Sunday, October 19, 2008

EyeCon2 Day 2

Day 2 of EyeCon 2 began for me with a trip to the downstairs Starbucks for a nutritious breakfast: a muffin, a fruit smoothie, and a cup of decaf. The muffin was awesome. The smoothie tasted like ... a liquefied vitamin pill, lol! I also made a mosey around the autograph tables, where I said good morning to AJ & Travis and Chad.

Anyhow, the day's events kicked off with a Q&A by the one and only Jim Beaver! I can safely say he has got the hang of all this convention stuff, including taking the mickey out of us. *g* He opened with this truly silly charade of having a faulty mic, very animatedly talking and gesticulating - while making no sound at all. He followed this up with fragments of voice, as if he were cutting in and out, and I think he missed his calling as a human sound effects machine. ;-P

Before the good stuff started, though, we had a redheaded staffer, Yvette, with ... well, some sort of gift/joke where she presented Jim with a "I'm a Bobby Girl" T-shirt, and then commenced to sing (badly) a song to go with it. *scratches head* Um ... yeah. Needless to say, she rendered Jim and a good part of the audience pretty much speechless.

But on with the show. Jim was in his usual rare form, funny, snarky and sardonic, addressing us as if we were all his somewhat dim but no less loved relatives, lol. He especially played with us about spoilers, hemming and hawwing to cries of protest until revealing the dramatic fact that ... Sam and Dean will be investigating something really scary. LOL! (For those wondering, his T-shirt was quite tame this time, reading only, "I do my own stunts" with a little cartoon of a guy falling down.)

Of course, Jared and Jensen figured into some of Jim's talk, including Jim stating ominously that Jared's only played one prank, but he hasn't dared any more. Jim promised he has a plan for revenge, but (insert deep, wicked voice) it may take two or three years, heh heh heh. Jared is, Jim assured us, 6'4" of baby, who thinks he's in kindergarten and when he's 90 years old on his deathbed, he's going to pull a stunt. ;-)

The Qs and As were fun and entertaining, not a whole lot new but mainly just a chance to enjoy Jim being Jim. LOL, a note I both treasure and dread: when I raised my hand for my chance to Q, when he saw who it was, he got this sardonic, teasing grin and said, "Yes, Erin." Oh, noes, he knows me by name across a room - eeps! *face-palm* But, being dead tired on little sleep and rather much wine, last night, my thinky question of earlier evaporated completely from my mind. So, instead I asked him about wrestling down a big ol' kid like Jared, as Bobby did Sam in the season premiere.

My question inadvertently sparked what's apparently become a favorite note of the evening, LOL! After chiding me for not thinking he could really *do* it, Jim told how he had to hold Jared for the shot of Bobby restraining Sam from attacking the newly-risen Dean, and teased that yeah, the rest of us would love that, lol. When it took them time to set it up, he *kept* holding Jared preparatory to each take, and meanwhile felt up Jared's pects and chest and the upshot now is ... they're engaged. ROTFLMAO! (He later also noted that they're registered at Home Depot. *SNORK!*)

Oh! Jim did spill that in Episode 6, Bobby gets to drive the Impala. HEE!

Some A's from Jim's Q's include:
His current project, Harper's Island, is under uber strict confidentiality agreements, because the effectiveness of the show depends on the audience being surprised. Jim's own role is very different from Bobby, instead a man who rarely speaks, and it's a more internal role.

Deadwood was, he said, a role he was born to play.

The nature of a character and the scripts writing have more to do with him getting into character than the period or the costumes.

He finds it most chaotic to shoot a scene with lots of people or lots of Special FX. The fight scene with the boys' blasting ghosts during Bobby's ritual in 4:02 his example.

And ... that's kind of it. Jim doesn't know what Bobby is doing after about Ep. 6, and he figures we won't see much of Bobby for a while, until Harper's Island is wrapped and the latter episodes of SPN are to be filmed. HI would let Jim go film SPN if needed, but he hasn't got the call for anything further on, yet.

In summary, Jim was awesome and amazing and a pure joy to see/hear. He treats us all like ... well, like occasionally exasperating family whom he nonetheless loves to have around. :-)

Next on the schedule were the Ghost Facers, AJ and Travis. To be honest, I was kind of "meh" about seeing them, figured I'd do it just because I'm here, but ... no squee involved. I even came back in a few minutes late... and I was very pleasantly surprised! They were funny and goofy and borderline slapstick and played off each other hilariously. AJ seems the mellower of the two, with Travis so amped he had to put aside his chair just so he could pace and bounce around, lol! They also did a hilarious in-house riff where AJ flattered Travis about we don't even know what, while Travis went all "golly shucks" - all in an absurd verbal shorthand that meant nothing to anyone else. They really should be a stand-up team...

Tidbits of their talk include: a very great deal of Ghostfacers was shot by them, with their ghost hunting crew actually holding the cameras. It was scripted, of course, but they were given lots of room to just do their thing, which made for a very different acting experience. (For example, the rat Travis freaked over was just tossed in the room for atmosphere, but Travis saw it and chose to scream and react.)

AJ and Travis also spoke very highly of Jensen and Jared, as well as riffing about how HUGE Jared is, how big *both* boys are compared to their smaller statures. AJ told how Jared one day just picked him up and ran around with him slung over his shoulder, while AJ freaked that he was going to be dropped, and Jensen chastised him to put AJ down. LOL!

Fave lines from the show: "Sweet lord -" "- of the Rings!" and the "chisel chest" exchange. Apparently that absolutely broke Jared up the first time they said it, and they said Jared laughs *huge*, and when he does, everything just stops.

Yes, they miss Corbett, and if we smell French Vanilla, that would be Corbett farts. :-p

Asked about pranks, they said Jared would do just anything to distract and make you laugh. They also told the already-immortal tale of them trying to keep straight and do the ghostly train-death victim scene - while Jensen was goosing AJ in the ass with a shotgun! AJ would go "AH!" and the director would ask, "Why do you keep going 'ah'?, and Jensen would echo, "Yeah, why do you keep going 'ah'?" LOL!

In all, they were funny, boyish, hyper, and played off each other hilariously, as well as being easily distracted by their own silliness. They also had great fun with the guy who ran the mic around, Steven, sending him dashing from one side of the crowd to the other.

Next up - Fred Lehne, the Yellow-Eyed Demon himself! Having stepped out for a break, I came in late, so I missed his entrance, but I got the bulk of his Q&A. The poor guy was *not* well, and his voice was half gone, but he carried on like a trouper. I honestly didn't know what to expect, and I've heard some iffy things about past con behaviors, but the man I saw today was just plain fun. He told us about his underwear - Calvin Klein - his fan boy moments - Bruce Springsteen and Elizabeth Taylor (her eyes really were violet, and she rendered him completely incoherent.)

My question to him was how much was him and how much was direction, in the YED's smarmy, supercilious demeanor. His response: they just let him go, and what we saw was what came out when he played the scene. Someone also asked if he ever thought about the poor janitor the YED had possessed. Fred responded with a practiced sneer that the janitor had more fun with him then out in the basement with the mops, lol!

A couple times he turned the questions back on his audience, which earned fun results. When people floundered for answers, he laughed and said, "Not so easy, is it?" He also set himself up with innuendos several times, chiding us, "You've got *dirty* minds. I like it." LOL! On the many times he's died in various roles, he quipped, "I've died so many times I'm afraid when it really happens it'll be a disappointment - hey, this isn't like on Supernatural!" His favorite film death(s) belonged to "Lost," where his character apparently died several nasty times.

Upon being asked, "Do your kids ever show any interest in acting?" he replied, "No, not even mine!" LOL! His favorite SPN line: "You're going to live long enough to know the taste of your own intestines." He declared it's not often you get to say something like that! ;-)

So ... there's that. He gave us nothing new, but simply because he *has* nothing new, but he was by turns warm, funny, irreverent and teasing, a very comfortable presence to be around. I found him to be a pure pleasure and lots of fun, which rendered me happily surprised.

Subsequently came Nicki Aycox, aka the demon, Meg. Now this girl? Was an absolutely unexpected joy. My first impression was that she is *tiny*, lovely, a bit nervous at first, but utterly spunky and witty.

Highlights of her talk: her fangirl moments were with X-files movie co-star, David Duchovny, where she had to appear in a scene in a yukky hospital gown. Not exactly the circumstances in which she wanted to meet him, lol! And ditto with Bruce Willis, when she met him before playing a part with him.

Asked if Jared and Jensen ever pranked her, she replied tartly, "Pranks? I'm too smart for that." Did she prank them back? Nicki smirked and said, "It wouldn't be an even match." ROTFL!

On filming SPN: she told of how hard it was for Jensen to slap her for a scene, to the point he almost couldn't bring himself to do it. (Awww.) Per getting along with the boys, she said they were Texas boys and she was an Oklahoma girl, so they got along just fine. She spoke of Jared and Jensen in the very highest of terms, nothing but praise and affection for them both.

My Q to her was regarding the episode, "Shadow." I loved her sensuality, her sexual aggression in Meg, the imbalance of power with Sam and Dean as her prisoners. I wanted to know how much was her and how much was direction? She replied that the words were all scripted, but the actions were all hers, the crawling back and forth and sliding around the pole, kicking Jensen's/Dean's leg aside, etc. She had *wanted* that imbalance of power, wanted to give a strong woman character. Jared and Jensen had no idea how she was going to play the scene, so she asked the crew to keep them in the dark until they were rolling, so she'd get the sort of genuine reactions the boys gave.

A trivial note: they sometimes used ramps to get hers and Jared's faces in the same frame, lol! She also repeatedly praised Jared and Jensen, saying she'd come back for them in a heartbeat and do anything on SPN, and equally praised the SPN workplace. In all, I found Nicki to be articulate, smart, forthright, and a real treat to hear, and she was fiercely proud of how the SPN fandom had embraced Meg.

Jason Manns had the next Q&A, which I attended since I liked his music so well. (I must here add that Karina bought me Jason's CD, which makes her eleventy billion new kinds of awesome.) Up there in front of a couple hundred inquisitive eyes, Jason came across to me as affable, relaxed, low-key, and a man at home in his own skin.

My Q for his A was about how he wrote songs: in effect, did he tend to find words first and then the music, or music first and then the words, or what? I told him that a handful of my own poems came out with such a strong sense of internal rhythm that they sometimes felt like they could be songs - were it not for my total lack of musical talent. Jason replied that it was both, sometimes he'd get words in search of a tune, and he has snippets of tunes just waiting for the words. He went on about the songwriting process for a little bit, which pleased me to no end, talking about songwriting teams where one person is the lyricist and the other the musician, and finished by advising me with a smile that I should find a friend with a piano. *G*

Other answers to fan questions included: He did encourage Jensen to sing, but Jason also explained about the commitment needed to really pursue singing. He reminded us that Jensen was simply too busy for the amount of practice that would give him the confidence to play and sing in front of audiences, and that being a musician/singer is a thing that requires work. Jensen, Jason said, is just not prepared to make the change from music he plays to relax into music for work. Right now Jensen's work is acting, and he prefers to keep music just for fun.

So, fans who love Jensen's angelic voice, there is your answer on that. :-)

Jason rounded out his session by playing a song or three in his mellow, beautiful, acoustic style, including a gently-jazzed version of "Sittin' On a Dock of the Bay." I really, really like this guy, both the easy, comfortable way he has with people and the sheer beauty of his voice, the artistry of his music. When I want something to just be mellow with and feel good, I think I've got me some new tunes for my playlist. :-)

There were breaks between things, too, I'm just not writing a strict chronology, but I did make time to mosey about a bit. At one point Karina and I took a turn around the mall, nosing in a couple shops and getting her a pair of sunglasses, me a new Led Zeppelin t-shirt, and just sort of stretching our legs. In the vendors' room I replaced my SPN poster that I'd lost/left coming through airport security on my flight out, and looked at all the SPN goodies that were on offer. They also had a vendor selling corsets and other goth-type costume stuff, which actually seemed to sell. Me and corsets? Not so much, lol.

I also did my photo op with Jim, figuring to get that out of the way before the Sunday crowds. I missed Nicki's Saturday op, but she would be there again on Sunday. Meanwhile I got some of my autographs for my spiffy SPN poster, including Jim's, AJ's & Travis', Nicki's, Fred's and Chad's. This year everyone including Jim were at tables off the vendors' room, which made casual chatting much easier and more fun. So, all I needed was Jared's autograph! YAY! Uh, I think I also took time out to grab a quick lunch in the food court along with roomies gwendolyngrace, roguebitch, heidi8 and etakyma. LOL, I couldn't just keep forgetting to eat, or I'd tip over!

Later that evening, I had some things on my mind and dinner plans fell through, so I threw monetary caution to the winds and bought myself a Banquet ticket. I had no one to sit with, and really just expected to end up with fans, but to my amazement found myself with a choice: Fred, Jason or Steve Carlson. LOL, I was so flustered by this unexpected chance that I just went for the easy choice, Steve, since I'd already talked to him a few times both this con and last April. I guess I wasn't feeling brave enough for Fred and just kind of spazzed over the idea of sitting with Jason, lol.

Anyhow, it made for a pleasant interlude. I sat among strangers and there was a bit of initial awkwardness, but Steve was so laid-back about it. In fact, he led us in staging the first assault on the buffet table, lol, when everyone else seemed to be waiting in exquisite politeness for some sort of dinner bell. After a while we relaxed into comfortable conversation, and enjoyed.

The food *was* better than last time, served on steam tables rather than allowed to get cold and yukky whilst trying to figure out how to serve umpty hundred dinners at once. I think there were fewer people this time, too. The dinner itself included rice pilaf, chicken, roast beef, a tasty pasta dish, something with zucchinis and yellow squash, and pie. :-) Maybe not 4-Star, but they made a noticeable effort to improve, and my roast beef was tender and delicious. (Plus being able to go back for seconds was a definite plus, lol!)

Across the room, gales of manic hilarity burst frequently from the tables headed by Travis & AJ and Chad Lindberg. LOL, evidently they were having a fake-laughter contest. Those of us with Steve were just as glad to play it mellow and let those guys have all the rowdy fun. ;-)

Steve eventually had to leave to prepare for his concert, but for those who remained at our table, AJ stopped by to chat a bit, just a really nice, gently-spoken guy, then Fred popped in to joke and tease, despite his raspy voice and lingering cold-bug, and he made us laugh over I don't even remember what. Chad stopped by last, when I think only 4 of us remained over pie, and we all had a *very* nice chat about his movie. He's very earnest about it, passionate in his desire for it to reach a larger audience, and sincere in his inquiries about our reactions. I think it really pleased and touched him that we understood its message, the need to understand about the acting industry and how easily the lines blur between fiction and reality, too often with tragic consequences. I think of the entire dinner, I enjoyed the chat with Chad the most.

Anyhow, it was worth it to me, given my temporary state of mind, to just say f** it and throw some money at the chance to embrace one more con experience. I enjoyed it, and I was *very* happily surprised that my late dinner ticket and lower badge number (106) still got me a celeb seat. :-) LOL, the only thing I might do different would be to *plan* slightly ahead, so I could have changed into better evening clothes.

Things were running late by then, but I looked forward to Steve Carlson's concert, having enjoyed his music at the April EyeCon. A good crowd gathered and I thought it was cute that, when he first took the stage, he asked lighting to turn off the spot for a few minutes. Before we make love, he says, we should at least make eye contact. Flirt. ;-)

As before, his show was warm and fun and intimate, just a storyteller and his songs. At one point he called Jason Manns up to join him in a duet, singing an upbeat version of "Stuck on You," the two of them swapping lead vocals. Good? Honey, there were angels weeping at the beauty of those two voices. :-) Jason remained in the front of the audience for the rest of Steve's concert, and the two palled around all weekend. In all, Steve once again gave us a terrific show, closing with a high energy encore with a sweet finish and awesome, awesome guitar. :-)

And after that ... uh, what next? Oh, Platinum Party! Right. So we had the platinum party, and again, Kenny and Voni made a real effort to improve. The room was much bigger, the bar more accessible, and people had more room to mingle. The party room was dominated by the Rock Band game setup, and we got to watch Travis, Chad and several fans horribly mutilate a couple songs, lol! Chad followed with a rock star rendition of "Eye of the Tiger" which is probably all over YouTube by now, very funny!

The noise in the room did, however, prompt people to drift back out onto the Mezzanine by the game room, where folks congregated to talk and hang out. Having not sufficiently humiliated myself with Jim Beaver yet, I joined the little circle of folks standing with him. I was touched once again by him talking about his little girl, Maddie, and the journey she's made from losing her mother so young to a precocious 6-year-old who is, Jim fears, destined for world dictatorship. *G*

Tonight I only had a single glass of wine, so I took the chance when offered to chat with Jim about writing, the subject I'd *meant* to bring up in his Q&A before hanged-over-ness turned my brains to applesauce. ;-) I can only say again what a good and decent man Jim is, to lend himself and his attentions to us. I truly enjoy how articulate and intelligent he is, how deeply he thinks under that gruff exterior. We chatted for quite a while about his upcoming book and writing in general, and I hope he knows how much I appreciated his time. :-)

And ... that was pretty much that. I straggled back on up to the room, where the rest of my roomies were already asleep. Karina and I, however, stayed up nattering and whispering for probably another hour, until we conked out. Tomorrow was JARED DAY!

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