Episode 2 Living the Dream: Pittsburgh’s 1st Supernatural Convention

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July was a pretty productive, busy month for me. It seemed as if everything just seamlessly transitioned into one another, with Supernatural Convention first.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Supernatural the television show has been on for 12 seasons. It’s one of the longest airing shows to date. The show centers around supernatural “hunters” brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, who drive around in a badass Impala takin’ out the things that go bump in the night. Vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, and even God and Lucifer are just a few of the characters and story lines that have appeared over the years. The show has a huge following of fandoms, and much like My Little Pony has an abundance of autistic fans, Supernatural has an abundance of fans who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.  The fans are all very supportive and kind to one another, and  the actors are so genuine  off camera and with their fans, that the relationship between those on the show and their fans is one of the biggest draws in the fandom. Jared Padalecki and Jenses Ackles; the actors who play the brothers Sam and Dean, seem to be the best of friends with not only each other, but many of the cast members on the show, in a genuine and honest way.  The fandom adopts the hashtag and term SpnFamily, because it’s been stated that this fandom is indeed more than that; it’s a family.

For the longest time, Supernatural has had conventions.  Produced and ran by Creation Entertainment- the same company that runs Star Trek conventions and Once Upon A Time conventions, the Supernatural convention has been out of our reach. The closest convention to Pittsburgh was Chicago; that is until this past summer. My friends and I have been watching the show since it premiered 11 years ago, and have always wanted to attend, so you can imagine our excitement when they announced they were coming to OUR CITY.  While Supernatural was more expensive than any of us could have imagined, the experience was exclusive and so much fun. Much like Brony Con, this was a specific fandom based convention in which our time was spent mostly attending panels and photo ops. The cast members new and old are so enthusiastic about the convention itself, it’s hard not to feel their infectious energy.  Nicki cosplayed as “Dean-mon” the demon version of Dean Winchester, and I cosplayed as “Sam-antha” Winchester, and Dani sported a badass  version of the Impala, fully equipped with license plate replica from the Impala in the show.

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The con took place downtown Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which itself if HUGE. The very same weekend of Supernatural, there was also a massive Yugi-Oh Convention going on, and it just to happened that the first day of the Con was also the debut of Pokémon Go!, and Saturday was the Pittsburgh Bicentennial complete with cosplay parade and  evening firework celebration. What a great day to be in Pittsburgh!

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Friday night there was a Kareoke concert,  Saturday was a long day full of panels and pictures with Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins.

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I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to meet these guys. Mark Sheppard is one of those actors who has been in so many awesome shows that I have liked over the years, it’s obvious by the look on my face- with my crazy eyes and all- that I was so freaking stoked. Misha Collins is such a cool human being in general, and embraces his quirkiness and spreads kindness and happiness with everything he does. This is when things go beyond “playing a part”, and one of the many reasons Supernatural’s fandom is so cool.

Friday was the first day of the con, and I was off work to attend. Dani had to work, but Nicki and I were available, so we headed down early to get the lay of the land,  hang out in the Strip District (which has nothing to do with strippers and everything to do with cool cuisine) and attend the fabled celebrity and fan  karaoke event. While waiting in line for the doors to open to the Kareoke event, a woman in cosplay went about asking for anyone who had birthdays in July to step forward. Naturally I couldn’t sit still, and ended up getting wrangled into a game of “Chubby Bunny”- which until that day I had never heard of. All of us wore party hats, and were instructed to sit on the floor in a circle, and shove marshmallows into our mouths, one at a time ( the jumbo size not the little ones) and say “chubby bunny”. The person who was able to fit the most marshmallows in their mouth and still clearly say “chubby bunny” won a handmade Winchester pillow. I was out after the first round, only capable of fitting 2 marshmallows in my mouth. So many “big mouth” jokes and puns available here but I’m not going there.

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Saturday was the longest day. We got up pretty early, and traffic due to all the happening stuff in the ‘burgh was quite the pain in the ass. Pittsburgh streets alone are a force to be reckoned with, but half the roads were closed off due to the Cosplay Parade for the Bicentennial.  When we finally arrived to the con, there was a MASSIVE amount of geeks and nerds playing Pokémon Go.  As I stated above,  the weekend of our con was the debut weekend of Pokémon Go, and thus my fellow geeks were beside themselves with wonderment and adhd and while no one walked into traffic or fell off a cliff in the first few days,  the amount of people  who were not watching where they were going, or collecting into large groups of people just standing there blocking entrances was something of its own to behold.

A whole shlew pf 3,000 people attended the Supernatural Convention, and I bet you  most of them were there Saturday and Sunday.  Shuffling around the David L. Lawrence in cosplay, hungry and severly under-caffeinated, we relished in the moments we were able to sit in our panels and soak up the awesomeness that surrounded us. We even attended a auction, just to see what kind of items and crazy prices would be witnessed. We sat in the middle back, away from all the bidders, and yet at one point I  stretched my arm and the bidding announcer asked me if I was bidding on the tapestry of the  Winchesters that was going for over $1,000. Mortified, I said  “no I’m not bidding, I was  just stretching”. I truthfully don’t know how he even saw my hand, being as I was further away than the girl who was clearly jumping up and down waving her arms to place her bid.

Saturday night there was a concert by the house band, Louden Swain. Louden Swain is fronted by Rob Benedict- or as we know him in the fandom as Chuck, and God. The concert featured guests of the show as well. It was seriously a long day, and by 11:00 we were exhausted.

Sunday, the last day of the con was the only day Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles were at the con, so naturally it was the day we had our photographs taken with them and got to sit in on their panel, which was hilarious.

Now, most people have a favorite Winchester regardless. While I feel like Dean (Jensen Ackles)  is the most popular choice in my opinion, as if my cosplay wasn’t plain to see; I favor Sam Winchester- tall, brown eyes, long hair, brooding and smart.  I was thrilled to meet them  both, but definitely the most excited to meet Sam Winchester himself; Jared Padalecki.

Now if your a very, very serious fan and willing to spend the $400, you could get the “Sandwich” photo with both dreamboats and you in the middle. Keep in mind you may have already paid $300 or more for your admission package, and any other photo ops or autographs.  While tempting, we opted to get individual photos, and because we are an uneven group of 3 people, we had to purchase multiple solo photos so that we could have pictures together.  I had 2 pictures with Jared- one with Nicki and one with Dani. In my first picture with Jared and Nicki, I was so focused on not having crazy eyes in my photo- I wanted to look nice, and not unhinged. This was it for me- the one celebrity I’d always wanted to meet.  The First photo came out nice, and I was super happy I didn’t have crazy eyes.

However,  because you get moved through so quickly, I  waited after Nicki left for Dani to run in and pose for the second picture, and was immensely surprised and elated that Jared got a little more personal and pulled me in for a hug for the photo. I couldn’t get over what just happened, and my inner fan girl was doing cartwheels and somersaults. As the flash went out I courteously thanked Mr. Padalecki for the photo, to which he rubbed my back as he looked at me and said “Your welcome” in the friendliest, nicest way. I managed to keep my composure until we walked out of the photo op room, and once out, I  squee-ed like a 11 year old girl who had just met Justin Beiber.

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Truthfully, I know it’s their job and all- but you can honestly tell thettat both of these awesome guys truly LOVE what it is they are doing, and it was reiterated numerous times in their panel. They talked about how lucky they truly felt to have the opportunity to be able to meet their fans and hang out with their friends and have a good time while doing it simultaneously.  It’s not acting either- these guys truly love interacting with their fans.  While they were only there for one day, their whole day was devoted to their fans. Posing for pictures, meeting people for meet and greets, and entertaining us with hilarity in their panels.  At the ending ceremonies Louden Swain graced our ears with “It’s The End of the Con As We Know It” to which we all sang along “It’s the end of the con as we know it, and I feel saaaaad….”.

In all honesty, we were sad.  So much time went into planning and funding this amazing con, and so much energy was put forth, attending panels, and meeting and posing for photos with the celebs, that by 5 pm Sunday we were exhausted, sad, thrilled and really not looking forward to Monday.

I was pretty exhausted with a massive case of con hangover, tired beyond belief.  It didn’t help my job was pretty tiring too, and just as I was recuperating, it was time to leave for the next con- this time with just my husband…..

the next stop: Trot Con-in Columbus, Ohio.

 

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