The Place: Hyatt Rickey’s, Palo Alto, CA
The Time: Ryan Gosling’s 20th bday aka 12 November 2000
The Guests: William Gregory Lee and Ebonie Smith (but this report will focus on Greg)

For your reading ease, this report is divided into the following sections:

: a bit of background : the venue : a few words on Ebonie : a glimpse :
: the musical salute to Virgil : William Gregory Lee enters :
: some of the questions : the autograph line :
: the photo line : and one last picture : my thoughts on the convention :

Valerie, Rachel, & Lisa

A bit of background

If you don’t already know, I am the webgal behind William Gregory Lee Online, which I believe is the first fansite dedicated to him.  As such, I was especially happy when I found out that Greg was going to do his convention debut in the lovely Bay Area, specifically Palo Alto, which isn’t that far from me.  So, of course I bought gold seat tickets and of course I told my friends that they had to go.  By convention weekend, we were ready.

The venue…

Twas a small convention, which I personally like better than the “big ones.”  The Hyatt Rickey’s has a kind of quaint look to it from the outside, but the ballroom where they had the con was rather nice.  The seats were comfortable and it wasn’t really crowded, so it was pleasant in that respect.

A few words on Ebonie…

Ebonie Smith was lovely to see again.  She talked about her role on Xena, the Lethal Weapon movies, and other things.  She was very sweet and even sang that Xenafied “Fever” verse she did during the cabaret in Pasadena…

Ebonie & Valerie

A glimpse!…

My friend Lisa and I coming in after going to our cars to put some stuff away.  Before we entered, we saw someone outside the dealer’s room who looked a bit familiar.

“Is that Greg?”  Lisa asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

We went in as he and his companions went into the dealer’s room.  They were in front of the swords as I peeked in.  Sure enough, it was Greg!  We were good and didn’t follow him.  Besides, he headed out before he had too much time to think about it…

The musical salute to Virgil…

Well, I was mighty surprised by this one!  The song was Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and the shots were of Virgil from various episodes.  It was very well done!  I enjoyed it, especially the stuff from “Heart of Darkness,” which I missed the first time around.  (I’m waiting for it to repeat!)…

William Gregory Lee enters…

He invited us to call him Greg, as that’s what his family and friends call him.  For those who didn’t know, he informed us that this was his first convention, which made him a con “virgin.”  “Virgin Virgil,” he laughed.  I don’t really recall many of the questions.  I only know that Lisa urged to me to get in line for questions and off I went!

My first choice was Dark Angel and his part in it, but someone beat me to that question though, so I had to think of something else.  I totally forgot that I was supposed to ask him about Kevin Smith ("Ares").  Instead, when I got to the microphone, I asked,

"So, have you gone online since you've started Xena?"  It didn’t come out as coherent as that, but Greg got the gist of it.  I knew that he hadn't gone online before, so it seemed like a good question.

He explained that he wasn't the big computer guy, so no, he hasn't really gone online.  But his family and friends have and they have seen some really nice things.

"Well," I said, somewhat shyly, "I have a website on you and I'd like to know, when is your birthday?"

Greg seemed embarrassed even as he grinned and answered, “January 24.”  I smiled back, quite content to just go along my merry way, but he kept his eye on me and asked, “Are you Kiri, Kira-?”

“Kiari,” I said.  “Yes, I’m Kiari.  Oh my gosh!”

I think he said thank you to me, but I was utterly stunned.  He knew of me and my site?!  Wow!  We were alternately laughing and probably looking very embarrassed.  But somehow I managed to collect myself enough to go off mic and ask him,

“Could I get a picture with you later?”

“Come on up right now,” he invited, waving me up.  I went up on stage with him, handing my camera to a lady in the front row.  As he and I stood together, he put mic in front of me, “Want to say anything?”

getting up on stage at Greg's urging...

I don’t know why I said it, except that it’s the truth, “I’m also an Erik Thomson fan.”  I think I heard a few chuckles and I’m sure Greg had no idea who I was talking about.  Such is me!  Oh well, the Thomsonian at heart…

Greg thanked me after we had our picture taken and I was the same, “Thank you!”

As I made my way back to my seat, I couldn’t help the smile on my face.  It was an utterly fantastic feeling…

Greg & Valerie

Some of the questions…

Before I got to the microphone, Greg got the Dark Angel question.  He told us that his first episode was to air that coming Tuesday (the 14th), so he asked us all to watch it.  When someone asked if it would be a recurring role, he said we’d have to see.  Then he clarified that it depends on viewer reaction.  If the viewers like what they see and they let FOX know, his character has a good chance of coming back.

After my question, I know the question of the love scene with Renee O’Connor came up.  He told us that it was all technical, cameras in their faces and the like.  Though he did admit he had a time explaining it to his girlfriend.

He likes playing the Joxer-like stuff, as it gives him a chance to be a different kind of character…

The autograph line…

We were in row D, but the autograph line still seemed to move quite slowly.  I didn’t particularly mind, though I still had a couple of more questions for Greg.  The slow line gave me a chance to prepare myself.

Our friend Rachel waited for us so that we could go through the line together.  Lisa wanted a picture with Greg, so Rachel gave me her camera since I was the one who was going first.

When Greg saw me, he greeted me with, “If it isn’t the infamous!”

I laughed, embarrassed yet again, but in a very nice way.  I asked him if he had actually seen my site.  He replied in the negative, but said that someone had printed up the opening page, so he had seen that at least.  I gave him my card, for if he ever gets online.  Lisa had to remind me about the resume question.  I wanted to know where I could get accurate bio information, acting credits and the like.

Greg mentioned that someone had read online about him being on Dark Angel and he thanked me again for.  I assured him that I would be setting my VCR.  He said to check out Dark Angel’s website and perhaps drop them a line after watching the show.  I promised that I would.

When he saw the camera in my hand, he asked if I would hanging out afterwards.  When I said yes, he told me that we’d get pictures together later on.  As I was walking away, he asked,

“Are you Filipino?”

“Yes,” I smiled.

“Kumusta!”  He grinned.

I think I smiled back at him, very surprised and utterly impressed.  How did he know Tagalog?  I was a bit too flustered to remember the response to that.  (It’s “Mabuti,” in case you’re wondering.)

The photo line…

This was something new.  After autographs, the guests took pictures with the fans.  It was really a very nice thing.  I suppose it had to do with the fact that it wasn’t really a huge crowd on hand.  Nonetheless, it definitely added a personal touch to the whole day.

We ended up somewhere in the middle of the line.  This time when Greg saw me, he greeted me like an old friend.  It was so cute!

While we were getting a our picture taken, he asked me, “Do you speak it?”

It took me a half a second to realize what he was asking.  I shook my head.  “I understand just a little,” I told him.  “How do you know it?”

He grinned at me, “I’m multi-talented!”

We laughed.

Lisa, Rachel, and I also had our picture taken with Ebonie, who was just an absolute sweetie.  She’s definitely a lovely lady.

And one last picture…

I decided that I wanted a group picture with Greg, so I dragged Lisa and Rachel along back to the line.  Greg was good natured and didn’t seem to mind the group picture idea.  Afterwards, we shook hands with him, thanking him even as he was thanking us…

My thoughts on the convention…

Even now, a week later, the thought of this convention brings a smile to my face.  I got to spend time with two of my very good friends, spend some money on a Virgil pic and an Ares pic, and I got to meet Greg Lee.  I’ve still got that giddy feeling!

Greg Lee kept that boyish smile on his face throughout his first convention experience.  He was sweet and warm, open and generous.  I hope he had as good a time as we all did.  For me, this convention has definitely ranked number one.  It beat out the kiss on the cheek from Karl Urban (Sacramento 1998) and getting embarrassed alongside Ryan Gosling (Santa Monica 1999).  I was already impressed by Greg’s talent as an actor.  Now I am impressed by the lovely person I met in Palo Alto...

on stage with Greg

~Valerie C. Noble
aka "Kiari"
19 November 2000

report © 2000 Valerie C. Noble
photo credits: ©2000 RS "TheRose" Grimm, ©2000 VC "Kiari" Noble

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