What Happens In Vegas…. Post #1. Salute to Supernatural Thursday
This is the first of several posts about VegasCon, because for once we have a wealth of beautiful photographs to share. That’s because we didn’t take them – instead, we were privileged to have a talented photographer shooting for us (You can find her @MamaPrior on twitter). Not only did she take some amazing photos, but we had a great time hanging out with her and her assistant, also known as her hubby.
One of the amazing things about Supernatural is that the passion people feel for the Show inspires many of us to push our boundaries and try new things. In this case, it meant our photographer getting some new equipment and shooting about a hundred times more photos than I think she was expecting to. Can’t say I’m sorry.
VegasCon has always been different. It’s the only convention that’s four days long (luckily it usually falls on my spring break, which lets me get there for all four), which means more guests and more time to leave the concerns and responsibilities of the rest of life behind and just concentrate on celebrating Supernatural! Because VegasCon is the descendant of one of the very first Creation Supernatural conventions (the original LACon), many of the fans who attend have been coming from the beginning. It’s the convention where I can count on reconnecting with fellow fans who I haven’t seen in twelve months, and where late night talk over burgers and beer often turns to “remember 2009 when Jensen wore that white shirt…” Yep.
VegasCon doesn’t take place in your run-of-the-mill airport hotel or your standard Comic-Con-esque giant convention center. Instead it’s in the Rio, a Vegas strip casino hotel complex that’s about the size of a small city. You make the approximately five mile trek from your hotel room to the convention center many times a day, each time making your way past the billowing smoke and scantily clad hostesses of the casino floor, down the long meandering hallways, past Starbucks and Penn and Teller and endless beckoning buffets. The hallways are a great place for running into both Supernatural cast and other fans, with constant OH HAI THEREs happening.
Osric Chau walked around the hotel most of the weekend, as he’s wont to do, leaving fans giggling and starstruck in his wake wherever he went. We ran into Matt Cohen and a friend who had never been to a convention before going to dinner, and tried to give him some idea of how awesome the weekend was going to be, but it really sort of defies words. We finally met Travis Aaron Wade in person after doing phone interviews, and even Rick Worthy, our favorite Alpha Vamp, showed up at karaoke on Friday night to spend some time with the SPN Family. You get the feeling that anything can happen at any moment, and the sense of anticipation is intoxicating.
A con wouldn’t be a con without the “Kings of Con,” our emcee Richard Speight Jr. and the musical genius of Rob Benedict and Louden Swain. Richard shepherds the entire four day process, kicking things off with increasingly hilarious renditions of what were once (a very long time ago) Creation’s oh-so-serious rules and regulations. That was until Richard got a hold of them. Now they’re customized to whatever city they’re in and guaranteed to make you laugh hard enough to cry.
VegasCon was the first convention to have a ‘house band’ in Louden Swain, and it’s been a tradition ever since. Rob Benedict and company were in fine form, and somehow managed to sustain that energy right through until Sunday. They kicked things off on Thursday morning and then kept right on going.
We’re so used to the band’s unfailing energy and how good they make us feel, that I think we sometimes forget to step back and just be wowed by their musicianship. This is a band that seems to be able to play anything! On the spot, impromptu, and with so much heart and soul that it can take your breath away. The cast is in love with them, and clearly incredibly grateful to have the band onstage to play the guests on and off (and sometimes to have another actor join them too).
The first time Louden Swain played a con, we sat down with Richard Speight after the con had ended and all shook our heads. No way could they ever ‘put the toothpaste back in the tube’. Music is now so much a part of Creation Supernatural conventions, that it wouldn’t be the same without the band. It’s part of what makes these cons so special – and we have Louden Swain to thank for alot of that.
Thursday brought the first time con appearance of Travis Aaron Wade (Cole), who proved himself very comfortable with the Q & A format, and thoroughly enjoyed his interaction with the fans. Travis talked about his recent guest spots on SPN, and had some nice things to say about Jared and Jensen and their close relationship that made me all warm and fuzzy.
We talked to Travis about his convention experience afterwards and also got some behind the scenes insights into the filming of his recent episode, ‘The Things They Carried’ – look for that interview soon.
We were also treated to Lauren Tom. Lauren came onstage and was immediately joined by Osric Chau cosplaying her character [Amy] from Futurama! That’s the kind of unexpected thing that makes every convention different and a bit of an adventure. I don’t know who was more excited about Osric’s cosplay, the fans or Lauren.
I personally love that Osric cosplays at the cons – he’s a genuine fanboy and his participation in fandom while he’s also a guest at the cons blurs the dividing lines between guests and fans in a lovely way. He’s also totally comfortable blurring gendered expectations, which is also a part of fandom for many fans and changes the expectations at cons in a positive way. Can you tell I love Osric?
Also, Lauren may be little, but she’s picked up some of Mama Tran’s badass ways. Every time she tells the story about the guy who almost ran into her in the parking lot and the way she stood up to him, I love her a little bit more.
We also had the second con appearance of Tyler Johnston, whose self deprecating sense of humor was as adorable as he is. He had a running joke of lamenting that he looks twelve, but his ease onstage and his understanding of the fandom made it clear he was plenty old enough to carry a panel on his own.
Having four con nights instead of three gave me time to catch up with more fangirls, so Thursday was dinner with one of my favorite people in the universe, the adorable Amy aka sweetondean. We may be from opposite ends of the world, but I swear sometimes we share a brain – especially when it comes to Jensen Ackles. It was such a pleasure to be face to face for a change, so we could squee together in person. Miss you, Amy!
There was some sort of mix up about whether or not there would be a ‘cocktail party’ on Thursday night. Creation thought no, fandom thought yes, and so fandom prevailed and we had one. Apparently the guests had thought no too, but they were all troopers and showed up anyway. I never thought I would wax nostalgic about the old school speed-dating-with-the-stars parties, but this one was so much fun. (If you’ve read Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, there are a bunch of hilarious stories about the early con cocktail parties. Like that one time fans convinced one of the actors to splay himself out on top of a table so everyone could…well, not exactly sure how that one ended actually. But it was amusing.)
Most of the guests at this year’s VegasCon had never experienced the strange ritual of the Creation cocktail party, where fans sit at big round tables and guests come join them for about two minutes of awkward conversation before a volunteer taps them on the shoulder and they have to move along to the next table. If it sounds stilted, it often is, but these actors and fans managed to make it a shared experience of humor, and made the most of their few minutes of conversation. It’s probably the last of the historic cocktail parties, and I’m oddly glad I was there to experience it.
And that was only Thursday! Stay tuned for more all this week – next up, VegasCon Friday with Osric as Loki, the sweet sounds of Gil McKinney, Curtis Armstrong charming everyone in a very non-Metatron way, Tim Omundson and his amazing beard, and Mary Winchester herself (aka Samantha Smith) joining the party!
Read more of our con adventures in Fangasm:
Supernatural Fangirls, at the link at the
top of the page!