A Family Affair – Vegas Supernatural Style!
Vegas Con is like a Supernatural con on steroids – it’s an over-the-top, nonstop, emotional rollercoaster of a con, with fans sobbing with joy leaving the photo op room or hugging friends they haven’t seen all year or collapsing in exhaustion on a conveniently placed bench. Of course it is – it’s Vegas!
We live tweeted the entire con (except for the beginning, thanks to an airport shuttle that took the scenic route to the Rio…) but we thought we’d share some of our favorite con moments here.
Favorite thing the first: the SPNFamily. The entire con was a family affair – and I mean that in the literal “family don’t end with blood, boy” way. We reunited with dozens and dozens of our fangirl friends from all over the world, sharing the SPN squee over late night drinks in the bar or pizza parties in someone’s hotel room. The SPN cast did pretty much the same thing (okay, they probably weren’t passing around people’s photo ops to ogle, but otherwise…). This was the first con that Rob Benedict was completely “back” after his stroke at the Toronto convention last October. He’s now 100%, which he certainly proved by playing an amazing Louden Swain concert on Thursday night and then entertaining onstage with the Elastic Waste Band for the entire weekend – and if you’ve ever seen Rob onstage, you know that doesn’t mean standing still and singing. The fandom welcomed Rob back with a video of “What I Like About You”, with fans holding up messages of love and support to a background of con and Show moments. By the time the vid was over, Rob was tearful onstage and there was not a dry eye in the audience as he told the fans how much their support has meant to him as he recovered.
Near the end of the con, Misha Collins came out onstage to express his feelings about Rob being back too. It was Misha’s idea, since he felt so much emotion seeing Rob well and healthy again – Richard, Misha, Jared and Jensen were there for Rob after he became ill, and they were all clearly devastated by the thought of losing him. It was an emotional moment onstage, a reminder that the actors are SPN Family just like the fans. The affection they feel for each other plays out in the same way it does in con hallways as fans welcome each other after long separations – in hugs. Awww.
In fact, there were more emotional moments at this con than at most. We cried at least four times, which may be a new con record. Once was during DJ Qualls’ panel – he started off sharing some confidential (and questionable) escapades from his past, and then turned serious as he opened up about his history of coping with panic attacks and surviving childhood cancer. He kept joking that someone must have given him truth serum, but the candor was greatly appreciated by the fans. After all, most of us can relate to going through some sort of challenge and coming out on the other side – for many, fandom is one of the coping strategies that helped us do that! We chatted with DJ later and told him how inspiring his panel was and how much the fans appreciated his honesty.
Lynn: I sort of felt like that was a bit of fannish group therapy you were doing up there.
DJ: It sort of was, wasn’t it? I don’t know what happened out there…
Lynn: Whatever it was, it was awesome.
Also, DJ is seriously adorable. Just saying.
The family theme was in evidence throughout the con. After an amusing intro by Richard (do you want me to bring out Guy Norman A, Guy Norman B, or Guy Norman C…) Guy Norman Bee brought his adorable daughter Lulu onstage. He then related a hysterical story that every fan could relate to – when he met the star of his daughter’s favorite show and had a fanboy moment asking to take a photo, and then was then promptly rebuked by Lulu for not facetiming her in. Well DUH, Guy!
Aldis Hodge brought his very proud mom. Misha Collins brought his adorable son West onstage too, who is every bit as much of a free spirit as his dad. And just about as cute too. Chad Lindberg brought his dog, who was also adorable, but seemed less than thrilled about being onstage in front of thousands of people.
Favorite thing the second: the house band. The Elastic Waste Band, aka Louden Swain in 70s prom attire, played the entire weekend, proving that their stamina is rivaled only by intrepid SPN fans. Having the band onstage to riff off the guests means there’s never any down time, and it was an invitation to most of the guests to spontaneously belt out a song (Aldis and Jensen) or grab a guitar (Sebastian) or enthusiastically play the cowbell or the tambourine (Jared, Jensen, Misha, Ty, Mark, Matt….okay, just about everyone). Without the EWB there to facilitate, fandom would never have had Jensen and Jared rapping to Vanilla Ice, so clearly we all owe them a debt of gratitude that we can probably never repay. Thank you, EWB!
Favorite thing the third: The reciprocal relationship. We write a lot about the so-called reciprocal relationship between fans and the creative/production side in our books, so we love watching the actors interact with the fans at conventions. It’s sort of a mutual appreciation fest that just warms our hearts. In addition to the vid for Rob, fans also made a video for Felicia Day, and proclaimed it #FeliciaAppreciationDay. The vid was beautifully backed with ‘All Hail The Queen’ and had clips of fans talking about how much she had inspired them. Once again, not a dry eye in the house – including Felicia! We had a chance to talk to Felicia briefly, and were excited to hear that she has a copy of “Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls” on her nightstand ready to read. We have a feeling she’ll relate.
Favorite things the fourth: Jared and Jensen. The boys always bring it at cons, but they were positively glowing at VegasCon. Jim Michaels told us the night before that they were still filming late into the night/early morning, but doing a panel in the afternoon and evening clearly agreed with them. They came onstage playing cowbell and tambourine, composed a haiku about each other onstage (and were adorably proud of themselves for doing so on the spot, lol), made up an impromptu wrestling tag team move (which they named the Impala, naturally) and then leapt from the stage to demonstrate it on a very surprised fanboy, who exclaimed afterwards, “I’ve been Impala-ed!”
Shallow observations of the day: Jared’s hair was perfect. So were Jensen’s jeans.
The boys were their usual teasing, laughing, adorable selves during both the Gold panel and the evening panel, and full of energy even after not very much sleep (being new dads must have them pretty used to sleep deprivation by now). Another favorite moment was their depiction of Sam and Dean if Supernatural ever got less angsty and full of brother drama and a bit more quiet. Right, Jensen said, Sam and Dean would be sitting on the couch, watching tv, drinking a beer….
And it wouldn’t be a J2 panel without some joking about Jared’s height. By Jensen.
Jared and Jensen finished up their panel with an impromptu rendition of “Ice Ice Baby” accompanied by the Elastic Waste Band, which was seriously the BEST THING EVER. In fact, it was so epic that Vanilla Ice himself tweeted out the video!
@vanillaice Have you seen Jensen Ackles from Supernatural rapping to Ice Ice Baby? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2_F-cS0Dh8&feature=youtu.be …
We spoke to Jared later that day and told him that we thought that panel was possibly the best J2 panel ever.
Jared: I think so too!
Kathy: You set the bar pretty high there…
Jared: (ponders) I guess we did…
Lynn: How are you gonna top that?
Jared: (grinning – with dimples!) Guess we’ll just have to.
Lynn and Kathy: (are melting, because DIMPLES!)
Since we weren’t able to go to any meet and greets, we enlisted a trusted fellow fangirl to ask the question we were dying to ask Jensen. He had alluded to the challenge of playing Dean as he was starting to go to a ‘dark place’ back when we last chatted with him in the fall, so we wondered how he was dealing with it four months and many dark episodes later. It turned out that someone else asked a similar question, comparing the challenge for Jensen of acting opposite Jared as Soulless Sam to the way things are between the brothers now, since they have another sort of emotional separation between them. Jensen said that it was hard, he’s so used to the way Dean is with Sam, and this is so different. It’s also difficult because he goes through the same emotions as Dean (which can’t be a picnic right now!)
Jensen: I know the character so well, my body doesn’t know I’m acting.
He went on to say that in October, November, December, things got so heavy that he was taking it home with him and getting depressed – he felt like he was burning the candle at both ends. Luckily he found some excellent coping strategies. Danneel helped him through it and was his “cheerleader” (Awww) And Jensen also asked to do the fight scenes in First Born himself, since he really needed to work off some stuff and he knows how to throw and take a (stunt) punch. He worked with his double, Todd (and knicked him with a plastic knife, much to Jensen’s dismay) – but Todd was fine and the fight scene really did turn out to be epic.
Jensen also joked that it was great to get a Dean-centric story line, except it gave Jared time off and him none. Gee thanks, he added with a grin.
(We’re finding it hard to be sympathetic, having just watched the amazing new episode this week. HOLY CRAP!)
Anyway, back to the con. Favorite things the…okay, I’m giving up numbering, because these are really all my favorite things… Misha Collins. Misha was onstage a lot, which is always a very good thing. He did panels on Saturday and Sunday, and judged the Cas costume contest (where he was very impressed by the Pizza Man). We were impressed with all the amazing fannish cosplay. There was even an Elvis!Cas. Of course there was.
Lots of Misha onstage gave us plenty of opportunity to take pictures of him. Like Misha making out enthusiastically with a lifesize Justin Bieber cutout. As you do.
Watching Misha interact with West was so cute that you could practically hear the AWWWWs reverberating around the ballroom. Misha remarked that his mother raised them without many limits, and always encouraged them not to be afraid to do things differently. He seemed surprised that he and Vicki are finding it necessary to set some limits anyway (apparently peeing on your little sister is where they draw the line…). But we have to admit, we’re glad that Misha’s mom knew the value of fighting normalcy – it’s made Misha the unique person he is. We got a chance to sit down with Misha for a chat on Sunday afternoon, to talk about the Show, his directing debut, and our new book ‘Fan Phenomena: Supernatural’, in which Misha has a chapter. Yep, we’re making Misha Collins a published author once again. Check back for that soon! For now, have some more pretty.
More favorite moments:
Chad Lindberg getting some EVP action onstage – hey, it’s a Supernatural con, what do you expect? Chad also brought along some of his Ghost Hunters pals, so clearly the spirits couldn’t resist showing up to make a little noise. (We caught up with Chad for the latest on the Vegas ghost hunt and his new projects too, so look for that interview soon)
AJ Buckley and Travis Wester inspiring a Ghostfacers chant from the audience, and playing with a light saber that AJ confessed he’d called a “life saver” as a kid. Hehehe.
Kim Rhodes showing off some of her awesome ink.
Osric Chau proving his fanboy cred once again by painting himself for Random Acts, having fans act out what was essentially some Supernatural fanfic he’d scripted with him onstage, cosplaying as Kevin Freaking Solo – and by spending the entire weekend walking around the con hotel unescorted so he could meet and chat with fans.
Jim Michaels saying he reads fanfic (and seems to have a special fondness for S E Hinton’s…)
Aldis Hodge taking the mic with Elastic Waste Band. Also, biceps.
Matt Cohen and Richard Speight Jr. hosting yet another kickass karaoke
Corin Nemec being inspiring
Rachel Miner being inspiring and just plain beautiful
Ty Olsson jamming with the EWB
Sebastian Roche dancing on chairs, taking off his shirt, singing “Get Lucky” in French, and finding a thousand and one ways to say something dirty. Here’s Rob Benedict and the EWB watching in amusement.
Mark Sheppard and Mark Pellegrino having a little friendly competition about who could get the most “Awwws” out of the audience. There’s something very amusing about Crowley and Lucifer fighting for “Awwws”. Clearly they both have a tender side. Shhhhhh.
Misha and Matt Cohen hosting the Saturday night cabaret. Nobody was entirely sure what that was supposed to be.
Misha: So what are we doing here?
Fans: We have no idea.
Misha: Oh good.
It turned out to be a sort of fan talent show. Fans, not surprisingly, had a lot of talent. Here’s fangirl Karla singing her fan-penned ode to Supernatural. Misha and Matt approve.
The con had its ups and downs – hence the emotional roller coaster description. One of the emotional ups for us was meeting so many fans who had read “Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls” and came up to tell us how much the book meant to them, and how it had validated their own experience as SPN fans. Every time someone says that they’re no longer ashamed to be a fangirl, that makes our day – because that’s exactly why we wrote the book. Every time someone says they’re glad that we walked away from TPTB and told it like it is about fandom, that validates us right back. Thanks to everyone who came by to chat with us about the book – it was wonderful meeting all of you!
On the other hand, there were long lines and intermittent confusion about who was to be where and when. Ty Olsson’s panel crossed some boundaries and left us worried about fans and guests alike. And there was, I swear, a two mile walk between our hotel room and the convention ballrooms. Four days of strong emotion takes a toll, and by Sunday evening, we were ready to decompress – we ended the night with Richard Speight Jr. and some friends in the hotel bar, looking back over the last four days and sharing our favorite moments.
A year ago, we ended the last VegasCon the same way, with Richard in the bar, marveling over how awesome it was to have EWB as the house band and Richard as the con emcee. It was so epic, we wondered what the next year would bring.
Richard: How can they put the toothpaste back in the tube now?
Us: Is that even possible?
They couldn’t – and we’re so damn grateful. Looking forward to more con adventures with Richard, emcee extraordinaire, and the Elastic Waste Band! Just don’t forget the cowbell. Next time we’re getting Misha to sing too.
To read more of our fangirl adventures
with Jared, Jensen, Misha and more,
check out ‘Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls’
at the link at the top of the page
For more gorgeous photos from Karen Cooke, who is one of the contributing photographers for ‘Fangasm’ and our other books, go here: