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Firefly Flanvention gets a write up on Ifmagazine.com

Sean Elliott

Friday 23 December 2005, by Webmaster


SERENITY/FIREFLY fans get their own convention and it was a who’s who from this particular Joss Whedon-verse

Browncoats, otherwise known as fans of the Joss Whedon series FIREFLY and the subsequent feature SERENITY, got their holiday wish early when the first "Big Damned Flanvention" was held two weekends ago at the Burbank Hilton. Flanvention marked the first ever convention for this particular group of science fiction fans, and assembled almost the entire cast, as well as a series of guest appearances that made the weekend completely full of Whedon-verse fun and mayhem.

On hand at the convention were the stars of FIREFLY and SERENITY: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass. The one person missing from this stellar line up was Gina Torres who was unable to attend. However, the stars who were there were available for photo opportunities, parties, panels, and all manner of social events where fans got to not only speak to their favorite stars in a conversational setting, but also get their autograph by the end of the weekend.

Denise Adams and Vickie Fisher organized and planned the Flanvention, these two women are not only fans themselves, but are also a talented team who put together last year’s ANGEL Booster Bash. Recognizing a need for FIREFLY fans to have their own convention, the two women organized and pulled in all of the talent to make the weekend a possibility. In the future they are also planning at least three more as of yet unnamed events.

For social interaction with the fans, the stars agreed to be part of panels, which gave their unique first person insight into the making of FIREFLY and SERENITY, and often the panels degraded into comical stories about snafus that took place during filming, and practical jokes usually played on everyone by Nathan Fillion. Fillion could barely contain himself for the duration of the weekend, often goofing his way into other people’s panels. When he rolled through the back doors of the "Ladies of SERENITY" panel, stage fighting with Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin remarked, " He just can’t stand sharing the spotlight can he?"

Of course, all of Fillion’s silliness was taken as good-naturedly as it was given, and to cap off the weekend he gave fans an exclusive look at the SERENITY cast and crew gag reel, which is so blue, it will not see release as it exists and it certainly isn’t on Universal’s DVD release of SERENITY.

Fillion was certainly the most verbal proponent of FIREFLY and SERENITY; he is exceedingly proud to have been part of these projects and takes every opportunity to promote them. He also told fans that his next movie SLITHER is going to be "really gross and fun." SLITHER hits theatres next year.

Adam Baldwin meanwhile just finished the pilot to Dean Devlin’s new police/hostage drama called TALK TO ME. In the pilot he plays a man who takes his wife (played by Rip Torn’s daughter Angelica Torn) hostage in a car wash.

Though all of the "Headliners" of the convention were astoundingly down to Earth and pleasant, the real treats of the convention came from some of the guest stars that were asked to participate.

Andy Hallett, best know to Whedon-verse fans as the green skinned Karaoke demon Lorne on the Buffy spin-off series ANGEL, hosted (what else) a fantastic crazy night of karaoke in the main meeting room. Hallett, an experienced crooner, not only sang and put on a show for fans, but also was more than happy to volunteer to sing back up for individuals less inclined to want to take the stage all by themselves.

The darker side of the Whedon-verse also provided fans with a few of the most charming actors to converse with, take photos with, and just generally have a good time. Actors Camden Toy and Dennis Christopher who have both appeared many times on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL, Toy as several main villains including the insidious Gentlemen, and Christopher as the sorcerer Cyvus Vail; were an absolute treat. They were warm and welcoming to fans and treated everyone as if they were long lost best friends. Their wicked senses of humor at events only helped to speed the weekend by, and their company was never anything other than sidesplitting laughter and levity. Anyone planning a convention should invite these gentlemen to play, and if you find yourself going to a convention for something Whedon-esque, check to make sure Christopher and Toy are on the celebrity list.

More comedy from the Whedon-verse came in the forms of James Leary (Clem the floppy skinned demon on BUFFY), and Jonathan Woodward (Evil lab assistant Knox on ANGEL). Leary, who is another fan favorite performed a one man improvisational comedy show, and entertained fans through the weekend while also promoting his new short film, STUNT C*CKS, which he co-produced and wrote. Meanwhile Woodward is in the process of founding his own web based church, and he led a church service during the Flanvention at which he gave people communion with Lays potato chips dipped in champagne. While the service was serious, Woodward also had no shortage of jokes and comedy for eager fans.

The final surprise for the weekend was the guest appearance of Joss Whedon, without whom FIREFLY and SERENITY would never have existed. Joss was part of the final panel and only had to say of his current projects the he was "sucking at writing two drafts of WONDER WOMAN."

On a more personal note, this was my first convention of this kind, so my thanks to Vickie, Debbie, Dennis, Camden, James, Andy, Abbie and everyone who helped make this a pleasant and insightful experience. Fans and I will all be waiting to see what the team behind Flanvention cooks up for the next conventions and I know I for one will be at whatever they organize, and know that it will be packed with stars and events.