Supernatural Closes Out 2021 with a Holiday Con in Nashville! Part One

There was extra excitement in the air when Creation’s Supernatural convention returned to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville earlier this  month – not only was it the last Supernatural con of 2021, but it was a chance for friends to come together to celebrate the holidays in grand style too. The Gaylord is a ridiculous hotel (but I mean that in the kindest way), so gigantic that there’s a freaking river that flows through it and you can take a boat ride down it from one side of the hotel to the other. It is always decorated like it’s Disney World, but for the holidays, they went all out. I am always slightly disoriented when I’m there because it’s a maze of bright lights and indoor jungle pathways, and have been known to get hopelessly lost and call my friend Alana to come find me. I don’t have much of a sense of direction. I also still have an injured knee, and a hotel that’s a boat ride long is not the best place to be when you can’t walk very well, but despite that, I was looking forward to Nashcon 2021. And it didn’t disappoint!

Friends who I hadn’t seen in far too long were at this con, and there were joyful reunions throughout. One group of friends had their whole room decorated like a motel the Winchesters would frequent, free postcards with gorgeous fan art on them hanging on their room door and free for the taking. Another group of friends proclaimed this “Gown Con” and packed their fanciest dresses, then posed for photos all over the hotel – which is just made for photo ops! Other friends wore their own unique versions of Santa hats, which ranged from nice to definitely naughty. I was reunited with my partner in crime, Kim Prior, who of course had her camera and incredible photography talent with her to make the con extra special (as you can see throughout these posts!). And it wasn’t just the fans who were glad to see each other – the actors are also grateful to be reunited, this time with Matt Cohen and Gil McKinney rejoining the fun.

I got in mid day Friday, and managed to catch a little bit of the threesome of Gil, David Haydn Jones and Adam Fergus. Their panels usually go a little off the rails and I always appreciate that.  There were sweet moments too though – Gil said that he can’t really facetime with his 5 year old daughter when he’s traveling because she just loses it seeing him when he’s not there. Awww.

Gil was also happy to talk about how it feels to be the Winchesters’ grandfather.

Gil: I mean, Jared and Jensen and Jeffrey Dean, they came out of me…

Gil told some of his ‘yes I was pranked’ stories from Supernatural, including the time there were suddenly filthy pictures on a screen, designed to make him laugh during his coverage.

Adam clarified what’s true about the Supernatural set and the pranks though, after sharing a few pranks he’d experienced too.

Adam: All that and the environment on Supernatural made it more collegial, made us all feel like part of the family.

David came dressed as a cowboy – maybe a guest spot on Walker is in order?  He said he knew about Supernatural’s reputation as a great show to work on even before he was cast, because his roommate at the time was a big fan.

A fan asked how it was to play someone so different from himself in Ketch, and David said it was fun simply because he was so different.

David: I’m gonna be brave enough to come out and say I’m anti murder…

The panel did go off the rails eventually, with a fan asking them to play truth or dare and something about if Supernatural was a telenovela.

David: I’d be Sam and Dean’s stepfather….and dominate them… (something about spanking…) …you’re welcome, Ao3!

The Adam and David bromance was in fine form too.

Awwwww.

You can read all about Gil’s experience on Supernatural and how the fandom changed him in the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, and about David and Adam’s experience in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done.

Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster were next up, equally overflowing with affection for each other and the SPNFamily.

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Supernatural Conventions Return – DenverCon 2021!

It’s over a  week later, and I finally have time to sit down and write about Supernatural Denver con, the first Creation Supernatural convention since the whole world changed completely right after the Las Vegas con in March 2020. I remember flying home from that convention, when we had all just barely heard about Covid, wondering what it all meant and how long it would be until I’d be with my SPN friends again. Little did we know that it would be THIS long!

I was only able to go to Denver for the weekend, so I missed the festivities on Friday – and some of my favorite people, including Chad Lindberg, who was only there on Friday. Some friends were kind enough to get my vendor table set up and put out some books, since this was the first convention since There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done:  Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural was published. The contributors all put together their chapters for that book just as the pandemic began, so I hadn’t been able to bring it to a con until now. I think the book was excited to finally meet the cast and fandom!

And I was finally able to give the actors who contributed to the book their copies – if you haven’t read their chapters yet, have some tissues ready if you do. Hearing how much Supernatural meant to them, and what the experience of bringing their characters to life brought them, makes me tear up every time I read the actors’ chapters.

Photos Chris Schmelke (hand model Alana King…)

That was exciting – and so was finally being able to see some of my fandom friends for the first time in 19 months! One of the best parts of conventions is being able to be immersed among people who totally get it – and whose eyes will not glaze over alarmingly if I talk about Supernatural for too long. Therapeutic for sure!

Denver con will definitely go down in history as an unusual con – which I feel like we’ve said about so many things over this past 19 months. There were Covid protocols in place, which meant I stressed myself out trying to get a Covid test that would come back before I had to get on a plane but would also be within 36 hours of me checking into the con – thank you, neighborhood CVS! I’m accustomed to masks all the time, so wearing one for the weekend was no problem at all, and I was relieved that everyone else was pretty good about keeping masks on too. Considering how unsafe I feel teaching in person now, in spite of masks, I felt a little safer at the con knowing everyone was both masked and recently tested.

So that part was good. No fan is ever going to like having a giant plexiglass panel between you and the celebrity you came there to see, but we’re in a pandemic and there’s a lot that we wish was different right now. Waving at Jensen, Jared and Misha is not the same as a bear hug, but it will have to do for now. I have to admire the creativity of some fans, who came up with no-touch photo ops that put that plexiglass panel to good (and sometimes amusing) use!

The other odd part of this con was that the schedule was switched around from what we’re all very accustomed to – there are always things that happen on Saturday (like Misha Collins’ panel) and on Sunday (like the Jared and Jensen gold panel and main panel). Because Jensen was shooting on the Rust film and had to be back on set for Sunday, he appeared on Saturday instead. That caused ridiculous amounts of fan theorizing and conspiracy theory tossing around about why the switch was happening – which was for exactly the reasons put forth, Jensen’s professional obligations – i.e., filming on Sunday. It was different to have solo panels for Jensen and Jared instead of a joint one, and fans had different opinions on that, some happy to have an hour with their fave and others missing the banter that always comes with a J2 panel. In other words, as always, your mileage may vary.

I caught some of Briana Buckmaster, Kim Rhodes and Samantha Smith’s panel on Saturday. The fan who sometimes collects words for a Mad Libs at the con asked them for some adverbs, they talked tattoos, and gave a shout out to Rachel  Miner, who we all missed.

Fan: What tattoo should I get?

At that moment, a loud whistle drowned everything out.

Kim: A train, apparently…

Sam talked about how she had decided to leave acting when Supernatural called her to come back for the finale of Season 11. She thought they meant series finale, and was surprised when the show was actually still going – and that she was returning for more than one episode. Briana talked about the rejection inherent in being an actor and having to learn to keep telling herself that she is enough. All three were happy to be reunited and I was happy to have their inspiration back on the stage.

Jensen’s solo panel was next, and he seemed to take a moment to soak up the love when he came onstage.

It really felt like forever since we’d seen them all in person, so there was ALOT of love in that ballroom!

I think all of them prefer being onstage with one of their friends, and he mentioned that he missed Jared being up there with him – especially because it was the first con back and they’d been looking forward to it.

Jensen: It’s just me – I don’t have my brother here!

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Happy Birthday Sam Winchester – We Miss You!

I wasn’t sure I’d do a happy birthday post for my favorite characters this year. Supernatural ended nearly six months ago, and that means the Winchesters haven’t been on my TV screen. But that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been in my heart, where I’m fairly sure Sam and Dean will live forever. So even though I can’t watch new episodes, in my heart Sam Winchester is having a birthday, and I want to celebrate!

Over the course of fifteen years, Sam became a beloved character to so many of us, thanks to Eric Kripke who created him and Jared Padalecki, who brought him to life. I was fascinated by Sam and Dean from almost the beginning, and over time, through good times and bad times, that fascination only grew. So here’s a post full of reasons of what I love about Sam Winchester, from the start to the finish (at least temporarily, because I’ll hang onto the hope that we’ll see the Winchesters again in time…)  Instead of not doing a post at all, I got entirely carried away and took a trip down memory lane, reminding me of all the reasons Sam is special to me.

One of the reasons Sam Winchester is so inspiring as a character is because he’s been through the kind of trauma and loss that would have most of us flat on our backs and unable to put one foot in front of the other. The first losses come when he’s just a baby – his mother, his home, and his father too – still there but no longer the same man or the same father to his young sons.

Twenty years later, Sam’s at school, with goals and aspirations, kicking ass on the LSATs and planning his future with Jessica. And disaster finds him again, Jessica burning on the ceiling just like his mother did.

The boys hit the road. So young and pretty, so many challenges yet to come.

We experience Sam’s empathy and his strength early on. We’ve followed him on quite a journey in just one year, from the boy who struck out on his own to the boy almost as bent on revenge as his father, and finally to this – the young man who understands that there are things more important than revenge, including his love for his family. Sam goes against his father in a completely different way here, with Sam and Dean on the same page about family and reconnected with each other.

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Supernatural Spring Break – Photo Retrospective Part 2

Continuing our week long spring break celebration of that little show we miss, here are some memories of the Supernatural cast over the years, seen through the lens of Kim Prior’s trusty camera – and her photographer instincts!

First up, some pics from Vegas Con 2015. I remember the first time Gil McKinney stepped onstage and started singing and everyone kind of stopped and went WHAT? Because damn, can he sing! The song he wrote for his dad is a favorite of mine – if you haven’t heard it, check out his album with that beautiful song and more.

Rob with the perfect tee shirt and almost clean shaven at that con!

I can hear the harmonies on Seven Bridges Road just looking at this photo…

“Seven Bridges Road” with Louden Swain, featuring Richard Speight, Jr. and Jensen Ackles.

Jensen looks as excited as all of us were to have both Winchester parents onstage at the same time with him!

Here are a few from Jacksonville 2016 – Ruth Connell and Kim Rhodes with smiles that light up the room, and Mark Sheppard doing one of the things that clearly makes him happiest – playing drums.

Nashville 2016 Matt Cohen when his hair was really long, which I’d almost forgotten. Matt can pull off any look, and I love how much he’s bringing to Entertainment Tonight these days – all his experience helping host cons with Rich and Rob have been put to very good use!

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Remembering #NashCon: The Saturday Night Special!

Guest post by Kim Prior to pretty up your Saturday… in which she looks back at the last four years of Nashville Saturday Night Specials and remembers just how special they are. Take it away, Kim!

And thus begins all the many ways in which I try to express how special the Saturday Night Special is…

2016

The recap of the 2016 concert in Nashville is a little less recap, a little more overflow of emotion as I tell y’all how much I love this band, and all the celebrity guests.

And lots of pictures.

#ActualRockGod Rob Benedict

Matt Cohen
Gil McKinney
Osric Chau
Ruth Connell and Kim Rhodes
Tim Omundson on harmonica

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