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.
When Louden Swain announced two shows in Austin, Kim immediately suggested we go. It was two days before the new semester started, but on the other hand they were playing on my actual birthday, so – what better way to celebrate! Great music and a much-needed weekend away with lots of my favorite people. So off to Austin we went!
Kim and I have been there a few times before, once for the first Supernatural Day and once for our friend Alana’s birthday (Austin seems to be the SPNFamily birthday destination in my little corner of the fandom). This was the first time Louden Swain would be playing there while we were there, though! What I didn’t count on was injuring my back – and then my knee because of my back – long story, but suffice it to say my doc and PT person said “no long flights, not too much walking or standing, no uneven ground.”
Errrr….okay? So I flew to Texas, went to two back to back concert shows, and walked all over Family Business Beer Co, which happens to have pathways made of rocks and uneven ground with tree branches everywhere. Everyone SHHHHH. The things you do for fandom….
Kim and I met up at the Austin airport and our friends Bev and Betty picked us up before we headed out to FBBC to squeeze in a delicious gyro before the Shawarma food truck closed – yum!
Then it was on to the spacious house a whole bunch of us were sharing – gotta love Airbnb! Eight fangirls, a fully stocked fridge, mimosas and pan fried bacon and eggs in the morning and good company – does it get better than this?
Alana and Liz picked us up after breakfast and we headed out to FBBC again – if in Austin, there is no better place to hang out. It was a beautiful day, and we sat under the trees and did some filming that you’ll see on Alana’s youtube channel very soon announcing what we both hope is some exciting news. Kim played director (watch out, Ackles and Speight and Cohen, Kim is good at this!) I also filmed a little “Who wrote this” video for the #GuessTheSPNScene youtube. Well, Alana filmed it, I just read a passage from Family Don’t End With Blood.
We chatted with the many other fannish friends who were there, had some more delicious food, took alot of selfies and generally enjoyed having lots of Supernatural inclined folks all in the same place. It’s a luxury and I relish it every single time! What better way to spend my birthday?
Then we drove into Austin and to The North Door to wait for the doors to open. Doors opened a bit late, so there was alot of standing in line in the alley, which of course was something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. For a while, I sat on the wall beside the door, only to realize that was a dangerous spot to be in – there were HUNDREDS of birds perched on the scaffolding right above my head, and they were doing what birds do when they’re above you. Everyone covered their heads and tried to get out of the way. A few times, a loud kazoo chorus scared them away temporarily, but they figured out pretty quickly that kazoos were not dangerous and returned to stalk us all.
Finally the doors opened for the VIP meet and greet – yay! I had made arrangements to be able to sit up in the balcony because of my injuries, so I hobbled up the stairs and pretty much stayed there other than a few trips to the ladies room. It meant we couldn’t stand close to the band to ask questions, but it also meant my injuries didn’t worsen too much over the weekend.
Anticipation was building!
Someone reminded the band it was my birthday, and they were sweet enough to wish me a happy one. The questions were good ones and the band’s answers were sometimes insightful and sometimes downright hilarious. I particularly enjoyed Rob’s blow by blow story of how they got into the wrong Uber, loaded ALL their gear, found out it was the wrong one, got into another IDENTICAL vehicle, and somehow all their gear no longer fit.
Rob is a gifted story teller – if you haven’t read the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood that takes you moment by moment through the time he had a stroke at a convention and how he survived with the help of his fellow actors and the fandom, you’ll be shocked at how compelling a read it is. And he’s always hilarious doing ‘stand up’ whether at a meet and greet like this or onstage with Richard Speight at a con (or doing Kings of Con, for that matter!)
Jensen Ackles joined the spectators for the meet and greet portion of the show, standing on the balcony right across from us and waving to the crowd in greeting. He seemed to be enjoying Rob and Billy and Stephen and Mike’s answers as much as the rest of us, and the fans just let him be a part of the audience as we all focused on Louden Swain. The green room and backstage area was also across from where we were, and Jensen headed there after the meet and greet to chat some more. At some point, Jared and Gen Padalecki also arrived – it made me all kinds of emotional seeing how much this group of actors supports each other, always.
Jacksonville is a great venue for a con, with the vendor room in a gigantic brightly lit room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river. I was fortunate to have my friend Christina with me at the vendor table all weekend, along with other friends who stopped by to chat or bring food and a latte or give me a bathroom break. I always leave conventions feeling so warm and fuzzy about this fandom, and this cast, and this show. Maybe because we all knew this was the last con of the decade, there were even more warm and fuzzy feelings than usual – along with some anticipatory sadness, knowing the end of the show is coming.
The con kicked off, as it often does, with a panel by Rachel Miner. Rachel always makes me smile, so it’s a good way to start the day.
One of the things I love most about Rachel is that she’s a bona fide geek, just like so many of us are. She spent a few minutes sorting her colleagues ala Hogwarts.
About Billy Moran?
Rachel and Rob: Slytherin for sure!
Rachel: I’m a big Dr. Who fan. I’d love to be on that crossover. I feel like that’s why we all connect, because I’m such a nerd.
She’d also love to see Meg team up with Rowena.
Fan: Double sassy!
Rachel: Meg and Dean are also alike in some ways. Snarky and afraid of their feelings.
I also love that Rachel is a proud shipper – of Meg and Cas – but also a vehement supporter of ship and let ship (or don’t ship at all).
Rachel: Everyone should ship who you want, but I ship Meg and Cas and in my fanfic version she would never turn on him.
Rachel l had some kind words for Rob and the work he’s doing as Chuck.
Rachel: I think Rob is doing such a great job. We should all be extra nice to him, because he’s still a great guy – he’s just a good actor!
She also had nice things to say about the Supernatural set, and how special it is.
Rachel: I’ve never had that feeling of being taken care of on another set, and that feeling like you’re doing something important, but not self important, as on the set of Supernatural.
She’s also very excited to have Shoshannah Stern back. Shoshannah has written another project for her and Rachel, which is doubly exciting!
On a more serious note, Rachel acknowledged that life is sometimes hard.
Rachel: It’s okay to feel like life is really hard because sometimes it is, and don’t beat yourself up about feeling that. And then you can move on and notice what joy there is right here. It’s work to find that joy, though. It’s not easy. You’re allowed to feel your feelings, and also take time to find the joy in even moments that are difficult.
How can you describe the SPNFamily?
Rachel: We take care of each other, and that’s a model for the whole world.
Jason Manns did his traditional “quoncert” next, playing some tunes and answering some questions.
Someone asked him how he got Jared Padalecki to sing on his Christmas CD.
Jason: I was up in Vancouver recording Jense, and Jared was hanging out and I was like, well, you’re here if you want to record a song…no pressure…
Toronto is always a special place for the Supernatural gang to come back to. It was the con where long ago Jensen came back onstage after everything had wrapped up and picked up an acoustic guitar and sang a few songs for those of us lucky enough to still be in the ballroom. It was the con where Rob Benedict had his stroke, and his fellow Supernatural cast members saved his life. It was the con where, the very next year, Rob’s friends all put on a concert in his honor as he continued to recover and the Saturday Night Special started to become the emotional thing that it is today.
I love the hotel where it’s at and the hot dog carts and Tim Horton’s right outside and getting to see some fellow fans who I only encounter at this particular con. This year was no exception – and we got more Ackles songs, not exactly laid back and tentative anymore though.
Friday kicked off with Rachel Miner, as always. It’s a good way to start the day.
Rachel: I chose acting because it seemed like the best way to get to magical realms is the most Rachel Miner thing to say ever.
She also had some interesting things to say about the show and about the way in which fans interact with the show, which I always appreciate.
Rachel: I think Cas will be happiest if he feels he’s done some good in the world, so that’s what I want from him.
But she was quick to point out that’s her interpretation, just like the fact that she enjoys the idea of Megstiel.
Rachel: When it comes to shipping, my imagination is not your imagination, and it’s all okay. I like Meg and Cas together though!
And if you ship something that’s never on the screen?
Rachel: If you don’t like the way writers take something, you have the creativity to imagine the story the way you like it. When I was younger, I’d get very emotional about characters I loved, and that helped me.
My phone was on the wrong setting so I got absolutely no decent photos of Rachel, which makes me sad
Next up was Jason Manns. He and Rob and Billy did some Station Breaks, but at first Jason was oddly reluctant to hand over his guitar to Rob – turns out it was to cover up the sweat spot!
That threw Rob into a fit of laughter, which was adorable.
Rob and Jason were so pleased that some of us sang along to the “three ibuprofen headache” line in “Gone”, which was also adorable.
Then we had some Jason “quoncert”.
Jason on picking the songs for Covers With Friends: I keep a running tally of songs I think would be fun and who might sing them.
Next up were the OG Friday fluffers, Chad Lindberg and Gabriel Tigerman.