After not being sure I'd want, or be able, to go to it, I did get out Friday night to Portland's tenth annual "Can't Stop the Serenity" screening of the film Serenity. It was a look back at a film and TV show lots of us are deeply fond of, and the charity movement that grew out of it...and started in Portland, in point of fact. After this December 2005 screening, the local fan, writer, and activist (and, now, urban goatherd) B!x was riding home with fellow fans, and he had two related thoughts: How can we get that film back on the big screen? and How about a charity screening? This quickly became a worldwide event that has raised a million dollars -- yes, million -- for Equality Now, a charity devoted to fighting human rights abuses against women. Other charities have benefited -- Raphael House, which shelters area people who are getting out of abusive relationships, was the other beneficiary of the weekend's funds -- and the community of fans around this film and this show has stayed strong...strong enough that the community will keep going after this. "This" being how Friday's show was the final Portland screening of Serenity, as the PDX Browncoats have decided it's better to have a definitive end than to risk petering out sometime in the future. Time to do something else. But what it's been these past 10 years is a hell of a good thing. (It also doesn't preclude other cities continuing their screenings; more power to them if they keep doing them and doing well.)
Before the film, which screened in the Melody Ballroom in Inner SE Portland, people could get their picture next to one of the few remaining big props from Firefly, a modified shell, originally modeled after a Russian helicopter, that appeared as an ambulance in the episode "Ariel." PDX Browncoats raised money to restore the shell, and recently walked with it in our Starlight Parade. Bit of science fiction on Portland's streets.
It was a happy, engaged crowd, singing along to "The Hero of Canton" from the episode "Jaynestown" (videotaped to see if it's the largest single group to sing the song) and enjoying music by Sean Faust and jokes from Barbara Holm. The film Serenity still plays really well, for me and for the rest of the crowd; I was impressed again with how tight, story-packed and emotion-packed that script is. Writer-director Joss Whedon made some almost experimental-film-style directing choices, too, that pay off; good practice for, say, the scene in this year's Avengers: Age of Ultron where he succeeds in making the audience get emotionally involved in an argument between two floating blobs.
And that was Friday night (followed by a Saturday night gala the PDX Browncoats put on to officially close out the event; I did not go to that. And you know what, I'm going to post this on its own, and write more about the rest of the weekend later. Again, it was a good one.
EDIT: The website for last Friday and Saturday's events is http://www.cstsgala.org.