Since the Supernatural Chicago Convention 2016 is just less than two days away, I thought, huh, better get last year’s convention experience written. It is just exactly the distraction that I need in order to ignore the packing and the preparations I still have to do because, haha, who needs a stress-free last-minute-running-around-my-room-like-a-headless-chicken-and-just-shoving-everything-into-my-luggage? Certainly not me.
ChiCon 2015 was a different experience from the year before. One, because I actually had an inkling on what to do instead of whipping my head around with my mouth open in awe. Two, because I had a Gold ticket that gave me access to a closer seat, an automatic admission to the Saturday Night Concert event, and a chance to get some of the actors’/actresses’ autographs and exchange some friendly greeting with them. It was also surprisingly emotional for me, as I facilitated between deliriously happy at the convention and trying not to be conspicuously upset at some personal stuff going on with me. But we’re not going to talk about that.
Three, I decided to cosplay the character Rowena, who is a witch on the show.
I sewed the cloak myself, which was an interesting experience as I found myself trying to actually use the Pythagorean theorem while trying to do fabric measurements. I’m not kidding here.
Day 1: Friday
We got to the convention on Friday afternoon, and unfortunately missed the panels. But the day was still so busy for me and I was surprised to find myself more overwhelmed than 2014’s Saturday and Sunday combined. The autograph sessions and the additional photo ops kept me moving, and I had a few moments of anxiety, afraid that I’d miss something. I remember literally running from Kim and Brianna’s joint photo op to the theatre, dreading that I missed Tyler Johnston’s autograph session (and whose panel I also missed, dang). Photo ops and autographs overlap and it’s on opposite sides of the convention center so I was constantly checking the schedule and making sure I didn’t miss anything.
I needed more than a couple of moments to take a breather and calm myself.
One positive thing is that I also talked to a lot of people while in line, small conversations which made me proud of myself. My greatest regret during ChiCon 2014 was that I didn’t talk to a lot of people.
The day ended with Karaoke with Richard Speight and Matt, which was as fun as it sounded. They dressed up as “Walking Dads,” complete with zombie costumes and baby dolls. My ears were ringing and my throat was aching by the end of it, but it was just a fun party for all.
Day 2: Saturday
I started out Saturday by getting into my Rowena costume. It was the very first time I’ve ever cosplayed. That morning, I was having second thoughts on whether to go through it or not. I felt a little bit stupid when I stepped out of the hotel room, but when I entered the convention hall and saw people smiling at me, I felt a little bit more confident.
I joined the cosplay contest. I didn’t win, but it was a fun experience. My brother who was taking pictures says I look smug on the stage. That was because I kept grinning and trying not to show my teeth! I was trying to get into character!
Kim Rhodes and Brianna Buckmaster
They were very hyper during their panel. These two have such chemistry and freaking hilarious together. They’re passionate women who are not afraid to speak their mind. I remember when I first saw on the Creation page that they were going to appear on ChiCon 2015, I screamed and immediately bought “The Sheriffs” photo op. It’s so refreshing to see dynamic multi-faceted women in the cast.
Their panel was a barrel of laughs, but there were also some serious discussion going on. I felt really sad when Kim mentioned not having a job for 6 months and being told “You’re 46, we can’t get a job for you.” It hit something in me when she said that she decided to “Fuck it all, I’m going to be a unicorn.” She said something along the lines of, if you decide to be happy now, whether or not you get to where you wanted to go, you’ll still be happy.
They talked about women’s body issues, relating to the character of Donna about weight, which had Brianna making the whole room repeating “I am more than just my jean size.”
Ruth Connell is the cutest thing ever. She was tired from filming the previous night, and I think she was jet-lagged, too. She glided across the stage, walking towards the people asking questions. I think she made it tradition to give away stuff to them after their questions, and she quickly ran out of stuff so she started giving away what she could find in her bag, like a cardboard, or a teabag, or stolen hotel soap bars.
She mentioned being the only woman who appeared the most episodes in Supernatural, beating out Genevieve Padalecki. She said that she mentioned this to Jared, and Jared told her “Ooh, she is not gonna like that.” She said that Genevieve was so enthusiastic when they met for the first time. Ruth asked if they could take a picture together, and Genevieve was all “Yeah! What should we do? Should I strangle you?” Ruth did a spot on impression of her, I was laughing so hard in my seat.
Kim Rhodes and Osric Chau
I missed more than half of their panel because I think I was on line for a photo op. I did catch them talking about tattoos and their meanings, and Osric contemplating on getting one after seeing Kim’s.
Osric also talked about Tough Mudder with J2, Richard, Rob and Jason Manns, and was trying to convince Kim to join in. Kim didn’t really want to join, but Osric mentioned muddy!Jensen and muddy!Jared and Kim was like “Sign me up!” And then Osric mentioned an obstacle course involving electric shock, and Kim was like “Oh, fuck no!” And the two of them went back and forth a couple of times, it was hilarious.
Mark’s panel as usual was full of sarcasm and banter and as hilarious as ever. He went around the whole convention hall, talking to random members of the audience. He got into a banter with Castiel cosplayers, accusing them of cosplaying Cas only because he had the cheapest costumes. He asked the them to stand up, and then promptly started putting price tags on their trenchcoats.
Mark’s panels are absolutely one of my favorites because he’s always quick-witted and contrary. My favorite moment was when he wouldn’t let the last person ask her question, the exact moment Rich and Rob came on stage as they do during the end of panels. Whenever the person started talking, he would turn to Rich and Rob and start bantering with them. He’d turn towards the person, who would again try to ask the question, and then interrupt her mid-sentence with a question to Rich. At one point, it was Rob who interrupted her. And then after a few more starts when it became apparent that Mark had absolutely no intention of letting her ask the question, Rob felt sorry and asked her question for her. I wish I could have gotten it on video.
Also, Mark looked astoundingly good in that outfit. Very dapper. I couldn’t take a lot of pictures because he kept moving around.
Richard Speight, Jr., Rob Benedict, Matt Cohen
These guys are always full of fun and laughter. They are never still, kept moving. Rich and Rob got to an exchange where Rob accused Rich of being a bad influence and bulldozing through any reasons Rob might put up when getting into trouble. Rob was also resigned in the fact the “Rob hates Perth” lie the Rich had been telling everyone has already taken a life of its own.
Matt mentioned Rob and Rich being his best friends and mentors. You can hear in his voice how much he genuinely looks up to them.
Someone asked about the worst acting they’ve done, and Matt answered that while he was filming a horror-type movie where he played the role of a football jock (no surprise), he was asked to do a British accent in one of the scenes. Matt said that when he said the dialogue, he somehow did an Australian accent instead, and after the scene was so embarrassed. Rob told a story about how he had to wear a banana hammock, which somehow devolved to Rich telling everyone who was cheering that they DO NOT want to see him and Rob in a banana hammock, and that Matt would be the only one who could pass it off. Rich told a story about when he was in fifth grade in a play, he had to wear a loin cloth for a play, and how he couldn’t take it off when he really needed to pee so he just let go. Rob started to do his impression of little!Rich, and it devolved to a hilarious bit where they started impressions of little!Rich being a bad influence to little!Rob.
Poor Misha! He just flew in after shooting until three AM. I think he’s tired and jet-lagged and his brain-to-mouth-filter was a little wonkier than usual, resulting in a few very awkward statements that he immediately regretted saying!
He crashed R2M’s panel who were talking “crap” about him, and tried to defend himself. Somehow they started talking about poop and body odor, I don’t know!
He also teased the people lining up for questions when it’s a known fact that only the first six questions get asked if they were lucky.
He talked about his mother being his role model. He also talked about how amazed he was towards the fandom, the degree of support for each other, and that he thinks that if we band together we have the power to move mountains. He cited examples like support for charities, Random Acts and Gishwhes, and how much fandom influences and inspires him to make better decisions and strive to be a better person because a lot of people look up to him.
There was a really good question about mental health and depression by a mental health worker. Misha quote “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” He mentioned that this fandom as a community have formed support and safety net available to those who need it. He also mentioned Random Acts working with To Wrtie Love In Her Arms and working on building and training people to respond a crisis phone line of some kind.
Saturday was a lot busier than Friday, but I was more relaxed this time. Maybe it was the power of cosplay. Rowena confidence. Maybe it ‘s the perk of studying the schedule beforehand.
The day ended with Louden Swain’s Saturday Night Concert. I can’t express enough on how incredible that was. I’ve been a fan since I bought their Sky Alive album back in 2014, and they were all on fire. Rob Benedict was phenomenal. The guests also got to sing, and Jensen Ackles managed to join (I think I strained a couple of vocal chords from screaming. Thankfully my seatmate this year was a pretty good sport and didn’t mind how screechy I got). He brought the house down, and then Rob set it on fire and danced at the remains. It got pretty emotional in the end. If there is anything that would have made this weekend , this would be it. It was the highlight of my weekend. I uploaded videos on my Youtube channel.
Day 3: Sunday
Also known as J2 day. And of course, the convention was packed on this day.
My gold ticket allowed me to attend Jared and Jensen’s morning panel. It is only 30 minutes long and with a much smaller crowd with only the gold ticket attendees.
Jared was disappointed that he missed the concert the previous night. Jensen also ragged him about his voice mailbox answering message being very outdated. At this prompting, Jared went ahead and recorded a new voice message with the crowd.
I didn’t have much recorded about this panel because I was trying to also ask a question and was contemplating on standing on my chair in an effort to get picked. I did not pick. I will make a better effort this year. *steeples fingers*
I only caught the tail end of Robert Singer’s panel. because of photo ops. He talked about directing and pathways producing and creative process that goes into the show. I know he gets a lot of flak because of the Charlie thing (of which I also am still bitter about), but I truly believe that Supernatural wouldn’t have made it this far without this guy in the background. I hope he comes to other conventions. I also wish one or a couple of the writers would come to conventions as guests, too.
J2 Afternoon Panel
They missed their cue when coming up the stage, and so Rob and the band had to repeat the last verse of the song they were playing.
During photo ops that morning, someone was giving Always Keep Fighting bracelets to everybody and telling us to keep it a secret until the afternoon panel, and raise our hands up when they come on stage for a moment of solidarity. Right as the panel started, we all raised our hands up, and I think J2 were confused at first because they couldn’t see our bracelets. People started chanting “Always Keep Fighting!”and Jensen joked “We’ve got some protesters over here.”
The people who organized it got to go up the stage and present Jared and Jensen a donation of $500 for Team Levi and AKF Campaign.
Jared told the story of how his own family history started in Chicago, by asking Genevieve out for the first time during ChiCon seven years ago. He shows off his ring as he likes to do, and it’s adorable how proud he always is of being married.
Jared brought up “wenis,” which according to both him and Jensen is what elbow skin is called. A little later after that, someone brought up Jared’s worst costume he’d ever worn, which he answered in a previous con as a “hm sock.” Jensen was confused, so Jared had to explain his almost naked scene from House of Wax. Jensen the says the first word “rhymes with sock.” Jared then says “OR WENIS!” and promptly falls out of his chair from laughing so hard.
Robert Singer also crashed the panel, and J2 got scared for a moment because they thought it was Rich who they were “talking crap” about earlier. They said the Robert Singer was one of the people who fought to keep Supernatural on air in areas where the fans and the boys couldn’t.
Someone asked how they would like the show to end. Jared says 1) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid style, 2) The Impala driving off to the sunset, and 3) Sam and Dean on top of the Impala, watching the stars (aww). Jensen answers that in season 37, the boys work a case in a retirement how, and just stay there.
Misha crashed the panel to defend his honor from J2′s “disparaging comments about my worth ethics.” And of course, J2 kept teasing him about taking a break from his break to defend himself, and actually managing to shoot scenes WITHOUT coming to set, the latter of which Misha says he’s proud of because there were no distractions and he actually gets things done.
Rich then comes out, signaling the ending of the panel, and calls J2 Sam and Dean (J2 was earlier talking about when Rich came in to direct, he kept calling them Sam and Dean despite having known them for years). Jared was prompt to say “Where do you want us, Mr. Director?”
PHOTO OPS + some Autograph Anecdotes
I managed to get the JPEG versions of my photo ops from the photographer Chris Schmelke (who is a celebrity in the Supernatural fandom on his own). They are worth every penny.
I’m combining them with some Autograph anecdotes. They were far too wide spread, and this way this train wreck of a rushed post will have some semblance of organization.
I asked him if we could do a pose where it looked like he was piggy-backing me. He actually piggy-backed me. As soon as I got out of the booth, I thought to myself that maybe I shouldn’t have done that, because it just risks giving people injuries.
During autographs, I took the time to apologize to him for it and he was loooked at me incredously and said “It was nothing! You’re tiny, I barely even felt it!” He shook my hand and I told him I really appreciated him being here.
These two are becoming fast fan favorites in the show as well as conventions. They were bouncy and energetic during the photo ops and the rest of the time. They were fun and loud and I want them at every convention. Please and thank you.
During autographs, they were both still hyper and hilarious and chatty. I got to tell them how we really appreciate them being here. A good dose of estrogen does wonders for a convention.
It was awesome being in my Rowena costume with Rowena herself. Ruth is literally the cutest. She was very graceful and actually soft spoke from what I got, calmer and pretty laid back. I tried really hard not to smile my smug Rowena smile, but the best I could do is stop myself from just grinning with happiness.
During autographs, I bought an extra ticket To have her sign my fanart. I tweeted it to her a few months ago. When she saw it, she was like “You’re very talented!” I was like “I tweeted it to you a few months ago!” “Yes, I remember! Keep it up, you’re very talented!”
All I can remember from this was that at the end, Misha winked at me. That is all.
I had a pose in mind, like Rowena kissing Crowley on the cheek and Crowley making a disgusted face, but I chickened out in the last moment. I still like this though. On hindsight, I should have asked him to pretend that Crowley was being forced by his mom to take a picture.
Sadly, I didn’t manage to get Mark’s autograph as we had to leave.
I gathered up the courage that deserted me during Mark’s op, and asked Misha for this pose. My only thought afterwards was: holy *beep* I kissed Misha on the cheek.
During autographs, Misha’s session auto flew by because they were trying to get ready for concert. I managed to tell him thank you for being here and he tells me no thank you. And then winked at me. Again. And I died. Again.
I asked for a group hug for the lack of any fun pose ideas. I chose right. They were so fun. After the first take, Chris Schmelke called for another shot because he thought I blinked. So I got a second group hug and another photo!
Rob smelled like freshly baked bread in the morning
I got their autographs on Friday. I managed to tell Rob how much I loved Sky Alive, and told him my favorite songs were Hot Times and Honeybee. He said he was very glad to hear that.
Richard’s auto went like this:
Me: I’m excited to see your episode. (This was before the Supernatural episode he directed came out)
Rich: Me, too!
Me: Did they (Jared and Jensen) prank you too bad?
Rich: No, they were oddly respectful.
Me: Oh. Just Misha, then.
Matt’s auto was on Saturday before the concert, and he was really sweet really freakign handsome. I told him about enjoying karaoke the night before . He asked me about going to concert later, and says it’s awesome.
The concert on Saturday night was so awesome that I just had to get a picture with the band on Sunda. Rob was making heart signs during the concert, so I suggested this pose. It turned out really cute.
There was a promo where if you purchase a Louden Swain merchandise, you get an autograph from the whole band for free. I bought their album Eskimo. I managed to tell them how great the concert was and how awesome they all were.
I was calm during friday photo ops, even calm during Misha’s and Mark’s, but with Jensen’s I felt my stomach churning with nervousness. I was hoping I wouldn’t cry again like the year before. After the op, I ended up crying. Again. And this time with no little brothers to witness it.
I didn’t get Jensen’s autograph because we had to leave. Which is also part of the reason I was crying.
My exact words before this picture was “I just want to be squeezed.”
I think I felt one of my ribs creak. It was great.
I went to him and said “I’m small.”
And without a beat he says “I’m big!”
And I asked for a cheek to cheek hug like I did with Jensen, and I felt bad that he had to crouch down even though I was standing on my tippy toes.
I couldn’t get his autograph because we had to leave.
I think I will be asking for this pose every time. It took a few seconds longer for the pose because I couldn’t get my arms around Misha, and Misha had to step back because he did not know what I was trying to do.
One of the people ahead of me brought a pillow for a prop, and naturally, Jared took it and started hitting Misha with it.
I had the best time this weekend despite personal issues and the disappointment of missing J2 and Mark autograph and having to sell my Castiel photo op.
Other than that, this was still the best weekend I’ve had. It topped my ChiCon experience the year before, which was something I was half-certain wouldn’t happen.
One thing that contributed to that feeling was that I was certainly less anxious and a little more confident this weekend than I’ve ever been in my life.
I got the chance to get autographs from Friday and Saturday people and got to have actual conversations with the actors and actresses. To see these people up close and talk to them like a normal human being was pretty awesome
I’ve talked to a lot of people this weekend. Small conversations but they add up and it’s probably the most interaction I’ve had for the past two or three years.
Had a chat with Megan Padalecki who was there to promote her book. We talked about how she drew the illustrations with traditional and digital that made interesting textures. Bought her book, and I half-lied a little bit about buying it for my cousin, but I actually bought it for myself. And then I’m gonna send it to my cousin.
I also talked to a vendor who was selling really nice fanart prints about digital art. Bought a couple of arts which have been proudly hanging on my wall since October.
I started conversations, I cosplayed for the first time, I complimented people, people have complimented me and it’s the most genuine thing that ever happened to me. I talked and was never once anxious that I was being judged. I let my walls down and was not embarrassed. I smiled and laughed with my seat mate, with the people who were on a photo/auto ops line with me. For an introvert like me, to do that for three days and not get tired was fucking amazing. To want to keep coming back and just fucking interact with the people, and interact with the actors and talk to them without feeling like they were saying something else that I’m not getting. I didn’t feel like I was the weird one. I didn’t feel like I was being made fun of. I didn’t feel like I was an outsider.
I felt very very validated, and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
I may have gone to the con alone, but I didn’t feel alone.
ChiCon 2015 was pretty awesome.
And on that note I will be ending this post, because it’s almost 12:30 AM and I still need to start packing and working on my Castiel cosplay. We’re going to leave a little bit earlier this time, just in time for pre-registration. I also won a ticket for Jared’s M&G, and I’ve been tamping down my excitement (maybe a little too successfully because I’m not anxious at all. I do hope this doesn’t mean that I’d be passing out during the M&G from all the repressed excitement exploding).
Here is to hoping that ChiCon 2016. And here’s to hoping I finish packing up tonight.