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Nathan FillionNathan Fillion - Actor’s U.S. fans pay Fringe compliments - and cash
Thursday 14 December 2006, by Webmaster
Donations say thanks for ’kind’ Nathan Fillion
EDMONTON - There’s something about Nathan.
Talented Edmonton-born actor Nathan Fillion, that is, famously a nice guy despite his move to Hollywood.
Unfailingly good-humoured and gracious with fans is our Nathan, star of the late lamented Firefly TV series and its cinematic followup Serenity. A man with lovely manners, the kind you might call quintessentially Canadian — if more Canucks had them.
Fillion is the inspiration for a little story of unexpected generosity. A bunch of his devoted fans, Americans from across the States, wanted to do something tangible to channel their enthusiasm for the man and his work.
In honour of Fillion’s birthday on March 27, they’ve launched a donation drive to benefit the Edmonton Fringe, where Fillion made his start in showbiz as a TheatreSports improviser and where he returns often to hang out and guest on Die-Nasty.
In less than a month the campaign, Keep The Fringe Flyin’, has generated some $2,200 Cdn for Fringe Theatre Adventures, producer of the annual summer festivities, with the promise of more to come by Fillion’s birthday.
Vanessa Lauburg, a PhD student in astronomy at the University of Maryland and Nathan devotee extraordinaire, is one of the six founders of Good Works, and this is its first venture into fundraising.
"Being fans has morphed into trying to build positive things for the community," she says by phone from her home just outside Washington, D.C. "We wanted to do something more active than just appreciating his movies."
With its core group of six plus 10 peripheral members, Good Works is a subset of the larger Fillion fan base, which includes Americans, Brits, Australians and Europeans, and holds conventions worldwide.
"We spent several months (online) with each other, daily, trying to figure out exactly what to do. We didn’t want to become a charity ourselves; it’s complicated," Lauburg says. "We didn’t want to handle actual money."
Donors give directly to Fringe Theatre Adventures, and get tax receipts from the company.
They knew about the Fringe from Fillion’s improv background. The more they learned, "the more we realized that the Fringe by itself is a worthy recipient, a spectacular organization that offers unique opportunities for artists and audiences," says the genial Lauburg.
"We phoned Fringe Theatre Adventures out of the blue and said, ’We’d like to organize a fundraising campaign for you.
"Not unexpectedly, they said ’Wow!’ "
As FTA’s Julian Mayne says, in awe, "it speaks to the international aspect of Fringe theatre. ... We reach a lot farther than we think."
The fan club webmaster devised a site, www.goodworkspresents.org. And Keep The Fringe Flyin’ was off.
Last weekend, at a Firefly convention in L.A., Good Works held a raffle, with hundreds of dollars worth of prizes, including original artwork, T-shirts, action figures, comics, even a specially decorated Zippo lighter — all for FTA.
For Lauburg herself, astronomy and theatre fundraising have arrived at a pleasing equilibrium.
"It’s something fun and something beneficial," she says of her debut as a fundraiser.
"We just wanted to thank Edmonton and the Fringe for giving us such a wonderful actor and such a kind, generous person."