preparing to file into a back hallway, and there was no room to change in. I quickly wrapped Gary in his blanket, threw the shawl around his shoulders, and managed to get the mask to stay on his head with the help of some super glue to hold the back together and my husband holding it in place. I was not able to make eyeholes, so Gary had to be led around! My husband and I managed to guide him to the hallway where the other contestants were, just to find out we would have to wait at least 15 minutes. Poor Gary was already sweating under the mask, which was made from vinyl, so I took his head off and let his scalp breathe a bit. About 20 minutes later, the contestants were lined up, so I quickly put the mask back on Gary, left my husband there to lead Gary around, and headed back to the Grand Ballroom to (hopefully) snap pictures of the contestants.

When I managed to find a seat at a table right near the door, I turned around and saw Steve Austin - he was one of the judges. I told him Gary was wearing a pak'mara costume and he laughed and said he couldn't wait to see it. Another 15 minutes passed, and all I could think about was that the mask must be falling to pieces, when the contest finally started. My son was fourth in line, and when he stepped through the door into the light, I thought Steve Austin was going to fall out of his chair laughing! He hooted and clapped for Gary as my husband led the blind pak'mara up to the stage and helped him step up the two steps, then back down. My daughter was next in line, and was pleased at the clapping of the audience, curtseying to the people before exiting the room.

Mark MacNeil (remember Vir?) almost stole the show with his costume, for which he received a trophy for Most Original Costume - a life-sized Ewok Beanie Baby, complete with proportionately-sized Ty tag! He looked great. Our friend, Rachel, was there in her Movellan costume to represent Dr. Who, a young girl did a composite costume/sketch of Rimmer, Lister, and Cat from "Red Dwarf," a mom and her baby were "Men in Black," we had a Will Smith/Jim West look-alike from "Wild Wild West," a marine from "Starship Troopers," and quite a few Star Trek costumes, with Deanna Troi from "ST: Insurrection," Belanna and Chakotay from "Voyager," and some Klingons. But the piece de resistance was a trio who did a skit dressed as Delenn, Kosh, and a Minbari mechanic - they were **funny**!

While the contest was still in session, my daughter told me that while she was waiting, a lady had come in the door, told Pam she loved her dress, and asked if she could have her picture taken with her. The lady said she was a star. At first I didn't believe her, but she pointed to Lisa Howard and said "that's the lady!" A woman at our table overheard the last part of our conversation, loaned me her Polaroid camera, and kinda shooed us over to Lisa's table, assuring me that Ms. Howard wouldn't mind. I have to say, the lady is much prettier and thinner in person than on the screen! She graciously agreed to have her picture taken with Pamela, and autographed it: "To beautiful Pamela" . Lisa Howard. My daughter was tickled pink!

The awards were announced, and the medieval princess won second runner-up prize for Cutest Costume. Pam didn't expect to win anything, and blushed very becomingly as she accepted her award! Gary received the first runner-up prize for Most Original Costume, which was presented to him by Stephen Austin and the MC of the show. Since Gary's hands were wrapped inside the blanket, they stuck the blue ribbon between the Pak'mara's mandibles, which elicited a lot of laughter.

After all the excitement, it was time to hit the hay. Sunday was an easy-going day, with Gary spending most of his time in the video room watching Dr. Who tapes. Doug wore his C3PO costume all day and was very pleased when people asked him if they could take his picture! The dealers actually had some Pokemon figures and cards, which we bought for Doug and Pam, so they were very happy! As for me, I was looking forward to a discussion panel scheduled at 2:30 entitled "Farscape vs. Voyager." Farscape is my new favorite show, but I haven't personally met that many people who watch it, so I was pleased when 10 out of the 15 people who showed up for the panel were also Farscape fans. It was a great discussion, and we got to chew the ears off some Voyager fans who hadn't seen Farscape, sharing our enthusiasm and info about the plot and characters with them. Afterwards, the guy who led the discussion thanked me for coming, explaining that this was his first time leading a discussion and he appreciated all the input! Someone actually thanked me for talking!

When I came out of the room, the dealers were starting to pack up, and one very tired and bored C3PO was begging to leave. I decided it was probably a good idea and we prepared to go to our room and get our stuff. We ran into Rachel (the other Dr. Who fan) and Curtis (Jim West from the Masquerade) and chatted a bit, and I snapped a nice photo of my 3 kids with their new friends. After that, we headed out to the car for the 2-hour trip back to NH. I think this convention will live in my kids' memories for a long time. I don't know if I'll bring them again any time soon, but I know it will be something they can cherish!


Vulkon Convention Report - Orlando
by Janice Scott-Reeder

The Vulkon in Orlando was a well planned and interesting convention with a little for everyone, from writer's panels, to presentations by the Hubble Telescope people and Nasa to making your own Alien out of playdough. The dealers were well represented and most everything was available except the Psicorp pins (what I was looking for - but isn't that what always happens to me!)

B5 and Crusade were well represented. On the Crusade panel were Peter Woodward, Carrie Dabro and David Allen Brooks. David Allen actually admitted he wasn't that good of a dancer and took lessons. Well, any man who trys is tops in my book! Peter Woodward was as entertaining and funny as usual, and demonstrated his climbing skills but couldn't get Carry to. Of course, he wasn't wearing the Galen costume at the time. Carrie told us the scene in the tunnel was very hard to do because she could only use her elbows to propel herself with. Any Marine will know what she is talking about. Good thing she isn't claustrophobic or acrophobic. We had a total of 2 Crusade cast presentations, both of which were very entertaining. Don't forget to visit Crusadebabes.com to see the T-Shirt and peterwoodward.com. David doesn't have a web site! Maybe he should have made friends with the resident Technomage. Also presenting from B5 was Robert W. Krimmer or the emperor: He showed us what happens to fans who don't buy pictures with his autograph on Sunday night and all I can say is: Better Buy One! Now we know who really inspired the character. Next convention you must ask him about the towel incident. I won't spoil it.

Andreas Katsulas is the one everyone had said was so shy and retiring. Somehow, making $2.00 on a strip tease...the man can really move well..for a man...and wearing a curtain for a skirt (was that Greek or Roman??).... did we get the right guy??? Oh, Peter J., you've been a very naughty boy! Actually I had the pleasure of meeting Andreas Katsulas in the elevator on Friday and he is a very nice person and not at all shy. I didn't recognize him at first, having never seen him without Gkar makeup, but as soon as he spoke, I knew the voice. I apologize for the elevator mishap, he didn't actually push the wrong button, I was tired (having drove straight through)and carrying a heavy bag, and am a Druid. Elevators will obey! Didn't mean to inconvenience anyone important: just the Universe in general.

I also met Peter Woodward, as I am helping with Tropicon in Hollywood, FL this weekend. He is truly a gentleman, otherwise I might still be waiting for an elevator in my usual daze.

David was also so nice, as he kept having to move me out of his way. I have know idea how that kept happening but I seemed to be going the way everyone was trying not to go and it was bit crowded.

Everyone deserves a big thank you for being so nice in situations that had to be very stressful, and that includes those attending the conference. Only in Britain have I seen people so polite and orderly in lines.

I do think we, in the Babylon Universe, have some of the nicest cast members, who remain accessable to their fans and good natured through most anything.


Galaxy Ball Report 10/30/99
by Karen Savage, Char Stanley, Laura Jorge, and Adrina Cohen

**************************************

Karen: Well, now how do I top this evening?? It started out calmly enough. Char, Adrina, Laura and myself met in the hotel lobby and because we had a few hours before the event, we went into the bar to have some drinks and appetizers. We had a great time catching up with one another and then Pam and Alec joined us. Just before we were going to go down to the ballroom, Char had to run out to her car for something so we waited until she got back. She came back with this "guess who I just saw" cheshire cat grin on her face and we immediately knew who she was referrring to.

Char: Correction! I believe I had a JUMBO sized cheshire grin on my face!

Karen: We then went over to the ball room where the dinner was to be held and found a good table near the middle of the room and kept each other company while we were waiting for the dinner to be served. I noticed that some of the ST actors had already arrived like Tim Russ, Robert Duncan MacNeil, Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo but I didn't see Kate Mulgrew, Walter Koenig or Bruce yet. Also Jason Carter was seated at our table. Just as dinner was about to begin, in strolled Bruce with Walter and Kate and he came right by our table and immediately recognized Alec Orrock (one of the organizers of Agamemcon). He then gave Pam a kiss and hug and said hi to all of us and was going to sit down at our table when they told him he had a seat already reserved for him. Rats!!!

Robert Beltran was an entertaining host and MC and introduced Neil Norman's band then a special guest performance by Tim Russ on the guitar. He's an excellent guitar player and I saw Bruce enjoying himself a few tables away listening to Tim play an Eric Clapton song, Crossroads. Unfortunately, the music was too loud to hear each other talk over dinner but we didn't that stop of from talking anyway.

Adrina: I was in So. Calif. attending an all day and evening event with my husband and other friends, I was leaving to catch up with my husband, other friends and rejoin the other event. Those that know me well, will realize that it isn't at all unusual for me to try to do it all! Most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I'll get my "moment" and meanwhile I'm really glad for my BB pals. :-)

Karen: Jason also said he had to leave. But there was still some entertainment left. Robert Picardo came up onstage and said a few things and Ethan Phillips did some really bad jokes and we couldn't help but laugh and groan at the same time. Then Kate Mulgrew came up and did the auction. She was wearing a very beautiful pink dress and looked stunning and even thinner in person. When I got back to the table from taking a picture of her, Char informed me that Bruce had just walked by our table and and I saw him and Walter strolling out of the room together. When he hadn't come back after a while, I was concerned that left for good and was starting to think that we'd have to do with little we did get to see of Bruce but our luck was about to change. A few minutes later, Alec came back to our table and told us to follow him and he would explain later.

Char: We all knew that "something Bruce" was about to happen. We just didn't know what. Ooh! What anticipation!

Karen: We all followed him without hesitation and he took us up to the green room where Bruce was doing an interview for SFX magazine!

Laura: We walked in, very quietly I must say, while Bruce was being interviewed. He talked about a variety of topics. He discussed Babylon 5, how proud he was of the series, how much he enjoyed working with the actors and the crew. He praised JMS for his genius, although he wished season 5 had been better. He was asked if he liked his character and he said he thought that Sheridan was a good character and that he liked the fact that he kept on growing and changing. He liked the layers the man had. He was asked about his relationship with the cast in particular with Michael O'Hare. Bruce said that he had no problems whatsoever working with Michael. He thought that Michael was a quiet, professional and very pleasant man to work with. Then he elaborated that the cast was like a family and as with all families you sometimes have fights and squables. He also mentioned that two of the characters he absolutely detested was Rebo and Zooty. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, " John Sheridan, the dumb slob, loved Rebo and Zooty, Bruce Boxleitner hates those two guys. He was asked which of the three wives he had he preferred. He started to laugh. He said he was totally amazed and shocked when he discovered that Sheridan had had a wife before the one he nuked. He felt that he should have been warned about it so that when he saw her for the first time he didn't act so clueless. But he then answered that for John Sheridan Delenn was the best wife, for BB was the second wife. He then said with a cute naughty smile, paraphrasing again, " hey, I got to nuke her, what more can a guy wish for?" The interviewer then made a comment about what Melissa would have looked like after the bombing and Bruce commented that she would be pretty crispy.

He talked about his career in TV and that although he wouldn't mind being remembered as John Sheridan, because he thought the character had merit and he was proud of what he had accomplished with it, he still wanted to do other roles. He mentioned that that is the problem with Hollywood and somehow with TV series. If you play a character for a number of years you are pegged as that type of character and that particular genre and it can pretty much destroy your career. He mentioned Melissa as an example. He said that here is a 34-35 year old woman that is still seen as the 11-year old Laura Ingals in Little House in the Prairie. He also mentioned that "Soul Collector" had been very successful and that as result she had been approached for two more movies. Bruce commented that MG refers to her roles as that poor dumb woman who stares out the window with tears running down her face. He said," hey, ultimately honey, you're crying all the way to the bank, so don't complain about it, at least you're working." He mentioned that except for Richard Biggs, everyone else from the B-5 bunch hadn't gotten any work or barely anything for over a year. He said that Richard had the best schedule on B5 that he would waltz in for two maybe three days of shooting and then he would clasp his hands and say well another million in the bank. Another actor that had the chance of doing something was Jerry Doyle. Bruce and Jerry meet regularly for tennis and BB was telling Jerry recently that Jerry was lucky because he was an unknown. Also Jerry always carries this demo tape with him and the producers like what they see. Apparently Jerry is getting a lot of scripts to read and a lot of offers. Bruce on the other hand is a known actor and although he spent the last 5 years working, very few producers and directors in Hollywood know anything about Babylon 5.

Karen: Speaking of Richard Biggs, Char reminded me that both Bruce and Jason told us that Richard's wife, Lori had a baby boy but neither Bruce nor Jason could remember his name!

Laura: The reporter then asked why he wasn't doing features. Bruce said that he knew he was a TV actor and that he accepted that. He would love to be able to do a feature but he wasn't too concerned about it. He said that features are even more insecure than TV, if you're lucky you get a chance to do a feature a year whereas with serial TV you get to work on various episodes. He talked about Tron briefly, he said that that was his big break into features but unfortunately it bombed and his chances for the big screen disappeared. He said that carrying the Disney label destroyed Tron's chances for success. He also mentioned "The Babe" but he said that that was not a big part anyway. The reporter asked Bruce what he thought of Star Wars Episode One since so many people had voiced their disapppointment with it. BB liked it. He thought that George Lucas had done a tremendous job and that no matter how good and innovative the movie was people would still compare it with the first trilogy and criticize it. He then mentioned that it could have been him playing Luke Skywalker instead of Mark Hamill. At the surprised reaction of the interviewer he said that he had auditioned for the part, that he had only gotten through the preliminary meetings but he did audition.

Bruce went on to talk about his book. He mentioned that he had been approached by a publishing company to write a book and that they liked his ideas. He was then assigned a writer because no publishing company would publish a book written by a first timer. He then said that the first two drafts where scrapped by him and a different writer was then assigned to work with him as the publishing company agreed with him on his ideas and liked the way the story was going. He said that the book is being released today and that he is already working on the sequel. He also mentioned that that was the way William Shatner did when he was approached to write the TekWars series.

Two of the reasons that he had a writer help him write his story was that he (Bruce) didn't know much about putting a book together and also that he is too slow on the word processor/computer, his brain works far too fast and it was frustrating him. He also made a comment about now being able to be in charge, ala JMS, to make his own decisions regarding his work, and he gave one of his beautiful wide smiles and then poked his tongue in his cheek. We were all laughing out loud.

He also mentioned that he had signed up to act in an independent film and that he guessed that a lot of actors were doing work for independents more and more these days. He also lightly and jokingly complained about feature actors foraying into TV. He gesticulated saying, hey you, get the hell out of my TV, this is my domain, go back to your features. But he also said that feature film actors where starting to realize that television was a more reliable means of income than features.

After the interview Bruce said, " good I can get home before midnight. It will make my wife happy. I told her, 'honey, I'll just stay for an hour or so and leave'. Right, interviews..." And I thought, lucky for us that he had the interview or we wouldn't have been able to be with him. Bruce was not feeling too great. He had a cold and I mentioned it and he said that he had picked it up in Australia and that he was still somewhat jetlagged. I asked him when he had returned from Australia and he told us last Tuesday, but that he always takes a little while to get over the jetlag. We stayed with Bruce in the elevator and accompanied him as he walked to the exit. While we were walking with him to the hotel door, I asked him why he had liked Star Wars, because I didn't and he said that he thought the Lucas had achieved a tremendous accomplishment because the film was so different from the original trilogy but still carried that wonder of the first three. I told him that my complaint was that the acting was not very good and that it was skewed for too young kids. He said that when I had seen Star Wars I was also much younger than now as was he.

He saw Star Wars for the first time when he was 27. He then said that he thought I would probably like the second movie of the prequel since it took place 30 years after episode 1.

When we got outside the hotel, there was no car to take him home. So he sat down on one of the benches and continued to talk with us. This time I was the one who asked him most of the questions. Alec went off to try and locate Bruce's transportation and the four of us spent about 20 minutes in his company. Bruce had been given a box of good cigars and was holding onto the box. Alec mentioned the cigars and he said that he had quit smoking altogether. So Alec, playing, asked if Melissa was the one who had told him not to smoke. He then said, "what, my wife doesn't tell me what to do, I'm a grown man, I decide for myself." We all laughed of course.

Karen asked whether the series for Majel Barrett was being filmed in Canada and he said that it was, that it was the only way they could do it relatively inexpensively. He also mentioned that one of the reasons he signed to play in the independent film was that it was being shot here. I then asked him if he had a lead in this movie and he replied that yes it was one of three leads, that he was playing a widower with kids and problems.

Then Tim Russ and the guy that plays Tom Paris (Robert Duncan MacNeil) walked out with their wives and Bruce made cute comments like Tim Russ is the Man, he is the best musician.

Karen: Unfortunately, his car showed up with a driver and it was time for him to leave but the best part is the last part. As he was leaving, he gave a hug and kiss to Pam then gave Char, Laura and me a kiss.

Laura: ....making a comment to Tim and the other actor "see, I'm the lucky one, I get to kiss all the girls..."

Karen: He jumped into the car and drove off with three dazed women standing there with their mouths open!!

Of course it goes without saying that he looked wonderful. His hair looks the same as it did in Sonny's photos from the Australia con and he still has a great tan. He looked even younger to me. He also looked thinner and even lankier. Not too thin but thinner than he did at NSS. He wore a white shirt, a blue jacket and jeans.

Char: I think he looked as good as I've ever seen him look. BTW, he also had raccoon eyes. I also thought he had lost a bit of weight.

Karen: After our Bruce encounter we decided to go back to the ballroom and see what was going on. Even though most of the actors had left everyone was still having a great time.

Char: Louie Beltran's (Louie is Robert's brother) group provided the music and was jamming! At one point, it seemed that about half of the people in the room were up dancing and having a good time.

Laura: We then went up to Pam and Alec's room and stayed and chat until 1:45am. After that we said our goodbyes and each of us went our separate ways.

Karen: Char, Laura and I want to thank Alec and Pam for including us. If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have had the chance to watch Bruce do the interview and then spend a few wonderful moments chatting with him. Thanks, we owe you one!!!!


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