Two of your Nerd Hero writers took a five day excursion to Las Vegas to experience a Supernatural convention. It started out with a dozen perfectly sculpted men on stage taking off all their clothes. Actually, that was the Chippendale show we went to after registering for the con, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Specific conventions work a little differently than your average multi-fandom comic cons. Panels are arranged back to back with occasional breaks, so you never have to choose between two that you want to see. Photo ops and autographs are scattered throughout the weekend for each of the actors who get up on stage. Naturally these all cost extra on top of the admission price.
Our general weekend passes were $240 each. The only evening event included in that was the traditional karaoke with the cast. Attendees can sign up ahead of time to get up on stage and sing along with the cast to their choice of music. For example, Timothy Osmundson sang “Let It Go” from Frozen. Yes, it was amazing as it sounds.
Each of the four days opened with Richard Speight Jr. (Gabriel/Trickster) who entertainingly delivered the rules and regulations with the house band Louden Swain (featuring Rob Benedict [Chuck] as lead singer). Scattered throughout the weekend were panels from Tyler Johnston (Samandriel), Travis Aaron Wade (Cole), Lauren Tom (Mrs. Tran), Osric Chau (Kevin Tran), Curtis Armstrong (Metatron), Gil McKinney (Henry Winchester), Samantha Smith (Mary Winchester), Timothy Osmundson (Cain), Sebastian Roche (Balthazar), Mark Pellegrino (Lucifer), Mark Sheppard (Crowley), Richard, Matt and Rob together, Misha Collins (Castiel), Jeffery Dean Morgan (John Winchester), Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel), and of course the golden duo of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki (Dean and Sam). Each panel lasted approximately an hour.
No specific topics are discussed at each panel and most of the actors took questions and gave rambling answers (with the exception of Mark Sheppard who seemed to enjoy the straightforward “no”). Others, such as Sebastian Roche, just ran around the audience singing songs, making fantastically inappropriate comments, and generally acting like a high chipmunk. Poor Mark Pellegrino had had an allergic reaction to lotion hours before and hosted his panel while loopy on benadryl, which was an odd followup to Roche’s high energy antics.
Each actor brings their own flair to their panels. Tyler Johnston discussed having to fit his goods into a type of sock for a nude scene in another series, and Travis Aaron Wade spoke seriously about saving animals and his experience with PTSD. Osric Chau crashed Lauren Tom’s panel dressed as Amy Wong from Futurama, who Lauren voiced. Misha was his usual eccentric self, while Mark Sheppard wandered the audience answering questions with a sarcastic bored voice while teasing the questioner. Jared and Jensen had a great energy together and hosted their panel almost as if they were comedians.
With the overview out of the way, let’s talk about the structure and organization of the con itself. Attendees are able to purchase different levels of tickets to ensure good seats, much like at any show. Gold members (who paid approximately $750) took center front, with Silver behind them, and Copper to the sides. The back and far edges were for general admission. As Vegas con is one of their largest, the general admission tickets were too far away to see much properly, and left us feeling a little out of the loop. Luckily the sound system was well set up and, with the exception of some lyrics, we were able to hear clearly.
Gold members have access to special events, including a private morning panel with Jensen and Jared, an evening cocktail event, and the Saturday Night Special (which was available to others for an additional $50). Also included are eight autographs. If you really want, you can pay about $1350 for a Gold front row seat. I don’t know about you, but even $750 is too rich for my blood. Oh, and the majority of Gold pass holders? Young girls who had their parents pay for it, or middle aged overweight women who seem to leak loneliness. I hate to say it, but honestly that sums up the majority of the overall audience.
The combined forces of your two Nerd Hero writers, who are called Trenna, found that we were almost out of place as two fairly attractive and fit women in our late 20’s. This may be why the actors were more than happy to pay us a little extra attention during the Friday night Karaoke.
Unfortunately half of the Trenna duo caught the notorious con plage (a flu or cold that spreads due to the crowd, not from making out with people, which she didn’t do), and so the other half coughed up the extra $50 for the Saturday Night Special and attended alone. What a night! Louden Swain was really in the swing of it, playing not only their own songs, but providing live music for other actors who came on stage to sing. Gil McKinney is quite popular for his voice, which is like the soft down of goose feathers floating on a summer breeze, and he sang several times, delighting the audience. Jensen made a surprise appearance and lit up the room with his voice and energy. By the end, more cast members were on stage than had appeared in a single episode, singing together in a grand finale that earned a standing ovation. But who am I kidding, I went for Gil.
As the convention began to wind down, and half of Trenna became more ill, energy began to leak out of the room. Audience and actors alike were tired, not only from being in the convention, but for the classic temptations of Vegas surrounding us. We heard many tales of drinking a tad too much, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning. Trenna suffered a severe lack of sleep to the point where separating the different days became a nearly impossible task. Luckily the convention schedule helped sort it out.
In the end I doubt we’ll attend VegasCon again, not because of the content, but because of the size. There were simply too many people all scrambling for the same thing, and with only so many actors, there wasn’t enough to go around. My previous Supernatural con in Vancouver was small enough that I was able to speak to and hug the majority of the actors without purchasing extra photos or autographs. The cons themselves are very entertaining, but also very pricey. If you have an extra grand to blow on a bunch of stuff in about three days then go ahead! But if you’re a penny-pinching cheap-a-zoid like us, well, good luck.
Co written by the beautiful Jenna Van Vleet and Tracey McNamee, effectively creating Trenna.