This has been what I call “bizarro con.” That’s not a bad thing. All throughout, I couldn’t avoid comparing this con to the Chicago one from last November. The differences between the two are night and day. Turns out Chicago is the night, and Cherry Hill is the day. I’m so incredibly behind on reports and panel recaps because I spent all my free time socializing, dealing with a full schedule of events, and having a great time. Go figure.
I had plenty of free time in Chicago. When I wasn’t waiting somewhere for fans to go through autograph lines and photo ops, I would get an uncomfortable sentence or two from attendees I didn’t know and then we’d all go about our business. Unless there was screenname recognition, I wasn’t worth the trouble. Considering I publish under my real name and not a screenname, I got plenty of brush offs. My business there ended writing up con summaries alone in the lobby and ballroom. Not to say that I didn’t meet some nice people in Chicago, but the larger crowd (twice the size easy) actually worked against the intimacy and willingness to open up to others.
Here in Cherry Hill, every one was outgoing, friendly, thrilled to be there considering this is the first time a Supernatural con has been held in this part of the country, and most conversations I got into were long, detailed, and either incredibly amusing or fascinating. I met the most wonderful people this weekend, and it rejuvenated my love for this fandom. We were one big happy family, and a laid back one at that. I think all the guests picked up on the vibe too, for each one of them were wonderful.
So anyway, day two, or what I call “sleeping in day,” started off normally. The first event wasn’t scheduled until noon, and the first panelist wasn’t scheduled until 12:10, so even when I finally emerged from the hotel room looking like a Supernatural freak of the week reject at 10:30, there wasn’t a badge wearing Supernatural con attendee to be found. There was a lobby full of college students for another convention going on, and I could see the jealously in their eyes. Where was their “sleep in day”?
After a strange bit of motivation where I managed to get in a workout (two thumbs up for the fitness center at the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill BTW) it was time to finally register and get my free gift. I got a small black bag with a patch on it that said “Dean,” and it was just large enough to hold a poster. Then they gave me said poster, Jensen in the form of season two Dean Winchester. For what I paid for this con, a signed poster would have been more impressive, but I can’t complain, for it still brought the pretty.
The laid back crowd were treated to a fan video kick off, and there was one common thread in the videos shown all weekend. Most of them featured season one and season two. There’s a little season three, and none from season four. I don’t think it took a rocket scientist to figure out these videos were from a while ago. Too bad, because I have some great current ones to recommend.
Recapping panels is a long arduous process, and one I’m willing to do with glee, when there’s time. Since there hasn’t been time, I’ll post each one as soon as they’re ready. I can summarize though, and up first was Richard Speight Jr. (The Trickster). Just like the first time I saw him in Chicago, he was loose, had tons of fun and put on a very entertaining panel.
He started off by mentioning the karaoke the previous night (congratulating all the singers on a “bang up job”, and then got a show of hands as to how many were at a convention for the first time. I was rather surprised to find a large show of hands. I guess an East Coast con was long overdue after all. I hope they keep doing one (next year’s has already been announced) and hopefully Jared and/or Jensen can make it. This crowd is so deserving after their fantastic behavior this weekend.
Before I go on, I’m going to get this out of the way now. One girl has this entire weekend chosen to ask EVERY single panelist the same lame question. “If you could give up cheese or chocolate for a year, which would it be and why?” I’m going to pretend that the question never happened (lalala, not listening!), except in Jim Beaver’s panel (which I’ll mention in Day three coverage). If his answer didn’t shut her up, nothing did.
Okay, back to Richard. He talked in detail about Jerichobeing cancelled and then brought back (really great story), answered a ton of questions about “Mystery Spot” and “Tall Tales,” and took on several hypotheticals, which seemed to be especially popular at this con. The funny came after he admitted early that he hasn’t watched the show except for his episodes. Someone asked what sort of situation as the Trickster he’d put Dean in, since we saw what he would do to Sam in “Mystery Spot.” When he thought he was being clever by answering a situation involving his Mommy or Daddy Winchester, someone shouted out that’s been done already. Richard played it up well, but he clearly had egg on his face.
Gabriel Tigerman came up next (after some unnecessary trivia filler), and he was a lot more relaxed and in a better mood than when I saw him in Chicago. He tackled a lot of these strange hypotheticals well, but my favorite part was when he lamented over the still unknown fate of Andy’s van, objects and all. He’s the only panelist I asked a question to, and I did mention to him that the velvet tiger painting from his van ended up on the wall in “Lazarus Rising.” He was floored by that information, and we treated it as a shout-out to Andy. I also asked him what it was like to drive the Impala, and he said he got to drive it about 20 feet at 2 mph, so it wasn’t all that amazing.
After more “filler,” which I ignored by talking with more people, the last panelist, Traci Dinwiddie, who plays psychic Pamela Barnes, took the stage. This was her first con, and she came sick. She was still all smiles though and the fans were as delighted to have her as she was to be there.
Traci got the grand prize for answer of the day. One of the first questions asked (maybe the first) was what was it like to grab Sam’s butt. “That thing is bulletproof.” Needless to say, the entire auditorium erupted in cheers. That’s the way to win over a crowd full of hormonal women.
Traci talked about Pamela’s flirtatious ways, and gave great detail on what it was like to film the scene where her eyes went up in flames. She wasn’t spared the hypotheticals either, and was forced to babble about what Pamela thought about either coming across an angel or becoming on.
After Traci was done, it was time to wait for the autographs. I was in the last row of Gold Ticket, however, there were 7 rows of Gold ticket holders at this con where there were 12 or 13 rows of Gold in Chicago. It took hours before my turn came in line there. This time, I waited about 45 minutes. I definitely love smaller cons.
I had Richard and Gabe sign my copy of “In The Hunt: The Unauthorized Essays of Supernatural” since their characters got mention, especially the Trickster. Richard was tickled when I told him The Trickster got his own essay. I had Traci sign the inside cover of critics season four promotional package I received, the one with a preview of “Lazarus Rising” and “Are You There God It’s Me Dean Winchester.” My cunning plan was to have her and Misha both sign it, since their characters were both introduced in the “Lazarus Rising” and Misha was in both episodes. More on that in the day three report.
After risking life and limb to navigate a parking lot to get to a mere restaurant (New Jersey really hates both left turns and traffic patterns that promote vehicle safety), we came back to arrive to the evening Cocktail and Dessert party a few minutes late. Every table was taken, and there were about 12 of us standing around unable to move, dodging dessert goers with plates. They told us they were fetching a table and had to put the table on the only available spot, the dance floor. We were wondering how they miscounted the number of guests. Eventually the table arrived, but then we had to wait even longer for chairs.
It wasn’t all bad though, for two of the latecomers were, Lynn and Kathy, two college professors that are researching a book on Supernatural and its fans. They also write for Supernatural magazine, and have been conducting interviews of the entire staff (including actors) and fans of Supernatural, flying out multiple times to both Vancouver and LA. They also attend all the cons. They shared with us their experiences visiting the set on Supernatural and talking with the staff there as well as Jared and Jensen after a late day of shooting. I won’t share too much since their stories will be making it to the magazine and the book, but they were there a week after Kim Manners died and everyone was devastated. I had nothing but questions for them, and they humored every single one of them. It was an awe inspiring experience hearing all they’ve uncovered since stumbling onto this show midway season two. This fandom has something about it no other show or movie has, and these two are doing their best to understand it. I can’t wait to see what they’ve discovered.
Richard, Gabe, and Traci made their rounds, each being timed two minutes per table (yes, I think even they found the concept ridiculous), and poor Traci still felt really sick (her handler was carrying a box of Kleenexes). All were so wonderful to chat with, even in the short time frame, for they looked really pleased to be there. Once they did their visits, the crowd broke up. Since it was daylight savings time and the Sunday breakfast was moved to 8:30 am, it was time to call it a night.
Day three kicks up the excitement level about ten notches, for Jim Beaver, Todd Stashwick, Charles Malik Whitfield, and Misha Collins all blessed us with their greatness. I’ll have the full report tomorrow evening, after I’ve taken another scenic drive through Pennsylvania and Ohio.