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“Salute To Supernatural” Con Report, Day Two

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Day two got right back down to business. Of course that was after a small amount of excitement at the hotel involving slow service in the restaurant and a broken elevator. It’s amazing how two minor little things can just throw off a morning for people, but it did, big time. I’ll have to admit, the staff here at the Wyndam O’Hare weren’t exactly well prepared for the masses of fans coming to their facility. Every time the word “Supernatural” was mentioned to the staff, I saw a lot of blank stares.

I got over the elevator issue easily — I TOOK THE STAIRS. This isn’t exactly a high rise hotel. It’s funny how most didn’t take that advice and instead lined up for the one working elevator. After I easily beat others to my floor by at least ten minutes (maybe longer), I got the real show of the morning. My room was close to the end of the hall and an older woman in full formal dress stood at the end of the hallway, hands on her hips, staring at me the entire way down with irritation. As I got closer, I tilted my head, trying to figure out what was up with her.

“Are you from the restaurant?” she asked with agitated voice when I was within “firm talking to” distance. I didn’t understand where she got that impression, since I was dressed in regular clothing, holding a hotel key card, and carrying my purse.

“Um, no,” I replied.

She then went off, for she had a place to be (a wedding by the looks of it) and they still hadn’t delivered her room service. I then explained there was an issue with the elevators and it might be faster for her to go down the ONE flight of stairs and get it herself.

“That’s because of all these young people around here for some stupid thing.” She went back into her room and slammed the door, not before I heard her mutter angrily, “I don’t have time for this.”

You know, that ended up setting the tone for the day. “I don’t have time for this.” For the second day in a row, Creation’s tight schedule didn’t exactly go smoothly when it came to autographs, the Jason Manns concert, and then the Dessert and Cocktail party. Everything ran about an hour behind, and the whole experience by that time felt rushed.

Since I don’t have a Gold Ticket, I didn’t get the honor to attend the dessert and drinks mixer, so I sat in the karaoke-less bar actually able to have a conversation with people, drinking the worst Purple Nurple I’ve ever had. Sure, I could have had the “Sam-tini” or the “Dean-garita”, but I was in the mood for something with coconut rum in it. Not only was this drink not purple (it was cherry red), there wasn’t a trace of coconut in it. Or blue curacao. Or orange liqueur. I still have no freaking idea what I drank other than booze and cranberry juice.

Anyway, I’ve jumped ahead a bit. Back to the start of the day. Once I walked down the stairs to the ballroom, the day got started on schedule with another fan video and then the panel with Samantha Smith. This was her first time at a con, and she was nervous at first. She didn’t know what to expect from us or us her. Her hair was curled and a different color but she looked great. People started asking questions, and any hope from the day before of the same lame questions from other cons not being rehashed was quickly dashed.

I honestly don’t know if it was the questions or the way the panelists were answering them, but they didn’t seem to be having fun with them and didn't try go off on amusing tangents because the questions were so lame. Richard Speight Jr. the day before managed to take any question and turn it into a fascinating story, but the panelists today for the most part didn’t do much with the answers and overall the Q&A sessions fell flat.

It didn’t matter who the panelist was. The same questions were often asked and I can’t think of an interesting answer that came with any of them. What actor or director would you like to work with? What TV show would you like to be on? What’s your favorite genre? What are you working on now? How did you end up auditioning for the part? (The answer almost always is “my agent”). What character would you be stuck on a desert island with? What’s your favorite word, and favorite cuss word? Then there's the MOST over-asked and irritating question of the con: Have you been pranked by Jensen and Jared? Does anyone think they’re getting an honest answer from that? No one did.

As I scan through my notes trying to find the interesting parts, one excellent question did come from the Samantha Smith panel. The lady asked whether as a mother (aka Mary), would she approve of Sam and Ruby having sex? Finally, a spark in the room! She didn’t have an easy answer for that, at first thinking they are adults but then again Ruby is a demon, but then again, she’s a good demon. That got the crowd going, for most don’t agree Ruby is good. Samantha kept up her belief, saying that if there can be fallen angels there can be good demons. I don’t think she sold the room, but I liked her point.

Another popular question for everyone, but one that I happen to enjoy, is if they’ve had any encounters with Jared’s dogs. Samantha by far had the best answer. She has a 3½ lb. Yorkie and brought her with her to the set. The dog was in the trailer and the door was open, but the dog was too small to get out. Harley and Sadie were running in a nearby field and Harley ended up running up the trailer stairs and sticking his nose in. Samantha’s little dog bit him in the nose and Harley ran off humiliated in pain.

Samantha so far was the only panelist to reveal she actually watches the show and is a fan, but I think it helps coming into it from the pilot. Her favorite male character (other than the leads) is Castiel, her favorite female Ellen. I have to admit, not bad choices. She was asked about working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan twice, meaning some fans weren’t listening to all the questions. She did talk about being on the Friends set playing Hot Girl, and had some good words for Matthew Perry. She also mentioned a bit about the nervousness over the SAG situation, and how bad the writers' strike devastated Hollywood. It’s apparently not a happy time out there in LaLa land.

Jason Manns did his panel next and I’ll admit I didn’t know anything about him until a friend at breakfast revealed he was a musician friend of Jensen’s. The most interesting reveal of his panel was that he’s producing a new film called Rock Slyde. This doesn’t sound like your run of the mill indie film, for it has some stars in it. It stars Patrick Warburton who I absolutely love (Puddy on Seinfeld, and my favorite voiceover, Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove). Other names dropped were Andy Dick (that had to be interesting), Rena Softer, and Jason Alexander. They're hopeful about getting a distributor and plan on screening it at some festivals like AFI or SXSW in the future.

Another great story (asked by my friend Jane), was a crazy story involving him, Jensen, a video camera, and a BB gun. I’m sure there’s a YouTube video around showing him tell this story, but it was pretty much a moment of reckless abandon where they videotaped shooting each other with BB guns. When asked if it hurt, his answer was a resounding yes. He also mentioned something about his friend reacting to the whole event like one of those “fainting goats”, but by this time, the mental picture of both men getting pelted by pellets near that oh so dangerous region of hamstring was distracting any further bits of the story.

Of course, someone asked him what’s the funniest thing he’s ever done with Jensen to which he replied, “Didn’t you just hear?” Anything else he can’t mention in public. Another interesting fact he revealed is that while at William and Mary, he traveled for four or five years in an a capella singing group, The Stairwells. Also, one of his best friends is Michael Rosenbaum, Lex Luthor on Smallville. He wisely refused to answer any questions about whether Michael might be coming back to the show. As someone who is catching up on old Smallville seasons while watching season eight, I really miss Lex Luthor. I wish he would.

I also attended the Jason Manns concert that evening, and he has a great voice. I wasn’t familiar with any of his songs, but judging by the way the audience sang along with some of them, they were and he has quite a following among this group. The concert was entertaining, but again way too rushed. He had to beg the organizer to let him play three final songs, putting in the total concert time at less than an hour. I would have loved to have heard more.

Out of all the panelists of the day, the best was Charles Malik Whitfield. With his panel and the way he answered the questions, it’s impossible for me to share his full answers because they were often long. The answers were often interesting though. When he came out, all I thought was, “Damn! He looks FINE.” He certainly made an impression with his white jacket and black t-shirt.

His story is quite inspirational. He grew up in the 'hood in The Bronx, where he knew Christopher Wallace (The Notorious B.I.G.) and the Junior M.A.F.I.A. He called himself a “difficult child” and fell into the life of gangs and selling drugs. It wasn’t until a mentor of his got him to take an acting class that he pulled everything together. He was challenged to write a monologue and did. Then he went to a group home and saw that monologue acted by someone else. He had a strong reaction, but didn’t like what that person did with it at all. He was challenged to do it the way he wanted, and one kid came up to him after he did, moved to tears. It was then that he realized what an impact he could make with acting.

He recently did a film about The Notorious B.I.G. called Notorious, and said he was the only actor cast who actually knew him. He talked about getting to know Biggie’s mother on the set, and mentoring with the real Wayne Barrow, who was the character he played. He also talked at length about what an inspiration Gregory Hines was to him, and what he not only taught him about acting but about life. He shared one thing that he did learn — that it’s important to slow down, take the time and do it right.

He was also in the TV movie The Temptations as Otis Williams. I had no idea! I absolutely loved that film, but I obviously never paid attention to who the unknown actor was. He talked about meeting Berry Gordy, Otis Williams, and Smokey Robinson. It was a very special movie to him. He also mentioned a new film coming up where he works with Donald Faison of Scrubs, one of his best friends with whom he went to junior high school.

As for Supernatural, apparently his friends are huge fans of the show, and gave him a lot of crap for being so mean to the Winchesters. One of the reactions he got was, “Why are you on my show?” He did the part because he was impressed with the script (“Nightshifter” — I don’t blame him), and he was overly impressed with Jensen and Jared. Someone brought up him being dunked into the toilet in “Jus In Bello” and he gave the proper lighthearted reaction to that one. The hardest part apparently were the black contacts he had to wear through that scene. Overall, the scene wasn’t fun, especially since the water was cold.

His favorite scene was the telephone conversation between him and Dean in “Nightshifter”, and I have to say mine too. He fashioned the part after Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, and I have to say he did a great job. He got the often asked “what is your favorite cuss word” question, and his answer was the best of the day. I won’t repeat, but if you’re a fan of Samuel L. Jackson, you know the word.

I’m going to give least coverage to Chad Lindberg’s panel. I wasn’t that impressed. Sure, he pulled out his nephew, who was adorable in throwing off the hat with a fake mullet on it, but out of all the panelists, Chad least connected with the fans and the dull questions. There was one fascinating part of his panel worth mentioning though, and that was his film, My Big Break. This is a documentary filmed over ten years covering four actors and a director trying to break into Hollywood. There is him, Wes Bentley (who I loved in American Beauty), Brad Rowe, and Greg Fawcett. The film is not the happy side of Hollywood, for it shows the intense struggle of these young actors, and the downside of success and failure. It was pre-screened at EyeCon in September, and needless to say it made quite an impression.

The director is Tony Zierra, who had disappeared for a while after 9/11, and five years later came back ready to compile all his footage. The DVD for the film is available for pre-order on Amazon.com with a release date of November 30.

THE big day is today. I’m sitting in a bar right now, typing this up while jubilant fans wait in line for their photo op for the Jared and Jensen sandwich (all photo op tickets sold fast, so I missed out). The line has already moved fast for Jared and Jensen’s turn is after this, so Creation is obviously determined to keep the schedule going today. More to come!

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About Alice Jester

  • http://bardicvoice.livejournal.com Mary

    Thanks for your reports, Alice! I’m enjoying them.

    My complaints about cons are that they’re rushed, pricey, and duplicative. I’d love to encounter actors in their natural environment (i.e., watching them work), but the chances of that are so laughably remote that I settle for cons and then wonder why, especially when I hear the same lame questions over and over again. If I’m tired of them, the actors must positively cringe, and it’s to their credit that they hide it and keep smiling.

    But in every con, there are gem moments that make it all worthwhile: meeting the folk you’ve blogged with, hearing an original question with a really funny or insightful answer, seeing people interact. And thus, we keep going.

    I’m looking forward to your report on Jared and Jensen!

  • kate

    I have paid for a con and spent the whole (ok almost whole) time in the bar with online friends and meeting new ones. In fact I will be doing that at a local con later this month. Granted the con is a small one and significantly cheaper it does seem odd sometimes to pay money to sit in a hotel bar with friends.

    But so far it has always been worth it.

  • http://samtheseries1.proboards83.com Drew

    Hey, Alice. Sounds like your having some fun up there in Chicago. Good to hear. Sorry you missed out on your photo op though.

  • Robin

    Loved your rundown of events at the Con, Alice, and sure wish I’d known you were there so I could have given you a hug and told you how much I enjoy your SUPERNATURAL articles! The whole thing IS too rushed, there’s far too much waiting in long lines, there isn’t enough down time for people to get something to eat, and the damn hotel gave us a fridge that froze my insulin, rendering it useless! But standing between Jared and Jensen for my sandwich photo op was heavenly, even though the resultant photo looks like two sleek, gorgeous eagles with an ugly wren standing between them! My hair looked TERRIBLE!

    Thank God for Photoshop. I’ll just remove myself altogether!

    Thanks again, Alice, for all your wonderful articles on SUPERNATURAL!

    Love, Robin

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Hey everyone! I wanted to point out a MAJOR typo. Please remember this was done in a rush in between events, so I apologize for missing this detail. Charles Malik Whitfield is from THE BRONX, not Brooklyn. I’m sure that’s a big difference to people in that area. Sorry!

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    I fixed that for you, Alice.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Thanks Christopher!

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