Saturday, February 15, 2003

Norowzian Scares Up Boogeyman

Mehdi Norowzian will direct the horror film Boogeyman for Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, a unit of Senator International, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Principal photography begins in May in New Zealand.

Boogeyman tells the story of a young man who returns home to face his childhood fears of a monstrous entity that may or may not be real, the trade paper reported. Eric Kripke, Juliet Snowden and Stiles White wrote the screenplay, which is being produced by Spider-Man director Raimi and his Xena: Warrior Princess producing partner Tapert. Steve Hein and Gary Bryman are executive producing the film.

Raimi and Tapert founded Ghost House in April 2002 with Senator to produce horror, SF and fantasy movies. The company is also producing 30 Days of Night, based on a comic-book series.
Sadly, today is also the one-year anniversary of Kevin "Ares" Smith's death. Prayers go out to his family and friends.
Renee's birthday made the UPI Almanac

Click here: UPI Almanac

Big Yachts and Bigger Shindigs

(Newscat Note: Lucy mention toward bottom.)

New York Times

Click here for the story straight from the site

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 15 — What does a brassiere made to look like stuffed yellow chickens have to do with yachting?

That question was foremost on the minds of everyone at the January awards ceremony for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the series for challengers for the America's Cup, which is now under way. The guests were mostly sailors from the two squads that made the challenger finals — the American team Oracle BMW and the Swiss team Alinghi. Burly guys who looked awkward in suits, they had been invited to a big empty field and handed Champagne flutes, and were readying themselves to receive silver plates and other post-regatta knickknacks.

That's when the show began: a procession of models in revealing outfits that included, among other things, that chicken bra.

The uninitiated might find some incongruity between a 151-year-old sailing competition with a dull patina of stodginess and the spectacle of a woman whose torso clucks. But don't forget: nearly everything about the America's Cup is absurd.

Consider: a competitive team costs upward of $100 million; a good lawyer can be as important to a team's success as its helmsman; and when the last sail is furled, the winner gets to rewrite the rules.

Like the event itself, which began Saturday (Friday in the United States), Alinghi vs. Team New Zealand, the scene around the Cup is one very indulgent free-for-all.

Bob Fisher, a British writer who has covered 12 America's Cups, and who has probably been to more Cup parties than anyone, said the standard for a Cup social event is as high as a super-yacht's mast. "It is, after all, a social sport, and one would consider if this is the pinnacle of yachting, then the parties should match," he said.

The hub of Cup social life in Auckland is Viaduct Harbor, a restaurant-ringed marina that was built to accommodate the last Cup in 2000. One hundred and twenty yachts cram the basin, 105 of them super-yachts of more than 100 feet. These are the boats that plow alongside the racing yachts during the race, and it's where the boozing happens after the final gun.

"It's a cracking affair on a world scale — 10 out of 10," Mike Slade, a London real-estate mogul, said a few days ago after stepping off his yacht, a 97-foot baby-blue rocket ship called the Cannon Leopard. "You don't have to have a big boat to enjoy the event, but it's quite expensive for the average player. For those of us with the big boats, we've got a built-in circus."

Many of the yachts that make up the spectator fleet in the America's Cup are literally too nice to sail. Their owners drive them onto a submergible ship that makes stops in the Mediterranean and in Florida. The ship steams halfway around the world to New Zealand in 20 days, and when it arrives, it takes on water, and the yachts float off. Craig Harris, the New Zealand agent for the company that runs the service, said shipping a 130-foot yacht from Florida to Auckland costs about $250,000.

Once in the harbor, things don't get any cheaper. Peter Kiely, the president of the America's Cup Village, a government organization that oversees the marina, said that dockage runs $15 per meter per night. Put another way, once in Auckland, that 130-footer will cost about $20,000 a month just to park. Many yachts stay for the entire five-month regatta, and many slips have been reserved since the end of the last Cup in 2000. After dockage, there's the crew, food and fuel. And don't forget the booze.

"They've bought lots of very stylish Champagne — Cristal, Dom Pérignon, Krug — and specific rare vintage wines," said Jeff Poole, the owner of the Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland. For this Cup, Mr. Poole sold a $3,500 bottle of Château Pétrus to one yacht owner and a $1,750 bottle of Bollinger Champagne to another. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle and a Cup backer, ordered two six-bottle cases of Cristal — one for guests aboard his yacht Katana, another to congratulate his competitor, Ernesto Bertarelli, the Swiss billionaire, for a win.

The number of super-yacht owners of course pales next to the number of super-yacht crew members; each boat has a crew of 3 to 30. The relationship between the two worlds is a kind of nautical Gosford Park, where crews down below traffic in horror stories from above deck. Recently, a husband and wife who split duties as first mate and steward on a super-yacht quit when the owner propositioned them for a ménage à trois.

The crews of the big yachts rarely get to sip the Château Pétrus. Instead, they go on pub crawls around the harbor at bars called the Loaded Hog, O'Hagan's and HQ. When they are feeling especially adventuresome, they head to downtown Auckland and the red-light district. Even the favorite naughty hangout for super-yacht crews, a divy strip bar called the Mermaid, has its own peculiar flourish: patrons throw dollar tokens into a large tank of water, and naked women fish them out.

Many of the most over-the-top parties at America's Cups for the last 20 years have been given by Louis Vuitton. Vuitton, which sponsors the challenger series, gave a fabled bash for 3,000 guests aboard the Kitty Hawk in San Diego (the Beach Boys played) in 1992. Bruno Troublé, a former America's Cup sailor who has organized parties for the Vuitton Cup for the last two decades, said his shindigs have a single modest goal: "To impress the guest so much they remember it for the rest of their life."

It was Vuitton that was behind those models with chicken brassieres as well as two other notable parties at the current Cup. The first was a party for crews in October in an abandoned warehouse that featured giant flaming torches and free booze for more than a thousand hard-drinking yachties.

Then there was the Vuitton Cup Ball, which took place in December at a navy dry dock — a huge pit large enough for an ocean liner, with a 10-story wall of iron at one end that held back the Hauraki Gulf, where the races are held. Lucy Lawless, the New Zealander who in another life was Xena, the warrior princess, boogied with America's Cup sailors; and an evening of fireworks, laser shows and trapeze acts culminated with the skippers of the various teams floating across a pool in giant inflatable bottles, atop models of their yachts.

"It was a bit tricky to get the skippers in the bottles," Mr. Troublé said. "We had to convince them that it wouldn't be ridiculous. It wasn't easy."

Almost since the beginning, the Cup has been seen as a global marketing tool. Thomas Lipton learned as long ago as the 1920's that his America's Cup appearances, however unsuccessful (Lipton went 0-5), helped him sell his tea.

Today the Cup does for luxury goods what the Super Bowl does for beer. Cindy Crawford, a few days ago the host of a party sponsored by Omega watches, expressed consternation over "this whole boating fashion thing." She hadn't settled on what she would wear on race day.

"I was thinking of something kind of Jackie O," she said.

At a party at Auckland's new Hilton last week, Cartier draped models in what it said were $10 million worth of jewels. It's impossible to go to any Cup event without being handed a flute of Moët — at one party, by a squad of transvestites. The latest product to attach its name to the Cup is a drug called Cialis, a treatment for erectile dysfunction like Viagra with at least one difference: it lasts for an alarming duration — 36 hours.

For some purists, the shilling goes too far. Kimberly Jones, a socialite from Newport, R.I., whose husband, Dyer, a former commodore of the New York Yacht Club, directs the challenger regatta, said she remembered a time when the sailing and the parties had "the true Corinthian spirit."

"You didn't need a spectacle, because the people were the spectacle," she said. "It was a pageant. You felt the sailors on the boats were like men going out with standards to joust."

Mr. Fisher, the writer, said that in Auckland yachting has a populist feel. "The country is very sailing-oriented, so therefore every man thinks he has a right to be part of the Cup," he said. "The whole of society has changed out of the blue blazer image, and the America's Cup has gone with it."

The Cup takes roughly five months from start to finish, and with all the receptions, parties, brunches and field trips, it eventually begins to feel like a wedding that won't end. Mr. Fisher said the key to surviving is preparation.

"If you were going to run a marathon, you'd go out and pound the streets every day," he said. "If you were going to go to the America's Cup, every day you'd do a reasonable amount of drinking."

Xena's queen at fantasy convention

Click here for the story straight from the site.

By Gary Scott
Staff Writer

PASADENA -- Almost two years after ``Xena: Warrior Princess,'' and loyal companion Gabrielle appeared in their final television adventure, fans continue to flock by the thousands to the annual Xena convention at the Pasadena Conference Center.

An estimated 5,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event, which runs through today. In addition to tables full of merchandise … T-shirts, scripts and autographed pictures … fans are given the chance to mingle with former cast members.

Mostly young and middle-age women, the fans are as devoted to the female warriors as ``Star Trek'' devotees are to Spock and Capt. Kirk. A one-day ticket is $61, and many said they were planning to stay the duration.

``When I come home from work, it's good to watch the show and escape,'' said Sabine Mitchell, 41, of the San Francisco Bay Area. She said she has Xena artifacts everywhere, from her mousepad at work to her checkbook, and she watches tapes of the show every night after work.

Her friend, Rose Minasi, credits Xena with making her more interested in history. Minasi said she comes to the conventions because ``you get to see the actors as real people.'' Stephanie McCarren, a 19-year-old from Fullerton, said she has been attending Xena conventions for three years with friend Heather Beach, 18, of Tucson, Ariz. Their favorite character is Callisto, played by Hudson Leick.

``We hang out and watch the stars,'' said McCarren. ``This will be my fifth time seeing Hudson ... She knows my name.''

Between talks by former cast members, fans watched clips and spoofs of the show, including a silent movie that put Xena and Gabrielle in a bathtub together … a wink to the homosexual undertones in the show.

The fantasy atmosphere was heightened by Renaissance festival performers, The Fireblood Knights, who wear period costumes and sell a variety of swords and weaponry associated with medieval times.

The convention's highlight was a live chat Saturday evening with Lucy Lawless, the statuesque Australian who played Xena, and Renee O'Connor, who played Gabrielle.

At various times Saturday, a short man wearing an ``I Love Xena'' T-shirt dueled with a sword carrying, armor-plated dame and chased two young Xena fans toward the convention doors. It was all done for comedian Jimmy Kimmel's new late-night talk show.

-- Gary Scott can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4458, or by e-mail at

Feb 9, 4:00 PM (ET)

By The Associated Press
(AP) TV superheroine Xena, played by New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless, is
shown in this 1996 file photo....

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Her television adventures may be over, but "Xena:
Warrior Princess" still attracts a crowd.A talk by the princess warrior
herself, actress Lucy Lawless, was the highlight of the annual Xena
Convention, which ended Sunday and was expected to draw 5,000 over three
days. The TV show's final episode aired two years ago after six
seasons.Appearing with Lawless on Saturday evening was Renee O'Connor, who
played "Xena" sidekick Gabrielle.On Saturday, mostly young and middle-aged
women mingled around tables of "Xena" merchandise, scripts and autographed
The convention also featured talks by other former cast members, and clips
and spoofs of the show, including a silent movie showing Xena and Gabrielle
in a bathtub together, a reference to the perception by some viewers that the
women were lovers."We hang out and watch the stars," said Stephanie McCarren,
19, who has attended Xena conventions for three years.McCarren's favorite
character is Hudson Leick's Callisto."This will be my fifth time seeing
Hudson," she said. "She knows my name."---On the Net: Xena: Warrior Princess
Renee O'Connor is 32 today!
Go to Creation Entertainment to vote on the Xena movie poll.
Xena-Related News

Alas, this is an overseas TV documentary but I thought y'all might like to see it. Posted from a Xena list:

The Dominion Post (Wellington)
February 11, 2003, Tuesday
Pg. 8
Remembering our Kevin


What: Remembering Kev: A Tribute to Kevin Smith.
Where: TV2.
When: 8.30pm, Saturday.

KEVIN SMITH was one of New Zealand's biggest talents. His smouldering good
looks, amazing acting talent, hilarious improvisation and appealing
personality made him one of New Zealand's finest. Remembering Kev: A Tribute
to Kevin Smith is a celebration of his life. Smith's friends and colleagues,
such as Lucy Lawless (Xena), Lisa Chappell (McLeod's Daughters) and Craig
Parker (Mercy Peak), tell stories about Smith's life on and off-screen from
his childhood days in Timaru through to his Hollywood dream coming true just
before he died.

Narrated by Peter Elliott, it is a special collection of stories from
friends one year on from his death. They share memories and stories and

"It was a privilege to be able to make this," says producer Tessa Tylee.

"Everyone who worked on it feels that as well, because most of us had met
him at least once and, like everyone says, he was so nice to everyone and
well respected in the industry.

"We couldn't have made it without the support of Kevin's wife Sue, his agent
and great friend Robert Bruce and all the friends who gave their time to
share their memories," she says.

Footage ranges from Kevin's early days at Christchurch's Court Theatre to
Desperate Remedies with Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Gloss with Chappell and
Parker as well as his role on Xena with Lawless.

The show also includes footage of Smith at his best in other arenas: live
comedy in Theatresports, The Great Debate; and mention of his roles in
theatre productions A Streetcar Named Desire and The Blue Room.

Tylee says that the generosity of people has been amazing. Chappell, now
based in Australia, was able to share her stories, and even Elliott donated
his fee to the Kevin Smith Trust.

The trust, set up for his children, is set to hold a charity function on
Sunday where the tribute will also be shown.

Following the special is the action-drama telefeature Lawless starring Smith
and Angela Dotchin.

New Renee interview!

Go to: "A HREF="">Ladyhawke-Productions

Outtakes an interview with...

OUTTAKES is an article featuring interviews with professionals from all walks of the entertainment industry. This week’s interviewee is a Ladyhawke favorite, actress/director Renee’ O’Connor. We asked Renee’ to share some of her thoughts about the survival and success of women in an industry where they are still a minority. We also mixed in a few personal questions on behalf of her many millions of fans world wide.

OUTTAKES with Renee' O'Connor

Ladyhawke Productions (LHP): Renee', you get asked to do interviews all the time. Why did you decide to do this one?

Renee' O'Connor (ROC): Well, my two new friends at Ladyhawke Productions feel somehow that I may be able to shed some light on aspiring women in entertainment. Don't wait with bated breathe, because I am not a writer and not the most insightful at the best of times. All the more reason to try anyway, right?

LHP: "Just try", is that your motto?

ROC: It's a remark I heard shouted at me by a young girl in New Zealand. She was laughing at my reaction to an apparatus I needed to mount, SEVERAL feet off the ground, and use to fly down a hill.

LHP: During your stint on Xena?

ROC: Not on XENA. This was merely a recreational tool the New Zealanders use to entertain unsuspecting guests. Myself included. There were no wires to keep me safe. No cushions to break my fall. And just as I felt my fear of heights remind me that I had no business being up there, this little girl says "just try". Ha! But I let go of reason and flew through the air with the greatest of ease.

LHP: So it is a motto of sorts...something that has carried you through when you've been afraid?

ROC: Well, of course working in the entertainment industry is not as simple as saying "yes, I'll try", but having the courage to make the leaps of faith will definitely help you along the way. We have to believe in ourselves and visualize our goals to persevere through a very competitive field.

LHP: Which person(s) has most influenced or inspired you in your life and/or career? Why?

ROC: I was very fortunate to have a family who supported me emotionally. My mom will always be my biggest fan and a woman who gave me the freedom to realize my dreams.

LHP: If you could, what part of that would you like to pass on?

ROC: I only hope I am able to encourage my own children to see past any obstacles and reach for their own dreams.

LHP: What should a girl/young woman hoping for a career in the entertainment industry be forewarned about?

ROC: Well...I've been asked several times "how does one break into show business?" These are strange times right now, with both the challenges in the economy and the television/movie industry having to compete even harder to find their audiences. I feel the best approach is to write your own stories!

LHP: LOL. That's great. Write your own. Well I guess we've got a few great recent examples of that ideology don't we... "Kissing Jessica Stein" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Both female driven films starring their authors.

ROC: There is no need to go to Hollywood anymore. Let them come to you! They will if you have taken the time to nurture your talents, writing being the most important one. Attend film festivals and meet other people who also need support. It will not come easily, but if you are challenging yourself in your craft, your work will eventually take on a life of its own.

LHP: you feel that women in the entertainment industry supportive of one another?

ROC: Well, yes...and no. I have met women who feel threatened by other women in the industry, but maybe by people all together. I have never understood why someone must feel she needs to be ruthless in order to gain respect.

LHP: How do you protect yourself from those who are ruthless, yet stay open and available to those who are, like yourself, kind and nurturing?

ROC: I have been aware of my intuitive reaction to people I meet, male or female, and I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to know women in television/film who ARE intelligent, creative, supportive, and kind.

LHP: Do you think that your experience is unique because you were on such a long running hit television show?

ROC: I feel there are good people in every city who are looking to help others. I met a woman director and teacher who said that we are not successful until we have taken our knowledge and mentored another. I loved that! A quote to live by.

LHP: Now for the truly revealing questions...What CD is playing in your car or home stereo right now?

ROC: Café Afrique, Sting, Miles Davis, Little Shop of Horrors, Moby.

LHP: What kind of pets, if any, do you own?

ROC: One dog we found at a kennel, maybe a mix of Bull Mastiff and Ridgeback- and a cat who adopted me years ago.

(The first time Renee' described this dog to me, I had visions of the animal swallowing Miles, her little one, whole. She has reassured me, on more than one occasion, that there is no need to worry- Miles crawls all over him and he's gentle as a lamb. Phew)

LHP: What book or magazine is currently on your nightstand?

ROC: "Emotional Intelligence", Congreve's, "Way of the World", and a friend's book- Devil's Playground.

LHP: What is one thing that always makes you smile?

ROC: Hearing my son's laughter.

LHP: Where can we tell people to watch for you next...what's next on your creative horizon?

ROC: I've got a few balls in the air at the moment...projects I'm not really ready to discuss. But I will be at the Creation Entertainment show in Pasadena in the first part of February.

LHP: Any last words (of wisdom) you'd like to share?

ROC: Hmmm...yeah... Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Go to: Playbill

Xena" Actor Raimi Is Foreigner at Michigan's Meadow Brook, Feb. 12-March 9

By Kenneth Jones
07 Feb 2003

Ted Raimi, a Detroit-area-bred actor who was a regular on TV's "Xena: Warrior Princess," "Hercules" and "seaQuest DSV," returns to his roots in the title role of The Foreigner at Meadow Brook Theatre, Feb. 12-March 9.
Raimi, whose brother is "Spider-Man" film director Sam Raimi, performed in hybrid student-professional productions as part of The Theatre Company at the University of Detroit-Mercy more than a decade ago, and would later appear in such picture as "Patriot Games," "Darkman," "Shocker" and "Army of Darkness." David Regal, artistic director of The Theatre Company for many years, directs the Meadow Brook run.
The cast of Larry Shue's The Foreigner includes Paul Hopper, Mary Benson, John Biedenbach, Robin Lewis-Bedz, Kristopher Yoder and Joey Bybee.
Meadow Brook is Michigan's largest professional theatre, located in Oakland County (where the Raimis attended high school), in Rochester, MI, 20 miles north of downtown Detroit.
For ($19-$38) ticket information, call (248) 377-3300 or visit
This is the second time Meadow Brook has staged the Larry Shue comedy. The company was founded in 1967 as the resident professional theatre of Oakland University.
Renee going to London con!
This in from Creation Entertainment ...


The wonderful Renee O'Connor has graciously agreed to make her first overseas convention appearance at our upcoming LONDON "STRONG WOMEN OF SCI-FI CONVENTION" scheduled for August 29-31, 2003.

Renee will be performing in a stage play on the Saturday daytime of the convention.

Grab the very best seating for the weekend and make your hotel reservations now through us (and you'll get a complimentary hand signed autographed photo from Renee O'Connor if you reserve through us!) now at our site at:

AOL Click

Your friends (going to London!) at Creation Entertainment

Gina was on Hercules as Nebula and, I think, Xena. Wasn't she Cleopatra? I may be wrong. She was also on the ill-fated Cleopatra 2525

This article was posted at

Gina Torres Turns Bad for 'Angel'
Thu, Feb 13, 2003 05:28 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES ( - Fans of "Angel" who were left
bewildered by the ending of Wednesday's (Feb. 12) episode
will find out later this season who's been behind all the
havoc befalling Los Angeles.

Turns out the Big Bad looks a lot like Gina Torres.

Torres, who starred in "Firefly" earlier this season and
appears on "The Agency" Saturday (Feb. 15), has signed to do
episodes of "Angel," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Firefly," like "Angel," is the brainchild of Joss Whedon.

Her character is described as a "godlike" being who's been
the guiding hand behind recent events on the show. That
mean she was the unseen being to whom The Beast made an
offering in Wednesday's show, and that she was behind
Cordelia's (Charisma Carpenter) turn to the dark side at the
close of Wednesday's episode.

In addition to "Firefly," Torres also starred in the
syndicated series "Cleopatra 2525" and had a recurring part
as Sydney's
nemesis Anna Espinosa on ABC's "Alias."

"Angel" returns to The WB's schedule Wednesday, March 5.