Last Supernatural Con of 2013 – Going Out with a Bang at Burcon!
As the last stop in the 2013 convention tour, the Creation Supernatural convention in Burbank last weekend was invested with a lot of emotion, for both fans and cast. It’s been a wild ride, and there’s something bittersweet about the year ending. That gave Burcon an extra emotional punch, and more than a few moments that had us tearing up a bit. Here are some of the highlights of the con for us, including some meet and greet tidbits and pre-con chats.
We kicked off the weekend on Thursday night by meeting up with the Supernatural writers for drinks at a local restaurant. We’d had the pleasure of getting to know Robbie Thompson and Adam Glass in Vancouver, but had never met the other writers, so we were thrilled when Jenny Klein, Eric Charmelo, Bob Berens and Andrew Dabb joined us. As writers, there’s perhaps no bigger thrill than meeting the people who write the show you’re in love with. It wasn’t an interview, just a fun night out, but it was wonderful to talk Show with them. We talked Sam and Dean and Cas, Bobby and Garth, Abbadon and Dorothy and Charlie. We talked shipping and not-shipping, Destiel and Wincest, and watching for the plot. We talked about the reciprocal relationship between fans and the creative side that’s been the subject of our books (Robbie brought his copy of Fandom At The Crossroads for us to sign, and bought himself a copy of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls, which started that tearing up we mentioned.) We talked about how that reciprocal relationship now plays out over social media, and how much that has changed since the Show began. Some of the writers interact with fans more than others, but everyone understands that with great passion comes the potential for strong emotions. Fans are invested in this Show – it’s important to all of us. Sometimes that means a lot of squeeing and euphoria and joy; sometimes that means a lot of anger and frustration and disappointment. We were relieved to find that the writers totally get that, just as Eric Kripke always did. During the first few seasons of SPN, there were constantly icons popping up on LJ proclaiming “F—k you Kripke!” alongside “Kripke is our God”. When we interviewed Eric for our books, he told us that he realized that both expressions of emotion essentially said the same thing – we CARE about this show. The current writers realize that too.
[Minor spoilers in this paragraph] We also talked about the return of Garth, speculated about what Charlie and Dorothy might be up to in Oz, conveyed fandom’s (and our) fervent wish for the Samulet to reappear in the present, and how much we all hope that Richard Speight Jr. ends up back on the Show. On Sunday at the con, one fan suggested that the Trickster, who has been imprisoned all this time, finally makes a break for it. After all, it’s Gabriel who died, not the Trickster. The writers may or may not have written that idea down. Andrew shared a few tidbits about the spinoff, which sounds like it will be quite interesting, told from the point of view of a hunter who’s very different from Sam and Dean. Adam told us how passionate he was about casting Dylan Everett to play young Dean in 9.07. Adam had already read our review of that episode here on Fangasm, but we couldn’t resist once again saying that we agreed that Dylan had Dean down, but that the episode read better to us with Dean being fourteen, as he had originally written. Of course, the writers don’t have the final say as to how episodes go – it takes a village to make a show like Supernatural, with many fingers in the pot and the season mapped out long before any of us fans ever see a single episode.
Needless to say, we had a blast. We came away with the conviction that these are people who love Supernatural just as much as we do. Also, they’re all kinda adorable.
We were surprised to hear that several of the newer writers had never even met Jared and Jensen, so we suggested that they come to the convention on Sunday. How can you write Sam and Dean and Cas without meeting the awesome guys who play them?? (Yes, we warned them that it would be like staring into the sun….) We surprised Jared and Jensen during Lynn’s photo op by bringing all the writers along, much to the consternation of Creation’s ever-patient Stephanie. Sorry, Steph!! But the expression on their faces was priceless when they saw the writing team trailing into the photo op room with Lynn. The resulting photo op is priceless – we’ll share soon. Jared and Jensen got a chance to chat with the writers – for us, seeing the warmth and genuine respect that clearly went both ways was heartwarming. (And yes, they agreed with us about the staring into the sun part. Naturally.)
The meet and greets are always highlights of the con. So it should be an absolute shock to anyone who reads this blog that Lynn forgot to go to the Jensen one. Yes. Forgot. We were having so much fun chatting with the writers, that the time came and went and Lynn was still talking (as is often the case…). Creation gave her a considerate phone call, but she missed that too. Finally our friend and talented photographer Karen came by, looked at Lynn with furrowed brow, and asked “Aren’t you supposed to be in Jensen’s meet and greet?”
Who knew Lynn could run that fast??
To Lynn’s embarrassment, Jensen had apparently waited to tell a certain story until she got there.
Lynn: (bursting through the door and sheepishly taking the one empty seat) Sorry!
Jensen: Oh good, you’re finally here.
Fans: Now he can finally tell the story!
Lynn: (blushing) Sorry!
Jensen (jumping up from his seat at the front and coming over to Lynn, thereby setting off even more blushing) Here, I wanted to show you this picture. I came home one night and was like “give me my baby” and picked up JJ, who unfortunately had just eaten…
(Jensen pulls out his phone and holds up a close-up of him with his face literally COVERED with baby vomit)
Lynn: (cracks up)
Jensen: And here’s JJ…
(Close-up of a triumphant looking ridiculously adorable JJ looking pretty damn proud of herself)
Lynn: Ohmygod, that’s priceless! That’ll teach you.
Jensen brought his phone around so everyone could see, happily setting it up each time to show himself covered in baby vomit first and then his daughter’s evil smile.
There wasn’t as much discussion of the Show as usual, and Lynn was too flustered by being tardy that she didn’t ask her habitual Dean-focused question. One fan asked, out of all the characters he’d played other than Dean, which was his favorite and which was the most difficult. He said his favorite was Alec from Dark Angel, which is now making us want to go back and rewatch Season 2, because DAMN. Alec was not only ridiculously gorgeous, but a great, nuanced character. As much of a bad boy as Dean Winchester, but underneath, that same vulnerability and yearning, and a capacity for heroism that he continually tried to deny. As for the most difficult…
Jensen: It was this show you’ve probably never seen.
Fans: (are skeptical)
Jensen: Called “Still Life”.
Fans: (are nodding)
Jensen (perhaps a bit incredulous) Who’s actually seen that? It wasn’t even aired!
Fans: (some hands go up) It’s online.
Jensen (laughing) That character was very difficult to play, it was a very dark character and a very dark show. After the first few episodes, they wanted us to “bubblegum it up,” but that didn’t make any sense.
Jensen went on to say that, speaking of dark characters, Dean is in a very dark place right now. We get the feeling that Jensen is pretty good at not taking Dean home with him after all this time, but he’s struggling a bit with that now. I honestly can’t fathom how an actor can do that – play a character for nine years, so that you know him inside and out, know how he feels and feel his emotions onscreen day in and day out. When that character is suffering, how can you not suffer along with him? We’re a little bit terrified to see just how dark Dean has to go this season. Okay, a lot terrified actually.
We were unfortunately not at Jared’s meet and greet, but from other fan reports, he talked about our book, Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls, which he’s currently reading. (We did get a chance to chat with him a bit, and he told us he was on page 115, which pretty much made our day.) Jared has told us before that reading our books has helped him understand fandom – and that understanding fans and relating to fans is very important to him. At the meet and greet, he talked about how amazing fan culture is, and how wonderful it is that fans are able to go out and express themselves through fandom, and that he hopes we keep it up.
Jared: Fandom is the place you can be yourselves. And you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Later that day, Jared reiterated that advice to the packed convention ballroom, after he’d auctioned off a shirt from his Gilmore Girls days for charity.
Jared: Love you guys! This is a place where we are all allowed to be who we are, not who they want us to be. So stay here and let’s all raise a lot of money for some amazing causes, and just be who we want to be, and – if you’re less than eighteen close your ears – fuck everyone else.
Well said, Jared. That, in a nutshell, is the point of our books. Thank you so much for getting it. We had a chance to chat with Jared a bit, and he told us again how much he appreciated understanding fandom. We may have gotten a little teary again.
Other highlights of the convention?
Our emcee extraordinaire, Richard Speight Jr. He began the con with so much energy, we half expected an evangelical fervor to take over the ballroom – and then he made sure to keep it up all weekend long. Never mind that he got booed a few times when he came to announce that a guest’s allotted time was over. He took it in stride.
Osric Chau once again proving he’s one of the best and most fearless cosplayers ever. He also proved himself one of the most considerate guests ever to grace the Creation stage – he brought cupcakes for fans who were celebrating birthdays!
And he helped us out with Fangasm in the vendors’ room!
Karaoke was a highlight, like it always is. And because we were in LA, lots of actors who weren’t even at the con came to lend a hand. Mark Pellegrino did ‘Sweet Transvestite’ which was unspeakably awesome (and really damn hot) and Chad Lindberg looked like a rockstar.
Another favorite moment was Chad freaking Richard out with a spirit box that eventually spewed honest to god EMF – at a Supernatural con, no less! How perfect is that? We hear Chad’s ghost tour on Thursday night was a big hit too – we met a young woman who was marked by a ghost or something equally scary during the tour. Are you okay out there, whoever you are?
Chad Lindberg also introduced us to his adorable mom, and helped us out at the Fangasm vendors’ table too!
More highlights….Corin Nemec looking great, recovered from his terrible accident. We love how supportive the SPNFamily is whenever one of “us” is in need.
Amy Gumenick showing off her engagement ring and looking so adorably excited about it –
Madison McLaughlin being such an SPN fangirl – and living the dream for the rest of us!
AJ Buckley, Travis Wester, DJ Qualls and Shannon, whose panel was too full of antics to even tweet properly!
Matt Cohen pouting while Rob Benedict laughs at him
Sebastian Roche dancing all over the auditorium and the stage while the entire place sang along to “Get Lucky” –
Mark Pellegrino absolutely cracking up Mark Sheppard (who has a great laugh)
Favorite Misha Collins moments: Misha onstage continuing to answer questions like nothing unusual is happening while he’s having his nails painted black by Osric Chau
His freaking adorable smile
This was one of those SPNFamily moments that you just couldn’t explain to outsiders – Matt Cohen with his cheerleading outfit that will be auctioned for Random Acts, while Richard Speight paints Misha Collin’s nails (on the other hand)
Misha and Richard later auctioned the cheerleader outfit, after every single guest had signed it, and most had sniffed the crotch of the skirt at Richard’s urging. That’s dedication, folks.
Also, Misha looks really effing hot with black nail polish.
Another favorite con moment was when Jensen snuck onstage to surprise Felicia Day, who jumped about a foot when he came up behind her and grabbed her shoulders. That reaction changed to one of total affection, as the two hugged and were ridiculously adorable with each other.
One of the funniest moments of the con came near the end, as Jared and Jensen were finishing up their panel. Richard, Misha, and Felicia appeared onstage for the return of Jensen’s coach shorts from After School Special (that Richard had worn to karaoke all year) and turned it into a military style ceremony, with Jensen facepalming and Jared filming the entire thing like a fanboy (and reaching down to slap Jensen’s ass when he got down on one knee)
Jared auctioned some of his wardrobe from Gilmore Girls for charity, and fans generously contributed an amazing $5,600. (Also, Jared doing a strip tease onstage during the auction will be fantasy fodder for lots of us, as he unbuckled his belt with a knowing smile and slid his shirt slowly up to expose skin…*fans self*). And one of the most emotional moments of the con happened when Rob Benedict joined Richard Speight and Matt Cohen onstage, and then explained that he’d had a stroke at the Toronto con. Richard, concerned for his friend, ended up getting Rob help and potentially saving his life. SPNFamily, people. It’s not just a hashtag on Twitter.
The Saturday night Louden Swain show was amazing, with Jason Manns and the entire SPNFamily pitching in to cover for their friend Rob Benedict. Sebastian Roche belted out my favorite Louden Swain song, “Eskimo” (shirtless of course) while Jason backed him up.
Matt Cohen and Misha Collins revved up the crowd. Matt’s wife Mandy, Julie McNiven, and Richard Speight proved that they can sing – like, they can really sing! There was even a surprise appearance by Brian Buckley, whose amazing voice was no surprise.
And, at the end of the night, the cast and the fans all sang “Carry On My Wayward Son”. It was a moment of solidarity — for Rob, and for all of us, cast, friends, fans. There might have been some tears during that one. Some might have been ours.
Sunday, as always, was Jared and Jensen day. The boys didn’t disappoint (do they ever?) And damn, they looked good.
Favorite J2 moments: Jared putting on moose antlers thoughtfully provided by a fan, and immediately headbutting Jensen. Jensen then pretending to shoot him, and Jared falling on the floor. BOYS.
When both of them smile at the same time, it really is like staring into the sun…
Jared and Jensen are as close as ever, as you can plainly see…
Of course, nobody doubts that this cast loves each other. Here Jared proves it by spontaneously giving Richard a big ol’ smack of a kiss.
Ty Olsson ended the convention – he appeared onstage proving that the SPN cast “has each other’s backs.” Literally.
His panels tend towards the R-rated, so Creation helpfully put up a profanity meter so we could all keep track. Ty eventually broke it, which surprised exactly no one.
Profanity aside, Ty’s panel brought yet another emotional moment to close out the con. He asked us to observe a moment of silence for some fans who are no longer with us, several of whom Ty knew personally. The ballroom fell silent as we all thought about losses in our own lives, and the importance of support during those times. I think we all felt supported at that moment, surrounded by our SPN Family. Ty’s face was wet when we opened our eyes, and so were many fans’. When Richard came onstage to officially end the convention, he put a supportive hand on Ty’s shoulder. It was a fitting ending to the con.
Stay tuned for our interview with Rob Benedict, which makes the hashtag we’ve all been using since the con even more relevant. #LovetoRobBenedict
And if you’d like to read the book that Jared and some of the cast, crew and writers are reading right now, you can order your own copy of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls with the link at the top of this page!