(Image: Sending a Wave)
On March 31, the UK Firefly and Serenity podcast Sending a Wave announced that it was coming to an end after twelve years of keeping Browncoats around the world up-to-date on all the latest conjurings in the Firefly fandom throughout the ‘verse. Sending a Wave will always be very special to all of us here at Take Back the Sky, because the podcast was the first media outlet to interview Jeff and me (way back in the 2012) about our efforts to convince Elon Musk and SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity. Not only did our interview on Sending a Wave spread the news of what we were doing to a worldwide audience, it also gave our campaign a level of legitimacy in the Browncoat community that it hadn’t had previously. This was especially crucial to the success of our first online petition to SpaceX, which ended up with thousands of signatures from every continent except Antarctica, accompanied by comments in multiple languages.
About a year later we had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Scott, co-creator and host of Sending a Wave, in person at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con in June of 2013. At the con that weekend, Wendy interviewed me again about my work as the event coordinator of Pittsburgh’s Can’t Stop the Serenity charity screenings, and together we attended the Firefly panel that featured Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Jewel Staite and Gina Torres. Wendy is a lovely woman who is tremendously knowledgeable about science-fiction and the film industry and an absolutely fascinating person to talk to. One of my favorite things about Wendy, both as a podcast host and as a friend, is that her “BS-meter” is finely-tuned, and she’s not afraid to call anyone out if their story has the odor of a fabrication or a retcon. (If you don’t believe me, you can hear her give me a much-needed history lesson upon our first meeting in Sending a Wave Episode 93: The One with Dragons!)
When I heard about the end of Sending a Wave, I contacted Wendy to ask her if it would be okay if I achieved some closure of sorts by bringing things full circle and interviewing her about what had been great run of a groundbreaking Firefly and Serenity podcast. She graciously agreed, and on April 28 we spent nearly three hours on Skype talking about everything from the podcast itself to geek culture, science-fiction of all kinds, Joss Whedon, CSTS, the current state of the film industry and even American and European politics. As you can guess, that conversation meandered in many different directions. The following is a transcript of questions Wendy answered that were specific to Sending a Wave:
We are pleased to announce that Take Back the Sky will appear at the inaugural Wizard World Pittsburgh Comic Con at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh on Friday, September 11.
Pittsburgh native and Take Back the Sky co-founder Christopher Tobias will present a panel entitled “Browncoats in Space: the New Space Age and a Real-Life Spacecraft Named Serenity” at 5pm in Room 304. At the panel, Chris will discuss some of the exciting new developments in the world of private spaceflight as part of NASA’s current Commercial Crew Project, as well as a plan for how Browncoats the world over can band together to get SpaceX to name their first manned spacecraft after Joss Whedon’s Serenity.
And if Browncoats need any additional incentive to attend, Firefly/Serenity cast members Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb) and Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye) are scheduled to appear at the con that weekend as well.
More information about Wizard World Pittsburgh’s guests and programming is available here.
See you in the Steel City!
My relatively lengthy palaver with Summer Glau on Sunday morning was definitely one of the highlights of my experience at Wizard World Philadelphia, but by no means did it mark the end of the memorable moments I had on the convention’s final day. After all, there were still three other cast members from Firefly and Serenity present at the con, and I was determined to get all of them to autograph the Dark Horse graphic novels I intended to auction off for Equality Now at Can’t Stop the Serenity Pittsburgh. Continue Reading
Sunday, June 2 was the final day of Wizard World Philadelphia and the shortest day of the con. We had already been working at the Take Back the Sky table for three days, and our crew had seen pretty much everything the event had to offer. The Firefly panel and my photo op with Summer Glau had already taken place the previous day. Truthfully, my expectations for Sunday were somewhat low. We’d collect a few more signatures for our online petition and letters to Elon Musk asking him and SpaceX to name the next US spacecraft Serenity, say goodbye to our new friends from the PA and NY Browncoats, pack up the vehicle, and head home. That is, of course, exactly what happened, but along the way Sunday would become the most memorable day of the con for me.
I know it’s been almost two months now since this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, and I honestly didn’t expect to be writing about it still. (I can already hear those late-summer cicadas buzzing in the trees outside as I write this. I guess I should be thankful I didn’t have a deadline!) Though they may be later than I’d like, I nonetheless want to share some final thoughts with you about one last aspect of the con before I move on to other, more current topics. Continue Reading
Prior to Wizard World Philadelphia my experience working a table at a large public gathering was mainly restricted to fundraising. I’d worked carnival-style games at community day events while raising money for the high school fencing team I used to coach, and of course I’d helped run a game at Pittsburgh’s Can’t Stop the Serenity event for the past two years. Manning the table at Wizard World Philly was really very much the same, except the object was to convince people to put pen to paper instead of handing over their cash. (They would still have plenty of other opportunities to do that at the con. I swear when I got home from Philadelphia my ATM card was still hot to the touch! Not that I’m complaining. I came home with a lot of very shiny original artwork.)
Jeff mentioned in a previous post that you shouldn’t feel like you’re “stuck behind the table” when working at a con, and that it’s actually a way to enhance your convention experience. I could not agree more. Continue Reading
I can’t believe Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con is just over three days away. For some of you, attendance at a con like this might be an annual event, or perhaps attending multiple cons is even a rite of summer, but I myself have never been to a con larger than the Pittsburgh Comicon and Steel City Con here in Western PA, and you could probably fit both of those cons inside one half of the main hall at Wizard World Philly!
Of course, my wonder and anticipation are magnified by the fact that when I finally attend my first major con later this week, I’ll be attending as a presenter. It still boggles my mind a bit when I think about the fact that I’ll be there as part of the package, that I’ll be responsible for a little piece of the entertainment for the thousands of attendees that walk through the doors at the convention center. In fact, if the programming guide is to be believed (and why shouldn’t it be?), Jeff and I will actually be kicking-off the con with our panel One Small Step for Fans: Browncoats in Space. That’s right. When you look at the program guide, we’re the first thing you see, and if you walk into Room 109 at 4PM on Thursday, May 30, just one hour after the con opens its doors, we can be the first panel you see too. Continue Reading