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When Dragonflies Dance: A memoir of the Lexx TV series world fandom

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  • When Dragonflies Dance: A memoir of the Lexx TV series world fandom

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    Copy of the original free book being live blogged by Janika Banks at https://littlelexxdragonfly.blogspot.../prologue.html
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Pinky; 07-24-2020, 11:38 AM. Reason: added tags, inserted photo, link
    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.

  • #2

    Several Lexx fans have said that a book about the fandom would be more interesting than Lexx itself, approaching me separately asking me to write it out, not knowing others were also saying the same thing. A couple of Lexx fans even offered me money to write it out. I always turn money down. I write because I love to write, but once it becomes work, it bores me and I don't do it. I've turned down writing opportunities with internet magazines without so much as an eyeblink. I'm just not built that way.

    As time rolled on, a few fans contacted me privately and insisted. I laughed and said You do it, I'm busy. Another one offered me more money, nothing to sneeze at. I reminded that I never take money, per disclaimers on my fan blogs. They seemed perturbed and left.

    Honestly, I'd have been thrilled if even one of them had stuck around to write it with me. I've never understood why I'm the one who is supposed to do this.

    But more time has passed. New fans are following me around. I stay way back and don't talk to anyone much any more, and they have no idea who I am and who I was back in the glory days- a nobody in the wrong place at the wrong time and the whole world fandom knew my name and either spat at or ghosted me. It was awesome.

    I didn't realize how big of a deal that was until I started personal blogging in public. My personal blogs get more traffic than my Lexx blogs. Come to think of it, my last big brawl on the main forum drew more fans online in one hour than any actor or other fan ever did. Not exactly the legacy a person wants to go down with in fandom history. I can document that now after paying for years and finally rescuing, with help, that forum from the oblivion of time. The stats were still there.

    The point I'm making is, not very many people will own that kind of public humiliation and come out listing every flaw they have as part of a public confession. Everything that is wrong with me is out there on public blogs. You know what? We all deal with something. I have nothing to prove or hide. I just very simply love Lexx and spent a few years sharing why.

    Despite the mess, I have very fond memories of the fandom back then. I had just missed being part of the fandom eating itself and was so oblivious that I kept triggering some of that back into life. Fandoms do that, I'd been part of the big Sliders meltdown on Onelist. People love taking sides on agendas. That is a sport in every venue. David or Sammy, right? (Van Halen, for the uninitiated.) The fighting never bothered me. I've walked among far worse in real life. I still respect the fans I managed to piss off. I admired their work, I was a noob, and I learned things the hard way.

    None of them knew I was so sick it felt like I was dying that whole time. They never saw me spend years recovering from nerve fails and viral attacks on a compromised immune system that even affected my brain. What kept me going, kept me focused, was my love for a TV show, and the compulsion to talk about it.

    I'm better now.

    And I'm ready to talk about it.

    Blogs go backward from books. I'll just start writing blog posts, here is a link to the first one, and at the end of each post you click 'Newer Post' at the end of it to get to the next chapter.

    This is a free book. You have my permission to copy it to other sites, please link back to this page.


    Notes and disclaimers-
    • I am contracted with XLibris for other material unrelated to Lexx.
    • I am NOT giving permission for other publishers to publish this free book for profit.
    • I am looking into making hardcopy available for this book at cost, in case anyone would like hard copy.
    • Since this book is being blogged, minor revisions in font, color, formatting, and text could happen at any time and I am not responsible for updating your copied to other sites versions.
    • Permission granted to translate this book into other languages and copy/paste it to other Lexx fansites.
    • I'm not affiliated with other sites and fan groups and pages outside of my own excepting for SyfyDesigns, which has full authorization from me to own and display my intellectual property.
    How this finally began in private discussion-

    A couple fans have told me they'd fund me to write a book about the fandom. I always turn the money down, and I usually joke that someone else can do it, but I've got a title and a few ideas. I'd like to tell the story, the rush of it all, without being proprietary. I'd have to romanticize the fandom into something easier to digest, not a tell-all, not a diary, not a report on what happened. More of a love affair the world had with a television show. The fights can be touched on lightheartedly, focus more on the internet developing around us as Lexx broke through film and marketing barriers. The story of how we were affected and found a sort of rowdy family in each other.
    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


    • #3

      I was working a Branson, Missouri hotel desk in 2004 when I wrote my very first Lexx post on a Xanga blog I made to keep in touch with my daughter in college. I had been in and out of fandoms in forums and Onelist groups, but that blog was my first experience with online journaling, and I loved it.

      A couple of followers on Xanga quickly let me know a parent had brought them up on Lexx, or that my posts prompted them to go buy the series, which was pretty expensive and difficult to find back then. I didn't know anything yet at that time about site trackers and visibility, so I was a little surprised how quickly a few more Lexx fans found me and started asking me what I think about bits and pieces of the show.

      I didn't really look for other Lexx fansites until the show was over and not coming back, which was about the time I started my first blog. I had combed the internet in the past for other shows and knew stuff like that existed, but I had no interest in fansites of my own until the show had been over for a couple of years. I had a little experience making personal pages in AOL hometown and had made a decently popular fan group before AOL stopped supporting those, but I had never considered housing and promoting my own material for a TV show. My first blog was named after a restaurant in Harrison, Arkansas called Grand Fortuna simply to amuse myself, but once Lexx fans started contacting me, I renamed it, I think in 2005, to GrandFortuna's League of 20,000 Planets and started writing Lexx material in earnest. I discovered site trackers and fell over at how many countries were visiting my blog regularly, and I learned to manipulate the numbers by toying with the fans. My most popular post on that blog before I made it all private some years later was a collection of screenshots of all the different characters tied up. I wasn't into porny material, but that definitely jacked my numbers.

      I found forums before I found the big fansites. I had cut my teeth across so many other forums and groups before I ever got to Lexx. I was very experienced in swiping fans from main groups, hijacking and blazing new trails of glory until we were threatened with removal, basic rowdy fan raiding. But I was not prepared for Lexx. That fandom was like walking into a biker bar. It was like getting high on adrenaline rushes. I had a blast forging little bonds with a merry band of my own miscreants, giddying up a new thread or running off to play limerick games or poking around places I didn't belong just to see what would happen. For the most part, I was in heaven.

      About that time was just before YouTube showed up, MySpace was grinding through vexing coding issues, and GeoCities was about to go down. We were still in the in-between stage of online fandom where fan-driven creation wasn't yet shoved out by wikis and episode recapping on monetized internet magazine groups. Fans still drove the internet back then. It was up to fans to fluff up the official dotcom programming and viewer scheduling. Fans were pirates on the high seas, forcing entertainment to keep up.

      And now we have streaming because that was the only way to get ahead of the pirating.

      I naturally did everything wrong when I started fan blogging in 2005. I didn't source my material, didn't know about the courtesies of linking back, hadn't really paid much attention to that part of site building. I was wowed by other fans, particularly sites like Planet Lexx and Splarka's Lexx Linx (I'm so sad those went away), Cat's LexxLinx, Lexxplorations, The Lexx Domain, The Frey's Kai Comic Captions, AngleBacchae's Lexx screen caps, Maya's Michael McManus site, Trulyalyana and Helen's Lexx Light Zone, LexxZone, and LexxFan on angelfire. There were hundreds more, and I knew most of them by heart.

      My own original fansite evolved over the years. I went private for a few years after the big fight in 2007, then came back out public just in time for the big Xanga migration, but this page is the gist of what I rebooted in my Lexx Index in 2012. I wound up buckling up and bracing for full salvage to blogger, which catapulted me headlong into organizing what I could under the domain, which has now been repointed to a landing page. I hooked up with Myke at early on (2013, I think), which kept me stable enough to handle so much stress during the salvage. In real life, both my daughters got pregnant within two months of each other, and by summer 2013 all the tiny person joy was a bit overwhelming. Lexxing became my distraction focus in between many very disruptive real life adventures.

      I sat in on the bids when the official TV show dotcom went up for auction years ago. I'm amazed that site has still not been developed. I think it went for somewhere around $8000.

      Fans managed to rescue part of the official forum (not sure about all the previous content) before it was lost from the sale. I'm not sure how that happened, but it passed through a few hands before I volunteered to pay for the domain hosting. I kept it solvent for two to three years before I finally had a big talk with Myke about rescuing it completely. We worked for several months on a complete overhaul, since the site had been through so many updates and code jacks that it had finally been locked down in a sort of crash mode. We thought a lot of it might be lost, but it's all still there. My end of it was recreating and moving the domain and providing background history while Myke worked miracles on the code fixing and hosts on his server for tech assist. All this has been done at our own cost without asking for donations or funding. After that was done, I wound up on a sort of sabbatical from anything Lexx for a couple of years, barely touching base on my Facebook group or on my Lexxperience blog.

      But that just spanned a bunch of years and that's not where I wanted to go so quickly right now.
      790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
      I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


      • #4

        2004 was the worst year I think I had ever gone through up to that point. So many things went horribly wrong all year that it's amazing I jumped back into a fandom at all, any fandom. I had barely begun my first blog after the world fell apart with a very horrible death in the family, more like a time filler grasping at any distraction I could through the empty hours at the start of tourist season working a hotel desk. I had no idea what to even write, so I latched on to the only thing that had left me hanging on TV. I had no idea everything I was doing was logged on the work computer and that my bosses could see everything I wrote, which made work a little tense because I was a pretty salty snark about a few things, trying to find some humor somewhere in the wretchedness I felt every day. After my first two or three Lexx posts I finally found some direction, but by then it was too late.

        I'd been drugged by coworkers at other jobs before, some for laughs, some for worse, and I have absolutely no proof to even make this claim, but I'm fairly certain I was poisoned, although whether accidentally or on purpose wouldn't have taken a very thorough investigation with all the pesticides on property, which I never personally touched. But the penchant for retaliation without remorse exists in the rugged area I live in, and I wasn't one bit surprised.

        Nearing the end of summer, I had cashed in my meager 401K from a previous job to take a week off to be with my mom at hospital after a nasty fall, sleeping on floors in whatever waiting rooms I didn't get chased out of, rotating with family to hold her hands so she wouldn't rip out IVs. I was in rough shape going back to work and not at all equipped to be civil, so I just bit my tongue a lot while I blogged how I felt without realizing anyone I worked with could see my history trail blazing like neon across the internet. It wasn't long until a day came that I felt very ill very quickly. I could feel my body starting to shut down. I left my key on the desk with a short note saying I wouldn't be back, somehow made it to a gas station to fill up my empty tank, and drove the twenty some-odd miles home. By that time I could feel fail happening all over my body and in my brain. I started stumbling, severe nausea, couldn't think very well, and pretty much collapsed into a weird state of confused misery that felt like my entire nervous system was a giant nauseated migraine. It all came on very quickly and didn't go away for a very long time. Years.

        I never told anyone that outside of my family, never mentioned it on the fan forums. Never brought it up on my blog. I spent the next three months feeling like bore worms were eating their way throughout my nervous system, barely able to drive, and the only thing a doctor could tell me was it sounds like Bell's Palsy, although I had no droop show up for another six weeks. Whenever I could drag myself into an upright position and handle the computer screen, I worked very slowly on manually coding my Lexx fan blog, a project so huge that I couldn't pull in how it actually looked on the dialup I was stuck on. Over the rest of the year I lost being able to read books, which is a big deal for a prolific reader, and I became severely dyslexic and couldn't remember short phrases or even two numbers in a row. I developed such severe light sensitivity that I had to wear very dark wraparound sunglasses inside my house with all the shades drawn. My audio sensitivity grew so bad that I completely stopped listening to music and muted my computer noises. I had to leave the room during anyone else watching TV because the flickering scenes got me so nauseated I could barely stand. I had to close my eyes and be led by the hand in sunlight, even with the sunglasses on. I couldn't drive at all for around four months, and over the next year I drove only very short distances and couldn't stay away from home more than an hour at a time. I stumbled everywhere I walked, lost all my strength and coordination to hold and carry things, and there was not a single test or doctor that could explain any of it.

        I hung on and kept working on Lexx.

        During this time, I became even more obnoxious on the forums. Part of it was my short term memory had become so poor that I couldn't remember who I had said what to, where, or when, and I just flung whatever I was thinking in the moment out to fall where it may. No one had any clue everything was hard, and I had no inclination to talk about it. The only way I could escape it was to focus out of it into anything Lexx.

        I remember being so impressed with some of the fansites that I felt inspired to try creating one myself. I forced myself through learning html and graphics, started sourcing. All through 2005 I forced my eyes and my brain to crawl through, over, around, in and out of neverending coding sludge. Scott bought the groceries, kept track of schedules, helped the kids with high school and college, and took care of the house while I cringed at a desk grinding my way through learning how to create a dark page with bright colors, moving text and graphics, mouseovers, manually snipped and coded buttons, and a growing compilation of information.

        During that time, Brian Downey was selling memorabilia from the set on his dotbiz forum, and I found ways to nab a few items before others could. It was amazing stuff to collect, and I would have been all over it if I'd never had to quit work. I am not a typical collector, not a materialistic sort, but I had acquired a few things in previous years that made life a little more fun, including a life sized Captain Jack Sparrow cutout that we moved all over the house. I won bids on some of our Star Wars retail signage in a store I'd work in for five years, so for a long time had three foot double sided cardboard prints of Darth Maul, Queen Amidala, and Anikin. I don't collect what anyone can get. I collect stuff that is hard to find. I'm not made of money, but I'm also extremely frugal, so I got what I wanted when I could because I was able to scrape up the money.

        The things I got from Brian included an autographed t-shirt worn on The Beach episode, a Security Guard Class 4 hat, some of the printouts used for setting up placement on the Xevivor set, a number of VHS behind the scenes and pre-canned footage, and I'm sure there was more. I've since then given or sold most of that to other fans. I found other things online, as well. Over time I had a fairly decent fan collection.

        My biggest complaint about the show being over in general was that it hadn't been merchandised like so many other shows. In fact, once Salter Street sold down its warehouse, Lexx pretty much went out of print for a few years, so I was thrilled I'd already purchased two complete series sets from the warehouse and three CDs from a music distributor. I watched the prices go up on Lexx, people asking for hundreds of dollars on ebay, some paying that. I felt like the fandom was dealt a brutal death and had developed such a cynically grim attitude that no one would ever want to touch the property to breathe life into it again. That became my goal, my purpose, my joi de vivre, ironically. As long as I felt like I hovered at death's door, I felt no hope to make it through, so if I got nothing else done in the scant rest of my life, I would pour myself into Lexx as a parting wave. And that seemed to apropos to me. Lexx seemed so aptly suited to my own cynical ironies that I couldn't see another way to go out.

        No one ever knew that.
        790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
        I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


        • #5

          The coolest thing about collecting Lexx was lurking around scouting out other fans also collecting. I learned a lot more about fandoms in general from just quietly watching other Lexx fans toss out the slightest hint here and there that they got hold of something no one else had.

          Like that knife His Shadow used on Kai.

          Despite my difficulties with reading, since I wasn't reading anything else, I forced my way through deep digging through forums and articles that wound me so off the actual Lexx grid that I started finding other things out. I didn't keep notes and I don't really remember user names, but I accidentally found one tight little forum with a handful of people that no one in the main public fandom ever knew by those usernames. They were comparing notes on some of the collectibles, and at one point while I was researching that knife, I watched information on it just literally disappear off the internet. Back then searching was very different than it is today. There weren't algorithms in the way. The whole operation was about as wysiwyg as it could be, with mainly the most trafficked sites winding up on top. Nowadays the digging gets really challenging, between algorithms and paid placement.

          Because of that, I was able to find most fans pretty easily almost anywhere on the globe. Finding the Russian fansites was like cake and ice cream. After I found more in several other countries, I started matching up names with forum users, and it wasn't long until I found myself hooking up with a few. Creating a link list isn't easy work when a library can grow to hundreds of links, and I was manually coding each one with their personalized headers as buttons. I didn't get very far into that, maybe fifty to a hundred links or so, not all in the same place, before I realized I'd bitten way more off than I could handle. I tried diverting to more content, taking breaks from site building, but that also got fairly challenging. It would take days to organize and execute even the simplest goals with the problems I was having, so sometimes I simply diverted my frustrations back into the forums.

          Late in 2005 I joined the forum, and late spring of 2006 I joined the LexxZone forum. I managed to get another job in 2005 and worked 15 months through to about the time I joined LexxZone, the sickest on the job I'd ever been in my life and didn't miss a single day. Over that winter I spent long empty hours during the tourist and traveling off season working on content filler for my fan blog. It was all I could do to hide from coworkers and people checking in that I could enter only one digit at a time from a credit card, keeping my thumb in place at each number, because I could not remember even a very short 2-3 digit string of numbers. I was able to hide massive problems because that business was so slow and still get the books done correctly before I left each night. The entire time was very painful, but I hid that as well as I could, as well. Everything sucked. I focused on grinding my way through writeups and transcribing and making more plans for coding later.

          About that time, Tony Tellado did some podcast interviews with some of the Lexx cast. I had friends who couldn't listen to it without various physical or tech challenges, and other friends who wanted to translate, so I spent three very grueling days playing sentence fragments over and over and over through my headset at work while I wrote it all down, word by word. Even doing that, I still happened to be the first timestamp publishing one of the transcriptions, and even though other fans had also published on their sites, I was threatened with being ratted out for not getting permission. Tony contacted me, I explained my reasons and asked for permission to keep the transcript up, he said absolutely not, so I deleted it off my fansite, but not before a clever Russian fan had pulled a complete copy over to a Russian site. As far as I am aware, I am the only Lexx fan who Tony Tellado personally contacted and requested removal of his material. I never made a countermove back. I mean, I had the guy right there talking to me, I could have said By the way, someone else did it, too, but I didn't.

          I am a fandom junkie. I have always protected fandoms, regardless. I have always looked to fans for what I want to find, and they very rarely fail me. Fan wars don't bother me. I'd been through plenty, to the point where a player in the Xena fandom got so excited that she drove twelve hours to my house, and then went home and stole my ragtag rowdy bunch away. I was that gullible. I've been done really dirty a few times, and nothing phased me in the Lexx fandom. I remained impressed at the biker bar baditude and took the punch.

          How does that saying go? Play smarter. That was one of my many lessons in site building, and I'm grateful to have learned it.

          Over several years I finally realized that if I'm going to stand out like a sore thumb in a fandom, I need to do things correctly, legally, without malice or intent other than simply enjoying what I'm doing. For someone who'd been the rowdy mess for years, that was a big thing to learn. It's not about shining brighter, being bigger, having the most. It's about whether I am enjoying what I'm doing. I don't have to win anything.

          For some things, though, it's best to lay low. I had a really hard time learning that one.

          Summer of 2006 I tried reverting back to college and barely made it to the end of summer semester. During that class, though, I finally had access to a computer network on campus that could pull up my fan blog, and I just sat there staring with little tears in my eyes. That was the first time I'd been able to see the outcome of all the work I'd been doing, and it was like a glossy, shiny online magazine. I'll never forget that brief minute before the test we took, and then I had to leave.

          And then after that, my health plummeted so badly again that I finally sought out a lawyer for advice on how to get disability. We'd already gone bankrupt over my medical bills, and there was no other direction to go. I obviously hadn't died yet, but neither did they find any kind of devastating damage anywhere. I literally went from an ACT score of 32 capability to not being able to follow a story on a movie without multiple viewings, and I still wasn't able to read through more than a page at a time in a book yet. No sign of physical damage in my brain or anywhere else in my body, no tests coming back positive for anything. The weird decisions I kept making while driving got more and more dangerous to the point where I was discussing becoming medically diagnosed legally as a non driver.

          But that never stopped the Lexx, did it?
          790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
          I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.