By The Gods - 29th November 1999

Xena: A Family Affair, In Sickness And In Hell, A Good Day

REVIEW: (Ian Rentoul - Co Chieftain of the XenaNet)

Page's Bar, London is perhaps best known for it's Star Trek nights. These events are held weekly, on Saturday evenings, when Trekkers gather together at that location. Now, however, it is becoming known in an circles for another gathering. Yes, the Xenites and the Herculeans are in town. Whilst not held weekly the 'By The Gods' events are increasing in momentum and popularity. Organised and staged by DeanoMyk Productions, to date, there have been two gatherings of Xenite's at Pages bar. The first was held on Sunday 11th October 1998 when over 100 fans of the shows Xena: warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journey's crowded into the bar, located in Page Street, near Victoria, South West London. The second event was held on Sunday 29th November 1998 and was equally as successful.

Behind DeanoMyk Productions are Dean Le Gassicke and Michaela Upton, themselves fans of the two shows. The first event was somewhat speculative, the two not knowing quite what support they would get, although the fact that the tickets went 'like hot cakes' probably gave them a good indication.

It was not known how many fans would turn up, but being held shortly after the UK's first Hercules/Xena Symposium in September 1998, it seemed that it was unlikely to fail. Dean and Myk carried out pre-event publicity with other fan groups dedicated to the show including attending the Symposium and posting messages to the XenaNet, the UK based internet fan group. Tickets were sold in advance; with the bar opening it's doors at 5:30 pm and concluding at about 10:30 pm. This particular evening set the standard for the second one which followed shortly afterwards. It seems that all future 'By The Gods' events will be held on such similar and successful lines.

Generally 2-3 episodes of Hercules and Xena are shown at the events, in between which are scattered homegrown music videos edited and dubbed by the talented twosome. A raffle is also held where attendees can win anything from sets of Xena trading cards to posters to action figures to photographs and prints of original Xena/Hercules artwork. There is usually at least one trader on the premises as well , for fans who can't get the latest merchandise  locally to where they live or by mail order.

And then there are the imitators...

Like 'Trek' and other fandoms there are those who express their support for the two shows by imitating the characters themselves. So far the first two 'By The Gods' events have played to two Gabrielles - Michaela Upton and Cathy Holroyd; two Xenas - Karen Parr and Cath Cook; Callisto - Kristen Jones; and an Iolaus - Andy Sears. Rumour has it that a 'Janice Covington', an 'Amazon Queen' and a Bacchae Xena might be putting in an appearance before too long!

So what does all this mean for the UK? Well primarily, it means that Xena and Hercules fandom is gathering pace rapidly in the country. The ranks of fans are swelling. Undoubtedly this has been hastened by both shows being aired by Channel 5 on Saturday evenings. It has 'spread the word' to those potential fans who can only receive terrestial television, building on the numbers of those who have followed the adventures of Xena and Hercules and their 'sidekicks' since day one when the shows first aired in the UK during 1996.

One wonders what the actors and the executive producers at Pacific Renaissance Pictures think when they see the new fan culture that their shows have spawned. Could they have truly expected the two shows to have been such a success? Not only have the staff and script writers driven a 'chariot and horses' through the myths and legends of Ancient Greece they have done the same with the TV ratings as well.

Lucy Lawless in a famous interview once described the fans of the show as 'Hardcore Nutball Xenites'. If the By The Gods events are anything to go by then all at RenPics should be proud of what they have acheived.

Maybe we'll see you there soon!

GALLERY: (Photographs courtesy of Paul Hilling)

The Spice Amazons
(From Lucy to Renee: Psycho Spice, Warrior Spice, Evil Spice and Bard Spice)

Because Karen and Kristen have always wanted to recreate this shot.

One Killer Bunny touchdown coming up!

It would seem that Xena is in Callisto's body at the moment... at least I hope she is.

'So I follow the dark cloud until I reach the Temple of Dahak, thanks.'

A sheep in wolves clothing?