Eleanor started it, by pointing out that the Vancouver Supernatural convention was going to be taking place on her 21st birthday and that’s what she wanted for a present, to go. No small request, entailing a plane ticket from Ohio to Vancouver, a hotel room, and pricey convention tickets. I was excited by the idea, though, and she’d need someone to go with her, right? Our friend Glynis, who had a graduate school orientation the week before and started classes on the Monday after the convention, decided she needed to go too, and we began calling it (in a second-generation reference to a Labor Day weekend Ron and I spent together with Glynis’ parents when none of us could really afford the trip) the “highly inadvisable weekend.”
As it turned out, our tickets, purchased in early April, were pretty far in the back of an enormous hotel ballroom set up as an auditorium with a stage, the kind of ballroom that I’m more used to seeing set up with tables and chess sets. At various points during the weekend, actors and writers from Supernatural appeared on the stage, singing, answering audience questions, and just goofing around in front of a delighted audience who had paid to see them up close and in person (or as up close as each audience member could afford, a point Mark Sheppard made by wandering around the auditorium and asking someone a few rows behind me why she was sitting there–“no money?”)
One of the authors of Fangasm, who sat closer to the stage, got better photos and tells the story of the entire weekend better than I can in her post “Making History at Supernatural’s VanCon,” including a photo of Saturday’s comic message–after a day’s worth of messages like “Tiffany Smith, your lost phone is available at registrations”– saying “Claude Balzac, please retrieve your cat from registrations.”
Eleanor and Glynis, dressed as Dean and Castiel, stood in line to ask Mark Sheppard a question. Glynis, like us, loved him as Badger in Firefly first, so she asked him if he had really great luck picking out awesome projects, although he couldn’t get past her costume at first and had to observe that she was “dressed like HIM.” He eventually got around to playing his geek card by saying that people seem to enjoy the roles he really enjoys.
When it was Eleanor’s turn, she asked if Crowley could make a deal for anyone’s soul whose would he take… but he would have to kiss them. He prowled around the front of the ballroom a bit, thinking out loud about possible answers, and then walked up to Eleanor and threw the question back at her in his trademark demon-ish way. She told him it was her birthday and so he should be nice to her. When it sounded like he wasn’t believing her, I stood up from the back of the audience and said that I was her mother and I could attest to the fact that it was her birthday, and then sat back down. He looked out over the audience and said “it’s like a field of gophers, and then one pops up!” Then he took Eleanor’s face in his hands and kissed her once on each cheek.
I stood at the side of the ballroom for an hour and a half in order to ask Misha Collins a question–I asked whether, now that he gets cultural and literary references, the character would be less fun to play. He replied that we shouldn’t worry, that lots of stuff will still be going right over Castiel’s head.
Because her classes started on Monday morning, Glynis had to fly back to Ohio on Sunday, while Eleanor and I stayed on for the day when the show’s two main stars would be on stage. Eleanor got a photo taken between the two of them, and she and I got one with the taller star, who plays Sam Winchester. We had talked about how we wanted to pose, but when the moment came, all we could do was grin like maniacs.
Eleanor’s photo with Misha Collins turned out the best of all the photos. She told him it was her 21st birthday and he hugged her and said “congratulations on surviving.”
We were in the vendor’s room fairly early on Sunday morning, looking at our photo op pictures while Eleanor put some of hers in a plastic sleeve we’d just bought, using an unoccupied table. I looked up and some people had come in and seemed to want the table, so we were scooping up our photos and moving away when one of them came over and gave me a friendly grin and said “thanks!” Then I realized it was Chad Rook, who played a vampire on the show. The actors, they’re somehow more highly burnished than ordinary people.
It was a wonderful experience, and I’m glad we got to go while the show is still being filmed. The weekend we were there, in fact, they were filming the 200th episode, which is promised with musical numbers.
It was interesting to watch, all those people united by love of a story, meeting each other and the people who play the characters in that story and asking questions about their inspirations, motivations, and what comes next.