(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:
Back 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 every year, but that they would take it nationwide as well. Officially dubbed the “Browncoat Ball,” the event 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 fandom.
So far the ball has been held in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, Portland, Charlotte, Warwick (RI), Albuquerque, Phoenix, Greenville (SC), Virginia Beach and Salt Lake City. This year the event returns to eastern Pennsylvania, as the Pennsylvania Browncoats host the 2017 Browncoat Ball in Gettysburg, PA from August 11-13.
This is the second time that the PA Browncoats have organized the Browncoat Ball, and it’s also the second time that the Delaware Valley Brigade, more commonly known as the Philadelphia Browncoats, have taken point 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. We asked him to take a few moments away from his hectic schedule to answer a couple of questions about the Browncoat Ball, this year’s host city of Gettysburg and why he thinks naming a SpaceX Crew Dragon Serenity would be all kinds of appropriate…
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…
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!
Pictured: My pick for best costume(s) of MegaCon 2015. You have to be old enough to have owned an SNES as a child to even grasp how stupendously awesome these people are.
MegaCon began not long ago as a minor anime convention in Orlando, Florida. In recent years, however, it’s grown much larger with added panels and more prestigious guests to become the annual sci-fi and general fandom con in Florida.
Having recently returned to my dear home and old stomping grounds, I was looking forward to seeing how the con has changed in the years since I’d last seen it, and I was proud that it would be Take Back the Sky’s first con outing in the southeastern United States. Even better, the supremely awesome people at D&B Comics offered to partner with us at the event, without which our participation simply wouldn’t have been possible.
Take Back the Sky will be at the WV Pop Culture Con in Morgantown, WV this Saturday and Sunday, August 24-25. We’ll be doing an encore of our Wizard World panel “One Small Step for Fans: Browncoats in Space” on Saturday, and we’ll have a table on the convention floor where you can sign our online petition and write your own letter to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk asking him to name the next manned US spacecraft “Serenity.” If you’re at the con this weekend, be sure to stop by and say hello. We always love meetin’ new folk, especially Browncoats and those who love talkin’ about space science. Click the con’s logo for a link to their site. Hope to see you there!
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