Friday, 4 April 2008

L.A. Convention Fun!

So I’ve landed in LA and spent Friday 28th March getting my bearings and falling asleep to iPod Bob. Seem to have caught the sun a little. Make that raging sunburn. I’m here for a Supernatural’ convention (don’t laugh) of mammoth proportions, with famous faces from the cast and crew and so much stuff to do. We’ve got two days and one evening of Eric Kripke, creator of the series and genius, Frederic Lane (Lehne), the amazingly evil Yellow Eyed Demon, Chad Lindberg, the Lynyrd Skynyrd roadie Ash, Sandra McCoy, Crossroads Demon, Jason Manns, ├╝ber-talented singer-songwriter, Steve Carlson, spectacularly good singer-songwriter. Oh yes, and of course the two main faces from the show, the brothers! Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester). Can we wait? Can we bloody hell as like…

Let’s start with Friday night, and the concert added onto the billing at the last minute.

Jason Manns in small-room gig. How fab was he? Answer: very. Really very very. He did all my favourites from his first album, and also brought us CDs of his live tracks, and one very special recording. This is one of himself doing a proper studio version of the Van Morrison song ‘Crazy Love’, and this time roped purr wee Jensen Ackles into not backing vocals (this time) but full-on singing the second verse. Now if only my room here in the Marriott included a player, I could have heard it by now. Never mind – that’s what going home’s for.

Ok, Saturday now. Frederic Lane (Lehne) was on first and yay, he was ace. Kicking off with his infamous acoustic rendition of ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, he then answered a shitload of questions from us fans. He was witty, urbane, and really fab. He was full of energy and a fantastic show-opener for thos of us who had never been to a convention before. He had some interesting anecdotes about working with Robert Redford and making ‘Con Air’, as well as explaining just how hard it is to act when you can't see (cos of the yellow contacts you've got in!), and was just so much fun to listen to.

Jason Manns was back for some more Q&A and a little Steve Miller cover, and then next up was living legend Chad Lindberg. More people may recognise him as Jesse from ‘Fast and Furious’ (1), but us ‘Supernatural’ fans know him very well as Ash (“Business up front, party in the back!”). He was tremendous - funny, off-beat, witty and a strangely Beavis-like giggle/snigger that was very good at setting the rest of us off into fits of giggles. We complained about his character dying in the series, he joked about how he’d like him brought back to the show if he could, and we all backed him up on his little daydream that Sam and Dean would be getting their asses kicked, and Ash would turn up with a crossbow of sorts and save the day. Yes, we liked that idea very much.

A very quick pee and Coke break later (no tea!) and it was the God Who Is Eric Kripke on stage. He was fantastic. I can neither remember nor jot down all the things he came out with; suffice to say he was quizzed to within an inch of his life by so many fans. It yielded a lot of surprises, and a few minor spoilers, as to what the remaining FOUR episodes (yes, just four, not the ten we would have had before the Writer’s Strike happened) will hold for the Winchester brothers. He also let slip a few spoilers re season four and story arcs, but again, it’s complicated to explain. He did answer the three burning questions to which we really wanted to know the answers – his favourite word (“Renewed!”), his least favourite word (“Cancellation!”) and his favourite swear word – or “cuss word” as it seems to be called here in the States (“Any minors in the audience? No? Then my favourite cuss-word is ‘fucking shit’!”). When he asked us what we would like to see in season four, he immediately pre-empted that with: “We can’t get away with full-frontal male nudity, I’m sorry!” Just a fantastic, all-too-short amount of time with someone who is genuinely committed to what he wants to achieve.

Then came the signings. Eric first, who was surprised and humbled that I’d made the gig all the way from HK. Then Jason Manns, who signed his CD for me to reveal he was as left-handed as me. Could he be any more amazing? Then the irrepressible Chad Lindberg, who kinda giggled his way through a few questions and adoring comments in that cute, infectious way he has. Last but not least, Frederic Lane (Lehne), who was amused both at my beetroot sunburn and my assertion that he’s been the ‘acest bad guy on TV’. He commented that he’d not been called ‘ace’ in about 20 years, and then released me from his bewitching stare.

We left the convention halls and there I was, in a hotel room drinking expensive coffee to keep me awake, as it got to 8.15pm and jet-lag kicked in again. I only had to stay up till 11pm for Steve Carlson. Who was fantastic! Live, warm, friendly, funny, and infectiously devoted to having a good time. He played a lot of my favourite tunes, did one or two new songs and was really fun to jump up and down to. I cannot describe how much fun it was to see him and his band members live. Another unforgettable experience. Until the next day of course – it would be an early start: The Winchester Boys are in town!

And that’s where I’ll leave it for today – I have a whole Sunday of fun and excitement to write about, and it’s going to be long.

Peach and lube everyone. I’ll be back very, very soon.

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