The history of Can’t Stop the Serenity

“Can’t Stop the Serenity” (or CSTS for short) started in 2006 by a man known as The One True b!X in Portland, Oregon. This very avid fan decided to show Serenity on Joss Whedon’s birthday as a charity event to raise money for one of Joss’ favorite charities that his late mother was involved with, Equality Now.

When B!x decided to share this idea with the world and invite them to join in, we are sure he had no idea that 46 cities across the globe would sign up to organize similar events, across the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. These events ranged from simply screening the movie, to elaborate shindigs, parties, and even Browncoat feasts! Many were organized within just a couple of months. After all the screenings were done, these fans stood by proudly as their combined efforts raised over US $65,000 for Equality Now.

Immediately after, there was chatter about holding the event bigger and better in 2007. It wasn’t long before it was decided to make the event an annual one. So in 2007, with Devin Pike (Dallas, TX) at the helm of the ship, 47 cities signed up to hold a screening. A stunning logo for 2007 was designed by Adam “Lexigeek” Levermore and from that global merchandise was organized, with T-shirts and movie-size posters available for purchase. The same design was used to create other merchandise locally such as magnets, mugs, badges, and many other shiny items. We received global sponsorship from a wide range of fan favourites, who donated items which were used as prizes for raffles, auctions, costume contests and more at local events . With more time to organize their events and a stronger global support network in place, the organizers in 2007 went on to raise an impressive US $106,000 for Equality Now.

Beth Nelson (Austin, TX) took the reigns in 2008, and the event grew to 45 cities in 4 countries. With Adam Levermore once again providing the promotional artwork, new global sponsors came on board, and though there were fears that folks wouldn’t come out to see Serenity any more, it was a wonderful feeling to see that the fans still had a passion for the universe Joss had created, and for the movement he inspired. In Beth’s own words, “We faced adversity together and triumphed over it. That makes us mighty, and it makes me proud to call myself a Browncoat. The easy times don’t often show a person’s true character; it’s how people act when met with conflict that shows their real nature. I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make sure that 2008′s Can’t Stop the Serenity events were not only successful, but beyond our expectations.” The 2008 events raised $107,219.15 for Equality Now.

2009 saw a new face take charge, with Anne Barringer (Memphis, TN) stepping up to the plate. “What I hope to accomplish for 2009,” Anne said at the beginning of her term, “is to take what Beth and her fellow Global Organizers before her started to fruition. The fact that Beth helped hold this ship together in the face of adversity and a shortage of supplies (film) while helping CSTS continue to mean something has inspired me to follow suit; together we can see this dream grow into more successful events and a louder voice for change. I want to encourage as much participation as I can from all of those who hear the call to do good works, and I’m looking for fresh ideas and enthusiasm to keep CSTS flying high for years to come.” This inspiration drew new cities into the fold, and Can’t Stop the Serenity swelled to 50 cities in 7 countries. Anne also introduced the very successful Art Contest to design the annual artwork (which introduced Don McMillan to a worldwide audience of fans) and brought Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog into the mix to rave reviews. And despite the economic hard time, local organizers and fans dug deep across the globe to raise a staggering $137,331.14 for Equality Now and other charities.

For the fifth year of Can’t Stop the Serenity, the event’s global leadership returned to it’s founding home of Portland, OR. Christine Mooney (Portland, OR) accepted the challenge, and the event continued to grow, with 52 cities joining in across 5 countries. The Art Contest returned, and few were surprised that Don McMillan’s gorgeous designs were chosen. Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog continued to be the perfect accompanyiment to Serenity, and additional content from The Guild and Megabot continued to bring something new for audiences. Over $140,000 was raised – a new record! In just five years, fans raised over half a million dollars for Equality Now and other charities. These funds have allowed Equality Now to support victims of violence, work to change unjust laws, raise awareness and provide opportunities for women.


In 2011, William Pace of Utah took the reins of the Global Team. Fifty-one cities registered including a first for CSTS – a Wedding reception which also served as an Affiliate event. The Art Contest had a lot of good entries but Melanie Fischer’s strong images won the day. The CSTS Griswald Award, which recognises the local Browncoat crew who raises the most money each year, was retired in 2011 after being engraved with a record of over $500,000. It has now found a loving home at Equality Now, presented to Jessica Neuwirth and Amanda Sullivan in Los Angeles by The One True b!X. Also in LA, Joss Whedon attended his first ever CSTS event, where he thanked Browncoats everywhere for their efforts to support Equality Now. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog and The Guild continued to round out the events, bringing fans of those shows who might not have attended otherwise. Fan-made Browncoats:Redemption was also added this year to the delight of many. Year six saw amounts raised for Equality Now range from $50 to $20,000 and we knew that every dollar raised was important. Our sponsors ensured that every city had something to raffle or auction, and that our Global auction would be impressive indeed. A total of $156,512.56 was raised in 2011 for Equality Now and the other charities.


2012 saw the return of William Pace returned to lead Can’t Stop the Serenity. Our 2012 logo was designed by Melanie Fischer. Early on it was learned that most of the 35mm films in the United States were gone, with digital copies replacing them. Those who had seen Serenity in digital praised the clean crisp look of the movie. 43 cities registered including some new events, giving even more people the change to see Serenity on the big screen. For many fans, this was their first opportunity to do so. Events ranged from weekend long celebrations to dinner and movie to BBQs. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, The Guild, Done the Impossible and various fan films were shown along with Serenity. The year closed out with the now annual e-Bay auction, which gives Browncoats and other fandoms a chance to get some fantastic swag. Our sponsors contributed a lot to the auction with many of them also contributing enough to ensure that all 43 cities would have some items to sell, raffle off, auction or otherwise make their events more special. A total of $$110,465.98 was raised for Equality Now and the other charities in 2012.


2013, our eighth year saw Dave Catoe (Norfolk, VA) take over the reigns Global Events Coordinator. This year’s art was designed by Steve Jeyes. We changed things up a bit in 2013. The season was extended to start in April and finish at the end of October, as with events being held around the globe, a longer season allowed cities to make best use of their local circumstances. In order to keep events fresh, new content was made available for screening, including various fan favourite web series episodes such as Trailer Park Heroes and The Daly Show. We also had on hand a wonderful group of graphic artists who offered their skills to whichever Organizer might need them for posters, tickets, and more. 2013 was the year of music with multiple events bringing in musicians for live performances, as well as several cities worked on breaking the record for the most attendees singing the Hero of Canton, with North Texas being the winner. The annual E-bay auction was another success, with a great selection of autographed items as well as memorabilia, collectibles and more up for grabs. There were 41 groups holding events in 2013 with an impressive $115,420.00 raised for Equality Now and other charities.

But this is by no means the end. Events continue to find new homes and new faces discover the world of Mal, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Inara, Kaylee, Simon, River, Book and Serenity.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who has contributed to Can’t Stop the Serenity. We’ve done the impossible and that makes us mighty!!

Funds Raised Since 2006: >$900,000

All funds are calculated in US dollars

Past Events

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2013

Total Raised: $115,420.00 (Equality Now: $95,512.34, Other Charities: $14,953.64)
Participating Cities: 41 in 4 countries – Event Details & Donation Details
2013-logo

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2012

Total Raised: $110.465.98 (Equality Now: $95,512.34, Other Charities: $14,953.64)
Participating Cities: 43 in 4 countries – Event Details & Donation Details
2012-logo

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2011

Total Raised: $156,512.56 (Equality Now: $124,914.96, Other Charities: $31,597.60)
Participating Cities: 51 in 6 countries – Event Details & Donation Details
2011-logo

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2010

Total Raised: $141,251.25 (Equality Now: $120,054.10, Other Charities: $21,197.15)
Participating Cities: 54 in 5 countries – Event Details & Donation Details
2010-poster

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2009

Total Raised: $137,331.14
Participating Cities: 50 in 7 countries – 2009 Events List

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2008

Total Raised: $107,219.15
Participating Cities: 45 in 4 countries
Website Archive
388px-2008-poster

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2007

Total Raised: $106,165.69
Participating Cities: 42 in 7 countries
Website Archive
400px-2007-poster

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2006

Total Raised: $65,900.24
Participating Cities: 41 in 5 countries
Website Archive
2006-poster

Participating Cities:

100 cities in 9 countries

United States
Albany, NY – 2006*
Albuquerque, NM – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Ann Arbor, MI US – 2006, 2009*
Arlington, VA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Atlanta, GA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Austin, TX – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011*^
Baltimore, MD – 2009, 2010, 2011
Bloomington, IN – 2006*
Boston, MA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Champaign, IL – 2007
Charlotte, NC – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011*^
Charlston, SC – 2012
Chicago, IL US – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Cleveland, OH – 2006, 2007*
Columbus, OH – 2008
Concord, NH – 2006*
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Daytona Beach, FL – 2009
Denver, CO – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Des Moines, IA – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Fort Collins, CO – 2006*
Fresno, CA – 2006*
Ft. Lauderdale, FL – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Hartford, CT – 2009
Houston, TX – 2006, 2008, 2012*
Kansas City, MO – 2006, 2011, 2012*
Las Vegas, NV – 2008, 2009
Lawrence, KS – 2010, 2011, 2012
Lebanon, TN – 2010
Lincoln, RI – 2010, 2011
Logan, UT – 2009, 2010, 2011
Los Angeles, CA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011*
Madison, WI – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Memphis, TN – 2008, 2009
Milwaukee, WI – 2006*
Minneapolis, MN – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Nashville, TN/Scottsville, KY – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Newhall, CA – 2010
New York City, NY – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012*
Norfolk, VA – 2010, 2011
Orange County, CA – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Philadelphia, PA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Phoenix, AZ – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Pittsburgh, PA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Plainview, NY – 2010
Portland, OR – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Raleigh, NC – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Riverside, CA – 2009
Sacramento, CA – 2006, 2007*
Salem & Cambridge, MA – 2009, 2010
Salt Lake City, UT – 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011*
San Antonio, TX – 2009, 2010, 2011
San Diego, CA – 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011*
San Francisco, CA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
San Mateo, CA – 2007
Sayville, NY – 2010
Seattle, WA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Silicon Valley, CA – 2007
St. Louis, MO – 2007, 2008
Syracuse, NY – 2011
Tampa, FL – 2006, 2007, 2008*
Tucson, AZ – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Tulsa, OK – 2009
Yellow Springs, OH – 2008, 2009

Canada
Edmonton, AB – 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012*
Grande Prairie, AB – 2012
Halifax, NS – 2010, 2011, 2012
Montreal, QC – 2006*
Ottawa, ON – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Toronto, ON – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Vancouver, BC – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^

Australia
Adelaide, SA – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009*
Brisbane, QLD – 2008
Launceston, TAS – 2008, 2009
Melbourne, VIC – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*^
Nowra, NSW – 2012
Perth, WA – 2011, 2012
Sydney, NSW – 2006, 2007, 2010*

New Zealand
Auckland – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009*
Wellington – 2006*

United Kingdom
Beeston – 2011, 2012
Birmington – 2010, 2011
Bristol – 2009, 2010, 2012
Chelmsford – 2012
Edinburgh – 2007
Gateshead – 2010, 2012
Glastonbury – 2007, 2012
Gloucester – 2010, 2011, 2012
Leeds – 2006*
Leicester – 2008
Liverpool – 2011, 2012
London – 2007, 2008
Newcastle – 2011
Nottingham – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Oxford – 2006, 2007*
Warwick – 2008, 2009

Ireland
Dublin – 2007, 2009, 2011

Germany
Hamburg – 2009, 2010

Austria
Graz – 2007

France
Paris – 2007

* Foundation Year City ^ 5 Year Veteran City
Note: Information is based on content available on the past year global websites.