Con Report: @CreationEnt’s #Burcon (Salute to #Supernatural – Burbank)

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I have attended my share of cons, but my experience at Creation Entertainment‘s Salute to Supernatural Convention in Burbank (#Burcon) this past weekend was unlike any other. Even attending for one day as a fan who admittedly is still Netflix-binging her way through the series (but has significant supplementary knowledge from Tumblr), I had an amazing time. Between the music from house band Louden Swain (fronted by Supernatural‘s own Rob Benedict), the abundance of jokes about Jared Padalecki’s magnificent hair, and the many laugh-out-loud (many, many times) stories told by Jared and Jensen, Sunday was an entertaining day to say the least. Whether you’re considering attending one of Creation’s upcoming conventions (for SupernaturalThe Vampire DiariesTeen Wolf, or one of the other fandoms they cover) or just want to hear about (or relive) the #Burcon magic, here’s the inside scoop from the event:

THE VENUE

Before we get down to discussing the hilarious #Burcon panels, I have to mention just how fabulous the venue was. I had been looking forward to #Burcon since I attended my first Creation convention, Days of the Wolf (for Teen Wolf, naturally), in February–and one major reason for that is the venue. Both cons took place at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel’s convention center, which is an excellent con space. Having only seen “the boys” at SDCC prior to Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they would be appearing in such an intimate venue–I sat in both the front and the back of the main hall at different points of Days of the Wolf (DOTW), and there’s truly not a bad seat in the house. Combined with Creation’s policy of only selling as many tickets as they have seats for (and offering reserved seating with most ticket levels), much of the stress of bigger cons like SDCC is taken out of the picture before you even arrive. Not having to ponder logistical questions such as whether 7 PM is too late to get in the (outdoor) line for the next day’s panels is definitely a win in my book (Hall H line, I’m enjoying our time apart). For those, “Oh yeah, I guess I have to eat at some point” moments, the Marriott is also located within easy walking distance of a variety of restaurants (and Starbucks, which is always a plus). Essentially, A+ con space with (a) intimate programming space, (b) compact convention area, (c) lots of parking, (d) food (and coffee!) nearby, and (e) reasonably priced accommodations if needed.

Now, the LA-area Supernatural con will be moving to a new (presumably larger) venue for 2015: the Pasadena Center. I have not been to the Pasadena Center, but with Creation’s reserved seating and no overselling policies, I wouldn’t be too concerned about poor views of the stage or anything like that. However, if you (like me) are thinking of attending Days of the Wolf next March, you will get to enjoy the many benefits of the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel.

THE PROGRAMMING

One of the best things about Creation’s Salute to Supernatural conventions is that not only are they a great opportunity to see the famous Winchester brothers, but also a TON of the show’s other stars. We’re not talking just Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard, either (as awesome as they are)–over the course of the weekend, 16 Supernatural stars appeared, from fan favorite Osric Chau to Trickster/Master of Ceremonies Richard Speight, Jr. There are also plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with your favorite hunter, angel, demon, or human–the schedule is filled with photo ops, autograph sessions, and meet and greets galore. I started off my day at the con by getting my “Winchester sandwich” photo with Jared and Jensen (what more can you ask for from a Sunday morning, really?) before returning to the theater for the first panel of the day.

Alaina Huffman (Abbadon)

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Soon enough, Master of Ceremonies Richard Speight, Jr. and Louden Swain kicked off the day and Alaina Huffman took the stage for the first panel. She answered a ton of fan questions, from (spoiler alert) whether she was satisfied with Abbadon’s death scene (she feels that there is more story to tell, whether that’s through her returning to the show or exploring it through another point of view) to which vehicle she would choose as Abbadon’s equivalent to the Impala (a fleet of motorcycles). Alaina also talked about how she has never felt so welcomed into a fandom, and how a friend showed her some great Abbadon fan art on Tumblr (which led to the discovery of Supernatural fan fiction–“It was an education,” she said). She’s loving the “age of the anti-hero” in TV right now, too, and feels that Supernatural is doing a great job of crafting complex villains (like Crowley).

Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles

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After a brief interlude featuring a fan-made Supernatural “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” music video (a.k.a. perfection), Jared and Jensen took the stage mid-Louden Swain song, rocking out alongside the band. They took a moment to talk a little bit about the 200th episode and thank the fans for watching/attending the con/generally being awesome. Then it was their turn for fan questions–cue pretty much non-stop laughter. The first question: Sam’s hair obviously has magical properties. So beyond acting as a constant source of Wi-Fi (Jensen now takes out his phone and holds it near Jared’s head, apparently picking up a signal), what else can it do? Jared says that it can probably name the state capitals–but Jensen wants to know if Hair (Jared’s mane personified) can name the 50 states in alphabetical order “in a sing-songy fashion.” Apparently, it can:

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Other highlights included: Jared demonstrating his yodeling abilities (which he apparently learned from watching The Price is Right); the boys recounting buying a mattress for Jensen in Vancouver and attempting to transport it in Jared’s SUV, necessitating Jensen awkwardly trying to keep the mattress from falling off the vehicle and (of course) them running across fans on the road; and, when asked what Sam and Dean would put on their lists for Santa this Christmas, Jared responding, “Didn’t we kill Santa?” One fan also mentioned how her late friend’s dogs were named Sam and Dean–and Jensen made the mistake of asking what kind of dogs they were. Sam was a yellow lab (see Jared’s triumphant reaction below)… and Dean was a one-eyed chihuahua. Jensen’s response? “Those things are badass, okay?”

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The boys also answered some more serious questions about their characters, such as whether Jensen approached playing Deanmon any differently than Dean. He said he was worried about taking the character to too dark a place, especially coming out of a very dark season for Dean already. Instead, he decided to do the opposite, interpreting damnation as a release from all Dean’s baggage, cares, and moral ties. Deanmon may be sadistic, but he’s much more carefree. A fan asked Jared if/how he would tell Sam to stand up for himself rather than constantly being everyone’s scapegoat. He said that growing up with the character, he has come to realize that everyone has their own truth–that even if, say, someone blames you for an incident and it isn’t your fault, it doesn’t invalidate the other person’s perceptions/truth.

The stars of Supernatural never disappoint–from heartfelt insight into the beloved characters they have played for ten years now to countless laugh-out-loud quips and stories, Jared and Jensen certainly know how to work a room.

THE FANDOM

What convention recap would be complete without discussing the people who make it all possible? The Supernatural family is truly something to behold–and they really are a family. #Burcon had such a positive atmosphere, with lots of cool cosplayers (Cas! The Impala! So much plaid!), lots of laughs, and lots of people giddy at meeting Jared, Jensen, Misha, and the other awesome stars on-hand to celebrate all things Supernatural. As conventions go, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Thanks to Creation and the Supernatural fandom for a supernaturally good weekend! Hope to see you again next year.

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