Hometown Supernatural Con – Burbank Friday and Saturday 2016
Returning to Burbank for what is, for now at least, the last Supernatural con that Creation has planned there, was both festive and emotional. Many of the actors live there, so that means their families can come see what they do for a dozen or more weekends out of the year, and even actors who aren’t making paid appearances sometimes show up to join in the fun. That means a con in Burbank is usually a very good party.
Even as an East Coaster, I love Burbank too. It’s such a nice little airport and a lovely hotel with a convenient little convention ballroom attached. There’s a handy bar to meet up with fellow fans, and there’s all of Burbank a few minutes away with its great restaurants too. I hated not being there last year, instead stuck at the giant Pasadena convention center, so I was thrilled to be back.
It was the weekend after the election, and emotions were running high for both guests and fans. Somehow the con felt like the best place to be, surrounded by a lot of love and support. There were fliers throughout the hotel letting fans know that this was a safe space, and that they were accepted here. It made me proud to be a fan and a member of this SPN Family – and to sort of want to stay there in that fandom bubble for as long as possible!
We even had a gorgeous Impala there, with a steady stream of fans climbing in and out to take pictures in a pretty damn close stand in for ‘Baby’.
In fact, my only complaint was that the stage was a huge distance away from the first row of seats, and the lighting was wonky, so my poor little recently-replaced Samsung phone struggled to get a decent photo.
Alaina Huffman was on first – she joked that when she was on the Supernatural set recently to shadow Phil Sgriccia, the days were so long and she (and they) worked so hard, she sometimes could be seen falling asleep in a chair. I sat down with Alaina for a one on one chat later in the weekend and got the full scoop on her shadowing experience – and future plans! Stay tuned.
She also admitted that helping Ruth Connell prank Mark Sheppard with Misha photos all over his trailer was a lot of fun, though they were hoping for more of a reaction from Mark.
Alaina: Hey, wouldn’t you all want your place decorated like that?
She also confided that before that innuendo-filled scene between Abaddon and Dean, she said to Jensen: I apologize for all the dirty things I’m about to say to you.
He didn’t really seem to mind, though.
Alaina is passionate about playing strong female characters, who should be able to show vulnerability and intimacy as well as being “sexy and bad”.
She also talked about how much love she’s found in the SPN Family – much to her surprise, since she expected fans would hate her for playing a villain.
Alaina: Let’s start our own country.
Sign me up!
Julian Richings came onstage dancing with a skeleton, which seemed eerily appropriate both for the time of year and for the actor who plays Death on Supernatural.
He had lots of positive things to say about Supernatural, including his favorite line (Dean: I think I killed Death!) and the generosity of Jensen and Jared’s acting in letting the other actors shine.
Where does he think Death is now?
Julian: I like to think he’s haunting Dean, like, hello, I’m still here…
Jason Manns gave us another enjoyable “quoncert”, starting off with his own self deprecating introduction.
Jason: So some of you may have leaned over to the person next to you and said, who’s that guy?
Everyone was excited to hear that there’s a new “Covers With Friends” on its way with many Supernatural cast singing on it, including Jensen, Rob, Rich, Kim and Briana!
Osric Chau talked about his new hit tv show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which I’m loving. (If you haven’t read my exclusive chat with Osric yet here on the Fangasm blog, check it out!)
Osric’s panels are generally very uplifting and often involve adorable stories about his foster kitties, but he did make me reach for the tissues at one point. The one thing he took from the Supernatural set? The little yellow card that said Kevin Tran. (That got Kevin killed by Gadreel). Jared gave it to him. Sniffles.
He also left most of the audience open mouthed by jumping rope using a guitar cord.
Lying down. No, seriously.
Friday night was dinner out on the town with good friends, great food and drinks and lots of Supernatural talk. What could be better?
Karaoke on Friday night was amazing, with Alaina Huffman wearing Richard’s costume and Osric wearing Rob’s. Have I mentioned how hot Osric looks in a dress? Probably.
Richard finally made a triumphant arrival (we had missed him during the day), Death danced his butt off, and Emily Swallow showed up to help out too. I stayed up way too late, but oh well.
Saturday started with Mark Pellegrino, who talked about what a supportive environment the SPN Family is.
Mark: This is a great escape from the world. Let’s just have a Supernatural con for four years.
I’m in! (Also that was definitely the theme of the weekend, in case you haven’t noticed)
He also endeared himself to many of us by apologizing to a female fan when he cut her off.
Mark: Sorry, I cut you off. That’s called mansplaining.
Why yes, yes it is. That was refreshing.
As Rick Springfield currently plays Lucifer on Supernatural, the original SPN Lucifer gave us some insight into the character.
Mark: Lucifer will say whatever he needs to in order to get what he wants.
Mark is as much of a Supernatural fan as we are, and is all caught up on Season 12.
Mark: Rowena is freaking me out right now. She’s pretty powerful and she wants revenge.
Sebastian Roche was up next, and greeted Rob the way we all want to – with a big kiss. Awww.
Sebastian’s panels are always more like performance art, and this one was no exception. He did an entire song about his decision to go “jacket off” and did a lot of his panel standing on a chair (with concerned fans attempting to make sure he didn’t fall off it).
Everyone was raw after the election, and Sebastian had some political commentary.
But he also got very real with a plea that made a lot of sense.
Sebastian: Whoever you voted for, help stop this wave of hatred.
He also reassured people that “whatever your sexual orientation, we love you” and confided that Misha’s post election video brought him to tears. His panel ended with all of us singing “We love you, Misha”.
We also got some A+ embarrassed dog pooping imitations.
Richard at the end of the panel: What the hell is going on here?
Osric started his second panel of the weekend debating with Rob about who wore the Khaleesi dress better, and how Osric tried to talk Richard into wearing another of his dresses that would “show off his back”. To no avail.
He also told a great story about going to see Ben Edlund’s Ghost Tyger play while he was still dressed in full Rapunzel cosplay after a con.
Osric: (grinning) I got hit on so much!
Me: Well duh.
Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks Os can rock a dress.
Osric: It was kinda flattering.
Osric also had something to say about the election.
Osric: Apathy doesn’t work in a democracy.
Osric was one of the many guests to thank the sign language interpreters, who were awesome the entire weekend. As you can see!
Mark Sheppard got his ‘Haunted Mr. Crowley’ intro from the band and Rich, which put him and Osric into peals of shared laughter.
As he often does, Mark had some inspiring words for the fans.
Mark: The worst thing in the world for people is to be alone – this is the antidote. It’s a great social experiment.
Mark went on to say how impressed he is with this SPNFamily, and how giving the fan community is.
Not all of his panel was serious, of course.
On the elaborate prank that Ruth and Alaina pulled on him?
Mark: I kept the picture of Misha on my toilet seat. Sometimes my aim is good. Sometimes (evil Crowley grin) my aim is VERY good.
Regarding that kiss with Jim Beaver: He’s got soft lips, But a scraggly beard. And he made this face afterwards!
The R2M panel kicked off with Matt Cohen leaping from a chair, which I caught in a photo that couldn’t have looked more perfect if it had been staged that way.
Seriously, is this Matt jumping off a chair or Gabriel vanquishing Michael??
They all wore the Kings of Con crowns that they gave out at the con, and there was lots of anticipation for the new web series.
Matt: I ran naked through the streets – and it worked. I got to be on Kings of Con!
They did hysterical (and lightning fast) impressions of each other, and of the Winchesters. They’re all so talented, with all three of them onstage it’s hard to catch your breath from all the laughing.
Someone asked what Rob thought God would think of his portrayal on Supernatural.
Rob: If God knew I was portraying him as an open minded bisexual, I think he’d say you finally got it right.
Have I mentioned that I love Rob? (If you missed my epic interview with him a few weeks ago, check it out here. And there’s another epic chat on this blog with both Rob and Rich, the Kings of Con! Click the tags to find all the current interviews)
Without a doubt, the highlight of that panel was Matt bringing his adorable young son Macklin up onstage – in matching outfits, no less! Matt is such a proud daddy, and his love for Macklin shines so bright I could barely keep my eyes open. (Photos used with Matt’s permission).
Misha’s panel was more emotional than usual. Most of us had seen his emotional video after the election, after the time and energy and passion he put into campaigning for Hillary. We all knew he was having a tough time, and fandom (as always) banded together to support one of our own. There was a giant banner of thanks that many fans signed, and when Misha took the stage, fans held up glow lights and thanked him, and later presented him with the banner.
He seemed nearly overwhelmed by that display of support, which was really touching. He used the safety pin he was wearing as a pledge of support to others to hold the glow stick fans used to show support of him. If that isn’t a wonderful example of fandom reciprocity, I don’t know what is.
Misha also made me emotional when he told the story of an elderly man who spent time with Misha and his brother when they were homeless and without a father in their life. His sincere and simple gratitude, and the way he still remembers this man so fondly, just….yeah, where are my tissues?
He dismissed the idea that he was brave, saying instead that he was just stupid and often runs off to do something without realizing the danger.
He’s still not quite over his PTSD from directing Jared and Jensen either. All week the crew would keep whispering “watch your back, man” until he was hypervigilant. And then Jared nearly broke his nose with the force of the pie in the face. Ouch.
Misha was clearly emotional that afternoon, but he also kept his wits about him. When a fan asked what other character Cas would like to use as a vessel, he cocked his head.
Misha: Are you asking what other character I want to be inside of? The Impala.
The time Cas has spent on earth with Sam and Dean has made his character more emotional too, Misha said. He’s not human, but he has empathy for humans now and understands them better.
Last week Misha took his meet and greet into the woods and almost set the place on fire. Today Misha took his meet and greet out to deliver stuff donated by fans to the homeless. That pretty much sums up Misha and why I love him, to be honest.
I had dinner with more fans, and then it was time for one of my favorite things – the Saturday Night Special. Mark Pellegrino introduced the band, proclaiming it his favorite part of the con and Louden Swain his favorite band. I love how supportive they all are of each other!
Alaina Huffman also did some introductions and played a mean tambourine in a dress that took everyone’s breath away.
Emily Swallow channeled her inner Thom Yorke and sang a version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ that knocked my socks off OMG.
Osric played the keyboards to kick off his rendition of “Lose Yourself” which was amazing, and said that if it weren’t for Louden Swain, he would never be up there performing.
Sebastian Roche picked another of my all time favorite songs, belting out Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and again, it was amazing. This cast, I swear.
Tim Omundson also joined in with some wicked harmonica, and to sing some gorgeous harmony with the gang on ‘Wagon Wheel’ – which Mark Pellegrino also joined in on.
And of course we were treated to both classic and brand new Louden Swain, Mark Sheppard and Stephen Norton drumming their hearts out, and to both photographer genius Chris Schmelke and Richard Speight on bass. (Richard looks hot in glasses. Just saying.)
Rob sang a haunting version of ‘Fare Thee Well’ with acoustic guitar.
Rob: Last season, Robbie Thompson gave me a gift on Supernatural. Now I sing it for you.
Jason Manns and Rob sang their unbelievably emotional version of Hallelujah, made all the more emotional by the loss of Leonard Cohen. Did I already ask for tissues?
We lit up the ballroom for ‘She Waits’, which I always sing with my friend Max at side stage, because we both have to sing it at the top of our lungs with our arms slung around each other. As you do.
Following up that emotional song is the kickass ‘Mama’s Jam’. Matt Cohen not only performed himself, but made sure everyone was on their feet for Mama’s Jam.
Then the entire cast joined in on ‘Medicated’ with kazoos, and everyone, cast and fans, singing their hearts out in support of each other — and of ourselves. It was a surprisingly moving moment, for all of us, everyone acknowledging their own struggle and encouraging each other to always keep fighting.
Thanks to @mamaprior and @arkine13 for the watermarking and edits.
Stay tuned for Sunday’s festivities at Burcon!
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