Finally writing up the last two cons of 2019 now that we’re on the last day of the decade!
All Supernatural cons are emotional when you’re as big a fan of the show as I am, but the Supernatural convention in DC at the beginning of November was emotional for a different reason. Jared Padalecki was unable to attend after the incident at one of his Austin bars the week before, and Richard Speight Jr. was also not there since he was busy directing. It’s been a long long time since there was a con without both Jared and Jensen, and fans were both sad not to have Jared there and simultaneously supportive of him doing what he needed to do. And I always miss Rich as emcee even though whoever steps in for him – and Rob of course – always do a stellar job. Nevertheless, this con turned out to be a wonderful one full of good friends and good memories.
This is the other “local” con that I can drive to, so I headed out ridiculously early on Friday morning and made my way to Crystal City, Virginia (the con is not actually in DC, despite its hashtag). I picked up my friend Kathy, my OG fellow Supernatural fangirl with whom I wrote my first four books on fandom and the show, and we drove there together. Kathy and I were joined at the hip for my first five or six years of Supernatural fandom, and all our early misadventures were chronicled (confessed to?) in the book ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’. It seemed fitting that I brought some of those and our other early books on the show along with Kathy there too. We set up in the vendor room and people who came by to get one of those earlier books were surprised to get both the authors’ signatures on their copy!
Friday was a crazy day at the con since everyone was frantically trying to trade in their photo ops with Jared in them for something else, and in the mayhem I never managed to do that. I had a J2M op and, unlike my usual, I actually had something special planned, so I was bummed. Especially because it meant I had no photo ops at all (that was my only one) and wouldn’t even get to give Jensen or Misha a hug. Fangirl problems. Luckily one of my wonderful friends offered to let me join her Jensen photo op, so I did at least get to say hi and get a hug from one of them after all! Fandom takes care of fandom.
Kathy and I got to the con so late that we missed the first few panels, including Rachel Miner’s, Jason Manns’ and Gil McKinney’s, which I was very sad to miss. It’s been a while since Gil has been at a Supernatural con, and I miss having him there. Luckily he did another panel on Saturday, and I got a chance to chat with him and catch up a bit later that afternoon too. Gil wrote a beautiful chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood, and I just miss him. Thanks for bringing him back, Creation!
It looks like Jason and Rob and the band did a bang up job with the intro, if these photos by fellow fan Barb are any indication. Rob in those glasses, mmmm. And a non-blurry shot of Billy Moran! Barb is clearly a better photographer than me – thanks for sharing, Barb!
I also missed Jeffrey Vincent Parise’s Friday panel. From the looks of Barb’s pics, it was a fun one!
did catch some of the Ladies of SPN panel, which is invariably inspiring and amusing in equal amounts.
Lisa Berry told the story of auditioning for Supernatural — for like ten years!
Lisa: I was a huge fan. Never give up on your dreams.
Someone asked about favorite episodes.
Kim Rhodes: I love the episode where Dean can talk to dogs. I like dogs…
Literally everyone: Yep. We love you, Kim.
Briana is often asked about body image and self esteem and she always has some wise words.
Briana: Keep working on your body, but even more work on your relationship with yourself.
Also, Lisa and Briana hair appreciation moment. Gorgeous.
Perhaps the most exciting thing we heard in that panel was that Wayward Podcast is now represented, and Kim and Briana will start doing live podcasts coming soon! If you haven’t listened to it, check it out – it’s like an antidote to the depressing and frustrating and artificial world out there.
Like these ladies.
Since Richard wasn’t there, Jason Manns played cohost with Rob Benedict all weekend – and did a great job!
Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones did a joint panel next. They are so much like Jared and Jensen in their chemistry and comic timing, and their panels are a joy to watch. They are occasionally serious too.
They both talked about the sense of community and love in the SPNFamily and how special it is.
They were asked about costars they’ve worked with.
Adam: I loved working with Kathryn Newton. Jared and Jensen were constantly teasing her.
David talked about working with A list talent on the State Farm ads and doing Monty Python bits together with them. As you do.
Eventually the panel became a series of increasingly hilarious double entendres and innuendo.
David: In acting you go through…heavy spurts…
Adam: Oh yes you do…
At some point Adam began calling David a ballbreaker, so that’s how that panel went.
I enjoyed every second of it.
Another moment of appreciation for Rob in glasses. Mmmm.
Friday night Kathy and I had dinner with a fellow academic researcher and fangirl, which was one part answering serious questions about fandom and one part gushing about Supernatural – and the other parts were delicious Mexican food and margaritas. The restaurant was in “the tunnel”, which is a series of spacious tunnels connected to the convention hotel. They are designed to make it look like you’re actually outside on a street and they are very very weird but it is also incredibly nice to never have to go outside and have all these restaurants and shops connected to the con hotel!
Then I joined Alana and her cousin and Lauren for some post-drinks karaoke, which is pretty much the best way to do karaoke. Adam, Matt, Lisa and Jeffrey were excellent hosts.
I wasn’t close enough to take any decent photos, but Barb captured this gem. Nice outfit, David Haydn-Jones!
There was Journey, there was Abba, there was Queen…. And Carry On Wayward Son was emotional, to say the least.
I definitely did not get enough sleep on Friday night, but oh well.
Saturday started way too early, but that’s what happens when you stay until the end of karaoke and then stay up even later chatting with your roomies.
Jeffrey Parise was first up. He said he got cast on Supernatural on his birthday and when a friend of his who was on Stargate heard, he was like – OMG get that!
Jeff: When I sat on that throne of hell for the first time, I thought this is something special.
He said that someday he wants to play a role that seems written just for him.
Jeff: Like I think that role of Lucifer was written for Mark Pellegrino even before he was cast in it.
Jeff proved himself an excellent panelist; when there was no one at the mic, he just asked and answered his own questions. Hilariously.
The R2M panel was next, except it was just Rob and Matt since Rich wasn’t there. Rob told a very funny story about being so nervous for a kissing scene that when he embraced the actress, he grabbed her mic pack on her back and just held on! She eventually was like what are you doing?
Matt cracked up throughout the story – and so did everyone else.
Matt also told a funny kissing story. He was supposed to go in for the big kiss in the dramatic mistletoe Hallmark movie scene, and for some reason he got carried away and just hugged her instead!
Rob was asked about the current version of Chuck.
Fan: Did you know God was gonna turn out to be an asshole?
He went on to say that he was enjoying this version of God, and that he thinks this season is genius. I hope you’re right, Rob!
They also had some amusing fan stories.
Matt: Once I was walking about ten feet behind Rob and Rich and a fan says to me, oooh look, it’s Rob and Rich!
Another time, when Matt was playing a doctor on General Hospital, the lady behind him in line at Whole Foods coughed, and then said pointedly to him, oh I wish a doctor were here….
OMG lady, I don’t know whether to admire your sense of humor or cringe!
Rob told the story of dressing up for Halloween with Jensen and of course, Jensen being Jensen, he looked just like the Brad Pitt character. They went out to dinner first and everyone was raving about Jensen’s costume and Rob was like hey, I’m dressed up too…
Then we had a threesome panel with David, Adam and Gil, which was fun.
David said he wished that the BMoL and Crowley relationship had been explored.
David: Me and Mark Sheppard in our dapper suits…
They all had stories of their time on the Supernatural set and how much they enjoyed it.
Adam: I loved working with Jensen, he has amazing comic timing. And on my first day I started to speak and Jared was like, I can’t understand a word he says! I’ve never been on a set that’s so much fun.
Gil: You’re trying to be serious on Supernatural and then Jared is there, with that face!
Gil said he’d love to have a scene with John Winchester, but that it would have to be Matt’s version. There was also a really nice scene between Henry and Sam that got cut for some reason.
I’d like to see both of those, please!
If they were female for a day?
Gil: I’d paint my nails and shave my legs.
Adam: I’d be a lesbian.
If Gil had an autobiography? Clean pants, dirty mind.
And on that note…
Saturday ladies panel was Rachel Miner, Kim Rhodes, Ruth Connell, Lisa Berry and Briana Buckmaster. They had a lot to say about their characters and everyone weighed in on Rowena, since she had just made her heroic sacrifice and died in Thursday’s episode and we were all still reeling (though I admit I also expected her to come back – but you never know!)
Rachel: I love that Meg and Rowena both sacrificed themselves, like not a big deal it just makes sense.
Kim got me all emotional talking about that powerful scene with Crowley when Rowena said “If I didn’t hate you, I’d love you,” and how Ruth Connell killed it.
Favorite Rowena moment?
Ruth: Not the last one…
Briana: Though it was an epic death.
Ruth: I think every death has been part of Rowena’s evolution. Most people only have to die once. When I was filming my last scene I listened to a Latin hymn. I could cry now just thinking about it.
Me: Me too
Also? Ruth is a damn good actress. Not just on the show either!
What would they change in the show?
Kim: I’d have Jody meet Cas.
Ruth: Basically every time I have a scene with Misha, the “Castiel” that Rowena says is not scripted.
Rachel: Basically we all just want Cas to notice us.
What would they put of themselves in a museum?
Briana: A chocolate museum?
Lisa: Still works for me!
There was also some seriousness.
Briana: Telling stories of complex women is what I want to be a part of.
What do they hope people learned from their character?
Ruth: That you can play with five big boys and totally hold your own.
Well said, ladies.
Sometimes the emotional things that happen at a con are not all onstage. Alana’s parents showed up to surprise her some time in the afternoon, which made for some pretty priceless moments. Tears of joy, y’all. Tears of joy.
Misha’s panel was special because a) he managed to convince Vicki to come onstage briefly to say hello, although she clearly did not want to, and b) he gave us all a cooking demonstration of one of the recipes from his new book, The Adventurous Eaters Club.
If you don’t have yours yet, you’re probably the only one. It benefits Random Acts and it also looks like a lot of fun – we can’t wait to try out some of the recipes in ours.
For our afternoon cooking attempt, we got to make butter in a jar – which requires a lot of shaking.
Misha brought along his grandmother’s grandmother’s cutting board and we all had some delicious bread with shaken butter, which was handy because I was ravenous.
Misha was excited to be back in DC, where he worked for a while.
Misha: I did editing at NPR and worked at the White House. This morning I walked down memory lane at the White House.
On his time in the White House, where his job was answering letters:
Misha: One guy said that God told him he should get the job. So I wrote back. As God.
I don’t know what the question was, but he talked about some of his early favorite shows.
Misha: I loved Dukes of Hazzard. And Knight Rider. Another show about a black car! I think I have a fetish…
Everyone: Don’t we all, Misha, don’t we all…
Reminiscing about his early days on Supernatural…
Misha: I didn’t realize I didn’t need to, so I tried to play an angel as all angelic and Jared and Jensen were just like, who the hell is this guy?
After Misha’s panel, I had a wonderful time with a whole bunch of friends at dinner – everyone there was a writer of some sort, whether fanfic or published or both, and we all had a great time talking Supernatural. The hotel restaurant wasn’t quite as wonderful – in fact, it took them almost an hour to get us any food or drink, and then when my bill came I got charged $430 for a burger! (We had said hi to David Haydn-Jones earlier as he left his ‘dinner with Davy’ event – methinks I got the bill for that instead!)
The Saturday Night Special was, unsurprisingly, special. As though to make up for the difficult time the SPN Family had last week, the energy in the room was off the charts. It was wonderful to have Gil back up there and Matt back to be a rockstar, and everyone pretty much killed it.
Briana and Lisa did their version of “Blow”, which Jensen and Lisa did at the last con, and it was just as mindblowing, Kim rocked out like the rockstar she is, and Ruth brought the house down with both her beautiful singing and graceful dancing.
The glow lights that we all had for ‘She Waits’ and ‘Amazing’ turned out not to glow, so resourceful fans just put their phone lights on and waved them instead.
‘Mama’s Jam’ and the encore had everyone dancing, Kim and an adorable young fan whirling onstage, Jeff Parise playing hand drums, Rob and Billy strolling the ballroom walking on chairs, and everyone feeling very very good by the time the night ended.
Sunday dawned too early (it’s a theme at the cons). Jensen did the gold panel alone, something that I don’t think has happened before. He wore denim on denim, which apparently is called a Canadian Tuxedo, and his hair was all floofy floof and …okay, I’ll try to concentrate.
Jensen: Yes, I’m double denim today, deal with it!
He immediately talked about Jared, which I was grateful for.
Jensen: We all miss my big dumb friend so send him love. He’s doing fine and sends his love.
They are clearly dealing with it as guys sometimes do, with some dark humor.
Jensen: We’re having fun with it. I brought Jared into set after he had a few days off in handcuffs…
I think he said something about them trying to find a bunch of orange jumpsuits too…
He said they’re currently filming a funny episode where Sam and Dean lose their Winchester mojo. Dean has cavities and Sam has a cold.
Everyone: YES GIMME GIMME
Someone asked what he was doing next.
Jensen: I’ve held off on what I’m doing next to concentrate on this show but I have meetings in the next few weeks in LA. And I’m like, people care about my future!
In the middle of the panel he tried to figure out what episode they were filming and Ruth came onstage to help.
Jensen: We can’t function without amazing women on set.
There are alot of amazing women on that set, on camera and off, for sure.
He was also serious about this last season, and about the fandom.
Jensen: We’re trying to knock it out of the park this year. We don’t want to let you down and I don’t want to let my friends down. Thank you for sticking with us.
Alex Calvert also had a panel on Sunday. We haven’t had the pleasure of an Alex panel in a while, so that was a treat.
Alex talked about his first season on the show.
Alex: I knew that if people didn’t like Jack, they would have killed me by the end of that season. I’m glad I’m still here!
Now that Alex has had a chance to play Belphagor, he got questions about that role too.
Alex: Playing multiple characters is a rite of passage on this show. One writer told me, just don’t do a Russian accent…
Of course, Belphagor didn’t last long.
Alex: That’s not exactly how I wanted to go out, with Misha straddling me. You think Misha straddling you for eight hours is cool, but it’s not. You don’t want anyone on top of you for eight hours!
A fan asked about his favorite scenes to film.
Alex: Well, any time Jack has no clothes on is NOT my favorite day, because Jared and Jensen just see it as an opportunity.
Oh, where’s that on the gag reel??
Ruth Connell also had a Sunday panel, and she brought along some of her lovely hotel toiletries to give away to fans.
Ruth is a Jensen fan, which I love about her.
Ruth to fans who are leaving the ballroom: Where are you going?
Fans: Jensen photo ops.
Before she filmed the last scene as Rowena, she was at dinner with Jared and Jensen.
Ruth: And Jared said, let’s make this count. It’s so nice for the leads to care that much. Jared filmed his coverage first, and then he was like, what do you need from me? We really worked it out actor to actor. The bit where I touch his face, like a benediction or reassurance, that was Jared who felt that. It was not in the script.
Can I just say that we are so lucky to have ALL these actors??
What is usually the Jared and Jensen panel on Sunday was a Jensen and Misha panel instead. They started out doing a bit about refusing to speak to each other, reflecting the falling out that Dean and Castiel just had on the show. Every time one would turn toward the other, the other would turn away.
Fan: Why did Cas and Dean react that way?
Jensen: (deadpans) Well, because the writers wrote it…
Misha: Why don’t we use that explanation more often??
They then mock argued about what you can say on television.
Jensen: You can say ‘dick’ but not ‘prick.’ Because prick is a penis.
Misha: Can’t you say ‘a little prick’?
Jensen: Like, Misha has a little prick?
Jensen also gave a Blue Steel modeling lesson to everyone, which Misha paid close attention to.
And at one point Jensen did his best Paris Hilton imitation, after saying some nice things about her professionalism on the show. Then he looked over at her and she looked like this and he thought, oh, there you are!
Misha talked about his cookbook.
Misha: There’s breakfast popsicles in my cookbook. In fact, when Danneel said she liked it, I said, you haven’t read it, have you?
Jensen had some praise for Eric Kripke’s new show, The Boys.
Jensen: The Boys is what Supernatural would be if it was on another service. It’s what Kripke would have done if he could.
(He’s so right)
Misha told some hilarious stories about the pranks that he and Jared have pulled on each other, and Jensen demonstrated how he just stands there and watches, sipping his coffee and eagerly viewing from the sidelines.
There were a few heartfelt parenting questions. Misha said he used to bounce Maison to sleep, and Jensen just shook his head like, nope, not doing that.
Jensen told the story of carrying JJ over a mile instead of letting his dad or someone else take over, after he heard ‘one day you’ll put your kids down and never pick them up again.’
True story, Jensen had shared that with me at the time, and it made me cry. Hearing it again made me tear up all over again. It has clearly stayed with both of us.
They both got serious talking about receiving love from the fans — and giving it back.
And then it was time for the last question. Misha seemed a little surprised when Jensen belted out the song with Rob – a tradition!
They thanked the fans before leaving, Misha blowing kisses and Jensen ducking them.
He couldn’t duck Misha’s tackle hug though, before they left the stage!
I did autographs with my friend Alana, both of us having Vicki also sign our cookbooks, and nice chats with Misha and Jensen. Then we joined Alana’s cousin and Lauren for dinner at a little Italian restaurant (after being momentarily traumatized by the Mexican restaurant in the tunnel being closed!) But it turned out to be a good thing, since we had the little restaurant almost to ourselves and it was cozy warm and the pasta was great and the fancy drinks were fabulous. A perfect way to end a wonderful con weekend.
The next day I loaded up my car and drove back to Philly and straight to work, but I probably still had a smile on my face for the rest of the day.
We all missed Jared, and I couldn’t wait to see him in Jacksonville. That would be the last con of 2019, and the last one until Vegas in March – so we all expected it to be emotional. It did not disappoint. Stay tuned for that con report, coming up tomorrow!
Happy New Year, SPNFamily!
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