Supernatural Cons 2018 – First Stop, Orlando!

 

I’m just about to drag out my suitcase and toss some things in there to head to Las Vegas for the Supernatural convention that starts on Thursday – and I’m ridiculously excited! Vegas is one of my favorite cons. It’s an extra day of fun, it’s got so many of the friends I don’t get to see nearly enough all year long, and Jensen sings at the Saturday Night Special. The first time he did that, in 2015, was one of those experiences you never forget. Nobody expected him to come onstage and turn into this total effing rockstar, so afterwards we were all a bit stunned. Nobody could stop grinning; no one could stop hugging each other. We clung to each other like we’d just witnessed a piece of history, overflowing with wordless pure unadulterated joy. It was one of my favorite con moments ever.

So I always look forward to Vegas!

After Jensen’s 2015 SNS Performance

I was determined to post my Orlando con report before I leave for Vegas, so here it is, with almost an entire day to spare. Sure, that con was over a month ago, but hey, at least I met my admittedly generous deadline.

So, OrlandoCon 2018…

Orlando is a great place to have a convention in the middle of January, especially for those of us who live in the Northeast US and are sick of being frozen half to death. So I was thrilled to fly down a bit early and spend some time with my friends Liz and Kristen and Kim. The con hotel was across the footbridge from Disney Springs, so we trekked over there to explore and shop and have a delicious dinner in a café full of animated dinosaurs. Definitely in Disney!

Read more

Last Con of 2017! Supernatural Returns to San Francisco

 

The last con of 2017 was once again in San Francisco. It was an emotional con for me, because exactly one year ago, as I was attending this same convention, I got the news that my dad had unexpectedly passed away. I remember being in shock, only telling a few of my closest friends there – but word got around. My friends from Creation made sure I was okay, even walking me to my seat. My fellow fans checked on me all weekend long. And word got out to the cast too, who were incredibly kind. I remember Matt Cohen jumping off the stage in the middle of the Saturday Night Special, enfolding me in a hug and telling me how sorry he was for my loss; Jared and Jensen hugging me for a long time, asking me what I needed. Everyone was just so very kind – fandom and the SPNFamily at its best.

This year, the anniversary brought all that back. I was touched that many people remembered it had been a year, and didn’t hesitate to bring it up. Cons can be therapeutic for a lot of reasons, and this one definitely was. There’s nothing quite like being enfolded in your SPNFamily when you’re feeling emotional, for whatever reason.

It was also Mark Sheppard’s last convention with Creation. He’s been to just about all of them since he started on the show, so it’s just been a given that I’ll see him whenever I’m there. I’ve come to expect that Jared, Jensen, Misha and Mark will of course be there, every single time. Mark will be snarky and will answer one in five questions but will melt every time there’s a baby in the audience, and will suddenly get very real and give a heartfelt testimony about why he loves fandom before he leaves the stage. I don’t like change – I love Mark’s panels. I was tremendously honored that he wrote an essay for Family Don’t End With Blood, with many of those same heartfelt words about his love of fandom. I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time in the green room with him and other cast a few times, and was able to get to know him and his lovely wife Sarah a bit. It’s weird to think he won’t be there again.

Because this fandom can always be counted on to be awesome, Mark’s last con didn’t go unrecognized – just like Alex Calvert’s first con didn’t either. There were signs for all of us to hold up with the line Mark had wanted to say in his last episode, that inexplicably got cut. ‘Even when I lose, I win’ on red signs were held high all over the ballroom when Mark took the stage, and he was clearly moved. He pulled out his phone and started filming, and from where I was sitting, I could tell how much it meant to him. As the panel progressed, Mark was more serious than usual, and there were several times that I could see his eyes were glistening. Or maybe that was mine; it got hard to tell. I didn’t expect to be as emotional as I was, but when Mark left the stage I had already grabbed for the tissues several times. Thank you, Mark, for the amazing job you did bringing Crowley to life, for being a fan yourself and for loving fandom the way you do, and for being a part of Family Don’t End With Blood.

Those were the very emotional parts of this con – there were also parts that were purely fun. (Isn’t that always the case with cons? Half strong emotional reaction and half laughing until I’m needing a tissue for an entirely different reason).

Read more

Salute to Supernatural: The Saturday Night Special – Hawaiian Style!

Let me set the scene for you… it is a beautiful evening. The temperature is around 80 degrees, and it might drop to the upper 60’s by the time the sun sets. There is a slight breeze, so I am glad I brought a hoodie.

The Hilton Resort is a beachfront property. White sand, so soft and smooth under your toes. The soothing sound of the ocean as the waves gently cascade onto the beach. Walk with me along this beach, towards the lava-rock pier. Before you get to that pier, there is a lagoon on your right. Behind this lagoon is The Great Lawn, an area of soft green grass flanked by palm trees and hotel towers.

Now picture this lawn filled with round tables, each one with 10 chairs. Rows and rows of tables. And the tables face the stage. And behind the stage are palm trees and that lagoon, and to the right is that pier. Where the sun sets every night, in a glorious haze of blues and yellows and golds.

This is the scene for the Saturday Night Special. In Hawaii. Special. Is. So. Right.

Read more

Salute to Supernatural – Hawaii #Paradise

So, funny story…

I attended my first Supernatural convention in Chicago in 2014, with my husband. At some point, I suggested to him that we take a vacation to Vegas; he enthusiastically agreed… and then I told him there’s a convention in Vegas, to which he replied, “of course there is.” Sometime later, I suggested we take a vacation to Vancouver, and he was very excited about that… and then I told him there’s a convention in Vancouver, to which he replied, “of course there is.”

Hubs then said, “I just really hope they take this convention to Hawaii because obviously that’s the only way I’m ever gonna get there.”

Well, well, well, my sweet hubs, Hawaii it is.

The Salute to Supernatural Convention in Hawaii marked a few milestones for me. It was my 10th convention. It was my birthday. But more than that, it also served as the destination for my second honeymoon as I celebrated 25 years of mostly wedded bliss with my hubs. (Let’s be real, marriage is hard work, it ain’t all chocolate and roses all the time, so when I say mostly wedded bliss, I mean like 99.43% wedded bliss, okay).

Once again, I was not disappointed. Creation Entertainment truly put on a wonderful weekend. The lines moved quickly. Questions were answered with smiles. I am so very impressed by the continued enthusiasm these team members show, even on Sunday evening, even after working crazy-long hours. If you have the chance to attend one of these cons, please make the time to thank these people for making your experience the wonderful thing that it is.

The Hilton Waikiki Resort was massive. I think there were six hotel towers, three pools, countless shops and eateries, and oh yeah – there was a beautiful beach, with the softest sand my toes had ever felt. The water really is that decadent bluish green just like you see on TV. And yes, the water is also crystal clear. And slightly warm, the kind of warm that feels a bit cold for like half a minute but then you remember that you’re in the water in Hawaii so who even cares if it’s a bit chilly because HAWAII.

Read more

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles on Writing a Book for the SPNFamily – and Being Thankful

 

It’s the season in which we celebrate what we’re thankful for, and this year I’m very thankful for a television show. Not just because it has brought me tremendous joy over the past twelve plus years, or because it has allowed me to find some of my closest friends, or even because it has gotten me through some tough times. This year I’m thankful that Supernatural and the special people who make the show and are fans of the show allowed me to give something back to the community I love – the SPNFamily.

Even at this time of year – maybe especially at this time of year – many of us are hurting. As a psychologist, I know that better than most. Anxiety, depression, self doubt, and loneliness make life a lot more challenging. One of the things that helps is feeling like you’re not alone in your struggles, particularly if people you relate to or admire have been through some of the same challenges. That was the idea behind Family Don’t End With Blood, a book with chapters written by most of the actors on Supernatural as a message of support and encouragement to the fandom. When you hear that the Supernatural actors have doubted themselves, fallen into despair, even wondered if they could get up again and keep fighting – but that they DID – and you read it in their own words, raw and uncensored, that is the best kind of inspiration to do the same. I was honored to work with the actors and fans to put this book together.

Since Family Don’t End With Blood has been published, we’ve received countless emails, tweets and messages about how someone read the book when they were at their lowest point, and this was the thing that convinced them to keep fighting. That words written by Kim Rhodes or Briana Buckmaster or one of the other actors rang so true they felt understood. That words written by Jensen Ackles or Misha Collins or Jared Padalecki convinced them they really were not alone. The actors have heard the same from many fans, on social media and at conventions. We are all so very grateful. We wanted the book to make a difference, and we are absolutely blown away by how much of a difference Family Don’t End With Blood has made.

The stars of Supernatural were in Washington DC for a convention with Creation Entertainment a few weeks ago, celebrating the success of Season 13 of the show and answering fans’ questions. Many of the actors appearing at the convention also wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood. Both fans and actors shared in the book how the show has made an impact on them, changing lives and in some cases even literally saving lives. As fans, we often take this for granted, knowing how life-changing it can be to be passionate about a television show or a film or a band or whatever it is we geek out about. But in the case of Supernatural, the show and the fandom have had an equal impact on the actors, including the two actors who bring the iconic characters of Sam and Dean Winchester to life, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.  At the convention, Jensen and Jared were onstage for a panel and were asked by a fan about their experience writing chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood. They shared some insights about that process and about working with me as editor of the book (both seriously and with playful ribbing, which is par for the course with Jared and Jensen).

Read more