by Chris Tobias
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, Gettysburg (PA) and most recently Washington, DC. This year’s Browncoat Ball will be held September 27-29 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 2019 Browncoat Ball is the result of a joint bid by the Las Vegas Browncoats and the Pennsylvania Browncoats– the first of its kind. It is also the third time that the PA Browncoats have organized a Browncoat Ball, and the third time that the Delaware Valley Brigade, more commonly known as the Philadelphia Browncoats, have played a major role in the preparations.
Matt Black is the head of the planning committee for this year’s Browncoat Ball and a friend of many of us here at Take Back the Sky since 2013, when we spent a weekend working side-by-side at the Browncoats tables at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con. You may recall that back in 2017 we asked him to answer some questions about the Browncoat Ball, that particular year’s host city of Gettysburg and why he thinks naming a SpaceX Crew Dragon Serenity would be all kinds of appropriate. If you haven’t read that interview, we’d encourage you to take a few moments to do so.
But seeing as how Matt’s back at the helm this year again for Browncoat Ball Las Vegas, we decided to ask him if he would talk to us once again and tell us a little bit more specifically about this year’s shindig. He was kind enough to answer a few of our questions…