LEXX: Convention: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 1999
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. August 1999
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This was the convention everyone had been waiting for. A chance for the LEXXians to mix with the stars of the show, to see where and how those wacky sci-fi shows had been made, and to generally hang out with each other.
It always seems strange to me that such an innovative and risqué show was created in a place so far removed from Hollywood! My first impressions of Halifax as I arrived at the airport (after spending a few days in New York) was of a sleepy town miles from real civilization. I know that sounds a bit arrogant, but GOD it was a shock! I waited for Sally at the airport, she was the only other LEXXian I had met from other conventions excepting for Jihad who would arrive the next day. We made our way to Sheriff’s Hall at the Dalhousie University where we were all staying. Amber and Cookie had organised the event and the accommodation, and the had done a WONDERFUL job.
We later met up with Fishbone, Rachel and Cykat and all got to know each other (in real life anyway) over drinks in my room.
Sally was clearly tired from her trip and added to her reputation considerably when she fell asleep in my room and snored loudly (aww sweet!) a charge which she vigorously denies by the way!
Next day we met up with Master of Ceremonies and the amazing Gordon. Master we all knew as the Master of Ceremonies in the episode Brigadoom. But Gordon was the star Zombie (number 2) that was pushed off the cliff in Twilight. He proudly told us that he was the onLY Zombie who cried!! Wadda Star!
The rest of the night was spent partying at the Economy Shoe Shop, THE place where the cast and crew hang out (for no other reason I think, than the fact that Salter Street Films is two doors up the road).
Next day I needed to meet with Mamabear and Kerry Frazer to discuss web stuff and arrangements for the convention. I had a terrible conversation on the phone with a lovely receptionist called Bonny, “Hello, this is SadGeezer, may I speak to Mamabear please..” Two or three calls later I finally managed to get through and meet up with Mamabear at Salter Street. You can see from the expression on her face that she was very pleased to meet me 🙂
Mamabear took me round some of the offices and in particular, Paul Donovan’s office. This was GREAT! Guests would sit in low Gothic chairs and I can’t help feeling that the room was created to induce a feeling of austere trepidation to any guest lucky enough to address the oracle. No doubt Paul Donovan thought it a blast!
That night, we met up with Brian Downey. My two biggest goals for the convention were to meet him and Lex Gigeroff (one of the writers). I nervously chatted with Brian for a while and soon found that he was a VERY personable and friendly geezer. In fact I would go so far as to say that Brian is a SadGeezer of the first order! AND he also likes my fave brand of Malt Whiskey. Brian mixed with the other LEXXians and was rapidly befriended by all.
Chic, Cass, Tazz, DarcZone, Morrow, Squish, Tollerant Mind, Luthian, and Aaud arrived soon after and then the partying REALLY began. Excepting for Chic that is, who just wanted to curl up and sleep on Brian’s lap. The rain had started coming down in torrents outside, but the new arrivals soon cheered up and were laughing and drinking soon afterwards.
Soon after, Lex Gigeroff arrived and let me tell you, this geezer is a party dude and a half! he too settled in and with Brian, demonstrated VERY clearly that the Un-Convention was going to be a lot of fun indeed!
It was also great to finally meet DarcZone, who was always so much fun in the #lexx chatroom. I waited in anticipation to see if she was as much of a blast in real life. Welp guys! She is! A total party geezerette! and she was especially sweet for giving me the above yellow LEXX un-Convention tee-shirt for my birthday!
Later that night, A few of us were invited back to Brian and Mary Elizabeth’s place (Brains partner) and the party continued. Lex and Brian are clearly good friends and know how to have a good time, but Mary Elizabeth was simply lovely and made us all feel very welcome.
Morrow and Squish were staying with Brian and Mary Elizabeth. They had met in London at the Press conference. Squish was a little tired and retired early, but Morrow (the little darling) seemed to stay sober while the rest of us became more and more inebriated – she even consented to pose for a few photos :-). When me and Lex started singing Derek and Clive songs (at about 4am), it was deemed that it was time to go.
Next day, I had been asked to do a newspaper interview by Salter Street. I thought it would be a paragraph about what it was like to be a LEXXian. But it turned out to be a front page story (nothing much happens in Halifax huh!?) The interviewer asked LOTS of questions and I ended up spilling the beans and LOADS of gossip (much of which wasn’t printed thank goodness!). Later we met with a photographer from the Halifax Mail and toured Electropolis. (See here for the article).
Kerry Frazer (who handles merchandising at Salter Street) suggested that I dress erm… informally which was a great excuse to wear the old leather trousers. Walking round a television studio with a photographer taking pictures of you is HIGHLY recommended, actors and actresses would stop me and ask for my autograph (actually they didn’t, but GOD it was fun!).
We would stop to take pics against certain sets and props and it was a fantastic pre-convention tour round the studio. We even stopped to chat to a couple of orange geezers who were shooting that day.
Next day I FINALLY met up with one of my closest friends on the internet, one of the organisers for the event, Cookie. She was accompanied by another close buddy, AmberSky. These two are just the GREATEST! full of fun and real nice peeps.
Friday was the day of the BIG EVENT. We started off by walking to a bar (as you do). Everyone was exhibiting great excitement at the thought of actually being shown round the set where their favourite show was filmed. Mamabear was wonderful in making sure that all 28 of us were together and she was a lovely host.
Our excitement however was NOTHING compared to the hospitality and shear warm-hearted welcome that we got from Salter Street.
Lex and Brian were to be our hosts and boy were they good at it! These two could do a comedy double act on any stage in the world. Within minutes we were laughing and gawping at the sets, costumes, props and other actors (well I was 🙂
Lex took us from the reception area where we were issued with badges and then we were split into two groups and shown round the studio.
I was in Brian’s group and he took us everywhere! We saw some of the sets we were familiar with, plus a few new ones from the shooting of Season 3. (I was able to glean quite a lot of info on season 3 by the way, and this can be found in the LEXXMakers section of the SadGeezers Guide).
One of the things that struck me immediately, was how much the show relied on the lighting! Ruth Legget and her colleagues do a fantastic job of turning bits of polythene and plastic into realistic organic looking sets and scenery.
The Galley for instance, looked positively forlorn on it’s own by the side of the studio, and when you looked behind the props to see what they were made of you suddenly realised how ingenious the prop makers were.
However one such prop caught my eye, it was upside down and had some interesting writing on it. Was this an indication of the activities of the cast in the new series I wondered? (more likely it was a joke, but it was a fun thought!)
We were shown lots of places, too numerous to mention, but it was very interesting to see the new sets being made and to be shown BEHIND the scenes.
Brian and Lex were very eloquent in their descriptions of the activities and what it was like to work on the set, but the highlight of the tour for most of us was standing on the bridge and posing for pictures… As seen here with Tazz and Polly.
Brian posed for pictures too. The Gondola appears a lot in the new series and I guess from the pose, Stanley Tweedle will probably find himself hanging from it.
A couple of reported from the press and radio were also on hand, as was a photographer, to interview certain LEXXians and take notes as seen here with Cykat who showed a particular ability in this regard.
One of the highlights for me, was to see a Moth! The idea of the Moth in the series has always intrigued me and actually standing next to one and being able to fondle the control was a real blast!
At the end of the tour we were shown back to the reception where we were given tee-shirts and post cards. Later Brian explained a little about the new sets for Season 3 in which a good deal of the series is devoted to two opposing cultures, Fire and Water.
At this point in the tour everyone was experiencing a massive high! A party atmosphere was developing that was totally unexpected and the warmth shown by people in the studio was simple marvelous.
Even the radio reporter agreed to pose for a bond girl type picture with her phallic looking microphone and Jihad showed his appreciation for the hospitality of Lex in his usual way 🙂 I don’t think they used tongues.
My mate Brian then showed us all back into a room where we were able to have posters signed by the main cast members.
Michael McManus joined us and both Brian and he signed personal messages on each of the posters. This took quite a while, Michael was determined to meet and chat with each of us as had Brian, and he was just as friendly!
I was very keen to make sure that he wrote a short message to NewKate and also a postcard which he did very well. the only problem was that he kept asking me about Russian phrases. I was tempted to remind him that I was English. Michael was so keen to write something personal for Katya that I was severely tempted to show my appreciation in the same way as Jihad!. In the end, I just shook his hand 🙂
While we were waiting, we were able to touch and in some ways, play with some of the props from the set.
Polly was particularly impressed with the Divine Shadow costume while some of us (AmberSky, Aaud, DarcZone, Tazz and Polly) just rested quietly waiting for the grand signing to finish.
Jihad, comical as always, suggested that he sign something for Brian. They both agreed to sign each others bum! (Just remember! You saw it here first! Brian Downey bares his bum for the LEXXians! 🙂
Later we were all invited to a party in the studio for cast and crewmembers. this was a great opportunity to meet other people that make the LEXX show so special.
In particular I was pleased to finally meet Bill Fleming (the co-producer) seen here on the right next to Sven90 a terrific and very popular guy in the studio who is one of the 790 head operators – he is seen here sticking two fingers up, clearly demonstrating great skill and dexterity.
Bill Fleming was also the chief developer of a WICKED drink. It was very strong and very tasty. I’m afraid I got drunk pretty soon afterward, and began rapidly to make a fool of myself.
One particular occasion was with the lovely Carmen, she is the hairdresser for Xenia Seeberg (who was not able to make it to the Convention because of a prior engagement in Los Angeles – it should be said that she was very disappointed and DID take the time and trouble to pre-sign a whole number of posters for all us disappointed LEXXians).
Anyway, I made GREAT fuss over Carmen who, as far as I was concerned had transformed Xev into a much sexier character. I asked her for her autograph and she just giggled and smiled sweetly. She did take me up to Xenia’s dressing room and I was able to see the new Xev costume and hairstyle – which looks great!)
Back at the party, I also met Patricia Zentelli (who played Lalene in Wake the Dead and also a singing part in Brigadoom and who plays a much more substantial role as Bunny in Season 3), seen here being nose-kissed by another appreciative cast member. It was also a great thrill to meet Norman Denver (seen here between the blonde Geezer and Patricia Zentilly), who produced the shows and directed a couple of the episodes.
We were all having a fantastic time, Cykat, Cass and Squish were trying one of Lex’s powerful concoctions and after a couple of these I gradually became incoherent and I’m afraid here, the pictures stop.
Next day, most of us had thick heads, but Cykat, myself, Tazz, Fishbone, Rachel, Aaud, Cookie and AmberSky were asked if we could go to the studio and provide some feedback about LEXX.COM to Hannes, a member of the Salter Street staff. He was a cool geezer and put up with some pretty negative comments about the LEXX.COM front page and merchandising and server facilities. I hope he found it useful.
Another bit of mischief was that I spied a script for the new season lying on a desk. I picked it up and entered the room where we were all seated, placing the script in front of me. I wanted to see if Hannes would spot it. Sure enough, within seconds, Hannes lunged at the thin pink script and embarrassed, proceeded to hide it in a safe place. It was a script for episode 3-4 called Boomtown I think.
Later that night we were invited on a pub crawl by Lex and I decided that I should honour the geezer by dressing up as one of the characters in the first episode (I Worship His Shadow) in fact, the character that was played by Lex himself.
Chic and Tazz were moderately impressed I think. AmberSky wanted a go with the mask and Jihad found that he simply couldn’t keep his hands off her – nor Sally for that matter.
We started off at the Economy Shoe Shop and went to a couple of other places before finally ending up in a nightclub that seemed to play ‘swing’ music.
I couldn’t really dance to this, but Cookie tried to help and the picture was taken by Chic, who can dance to anything! The weather was terrible but we were all in good spirits (excepting Master for some reason).
Next day, like total SadGeezers, myself, Fishbone, Rachel, Cykat, Cookie, AmberSky, Chic and DarcZone all went off to the local Cyber-cafe to chat with our pals who had not been able to make it to Halifax.
That night I was honoured to be invited with AmberSky and Cookie for a meal at Lex and Krista Gigeroff’s house. Krista is a lovely person (and she cooks a great Lasagna too!), there children were fun and we had a great time! For me, this was the perfect end to a fantastic week.
This was my last day in Halifax and it had been a wonderful experience. Meeting the other LEXXians was terrific, seeing Cookie in particular was probably the highlight for me, but hanging out with everyone and stars such as Brian Downey and Lex Gigeroff was an experience that I wont forget.
The only regret I have is that I didn’t have chance for a long chat with the head man himself. I am a massive admirer of Paul Donovan who’s guts and determination made the whole LEXX saga possible. I did speak to him briefly at the studio, he asked, “Are you SadGeezer?” I answered yes and he smiled and said, “I thought so.” – Hey…. any recognition from this dude is cool!
I sincerely hope that there is another Convention in Halifax next year, I couldn’t think of any place I would rather visit – excepting of course, anyplace with NewKate.
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This LEXXcon review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission
The LEXX names, characters, pictures and everything else associated with the series are the property of SALTER ST FILMS & TiMe Film-und TV-Produktions GmbH in association with Screen Partners. All rights reserved.