Jaxcon Friday and Saturday!
We’re currently snowed in with a blizzard blustering all around the house, which makes me even more nostalgic for Jaxcon last weekend – where it was a balmy 65 degrees and I spent most of the weekend either being entertained by the Best.Cast.Ever or hanging out with fangirls. So, to warm me up, here are some memories and photos from Jaxcon.
I was lucky enough to have the super talented Kim Prior there to take pictures, which explains why so many of these are gorgeous (and also makes the ones that were taken on my phone look even more dodgy, but oh well – I love my reliable little Galaxy!) I was doubly lucky to have the pleasure of meeting Christina, who also shot some fabulous photos and generously offered them to Fangasm. Hopefully this will warm all of you up too (apologies to my Aussie friends, who need cooling down instead – alas, this won’t help…)
Richard Speight Jr and Rob Benedict kicked off Friday, as they always do, with a new version of Rules and Regulations.
They also warned us about the dangerous fumes that might overwhelm us on Sunday when the boys are back – aka, the Musk. The hashtag #BlameTheMusk is a handy dandy excuse for just about any excess on a con weekend, so thank you Richard for coining that.
And for living it.
Kim Rhodes and Kathryn Newton (replacing Briana Buckmaster) teamed up for the first time – and the first thing they did was Facetime Briana in so we could all say hi to her too.
Have I mentioned I love this cast? As close as the fans are, the cast is just as close – all because of the Show and the cons. It’s extraordinary.
Kim talked about being comfortable with being an asshole (the most endearing asshole I know).
She also talked about how fandom has helped her learn to check herself in terms of blind spots like heteronormativity.
Kim and Kathryn were adorable together. When a fan spontaneously said to Kim, “I fucking love you”, Kathryn threw her arms around Kim and said “I fucking love you too!”
She also confided that she has a sports bra that says “Fuck” but she wears it inside out because she’s only a little badass. Somehow I doubt that.
Best weird little SPN filming story? Kim and Kathryn watching Jensen Ackles build a fort out of mashed potatoes and green beans while filming a dinner scene. Awww.
Kim made me teary talking about how going to work on Supernatural feels like going home, and Kathryn made me laugh making fun of Jensen for thinking he was on “fleck” not fleek and trying to start his own meme.
Next up? Gil McKinney, who leapt onstage demanding to know “Which one of you is John Winchester?”
He also talked about how conventions are one the coolest things that have ever happened to him, and said that the Supernatural set was different than any other, so warm and welcoming.
At one point, he noticed that the stage at Jaxcon was unusually low.
Gil: This stage is kinda low. At karaoke tonight you guys will be right at the height of my… umm…
Anyone who was on the fence about coming to karaoke committed to it right then.
Gil is also adorable when he takes credit for creating Sam and Dean.
Gil: I’m responsible for Sam and Dean. So, Jared and Jensen. You’re welcome.
Travis Aaron Wade came onstage with his adorable little Chihuahua Phil (short for Philly, so yay!) Phil looked a bit bewildered but she was a good sport, especially when Travis held her so she could feel safe and look around. Travis has several rescue Chihuahuas, all of which he inherited from his exes.
Travis: When I was having ptsd and night terrors they said get a chihuahua. So I got three.
Travis talked about his character, Cole, with whom some fans took issue.
Travis: Most of us would go looking for the guy who killed your dad, right? Especially if he looks like Jensen Ackles.
Travis: I’m nothing like Cole. I don’t have a fax machine.
He also is a huge Star Wars fanboy, and acted out a scene from the new film with a fan. One of the things I love about this cast is that many identify as fans themselves.
Travis also answered some more serious questions. A fan asked, what is the best part of being on Supernatural?
Travis: Being part of a show that will go down in history.
Next up was Osric Chau, who talked about the recently released Tough Mudder video. (If you haven’t seen it, why not?)
Osric: You get electrocuted a little… but it’s not that bad.
They all clearly had a great time doing it, but the Tough Mudder video was surprisingly emotional too. These are a group of guys who know each other because they were on a little genre television show, but they have become close friends – family. Watching them support each other, physically and emotionally, as they made their way through the Tough Mudder course, was heartwarming. They were determined not to leave anyone behind, no matter what. And they didn’t.
Osric also reminisced about doing the Hillywood Show Supernatural Parody, and how they filmed in a remote little lodge that had a deer named Sugar Bob more or less living in the lobby.
And he talked passionately about his love of cosplaying, and gave out the advice that you have to “whole ass” at least one thing!
Osric: This advice goes for everything: if you want to do something, just do it.
He then played guitar and sang, even though he was nervous.
Osric: I’m doing this so you’ll also be willing to do things you can’t do perfectly.
How often does that happen with actors? That’s an inspiration that can go a long way, especially when he was willing to make a mistake and then persevere. Fans gave him a huge ovation at the end, deservedly so.
Then it was time for dinner and drinks with fangirls at a restaurant on the river, then a raucous karaoke party. This was the first con of 2016, so we were introduced to the new theme – Game of Tones. Wow, the costumes this year are amazing! Though Rob did complain about having to be the woman, while Richard and Matt wore leather pants. I thought he pulled it off well for a guy with a beard, though. Osric got into the act too.
And Kathryn endeared herself to me even more by painting herself in homage to David Bowie ala Aladdin Sane. She and Kim Rhodes had a blast together, and so did the entire audience.
I managed to catch a few hours of sleep before Saturday, which kicked off with the adorable Ruth Connell. Ruth came out onstage still bundled in a coat and carrying a few large bags.
Ruth: I have a big package … [deadpans] Which not everyone here can say…
Way to kick it off being deliciously naughty, Ruth!
A fan asked her if people stop her in the street and confuse her with her character.
Ruth: You mean, do people hate me?
She was bursting at the seams to tell us about last week’s episode, but of course she couldn’t at the time. Now I see why she was so excited – and why she kept saying that there would be tons of gifs from the surprising thing Misha said to her – and some amazing gag reel moments too, probably. She didn’t mention that I would also be heartbroken by Rowena’s death though!
I love that Ruth appreciates the boys’ assets as much as we all do. She shared a few choice moments with the boys.
Ruth: When I was squeezing Sam’s bicep during the Werther Project, I called him Jensen by mistake. And he said, “I’m Jared. Jensen has bigger muscles.”
Ruth: I mean, Dean had her up against the bar that one time and Rowena hasn’t forgotten it. Neither has Ruth.
Ruth: I pretend to kiss Jensen, Jared and Misha like an auntie. But it’s not.
Ruth claims that Rowena is really a misunderstood angel, but frankly I like her a bit naughty. She does look good in this vintage angel wings scarf that Ruth found while out shopping though!
She also taught us all the V Club Mega Disco Ball change dance and filmed it. I think I might be getting it down. A little. Maybe.
The fandom has embraced Ruth utterly and completely.
Now bring her back, Show!!!!!
At some point in here, I went to the screening of Episode 6 of the Supernatural Fandom movie, with a Q & A with filmmaker Mitch Kosterman. It was an emotional episode, and I admit to being grateful I always have tissues in my backpack at a con. If you haven’t seen it, catch up at spnfanmovie.com! And be sure to watch Episode 7 – we make an appearance. The fact that Kathy actually allowed herself to be ON CAMERA is a minor miracle, so be sure to take advantage of it.
Next we got Kim, Gil and Osric all together, which made for a hysterical (and definitely not G rated) panel.
Kim looked smokin’ hot once again, gotta say.
Osric kicked off the panel by cracking Kim up.
Osric: Last time we were onstage together, Gil popped me.
They all showed their fannish sides, which made the panel a lot of fun. Osric got nostalgic about the first time he got Gil to put on a costume (Prince Eric) and Gil kept complaining that it was unflatteringly too small.
Kim shared her experience on the set of Star Trek Voyager, and how she nerded out so hard when she got to actually stand on the transporter. She’s also a Doctor Who fangirl who wants to play a Doctor’s companion. Gil got jealous when Osric said he was going to see ‘Hamilton’ with his roommate.
Gil: I hate that guy. He’s always coming between us.
And somehow Osric and Gil got talking about whether or not Jared had ever smacked their butts, like he has Travis and Jensen.
Osric: He’s slapped mine a few times.
Gil: I’ve got to get back on that show. And I heard he really gets in there…I mean, he has big hands. Long fingers…
They got the third prank question of the day, causing fans all over the world who are playing along to take their third shot (later, during the J2 panel, fans in the ballroom would get a square on their “Jingo” card for the same thing. I love fannish creativity.) Osric’s story was about Jared trying to get him to break by rubbing his leg, because he’s ticklish. And then as soon as Jared stopped, Jensen took over.
Osric: Because they’re a pair.
(A pair of pranksters, in this case.)
There were some awesome fan vids played at the con, by the way. I remember one to ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’, our friend and photographer Kim Prior won for her Cas vid, and there was one about Sam and Dean that I loved. Anybody have links??
Mark Sheppard was up next, and in typical Mark form, didn’t answer too many questions. I love that he’s explicit about it, warning fans who are new that he doesn’t answer anything he doesn’t feel like.
He did share an embarrassing moment – when Kevin blew Crowley up, Mark had to go flying across the floor, and his phone started ringing just as he landed.
Another amusing tidbit: When he first read about Crowley’s version of hell (an endless line), he said to Ben Edlund, “You know everyone will think this is a convention, right?”
Mark’s panel may have been the first time a fan stepped up to the mic and told one of the guests that they were here as part of the Supernatural class at UNF. Mark wasn’t too floored by the fact that such a class existed, taking it in stride, but he did take issue with the fan’s question.
Mark: You’re taking a class about Supernatural and you’re asking ME questions? Isn’t that cheating?
At some point in the Q & A, he reiterated something he’s said about his character before.
Mark: A somewhat sexually ambiguous Crowley is way more interesting, anyway.
Near the end of the panel, a fan asked one of those dreaded hypothetical questions.
Mark: You all are always asking me to write your fanfiction for you!
Fan: Well, it sounds better in your voice.
Mark: Maybe I should volunteer to go online and read all your fanfic…
Everyone: Ummm, no.
In response to the start of yet another hypothetical question, “If you could be someone else…”, Mark interrupted to set the record straight.
Mark: I wouldn’t. My peace and comfort has come from trying to live within my own skin.
He’s 26 years sober, awaiting the birth of his baby girl, so I’d say he’s doing a pretty damn good job.
As always, Mark closed out his panel by being heartfelt and serious, a total contrast to his snarky Crowley-esque persona for most of it.
Mark on Supernatural fandom: The world can be harsh to anyone different. This is the antidote to that. I’m so proud of you guys, you do incredible things. You truly are a family.
Next up was the R2M panel – Richard, Rob and Matt. The first thing that happened was that Richard and Rob could not contain their excitement about Matt’s good news – he’s joining the cast of General Hospital! It was so heartwarming to hear how proud they were of their friend; they were practically bursting with it.
Matt: I’ll probably be in scrubs. And naked half the time.
Fandom: We’re okay with that.
Rob (staring): I’m not looking at your crotch. Okay I am.
They all did imitations of each other, and Rob did his Omundson impression from the Supernatural Parody (which I tweeted, and Tim then expressed his appreciation. This cast, I swear.)
And to my great delight, they also told the infamous airplane story! Matt, a nervous flyer, sat next to Robbie on a long flight to Australia, thinking that Rob would keep him calm. Richard, also a nervous flyer, zonked out and fell asleep, presumably to avoid that same nervousness.
The plane then hit the worst turbulence any of them have ever experienced. Matt turned to Rob for reassurance, only to find Rob freaking out.
Their faces, OMG!
When it was finally over, they thought OMG, did Richard survive? They turned to see, and Richard popped up, having slept through the ENTIRE thing, and asked brightly, “Do I smell Thai food?”
Then Misha appeared from the bathroom, where the turbulence had thrown his own piss all over him.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Misha took the stage next, and told his own version of the airplane story, much to the delight of everyone. His panel was a mix of touching, hysterical and awkward, which is the usual for Misha.
The awkward was someone presenting him with a “promposal” in front of the entire room full of fans.
Misha: If I say no, do you have another date?
Fan: No. Nobody loves me.
Misha: I’m feeling A LOT of pressure now.
I so felt for him at that moment! Misha is a genuinely sweet guy who doesn’t like to disappoint, but what a position to be in! To make matters worse, some people added their encouragement.
Misha: I love that the crowd is like go with her, you asshole!
Awkward. Misha navigated it well, to his credit.
Some of my favorite moments were a retelling of the story of Jensen and Jared making him crack up so badly that people from the network actually drove down to the set to see it for themselves. So bad that Jensen actually apologized the next day!
I also loved Misha’s deadpan question “Wait, are you suggesting there are ever inconsistencies on Supernatural? You mean, like when we argue about exactly how Cas teleports??”
Misha told the story of being on set late on a Friday and asking “Wait, but how would Cas know where Dean is?” much to a tired crew’s STFU Misha!
He then started asking everyone to toss out their own niggling versions of lolcanon (ie, inconsistencies), and fans started calling them out so he could make up all sorts of pseudo explanations.
Why didn’t Charlie climb out the bathroom window before dying?
Misha: She was letting her nails dry. You may not have paid close attention to that.
How did the Steins get into the bunker?
Misha: Oh, they had the spare key that Sam had misplaced a while before.
He also strolled into the audience to find out what a meme was, while fans pulled out their phones to show him both definitions and examples. Naughty examples.
One more favorite moment? Misha takes off his jacket. Fans scream appreciatively.
Misha: I’m not going to make the mistake Jensen did (wiping his face on his shirt and unintentionally showing off his tummy)
Saturday night was another delicious fangirl dinner, and then the Saturday Night Special. Which, as I’ve written before, is always special. Jensen had mentioned a few months ago that he might sing at Jacksonville, and sure enough, he announced that afternoon that he’d be there. To say that the level of excitement was through the roof is not an exaggeration.
Louden Swain played some of their classics, and a brand new song too.
Osric and Gil teamed up on ‘When I See You Again’ and Gil crooned ‘Not Over You” with his sweet-as-honey voice.
Matt Cohen belted out ‘I Wanna be Sedated’ like a rockstar.
And Ruth Connell and Kim Rhodes came out hand in hand and sang ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ beautifully.
Matt is as much of a Louden Swain fan as most of us are, dancing on chairs to Mama’s Jam.
If you’ve ever doubted that the Saturday Night Special is a rock show, there’s absolutely no doubt. I mean, look at this ballroom!
Mark Sheppard is never happier than when he’s playing drums, and they are all incredibly talented. What are the chances that so many of the actors on one little show can put on a rock concert like this?
One of my favorite parts of the con.
Louden Swain also played ‘We Could Be Heroes’ as a tribute to David Bowie, who I’m still all emotional about losing. He was tremendously influential in my life – gave so many of us permission to be different at a time when few people would.
And then the band played ‘Medicated,’ and fans started playing along with kazoos in that section where Rob usually plays one. At first, he didn’t realize, and then suddenly he paused, trying to figure out if he was really hearing what he thought he was.
Rob: Are those….are those kazoos?
The moment when he realized that fans cared that much, he looked completely overwhelmed by emotion. It was a beautiful thing to see.
Rob: That’s an effing first, God bless you. That just made one of the band’s top five moments.
‘She Waits’ is always an emotional song for me, but it was even more with everyone holding up their lights (cameras now, not lighters, but it still carries the same weight).
By the way, that’s Cookie front and center — she’s the fan who eventually won the con on Sunday, so remember her. She happened to be sitting right across from me — hi, Cookie!
We all knew Jensen was supposed to be there, but somehow when he leapt out onstage unannounced and started belting out the Allman Brothers “Tied To The Whipping Post”, it overwhelmed me. Jensen singing, Mark on drums, Richard playing bass, Rob playing guitar….sometimes I can’t even believe we got this lucky, to have a cast like this who are not only talented, but each other’s biggest fans. Who can play together like that and blow us all away.
My twitter timeline exploded:
“RIP everyone at #jaxcon who got to experience the perfection called Jensen Ackles and his singing live. That’s not a bad way to go.”
“When Jensen Ackles takes the stage to sing and every fan girl moment you’ve ever had is 100% justified.”
This was fandom after.
If you know what I mean.
Every time I’ve been lucky enough to hear Jensen sing with the band, it has been amazing. It’s like a drug, this collective euphoria sweeping through the crowd. Nobody could stop screaming, everyone was grinning like we had all lost our collective minds. He put his all into it, and it just about killed us. And nobody was complaining.
The show ended with all of us singing along to ‘Carry On’ and with ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.
We stumbled back to our room still feeling drunk without having any alcohol at all. I think I laid awake for another hour, as did my two roomies, one or another of us periodically exclaiming “That happened.”
Yes it did.
Stay tuned for post number 3 from Jaxcon — Jared and Jensen and lots of pretty pretty pictures.
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