This was the last Supernatural con in Minneapolis (at least for now) so it seemed like everyone in attendance was determined to make it the very best one. The cast and the band love the giant theater with its for-real stage, complete with floor to ceiling (like 100 feet up ceiling) thick velvet curtains. There are layers of them, so finding your way onstage from backstage is a bit of a challenge – but it also makes everything seem like real theater and adds a feeling of professionalism to everything that happens.
It was also a great place for taking pictures, even for a non-photographer like me, so this post will be broken into two. First up, Thursday through Saturday, including Misha Collins and the Saturday Night Special!
Minneapolis is a funny city, interconnected by indoor walkways that tie all the hotels to the convention center like a network of human hamster habitrails. I was outside the first day I was there and then never ventured out again as the weather took a turn for the cold and rainy.
Thursday, after setting up in the vendor room, I got to watch the new Supernatural episode with some fellow fangirls at the honors floor guest suite in one of the hotels. There was wine and cheese and crackers and even sandwiches custom made by the lovely gentleman in charge of the suite. I’m not sure what he made of the four women shrieking with screams and then doubling over with laughter, but he seemed to be amused enough to want to make us sandwiches, so that’s a win. And we were grateful!
Most of the “vendor squad” was there, so I spent a little time catching up with friends, and then met lots of new people who hadn’t yet read Family Don’t End With Blood or any of our other books. And some familiar people who I haven’t seen in a while too, one of the best part of cons.
Predictably, I stayed up way too late chatting, then grabbed a bagel and latte and headed back to the convention center for the start of the con on Friday. SPNMinn kicked off with our hosts Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict.
And then with Rachel Miner, who is always a ray of sunshine every time she takes the stage.
She got to talk about some of her favorite subjects, including Cas and Meg (and Megstiel – she even has a playlist of songs from Megstiel fan vids)
Rachel: If Cas and Meg had kids? I think they’d be amazingly powerful, smart, witty, but also clueless about how to human.
She doesn’t think Meg would ever give up on helping Castiel. Even if she was Queen of Hell, she’d still help him and the Winchesters. And she really loved that Meg got to save the guys for a change.
Rachel: It’s not often we see the woman save the man on TV, so I loved Meg doing that. Women do it all the time in real life!
She also really enjoyed Jared’s performance when he portrayed Meg in Born Under A Bad Sign. (Me too, Rachel. Me too)
Working with Random Acts, she said, has been the happiest time of her life. The organization is currently expanding to focus on regional groups to enable connection and community. Rachel has also learned a few things from her work with Random Acts and her association with the SPN Family.
Rachel: To do good in the world, you have to be strong. We need to get over apologizing for existing. Or for what makes us different. It takes a lot of strength to do good.
Jason Manns gave us a lovely “quoncert” on Friday, kicking off with Wagon Wheel with Richard and Rob and the band. And he played my favorite, “Soul”. Did you know that you get a free digital download of that song if you buy Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls? And a free download of Slightest Thing by The Station Breaks with Family Don’t End With Blood – both courtesy of Mr. Manns!
I’ve often said that it’s uncanny what good singers so many of the Supernatural cast are, and Jason agreed.
Jason: I feel like there must be a singing test for casting Supernatural.
Of course, Jason has produced many of them in multiple albums. (Fans suggested Lisa Berry should be next up – which, yes!)
Fan: You’re really good at roping Supernatural actors into recording.
Jason: (deadpans) I have a special lasso…
And of course he has been on Supernatural. Sorta.
Jason: I’m in the universe as a musician who Sam loves and Dean hates, and I own a truck stop. But hey, I could be a hunter too. There could be half brothers everywhere…
Jason is participating in the upcoming Bad Idea Tour marathon with Jensen, Jared, Misha, Rob, Adam, and Rachel. Asked how the name came up, Jason said they were all commiserating about how sore they were and Jensen commented “this is such a bad idea.” Thus, Bad Idea Tour.
The first of Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones’ duo panels was on Friday. They did each other’s accents, cast each other as Ant Man and The Wasp, and waxed nostalgic about the time Jones rode Fergus like a bull… while wearing chaps. Onstage, ahem.
They also talked about working on Supernatural, of course.
David: Ketch was a challenge for me. I was used to playing the widower dad in Christmas Hallmark movies!
David also proudly said that he played the longest prank ever on set.
David: I never broke character the whole season I was first on, so that’s a joke on Jared and Jensen!
A fan asked if David thought that Ketch was redeemed now.
Adam: No! You f—king killed me!
I mean, he has a point.
Both thought that Dean would be the one to sing Rubber Ducky in the bathtub, not Cas.
Adam: I’ve seen him do it.
David: Maybe there were some times that Mick and Arthur got into Dr. Hess’ wind and got up to something they try to forget…
Also David: Isn’t that a fanfic on Ao3?
Me: Probably. Now? Most definitely.
Adam is also a part of the upcoming marathon Bad Idea Tour – he proudly showed off his official shirt. Wishing you luck, Adam!
The most memorable part of their panel was a re-enactment of that flying catch dance scene in Dirty Dancing.
(They tried it again during karaoke later on – with the music!)
Pretty respectable, I think. And gutsy!
Check out their flying leap and gracefulness here –
Friday ended with Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster, who were greeted with an audience full of glowing blue lights in support of the new Wayward Podcast. Both were emotional – and clearly shocked. It was a heartwarming thing to behold. And if you haven’t checked out Wayward Podcast, what are you waiting for? It’s awesome!
Briana: The Wayward Sisters spinoff is not happening, but that’s okay. It’s ours again.
Kim: Everything we wanted in that is now ours to make. The pilot is dead, but not Wayward.
Rhodes and Buckmaster have all the chemistry that makes their partnership work so well no matter what they’re doing.
A fan asked them, would it be Dean or Cas in a bathtub with a rubber ducky?
Kim and Briana: Jody and Donna in a tub – together!
Good answer, ladies.
Kiss, marry, kill?
Briana: Kill Lucifer, kiss God, and marry Rowena. I feel like being married to Rowena would always be interesting.
Pretty sure that’s true.
Asked about their favorite Supernatural scenes, Kim said the dinner table scene.
Kim: We never would have gotten through that if Briana had been there. It would’ve been ‘you think that’s a euphemism for sex? Well…’
Briana added that Jared and Jensen probably weren’t used to two women who could joke about sex too, saying that it was fun to make those boys blush.
Kim and Briana cannot help but be inspiring and this panel was no exception.
Kim: The worth of your voice is not defined by its reception. But by its heart.
Something important to remember if you’re a writer or an artist or just trying to communicate with the rest of the world.
Kim also had some heartfelt words about what Supernatural and the SPN Family have meant to her.
Kim: So much of who I am is because of you and because of all this.
It’s what she writes about in Family Don’t End With Blood. Her chapter is one of the chapters that make my eyes water every time I read it.
Saturday kicked off with the Ladies of SPN panel, which has become one of my favorites. This time it was Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Ruth Connell and Rachel Miner.
Briana: There will be crying, and a lot of talk about pussy.
Kim: I have such wayward hair this morning.
Me: That seems like the expected kick off for this panel.. lol
Ruth told a funny story about being on a podcast recently. She was talking about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but she’s so used to saying “Fergus” that she said Fergus Bueller instead!
Rachel told a story about when she was a little kid and she’d rotate the boys she’d kiss during nap time.
Ruth’s face? Priceless.
Later on in the panel, a fan asked all of them which other character they liked best.
Rachel (without missing a beat) I can rotate…
My stomach hurt from laughing.
A fan asked how Ruth memorizes all those complex spells for the show.
Briana: She writes them on Jared’s chest and stands in front of him to read them…
Ruth: (demonstrating) And sometimes lower down…
That’s not the only challenge on set.
Kim: I bit it so hard in the last episode I filmed, falling down a hill, that Jensen and Jared stopped filming so they could watch the playback.
Rachel said that once she was doing a scene with Jared and Jensen being funny and trying so hard not to laugh that tears were falling down her face.
Rachel: But the guys just kept going, like trying to respect my acting choice…
And Ruth also talked about the time that Jared, Jensen and Misha all dogpiled on top of Alex as he laid on the floor for a scene – and then she was the cherry on top!
They laughed so much during this panel – and so did I!
The panel had its serious moments too. Rachel talked about how the #MeToo movement has helped her speak out more and changed her expectations. She’s now more comfortable asking herself, is this something I can accept or not?
Briana: Women needed the #MeToo movement, but men did too.
Ruth on the impact of #MeToo: I’m thinking of a gentleman whose behavior has changed, because he now realizes that’s not okay.
Kim: Perpetuating pain, powerlessness and fear is not the solution.
It’s always so interesting to me to hear their perspectives, as women who have worked in ‘the business’ for a long time. I really appreciate their candor.
All four of these inspiring women wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood, with that same candor and genuineness that they bring to their panels. I’m still a little bit in awe of their courage, since they all got very personal in their chapters – but that’s the only way you inspire anyone else.
Briana: If you don’t try, you don’t know if you can do it. Don’t be afraid to be tenacious – and audacious!
Over the years, Creation has found those actors who click together onstage and never fail to give a good panel. Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones have the kind of chemistry that makes them a lot of fun to watch, and are just different enough to keep things interesting. Also, they both looked very dapper.
A fan asked them what stupid thing they each would do in a horror movie.
Adam: I’d be the one who trips a lot as I’m just walking away.
David: I’d be the one who sleeps with the jock – because you know they’re gonna die!
On a more serious note, they both expressed their gratitude for the fandom and the show.
David: It’s been an embarrassment of riches joining this show and this fandom, and I’m grateful every day.
They also had nice things to say about their fellow cast members and the rest of the team.
Adam: Jared is just ridiculously smart.
David: The guy’s a tome!
David also gave writer Davy Perez a shout out for all the hysterical horror movie tropes he managed to fit into ‘Mint Condition’, which I also greatly appreciated.
Accents were a topic of conversation. David talked about auditioning for Walker Texas Ranger, and getting the comment “Um, you’re from Canada, aren’t you?” Adam said he just played a guy from Wichita Falls, and Jensen helped him with the accent.
The twosome are planning to imitate each other’s accents at the upcoming Jacksonville con, which I’m very much looking forward to hearing and seeing.
Would they be a Dean girl or a Sam girl?
David: I’d have all my bad girl dates with Dean and then settle down with Sam and watch Hallmark movies.
Adam: Mick would be a Sam guy. Though I did give Cas my number…
Good answers, guys!
That last one was comparing the size of their heads. As you do.
The R2M panel with Richard Speight, Rob Benedict and Matt Cohen was as hilarious as ever. All three of them are so quick-witted, always game for improvising and endlessly amused by each other – which makes their panels even more amusing for all of us. They are also all consummate story tellers.
Rob told a great story about eating chocolate in bed in a hotel and getting it all over the bedsheets and not knowing how to clean it up.
Rich: I guarantee they didn’t think that was chocolate…
He also told a hilarious story about the importance of being honest in auditions. He once said he knew how to ski for a commercial and never had. He ended up on top of a large mountain with no way to get down but ski – and then strapped to the side of a rescue vehicle to get down the mountain, sheepishly waving to the rest of the commercial crew.
They can all be very inspiring too.
Rich: Everyone has their own journey and their own challenges. All we can do is put ourselves in the path of happiness. Bad things do happen, then it’s how do you stand back up?
In other words, AKF.
Matt talked about the importance of being open and able to change your perspective, and being able to compromise. (If you haven’t read the chapter Matt wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, it’s all about how he learned some of these important truths as a result of being on the show and interacting with the fandom)
The panel ended with more hilarity though. The threesome re-enacted the time a fan who didn’t speak English tried to show them what she wanted them to do in a photo op. Which looked like this. They were all like ‘ummmm….what now?’
Before they finally realized that what she was pantomiming was not a sex act but them all waking up and yawning and stretching!
I laughed so hard there were tears running down my cheeks. What a gift these three are to Supernatural and conventions!
Saturday is Misha day at a con, which brings a lot of energy to the audience. Never one to shy away from the unusual, Misha came out and shared a gift a fan had just given him.
Misha: Someone gave me a useful gift (holds up a shiny new butt plug)
Richard: That’s something I’ll never ask to borrow…
Billy Moran: (stares)
I am not easily offended and Misha seemed to be nothing but amused by the gift, but not everyone online thought it was as funny as I did in the moment. Why someone thought that was a cool gift to give at a con? I have no clue.
Misha also reminisced about the time he gave the Supernatural crew members an unusual gift – tighty whitey underwear with Jared and Jensen’s faces on the back and ‘We’ve got your backs’. Yes, I also laughed at this one.
Misha, and later Jared and Jensen, told some stories about pranking poor Alex Calvert on the show, including Alex lying in a bed and Ruth Connell doing some kind of reiki, while Jared is just saying one funny thing after another (which will be in this week’s upcoming episode, it looks like).
Misha: And Jared’s not even funny!
Sometimes they do look out for each other on set though. Misha said that his worst experience filming Supernatural was when he had terrible food poisoning but the scene called for Castiel to have that black leviathan goo in his mouth. He was struggling so much that Jensen finally put his foot down, saying “I’m gonna call this, we have to find another time to shoot this.”
He also told the priceless story of how he was up for the role of Anakin Skywalker and went to meet with George Lucas at the ranch. He wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it, but was bursting to tell someone – so he told some random kid in a restaurant afterwards. Whose cousin turned out to be Natalie Portman! Oops.
I tend to love Misha’s humor because much of it is self deprecating and because I just love his brand of quirky and openness. He told another hilarious story about meeting a guy the other night who asked him if he could take a picture. Misha thought the guy wanted him to do a photo with the woman he was with, so put his arm around her. The scandalized guy was like ‘um no, you take a picture of us!’ Oh, Misha. I love that he’s comfortable enough to tell that story and to laugh at himself. Celebrity is a confusing thing.
About his character and what Season 14 will bring, Misha said that he likes that Castiel is always trying to do the right thing, even when he makes mistakes. He likes less that Cas has so much self loathing and can’t forgive himself for mistakes. (Which is a Supernatural character trait, just saying)
Occasionally Misha got serious though. He told the story of proposing to Vicki, and how he made the ring himself and also a cherry box for it. He’s told this story before, but I love it so it bears retelling, that he proposed to Vicki and she had been planning to propose to him on the very same day. He beat her to it, but just barely! (And she had also made him a ring – clearly they were meant for each other).
He also talked a little about the potential cost of being actively political on social media.
Misha: Recently Twitter did a purge and I lost like 40,000 followers – so apparently I get a lot of bots!
Near the end of the panel, Misha talked about Random Acts and how important it is to him that his fellow cast members have been so supportive.
Misha: Having Jared, Jensen, Gen and Danneel be part of Random Acts has been really gratifying.
(Misha also wrote a chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood of course – a portion of every sale goes to benefit Random Acts)
Anyone who knows me knows that the Saturday Night Special is always one of my favorite parts of the con, and this one was no exception. In fact, there was a special energy to the show because of the gigantic stage and fabulous lighting that makes it seem like a “real” concert hall – and the good acoustics for music.
Matt Cohen was in full rockstar mode.
He leapt off the (very high) stage right in front of me and I had a moment of oh shit he’s gonna land right on my backpack and break an ankle, but he missed it (and me) by a few inches and just hopped right back up while I resumed cheering. Rockstar, seriously.
And Matt wasn’t the only rockstar – Ruth Connell both looked and sounded beautiful, ethereal in a long silky gown.
The pure joy on Ruth’s face when she’s singing with the band or thanking the fans though. I’m here for it.
Kim Rhodes sang ‘I’m Just A Girl’ which never fails to inspire all the women in the audience to be just a little bit fiercer than they were before.
And who wouldn’t want to get down and rock out like this with Billy Moran?
Briana Buckmaster killed it with a gorgeous song from her new album, with a little backup help from Jason Manns.
Then Jason and Rob and Billy made us all tear up with a haunting duet of ‘Hallelujah’, which sounded incredible in the gigantic theater.
Richard Speight Jr. rocked out with Copperhead Road, which also saw all of them cracking up over something I couldn’t figure out – but appreciated anyway.
Rob thanked the fans for their role in helping him recover from his stroke as Louden Swain played ‘Amazing’. If you haven’t read his powerful chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood that takes you moment by moment through his experience when he had the stroke at a convention several years ago and through his difficult recovery, be forewarned that it will make you cry – but in the best of ways.
Fans lit up the ballroom with hundreds of multi-colored finger lights, and Rob was beaming.
Rob: I just wanna swim out into all the lights!
Rob’s brother was there, so ‘She Waits’ and ‘Mama’s Jam’ were extra emotional.
And the encore of ‘Purple Rain’ was too, partly because we were in Minneapolis and partly because it never fails to inspire me watching how much this cast enjoys each other. Rachel joined the party onstage and everyone just sang and danced together with abandon – which was contagious.
A bunch of us stayed up way too late (again…) too full of the feel-good vibes and adrenaline from the SNS to go to sleep any time soon. But when we did it was with smiles still on our (very tired) faces.
Part 2 coming up – Sunday at Minncon with Jared, Jensen, Mark, and the Kings of Con!
You can read the chapters all the actors wrote in
Family Don’t End With Blood, links and info
on the home page here! Makes a great holiday
gift for the fan on your list (or you!)