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.

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Rob Benedict Talks Family Don’t End With Blood, Louden Swain and Kings of Con!

One day last week, I was driving my niece to school with the Louden Swain ‘Saturday Night Special’ cd playing. My niece has a developmental disability and is not very verbal and that can make life extra challenging. It was early, but when Eskimo came on, without thinking I turned it up a bit and maybe started singing. And maybe started drumming on my steering wheel a little. (Hey, it’s one of my favorite songs, so…) Suddenly I heard a noise to my right and noticed movement. I turned my head, and my niece was not only humming along but was air drumming enthusiastically. With the BIGGEST smile on her face. I grinned back and we rocked the hell out of the rest of that song, and then put it on repeat. It was one of the most fun drives I’ve ever had at 8:00 in the morning.

A few days later, I had a chance to catch up with Rob Benedict and I shared that story.

Rob: Awww, that’s so sweet, I love that.

Lynn: Your music is pretty special, obviously.

Rob: That’s so great.

Lynn: it was. So thanks for that. Okay, so questions. First I wanted to ask you about the chapter you wrote for Family Don’t End With Blood. You really did write a very personal and very powerful chapter, all about having a stroke at the Toronto convention several years ago. So many fans who have read it have told me how moved they were by your chapter. What kind of feedback have you gotten, and how does it feel now to have written such a personal unguarded chapter?

Rob: It’s been absolutely overwhelming, the response. There are still a number of people who didn’t really know that happened to me. So it varies, from people feeling empathy to people saying a similar thing happened to someone that they know, or just that the sentiment was something that they recognized. People say the nicest things, about it being one of their favorite chapters in the book, and all sorts of unbelievably gracious and complimentary things. I wind up signing as many books as I do head shots of myself. I think it means a lot to people. And I don’t think you automatically get my autograph with your ticket to the con or whatever.

Lynn: No, you hardly ever do. Unfortunately.

Rob: Right, so people are buying that so I can sign their book, which I think is the biggest compliment to you and the effect that Family Don’t End With Blood has had on people.

Lynn: And to you, because your chapter is one of the ones that really made an impact! I’ve gotten such incredible reactions to the book. It had the exact effect that we were all hoping for – as support and inspiration for people when they’re struggling. I’ve heard stories of people sharing the book with their parent, saying this is what’s helping me not cut anymore. I’ve heard people say that this makes all the difference – that they’ve been ready to give up, and then went back and read one of the chapters about people they admire having their own life and death struggles – and decided to keep going.

Rob: Ah that’s amazing, that’s what I mean about it being overwhelming. It’s like, you almost can’t even fathom how much it means to people and how life saving it’s been. I’ve experienced that with our music as well. It’s something about this fandom that I don’t think people really comprehend. How deep it really goes.

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PittCon – The Saturday Night Special

Post and Photos by Kim Prior

I have written several articles about the Saturday Night Special and my love for these events. I don’t think I could find the words to say it any differently this time – I simply love Rob and Billy and Mike and Stephen. I love to watch Mike play that guitar. I love to watch Stephen as he passionately pounds the drums. I love to watch Billy pour his heart and soul into his guitar. And I love to watch Rob sing, and dance, and smile as he commands the center of the stage. Simply put, Louden Swain gives me joy. This concert gives me joy. I have said it before, and I know that I will say it many more times to come… the Saturday Night Special is special because of Louden Swain.

The concert in Pittsburgh apparently had some technical issues – mics not working properly, guitar issues, and so on. But let’s be honest, I didn’t care, not even a little. These guys could come on stage and sing the phone book completely a capella and I’d be so okay with that.

So without further ado, and without a lot of commentary, here’s a recap of PittCon’s Saturday Night Special.

The night got off to a rockin’ start as Jake Abel introduced the band.

The first song of the night was “Present Time.”

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Supernatural Minncon Friday and Saturday – Misha, SNS and More!

 

The Supernatural convention in Minneapolis is notable for a couple of things. First, it’s in the grandest theater on the whole tour – an actual slanted floor tilted and cushioned seated amphitheater style theater with two clamshell balconies that open up like magic on Sunday for J2 Day. The stage is so big that some of the guests aren’t quite sure what to do with it and it makes the Saturday Night Special seem like a rock show in a bona fide concert hall – and Louden Swain and guests know exactly what to do with that!

The convention center, and the city itself actually, is also notable for being connected by a series of hamster trail elevated tunnels that allow you to make your way from the hotels to the convention center without being pelted by the inevitable wind and rain. My hotel was also playing host to a furry convention, so we had furries and Supernatural tee-shirted fans sharing space and high fiving in the hallways. I was struggling to transport my hundreds of copies of Family Don’t End With Blood the mile and a half (okay okay, exaggeration, but it felt like that…) of hamster trails to the convention center when a very nice young man at the furry convention offered to help. He pushed the overloaded handcart the entire way to the convention center, while we chatted about what our two fandoms had in common and why nobody should be ashamed of what they’re passionate about.

I was in the vendor room throughout the con, and was so honored to meet many people who had read Family Don’t End With Blood and been inspired by what the actors and the fans shared in their personal essays. I also was thrilled to collaborate with Jodi from Eldwenne’s Fantasy – she created an original Women of SPN – FDEWB necklace that I adore, and was kind enough to give one to me. The necklace symbolizes that for the women of Supernatural, family means more than just blood – there’s a blue backdrop that matches the cover of the book, hugged tight by silver to symbolize the found family that surrounds the Winchesters, and black for Baby. And of course the drop of blood red. Gorgeous. Jodi is giving $5 off the necklace to anyone who purchases the book, or $10 at a con!

The con kicked off on Friday with Rob and Rich a bit overwhelmed by the amount of greenery onstage – not just the usual couple of dead trees, but a whole forest of them, along with some equally-dead potted plants.

Rob and Rich rearranged them, made a makeshift Supernatural Christmas tree, and generally had way too much fun with inanimate things. They even had a Christmas story, with Richard sitting crosslegged on the stage.

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Return to Mecca – Supernatural Vancouver Con (Part One)

I’ve been too busy to post con reports this year for the most part, but I’m trying to change that – at least for one con! Vancon, as it was called for almost a decade and will still always be called in my head, is a special con. It takes place in mecca for Supernatural fans, where the show is filmed, and that means that lots of other Vancouver-based Supernatural alums and crew members often come by to say hi to the fans. It’s also the place where some of the best days of my life have taken place, and where many of my SPNFamily friends come to congregate, so that makes it a special con for me. This year was no exception.

I didn’t have any extra time to take in location filming or revisit some of my favorite Vancouver restaurants and sights, and I’m still grieving that the con is no longer at the beautiful Sheraton Wall Centre, but the Westin Bayshore is also quite nice. It’s also way above my budget at the non-con rate, and thanks to my aforementioned busy, I neglected to book it early enough to get that. So my friend Alicia and I spent the first two nights up the hill at the Coast, a European flavored hotel with an international bunch of patrons and a portable AC machine that served as possibly the best white noise I’ve ever experienced. I totally wanted to bring the giant thing with me! I then cashed in every single Starwood point I’ve ever accumulated to move over to the Westin, which rewarded us with an amazing view of this amazing city. I love you, Vancouver!

I mean, look at it! That’s the view from my window once I finally got to the Westin Bayshore.

I had a lovely seafood dinner out on the water on Friday night and a few good meals at the hotel restaurant too – I wasn’t in the vendor room, so I had a lot more time to hang out and have some good conversation. I was also very honored to sign copies of Family Don’t End With Blood for lots of people who had read it and been inspired by it, which totally made my weekend. If you came up to me and asked for my ‘autograph’, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the book and that I got to meet you. And I hope you all told the actors what a fantastic job they did writing their chapters!

I had very little internet reception on Friday and especially Saturday, so I tried to make up for the lack of tweets by taking pictures. Thus this is Part One of my Vancon post, since wordpress was a wee bit upset with how many photos I was trying to cram into a single post. Part Two (SNS continued and Sunday) up shortly!

There were lots of SPN alums on hand for karaoke and during the con, most of which I forgot to take photos of, but I had to have a picture of the lovely Kuma, star of television commercials, and his owners Kevin and Jill Parks. Kevin has been with Supernatural as a First Assistant Director ever since I can remember, and is instrumental in making the show the high quality tv that it is. In fact, he’s joking referred to as “Parkasapedia” for his encyclopedic knowledge of SPN canon! Kuma has appeared on the show too, as well as in that Flonase commercial you see all the time.

Adam Williams, who supervises all that amazing VFX wizardry on Supernatural, was also on hand – along with the always awesome Lucy. Together, Adam and Lucy wrote a chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood about how the show changed their lives completely – by bringing them together! Talk about life changing.

Friday kicked off with Alaina Huffman (filling in for the busy-filming-Supernatural Kim Rhodes) and Gil McKinney.

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