Updated… See, last year a group called Booster Events held this massive Firefly/Serenity convention in California last year called "Flanvention." A lot of the cast shows up, there were panels and dinners and photo shoots and whatnot, membership was limited, and it was a lot of fun, a way for fans of the cancelled-too-soon show and because-we-demanded-it movie to talk to their favorite stars. This year's hotly anticipated event sold out months ago and it's happening this weekend, right now.
Or it would be. The organizers cancelled it. On Thursday.
There were some worries this would happen, after Nathan ("Mal") Fillion idly mentioned on his MySpace page a few weeks ago that he had yet to hear from the organizers about it. There was a brief outcry from fans, things were seemingly cleared up, all was shakily well. Then about two weeks ago the organizers announced the con might not go on due to financial difficulties. To the 500 people who paid hundreds of dollars for tickets (and, in some cases, thousands of dollars for lifetime memberships, since Booster Events does other cons throughout the year for other cult-favorite franchises) this was a huge slap in the face. Outraged fans made their voices heard before the organizers came back a few days later to say they got a loan and all was, again, well.
Then they cancelled it this week, after people around the world were already on their planes and in their cars and on their way. To say that the Firefly fan community (known as Browncoats) was staggered would be an understatement.
As stunned and betrayed fans began to arrive the California Browncoats jumped up to meet the frantic challenge of organizing a convention during, you know, the actual convention. Fans settled in to party among themselves anyway, mutter dark things about Booster Events, and make the best of it of the newly formed Browncoat Backup Bash.
Then the stars started showing up.
Adam "Jayne" Baldwin showed up Thursday night, knowing the con was cancelled and fans were left hanging. He hung around chatting with fans for hours and mentioned others would probably show up.
Friday Nathan "Mal" Fillion, Alan "Wash" Tudyk, Mark "Badger" Sheppard, Jonathan "Dead Guy From 'The Message'" Woodward, and Christina "Saffron" Hendricks came by for autographs and pictures and mainly just to say hi. Without appearance fees or the autograph cash that usually get stars to show up, they came anyway. Alan Tudyk wan't even supposed to be at the event due to prior commitments, and he came anyway. They knew their fans had been shafted and they stepped up to make it worthwhile. Fillion brought a box full of Firefly memorabilia and other personal loot and started passing it out to fans who had come from Australia, the UK and other far-off places
By Saturday morning the emergency organizers had received $4500 in PayPal donations from fans around the world who had donated to help out their less-fortunate compatriots. Multiverse, an MMORPG gaming platform company that announced last week they had the license to create a multi-player Firefly game, paid for buses to move the fans and crew to a secret, undisclosed location to convene in private. There were Q and As from various companies announcing new merchandise, a talk from Greg Edmondson (the man responsible for the music from the show), a musical performance from fan favorite group The Bedlam Bards, and appearances by many of the stars already mentioned plus Michael "Niska" Fairman, Ron "Book" Glass, and Morena "Inara" Baccarin, none of whom were originally scheduled. Even Michael Muhney from "Veronica Mars," who was supposed to run the charity auction planned for Sunday, showed up to hang.
Saturday night the whole mess moved to the new restaurant owned by Claire ("Glorificus" from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and her husband, which isn't due to open for another couple of weeks, and for a time this betrayed, ripped-off, and let-down group of fans who had come hoping to get a few autographs and a fleeting word were suddenly partying with the stars at the hottest secret nightspot in Hollywood. If they liked these actors before it's going to border on worship now, deservedly so.
Me, over the last few days I've cycled from "Wish I could go" to "Whew, glad I didn't go" to "Man! I wish I'd went!" Just shows you shouldn't underestimate a group of people defined by their ability to pull victory out of crushing defeat…