LEXX Convention: Invasion of the Moderators Interviews and Comment – PART TWO
Friday, October 5th
< FX > The next morning, after about 4 hours sleep, FX woke up with a hangover. None of us had had any food except for dinner with Brian (at about 11 pm the night before) since Wednesday. I had, of course, drunk more than anyone, and I guess my character at that point could best be described as Norman Bate’s mother. Not good.
< thefrey > Not being much of a drinker, I had no wine with dinner and only one screwdriver at the Shoe. Plus I usually get up at five in the morning, therefore, while also tired; I was the most chipper of the bunch. I was much abused for my smiling demeanor and then further mistreated when I refused to take umbrage at their crankiness and continued to look with joy upon this new day that the Lord has given us.
< BlackCloud > Fortunately, BlackClouds do not have hangovers. We have long since killed all those pesky brain cells that could cause us that pain. So, bring it on! Unfortunately, we don’t do “chipper.” ‘HolyOneMakerWakanTankaLordGod, Please, Make her stop smiling at this hour!’ I might add that I work the 4pm-12mid shift so “this hour” is usually when I am sound asleep, sleeping the sleep of the innoce… sleeping. Thanks for your forbearance, Frey!
< thefrey > Do you see the abuse I had to put up with?
< FX > Makeup however can cover a multitude of sins, and a very bedraggled FX, and Blackie, accompanied by Frey, made it to Electropolis by 8 am. In a departure from the Beans’ law of ‘no rubber suited aliens’, there was actually going to be a latex clad Mummy in Viva Lexx Vegas. And I, being a fan of special effects, was determined to watch every step of the creation of said mummy.
The Mummy is played by a British actor named John Lebar. He is about 7’3″ and 90 pounds soaking wet. Lovely man with a wicked sense of humor and again very well educated. We chit chatted while we waited for Aaron Peerless and Greg Corbin of Phantom FX to fight through the traffic (?) and begin to transform John into The Mummy. John is not much of a Lexx fan, but he is a true geezer, and quite horny for Xenia, so we spent a lot of time filling him in on the back plot of Lexx and the main characters. We had Kim Ross’ continuity book of actor makeup to look at with him to help cue us along. Finally the FX guys arrived and the magic began. First all the oil was stripped from John’s face with alcohol. Then some toxic acrylic based glue was applied to John’s face while the latex mask was trimmed to fit him. John was meanwhile making sure to pee, eat and drink before all this was done, as he would require a lot of help to do it once the mask, hand and foot were applied. Once the mask was glued to John’s face, the cracks in the latex were sealed with more toxic substances by Aaron. Meanwhile, Greg was busily gluing cotton balls and artfully twisted cotton to John’s hand to simulate the bones of the hand. Layers of tissue paper were then glued to John’s hand one at a time to simulate macerated and decaying skin. As the hand was being worked on the face had dried, and Aaron began apply layers of paint; browns and greens to the latex, black and reds to the skin around the eyes and mouth. Aaron even painted the inside of John’s nose, prompting John to note that he had offered a five dollar bounty for every booger that Aaron found. John is a sweetie and gentle man, and referred to himself as ‘the nagging mummy’ when he abused me about my smoking. I also got abused by Kim Ross, the lovely makeup artist, about my tanned skin. In fact, that day I got abused by just about everyone. But, with one notable exception, it was all done with love! The three hours progressed and eventually the mummy was ready to go to costume, where he had to be sewed into his costume as the zipper had broken, with his right arm tied behind his back so he could have a skeletal arm applied to his right shoulder. He spent about 10 hours with his arm tied behind his back, by my count, with layers of latex and cotton and makeup applied to his face, left hand and foot. Needless to say we all took turns feeding him snippets of food and tying his shoe for him. I drew the line at helping him pee however. He also had two contact lenses applied; one set for vision (he’s blind as a bat like us) and then the ‘mummy eyes’ over the corrective lenses. He also had prosthetic teeth, which were taken out between scenes so he could drink and eat, and nag me about my smoking. A lovely lady named Gaylen was the contact lens tech, and spent the day making sure John suffered no more than absolutely necessary, she also smoked with us and told us about what it was like in Hali with all the stranded Americans during the terrorist attacks. Apparently a lot of Haligonians took in Americans stranded in Hali, or took them out for food, or shopping for underwear or whatever. Visiting Lexx reaffirmed for me that the Canadians are great peeps, and I am going to spend a lot more time getting to know Canada and its wonderful people.
< BlackCloud > I can add little more than to say, this was definitely the most fun I spent on-set. John has an easy English charm and humor about him and he traded jokes and repartee with Aaron and Greg, the entire time he was being transformed. And, what a transformation! The end product was a thorough creep fest! (a little too in character sometimes, John!) I’ve been hauntin’ Canada for over 20 years now and its people have remained just as they were when I first visited in ’77 …warm and fantastic!
< BlackCloud > (oh, lawd…*groan*)
< FX > Having seen John put together in all his glory, we decided to shoot for the moon and watch THE WIG be applied. Hey, I was not going to fly all the way to Hali and not see the mechanics of that damn wig. I mean, I earned it! And besides, Mikey had actually shown signs of civility the day before. Thus emboldened, Blackie and I decided to ask if we could watch The WIG be applied, for the last time at Electropolis. We had already seen Mikey shriek as his skin was cleaned for makeup and the tattoo by Kim Ross. And we had also seen Joanne Stamp pin curl Mikey’s hair into Heidi rolls with a stretchy band in preparation for the wig. (The hair people had asked MM if he really wanted his hair in such a flattering composition for a couple of hours while waiting to enter the wig, I mean it wasn’t the most erotic look! But Mikey said, “No, it’s me!” to any offers of making his hair more presentable. Bless the boy for a complete lack of vanity)
< BlackCloud > Lack of vanity and elitism, I might add. Which I could have proved if I didn’t have a fear of airport latex and ventured to bring my 400mm telephoto…looks too much like a weapon of mass destruction. In all fairness, MM was well bespoken of by those I ran into. During meal breaks, he could have easily sequestered himself in his dressing room but he dined elbow-to-elbow with the crew, pin curls and all.
“NO PROBLEM” was barked back at me. It is utterly amazing to me how much contempt and loathing could be fit into two words. I mean the man is a master. However, as I already mentioned, I was hungover, and had been chasing aspirin with Rolaids all morning. That “NO PROBLEM” ricocheted right through my hurting brain and bounced down my spine. Fortunately, my teeth (well trained) automatically slammed into their accustomed groove in my tongue before what shot into my brain could roll out of my mouth. I refrained from offering La McManus oral gratification for such graciousness and sat quietly. I also did not fancy the thought of Electropolis thugs escorting me forcibly from the studio. Thus chastened, we sat quietly and watched Joanne and Mikey fight the wig into place. Blackie by this point was no longer cringing in her chair (!), and Blackie and I discussed Valdron’s “Lexx vs Farscape” monograph on the merits of Indian versus French braids. Meanwhile, the battle with the wig continued. Having more or less centered the beast on the top of Mikey’s head, Joanne gamely began to braid MM’s hair into the hair of the wig. The braid canted to port, and Joanne and Mikey tugged at it a few times while grunting. Then Joanne proceeded to staple the damn thing to Mikey’s head with very carefully applied hairpins (there was a relative shortage of pins due to Xenia’s Cleopatra wig). Now the wig was more or less settled, and Joanne and Mikey peered at it with dismay. Mikey tugged at the forelock, (his own hair plus wig hair left hanging,) while Joanne began to lacquer more Mikey hair into place over the wig in the back. Finally, Joanne began to paint in the hairline. I finally felt safe to talk and ventured to ask if she was touching up the roots. Uh oh, Mikey is frowning. Joanne babbles something about blending makeup into the hairline and I back off. Mikey snarls something about his hair always having been combed into the wig and I decide on a tactical retreat. After what seems an eternity of brooding silence, I venture that the bun seems a bit…small…Finally a smile from Mikey; it seems he has been battling Joanne on this issue for the last season. He says that the reason for the quiet after that comment is that both he and Joanne are biting their cheeks. A silent truce is declared. More or less. I am still hungover and not happy. Mikey toddles off to the climactic fight scene in the cage with the mummy, and Kim and Joanne try to smooth over the event. This is when we are told that McGarbo is habitually late to makeup call, and that the ladies have taken to fining him twenty dollars per person affected when he is late. Many mornings are heralded by Mikey silently arriving and peeling bills off for each person from makeup and hair whom he has dissed.
< BlackCloud > Holey frijoles, easily the scariest moment on-set. I’m thinking this is fallout from the “firm grip” episode combined with the unholy effects of hangover and sleeplessness, on top of two strong egos being in close proximity. (Ego-schmego, just two ornery and cynical misanthropes abrading down each other’s rough edges!) Sure, I heard him say “No problem.” To be sure, I say variations of ‘not a problem’ to my patients every night I work so I didn’t really mark the clipped tone, until I saw FX’ spine stiffen. All I know is, I was wishing my chair were a little closer to the door by the time FX leaned in close and said, “Touching up our roots, are we?” Yikes! I was thinkin’ of grabbing Joanne and screaming, “Dive, hit the deck! They’re comin’ t’ blows!” but I just quietly pulled my legs up in the chair and leaned back, hoping things took a gentler turn. (Where the hell was Frey’s blasted chipperness when ya needed it?) Mercifully, things did and it was nice to listen to a more relaxed exchange, while unprying my fingers from the arms of the chair. (uh, Joanne, I gotta agree with MM on this, bigger is better but you must be glad those bad hair days are over…that’s a helluva lotta hair to have a bad day with!) The late fee system was make-up girls told us about was a hoot! Apparently, one day he came in with coin, instead of cash, but they held out till he paid up. (Kudos to MM for straight-donating a $100 to their charity collection in lieu of his late fee)
< FX > Having more or less survived our day in hair and makeup, Blackie and I make our way down to studio 3 to watch the fight scenes between the mummy and the Lexx cast be filmed.
In the spirit of absolute yenta-ness, I will mention another little episode Blackie and I witnessed during the wig battle; a production person came up to ask Mikey about a fan who had asked for tickets to the wrap party and had mentioned MM’s name. First McGarbo had to be reminded of who the fan was, at which point he referred to the fan as a geek, and then told production member not to bother finding tickets, that it would be taken care of by some other venue. I am being vague here as I found this unnecessarily callous, and possibly hurtful to the fan. I am wondering, however, if we weren’t part of a rather clever manipulation; this guy is way too smart to say stuff in front of outsiders and trust that it will not be repeated without asking for it not to be repeated. And McManus is nothing if not intelligent. But he is also ‘so cynical’ to start with, and maybe not that good at interacting with females in general (‘hey, if I want a friend I’ll buy a dog’). My take is, for what it’s worth, that he is now burnt out to the nth degree. He is probably more than a little tired of strange woman grabbing his ass in public places, and writing pornographic fantasies on the web about his character/him. I am smiling now, as I think he purposely let us see his worst side so as to make his divorce from Lexx and Lexxians in a big way, and very final. That would allow him to go back to his own life and his work, and be left alone. And hey, I exist to serve ;-). As a shrink once told me, all human interactions are about manipulation, so okay, consider me manipulated.
< BlackCloud > Well, damn, I guess I’ll be changing my name from BlackCloud to “Bright and Shining Optimistic Beacon” behind that! Okay, the “geek” thing made the blood rush to my ears and profane words come to the tip of my tongue for the sake of the aforementioned fan. I’ve worked in theater and I’m a very private person so there’s one thing you can recognize with that combination, when a person intends to be heard or not. I can’t even speculate. I just felt bad for them both, MM and the “geek.” On one level, it was quite obvious that our presence at that time could be seen as an invasion of privacy. The end of anything is an emotional time, even if that thing has been a trying pain in the butt at times. That is why I was incredibly stunned when we were invited to their wrap-party. On another level, so many seemed so very pleased to have us there, to know that the fans acknowledged not just the big star names’ efforts but the efforts of all those involved with bringing “Lexx” to our homes and heart, from the caterer to the costume designer. I felt bad that MM felt so alienated from the large fan base that his character inspired, and apparently towards us, for no other reason than liking a show he’s worked very hard on for many years. Nevertheless, what can we know after only three days? Certainly not a person’s character neither can we know their true intentions. Perhaps he was just socially awkward or shy. Perhaps he was dealing with his own separation anxieties.
< thefrey > Hello Blackie, it’s me, the chipper happy one. Many of the friends I have had over the years are because I do go out of my way to put the shy or awkward ones at ease. As you both saw, I will talk to anyone, and I do. And once I have spoken to them, as a rule I can tell the people who are glad to have had someone else take the first step, and the ones would wish I would leave them alone. I don’t invade people space (I hate that), and I do try to acknowledge their presence in a non-threatening or pushy way, so that they can feel comfortable about approaching me. My point…. Hummm yes I had one….ummmm … oh I remember what it was. Now…. I do not dispute that Mr. Wonderful could have been having a bad hair day (not hard to do with that wig) or personal anxieties. But three bad hair days? Possibly FX and MM might not have hit it off. But we were all respecting MM’s space and *not* acting like idiots at anytime during our trip. Also you, despite your nick, have the appearance of someone who is pretty laid back. And if I was any less threatening appearance wise I would be a spaniel-collie mix, so I don’t see how it could have been a shy thing.
< BlackCloud > In the final analysis, it made no difference to me because I was there to esteem and admire MARTY SIMON! 🙂 (Marty, You Rock!)
< thefrey > Ah, now that I agree with. I have wanted to meet Mr. Donovan, ever since he had Renee contact me about the Texas/Lexx publicity problem I wrote him about. He is sooooo nice.
Anyhow…. Having no interest in hair styling (ask FX about the wash and wear avec no blow dry mop I sport), nor any wish to intrude upon the sick or petulant principals, I decided to visit the prop creation room before heading out to bug the CGI guys. Brian Edman was busy sorting the stuff in the prop shop for in-house and ebay sale. He bemoaned the fact that some of the stuff was just going to have to be dismantled and disposed of due to time constraints. But as he said, time was money, and the studio space had to be cleared by Monday. I asked why it couldn’t be put in to storage until it was sold. He gave me a pitying look, and explained that storage space in Halifax was both expensive and difficult to find. Oh. (Note: I have since heard that the full moth is going to be taken to the Shoe.)
Anyhow, after poking around in the prop shop for a bit, I hunted up Jason and got the address and phone number of Alex Busby, a head honcho with the CGI People. I called him and found that Woody from chat had notified him of my possible decent upon their little bastion of creativity. So with Alex’s permission I decided it was time to saddle up and visit the CGI peeps.
The DZ4 CGI crew is housed in a huge old building, which used to be some sort of academy. They are right below Citadel Hill, and I bet the back offices have a really great view. I am going to visit people who are at the cutting edge of computer generated technology right? Okay, so will some one explain to me why their entry door requires someone to trot down two flights of steps to open it? Why does this door not have a remote controlled lock? After being let in, I looked upon ‘the steps.’ Sigh….. This is a very stately building with worn stone steps, enormously high ceilings, huge big windows, and I’m sorry, I must mention it again, NO AIR CONDITIONING! Come on people it was October and I was still dying. Fans and open windows were everywhere. You can not have that many computers and monitors going without a little bit of heat being generated! Get with the program people, better living through freon!
After being greeted by a very busy Alex, the next person I talked to was a dog named Brunswick. Brunswick is a huge reddish gold dog that assists Steward Dowds in his work. Steward takes the shots that the director approves and puts them in the correct order to tell the story. He mentioned that ‘The Game’ had more slated shots than any other episode they have filmed. How on earth he managed to get the shots which are scattered all around the schedule into the right place was a mystery to me. Magic is all I can figure.
The shots are then handed over to the 3D and 2D crew to have the effects created or overlaid on them. I talked to a ton of people like the 2D artists Claude Therio who has been working on Lexx for forever and Heath Matheson. I then wandered into the 3D room and talked to Jason Pennington who was reworking one of his bits because the shadow on the moon shot was not at the right angle. Please!!!! This shot is a few seconds long! How do they even notice this stuff? Jason and another 3D artist named Robert Zwirner noticed me dying in the heat. They laughed and told me if I really wanted to be miserable I should visit them in July or August. I immediately offered to call the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Geeks and turn Salter Street in for crimes against humanity. They just laughed and declined saying they were freelance, and use to being abused. I was struck by their dedication to the Lexx cause and salute those who are about to melt!
While I didn’t get to see Woody he did email me an explanation of the Kai/Vlad on top the Castle with Lightning that was on the question list. Woody said; “… it was probably the most difficult scene [they ]worked on. Kai and Vlad were shot separately, so the first challenge was to put them together even leaving the green screen in, and have it look like they’re reacting to each other. The next challenge was that lights were flashed during the video taping to simulate lightning. The result is that when the two actors were combined, the lighting would be on one actor but no flash on the other. So the lightning had to be painted in for the other. Then there was the entire issue of making the castle, getting the storm clouds to work, and having that penis-snake come out of Vlad’s chest. Kudos to Tim for compositing that shot, to Claude for painting it, to Robert for making the castle, and to Don for the penis.” So there you have it folks, nothing to it when you have this many talented people working on it.
Woody also explained in terms I could understand what exactly Alex and Ken do. Woody says, “Ken Peterson is our online editor & colorists. After the offline editor (Stewart Dowds or Paul Green) finishes the offline cut, which is the traditional “picture lock” containing everything except for the visual effects, Ken rebuilds the show on his machine according to the creative decisions of the offline editor. Ken then goes through each shot to ensure that the skin tones and other color elements are consistent from scene to scene and shot to shot. Sometimes he removes a bit of blue tint from a shot to make it warmer, and other times he’ll decrease the amount of green in a shot if maybe the lighting wasn’t optimal onset. He also does the final quality check to ensure that every image is as perfect as it can be, and he works with the effects producer (Alex) to examine each shot as it appears in the show after it has been created by an artist. Either Ken or Alex can send the effect back to be redone – Ken will send it back if it’s jittery, or if the background and foreground elements vary in their color tones so much that he can’t color correct them. Alex will send the shot back if it creatively doesn’t mesh with his storyboard or what he wants to see. In the picture you have of both of them, they’re probably working through episode 4.12 – Bad Carrot, in order to do the final approvals on the shots before the episode is run off to tape for screening at the wrap party. ” (Note: It was Bad Carrot and I got to watch in its uncut Glory!!!! Yeah!!!)
< BlackCloud > (Note: I bet my ass that episode won’t be seen in all its uncut glory in the US)
< thefrey > As I walked through the kitchen area I noticed several funny printouts stuck up on the fridge, and two very familiar ones close by. I stopped dead, stunned at the sight of two pictures of my Xev Klone Doll hanging on a strange wall in Halifax. The hussies! Color me surprised! Heck I didn’t even have her posted on my web site yet! As I was mentioning this to Alex, he very cleverly turned the conversation to websites. So I decided not to kill any of the talented people who had showered me with such kindness and instead showed him and Doug Kendal the Kai Kaption page and our very own Sadgeezer.com, I made them bookmark both sites. While of course Sad’s page is so much more the informative professional site, Doug did get a kick out of the smarty-pants kaptions you guys come up with. Good work People! I also went down to the truck and brought up the completed Klones since Alex and Ken expressed an interest in seeing them. Sigh… more steps. They got a good giggle out of them, and then I decided I had sucked up enough of their time, so I thanked them and bid all goodbye.
I went back to the studio and promptly broke my foot on the stairs from hell while looking for my partners in crime. Although I didn’t know at the time it was broken, I thought I had just had a bad muscle pull or something. I can not really fuss too much, I mean really, big round woman plus three flights of concrete steps times forty or so trips equals broken foot.
< FX > Back to Viva Lexx Vegas. Louis Del Grande was funny and the scene was a hoot and Xenia was masterful in her battle scenes. Louis was having fun playing a tacky Las Vegas showman, and he kept throwing in ‘b actor meets the Sopranos’ schtick, so time passed quickly. Our mummy was the star of this particular segment so we felt very personally invested.
< thefrey > I had previously noticed that Xenia was not looking much better today. Her shooting schedule seemed to be the heaviest of anyone’s. And her costume, while pretty snazzy included a pair of boots made out of that metalized-hold-the-heat-in pleather stuff. These things should have been outlawed by the Geneva Convention. They were extremely pointed with very high spike heels. I couldn’t have kept them on my feet for fourteen hours, let alone stand and jump and act with them on. During one of the breaks for lighting adjustments, I slipped my Xev Klone out of my tote and presented it to her. It was sooooo cool, At first she was just kind of puzzled, and then she got a good look at it and her face just lit up. She loved it, then when I told her it was a gift for her she brightened up even more. She made me sign the box, and agreed to let me snap a few picks of her holding it. She was a bit concerned because she wasn’t in the right outfit, and she said I could come back Saturday if I wanted to get some when she was wearing her regular outfit. Wasn’t that nice of her? I assured her that I didn’t want to bug them on Saturday and that I was just fine with the pics I got, and she went over to sit down and show the Xev klone to her hair and makeup people. Shortly afterwards as she got up to do a shot, she set the Klone down in her chair and patted the box, telling it to ‘stay put, mommy has to go work’. I was nutting out.
We watched the shooting for a while longer and then while the lights were being adjusted Xenia took her klone and went out to the break area. I was watching through the door as she showed it to MM who was sitting on one of the benches talking to a group of various production people. I figured this might be a good time to inflict MM with a klone of his own. So I slipped in to the break area and approached him just as Xenia was leaving.
MM gave me a ‘now what’ kind of look as I smiled at him and Jason. I told him that I knew that guys didn’t get into dolls, but I was pretty sure he had a female relative who would get a kick out of it, and then slid the Kai Klone into view and handed it to him. It was priceless. MM gave me a very stuffed, deer caught in the headlights kind of look and then just sort of stared at the Klone. I told him that fortunately the one that I had made for him had the larger hair that he preferred. I think he was amazed or appalled….. or perhaps amazed AND appalled. He said “um thanks.” Jason didn’t help any by leaning over and saying stuff like, “Oh, my god, it looks just like you!” Or plucking it out of Michael’s hands and asking me all kinds of questions about whether it was a conversion or original doll sculpture. I laughed a bit at that, and said that injection molding was going a bit on the dark side of crafting even for me, and that while I was sure it could be done on a hobby scale if necessary, I was pretty sure that the spouse would divorce me if I attempted it. As Jason handed it back to Michael I told him that his was the latest version as I was experimenting with a new way to do the hair and that I hoped he liked it. I then slipped away and left Michael to show it to several people who had drifted closer to get a look. (Note: I did receive a thank you for the Klone from MM in the mail with some stuff Brian mailed me. Unfortunately it was written on a picture of MM that I had left for Brian to get signed for NewKate. Ah well, it is the thought that counts. 🙂 Sorry Kate, I tried. If the other pix show up, I’ll send you one of them, but only if you promise not to put it up on Ebay! Just teasing.)
Brian showed up about this time so I gave him his klone. We both laughed and agreed that the base doll had way too young a face, but the box was nice. We decided that he would hang onto it until I found the right base doll and replaced it with a better one. (Note: The Niece is bugging the crap out of me to hurry up and do this since Brian said he would autograph the prototype and send it to her in England. She just loves him!)
< BlackCloud > Earlier that day, we had all been cleared out of make-up when Xenia had gone in. I didn’t take it personally since it was everyone who was booted out but I couldn’t help but wonder, what was up? (Plus, it gave us some Rolf time and each and every time we got to sit and chat with him was a pure joy. Who knew Prince’s wimpy henchman was such a doll?) I didn’t know she was under the weather at the time nor was I watching the shooting in the cage at that point. Later that evening, I was on the bench outside the cage scene when she came running out and stopped right in front of me. I looked up and smiled “Hi” She smiled back then asked quietly, “Has anyone seen my mommy?” Then, I noted how tired she looked. I asked her if I could get her something and she just asked for a seat on the bench. We promptly made space and she stuck her legs straight out in front of her, that’s when I noticed those golden instruments of torture she was wearing on her feet. “Good Lord! You must be trashed!” She just smiled beautifully and remarked she was chilly. Small wonder, small outfit. No wonder her mom’s so proud of her, Xenia’s quite a trooper. I just hope a personal foot masseur was a part of her contract (yeow!).
< FX > Finally Stan and Kai showed up to enter the fray. Up to this point, shooting had been progressing smoothly under the crisp and humorous direction of Chris Bould, however, once the acTOR showed up everything came to a screeching halt. Suddenly the planned sequences were all wrong, and should be shot this a way instead of that a way. I guess the difficulties started with the dolly cam shooting the opening of the confrontation between Kai and The Mummy from between Kai’s legs. Yup, I just wrote that. Basically, Kai was standing at the gate of the cage where all the Xev battles have taken place, about to give his ‘I have killed….’ monologue. And Chris Bould the director wanted the scene to begin from between Kai’s legs, with the camera then pulling back and following Kai into the confrontation from behind. Nice idea, but logistically it involved the cameraman inserting the lens very carefully under McManus’ butt and between his thighs. McManus was not thrilled. He very fastidiously walked to position and spread his legs, wider, and wider, and wider (reminded me of several pelvic exams I have suffered) and then the camera would be wheeled into place, and Mikey would kind of give this little half skip and squirm as the lens would be fit into position to get the proper frame for the opening shot. And then Mikey would sort of teeter on widespread legs, looking like the newest arrival to cell block d, grimacing over his shoulder at the camera and then at the director. After multiple takes, and refitting of the camera-butt plug, he finally snapped “I don’t like this, people are going to think Kai has hemorrhoids” Of course, Brian immediately snapped back “But he does!” (Reference to bad carrot I think!)…Mikey grinned, and then went back to sniping, and mincing into position, with the camera probe being carefully inserted into position, over, and over and over…
< thefrey > At one point in time while he was settling into place and tugging his pants up, he looked over his shoulder and snapped, “Well at least you are getting a good look at my butt.” I am not sure if he was addressing the camera crew or the group by the door. But I will point out that he was wearing the macramé mess rather than the green shorts and that his butt is not his best feature, so we were all able to restrain ourselves. :)(I dunno, it’s small but sincere…)
< FX > Finally the scene was shot and the brace was applied. This involved a new sleeve for the Kai outfit and the prop brace being placed under the sleeve for deployment. There was some more “I have killed…” and mock battle, complete with Kai leaping to the roof of the cage for the climactic battle. At this point shooting came to a complete halt. Several minutes discussion of what McManus thought the scene should be vs what the director had envisioned ensued. Occasionally, Mikey would pull a mock surrender and say, ” well, I’ll do it…” pregnant pause. The director would then ask him again what he wanted to do, and why. Finally the decision was made to do it Mikey’s way, more or less, which involved switching to hand held cameras, and all unnecessary types were booted out so as to be able to use the whole studio for the scenes without having other people in the shots. We all shuffled outside, and watched as Brian and Xenia periodically came spilling out into the catering area, which had been quickly turned into a makeshift studio as well. The next couple of hours were like the three stooges as Brian and Xenia, then Brian and Xenia and Rolf would go bursting into the studio, and then come bursting back out. We killed time by watching Brian clowning between takes, (as well as providing him with cigarettes on the run), chatting with other people like Patrick the caterer, and Steve Albiston model designer, and eating.
Periodically McManus would come out and I would watch with bemusement, as he would first veer away from me, only to find himself heading towards Frey or Blackie. Then he would kind of stop in between us, then retreat towards the bathroom instead. It was on one of his forays out that my suspicions were confirmed about the ending of Lexx. He was standing with his back to us outside the studio door, smoking and reading an off print from the onion. All of a sudden this sweet young thing came rolling in, complete with skateboard under his arm. I mean this child still had milk on his breath, and in fact looked like one of the more delicious little boys from the planet of milk fed boys. For the first time, Mikey gets all warm and gracious and starts chatting with the little teenybopper. The kid asks MM about the ending of Lexx, at which point McManus says “oh yeah, I lobbied for it…five hours of meetings….” I will not repeat what I was thinking at that point as I think I have already given everyone enough grounds to just shoot me. Suffice to say that my feelings were not of friendly nature, but there was some satisfaction in having my suspicions confirmed. Ah well.
< BlackCloud > Ah, c’mon, I had to laugh at one point when I was taking a picture of Pig and, in an attempt to avoid the lens, MM veered off so hard, I thought he was gonna hit the hardtop. Now, that’s avoidance and agility! Dude’s got moves!
< FX > This evening the shooting finished around 10 pm, we said our good byes, especially to Brian, and Mary Elizabeth whom Brian had introduced to us earlier, and wandered off to find food. We wandered off to the shoe, chowed down and drank some more (hair of the dog you understand!) and chatted with a few Lexx crew stragglers, including The Pig, a completely charming shaved head type with goatee and snazzy jacket…and motorcycle. We were exhorted yet again to come to the wrap party (I was still planning to standby out early the next morning). Home to the Lord Nelson, and a real seven hours of sleep! Okay, so I am a wimp, but I had been surviving on cigarettes, alcohol, and a wee bit of food and sleep for three days and I am too old for this shit.
< thefrey > God yes, it is hard enough to do for a few days on vacation, but can you imagine how much of a b*tch I would be if every day I got up and worked 10 to 12 hours at a demanding job and then went and hung in a bar all evening. I would be down right cranky! Ooops. Never mind, forget I mentioned it.
< BlackCloud > Obviously, “unrepeatable event” had significance only to me that weekend. Favorite show ending, throwing a party, private screening, good music and food and drink, cast and crew, most importantly, we’ve been invited, twice! But, you want to go home to bed? Could you be more insane? (Oh, see you’ve got me channeling Chandler Bing!)
< thefrey > Fing!!! That was the sound of a snide remark wizzing right over Blackie’s head. It’s okay though, it wasn’t aiming for you. You must have been tired when you wrote this Blackie ’cause you are usually much quicker on the uptake. Never mind.
And I did appreciate this unique opportunity, it was freakin’ great! However FX wanted to go sleep, and you make no other suggestions. Sweetie, my number one motto is ‘If you want something, have to ask for it’ (How do you think I got to Hali?) You talked me in to staying at a party with a wounded foot, I’m pretty sure you could have talked me into doing something else with you after we dropped FX off at the hotel.
Saturday, October 6, 2001
< FX > Having just enough of a catholic background to make me feel guilty about everything, at the most inopportune times, I decided to stop being a crab, and go touristing with Frey and Blackie. What I wanted to do was shop a little, then snooze. Instead I watched Blackie take in a totally amazing amount of fried fish at 10 am, even as she was bragging about her iron stomach.
< BlackCloud > One piece! It was one *@#^%! piece of overly battered, deep-fried, though incredibly tasty, fish! But, it was still my stomach’s bedtime and it was pissed at the interruption, thank you very much.
< FX > I only said ‘I told you so’ once later that day as I handed her my two remaining Rolaids (Canadians do not seem to suffer from tummy aches, so I was bereft of my usual Mylanta.) I then even suffered through this “Frog” ride through Halifax on some sort of amphibious craft surplus from the Vietnam era. No, I am not kidding. Complete with a perky redhead telling us to scream ribbit at unsuspecting pedestrians periodically. I actually caught Frey participating in this a couple of times.
< BlackCloud > I heard your chipper arse ribbit Frey!
< thefrey > Hey, I did warn you both that I was a cheerful kind of person.
< FX > After splashing into and around the harbor in this thing, we were finally released to go find real food and get rained on. At this point I was still thinking lustfully about a nice nap, but when we got back to the hotel, Blackie cheerfully informed me that we had to buy gifts for Paul and Lex and Allison, and of course, Brian. I did not have a problem with getting something for Brian, other than the usual concerns of finding an appropriate gift for a stranger (Christmas is hell for me, and I know the people I am buying gifts for). Needless to say, my nap vanished into a blustery rainy day as we ran around shopping while Frey rested her broken foot at the hotel.
< BlackCloud > I guess we’re ever so lucky I didn’t go with the original gift list I had in mind, eh?:))
< thefrey > I propped my foot up and spent my time reading, napping and trying (unsuccessfully) to get a hold of a Halifax Lexxian that I had stashed an extra Wrap Party ticket for. Hey, the guy handing me the second ticket didn’t ask if I’d already been given one! Don’t look at me like that! You would have done the same thing.
< FX > Finally shopping was complete, and having bought a bottle of Captain Morgan, I maneuvered Blackie back to the hotel to begin wrapping gifts, gossiping, and drinking copious amounts of rum and coke. We wrapped and drank and bitched at each other (the Haligonians were quite amazed by how two New Yorkers address each other; they just didn’t understand our terms of endearment, “don’t make me hurt you, bitch” and so forth.) We also terrorized a totally ‘leave it to beaver’ group of teenagers by screaming “Gang! Gang!” and running away. Anyway, we were making so much noise at the hotel that two Canadians from down the hall came to join in the party. The couple left after we told them we were arguing about the existence of PMS. I maintain that it is just a catchy slogan-excuse for bad manners, but Blackie keeps telling me it’s a real medical condition. Frey sat this one out.
< BlackCloud > And, a very plausible excuse for hotel-related homicides…slut! Ugh, now I’m channeling 790, wait, no…no, I’m not! Slut! Those poor PEI folk were both stunned yet intrigued. I could tell they’d had just enough beer to brace them to actually approach the room but not quite enough to get them to cross the threshold and stay. They were caught somewhere between but flight won out when PMS entered into the fray. They just weren’t that drunk yet to deal with two freaky New Yorkers and an ornery Texan.
< thefrey > Yeah, I only wandered up after they were halfway sloshed, but I was in time to watch them run off the Prince Edward Island couple. Bad FX and Blackie! Sigh….. I am a displaced Pennsylvanian, who just happens to live in Texas. And I am *not* ornery! I’m Sally Sunshine remember.
< FX > Finally it came time to tart up; we put on our pumps and our crinolines and grabbed a cab to Electropolis for the party. I agreed to go because I was going to see a Lexx eppy uncut plus a blooper reel. And despite Blackie’s snideries, I did realize this was a one-time event. The uncut Lexx was ‘bad carrot’, and all I could think of was “wow, so this is what they really do when they are not censored”. I mean this was over the top, lots of proctological exams with appropriate faces by each actor getting probed, poopy humor (ehh, I don’t really like south park) and a completely awesome and unexpected Kai scene. How that boy keeps a straight face I will never know. Also the final story arc is introduced. So pay attention kiddies, if you get to see enough of it to make sense of it. If not, I will tell all in the Lexx episodes forum (shameless plug). The blooper reel was even better; it had McManus getting bit by the dog as well as Stanley disappearing into an overzealous amount of smoke-machine effluvia.
< BlackCloud > Ye gods, she loves that pronoun “we.” Well, having schlepped all over Hali at uncon, this part of “we” had nothing in the way of dressy togs to wear to the party. But, it didn’t matter as people were there in all manner of attire; there was even an ‘angel, wings and all’ .
< thefrey > The party was really great. I loved the bloopers. And getting to see an episode that I watched the CGI guys working on the day before was really wonderful. Especially since SciFi will probably cut to crap out of it (haha) when and if they ever decide to show it. Not being much of a drinker, I decided to follow Blackie’s credo of better living through pharmacology. Two high powered pain pills and a really wicked antihistamine gave me a lovely buzz. Almost everyone that I had met over the last two days stopped to talk to me and make sure that I had enjoyed my visit. I received enough hugs to have started a full blown epidemic had anyone been contagious. Rolf gave us ladies an impromptu acting lesson and a few thoughts to ponder. He is such a great guy.
< BlackCloud > Oh, that’s left a good impression; your local neighborhood forum dealer here! Next time explain BC’s broken back first before people start puttin’ in their online orders.
< thefrey > Did I say I got them from you? No! Only the Slogan was Blackie’s. For the record they were my very own prescription pain pills from my very own dentist in case my new filling acted up again. Hehe, good god d*mn thing I had them.
< BlackCloud > Rolf! That man is too, too cool for prime time television! He stood before us, all dressed in black, and slowly turned away. He took two steps, his head began to dip below his shoulders, he slowly pivoted on his heels, and when he looked at us from that doubtful face, he was Priest! Bravo! It was such a pleasure speaking with him; he almost made me miss the theatre, almost. Then I remembered I liked getting a paycheck; too old to be a starvin’ artist.
< FX > We saw Brian, and he squeezed me so hard I couldn’t figure out if he was just happy to see me or checking to see if I had breast implants. He is such a sweetie; we gave him the gift, and he asked us if he could wait to read the card as he was too ‘on the edge’ to read anything sentimental. It was sentimental, so we told him to read it later when he was alone. And we finally got to meet mamabear/Allison Outhit! We gave Allison her gift, and she told us that the whole thing was so bitter sweet, but that she had great memories and was really proud of what they had accomplished despite lack of money and experience. Remember guys, this show, which we frequently take for granted, truly broke new ground, and a lot of times they were making it up as they went along. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, Lexx is like nothing else that has been done before. And Allison left because it was all coming to an end, and she ‘got an offer she couldn’t refuse’. So more power and fortune to her, may she always be involved in such groundbreaking efforts.
Finally, I got to meet Marty Simon. I was running around to find Blackie and Frey so I could tell them I was going home when Brian grabbed me and said, “Let me introduce you to somebody”. Needless to say, another two hours flew by before my conscience attacked me again, and forced me to find Blackie so I could introduce her to her idol.
< thefrey > (Which she did by snagging me and sending me in search of her)
< FX > Marty is the man who created the Lexx sound, and most importantly, the yo vey yo chant. He is completely charming and lovely and cute, and he has worked with everyone including the Who, the Stones, Wilson Pickett, and most importantly for us, Paul D.
He’s been working with Paul since the Squamish Five; when Lexx came ’round, Paul explained the premise, and asked for something as ‘un Paul Williams/Star Wars like’ as possible. And it’s true, the opening theme for Lexx is extremely recognizable, but it is harsh and edgy as opposed to the bombast of Star Wars. Yo vay yo however is haunting and evocative, and certainly as majestic as any star wars or star drek thing, but again, edgy and under the right circumstances, funny. Marty has just completed a new Lexx cd, and frequently does the singing on tracks we thought were done solely by Michael. Especially the opening credits version of yo vay yo. Aside from ‘serious’ musical discussion, we catted about various people, talked about the world trade center thing, and Paul’s next project. I should note for the record that I have heard Paul’s renaissance Italy project described as ‘The sopranos meets the renaissance’, but Marty just laughed and refused to comment further. At any rate, I am looking forward to more Paul, and more Lex and Brian and Patricia and Rolf and Giggy, and definitely more Marty; as well as the really committed and too often silent craftsmen of Lexx,
< thefrey > (Like Shelly, John, Ian and Judy from the art department!)
< FX > …and I am sure we will be getting it, so stay tuned folks! I left the party after noting that Mikey had had his roots touched up for the event, and proceeded to stagger drunkenly up the hills of Halifax in high heels back to my hotel, and eventually, home. Thank you all for sharing our humble little descent into Lexx madness, hope it was fun for you…love fx
< thefrey > About an hour after FX left I hunted up Blackie to tell her I was leaving, and found her staring at a video slide show in studio one where the band was. She was just standing in front of the screen kind of mesmerized. I laughed when she told me that the reason she was standing in the middle of the floor was that every time she had moved further away, our favorite guy decided to stand right in front of the screen, Force of habit on his part I guess from all those years of green screening. Although I am sure she aesthetically appreciated the artistic composition of him being back lit by such beautiful images. She found that if she stood right in front of the screen, It discouraged people from getting in her line of vision. However by the time I hunted her up, she had seen enough and nagged me to stay and keep her company a little while longer. So I stuck around until 2:30 and then decided to call it a night, since I did not want to be a total wench in the morning. Blackie, being a party animal, stayed on til the wee hours.
< BlackCloud > Actually, I watched that film “Baraka” is the name, I believe, until they switched it off. I just couldn’t look away; the band’s music complemented it so perfectly and I’m such a media freak. I met quite a few people that way, though, circulating through non-circulation, go figure. One very nice young woman, who came up to solicit a smoke, explained the entire video to me. I was offered and given several drinks by passersby. I got to see Louise/Lyekka, again, who said she was sorry I didn’t get her signed picture. I said I was happy enough with just her photo; she was all sweetness itself. I only had to move a few feet in either direction when the MM group propped themselves directly in front of me and I couldn’t tell it was them, at first, because of the light from the screen. I only knew it was them when I returned from panting over Marty Simon like a pre-teen and my eyes weren’t focused on the screen. I’ve grown up with two pretty brothers and a pretty nephew lives with me, I’m used to preening, it doesn’t bother me. But, that shifting crap had to go so I did park it close till it was over. Then, made poor broke up Frey sit with me, so I could watch the dancing.
< thefrey > I didn’t mind too much, as long as Blackie was happy.
< BlackCloud > I just stayed for the music. I love music. I kept hoping for “SandStorm” but it wasn’t in their collection. I only danced a little being much more content watching others dance, instead, especially to that fast house music. (Oh, Greg, the mummy make-up guy who did hand and foot? Homeboy’s got moves!:)) I would have stayed till crack o’ dawn but I realized I had plane at crack o’ dawn. I said my goodbyes, loaded myself into one of the vans with some incredibly inebriated guests…way to throw a party responsibly Mr.D!… and made my way back to the Lord Nelson. The driver seemed relieved when I told him I was a nurse and was quite sober, especially when one of his passengers got in and kept falling over in her seat. He got us all safely home and I packed for home. It was too groovy and fun and an honor. Thank you for having us. I hope they make that tiny wrap video a part of their future DVD collection, except the f**k it part (or, maybe especially the f**k it part:))
< thefrey > What can I say, it was an incredible trip, and I am very grateful to all of the cast and crew for the warm welcome that they extended us. I wish you all could have been there.
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