As I said in the previous post, Lynn and I should be meeting this weekend, in Nashville at the Salute to Supernatural Convention. Sadly, the convention was canceled and we – our entire country, and the entire world – are locked down, quarantined. (The convention has been rescheduled for August and Chuck knows we are so ready to be at another convention!) Rather than worry or feel sad, 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 Saturday panels at the Salute to Supernatural Conventions in Nashville!
Just a note: Some of our recaps included both Friday panels and Saturday panels, so some links here will take you to the recap of both days — just scroll through to read the portions about Saturdays.
And now, without further ado, here’s what Kim wrote at the time (with some 2020 interjections from time to time as we look back)
Saturday morning panels began with Kim Rhodes and Ruth Connell. They crawled onto the stage Saturday morning after last night’s karaoke. Apparently they were “over-served.”
During their panel, Kim revealed to us that originally she was to become an angel vessel because she was so upset over Alex, but the fans saved her life – literally. Meanwhile, Ruth revealed to us that Misha’s nickname for her is “ear lobe” and I know I can’t wait for the gag reel to understand why. Their panel ended with Briana joining them on stage for a reprisal of the V-Club disco-ball-change induction dance. Someone suggested they do a remake of “The Witches of Eastwick” and oh my god can this be a thing right now please?!?!?!
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!
[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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
This is a tough time for everyone. For fans of Supernatural, it’s also the countdown to the ending of the show that has gotten us through our toughest times for the past fifteen years. I’ve seen the fandom and the cast come together online to try and offer ways to help each other get through this, from posting adorable family home videos to organizing rewatch parties to Stage It shows to virtual cons. For our part, we’re really hoping that our new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, that celebrates the legacy of Supernatural will also be a help to this SPNFamily we love.
We planned the book because we knew this would be a hard time for Supernatural fans and cast – hoping that a book to hang onto that celebrates the legacy of the show and its importance would be a help getting through. But we had no idea just how hard this time would truly be. Our hope is that getting There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done out in early May will be a bright spot for the SPNFamily both for the show’s ending and the painful position all of humanity is in right now. Preorder link is at the end – and you get some freebies right now to amuse you until the release date.
We’ll try to do our part here on the blog too, with more features from the new book and its authors – both cast and fans – in the coming weeks. Here’s our first offering of ‘bright spots’ to give Supernatural fans something positive to hang onto – our adventures at the last Supernatural convention for who knows how long, SPNVegas. And some pretty pictures.
Everyone knew that this year’s Vegas Supernatural con was going to be an emotional one. For one thing, there hadn’t been a con since November, so cast and fans and vendors were all missing each other a great deal. Even more impactful, this was the last convention during which Jared, Jensen and Misha were still filming Supernatural. The last con at which they still *were* Sam, Dean and Cas. (Or at least that was the plan – who knows what’s going to happen now!)
As I boarded my flight on Wednesday morning – more than two weeks ago as I write this – (clutching my hand sanitizer and incredibly thankful that there was no one sitting next to me), I kept thinking that this was the last convention that would be the same as all the ones before it. I’ve been going to these cons for 13 years, since 2007, and all this time, Jared and Jensen have been Sam and Dean. If you know me at all, you know that my questions are always show questions. I am always dying to know what they thought about their character’s emotional reaction to whatever was happening on the show, or what their head canon is about the latest episode. This would be the last convention where I could ask those sort of questions and still have ongoing canon to spool out before us. The last one in which the Winchesters’ and Castiel’s stories are not yet over; not yet fully told. At this point as I post this, we don’t know when they will actually be able to film the last two episodes, but it will certainly be different, and not something that happened organically, with the crew that has been family for fifteen years, in a continuous season of filming. There will never be a convention quite like this one ever again.
Like so many things I’m emotional about that have to do with my favorite show ending, it sounds silly to be so worked up about this kind of ‘never again’ – but it’s not. This show, these conventions, these actors, have been a big part of my life and the lives of most Supernatural fans – whether you’re there in person or not, everyone enjoys the panels and getting to know the cast of our favorite show better. And while some things won’t entirely change going forward, some most definitely will. There are cons planned throughout 2020 (assuming COVID19 allows any), but they will still be different. And now that the entire world is on the brink of apocalypse, I need the healthy escape and inspiration of my favorite fictional characters more than ever!
So let’s just say I arrived in Vegas already a bit teary eyed. It seems weird to write this now, only two weeks later, but at the time we didn’t know just how serious and widespread COVID19 would be. Nevertheless, I followed an air hugs only rule at the con, washed my hands constantly, and kept a bottle of hand sanitizer at my vendor table throughout the con. I’m now very glad I did!
Luckily my good friend Laurena met me at the airport so we could share this entire experience, and ensure that neither of us totally decompensated from being emotionally overwhelmed at some point. We caught an Uber and consoled each other with a plan of an afternoon lounging in the sun beneath the palm trees at the Rio’s beautiful pool. Ahhh, just what two people escaping from Philly and Chicago needed in early March!
I have a love/hate relationship with the Rio. It’s always where the Vegas con is, and that makes me fond of it in that nostalgic way I have of being fond of everything that’s familiar in my life and can anchor me to the good stuff. On the other hand, there was that year the entire bathroom overflowed with sewage in the middle of the night – literally bubbling up out of our sink and tub and toilet – that sent me and my roommates out onto the casino floor in our PJ’s with a luggage cart of all our hurriedly stacked up belongings to move rooms at 3 am. Not one of my best memories.
So when Laurena and I arrived and were informed that the pool was CLOSED, it was like a flashback to that earlier trauma. Closed??? For the entire time we’d be here? What’s worse, it wasn’t just the pool – it was the entire outside area. There was literally nowhere to sit outside and enjoy the Vegas warmth. We ended up sitting at the shuttle stop on a metal bench, feeling pretty forlorn, just to get some fresh air for a little while.
First it was the announcement that this would be a “no-touch” con, thanks to COVID19, which was upsetting to many fans who were looking forward to hugging their faves in a photo op, even if everyone was starting to understand that it was probably very necessary. Then no pool??
Late lunch at Hash House, which is always a treat, made us feel a bit better. Then it was time to open our table in the vendor room, and to reunite with all the awesome vendor squad people I hadn’t seen in way too long. I was so exhausted from the time change and travel that I almost crashed right after, but luckily I decided to join my friend Lisa and a bunch of her friends – all of them writers – for a late dinner. Well, really for some delicious milkshakes. YUM! And writing talk, which I always enjoy.
Thursday the convention itself kicked off. Vegas is four days long (five if you count Wednesday evening vending and events), so it’s really more like an endurance marathon. The walk to the convention area of the Rio is approximately ten miles long, so endurance really is the right word. My knees have still not recovered.
There were SO many friends at this con, and I’m so grateful I had the chance to catch up with so many people since I have no clue when we’ll all be together again. HR was there with his newest awesome sculptures – I’m always blown away by the talent in this fandom!
Can’t you just hear Jack saying “Hello…”?
Thursday kicked off the con itself. After an intro by Rob and the band, first up was a panel by DJ Qualls, who hasn’t been to a con in a while. It was wonderful to see him, and heartwarming to hear the SPNFamily’s enthusiastic support of DJ, who had recently come out as gay.
DJ: Everyone knows I came out, right? I really was never in to anyone who knew me. But I learned at the time I started in this business that Hollywood wanted you to be quiet about it.
I’m in an entirely new headspace for watching the last episodes of Supernatural, which is making writing a recap and review an entirely new challenge. There’s a big part of me that just wants to watch and drink it up, absorb every last morsel of experience with my favorite fictional characters and savor it, no matter what. I am acutely aware, every single second that I’m watching, that my last minutes with the Winchesters and company are ticking down. The other part of me is aware of the same thing but reacts instead with “omg please don’t waste a single moment of these last minutes!” That part is more likely to get frustrated when it seems like those precious moments are indeed wasted.
That’s complex enough, but I am also acutely aware that there are competing motivations here. As a fan, I want the last eight episodes to be satisfying – to continue the story that has meant so much to me and to wrap it up in a way that makes sense and honors the characters I love. For the people who actually make the show – the cast, the crew, and the writers – the motivation is different; more personal, more idiosyncratic. I value the fictional story and characters; they value their workplace and their colleagues and perhaps their legacy with this show. I’m most concerned about wrapping the story; they may be most concerned about saying goodbye to friends and coworkers, or about wrapping their own part of the story instead of the holistic one. Nobody is right or wrong, but it means we’re going to want different things and respond to things differently as we head toward the end.
And as if all that wasn’t complex enough, COVID19 has changed the entire landscape of the world and made Supernatural ending even more emotional than it already was – and much more complicated. Some days, it seems like the world is crumbling around us, and I realize that I need Supernatural more than ever. Yes, I know it’s “just a television show”, but it has been a lifeline for many fans for a decade and a half. I don’t know when we’ve ever needed that lifeline more than right now, in the grip of a global pandemic that is attacking people’s health, safety and livelihoods. When this beloved show is gone, the world will seem that much colder and scarier. I think we’ll make sure the lifeline is still there in terms of the fan community and continuing to engage with the cast in whatever they’re doing, but we won’t have the ongoing story itself to immerse ourselves in. That just means my emotions are running higher than ever about Supernatural ending!
And finally, the ending itself is all up in the air right now. Filming was suspended at the end of last week, as it had just begun on the penultimate (I know, nobody says penultimate…) episode, 15.19. The last one to finish filming was 15.18, which likely left us in a cliffhanger situation without an end. Yesterday producer Jim Michaels reassured a worried fandom that once it was safe to resume, they would “finish what we started” but the uncertainty just adds to the anxiety of impending loss. Will the crew who has been a part of this family since the start be able to be there to resume too? I’m trying to take heart from what Michaels said and not worry, but it seems like worry is a lot of what I’m doing right now!
That said, I was glad to have Supernatural return on Monday night with episode 15.12, Galaxy Brain, written by Robert Berens and Meredith Glynn, and directed by Richard Speight, Jr. It wasn’t a keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your seat episode by any means, but its last scene did set up the foundation for how the rest of the series will go. I didn’t jump up and down and scream about how much I love this show as I was watching, but it had its moments that were satisfying – as well as a few head scratchers. Mostly, it made me aware that we all participate in this show for different reasons and have different motivations, so for some, this episode satisfied, and for others, it frustrated.
I had a few emotional moments, so I always count that as a win.
Rob Benedict returns as Chuck on ‘Earth 2’ as the episode begins, in a Radio Shed with a hapless and very relatable employee trying to sell him a universal remote. I had to laugh at how right they got it, memories of once-beloved Radio Shack stores making me all kinds of nostalgic.
I enjoyed the nod to Rob’s actual band, Louden Swain, as one of their songs plays in the store – with a lyric that includes “I had a dream that I ate your heart” that is just too perfect considering Jack’s charge from Billie this season. In fact, the fake store was so well done by Jerry Wanek and his amazing crew that director Richard Speight, Jr. tweeted that a few people came in off the street to try to buy a phone!
Chuck then goes full on meta – a little too on the nose for me at this point, even though I usually enjoy the meta. I enjoy it less now that we have so little time – I just want episodes that focus on saving people, hunting things, the family business. And I find myself wanting to stay ‘in the story’ more, knowing I have so little of it left.
Chuck: It’s monologue time.
Me: Okay, Show. We get it.
Employee: Sir, this is a Radio Shed.
That was one of the best lines in the episode and it made me laugh out loud. Kudos to Nicco DelRio for that delivery and Speight’s directing.