In 2004, the Chicagoland Browncoats decided to hold a one-night banquet that was planned as a formal Sino-Western ball like the one in the Firefly episode “Shindig.” The event was such a hit that Browncoats decided not only that they would do it annually, but also that they would host it in a different city every year. This unique shindig, officially dubbed the “Browncoat Ball,” has moved from location to location, year after year, and has gradually evolved into a full weekend of social activities, sightseeing at local tourist attractions and celebrating all aspects of the Firefly and Serenity ‘verse.
Previous Browncoat Balls have been held in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, Portland, Charlotte, Warwick (RI), Albuquerque, Phoenix, Greenville (SC), Virginia Beach, Salt Lake City, and most recently Gettysburg, PA. This year’s Browncoat Ball will be held August 17-19 in Washington, DC.
I attended my first (but hopefully not only) Browncoat Ball last year, and after my weekend at the Gettysburg shindig, I am convinced that every serious fan of Firefly and Serenity should make it a point to attend this event at least once. While every ball is different, I hope that the following account of my time at last year’s ball might give you some idea of what to expect if you decide to go.
We are happy to announce that Take Back the Sky will be at the PA Browncoats table (booth #409) on the floor at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con this coming weekend, June 1-4 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Our fellow Browncoats Tequila Matt Black and Bob Averell and their crew will be at the con with a petition you can sign asking SpaceX to name the first of their manned Dragon space capsules Serenity. They’ll also have templates for form letters to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and President Gwynne Shotwell as well as special “Leaf on the Wind” sheets that you can mail to them, all to let them know you think naming SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon Serenity is a right shiny idea!
The PA Browncoats won’t just be there to promote Take Back the Sky though. They’ll also be spreading the word about this year’s Browncoat Ball, which will be held in Gettysburg, PA in August, as well as Pennsylvania’s Can’t Stop the Serenity charity events in Philadelphia (June 3 and June 24) and Pittsburgh (July 30). So don’t be shy about approaching them and asking about Take Back the Sky, especially if they’re busy talking up the other Browncoats events at the time. If you do, they’ll be happy to help you do your part to make sure we see a real US spaceship named Serenity. After all, Take Back the Sky originated with the PA Browncoats, and like most Browncoats, they are very shiny folk who are always willing to lend a helping hand.
So if you’re going to Wizard World Philly this weekend, don’t forget to stop by the PA Browncoats table to sign our petition and pick up a form letter and a “Leaf on the Wind” sheet. And while you’re at it, be sure to tell Bob and Tequila Matt we send our regards and thank them and their crew for boosting our signal.
For the second consecutive year, Take Back the Sky will be presenting a panel at Wizard World Pittsburgh Comic Con. This year’s panel, Still Flyin’: Browncoats in Space, will examine the historical relationship between science-fiction and the space industry as well as recent developments and achievements in commercial spaceflight, with a special emphasis on SpaceX and its involvement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Take Back the Sky co-founder and Pittsburgh native Chris Tobias will present the panel, which will take place on Friday, November 4 from 6:30-7:15pm in Room 401 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.
If you’re going to be at the con on Friday and have an interest in Firefly, SpaceX or just commercial spaceflight in general, stop by and hear what we have to say. We’ll have updates on our latest activities for those who want to see SpaceX name its first manned Dragon Serenity, as well as some ideas and resources that will make it easier for Browncoats to join our cause.
We hope to see you one week from today at Wizard World Pittsburgh!
If your corner of the ‘verse is in or around the Pittsburgh area, then we have the perfect way for you to kick off your weekend!
Take Back the Sky will be at Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore this Friday, April 15 from 6-10pm for their annual “21-and-over Sci-Fi Night.” We’ll have a table at the event where Browncoats as well as devotees of other science-fiction fandoms can sign a petition to SpaceX and/or write letters to SpaceX founder/CEO Elon Musk and president Gwynne Shotwell, asking them to name their first manned Dragon after Serenity.
Happy New Year, ladies and menfolk!
2015 was quite a ride. NASA announced the crew that will fly its Commercial Crew missions, SpaceX bounced back from a resupply mission to the ISS that got a little too “interesting” and successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the Crew Dragon was given the green light to break atmo for the first time in 2017. And on the pop culture side of the ‘verse, The Martian made readers and moviegoers want to “science the sh*t” out of things, and a brand new Star Wars film broke both the internet and the box office, which means a whole new generation of young people is now dreaming of one day traveling to a galaxy far, far away.
Almost a year ago to the day, we laid out a plan for how we were going to go for hard-burn in our efforts to convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity. Now that year is behind us, and it’s worth taking a brief look back at the year that was to see what soared like a leaf on the wind… and what fell out of the sky like it had a Capissan 38 engine!
Even though we haven’t quite closed the books on 2015, here at Take Back the Sky we’re already looking ahead to next year. 2016 will be a pivotal year in our efforts to convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity. In fact, with the first launch scheduled for 2017, next year will most likely be the year they name the ship. Needless to say (which, as you well know, means we’re going to say it anyway), it’s now more important than ever that we get our message out to the people of the ‘verse, and one of the best ways to do that is by tabling at events that attract folk who genuinely care about space in general and space exploration in particular, as well as fans of science-fiction, especially Browncoats.
Until now, that’s meant traveling to sci-fi and comics conventions, but we’re pleased to announce that we’ve booked our first table at an event that tends toward the hard science end of what we do. On January 15, 2016 Take Back the Sky will have a table at the “21 and Over Rocket Science Night” at the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh from 6-10pm.
In less than 48 hours, we’ll debut a brand new panel at Wizard World Pittsburgh Comic Con. The panel, entitled Browncoats in Space: the New Space Age and a Real-Life Spacecraft Named Serenity, will take place this Friday, September 11 at 5pm in Room 304 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
Our previous panel (One Small Step for Fans: Browncoats in Space) focused on how mankind’s fascination with the stars inspired the fantastic ideas of science-fiction, which in turn inspired new generations to explore space. This new panel, however, will focus on recent developments in the world of private spaceflight through NASA’s Commercial Crew Project, with an emphasis on SpaceX’s Dragon V2.
Of course one thing this new panel will have in common with its predecessor is a discussion of the various ways in which Browncoats around the world can help convince SpaceX to name the first of its manned Dragon spacecraft after Joss Whedon’s Serenity. We’ll discuss our letter writing campaign to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and president Gwynne Shotwell, as well as our new online petition asking SpaceX to announce their manned Dragon’s name live at San Diego Comic-Con in July of 2016. With the fall season just a couple weeks away, we’ll also revisit our “Leaf on the Wind” campaign, which encourages Browncoats who may not feel comfortable writing a letter to show their support for the name Serenity simply by mailing a leaf to Elon Musk and/or Gwynne Shotwell at SpaceX.
If time permits, we’ll field questions from the audience as well, and we may even have a prize or two to give away.
So if you’re headed to Wizard World Pittsburgh this Friday, be sure to stop in and listen to our new presentation. As always, we welcome your feedback and appreciate your support.
Peace, love and rockets…