“Departure of a year welcomes so many new memories” Munia Khan
Slumber safari experience at Werribee Zoo
This blog was inspired by my friend Jules Wilkinson, who today posted on Facebook her ‘Top 18 things of 2016’. She later commented: “I worry that the ‘2016 sucked’ narrative is not letting people value the year they had on its own terms. I hope it was a good one for you and 2017 is even more sparkly!”
“Comic-Con has become more of a pop cultural festival, and to not be included feels like you’re missing the biggest celebration of the year.” Felicia Day
Supergirl and The Flash banner at the WB booth
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) can be described in so many ways but I think the best word is JOY. For four magical days there exists an abundance of joy, overflowing from people who are unashamedly passionate about the things they love. People from all walks of life, from diverse backgrounds and from all around the world, come together with acceptance and love. It is overwhelming, in the best possible way, and I immediately felt like I belonged.
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” Henry David Thoreau
2015 has been a memorable and exciting year. I spent quality time with my friends and family. I met fantastic people through my new Airbnb business and on my travels overseas. But, without a doubt, the highlight of my 2015 was finding the Supernatural set in Vancouver.
As readers of my blog would know, I’m a frequent visitor to Vancouver. I have family there, I adore the city and, in the last three years, I’ve also attended an annual Supernatural convention (see my blog Supernatural: it’s more than a television show).
I fell in love with this little show 11 years ago, but I really only became immersed in its fandom after I happened upon filming in 2011 (Supernatural, Twitter and the reluctant groupie). Back then, I had no idea about fan conventions, or the incredible online community, or the way the stars of the show interacted with fans. But now, I can honestly say that Supernatural has changed my life. It has given me new friendships that I cherish; experiences outside my comfort zone; travel to new and interesting destinations; and, most importantly, so much joy and laughter – bucket loads of it.
“There is a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.” Willie Nelson
As soon as I heard that Austin’s slogan was ‘Keep Austin Weird’, I knew I’d love the place. I wonder what that says about me 😉
Apparently, the phrase was coined by Austin Community College librarian Red Wassenich and was intended to promote local businesses – and it quickly caught on. I saw the slogan referenced in and around the city – and on plenty of souvenirs and t-shirts (I guess, like everything good, it quickly becomes commercialised).
But I still loved it – and, of course, I now own a ‘Keep Austin Weird’ coffee mug and t-shirt, lol.
My t-shirt also says ‘Support Local Music’ and I think that is what I loved most about Austin. They do support local businesses and encourage creativity. I saw lots of quirky bars and restaurants. I saw artwork adorning walls and buildings. I heard local musicians performing; the music spilling out onto Sixth Street. I tasted plenty of delicious southern food; including Tex Mex at the historic Chuy’s, and slow-cooked meats at Franklin Barbeque.
I also sweltered in the HOT weather (38-degrees Celsius/100-degrees Fahrenheit) for the five days I was there. But it didn’t matter. I was so happy. I’d fallen in love with Austin.
Here are some of my favourite photographs… and some descriptions of the places I most enjoyed spending my time 🙂
“Descending into the canyon, I sink into another world. I notice not only incredible geologic gargoyles but also the eclectic plants of Bryce’s innards.” Trail guide, Bryce Canyon Natural History Association
Queen’s Garden walk
Of all the national parks in the US that I visited last year, Bryce Canyon would have to be the strangest. We arrived late afternoon, drove to the highest point of the park, and gazed across a buckled and fractured landscape that was momentarily bathed in a golden light. It was an incredible sight.
There are 14 viewpoints along Bryce Canyon’s 18-mile (29km) scenic drive and we stopped at three of them – Rainbow Point (9115ft/2778m), Black Birch Canyon (8750ft/2667m) and Inspiration Point (8100ft/2469m). It was the perfect time to gaze at the sweeping vistas, with the colours changing subtlety as the sun sank lower in the sky.
Black Birch Canyon
Black Birch Canyon
“Where the hell are we, anyway?
A scene from the Supernatural episode The French Mistake (season 6).
Dude, we’re not even in America…” Dean Winchester
Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and there is so much to see and do, especially for first-time visitors. But for Supernatural (SPN) fans it’s even more special because this is where ‘our show’ is filmed; where Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have portrayed ‘our boys’ Sam and Dean Winchester. So I guess it goes without saying that location hunting is high on the agenda.
Fortunately, there are some iconic spots that are easy to find such as St Andrew’s-Wesley Church, which was used during season two’s Houses of the Holy. This is located just across the road from the Sheraton Wall Center, where the convention is held, and there are plenty of other locations within walking distance of here.
Me where Houses of the Holy was filmed.
St Andrew’s-Wesley Church
Houses of the Holy (season 2)
When I started to write about the Salute to Supernatural convention in Vancouver, I thought it would be one blog, not three. And it could have been more, which I guess just means that I had the most amazing time. In this final installment I’d like to share with you some of the other fun SPN-related things I did either side of the convention weekend. This includes Russ Hamilton’s location tour and the VFX non-con. If you’d like to read the previous parts to my story, please click on the links (Part 1 & Part 2).
“Supernatural fans are very respectful. I got lucky to be on a show that has such cool fans. No really, I want to reiterate that – on a day to day basis if someone comes up to me, they’re respectful, intelligent, and they ask great questions.” Jensen Ackles
“If we’d ended up becoming a hit show with 20 million viewers, it wouldn’t be as great an experience, because our fans would be nameless and faceless and get lost in it. We meet them at conventions, we recognize them and remember them, and they feel like a real family to us.” Jared Padalecki
Jared & Jensen at VanCon 2013 (Photo: Megan Jackson)
This isn’t really a convention report but rather a collection of my memorable moments from the 2013 Salute to Supernatural in Vancouver (VanCon). It continues on from last week’s blog about why I fell in love with this show and its fandom … and how it continues to enrich my life. I congratulate you in advance if you manage to read through to the end. It seems that once I start writing (talking) about Supernatural (SPN), I can’t shut up.
It’s hard to describe a SPN convention to anyone who hasn’t been – or anyone who hasn’t watched the show – but I think it’s really just a big celebration. It’s the opportunity to meet the actors, talk about the show, and hang out with like-minded people. And, for those who’ve been to previous events, it’s like coming home to this crazy and loveable extended family.