Supernatural Celebrates 100th Creation Convention in New Jersey!

 

Happy 100th Con Supernatural! Part Two of my NJ/NYC adventures (you can also read about EW’s sneak peek Season 14 premiere party and Jensen and Jared on Live with Kelly and Ryan in Part One here)

EW Supernatural Season 14 Sneak Peek and Jared and Jensen on Live!

The Supernatural New Jersey con is the closest I get to a “home” con – a less than two hour drive from Philly. The key word there being “drive” – as in, no airfare! Woohoo!! I packed up my car with many boxes of books and headed out on Thursday up the NJ Turnpike to scenic Secaucus, happy not to have to deal with airport and parking and TSA. Apparently I got a bit too cocky though, because no sooner had I arrived at the vendor section of the gigantic Meadowlands convention center than I realized that I hadn’t brought my usual backpack for flights to cons – so I had only part of what I needed for my vendor table!

NOOOOO! Luckily the convention center is adjacent to a giant Walmart, so I trekked over and had my promo pics reprinted, then trekked back to finish setting up. (My friends and I returned to Walmart later that night to stock up on supplies for the con weekend, which included an alarming amount of Beefaroni and ramen noodles,  bags of chips and possibly some Lunchables but hey, con weekend!)  We love Embassy Suites with their mini kitchens in the room and free breakfast buffet every morning – between that and the Walmart, we were set. And it’s a good thing, since I was on my own in the vendor room – luckily fandom is always wonderful and generous, with fellow fans offering to grab me drinks and pretzels or time for a bathroom break.

This con was special because it was the 100th Creation Supernatural convention – also christened Schmelke Con for the one person who has been at all 100 and taken over 250,000 photo ops to prove it — the one and only Chris Schmelke! There’s no overestimating the difference Chris has made to these conventions – photo ops are a special thing and nobody knows how to make them more special than Chris. We interviewed Chris for one of our first books, Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, and it was immediately obvious that he truly cares about fans’ experience – he gets it. And so he does everything necessary to make sure those few moments allow a genuine connection. Chris will be the first one to say that Supernatural conventions are unlike any other, and in part that’s because these actors also go out of their way to make the photo ops special.

There were all sorts of special decorations celebrating the 100th con and Creation even handed out bracelets to commemorate the occasion, so it was very cool to be there!

Nothing says happy 100th like this!

Richard introduced Friday’s first guest panelist, Rachel Miner, by giving her well deserved props for her work with Random Acts. She was asked about her initial reaction to her character Meg, and said that she got to read her audition scene with Jared and Jensen. Eric Kripke was there too, and they both ended up laughing; she knew right away that she loved the character.

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Supernatural Comes To The Capital – DC Con 2017

Right now Honcon (aka Conolulu) is in full swing, and it looks like one of the most amazing cons ever, so I’m sad not to be there – though it’s always a surprisingly emotional experience to follow along at home too. I always end up struck by the generosity of fandom, so grateful for very photo shared, every live tweet, every bit of information, and every video clip. I was especially grateful for the live audio feed for Honcon, which made me feel more like I was there – and made me anticipate the visuals that would eventually be shared even more! I knew that Jared was probably going to play guitar at this con, so I was especially grateful to be able to “experience” it live, even if it was mostly audio. It was a moment that was eventful and meaningful for a fandom that lately has been more fractured than family, and that felt really good – and I desperately wanted to be a part of it. Luckily, the generosity of fandom allowed that, and we all felt like we were sharing the moment with Jared, Jensen, Misha and company.

Today is the Sunday of that convention, so while I wait for more panel news from twitter I thought I’d go through my DCCon photos and post some memories of that con – which was only a week ago!

DC is a political place, and this is a cast of strong beliefs, so it wasn’t surprising that Richard started off the con with a shout out to the #metoo message, an admonition to men not to be assholes and to respect women, and a reassurance to the mostly female audience.

Richard: This is the year of women standing up and not taking shit anymore, and we’ve got your back! Let’s make this the new normal.

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Toronto Con 2017!

It’s Supernatural premiere week, so this will be a drive by Toronto con write up. As in, I’m writing this at the con between panels since I’m not a vendor here. That’s my only hope of actually getting a con report posted before the season premiere. Squeeeee!!!

This was reputed to be the last Toronto con, though it looks like Creation might now be considering coming back in 2019. But the chance of it being the last one was enough to make it emotional for me – for anyone who was here the year that Rob Benedict had the stroke here at the con, or for anyone who was here the next year for his triumphant return. When I first read Rob’s intimate first person account of having the stroke that he wrote for Family Don’t End With Blood, I couldn’t make it through without reaching for the tissues – not many other people have told me they could either. All those emotions come up when I’m here in Toronto, but it makes this con a special one.

The other thing that made me emotional was having Rob and Rich back. I loved NJCon (as you know if you read my con report) and I think Jason Manns and company did a fabulous amazing job. But I just miss Rob and Rich when they’re not here. They’re part of the family, and not having them with us just feels wrong. Unfortunately I got here so late that I missed their intro and rushed to my seat just as Julian Richings was starting his panel.

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The #WoManns Con – Supernatural New Jersey!

New Jersey con holds a special place in my heart, simply because it’s the closest con to my hometown of Philly. That means I can actually drive there instead of flying, which makes being a vendor a bit easier. That also meant I could caption this con ‘Adventures in Vending’ because we definitely had some adventures – and some misadventures.

Being a Supernatural con vendor is like joining a tribe of frankly awesome people. For the SPN Creation cons, it’s mostly the same group of friendly, creative, resourceful folks at every convention – and because those cons happen a few times a month on average, the vendors get to know each other very well. They’re like a group of traveling carnies, moving their wares from one city to the next. They have each other’s backs just like the rest of the SPNFamily does, and I would trust any one of them if I was in a tight spot.

That doesn’t mean vending is easy. My friend Karen offered to help me out at NJCon, so we drove up together. The day before, the FedEx guy delivered my many many boxes of books, each of which weighs over 40 pounds. I bolted out the door as soon as he pulled up and asked what the policy was for leaving the books in my car instead of on my doorstep, and luckily the very nice FedEx man agreed. When Karen and I got in the car the next day, I swear it felt sort of like getting into a rocket ship – the boxes of books in the trunk and back seat made the front of the car point dangerously towards the sky.

With apologies to my poor overburdened Honda Civic, we started out, slowly making our way north to scenic Secaucus. The giant convention center had a back loading dock where we could unload the books, so we drove up there and asked where we could park to unload lots of boxes of books. The bored looking man waved us into a spot and said we could park there. Karen and I looked at the very long ramp across the lot where we would have to enter the convention center and exchanged a look of dismay. That was a steep ramp and a long way with forty pound boxes of books!

True to my always-frantically-busy-and-not-quite-prepared state, I hadn’t been able to find an actual hand cart but I’d brought along my green and white striped beach chair on wheels that doubles as a transport cart. You know, for taking your cooler to the beach or whatever. If it can transport a cooler, I thought, why not a box of books? So Karen and I heaved a box out of the trunk and onto the beach chair. The canvas sagged but didn’t break, so we counted that as a win. Then we began the trek up the long steep ramp. After a few minutes of struggling, we finally got up and into the convention center, wheeled the books and the chair down the hall and found our vendor table. One box down, ten to go!

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Supernatural Minncon Friday and Saturday – Misha, SNS and More!

 

The Supernatural convention in Minneapolis is notable for a couple of things. First, it’s in the grandest theater on the whole tour – an actual slanted floor tilted and cushioned seated amphitheater style theater with two clamshell balconies that open up like magic on Sunday for J2 Day. The stage is so big that some of the guests aren’t quite sure what to do with it and it makes the Saturday Night Special seem like a rock show in a bona fide concert hall – and Louden Swain and guests know exactly what to do with that!

The convention center, and the city itself actually, is also notable for being connected by a series of hamster trail elevated tunnels that allow you to make your way from the hotels to the convention center without being pelted by the inevitable wind and rain. My hotel was also playing host to a furry convention, so we had furries and Supernatural tee-shirted fans sharing space and high fiving in the hallways. I was struggling to transport my hundreds of copies of Family Don’t End With Blood the mile and a half (okay okay, exaggeration, but it felt like that…) of hamster trails to the convention center when a very nice young man at the furry convention offered to help. He pushed the overloaded handcart the entire way to the convention center, while we chatted about what our two fandoms had in common and why nobody should be ashamed of what they’re passionate about.

I was in the vendor room throughout the con, and was so honored to meet many people who had read Family Don’t End With Blood and been inspired by what the actors and the fans shared in their personal essays. I also was thrilled to collaborate with Jodi from Eldwenne’s Fantasy – she created an original Women of SPN – FDEWB necklace that I adore, and was kind enough to give one to me. The necklace symbolizes that for the women of Supernatural, family means more than just blood – there’s a blue backdrop that matches the cover of the book, hugged tight by silver to symbolize the found family that surrounds the Winchesters, and black for Baby. And of course the drop of blood red. Gorgeous. Jodi is giving $5 off the necklace to anyone who purchases the book, or $10 at a con!

The con kicked off on Friday with Rob and Rich a bit overwhelmed by the amount of greenery onstage – not just the usual couple of dead trees, but a whole forest of them, along with some equally-dead potted plants.

Rob and Rich rearranged them, made a makeshift Supernatural Christmas tree, and generally had way too much fun with inanimate things. They even had a Christmas story, with Richard sitting crosslegged on the stage.

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