Saturday, June 25, 2011

Can't Stop the Serenity Event

Today/Tonight I went to the 6th Annual Can't Stop the Serenity charity screening event. I attended the very first CSTS many years ago in Pasadena and have always wanted to attend another. Well I couldn't pass up this opportunity. If you don't know what CSTS is you can read more about it HERE But in short it's fans of Firefly/Serenity or Browncoats as we like to be called, raising money for Joss Whedon's favorite charity, Equality Now.

Tonight's screening was going to be extra special because Joss himself was going to be in attendance and doing a Q&A. They were also going to screening Doctor Horrible Sing Along Blog and brought Felicia Day to do a Q&A along with Joss.

View from my seat
The event started at 5pm down in Hollywood at the Harmony Gold Theater... I tried to get "reserve" seating but it sold out in a matter of hours. So I got general seating which meant I had to get there a bit earlier to get a decent seat. My friend Chris was there before me and when I got there around 4pm we got in line. We were pretty close to the front so I figured we'd get a decent seat. We were saving one seat for our friend Kim and my buddy Aaron showed up about a half hour later and joined us in line. Once we were let in we made out way into the theater and noticed that 2/3'd of the center seats had reserve numbers on them. So Chris, Aaron and I opted for the first center row that we could get. We were right in the middle of the theater towards the back. The theater was small so we had a nice view of the stage and the best view of screen. We had other friends Kim, Anne, Rachelle, Adam, Lisa and Katie who got reserve seats which were great for the stage as they were only a few feet away but to watch the movie they were the worse seats possible. So I was very happy with our seats.

While I was visiting my friends up at the very front the host Atom! was doing some mic tests and actually called me up to stage to sit in the seats and have a conversation with him in front of everyone. Luckily he also grabbed my friend Adam and shortly after my other buddy Michael. So I wasn't alone talking to this guy in front of everyone.

Photo courtesy of Adam
Around 6pm the program got started.. the first event was a gentleman named Shawn Tutt who preformed 3 "geeky" song, they were pretty good. They then went on do a few auctions and I was so tempted to through my hand up but I resisted. After that they showed us a short video about Equality Now which ended with Joss on screen. Then moment later the "real" Joss came out and spoke to the crowds for a few minutes about Equality Now. Then the founder of Equality Now came out and spoke for a few minutes before my friend Michael, who wrote and directed a fantastic Firefly fan film for charity called Browncoats : Redemption presented the head of Equality Now a check for $12,000. Then Can't Stop the Serenity creator presented the head of Equality Now a Golden Apple aka Griswalds (if you're a firefly fan you'll get the reference).

Photo courtesy of Katie
Once that was over we did one more auction and this is were I had to really restrain myself.. but I did. After that auction it was time for the panel so they brought out Joss Whedon, then Michale Fairman (Niska from Firefly) and Felicia Day. But it didn't stop.. there were more unannounced guests Jane Espenson (writers, Firefly, Buffy, and so much more), Tim Minear (writer/director/producer) and finally Nathan Fillion (Mal from Firefly). The crowds went crazy as all the guests sat down. They did about a 30 minute Q&A with the guests and by the time they were done it was 8pm and Serenity was about to start. The panel was so SHINY!!!!

My buddy Chris is new to Firefly so this was his first time seeing the movie.. also my friend Kim had never seen Serenity on a big screen so it was fun watching it with these guys. It was like experiencing it for the first time. After the movie ended, they did the raffle, which I purchased four tickets ($20). The last CSTS I was at I actually won a CSTS T-shirt signed by Joss Whedon... but atlas I did not win anything this time around.

Next up was Doctor Horrible Sing-A-Long Blog. Now this is something that I've only seen on the small screen. This was my first viewing on a big screen and it was AWESOME.. also this was the first time seeing it with a large audience of devoted fans so we all sang along with the songs and it was a blast.

The event ended around 11pm and my group of friends decided to grab some food at Mel's Diner. Being in Hollywood on a Saturday evening right in the middle of everything is not fun. Took about 20 minutes to go a few blocks to the diner but once we were there we found a table and slowly but surely 2/3'd of the diner were CSTS people... it was a great way to end a FANTASTIC evening.

Left Mel's around 1am, got home around 2am and went to bed at 3am... good times.

EDIT!!! Just found out that the gentleman who won the Firefrog (Firefly/Muppet Mash up) Poster ($450) actually donated it back so they could get more cast signatures and re-auction it off for even more money...  I said it before and I'll say it again.. Browncoats are amazing!!!

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