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.
With my friend Liz (who is a science teacher in real life) in the lobby of the Hollywood Theater at “a Steel City Celebration of Star Trek.”
(Note: This blog post was originally supposed to appear last month, but due to technical difficulties that were beyond our control, it couldn’t be salvaged until now. We hope you accept our apologies, and that you still find this updated version of the article relevant. — Chris)
Fifty years ago, Star Trek debuted on television screens across the United States. On September 9, I attended a special screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and For the Love of Spock at Pittsburgh’s historic Hollywood Theater (the very same theater that is featured prominently in the Rocky Horror scenes in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower) in honor of that anniversary. The event was an opportunity for me to return to my sci-fi roots, because while there are few Browncoats whose coats are more of a brownish color than mine, I was a Trekkie long before Joss Whedon read a book about the Battle of Gettysburg and was inspired to create a space-western TV series called Firefly. So, when it was announced that geekpittsburgh.com was sponsoring “a Steel City Celebration of Star Trek” for the benefit of the Hollywood Theater and Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum (two organizations that have hosted Pittsburgh’s “Can’t Stop the Serenity” screenings in recent years), I was content to leave my browncoat in the closet for one evening in favor of the command gold of a Starfleet uniform (once a cap’n, always a cap’n) and boldly go where I had always so enthusiastically gone before.
In approximately 24 hours, we will close our second (and likely final) online petition to SpaceX asking them to name their first manned Dragon capsule after Joss Whedon’s fictional spaceship Serenity. Unlike our first online petition, this one was time-sensitive, since it asked SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk or president Gwynne Shotwell to announce the name of the ship at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, which is now less than two weeks away.
We tied this second petition to an announcement at Comic-Con for two simple reasons. The first is that SpaceX has had a presence at SDCC for the past several years, so it made sense that since they were already in attendance, they could take advantage of the massive media attention the con attracts these days without even having to go out of their way to call a press conference. The second is that it’s no secret that Elon Musk has a penchant for spectacle, and when it comes to pop culture, there are few spectacles in the ‘verse bigger than Comic-Con. It was our hope that those two factors would combine to make San Diego Comic-Con the perfect place for SpaceX to name the spaceship that represents the future of American spaceflight after a fictional spaceship that represents the best of American sci-fi television and film– and, if they saw fit to bring the cockpit mockup that they’ve been setting up at astronomy and engineering conferences, it’d also make for some awesome Instagram photos in the pilot’s seat for some lucky Firefly cosplayers!
As a rule we always have high hopes, but we also have to be honest with ourselves. It doesn’t look like it’s going to work out that way. Whereas our first petition accumulated a couple thousand signatures, this latest one has struggled to reach five hundred. I’m sure there are multiple reasons for that, but speculating about them here won’t do anyone any good. Instead, I’d like to focus on the fact that this petition still has the potential to be a success even though it never really “broke atmo” or went viral. Although any logical person would assume that there is next to no chance that SpaceX will actually name their Crew Dragon after Serenity with a surprise announcement at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I don’t think that means this petition can’t still play a role in convincing Elon Musk that his company’s first manned Dragon should bear that name. Here’s why…
It’s hard to believe Jeff and I will be appearing at Dragon Con in less than a week!
In case you haven’t heard (or read our blog entry from July 24), we’ll be participating in a panel called “Fan Support: How Our Faves Survive” on Friday, September 4 at 2:30pm in the Chastain Ballroom (F-G) at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel as part of this year’s Dragon Con. The panel, which is part of Dragon Con’s “Whedon Track,” will be hosted by Anna Puerta, and will also feature Michael Dougherty and Heather Fagan of the Firefly fan film Browncoats: Redemption.
Usually, it’d be easy to tell you what you could expect from one of our panels at a con, but this time it’s not our panel. We’re just guests who represent one aspect of a much larger ‘verse that’s filled with fans of Joss Whedon’s work, all of whom have their own unique ways of celebrating their favorite Whedon stories and characters and making sure they not only don’t fade away, but in some cases that they move forward and even evolve.
Browncoats from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio who attend the 10th annual Can’t Stop the Serenity charity screening of Serenity at the historic Hollywood Theater in Pittsburgh, PA this Saturday will have the opportunity to sign a hard copy of our petition to Elon Musk and SpaceX calling for a manned Dragon spacecraft named after the ship from Joss Whedon’s TV series Firefly and feature film Serenity.
For the third straight year, the Rivers and Bridges Brigade of the PA Browncoats, presenters of CSTS Pittsburgh events, are promoting Take Back the Sky at their CSTS Serenity screening. This year the petition will be located next to the “River’s Mind Readin’ Genius Trivia” game. Attendees who still have not signed our petition will be able to add their name to the over 2,000 signatures of Browncoats from all over the world who have voiced their desire to see a manned US spaceship named Serenity and help us reach our goal of 3,000 signatures by September 1.
Can’t Stop the Serenity organizes worldwide charity screenings and affiliate events to raise money for Equality Now, Joss Whedon’s charity of choice, which fights for women’s rights around the world. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Can’t Stop the Serenity, which has already raised more than $1,000,000 for Equality Now and other charitable causes. Pittsburgh is one of a select few cities that have held CSTS screenings every year since its inception in 2006, and they are also the only city that has actively promoted Take Back the Sky at its CSTS events.
We here at Take Back the Sky thank CSTS Pittsburgh and the PA Browncoats Rivers and Bridges Brigade for their willingness to help promote our cause, and we wish them a very successful event this Saturday. For more information about CSTS Pittsburgh, visit www.cstspgh.webs.com.
We are very pleased to announce that Take Back the Sky will be a part of Dragon Con 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia this September!
We’ll be taking part in a panel entitled “Fan Support: How Our Faves Survive” on Friday, September 4 at 2:30pm in the Chastain Ballroom (F-G) at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. The panel, which will be moderated by Anna Puerta, will focus on the varied and unique ways in which fans have worked to keep the Whedonverse in general, and the Firefly ‘verse in particular, alive and well. Take Back the Sky’s founders will be joined on the panel by Michael Dougherty, writer and director of the 2010 Firefly fan film Browncoats: Redemption, and Heather Fagan, who played the role of Captain Laura Matthews in the film.
Jeff and Chris will talk about what inspired them to create Take Back the Sky, their campaign to sway Elon Musk and SpaceX to name their first manned Dragon v2 spaceship after Serenity, and their plans for taking the campaign to the next level now that SpaceX has unveiled the ship itself and NASA has named the astronauts who will be its crew. Michael and Heather will talk about their experiences during the making of Browncoats: Redemption. Chris and Michael will also discuss their experiences as organizers of Can’t Stop the Serenity events. There will be some time for questions from the audience, and there may even be a surprise or two. (It is Dragon Con, after all.)
We’re honored to be a part of this year’s Dragon Con, its Whedonverse Track and this exciting panel. If you’re attending Dragon Con on September 4, we hope you’ll join us as we talk about some of the ways in which Browncoats are still doing the impossible. We truly enjoy meeting and speaking with all of you in person at various cons all over, and we’re excited to now have the opportunity to meet more of you than ever before.
Of course, you can count on us to bring you updates as Dragon Con approaches. In the meantime, visit the Dragon Con Whedonverse website and Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more information.
SpaceX’s Dragon is recovered after a successful splashdown last week. The unmanned transport ship returned over 3,100 pounds of cargo and experiments from the ISS. (Photo: SpaceX)
Ni hao, fellow travellers. Jeff here, in a long-overdue return. When I offered to take over this weekend to lighten Chris’ load during exam week and we got to discussing a topic, something about his choice of words got me thinking about the future. In the past week or two, we’ve seen the successful milestone pad abort test of the Dragon II manned spacecraft, followed by the safe return of her unmanned freighter sister craft from the International Space Station. The past couple of days have also seen some unprecedented conversations in the United States capital–who ever thought we’d see the day when legislatures would seriously discuss things like property rights for the first settlers in the ‘Verse? It is indeed an exciting time to be alive. Between stories like this and the premiere of Disney’s Tomorrowland in theaters, it’s becoming clear that society may finally be beginning to turn away from the general malaise and pessimism that accompanied the recession, and is now looking towards the future. In this same spirit, I’d thought it might be a good time to talk to you all about “the road from here.” I suppose we haven’t been as detailed as we could have been about how your letters and petition signatures would lead to a real-life Serenity or what comes in between the two. “No time like the present,” as they say… Continue Reading