Friday, 22 March 2013

Supernatural Convention Report - Viva Las Vegascon: Part 1

All photos in this report (c) sweetondean 2013

I need to say straight up, I’m not real good at remembering all the questions and answers at a panel. This is where I need Alice, because she’s great at it! I’m too busy laughing and taking photos! So my con reports are more about the vibe of the thing… I hope that’s cool! Also, please excuse the occassional fangirling! I can't help it.

You know, I’m a big Elvis fan, so anytime I hear Las Vegas I can’t help but sing the song Viva Las Vegas in my head! Seems fitting then that this is how Vegascon, Creation’s biggest “Supernatural” convention to date, kicked off. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

After around 25 hours travelling – there is a cost to living in the most beautiful country in the world – Hazel, my convention cohort, and I finally made it to Las Vegas! Of course, she’s from New Zealand so we hadn’t seen each other since Vancon last year!

As soon as we landed in Vegas, the convention experience began, because at the airport we met our good friend Amanda (Encyclopaedia Amandica) and Becky from the Winchester Bros. We hugged and squeed and chatted for a bit, before dragging our already exhausted asses to the Rio where the Vegascon shenanigans were taking place.

In the check-in line I bumped into fellow Aussie and convention newbie Annaliese and then at the elevators, our pal Vicki, who followed us to our room so we could catch up properly and eat these tasty snacks she’d baked called Jensen bars…I can’t even!

Did I mention that one of the brilliant things about these conventions is the friends you meet along the way?

Registration for Gold ticket holders wasn’t until 9pm, so there was just enough time to go to Sephora to stock up on pretty making stuff for having our photos taken with the prettiest boys ever! (We don’t have Sephora in Australia – I think I practically own shares in it with what I spend there when I come to the States!)

Back at the Rio we did a reccy. Convention handy hint: I can’t tell you how helpful it is to walk the convention route before the whole thing begins. This way you figure out where the photo op room is, where the auditorium is, the Gold breakfast/lunch room and the meet and greet rooms. It’s far less stressful rushing from one place to the next when you know what direction to rush! At the Rio, the rooms/casino is a fair hike from the convention area – like a good 15-minute walk at least and that’s at a fast pace – so if you go next year, pack comfy shoes! I’m going to wear a pedometer, just out of interest, because seriously, the walking! THE WALKING!

Anyhoo, while checking the convention route we ran into our good buddies Jamie, Kerrie and Deborah and Chris the Creation photographer – hugs and kisses all around! Then along came our friends we met at LAcon back in 2011, Terri and Paige! Hugs, kisses, squees! We talk to these people all year online, but only get to catch up at conventions, being as we all live on the other side of the world from each other!

It was super early but there was already a line for registration and reupping, so while I nipped up to the room to get my paperwork (as in marathoned to the room), Hazel joined the queue with our friends. The first of the queues of a very queuey weekend! On the way back I grabbed us a couple of ridiculously large, frozen alcoholic beverages in souvenir cups! Ah Vegas! So we sat and chatted, caught up with more people we knew in the line, ate Deborah’s cookies and Jamie’s unbelievable cupcakes, suffered the occasional brain freeze from our frozen beverages and waited…waited…waited.

By the time registration opened, the queue went FOREVER! Convention handy hint: Get to registration early. Once we finally got our lanyards, breakfast table allocations and bought additional photo/auto tickets (I only get the ones that may sell out online and the rest at the convention to save on “freight” costs), we headed back to the room, full of sugar, vodka and convention feels to get ready for the craziness that lay ahead!

FRIDAY: And so it begins!

It’s con day! OMG yay! So like I said earlier, Viva Las Vegas! That’s how the whole thing began! It’s always great to be in your seat for the convention kickoff, but, and no offence intended to Adam from Creation who usually starts proceedings, normally it’s not very exciting. But this is Vegas baby, and we had the host with the most! Mr Richard Speight Jr.! Plus we had a house band, Rob Benedict and Louden Swain, masquerading as The Elastic Waste Band (the 3rd most popular lounge act 3 years ago)!

So it was a big show number! With Richard and Rob belting out their own rendition of Viva Las Vegas! It was fantastic! I gotta say, this is one of the things that made this con so very special, having the band on stage with the guests, including the Js, added to the party atmosphere and all the guests took great advantage of having the EWB right there alongside them. There was banter back and forth and the band played off the guests so nicely! Rimshots anyone? And Richard – Richard of the boundless energy! I know for a fact he was completely shattered after the convention because I did a meet and greet with him at the end of Sunday, but man, did he bring pizzazz to the show! In his suit! I love Richard, he’s so fun – I’ll get to that later!

So first guests on stage were Rob Benedict (after a quick change out of his wig and headband) and Matt Cohen.

The really amazing thing about these cons is not only have the fans had friendships blossom because of them, so have the cast. Matt, Rob, Richard are all great mates and yet none of them worked together on the show. I’m sure we’ve all gleefully watched the Rich and Rob bromance going on! It’s adorable! Anyway…the panel. Matt was all gussied up in a bowtie, with his jeans rolled up and no socks with his shoes – hipster! Rob tried at one stage to emulate Matt’s look, but only succeeded in looking like Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island!

One of the funniest moments was when a fan asked Rob about the movie Waiting and whether the cast actually ‘flashed’ each other like the characters in the movie did. This led to a discussion about the various ways a guy can flash and position his…well, you really need to see the movie – but yeah, batwings and Matt decided he had to show us – sort of – what exactly batwings means!

Then someone asked Matt about his workouts and just for a lark he gave us a few push-ups on stage – girlie push-ups, complete with handclaps! Actually it was super impressive, if totally ridiculous! Check out the arms….

After Matt and Rob’s panel we had a little break and it was then that I discovered that Corona comes in these gigantic bottles! Yay! (Walk, walk, walk, walk).

Anyway, Chad and Gabe were up next. Chad had tweeted earlier in the morning that he needed some dark nail polish. Of course, I wear black (like he does), so I packed it just in case. Sure enough, when Chad came on stage, he had unpainted nails! Oh the humanity!

Chad and Gabe have become buddies too, you often see them tweeting back and forth. They both appeared in the episode “Simon Says”, but didn’t have any scenes together, but that doesn’t matter! Gabe was on set for the scene where Dr Badass answers the door to Sam and Dean without his pants on! So he was there to see all the takes with all the various reactions of the Js. Apparently Chad was naked!

Gabriel is damn funny. Quick as a whip and an amazing storyteller! He told this ridiculously, longwinded and hilarious story about wanting to see the worlds biggest Prairie Dog while vacationing. He followed the signs until finally he came to the place and the thing turned out to be just a statue! So he wrote on the back of it that it sucked…in case you ever come across it, check the back!

Chad made Gabe and a fan adlib a scene that had to include 3 words, one of which was mancakes (it was pancakes, but Chad misheard. Mancakes was funnier anyway). He also pulled out his “spirit box”, you know…Chad loves the Ghost Adventures…anyway, the box said something unintelligible and Gabe fled the stage!

Chad cruised the audience as usual, in his Bert and Ernie top (he got it from Urban Outfitters, we asked in the photo op). He’s a real rockstar Chad…moves like a cat or something, all long and languid. He’s smokin’ hot. Just sayin’.

Anyway at the end of the panel I nipped up to the stage and offered him my nail polish. He took my hands in his to check my nails and said “Oh, that’s nice, can I borrow it?” I said, “That’s why I brought it down”, he said “Cool, I’ll get it back to you later”…Well I never saw that nail polish again, but I’m cool with it. It was donated to an excellent cause, because in the photo op Chad was wearing it! Squee! Looked hot on him too! I bought this nail polish to replace it...seemed fitting!

Next panel up was James Patrick Stuart.

I’ve never seen James before and gosh what a great panel. James is pretty Hollywood and very charismatic. He was brought up in a showbiz family. His dad being a muso had hoped James would follow in his footsteps, so he was a little disappointed when James decided to become an actor.

He told the story of how he knows Mark Sheppard. They met about 20 years ago and had some bizarre falling out of a jacket that Mark had wanted but a friend had left to James. He said every time they bumped into each other at an audition or something, Mark would leave the room! Of course, working together many years later, Mark apologised for being such a git and they’re buddies again. In fact every one of the guests sung Mark’s praises over the weekend.

James said when he first got the gig on “Supernatural” he watched it and said, “I get it, 2 brothers, they hunt ghosts, one’s tall and one’s short” and then he met them and realised “there’s a tall one and a skyscraper!”

In his pocket he had Dick Roman’s teeth. When he went to the audition he took these prosthetic teeth and popped them in. After the audition, Sera came up and told him he was creepy! The difference between with teeth and without teeth, pure and simple is Dick Roman! It was amazing to see the transformation as he took the teeth out and put them back in.

He also said he thought that Dick’s death was a little lacklustre. He wanted Dick to have had a more epic death scene but then, he’d love to somehow come back. He said he waited for the call to see if he was going to appear in Purgatory…but alas.

*Just a side note - James is currently using the photo above as his twitter icon!

After James’ panel it was time for photo ops with Chad and Richard. As I said, I was pretty happy to see Chad had painted his nails with my polish. Richard, well he has a thing about the colour of my hair and always makes some comment. This time, as I grabbed him by the lapels to tell him he was looking particularly sharp in his suit (he was), he told me his tie matched my hair…well…his tie was purple, my hair is sort of, I don’t know, maroony red? Never mind! It was funny!

At autos I was particularly chuffed when Richard didn’t even have to ask my name. Apparently he knows it now. I smiled a lot walking away from that auto I can tell you! He’s a really sweet guy.

So next up was Karaoke!

We “popped” back to our room…walking, walking walking, to dump our bits and pieces, freshen up and grab a giant Corona and a ridiculously large frozen beverage.

This was one of the most fun Karaoke’s I’ve been too. Admittedly, I missed Mark Pellegrino and his Big Balls andSweet Transvestite renditions, but having Richard and Matt in full Elvis garb was super fun. Chad looked like he was dressed in something Hef would wear, like a lounge dressing gown or something. Gabe was there, as was James who sung Jesse’s Girl, Rick Springfield was his first ever concert and the special guest was Kurt Fuller! I have me some passionate love for the character of Zachariah (I know, me and 2 other people), so I was all…OMG IT’S ZACH! He was so into it too. Dancing, arms in the air. Bless.

We went and got our photos with the Karaoke Kings in their Elvis outfits – we wore Elvis glasses too (I have my own pair). How could you not get that photo? They looked so brilliant in their get ups. I pulled my best Elvis sneer (I can do a good one) and Richard goes “That was hot” and my friend Hazel grabbed me and said something and he turned to her and said, “Wow, you just totally blocked me.” Flirt! The photo is epic by the way. Matt is pulling the most ridiculous face!

We headed back to Karaoke (via the bar…walking…walking…walking) and took part in the SPN Con Shake – though we were no where to be seen as we were off on the side somewhere trying to do that laid back, slomo thing Jensen was doing in their version! After that, we just sung and laughed and…oh good times. Cons are so fun.

Then it was off to bed for as much beauty sleep as we could muster. For the next day was the happiest day of all…J Day!

Coming soon… Viva Las Vegascon – Part Two. Misha and the Js!

Thanks for reading part one!

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