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FireflyFlanvention 2 Cancellation : A Browncoat Backup Bash recap
Tuesday 12 December 2006, by Webmaster
This is my experience as an attendee and an organizer of the recent Browncoat Backup Bash - the event that took place instead of the cancelled Flanvention - what follows is a detailed description of the events based on my memory and the excellent notes from my wonderful girlfriend, Kelly. I hope you enjoy it and the pictures inside:
Thursday afternoon I left work to head over to the hotel during lunch, all of us believing that Flan was still on. Later that day, after finding out that it was cancelled, I left work to meet up with the other Backup Bash organizers. The feeling on Thursday was one of being kind of punch-drunk, but we were all determined to have as good a time as possible. Eventually that night, Adam Baldwin (Jayne) showed up out of the goodness of his heart to send us his well wishes. He talked about the cancellation of Flan, his work on Day Break and how he’s now a veteran of cancelled shows, so he’s taking it in stride apparently. Adam spent a lot of time talking to fans, taking pictures, signing stuff, and so on. It was really, really good of him to come, but the best was yet to come. I didn’t have my camera with me that night, so I don’t have any pictures.
After having some car trouble in the morning, I headed over to the hotel to meet with the Backup Bash organizers. Once our meeting was done and things were moving, that day was kind of a blur. Adam, our captain and the man in charge of the Backup Bash, made some announcements regarding the next couple of days. Friday was kind of a chill day while the core of the Backup Bash crew, such as James, Lynn, Adam, and Arielle, did much of the work to arrange venues and transportation for the next day, since the Hotel wouldn’t allow us to use their facilities once Flan fell apart. Mark Sheppard (Badger) showed up early that day to lend his support, and spent a lot of time talking to fans and taking pictures. The daytime hours were a blur of registrations and preparations and what not, but it was all coming together. I took some time off to go have some Ramen with my friends Stephen and Lori, and it was during this time that our impromptu dealer’s room got shut down due to noise, which sucked.
Early that evening, Mark Sheppard and Brett Matthews (who wrote on the comics and the episode, Heart of Gold) sat down to autographs and pictures, and this was an amazing example of how awesome Browncoats are. Not ONCE did we have a problem with crowd control, rowdy fans, or people who were impatient. Everyone was impatient, polite, and kind. Mr. Sheppard and Mr. Matthews were terrific, spending a lot of time with each fan, talking to them and asking them about themselves. It was so joyous to see this all coming together. I helped with crowd control during this time, and it was cool to see people changing into their evening outfits. That night was supposed to be the Flan cocktail party, but the leaders of the SoCal Browncoats moved their shindig up from Saturday to Friday so people could still get dressed up.
Eventually the shindig began, and it was a lot of fun. Mark Sheppard joined us in the bar as did Brett Matthews, but the place nearly blew off its top when Nathan Fillion (Mal) showed up. He brought with him a box of stuff that he gave away to people, showing extra care to people who came from far away like the UK or Australia. He had a lot of stuff to give away, saying "there’s nothing special about it, except that it’s mine" repeatedly, but that was enough for everyone. He gave away rough cuts of Firefly episodes, books, and even the box he brought everything in. Then, he brought up Alan Tudyk (Wash) and the place really erupted. Alan explained that he had a few days off from shooting his movie, and would have come for Flan if he had known it was happening, but apparently he had no idea. After the both spoke about how sorry they were that Flan was cancelled, they worked through the crowd a bit, saying hello to people and taking pictures. I had the following conversation with Nathan...
Me: Hi Mr. Fillion, thank you so much for coming, we really appreciate it. Nathan: No problem at all, hey, what’s your name? Me: Oh, I’m Brian... Nathan: Brian what? Me: Oh...Brian Rubin... Nathan: You know, I heard your name from someone and I heard you’re a great guy...
I was floored. Even if he was just being nice, it was a great thing to say. I then got a nice picture with him. I then met up with some of my SoCal Browncoat and BAF Meetup group friends for the shindig, and we all went outside for some air since the bar at the hotel was just packed and quite stuffy. I was then told that Christina Hendricks (YoSafBridge) was in the bar, was Jonathan Woodward (Tracey). I walked up to Jonathan and thanked him for coming, and he said it was no problem and that he’d never miss a party (which is apparently true because he looks like he parties a lot). I then went up to Christina Hendricks, thanked her for coming and took a nice picture with her as well. She was VERY sweet and pleasant, and I was amazed at how nice and gracious she was to all of us. Eventually a line formed up to her for pictures and what not, and her date (it was their first date) was fairly overwhelmed, poor guy...
Anyway, the BBB organizers ushered Nathan and Alan outside to the courtyard for group photos since the lines for individual photos was getting way out of hand. I went outside to witness this, and again, Browncoats proved how polite, patient and understanding they are as there was no problem with crowd control or anything of the sort. I was amazed at what a good time everyone was having, and how happy and positive everyone was. I then met up with the BBB organizers later that night for a meeting, but then couldn’t fall asleep until 1 AM, which sucked because I had to get up at 6 AM to get ready and pick up Kelly and our friend Maria, who was running the Chinese cussing class the next
After picking up Kelly and Maria early in the morning, we got back to the Hotel in time to get registered and headed over in busses to the venue for the daytime events, the Pickwick club here in Burbank. We were fortunate enough to get a nice large room at a discounted rate, so the dealers that were kicked out of their impromptu dealers room the day before got to set up here. We had a nice large room with a stage in the front. Unfortunately, with the one bus taking so long, we got a late start to the morning, but it was a lot of fun. Busses, by the way, were covered by the folks at Multiverse - the folks making the recently-announced Firefly MMO - so mad props need to be given to them.
Maria’s Chinese cussing class was a lot of fun, and we learned a lot of fun Chinese curse words (none of which I have with me at the moment). The entire class lasted about half an hour. After Maria’s class was done, Corey of Multiverse.net (who fronted the $$$ for our transportation, so they rock) got on stage to talk about the recently announced Firefly Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG, or MMO for short). This was neat to hear about, but we have to wait until 2008 to actually try it.
We were supposed to get more ’Verse announcements, but Greg Edmonson (composer of the music in Firefly) showed up and talked about how inspiring the event was (which it was) and how he was so glad to be there, and we were glad too. This was followed by a Q&A, and after that he sat down on the floor with anyone who wanted to talk to him, and he was there for a majority of the day.
Once Greg was done, Jeremy from Dark Horse (a really stand-up guy who gave out free comics the night before) got up on stage and discussed their upcoming products such as the recently announced Serenity comic, more items such as a "Reaverized" Serenity ornament, as well as the upcoming "Buffy: Season 8" comic. He also had kind words to say about the current Angel and Spike comics. After Jeremy was done, Julie of the Big Damn Chefs project got up to speak about her project, which is a Firefly-themed cookbook with recipes submitted by the stars and the fans.
The final event for that day was a concert by the amazing Bedlam Bards, Cedric and Hawk. They started with the Fruity Oaty Bar song, then did Saffron’s Wedding Dance. They also did two new songs. A new version of the Serenity Parody that covered the cancelled Flanvention, and a song about Cedric’s love for Kaylee (he’s "Straight for Staite" apparently).
After the day’s events were done, we headed back to our hotel with Marsia and Shan (who were nice enough to drive us so we didn’t have to take the bus again) and took a well-needed nap. After we got back up and headed back down to the lobby, we were told that no cameras would be allowed, which is why you won’t see pictures of that night.
Once we got on the bus and drove in the slick streets down to Hollywood (with Marsia giving the bus driver directions), we arrived at La Cantina, which apparently is owned by Clare Kramer (who I’m as of yet unfamiliar with) and her husband Brian Keathley. The club isn’t open to the public yet, but these folks were nice enough to open it up to us.
We ran in as soon as we could and snagged a table. We then began to sit a bit and wait for things to start happening. The folks at La Cantina served us exceptional food throughout the night, such as little quesadillas and crackers with shrimp and what not. The food never stopped coming, and it was quite tasty.
Eventually more and more people showed up, including several stars. That night we had Jonathan Woodward (Tracey), Michael Fairman (Niska), Nathan Fillion (Mal), Mark Sheppard (Badger), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Ron Glass (Book), Yan Feldman (Fanty), Robert Lee (Fruity Oaty Bar Guy), as well as James Leary, Robia LaMorte and Camden Toy from Buffy, who weren’t even involved in Firefly at ALL but came down to show their support.
Also showing up was Michael Muhney, who was from Veronica Mars and is the spokesperson for BE Charitable, Booster’s charity arm. He came just to show his support, which is just frakking amazing if you ask me. You can read all about his thoughts here in his LiveJournal.
Throughout the night we ate, drank, got a bit drunk, danced, laughed, sang, and had a marvelous time. The restaurant had marvelous food, the drinks were pretty good, and the atmosphere was terrific. A lot of props need to be given to Clare Kramer and her husband for opening their club up to us at such short notice. It was truly amazing. I believe most folks stayed later, but Kelly and I left around 11:30 because we were tired AND drunk. ;)
Rather than take the bus to the Pickwick, we decided to drive ourselves there, so after checking out of the hotel, Kelly, myself and a couple of our Browncoat buddies from up north drove over to the Pickwick. Today we had a smaller room, and when I got there the dealers weren’t finished set up, so I was asked to do some crowd control until the room was opened. Once it was, we got in and sat down and waited for the day’s events.
While we waited we did a little shopping. Eventually Kelly got some jewelry for her daughter as did I, as well as some nice pillows for her sister who watched Kelly’s daughter for much of the weekend. The dealers booths were packed with people, so it was good to see them doing so well.
The morning began with Jason Palmer talking about his Firefly-themed artwork, which if you haven’t seen, you really should because it’s amazing. He talked about his upcoming pieces, as well as the inspiration for current pieces. I really love Jason’s artwork, and if I had money to burn I’d buy some of it, but you gotta admire the guy’s talent, so this was a good presentation.
After that, Tim Minear showed up...Tim Freaking Minear. You know, the guy who wrote the best episode of television ever, "Out of Gas," as well as the amazing shows Wonderfalls and The Inside (which I hear is excellent). Tim discussed how things related to Firefly and cancellation go together, but then said how the fans take it and make it something better, which was really moving. The first thing Tim did was show us a video he made called "Stuff" which is now on YouTube. This video showed various clips of all the stuff he’s worked on, and was pretty entertaining.
Then Tim showed us the first 7 minutes of his upcoming show, Drive, which featured a 4-minute long cut. While this was a rough cut, and apparently some of the actors and the story has been changed a bit, it looked entertaining, though I didn’t fully get it. I guess I’ll have to see more of it before it clicks. After that, Tim did a live commentary on the Firefly episode Ariel, which was very entertaining and educational because we learned stuff about the production of the show and what not that we’d never hear otherwise. Overall, Tim was there for about two hours on stage, and THEN went outside for several hours and took photos with anyone who wanted too. The guy is a real trooper.
After Tim Minear, Shawna Trpcic showed up to discuss the costuming of Firefly, which was neat. One thing I remember is how she discussed how Jubal Early costume had to be modified from being entirely leather (after it ripped apart during a test shoot) to being a mix of leather and lycra. She then showed us the actual costume Illyria’s costume which is based on the same principle. She then took questions and posed with her costume. The next presentation involved 11th Hour showing some of her never-before-seen artwork, like half-finished and test prints that were just amazing. I really enjoyed this presentation, since I really love her artwork.
After the 11th Hour was done, Cameron Toy introduced The Church of the Wallet, led by Reverend Johnny Wallet (Jonathan Woodward). This had to be one of the funniest and craziest things I’ve ever seen. The Bedlam Bards joined Jonathan on the stage, and what followed was one of the most odd, hilarious, and hard-to-explain two hours of anything I’ve ever seen. I’d go into more detail, but I honestly don’t know how to...it was just so odd, random, and funny that it’s nearly impossible to describe to those who haven’t seen it.
After Woodward was done, he went and sat for hours signing autographs and taking pictures, which was very good of him. During this time, the "Gamesmaster" ran several games such as a Firefly trivia contest and a Family Feud style game, among several others. I didn’t watch this portion of the events because we did some more shopping and got something to eat.
Also during this time I got to speak to Greg Edmonson, which was a real treat for me because I’m such a fan of his music. Greg showed up both Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday, so mad props need to be given to him for being such a trooper and a supporter. I had a very pleasant conversation with Greg, and got a nice picture too. He was just SO nice, and SO gracious to all of us that I was just blown away by what a great guy he is.
The final event of the day was the closing ceremony, where Adam took all of us organizers up on the stage and thanked us for our hard work (it was mostly his hard work, but I wasn’t going to argue). This was met with a standing ovation, and I was moved to tears because of the outpouring of love and positive energy flowing our way. James, Lynn, and Marsia also spoke briefly about the weekend, but we were all so moved we couldn’t say much.
After this, we milled around for a bit and went back to the hotel (driving some Browncoats back along the way) to pick up Maria and head home.
This was one of the most amazing weekends I’ve ever had. The Browncoats, the stars, the events, the fun that was had...it was just amazing. The weekend was so inspiring on so many levels. The stars that came out to see us just out of the goodness of their hearts; the nearly $5,000 donated by Browncoats WHO WEREN’T EVEN AT THE EVENT; the smiling faces of all the Browncoats that kept walking up to us just to say thank you; the volunteers who gave up their time to help us put everything together.
All told, the Browncoat Backup Bash was probably better than Flanvention might have been, but we’ll never really know. As we all get back into the flow of our real lives, I doubt we’ll ever forget the miracle that took place that weekend in Burbank, because the BBB was nothing short of miraculous.