Sunday, April 13, 2008

EyeCon - Day 2 Part II

SATURDAY April 5th 2008

I missed out on all but the last ten minutes of the John Winchester fan discussion panel, which sorta bummed me out. The bits I heard were quite good, thought provoking, and I think I missed a juicy discussion. Rats. Typing from my notes a day later, I’m not even sure I have a good excuse *why* I missed it! *sigh* Anyhow, the later Supporting Characters panel went well. My fleeting thought of planning what I would say went pretty much out the window, as I did no planning at all. However, the folks on the panel with me were a mix of strong personalities with good points and keen observations, which eliminated any worries I had over lack of preparation. LOL, in other words, I didn’t have to say nearly as much as I thought I would. ;-)

Later came time for autographs from Gabe, Chad, Alona, Samantha, and Sandy, who set up in the back of the vendors’ room, so people had access at any time. I didn’t really suppose I had a place for a jillion photographs and hated to have something signed that I wouldn’t be able to *use* in some way …. So I chose to have them sign my copy of the "Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls". I know it excites love or loathing in readers, with little middle ground, but I genuinely enjoy it as just a fun addendum to the show’s lore, as I never expected it to be an actual reference work. Anyhow, doing this follows in my tradition of having the LOTR cast sign my single-volume "Lord of the Rings" trilogy book at ORC in 2006.

So, there we were, face to face with a major portion of the cast of Supernatural. What were they like up close? Sandy was especially sweet, and said that, while she was doing her Q&A, she used my face (there in second row seat B15) as one of those she could sort of steady herself on when she felt nervous. Awwwww. That made me feel really good - having a goofy grin paid off in unexpected ways, lol!

Samantha personalized her autograph with my name, just wonderfully approachable and easy to talk to. Then Alona won points with me when she took time for a shy 8-year-old boy just ahead of me. I couldn’t hear all they said, but clearly, the little guy had a crush, and she called him around the table for a hug and a candid snapshot. Have I mentioned how much I love this cast?

When I got up to Alona, I had to wait briefly while Sandy came and leant to whisper with her. Alona apologized to me after, saying with a charming girlish smile that this event is the first time she’s actually met Sandy. She really hoped they could hang out together because she’s heard so much about her (from Jared) that it doesn’t feel like they’ve never met. I think they got their chance, because I saw them going about together once or twice, and I hope they had the time they wanted together. Alona also signed using my name. *glee!*

I think I may have caught up with Gabe and Chad later, as typing after the fact I don’t really recall, and they were not always there for signing at the same time. Whenever, I found Chad and Gabe to be just as nice, very unassuming and sweet and appreciative of compliments, easy to talk to, entirely approachable, and they gave good handshakes after. I never had the sense of, "OMG, I’m walking up to a movie star!" with any of these guys, just a comfortable feeling that I could finally express my appreciation for their work in person, and they looked you in the eyes and seemed grateful for it.

Annnnd … that brings us to Jim Beaver’s autograph session. As one of the headline guests, his was a more formalized affair, the Great Man set up at a table in the main events room, and people called up for their autographs by seating rows.

When my turn arrived, I spoke to him about his book, saying I knew he was working on a book about his wife’s tragic battle with cancer, and that I would buy it as soon as it came out. I told him that I’m a breast cancer survivor, and however hard it was on me, I couldn’t imagine what my husband went through. I’ve never seen that side of the fence. He said the book would be out next year and he thought my hubby would recognize a few passages. Jim was immeasurably kind in this, really settled in to listen as I spoke and gave his time, though I kept it brief as I could. Bless his heart; he then personalized my autograph as to his "survivor friend."

Again, I am in love with the cast of Supernatural. I just want to adopt the whole gang and take them home and feed them barbeque. ;-)

After the initial round of autographs, I took a break to the room with Kimbo and Silli/Hearseeno. Finally, down we went to queue up for the Banquet supper, with seating admitted by badge number. While in line, and before I forget to mention, Silli pursued her fan project, which is a baseball cap on which she sewed a cute little pig, reminiscent of the famous (or infamous?) "Pig Hat" that Bobby wore in AHBL. Silli’s plan was to get as many fans as physically possible to sign their names on this hat, and she went at it with a will. ;-)

So, once at the door to the banquet room - which was just the main room reconfigured with tables - we were given our choice of who to sit near, and we wound up right behind Samantha Farris. It was a noisy room, chatty and busy during the delay of getting everyone seated, while statuesque servers in black waited along the walls.

Interestingly, the Banquet did not appear to have sold our, or maybe some people could not come, as there were a few empty seats. Our table seated 10 and we ended up with only six, including one of the few guys around, Logan, a quiet, very pleasant young fella from Idaho. We were at the back edge of the room which was actually good, as there was less noise and a more relaxed feel. I hopped over to see Kenny and Voni at the next table, and they’d read and enjoyed my Friday con report. Heh, I had to commend my fellow diners that people waited until most everyone sat down before digging into their salads.

When the entrĂ©e arrived, the chicken Florentine was lovely to look at, though I have to say I’d never eaten food with a flower in it! Yup, each plate had a sprig of thyme and a purple orchid at its edge. The food tasted okay, though evidently it sat out a bit waiting to be served, perhaps a hazard of trying to coordinate so many eating at once. It had cooled so the breading on the chicken was soggy. Hmm, now that I think about it, I thought they said "buffet style", which to me means you dish up from hot tables, rather than get served, but whatever! :-) It was a nice little interlude, but I think that next time I’d pass. Unless I’m sitting with one of the guests, the food and situation was not spectacular enough for me to repeat the experience. I could eat with friends some place far less costly. ;-)

After eating, the starring guests did get up and try to visit other tables, or at least Gabe, Chad and Jim did. I’m not sure Sam could pry herself away from her bevy of followers, lol. Sandy skipped out early, ostensibly saying something about going to a wedding, but given that Jared was due in pretty much any time, we felt pretty certain where she’d really gone - especially as Kenny disappeared at the same time. *G* At our table, Kimbo meanwhile passed the time with a word association game, Buzz Word, which she pulled out several times in the course of the weekend, lol! My tablemates and I hoped Chad might make it to our table, but the meal ended before our boy could get to us.

Then it was time to dash upstairs, freshen up, and get ready for the Platinum party which was due to start at any moment. At first glance, the Platinum Party looked more like an exercise in how many people can be crammed into one small room. I really wasn’t sure how it could be any different from the Cocktail Party earlier, but what the hell; I’d give it a chance. In my book, it actually turned pretty fun when Chad and Gabe got up to duel each other at the Guitar Hero game, and the noise levels of the crowd rose merrily with the consumption of oh-be-joyful.

I just had one glass of wine, which I nursed for a long time, as the $7 price-per-glass tag made me wince. However, I will give that when I came up with only $6 on hand, they let that missing dollar slide. Meanwhile, I really just found it fun to hang out with the gang. A special treat was Steve Carlson coming in to play an acoustic version of "Be My Little Baby". That was just plain fun, a preview of the concert to come. Dang, that man can play and sing! I stood with Jim Beaver briefly as he watched the boys play and later hung around Gabe, who’s just as cute and nice as the boy next door. I enjoyed myself - and the smuggled shots of "Alabama Slammas" that somebody snuck in. *G* Even Gabe and Chad tried those - cough syrup with a kick, lol!

One unfortunate note that I didn’t hear until later … there was a woman, and I’m certain a lot of other people noticed her, who became drunk enough to throw herself at Chad. I only saw her in the early stages, when she was batting her eyelashes at him and rubbing/posing against the wall in a sloppy parody of a cat in heat. Gah. Anyhow, he escaped unscathed, but for the rest of the con, Chad didn’t go anywhere alone, but rather had a tough lady New York staffer with him at all times. Bummer, I guess the odds of one crazy amongst that many people can’t be helped.

So! On to happy things. Steve Carlson’s concert started late, for reasons I don’t know, though maybe it took extra time to tear down the banquet room and reconfigure it once more as an auditorium. But I’d definitely say Steve’s music was worth the wait. The poor guy’d had a helluva time getting here, troubles with connections and delays at airports, and I dunno what all. He had to’ve been tired, and when he came on stage, he apologized in advance for any slips or mistakes. Voni brought him a cocktail on stage, to which he said, "When Visine won’t work and red eyes won’t go away, there’s nothing to do but drink." LOL!

And then, oh, and then magic. He drew us all in with his very first song, and had us all sing along on the final refrain. Steve Carlson is very engaging with his audience, a storyteller with a mellow acoustic sound, an amiable, laid-back showman with a voice that possesses just the right touch of miles and tears. He encourages his audience to sing, and I was amazed that most of the crowd knew his music and sang along. LOL, I was the only apparent yip in response when he asked who had *not* heard his music before. He also likes to tell stories about his songs, where they come from, the tales behind them. And yes, he spoke of his link to Jensen, that they were roommates once.

His singing style is marvelously eclectic, mellow and crooning and intimate, or filling the room with sound and energy. He rocked us all with a funky, blues-rock cover of "She’s Not There", and the man is positively dazzling on an acoustic guitar. His voice finally began fading when he gave us a cover of the 60’s classic, "Be My Little Baby". He closed with a final, upbeat song that included the refrain, "Don’t you take my rockin’ chair, just keep it rockin’ there, someone’s right behind me to rock on." Oh yeah, Steve. We are. ;-)

In summary, even if he had no connection to Supernatural or Jensen Ackles whatsoever, I would like Steve Carlson’s music. The man knows how to spin a tune.

I never did quite figure out the purpose of the Pajama Party, which my roomies opted to sit out. I felt ridiculous, in fact, when I came traipsing out in my drawstring trousers and a pink T-shirt! Someone said the PJ party might have been originally intended for kids, but at 1am? Whatev, lol! We die-hards just took it as an excuse to sit up way too late. The most activity I saw going on was downstairs just off the hotel lobby, where the scrapbooks for Jared and for Samantha were being put together. I grabbed my stuff for my Jared page and put it all together. But then realized I had nothing for the Samantha page, and I had to add-lib something that was probably crappy (I’m not very creative at 1in the morning, lol), but nonetheless done with affection. ;-)

I did see Gabe Tigerman up and about - I think the man never slept, lol! For a while, he sat with a group of fans at a table upstairs, occupying what they called "the Truth Seat", where they could ask anything they wanted and he had to speak the pure truth. Sadly, I didn’t hear anything really juicy or scandalous, lol, but instead just the sort of cozy silliness you’d expect among any group of late-night friends.

Anyhow, I finally called it quits about 2am, and tippy-toed in trying not to awaken my roomies. One more day to go - and JARED would be among us!

(Part III Sunday report to follow) ~~

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