Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fail Xmas billboard - Baby Jesus with a Toe Tag

Some billboards are clever or leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling. This billboards made me instantly think of a body with a toe tag. Imagine how surprised I was when I saw the name JESUS on the toe tag.

Yes I know what the church of the billboards was trying to do. Jesus is the best Christmas gift, but couldn't the tag be at the wrist instead?

Closeup of the toe tag reads "He will be called JESUS"


The full billboard

Friday, November 18, 2011

Salute to Supernatural Chicago 2011 Photo Album

Too many pictures for me to post on here so I've uploaded the album for everyone to enjoy. Includes pictures of all the guest stars including the cocktail hour and the breakfast with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Salute to Supernatural - Cocktail Party

Saturday already was a full day. There were the panels for Corin Nemec, Amy Gumenick, Matt Cohen and Richard Spreight Jr. along with the Misha Collins panel followed by the autographs. We had just enough time to have dinner and get changed for the cocktail party. One unexpected treat was on the way down in the elevator Rick Worthy was right behind me. When one of my friends pointed this out, I went into full fangirl mode and Rick launched into sexy Alpha Vamp voice. I later was able to dance with him with several fans at the cocktail party.

Unlike the breakfast the next morning, the cocktail party had no assigned seating so if you lined up early to get into the banquet room you got the best table. As the evening went on this was less of an issue as the guest stars didn't remain on the stage but went around the room visiting our tables to chat with us for a few minutes before they were tapped on the shoulder by Creation employees to keep moving. Like the karaoke party, I found the cocktail party very satisfying and worth the price of the gold ticket. It gave the fans a chance to interact with the actors in an informal and fun setting.

Before the actors made their appearance, there also was a centerpiece contest and some of the lengths some fans went to decorating their tables was amazing. Perhaps the most impressive was a tablecloth replica of the seance table Pamela used in "Lazarus Rising." On the same table was a replica of John's hunter journal with painstaking research and drawings of monsters and how to kill them.

Next to the table I was at - adjacent to the right of the stage - was a small model of the Impala, a toy moose, a couple of rubber duckies and several toy soldiers. Misha Collins enjoyed going to that table where he subsequently started doing dirty things with the soldiers.

Some fans were disappointed with the cocktail party compared to past conventions because there was no dessert and you had to pay for the drinks at the hefty price $4 for a soda and $8 for a beer. This wasn't a big deal for me as I mostly enjoyed chatting with the actors and having that personal time. If I wanted a drink and dessert I'd go to the bar down the street.

After the actors were announced and went to the stage, Creation allowed 3 minutes for you come up with your camera and take all the pictures you wanted before you were asked to put away your camera for the rest of the event. I enjoyed this one snapshot where it appears Amy is lecturing Matt. I was okay with the no pictures policy as it allowed the actors to enjoy their time at the party along with the fans without the pressure of taking pictures or getting photo ops.

Matt Cohen was the first one to visit our table. My first thought was, "Wow he's gorgeous!" followed by "Look at the muscles on that guy."

I asked Matt if he'd like the ability the archangel Michael had to make people forget just by touching their forehead.

"I'd love that ability. Especially if a cop pulled me over for speeding," Matt replied.

One of the fans asked him what his was secret to looking so good.

"Not enough sleep, starve yourself and work out," he said smiling.

After he moved on to the next table, the fans there subsequently ruined his diet by feeding Matt cupcakes.

Amy Gumenick was all smiles when she came to our table. I asked her about her very sparkly necklace and she told me her sister made it and showed me she could take it apart and create a choker out of it.

I freaked out a little when Mark Pelligrino visited us. I thought, "OMG Lucifer is sitting with us!" But quickly this thought disappeared as Mark is such a relaxed, down-to-earth person and just a real pleasure to talk to.

Sebastian had a glass of scotch when he sat with us and started to dance with several fans. He also hugged fans throughout the night, including one that was almost too shy to ask for one.

I asked Misha Collins what his plans were for world domination.

"Are you on Twitter," Collins asked.

When I replied "No." He said "You're lost. There's no hope for you."

Around 1 a.m. the rounds finished up and the DJ cranked up the music. Sebastian and Rick got out on to the dance floor and most of the fans joined them. Later I heard from a fan that stayed up after the cocktail party that Mark Pelligrino and Rick Worthy stayed to chat with the fans. I heard from one fan (who stayed up the whole night) Rick was on the floor chatting until 5 a.m.

Overall it was a fun night with wonderful actors who really care about their fans. You guys (and gal) are awesome!

Salt and burn baby!
(one of the table centerpieces)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Focus! I said FOCUS!!

Perhaps a writer's best friend is living in a distraction free environment. I used to live in that world - sort of - when I was about 12-18 years old. Once the Internet became fast and more efficient than AOL ("You've got mail!") and Netscape (which would take 5 minutes to load one page) my writing career took a sharp nose dive. Why slave over writing or cry yourself to sleep from lack of inspiration when you can waste hours surfing the Net while creating the illusion you did something productive with your life?

Well now I can say I'm back to the slaving and the crying again because I found a program that helps me write like back in the old days when my computer wasn't jacked into the World Wide Web.

I have found perhaps the most boring word processing program in the world.

Focus Writer.

It blanks out the screen leaving just you, your blinking cursor and anything you write on the page. Tools, menus and scroll bars vanish unless you move your mouse cursor near them. You can't see any windows that are minimized when you're in the program. You have to either exit FocusWriter or minimize it in order to see any other minimized windows or programs.

FocusWriter is free if you want to try it out. You can customize it to any color font or screen you want. You can even use an image as your background although I find this pretty distracting. One cool little feature I've found oddly conducive to boosting my word count are the typewriter sounds feature. I love the clicking sounds as I write although when I start a new paragraph the sound of the "typerwriter" sliding back still scares the shit out of me. There are a lot of other nice features such as a timer (if you want to write a set amount of time) or a word count goal for the day.

Places you can download FocusWriter for free:

FocusWriter with an image background

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Salute to Supernatural - Misha Collins

Aside from Jared and Jensen, Misha Collins has got to be one of the most popular and highly anticipated guest at the Supernatural convention. Misha's "minions" (fans) exhibit a devotion displayed in the many "Castiels" at the convention. Some fans even wore feathered angel wings, sock puppet monkey hats or wore black-veined "Leviathan" makeup painted across the face. When Misha gave a brief appearance at Matt Cohen and Richard Spreight Jr.'s panel cheers erupted from the audience. The crowd grew restless after a small delay and Creation ran out of Castiel-themed music videos to show. Silly Creation. They could have asked any of his minions to stream Youtube videos from their iPhones.

When the speaker announced "GOD HAS ENTERED THE BUILDING" the audience screamed and cheered.

Q&A Paraphrased

Fan: Does your refrigerator work? Because we had to use the bathtub to keep things chilled.

MISHA: I don't understand. It seems like you're using your hotel's appliances for the wrong reasons. "Gee, I'd like to take a nap, but I can't fit in the microwave."

Fan: How has your life been adversely affected by Moose (Jared Padalecki)?

MISHA: There's been property damage. He's to blame for several hangovers.

Fan: Will Sam ever hug Cas?

MISHA: There's a clause in my contract that Sam has to hug Cas. Jared won't stop hugging me. He texted me last night to come and wrestle with him in his hotel room. He later texted me "C'mon. Don't be gay."

Fan: It seems when you played the Leviathan you were the most like your usual self.

MISHA: I'm glad that came across. When I decided to play the most evil maniacal being imaginable it came across as just me.

Fan: What was it like filming the Leviathan scene?

MISHA: Horrible. I came down with food poisoning while filming, which I rarely do, but I was so sick. I spent most of the time between takes on the couch or sitting on the toilet. I was looking at the pail (to vomit in) several times during the scene. It didn't help that I had black goo dripping into my mouth. I don't know about you but I don't like black goo oozing from my head either. They ended up shooting some of my coverage with my double.

Fan: How'd you come up with the name Anaximander (the middle name of Misha's son, West).

MISHA: I do what most fathers do when their wife is expecting their first child. I read Greek philosophers. Each time I mentioned the name we'd laugh. I call him "Waxy."

Fan: Would you heir your minions to West?

MISHA: That's kind of dark ages, feudal system passing my minions on to him. I'd have to be dead to do that. I don't like that idea anymore.

Fan: What's the weirdest gift you've received?

MISHA: A needlepoint of my face. It's terrifying. Maybe I can decorate my wall with pictures of my face all over it. I'd stare lovingly back at me.

Fan: What was it like working in the White House?

MISHA: I'd take some of the job applications home with me and laugh at them.

Fan: What product would you endorse?

(Misha's microphone squeaks shrilly each time he tries to speak)

MISHA: I get the message. I'd endorse Creation Entertainment.

Fan: What was it like playing the role in "Karla"?

MISHA: I had nightmares about my character. I was worried I wouldn't get out of that head space. There's a restraining order on the director. I came to the set and heard he shot some people.

Fan: If you were any animal what would you be?

MISHA: A naked molerat, for their translucent skin. You don't get that in other animals.

Fan: What super power would you like to have?

MISHA: The ability to walk in a straight line. One leg is longer than the other and it'd be useful not to veer off on to one side of the sidewalk.

Fan: Was Cas happy when he blew out the windows in "Lazarus Rising"?

MISHA: Castiel didn't know what he was doing then. He needed to learn to control his bodily functions and not fart.

Fan: What is your dream?

MISHA: I'd like to drop a bus into a live volcano, which is difficult because there are not many live volcanoes. I also found out the lava wouldn't be hot enough to melt the bus.

Fan: Did you enjoy playing evil!Cas or future!Cas?

MISHA: Future Cas because of the orgies. Lots of rehearsal went into that. I was very sore.

Fan: Who'd you marry, shag and kill?

MISHA: Marry Matt because he's good at cleaning. Shag Chad because of the boots. Push Richard off a cliff but with a parachute. We need him for the karaoke. I'm not doing that.

Misha thinks the "Castianity" T-shirt is creepy

Friday, November 4, 2011

Salute to Supernatural - Amy Gumenick

I was still groggy from going to bed at 3 a.m. after the karaoke party the night before. I could see who else stayed up as late from the bleary eyes and yawns. Some of us missed the Corin Nemec panel, myself included.

Amy Gumenick (young Mary Winchester) greeted the audience with a bright smile. She wore jeans, a gray top and a sparkly necklace. I was amazed by how petite Amy is. She also wore her beautiful blonde hair straight instead of Mary's long curls. Amy is cheerful, upbeat and sweet, the kind of person you'd love to hang out with as a best friend. Like many of the actors on Supernatural she was very cool around the fans and didn't give any airs of being an "actress" or "a star."

(Q&A Paraphrased)

Fan: Were you a fan of Supernatural before you got the part?

AMY: I actually started watching it after. It was daunting as Mary is such a well loved character. I was going for not portraying (the older) Mary. She's younger and hopeful. I tried to make her my own, which worked because they were looking for more Mary's spirit rather than a copy of what was done.

Fan: What was it like working on the set?

AMY: Everyone was so nice. This was only my fourth role so I've gotten so spoiled.When I go on to a set I think, "This is fun but it's not Supernatural."

Fan: Did you know you were auditioning for Mary?

AMY: No, I didn't. They had some other character down when I did the audition. It was only after I got the part they told me who I'd be playing.

Fan: Did you do any preparation to get into your character?

AMY: When I got back to my trailer I'd keep a journal writing out her history/backstory. I'd also twirl knives. *laughs* I miss that knife.

Fan: Who's the better kisser? Matt (Cohen) or Mitch Pileggi?

AMY: Matt of course. *laughs* He's sweet and good looking. Just look at our children! The kiss with Mitch was harder. Mitch really was like a father to me and then I had to kiss him. Poor Mitch was so nervous that day. He kept chewing gum. The only direction I got during the kissing scene was "Resist."

Sometimes it's difficult as the first scene you do with an actor is either kissing or a sex scene.

Fan: Why do you hate the Impala?

AMY: You can't put car seats in the Impala! (a fan mentioned they should do a scene where the boys are born in the Impala)

Fan: What was it like working with Julie McNiven (Anna)?

AMY: We spent a lot time together on the fight sequences and we became friends. I gave a speech at Julie's wedding. Afterward Julie's dad came up to me and said "Are you the one who tried to kill my daughter?" Well, she tried to kill me first! *laughs*

Fan: What's the auditioning process like?

AMY: Sometimes you walk into a room and see a bunch of supermodels. You think, "Well, I'm not going to get the part." but you never know. Maybe they don't want a supermodel. You never know what they're looking for so you got to try.

Fan: You've died in a lot of your previous roles.

AMY: I have. At least with Mary she starts out dead so I can never die. *laughs*

Fan: I loved the awkward family road trip scene.

AMY: What I remember most about filming that was Jared on the phone talking to Genevieve and giving her instructions on how to pop his dog's anal glands.

Fan: How'd you get into acting?

AMY: When I was a girl I wanted to play Roxie Hart. I told my parents I was going to play her which is probably horrifying for a parent to hear their little girl say. *laughs* I did play her when I got older.

Fan: What song would you sing at karaoke?

AMY: Lady Gaga's "Born This Way."

Fan: Who would you take with you to a desert island?

AMY: My family and friends. It's not as exciting as say Brad Pitt, but everyone knows something (cooking, etc.) and would be useful on a desert island.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Salute to Supernatural - Karaoke Party

The Karaoke Party stands out as one of the best experiences in the entire convention and certainly the most fun. The karaoke delivers what fan conventions should be about: Having fun and interacting with the guest stars, not waiting in long lines, paying tons of money for rushed photo ops or barely speaking a word to the actors before being herded off.

The karaoke party still was talked about the rest of the weekend because the actors of Supernatural get what a convention is all about: It's for the fans.

I knew I was in for something very different when most of the expensive "Gold" seating was cleared away to make room for a dance floor where anyone, regardless of how much they paid for a ticket, could get up close and party with the actors.

The karaoke party started late due to Matt Cohen's delayed flight. Some fans stood anxiously outside the still-closed theater at 10:30 p.m., checking for Matt's Twitter updates and wondering if he'd make the karaoke at all. By 11 p.m. the doors officially opened and Matt was there in his leather fringed vest, plaid pants and the first-ever Dick and Matt's karaoke commemorative T-shirt.

Jared Padalecki was seen briefly, wearing a black sock cap over his hair. Jared joked with Matt and Richard before disappearing behind the curtain for the night. Chad Lindberg wore a long blond wig and began to rock the house as he played air guitar. It didn't take long before Sebastian Roche (Bathalazar) broke Creation's cardinal rule of "No body surfing" and started the night-long trend of not only body surfing but face down.

Sebastian got the rest of the stars to body surf, including Rick Worthy (clearly the heaviest from the amount of struggling fan girls needed to keep him from the floor) and Mark Pelligrino. Matt made several jokes about the groping, including making an exaggerated motion of zipping his pants back up after a body surf. Richard Spreight Jr. commented on all the "bad touching" he got during his body surf.

Matt replied, "What happens in karaoke stays at karaoke!"

The karaoke included many songs featured on Supernatural, "Carry on Wayward Son," "Wheel in the Sky" and "Back in Black." Some were fun songs meant to wind the crowd up such as, "Jump," "Love Shack" and "Dirty Deeds" sung by Guy Bee.

A fan brought a package of fake mustaches for the actors to wear, which became a running joke for the night. Many of the mustaches kept falling off, so Richard wore two mustaches as eyebrows while Sebastian wore one on his forehead and then plastered the extra mustaches obscenely on Richard's karaoke poster. Richard commented on that later: "You wish you had mustaches on your crotch!"

There was some confusion with the karaoke photo ops as originally it was scheduled for 11 p.m., but since the karaoke started so late, Matt and Richard started the photo ops at 12:30 a.m. For photo ops, several fans came dressed up, some with bell bottom pants and psychedelic blouses. One fan gave Matt rainbow peace-sign sunglasses, which he wore for the rest of the night. I wore a flowery tunic, jeans, wrapped my pearl headband around my head and clipped some silk flowers to the side. When I came up for my photo op Richard said, "Look at you! Nice!"

After photo ops, many fans left for bed (Corin Nemec was going to speak at 9:30 a.m. next morning), which meant the party really got going. The remaining fans crowded near the stage, jumping, dancing and singing.
Matt, Richard and Chad took iPhones and cameras offered by fans and shot live videos on stage or during a body surf. Perhaps the most hilarious part of the night was when Richard called for "Mark" to come up on stage. No one from the audience responded, then Mark Pelligino came out on stage and sang "Big Balls."

You know you got a great party when the Devil shows up.

Karaoke wrapped up around 2:30 a.m. Many of the fans didn't want it to end.

I was one of them.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Salute to Supernatural - Guy Norman Bee

Guy Norman Bee spoke not once but twice at the Salute to Supernatural convention on Oct. 20 and 22 in Rosemont. He filled in at the last minute for Alona Tal, who cancelled her appearance after getting a TV spot. Bee must have come fresh from the airport. He wheeled his suitcase back behind the curtain before going out on the stage minutes later. True of any veteran director, he wasn't flustered by the sudden and unexpected change in plans. He seemed as cool and unruffled as though that was part of his schedule.

Bee offered an interesting and little-seen side of Supernatural, the production, nuts-and-bolts perspective that is as important as any performance given by the actors. It's the way the director lays out the scene that makes Supernatural look like a movie rather than a TV show. What also struck me is what a down-to-earth person Bee is. After the Q&A, I also saw Bee getting pictures with the fans in front of the Impala poster or just chatting with them.

Fan: Did you plan on getting into horror directing?

BEE: I originally thought I'd be a comedy director. I love comedy movies, such as The Hangover. I thought comedy was my calling, but as I started to work as a director I found horror cool too.

Fan: How did you get into directing?

BEE: At my school there wasn't a directing program. They basically had a camera sitting in a corner and said "Hey, if you can get it to work, feel free to use it." I learned a lot of what I do on the job, just working hard and learning from other directors.

Fan: My daughter wants to be a director? Any advice?

BEE: If she's willing to work hard and she wants it bad enough, the world is her oyster.

Fan: How much time do you have to direct an episode?

BEE: About seven days, sometimes less than that if it's a pilot, which is understandable. The script gets rewritten. They want to make it the best they can, but that gives you less time once it's final and you're ready to shoot. You just do what you can in the time you have. I try to have too much shot than too little when I give it to the editor. Once it gets to the editing room I don't want the editor to say, "That's it? That's all you got?" I try to have at least four cameras for coverage.

Fan: Do you prefer working with film or digital?

BEE: I like digital. It gives you more latitude. What you see is what you get. Back with film you had a viewer that showed you what was going on the film. It was very faint and blurry, like trying to see an image through a glass of milk.

Fan: Do you have any filming tricks you use?

BEE: It's important to mix it up and not use the same ones all the time. Sometimes it's worth laying down 20 feet of track or using steadicam. Sometimes using steadicam saves you time, sometimes it doesn't. You learn the tricks as you go along. One trick I use is called the French Reverse, not to be confused with "The French Mistake" (laughs). Basically you turn the camera 20 degrees and the actors change positions at 20 degrees and it makes it look like a different shot even though you didn't change location.

Fan: Is there an episode on Supernatural you wish you directed?

BEE: "The French Mistake."

Fan: Can you tell us about filming "Hello, Cruel World" and about that shot in the warehouse?

BEE: It was interesting because that day I really didn't know how I was going to shoot that scene. I didn't know what to do for 60% of the scene. When I started shooting then it came to me. It's that improvisation on the job that you have to do.

When I shot the warehouse scene it was in the morning so we had to put black fabric over the windows to block out the light as the scene was supposed to take place near sunset. By the time we shot the scene of Dean arriving in the Impala it was just the right time (sunset) so we lucked out on that.

Sometimes the writers have to change the scene. In Vancouver, we have long summer days and long nights in the winter. Usually it's not a problem. Sometimes we have to film from Friday night into Saturday. We call them "Fraturdays." That's always hard when you see people driving home from work on Friday night smiling and you're going to work.

Fan: What was the goo coming out of the Leviathans?

BEE: That was watered down chocolate icing. My daughter wanted to taste it. If it's sugar she's all for it. (laughs) I drank it first before she tried it. It tasted pretty good. (laughs)

Fan: What's the secret to being a reoccurring director on a show?

BEE: I try to shoot the coverage I need. If I get a day and a half's worth of work for every day with less overtime they'll be more likely to invite you back.

Fan: What was it like working on "Frontierland"? Did you do storyboards for it?

BEE: It was a lot of fun. You don't get to shoot that sort of episode (a Western). I don't do a lot of storyboards. I usually draw stick figures and a bird's eye view just to map out the blocking and camera movement.

Fan: If you're interested in directing, what would you recommend for study?

BEE: I'm a big fan of studying artwork. Also take acting classes even if you don't plan to act. It helps you communicate with your actors if you're using their language.

Fan: Do you prefer filming two actors (like on Supernatural) or a lot of actors?

BEE: Definitely two actors (like "Breakfast at Tiffany's") instead of a room full of actors. It's much more of a pain as you need coverage on the other actors, getting their reactions and you have to remember where they're at in the room. Also dinner scenes are problematic. You have to remember how much liquid was drunk, how much was eaten and keep that continuity.

Fan: Is there a chance you'll be directing a miniseries?

BEE: The problem is there are so few episodes and they usually have the directors lined up in advance, so each director is doing three episodes a piece.

Fan: Did you give Jensen direction in regards to folding Castiel's coat?

BEE: That was Jensen's idea, folding it up like for a fallen soldier. It was awkward because otherwise he (Dean) would just be standing there holding the coat. We had to do different takes and wring the coat out because it weighed a ton with the water.

Fan: What was it like filming mannequins?

BEE: Difficult. You set it up and you think it'll look cool but mannequins don't fall like people do. (Does epic mannequin fall)

Fan: Can you tell us about posting pictures on Twitter and the picture of Jared climbing up the rafter?

BEE: When I started the Twitter account it was crazy because overnight I had all these followers. I usually post non-spoiler pictures, pictures of monitors, the boys in a car. With Jared he just came out of the gym van, which comes with us everywhere. Jared looked at the rafter and said, "I'm going to climb that." Now if you've worked with Jared you know if you tell him not do something he'll do it anyway. I took some "art" shots of him silhouetted against the sky, but knew the fans would say "That could be anybody," so I took that picture.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Salute to Supernatural - Chad Lindberg

Chad Lindberg shines in the spotlight. It's obvious from the moment he steps out on stage he loves the audience and entertaining the fans. There are similarities between Chad and his onscreen persona of Ash.

They are both Dr. Badass.

Before the panel the fan video "Bringing Sexy Back" played on the huge megascreen. The cheering audience was near deafening as Chad came out from behind the curtain. Around his neck was a dogtag pendant given to him by a fan during a private meet-and-greet. The dogtag read "We Want Ash Back." While Chad sported a Ghostbusters baseball cap, what he didn't have was the famous Ash mullet.

(Q & A Paraphrased)

Fan:  So how did you get the role of Ash?

CHAD: When it came my time to audition I ripped off my shirt (makes a big dramatic gesture of yanking an imaginary shirt off). I think there's something about me, a quirkiness, that makes people think I fit into that world.

Fan: What other character would you play if not Ash?

CHAD: I'd only want to play Ash. (fans cheer) I make the mullet sexy. I wanted to reinvent the mullet. I'm like Ash but not computer savvy.

Fan: What weapon would you use in the zombie apocalypse?

CHAD: Oh lightsaber! Definitely! (makes lightsaber sounds and motions like he's holding one)

Fan: Where did you get that Ghostbuster's hat?

CHAD: I got it at ComiCon. I was geeking out there.

Fan: If you played a superhero, who would it be?

CHAD: Batman. As Superman the mullet would be flying around and look stupid. I'd like to play SuperAsh.

Fan: Ever thought of growing your hair out into a mullet?

CHAD: No. (laughs) I don't know how you (referring to women) do it. Hair on your neck itches.

Fan: What was it like working with Samantha Ferris (Ellen Harvelle)?

CHAD: Fun. (laughs) Couldn't pull a lot with her. She's such a spitfire.

Fan: Tell us about the shotgunning the beer in "Dark Side of the Moon."

CHAD: I actually have never done shotgun before. Jensen had to teach me (launches into Jensen's deeper voice and pose) "See, Chad. This is how you do it."

It took me five takes. The beer was running down my neck and into my mullet. Jensen and Jared were laughing as the beer poured everywhere.

Fan: What was the most memorable scene with Jared and Jensen?

CHAD: When I appeared "naked" opening the door. I had to wear a flesh-colored thong. Jared and Jensen were laughing in between takes.

Fan: I hear you watch Ghost Adventures and can you big step like in Ghost Adventures?

CHAD: I do watch it. I hope there's a crossover one day with Ghost Adventures and Supernatural. (Chad tries to big step and when the fan complains he invites her up on the stage and they big step together)

 Fan: Do you believe in ghosts?

CHAD: I do. I've had too many experiences not to. One time my buddies and I were out on the road and we saw this woman in a black evening gown. Being guys we had to look. This is where it got strange. She was picking up something on the side of the road and we couldn't see her face. We tried to get a look at her face but she put her hand up so we couldn't see it. When we went back to see if she was still there she was gone. Normally when it's one person seeing a ghost I'm skeptical but we all saw her.

Fan: What would your Heaven be like?

CHAD: It would include my family and friends, the ones that went before me ... and a Michael Jackson concert ... and flying dinosaurs because you don't see that here.

Fan: Why are your fingernails painted?

CHAD: I think hands are boring. I like something to look at during cons. (shows black nail-polished fingernails)

Fan: What was it like doing the rape scene in "I Spit on Your Grave"?

CHAD: As an actor I like the challenge and sometimes going into that darker area. The movie was a remake of the original "I Spit on Your Grave" which was notorious because of that scene. In between takes I'd (makes retching motion) then I'd go back and we'd do the scene again. At the end of the movie my character dies and you sorta feel sorry for him. My characters die a lot. I'm a good die-er.

Fan: Do you like older women?

CHAD (does a double take and pauses): I love my girlfriend. That's my final answer.

Fan: If you had an elephant in the room where would you hide it?

CHAD: What sort of question is that?! Where would you hide an elephant? Maybe (whistles and hikes his jeans).

Fan: What's your favorite fictional character?

CHAD: ET ... that is a fictional character, right?

Fan: What's your favorite Star Wars character?

CHAD: Han Solo.

Fan: If the characters in Supernatural would be an animal, what would it be?

CHAD: Sam is a moose. Dean is a tiger and Ash is a black panther.

Fan: Do you have any tattoos?

CHAD: I do (pulls up T-shirt sleeve on right bicep). I have a Chinese symbol for "Courage" although I was told later it doesn't mean that. Probably it spells "Dipshit" but I'm okay with that. I also got a breast cancer ribbon (reveals right forearm, the symbol is a black X with a long black line horizonal across the top of the X). All my siblings got it after my mom beat breast cancer. I like it because it looks more tribal and not the usual ribbon.

Fan: What's your favorite drink?

CHAD: Tequila. We'll do shots at karaoke tonight.

Fan: Was Dr. Badass your idea?

CHAD: No. (laughs) It was Kripke's.

Fan: What would Ash sing to himself alone as he dances around the room?

CHAD: "Bringing Sexy Back" or (at an audience member's suggestion) Lady Gaga.

(Chad slouches back in the chair on the stage. A big voice like God booms "CHAD, THIS IS YOUR FATHER. IT'S TIME TO GO."

CHAD (throwing his head back and screams): NOOOOOOOOO!!!!


Supernatural Convention - Rick Worthy

The last time I saw Rick Worthy on Supernatural he was chained to a chair in a prison cell being tortured and reacting as though the electric volts pulsing through his hands and feet were nothing. As the Alpha Vampire he had an imposing and intimidating presence. When Rick Worthy stepped on to the stage from behind the blue curtains he greeted his fans with a smile and relaxed, easy gait that seemed so different from his onscreen persona.

It took me a moment to associate Worthy with the Alpha Vampire in his jeans and skull-and-cross bones T-shirt. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to find out what a cool and fun guy Worthy is in person. When taking the elevator down to the cocktail party to my surprise he was in the elevator standing next to me. As soon as I launched into giddy fangirl mode Worthy lowered his voice in that rich, sexy baritone of the Alpha Vampire:

"Hello. I've been expecting you." 

I smiled while I tried not to spontaneously combust.

Worthy also made a huge effort for the fans over the weekend, showing up for the karaoke party and partying as hard as anyone (including body surfing). I also heard from a fan that he stayed up until 5 a.m. sitting on the floor with fans and chatting after the cocktail party on Saturday night.

(Q&A paraphrased as I was taking pictures rather than having a notepad out)

WORTHY: It was fun playing the Alpha Vampire. He's so cool. (Dropping into deadpan Alpha Vamp mode) "Ouch. You're hurting me. Stop."

Sometimes I like to pretend I'm him when driving.
(Deadpan) You cut me off in traffic. You might want to rethink that.

Fan: Is there a chance your character might come back?

WORTHY: Sera says they might bring the Alpha Vampire back sometime in the future.

Fan: What was it like for you playing a vampire?

WORTHY: Vampires have been done so many times before and probably will continue to be done forever. It was important to have my own take on him. For me playing a vampire was a dream come true. I've played cops and soldiers before, which is cool. My dad is a huge vampire fan and was excited when I got the part. I like real vampires, the scary and dangerous ones, not like the vampires in Twilight (acts all emo and prissy). I'd kick their metrosexual ass.

Fan: What was it like on the set of Supernatural?

WORTHY: Jared and Jensen are the two most humble, nicest people. Jensen told me "On this set there's no room for assholes." When I've been a guest star on some sets you just go and do your job and go home. On one set I was invited after we wrapped for drinks at a pub, but that is rare. It's surreal because I met Jared when he was 16 and now he's a grown man and married.

Jensen and Jared are totally believable as brothers. I'm the younger brother and when my older brother is at home alone we revert to our roles where he takes charge and I'm the younger brother.

Fan: Boxer or briefs?

WORTHY(sly smile): Neither

Fan: Your voice is incredible. Have you ever done Shakespeare? And if so, what part would you play?

WORTHY: I would love to do Hamlet. I actually did Macbeth set in modern day Somalia.

Fan: I think you should play Obama.

WORTHY: Actually I have a friend who does a better impression of Obama. He was even invited to do his impression on Saturday Night Live. Maybe I can do VampBama and invite the GOP over for "dinner."

A fan gives Worthy a bottle of wine during the Q&A Panel

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Supernatural Chicago Convention - Day 1

The last time I went to a fan convention years ago was Xena: Warrior Princess back when it alive and well on the air. That was an overwhelming and fun experience for me. Now, years later I was back for another fan convention at the Salute to Supernatural in Chicago. As I waited in the line I noticed there were several Castiels (some even with wings) waiting to get their gold ticket badges. I also bumped into a Misha "minion," who was wearing a sock puppet monkey hat.

As soon as I got my lanyard and ticket I also decided to buy some additional photo ops, one with Matt Cohen and Richard Spreight Jr. in their 70s digs for the karaoke party later that evening. The other photo op I would get with Misha Collins and Mark Pelligrino for the next day. I then stood in the line leading to the vendors room. Compared to the Xena convention the vendors' room was small and slightly off to the left from the convention hall. While the vendors' room wasn't suited well for a huge influx of fans (like right before the convention started) it had a nice cozy intimate feel once the crowds thinned out.

There was a long table where you could purchase photos for the autograph signing along with more "novelty" tables. One such table had small vials of rock salt pendants and replicas of Mary's hunter bracelet. I'm always one for more unusual items and bought from a vendor who specialized in laser engraving. There was of row of laser etched glasses in Celtic patterns, a rack of shirts with devil's traps or pictures of the Impala along with a display of whiskey flasks. One flask had a Celtic design that read "So you serviced Oberon, King of the Faeries?" and "I'm a Posse Magnet" with an engraving of a pistol and sheriff's badge. I ended up buying a flask with an intricate Devil's Trap etched on the front. Once I bought it I thought, "Hey, now no demons will get in my whiskey." But then I realized the Devil's Trap would keep the demons in the whiskey. I also bought a pendant in the design of Sam and Dean's tattoo which I wore throughout the rest of the con. 

As I took my seat I was amazed by how many of my fellow con-goers traveled a vast distance to attend. Some came as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Japan. I asked one of my neighbors, Emily, how many fan cons she attended a year. She shrugged nonchalantly and said, "I'm trying to cut back this year. I'll only attend 12."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review of Habibi

Today I got my copy of Craig Thompson's Habibi. My first impression of the book is how gorgeous, intricate and detailed it is. Scrolling and elegant Arabic calligraphy loops and curls across the pages. The story is about two escaped slaves, Dodola and Zam. Dodola provides for them both by prostituting herself to local traveling caravans while they live in an abadoned ship now permanently marooned upon the desert sands.

Dodola tells Zam stories partly in amusement and escapist fantasy. Some tales are about the creation of Eden, the riddles put to Soloman, the magic in letters and numbers, and of the prophet Mohammed and his journey through heaven. These stories along with numerology, symbols and the power of words are interwoven through the story of Dodola and Zam. Eventually Dodola is recaptured by slavers and sold into the golden-cage existence of a sultan's harem. Zam, meanwhile, fights to save her.

Habibi is complex, rich, both beautiful and ugly in the contrast between the myths and the intricate tapestry of images with the horrible realities of slavery. While a graphic novel, Habibi is an adult book with nudity and sexual imagery and definitely not meant for children. I would recommend Habibi to anyone seeking a good story that is beautifully illustrated and well told.