You can't stop the signal, and you can't stop Serenity. Browncoats are determined sorts of folks. 2011 marks the sixth year of screenings of Serenity for charity. Specifically for Equality Now. Collectively, Can't Stop the Serenity (CSTS) has raised over half a million dollars. The recent screening in Los Angeles contributed to this number and gave attendees an evening to remember.
When the California Browncoats started to put word out about the event, I knew I couldn't miss it. It would be enough to see Serenity on the big screen again and put my dollars towards a cause that is meaningful to me, but they added Dr. Horrible as well. And then the list of special guests kept getting updated. Joss Whedon, Felicia Day, Michael Fairman, and Jessica Neuwirth (one of the founders of Equality Now)... what can I say? They had me at Joss.*
I volunteered to help at the event through a friend. If you stopped by the meet and greet line, that was me in the Serenity tee and the Kaylee-inspired hair. While we waited for the final special guests to arrive, surprise guests trickled in. Nathan Fillion, Jane Espenson, and Tim Minear. Yeah. I think I heard the nine guests participating in the meet and greet collectively make a noise of happiness when Nathan Fillion walked into the room. Every one of the attendees who were lucky enough to grab one of the ten $100 tickets left that room grinning from ear to ear.
While I was in the lobby looking intimidating in case anyone tried to get past the rope (hey, I got to stop one person), there was a performance and a live auction happening in the theater (it was held at Harmony Gold). I slid into my seat in time for the last giveaway. Then the host, Atom Freeman of ComiCenter, introduced Joss (yeah, he said Josh. the audience would have thrown tomatoes if we would have them - don't worry, he redeemed himself later) and the Man talked about Equality Now and why it's an important cause. Jessica Neuwirth spoke, and so did Bix, the founder of Can't Stop the Serenity.
The big treat of the night was the Q&A before the screening. Freeman asked all of the special guests questions gathered from Twitter. They discussed their favorite moments of working on Serenity, the writers talked about what they learned from Joss, Felicia Day talked about working with Joss ("Working with Joss is like eating whipped cream."), and they offered advice for a college freshman. Jane Espenson stated that no matter what happens in college, "don't let anyone take a picture of you naked." Sage advice. Whedon said that he remembered the sad things the most. It makes the good things more meaningful, and that he feels bitter and grateful for the experience of Firefly. The talk will make your Browncoat heart glow. To hear all of them reminisce was an experience I'm so thankful for having first hand. You can have it, too. he event was live-streamed, and you can watch the video below. I recommend doing so.
They left the stage, and we all stayed in our seats to watch Serenity for the hundreth time. Or more. I love being in a group that knows the movie so well that we almost cheered before scenes actually happened. We laughed, we cried (okay, I cried), and then we sang along to Dr. Horrible. It was perfection.
Just like Star Wars fans, Browncoats are generous. Fans raised $11,000 for Equality Now with this single event. The person who won James Hance's Firefrog poster (muppets + Firefly) paid for it, and then asked if it would be worth more signed by as much of the cast as possible. Knowing that it undoubtedly would be, the fan gifted it back to the cause to be signed and re-auctioned at a higher value. If that doesn't make you like Independents, I don't know what will.
You can watch the pre-movie activities, including the Q&A:
Watch live video from GeekWeek on Justin.tv
*I got to meet Joss. I kept it short and sweet. I don't have the words to explain what it meant to meet him.