Remembering #NashCon: Friday Panels

Guest post by Kim Prior

(With commentary by Lynn…)

Lynn and I should be meeting this weekend, in Nashville. At the Salute to Supernatural Convention at the Grand Ol Opry Hotel/Resort. Instead, we are locked down. Quarantined. The convention has long been canceled. (Rescheduled for August and Chuck knows we are beyond excited at the thought of attending another convention!) Rather than sit and worry about the state of the country, the world… rather than be sad we don’t have a convention this weekend… we thought we should remember the good times we’ve had in Nashville over the years. So without further ado, here’s a quick look back at the Salute to Supernatural Conventions in Nashville!

2016

[Kim]  One of my favorite parts of these conventions is listening to the Rules and Regulations as presented by our host, Richard Speight, Jr. alongside Rob Benedict and Louden Swain. Do they discuss what they are going to do each time? Do they write it, plan it, rehearse it? I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care. Their version of the Rules and Regulations are different at each convention, usually laced with indirect or direct innuendo about the host city, and always laugh-‘til-my-cheeks-hurt funny. I may or may not have laughed ‘til I cried at more than one of these presentations.

[Lynn] I miss Rules & Regulations! I miss the theme song, and the fabulous showcase that it is for Rich and Rob’s hilarious sense of humor and mad improv skills. Just sayin’.

[Kim} This convention began on Friday with Richard bringing us yet another fresh, new version of the Rules and Regulations. In typical fashion, he managed to explain these to us all while making fun of southern sayings; he referenced so many that I could not possibly include them all – and yes, I reckon I laughed so hard I was fixin’ to cry.

(Ugh. Eww. Look at the ridiculous watermark. Look at the blurry photo. *sigh* I had so much to learn back then.)

Friday panels began with the dynamic duo of Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster.

They danced their way onto the stage, and immediately began to tell us about their conversation from the night before – one that included both periods and trying on underwear – because that’s how best friends roll. Listening to their panel, watching their interaction, I had no doubt they share an epic friendship, and it reminded me of my own real life best friend. (You really don’t want to read some of our texts either.) I don’t know if Wayward Daughters will ever be picked up as a spin off, but if it isn’t, can someone please give these two besties their own show already?

[Lynn]  Ouch. That one’s hard to read now…

Gil McKinney had a solo panel on Friday. Always smooth and sexy, he talks effortlessly about his life on Supernatural and beyond. He also reminds us how much the show and the fandom have impacted his life. Oh, and he discovered and now loves Cracker Barrel… and y’all know you’re gonna eat there for breakfast every time there’s a con in town.

Osric Chau was the first to comment on the oddly shaped chairs, suggesting they are like massage chairs. He is so adorable, I’m sure someone would volunteer to give him that massage! He talks about the possibility of Kevin returning to the show, and suggests that anything can happen with our show. “You can always come back and still be dead.” He also thinks that Kevin has probably figured out how to break the veil.

[Lynn] Osric was prescient!

Ruth Connell is an absolute joy. She seemingly glides from one side of the stage to the other, graciously answering questions. She addresses each fan by asking, “what’s your name where ya from and what do ya want” and then she gives the fan a gift of a hotel toiletry or a bracelet for being brave enough to ask a question. The bracelets are representative of her charity, Hope Chest, because, as she says, “Boobs are important.” To quote Mark Sheppard, Ruth is truly “Magically Delicious.”

 

Read more about Friday panels in 2016!

 

2017

Friday panels began with Louden Swain playing “Start Me Up,” a fitting start to the weekend indeed. Before introducing the first guest, we were schooled on the Southern Language by Richard Speight, Jr. He explained to us that several words are pronounced differently in the South, such as the word pie, which is pronounced pah. He also took great pains to explain to us what it means when a Southerner tells you that you are just as welcome as the flowers in May… using a water bottle to represent the proverbial flower, Richard dramatically, emphatically, and hilariously explained that the return of the flowers in May are nothing sort of a miracle, having survived the harshest of winters with all of its two inches of snow… and yet, the flowers somehow manage to return year after year, and oh thank God. Or Chuck. Or Rob.

If only those people from the six empty seats in the front row had been there. They, too, would have been baptized and saved by those beautiful flowers in May.

Julian Richings was the first panel on Friday that year, and he talked about his character, Death. He said that playing this character is the “greatest acting of his career” because he is usually “twitchy and can’t sit still.” In preparing to play Death, he drew inspiration from old school monster movies. He thinks that Death will be back on Supernatural at some point; he thinks Death may be in Chicago, waiting for Dean to walk by so he can throw a hamburger at him.

Julian also talked about the idea that Death loves junk food, such as pizza. That led to a debate on if pineapple belongs on pizza… and the answer from the crowd was a resounding No. And I absolutely put the camera down long enough to vote in this survey, because Gross. No thank you.

Alaina Huffman also appeared in a panel on Friday in 2017. She shared with us this fun fact: The holy water used on the show is a mixture of half water and half lube, and they call it Holy O.

Jason Manns was the next panel that Friday back in 2017. He told us the story of meeting Jensen several years ago at a party where they played guitar together into the wee hours of the morning. He also talked about Rob Benedict, telling us that “he (Rob) is one of those dudes that’s good at everything and if he’s not good at it, then he works at it until he is… every time I hung out with him, I’d learn something else cool about him. I hated him for a while…” LOL

His panel ended with a little taste of the Station Breaks. Following that, he and Rob performed “Hallelujah,” with Billy Moran on guitar… and that’s the story of how I died on Friday. And I’m dying all over again as I remember this moment – so pure, so stunning, just gah.

Kathryn Newton was the final panel that Friday One of the highlights for me came when Kathryn gave a little piece of advice. She said, “Love yourself. Because once you love yourself, it’s really easy to love others.” Thank you, Kathryn, for reminding us to Love Ourselves First.

Read more about Friday panels in 2017!

 

2018

I don’t know why we didn’t write recaps that year, but alas, we did not. Please enjoy a few pics from 2018.

[Lynn] Probably because were were both totally and completely overwhelmed with LIFE?

As always, our Fridays began with the Greatest Host of All Time, Mr. Richard Speight, Jr.

Ode to Foot on Thing

I remember this was my first time watching a panel with David Haydn-Jones and Adam Fergus. No one prepared me for the hilarity of this panel. I laughed until I cried, until my face hurt. 12/10 would watch these two all day long.

Rachel Miner was the next panel.

Jason Manns followed Rachel’s panel. I do remember the lighting was off that year… and by ‘off’ I mean dark and shadowy; unless the person was standing in the exact middle of the stage, and under 6 feet tall, then the lighting was okay… so RIP my photos of Jason.

Kim Rhodes and Lisa Berry were the final panel on Friday that year. Little did I know what Lisa would bring to the show Saturday night!

#FavoritePhoto

2019

Friday panels began with our most favorite unicorn, Rachel Miner. She talked about her time in Kim Rhodes’ closet, how her favorite scene was Meg’s death (written so beautifully by Robbie Thompson), and she laughed when a fan reminded her that she once wished for Meg and Cas to have little demon/angel babies. Rachel also spoke about MS and how she copes with it:
“My day is made or broken by simple kindnesses. I have everyday momentary heroes and many of them are women… I have the life I have because of you. It was your encouragement not to hide.”

Jason Manns was the next panel. He said, “I love conventions because everyone is like on vacation with a bunch of like minded folks.” And he’s right – this is like a vacation, with all of your friends… and as I write this, I hold on to the hope of many more vacations to come.

I actually wrote those words in the recap, “and as I write this, I hold on to the hope of many more vacations to come.” At the time, I wrote that because we had learned the Show was ending. But now… now, today, in 2020, with all that is happening in our country, in our world… I really am holding on to the hope of many more vacations to come.

The next panel was a convention first, a duo of Jeffery Vincent Parise and Gabriel Tigerman. Apparently, they literally met just before they walked on stage, but they were quickly friends and served up a hilarious panel – oh to go back there now and enjoy a few laughs with them.

Jake Abel was the next panel. He talked about being on the set of Supernatural. He said his favorite memory was having a beer with Jared and Jensen after his last scene on top of one of their trailers. He thought they wouldn’t remember him, but they just picked him up and hugged him.

Jake: There are few guys out there as genuine.

[Kim: Writing this post is so much harder than I thought. So I’ll just remind you that Jake said if he had the power to unlock anything, it would be the cage, and if he could be any animal, he’d be a dragon. Dragons and unlocked cages and beers on top of the trailer and they really are genuine, good guys. My heart.]

Again, those are the actual words I wrote a year ago. And I say again today, writing this compilation article is so much harder than I thought. I miss these folks. I miss my friends. (insert ugly crying)

Friday panels ended with Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster. These two women never fail to punch me right in the feels.

Briana: “Whether you are overwhelmed because you’re busy, or overwhelmed because you’re sitting doing nothing – You are in control. It is your decision how to handle it. Live moment by moment. Take each thing on the list one at a time. And if things don’t get done, well guess what, the world will go on tomorrow.”

Kim: “Make time to do the one thing that you need to do to take care of You. You are allowed to take care of yourself. It should actually be a priority.”

I struggle, like Every Day, with my To-Do List… gotta get it all done, today, 2 hours ago… and every day, I fail. While I did do all the laundry and I had two appointments and I did the dishes and I did all the food prep for the week… but I didn’t get the list all done… those photos didn’t get edited and the beds didn’t get made and I didn’t have time to call my mom…

And no, “that thing to take care of Me” is never even on my To-Do List. I ain’t got time for that. I gotta do this and this and this, and this first. If I get it all done, then if I have time, maybe I’ll do some yoga, or take a long, hot bath, or whatever.

Update: I have tried very hard – very hard – to make time for myself. I forget, a lot, but I am trying.

And today, in 2020, in the face of this virus that has taken over our world and our lives, I hope everyone is out there, putting yourselves at the top of your lists, making the time to take care of yourselves.

Read more about Friday panels in 2019!

Stay tuned – we’ll look back at four years of Saturday panels in Nashville next!

– Lynn and Kim

In the meantime, you can pre-order the new book

written by the actors and fans of Supernatural,

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, and join

the cast in celebrating the incredible legacy of

this incredible show. Preorder at:

peacewhenyouaredone.com!

When Being A Fan Hurts – Staying Wayward!

Passion is what being a fan is all about. It’s what makes it so fulfilling, what makes it an important part of our everyday lives and not something we only think about for an hour a week while watching a television show or once a year for two hours in the movie theater. That show or film or band or whatever we fan has the power to change our lives – it provides heroes and heroines for us to emulate, it sends different messages than what we hear from the rest of the world which are sometimes exactly what we need in order to feel okay about ourselves. It can inspire us to be better, help others, change the world, keep fighting for our own lives. The community that forms around the thing we’re passionate about – the fandom – also has the power to change us. Fandom can be a group that ‘gets us’ and gives us that all-important sense of belonging. Someone to share our good times and provide a source of support to get through the hard times. All that comes from the passion we invest in what we love.

When the thing we love is going strong, that is a beautiful feeling. It’s heady, affirming, exhilarating. Research shows that fans of a winning sports team have the same physiological and psychological reactions as the actual players who won the game. No wonder it’s important!

When the thing we love does not succeed, or is taken away from us, the emotions are just as strong. It feels devastating, a denial of all the good we found in this precious thing. It feels like an overwhelming loss – because it is one. There’s nothing silly or frivolous about the way fans love, or anything unimportant about what we get from that love. When it’s lost, we react with grief, and it’s just like any other grief. There’s denial and anger and sadness.

In the past 24 hours, quite a few beloved television shows have been either cancelled or not picked up for series by the networks that continue to have all the power. Lucifer, Brooklyn99, the list was a long one. Fans all over the world, of all sorts of things, are confused and furious and despairing over never being able to have more of that thing they love. Anyone who is a fan knows that sort of pain.

I want to send out a collective hug to all the fans who got bad news today, and all the people whose livelihoods depend on making that thing that people love. As a Supernatural fan, the CW deciding against a pick up of the spinoff Wayward Sisters has been a personal experience. Wayward (I’ll call it that because now we’re allowed to go back to calling it what it originally was, Wayward Daughters, and that makes me happy) was special to many in the fandom, because it was different. A show about women, starring women, and committed to being told through the perspective of women – diverse women. It’s a credit to Supernatural that the show created characters in Jody and Donna that resonated so much with viewers that we knew they could carry a show of their own. When that became a possibility, it felt like a remarkable evolution, and a hopeful one. The importance of representation is indisputable, and Wayward was going to be a big leap forward – in fact, we don’t even know just how far the show was going to take us, or how life changing that would be for so many people waiting to see themselves reflected onscreen.

Wayward was also different because it was an idea that began, not in a writer’s room or a network meeting, but in fandom itself. Supernatural fans wanted more of the female characters we had come to know and love. We wanted a whole show devoted to those women and exploring their stories. At the time, it almost seemed like an impossible idea, but that little idea caught fire and gained the attention and support of Supernatural’s writers and showrunners and the actresses themselves. For more than a year, fans and writers and actors joined forces to get the idea off the ground. Robert Berens wrote a pilot, Andrew Dabb and Bob Singer got it made. Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Kathryn Newtown, Clark Backo, Katherine Ramdeen and Yadira Guevara-Prip kicked ass. Fans rejoiced, and relished the hope that success brought.

I was truly shocked when the network passed. It seemed like the time was so right, and with a built-in fan base, it seemed like Wayward should have been a no-brainer. Then again, I’ve thought that many times only to have TPTB make another decision. I suppose I shouldn’t be as shocked as I am this time.

Maybe the outcry will change their minds; stranger things have happened. Wayward Sisters was trending a little while ago, while none of the shows that did get picked up or renewed were. That probably says something right there.

And if it doesn’t? They still can’t change what Wayward has come to mean to the fandom. That word was reclaimed as something that was okay, as something that was not a source of shame – as something to be proud of! Embracing being WaywardAF on tee shirts and hoodies and caps and anything else you wanted to put it on was powerful for so many fans. It was a way of saying no, I won’t let you shame me for being different, or tell me that I can’t be myself. Led by Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster’s willingness to be real, onstage at a convention or online in tweets or in the chapters they wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, the Wayward message inspired many others to be real too. And that is the healthiest thing any of us can do! That’s the true power of Wayward, and nobody can take that away.

 

I don’t know what the future will bring for Wayward Daughters. I know the fandom that I call my SPNFamily is hurting right now, as are the talented and committed actors and writers who worked so hard to make this happen. I do know that it’s not over. Whatever form Wayward will take going forward, the movement is very much alive – and the evolution that Wayward is a part of is not stopping. So put on your tee shirt and take a page from Briana and Kim because we’ve still got work to do – and don’t let this discourage you from the message. Stay Wayward.

–Lynn

Family Don’t End With Blood info

at the links on our home page header

 

 

Supernatural 13.10 – Wayward Sisters!

 

Last Thursday was a day full of anticipation for the Supernatural fandom – it was the day we finally got to see the Wayward Sisters episode. Wayward Sisters was not only an episode of Supernatural, but a backdoor pilot for a possible spinoff starring instead of two brothers, six women! That fact alone, unfortunately, is pretty unusual on television, let alone on the CW. Women’s voices are finally being heard a bit more both in media and in the world in general, so the Wayward Sisters pilot is coming at a good time. Perhaps not only the Supernatural fandom but a whole lot of viewers are ready for a show whose leads are all female.

At least I hope so. Don’t get me wrong, I love Supernatural and I love it just the way it is. The show has had some amazing female characters over the years, including the ones who star in Wayward Sisters, and it has evolved from the days when a female character was in danger of being ‘fridged’ to inspire a male character to start hunting.  I love Sam and Dean and Cas to the moon and back and always will. The wonderful thing about Wayward Sisters is that it can be its own thing, an extension of the Supernatural universe just like fanfiction and fanvids and fanart are, which can be beautiful and important in its own way while Supernatural itself goes on (and on and on and on, as far as I’m concerned…)  Not all fans were on board with the possible spinoff, and that’s okay – we all like and love and want different things, and nobody has to love the same thing as I do or you do. But for many fans, the idea of ‘Wayward’ had become very important, even beyond the possibility of a spinoff.

The idea for Wayward Sisters began over two years ago – and it began in the fandom. That’s not where ideas for pilots usually come from. Fandom has all sorts of fabulous ideas, as anyone who’s been in a vibrant creative brilliant fandom like the Supernatural fandom knows. But those ideas don’t get heard, and even if they do, they certainly don’t get taken seriously to become reality! Wayward Daughters, as it was first called, was an idea that fans had – not just for a spinoff, but as a rallying cry for some of the things I write about in my books on fandom and Supernatural. For finding the courage to be yourself and proud of it – for being “Wayward As F—k.” That ‘WaywardAF’ slogan ended up on tee shirts and pajamas and all sorts of things proudly worn by fans who were tired of not being real and ready to be wayward. Actresses Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster were on board from the start, adding to the empowering message. They wrote chapters in my book about the power of Supernatural and the SPNFamily (Family Don’t End With Blood) all about being WaywardAF, and so did the two women who started the Wayward Daughters movement, Riley and Betty.  Eventually the rallying cry was so loud that The Powers That Be heard it. Writer Robert Berens, who had penned some of the pivotal episodes introducing these characters, hopped on board to write the episode, now known as Wayward Sisters. And that? Is a big thing.

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Supernatural Gets Wayward – What’s Special About Wayward Sisters

 

One week from today, my favorite show will return from its winter hiatus, and I can’t wait. This return will be extra special, because of two things. One, it’s on my birthday – I suppose that’s only special to me, but it feels extra special because of the other thing. That other thing is the return episode will also be the “backdoor pilot” for a possible spin-off for Supernatural – Wayward Sisters.

What’s so special about that? The show has tried a backdoor pilot before, with the Bloodlines episode back in Season 9. That was a pretty spectacular failure – I adore this show, and I must confess even I didn’t like it. Largely because it didn’t feel like a Supernatural episode at all. There were no established characters who would transition to the new show, and the new characters seemed like they’d be more at home on Dynasty than on Supernatural. I couldn’t imagine Sam and Dean ever making a guest appearance – in fact, I was pretty sure they were secretly rolling their eyes at some of the newly introduced characters.

To the show’s credit, the overwhelming NO response to Bloodlines didn’t sour them on considering a spin-off. And they’ve learned from their mistakes. Wayward Sisters is different in a number of ways. First, it stars characters who are already established on Supernatural, and who fans already know and like (not every character is liked by every fan of course, but you can pretty much say that about any fictional character ever – there’s no such thing as unanimous liking and that’s okay). Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) has been a recurring character for some time, as has Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster) – both are fan favorites on the show and the actors are fan favorites on the Supernatural convention circuit too.

Also in the cast are Claire (Kathryn Newton) and Alex (Katherine Ramdeen), both of whom have been in multiple episodes of the show. In Season 13, we were introduced to Patience (Clark Backo) and Kaia (Yadira Guevara Prip), rounding out the cast. Instead of a bunch of characters we don’t know at all, this attempt at a spin-off utilizes characters who are already familiar to us as part of the Supernatural universe. That should make a big difference.

 

That’s not what makes Wayward Sisters special, though. Instead it’s the way the spinoff came about and the striking evolution that the composition of the show represents. Wayward Sisters, unlike its inspiration, Supernatural, is a cast of women. Don’t get me wrong, I think Supernatural has given us some amazing female characters over the years – the women of Wayward are some of them, but there are many more. The show was roundly criticized in its early days for the rarity of any episode passing the Bechdel test and for its use of the ‘fridging women’ trope to serve as inspiration for its tortured heroes. There has been evolution over the course of 13 years, in terms of cast and more slowly in terms of female writers and directors, but this is a leap forward, not a step. If the pilot flies, this is a show about women that, according to its cast, is committed not only to being told through the perspective of women, but to diversity of many kinds. That’s a lot of evolution for a little show on the CW.

That evolution is one of the unique things, but it’s not the only one. The other unique, maybe even unprecedented, thing about Wayward Sisters is the way it came to be. The idea for Bloodlines came from the usual places – producers, studio, network, showrunners, writers room. The idea for Wayward Sisters came from the fandom. And that really doesn’t happen. Fandom has all sorts of fabulous ideas, as anyone who’s been in a vibrant creative brilliant fandom like the Supernatural fandom knows. But those ideas don’t get heard, and even if they do, they certainly don’t get taken seriously to become reality! As Kim and Briana are fond of saying onstage at Supernatural conventions, “YOU. You did this.” And you know what? We did. And that’s pretty extraordinary.

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Spotlight on SPNFamily Creativity and Making A Difference – Little Pop Workshop!

Sometimes it really helps to shine a light on all the good things about fandom – how we help each other, how we help others, how we try to make change in the world. It’s an integral part of fandom, and one that I cherish – that’s why every purchase of Family Don’t End With Blood benefits Random Acts’ important work helping those who need it all over the world, and Attitudes in Reverse with their mission of ending stigma and opening up conversation about mental health challenges to combat suicide. On this #GivingTuesday, if you haven’t read FDEWB yet, you can help make a difference by picking up a book for yourself or for a friend. Most of the Supernatural actors wrote chapters — Jared, Jensen, Misha and many others — in which they shared their own personal struggles and challenges, hoping that will inspire others to keep going when the going gets tough.

The book has been our way of trying to help, but there are so many people in fandom whose creative talents enrich us all and also make a difference.

Recently a wonderful thing happened in the fandom that also benefits one of Misha Collin’s many charitable endeavors. With the help of charitable organizer Stands on twitter, the “I Wish For This” campaign to benefit Lydia Place was launched. Lydia Place works to disrupt the pervasive cycle of homelessness and foster autonomy for families, something that Collins knows about from personal experience. Fan artist Little Pop Work made a customized Pop Funko Misha doll which was signed by Misha as an incentive to participate in the campaign – which was seriously awesome!

The I Wish For This Misha Pop is based on the touching story that Misha has told about his daughter, Maison. When Misha asked his kids what they wanted to wish for as they picked dandelions and got ready to make a wish on them, Maison simply replied “I wish for this.” Misha can’t tell the story without tearing up, and frankly I’ve never been able to listen to it without tearing up either.

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