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Saturday, July 20th, 2002

The Electropolis

 

Saturday dawned cold, wet and windy.  I was up at 8 am, because my internal clock has been permanently damaged by 4 years of parenthood, and because I had stupidly forgotten my watch at home and was too paranoid to fall back to sleep for fear of missing the studio tour.  

I bundled up and made my way out in search of a very large cup of coffee and a watch.  I found the former pretty quickly, since there seems to be a Tim Horton’s coffee/donut shop on every corner in Halifax.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing, I don’t know.  I wandered around in vain for another hour, but apparently you don’t really need to tell time in Halifax, as long as you drink lots of coffee, because I didn’t find that watch anywhere.  

Back at O’Brien with my steaming cuppa, I sat in my room/closet for the next 3 hours, reading a magazine and fidgeting impatiently.  Then the lovely CatCharm knocked at my door and we were off to the Electropolis, the Mecca of Lexx, the Lexxian Graceland!  

The studio is quite impressive.  It’s a converted power station and it is HUGE.  We waited out front until more Lexxians ambled/stumbled towards us, and then we all made our way down to the parking lot. 

Lo and behold sitting sadly and forlornly in a corner of the parking lot was The Gondola.  Yes, I said The Gondola.  It was of course a Kodak moment, and we all snapped pictures of each other standing in front of, touching, dangling from or otherwise fondling The Gondola.  It is made of fibreglass, I believe, kind of like a bathtub.  Either the set crew did a wonderful job painting it to look like a rusting metallic hulk, or even fibreglass will rust in a Nova Scotian winter.  

After the requisite group shots were snapped, we were all thrilled to see Patricia Zentilli step shivering out of her car. She ran up to say hi to all of us, and to distribute some much appreciated hugs.  Not long after, Ellen Dubin arrived, and warmed us all up with a beautiful big smile and some more of those wonderful hugs.  Ellen and Patricia were just as happy to see each other, and spent some time talking and laughing together, while all of us, themselves included, collectively shivered.

Suddenly and out of nowhere, like the character he so perfectly played, Nigel Bennett appeared on walkway above the parking lot, headed for the studio, He turned, smiled and waved when we spotted him, which promptly caused me to forget the fact that I couldn’t feel my toes anymore.

He came down to join us and had a wonderful warm greeting for Patricia and Ellen.  Brought a tear to my eye that did.  Much picture taking ensued while we waited for Brian, and Nigel educated us with some trivia tidbits about the studio, like the fact that it has the largest floor to ceiling soundstage in North America, that the top floors are still unused, so there is potential for expansion, etc.  Very informative, with the added bonus of being able to watch his lips move up close!  By the way, I have to say this somewhere and this is as good a segue as any, Nigel is charming, articulate, has a voice like crumpled velvet, and smells absolutely wonderful!  But I digress.

We also had a lovely visit from Bruce Fillmore, who played Gibble in “Wake the Dead”, and another round of cast hugs were given out.

Shortly, Brian arrived, looking none the worse for wear after the alcohol fest we had all had the night before.  How do actors do that?  I was STILL attempting to open my stubbornly gummy eyelids, and I sure as hell didn’t look all fresh and bubbly!  But I digress, again.  There was a surprise phone call from Xenia, who was in Germany and couldn’t make it, to Patricia.  She had called to say hi to all of us and that she was sorry she be there. She spoke with Nigel for a while and then at Patricia’s prompting we all happily shouted, “Hello Xenia, we love you” at the cell phone.  Well it seemed appropriate at the time.  

Finally, the poor huddled and half frozen Lexxians were led into the studio by our four intrepid tour guides, where we were met by a wonderful man who was in charge of props for the studio, Dave Dagley.   He apologized for the clutter, and told us that he had tidied up the prop room for us as best he could had even dragged out a Moth for photo ops.  What a sweetie!  I can’t even get the guy at Macdonald’s to give me an extra napkin because it’s too much work, and this man drags out a Moth for us!  
We were joined at this point by the Cinematographer for Lexx, Les Krizsan, who had been with the series from when it was just a twinkle in Paul and Lex’s eyes.  He was a wonderfully friendly man, filled with stories about the challenges of filming the series in the various locations and in the studio. 
Ellen, Nigel (almost typed Prince there!), Brian and Patricia led us like eager puppies through the maze that is the Electropolis.  I have very mixed feelings about that tour.  I was fascinated to see the guts of a working studio, and it was neat to see the sets for the show Made in Canada.  Nigel was wonderful at pointing out little anecdotes about the filming of Lexx and we walked, like how difficult, logistically speaking, it was to work on some of the sets, and the 17 truck loads (!) of sand they hauled into the studio for season 3. 

I'm sure this does not look at all familiar to any of you...

Below: A cryopod...if you look real close

But at the same time, it saddened me to see dismantled bits and pieces of what once was Lexx scattered and forgotten in dark and out of the way places in the studio.  It was a very final statement that the end of the series had come and gone, and that the four seasons that we had been given were all we were ever going to get.  I know I wasn't the only one to feel this way, after having spoken with some of the other UnConner's.  I do wish that I had been able to take a tour when Lexx was filming, THAT must have been an experience for those lucky enough to get that opportunity!

 

Sound Stages: Currently Filming "Made in Canada"

After the tour, we paraded (literally, it looked like a parade) to Dalhousie for the Q&A period.  

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