Part 1 of my report on Chicago’s Supernatural convention described the overall energy and dynamics of those fabulous three days that fans spent together with their favorite TV personalities. While it is true that each convention is unique, they are all a place where fans feel free to express themselves unabashedly through music (Karaoke!) and artistic expression. Some fans submit exceptionally good interpretive videos that are judged, then showcased. Other fans bring home-made figures (see photo on Osric’s panel in part 1) or artwork (Osric and Richard surveyed sketches and prints during their audience wanderings). Then there are the outgoing fans who create costumes and compete for prizes and the reward of saying they are the best “Castiel” or “Dean” or whomever they are portraying.
Chicago’s costume contest took place on Saturday afternoon, before Misha’s panel. There were a lot of vacant seats in the auditorium when it started, as non-panel time is always the best time to run to your hotel room or the lobby, or grab something to eat. It also usually overlaps with one or more photo op sessions (this year it overlapped with the “Trio of Baddies”: Mark Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino and Sebastian), so you really have to make a special effort to be present for the costume competition. For the past few conventions, though, Misha has been a “surprise” guest judge, so I wanted to see the whole contest from beginning to end, just in case he showed up again.
The contest was divided into three categories. The first was the Junior Division, which was reserved for competitors younger than 14 years old. Of course, they were all adorable, so I was very happy to hear that no one “won” or “lost”. Instead they all received a prize just for participating. The second division was for non-Castiel costumes. I am always amazed at the amount of time and imagination that goes into making some of these costumes. There were approximately 60 adults in this competition, showing off costumes for just about every Supernatural character possible, plus a few non-Supernatural characters! Costumes included Naomi, Terminangel (Terminator/Angel), plus various versions of Dean, Sam and the Impala! If I heard them correctly, “Death” won 1st place; “Charlie” won 2nd; “Lillith” won 3rd and “Abaddon” won 4th.
The last division of the contest was for the twenty or so Castiel “angels”. When the competition was delayed, we were all pretty sure we were about to be treated to a very special guest with unmatched qualifications to judge how people portrayed Castiel…and we were right! Within just a few minutes, Misha joined the contestants on stage! He wound his way through the throng of “Castiels”, commenting on their interpretations, engineering (usually of working wings) and sewing prowess. When he was almost finished with the line, a late-comer ran in front of the stage, trying to sneak into the end of the line unnoticed. Well, the crowd erupted in applause so Misha immediately looked around and recognized that Osric had entered the contest! Misha walked off stage, pulled Osric into a big bear hug, then picked him up and carried him onto stage!
Photo courtesy of Alesia
Misha then started asking to which “Castiel” he should pass Osric! A very surprised female fan (“Ghostbuster Cas?”) soon found herself trying to hold Osric in her arms! What an added bonus, and challenge, for her (Misha commented that Osric was “remarkably dense”)!
Photo courtesy of Alesia
In welcoming Osric to the fray, Misha spent several minutes describing how he had unexpectedly spotted Osric in pictures submitted to his GISHWHES competition. He said that after looking at 25,000 or so pictures of the same image, he was numbly flipping through photos and was like, “wait, did I just see….?!?!” and did a double take back through the pictures (Misha actually made a very funny sound to indicate when he recognized Osric)!
Photo courtesy of Alesia
Misha eventually awarded First Place to the best “Castiel”, but that was almost an afterthought to all his antics! THIS is the kind of fun that fans have at conventions! THIS is the unexpected interaction with our favorite stars that we have come to love! I found a 9 minute video of this portion of the costume contest on YouTube if you wish to share in the fun!
Part 2 of my report already talked about Misha’s great panel, which followed immediately after the costume contest, so all we have left to describe are Sunday’s activities! Sunday was of course “J Day”. Jared and Jensen. All day. Breakfast panel. Single Photo Ops. J2 Photo Ops. Meet and Greets. Auditorium Panel. Autographs. All the J you could stand. Actually, though, there were other stars who appeared on Sunday. I don’t know if they considered themselves lucky or unlucky to have to appear on J Day, but two of our favorite female demons shared the last day of the convention with our boys. So I am going to save my J report for Part 4, because it deserves time all to itself. Let’s first focus on the ladies of the day!
This was the first Supernatural convention appearance for Alainna Huffman, aka Abaddon, but you would never have guessed that! She was confident and energetic. She owned the stage and had a wonderful rapport with the fans. Her smile lit up the room!
Photo courtesy of Alesia
If I’m honest, I actually had a hard time visualizing that Abaddon and the person on the stage were the same woman. Of course, the gruesome makeup for the role creates the “demon”, but Alaina’s eyes, her smile and her mannerisms were all completely different. I think that says volumes about Alaina’s talent and her ability to create believable, unique characters.
Alaina after makeup transforms her into Abaddon!
Fans asked Alaina many questions about Abaddon vs. Crowley, Abaddon’s plans for Hell and Abaddon and Dean. Alaina described in detail the scene where Abaddon is “reassembled” in Season 8’s “Clip Show”. She said that she thought the shot would take a really long time, but in fact it wasn’t that hard to do. She talked about the “hand double” but said that was definitely her own hand pulling the bullet out of her mouth (way too gross to have someone else’s hand in your mouth!). Fans also asked her about her prior work in Stargate Universe, Painkiller Jane and the Black Canary in Smallville. If the length of the question lines were any indication, Alaina has quite a fan following!
She talked about her family a little. She said she has four children, ages 9, 7, 3 and 1 (I think I got those ages right), so most of her life is about making macaroni and cheese! Four children under 10 years old, working full time and appearing at fan conventions on the weekends! Wow, I was impressed! I hope she is able to appear at many future conventions.
The very last panel of the day didn’t take place until 7:15 at night! It’s a rather daunting position on the program, because the slot is after all the excitement of Jared and Jensen’s time with fans. In fact, they had already left the convention to catch their plane back to Vancouver. To add to the feeling that the convention’s main attractions were over, the emcee of the weekend, Richard Speight, Jr. announced that he also had to leave to catch a plane, so he bailed on the last guest as well! Plus many attendees left right after the J’s autographs were completed, so the auditorium crowd was really thinning. THAT was the atmosphere into which our last “demon” walked onto stage! Enter…..
Photo courtesy of Alesia
Wait….. Who?? When this young lady entered the stage, I just stared. I had NO IDEA who she was. Keep in mind, I had the program in my hands and knew who I was expecting, but who was this?
Again, doing a comparison between real life and a Supernatural role,
Nicki, after hair and makeup transformed her into Meg
This was Nicki Aycox, aka Meg Masters in seasons 1 and 4! It took several minutes, but eventually I heard the signature laugh and voice! Again, there was very little resemblance between the actress and the Supernatural character! What a huge testament to her talent!
Nicki actually talked quite a bit about her changed appearance. She said that the long brown hair is her natural color (or close to her natural color). She said that she honestly much prefers it to the blond image that is often associated with her, and that has really been a problem for her. On several occassions she has auditioned for roles only to be told by the casting director that they picture her with blond hair and that she would have to dye and cut her hair or wear a wig for the part. She said she has really struggled with not being able to break out of the one vision of herself. She shared that she has also struggled with being type-cast as a horror genre actress. Long before she was known for Jeepers Creepers II, Joy Ride 2 or Perfect Stranger, she used to do comedy. She said that she very much enjoys doing comedy, but can’t seem to get a comedic part anymore. Frustrated by her inability to expand roles, she decided to take matters into her own hands by writing a comedic screenplay of her own. She admitted that she has never been one to sit back and accept things as impossible and that she tends to be a bit obsessive when she wants to get something done. For example, when she wanted to learn how to play the guitar, she practiced all day every day until her fingers were a mess, but she was determined to accomplish her goal!
Fans asked countless questions about Meg Masters, but Nicki was a little stumped by most of them. She kept reminding us “that was like 10 years ago. It’s hard to remember!” All too soon, her panel was over though, as was the majority of the convention. There were still a few lines for autographs and to pick up photo op pictures, but it was time to say goodnight and dream about next year.
Throughout the first three pieces of my report on the convention, I have held back some stories that were shared by the actors but were more serious or personal in nature. I want to share those with you in Part 4 of the report because I feel they contributed to the “soul” of the convention. Jared and Jensen will always be the epicenter of the excitement, and they do indeed create the atmosphere that has made Supernatural thrive all these years. They are the first ones to say, though, that it takes a team of wonderfully talented people to make it all work. I hope to convey a small fraction of the teamwork and love the actors spoke of during so many of their talks. Please join me for Part 4, J Day!!
Screen Caps from www.HomeoftheNutty.com
All pictures were taken by me, unless otherwise indicated. Please credit the photographers if you reuse the photos.