Archive of 2013

A New Organizer Speaks

(This was first heard on The Signal podcast. Our thanks to Craig Kurumada for allowing us to reprint it here)

I confess that when I first heard of Can't Stop the Serenity, I thought that these events would be something I personally might visit, but never help create. I imagined them to be similar to a big conventions. Well, not as big as DragonCon, but big enough to be put on by professional organizations and have a few celebrities. The cities were generally large metropolitan places with hundreds and hundreds of Browncoats able to raise thousands of dollars for Joss Whedon's favorite charity, Equality Now.
Big league stuff.

So it took a while for me to connect a couple of dots. Please understand, I live in a small town: Arcata, California has 16,000 people when school's in session. A little more than half that in the summer or over holidays. But, we do have two movie theatres.
One of them, the Arcata Theatre Lounge, started what they call "Science Fiction Wednesdays." This generally means showing really low budget science fiction movies for a five-dollar admission. It's free if you buy 5 dollars worth of beer or food, which is quite easy to do. Now, please don't be insulted when I say low budget science fiction shows. It isn't always so. Sometimes, they show great, classic sci-fi such as Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and, ta-da! Serenity.

For the past 6 or so years, whenever they would show Serenity, I rallied all the Browncoats I could and even bought a block of tickets. We then started making a "pre-Serenity show" with trivia and prizes. I'm an incurable swag collector and whenever Qmx or ThinkGeek comes up with some Fireflyesque item, I always buy one or two extras as prizes for some shindig or another. We'd done this now for several years, so I thought, why not try to do a CSTS event here in Arcata? We've got all the makings, just not the grand scale.

So, I went online to the CSTS website and got informed. I found all the deadlines.
(You should get organized in late spring or early summer for anything to happen in early fall.)
I took the plunge and registered. I realized that I had all kinds of fears about doing it wrong, making a mess and disgracing our local Browncoats. But, the people at CSTS headquarters were wonderful. They were very supportive of a small event like ours and gave us plenty of guidance.

Our event actually was not much different from any regular shindig, except people were very happy to pay the extra dollar for charity. I was also wonderfully surprised at their spontaneous contributions once they understood what CSTS was about. Many of the attendees didn't know it was a CSTS event, but they were accustomed to the Serenity showings. It was just more shiny goodness to them, knowing they were supporting Joss' favorite charity.

So, we labeled the beer taps "Mudder's Milk", gave away a ton of swag in trivia contests, and raised over $400 for CSTS. As a matter of pride, we had a head count of 164. I realized that with a population of 16,400 or so, we could claim that 1% of the population of the entire town was at our event! Hah!

Now that my fear of failure has been dissolved, I know we can do much more next year. I'm planning on it.

And you should, too. Organize your local Browncoats and do some good. Size really doesn't matter. It really is the intent and getting more people involved in supporting this worthwhile cause, all while having the shiniest of times.

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Why ‘Can’t Stop the Serenity’?

Last May Vancouver Organizer Samatwitch wrote about why Vancouver holds CSTS events each year. Thanks to her for giving us permission to reprint this from their website.

Why do we do this? Why do organisers spend so much time and money for each event? Why do people volunteer, paying for their own tickets to do so? Why do Browncoats - and others - keep coming out to CSTS events?

Partly of course, because the events are fun. Each city is different and has ideas and plans that work for them. A lot of people come out to see Serenity on the big screen or to sing along to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Some people come to spend an afternoon or day with their friends at a fun event - or to bid on an auction item they can't find anywhere else, especially handmade items. All those are legitimate reasons, of course, but I think a lot of people come because the events enable them to make a contribution to better the lives of women and girls globally and locally.

Last year I wrote again about D'ua Khalil Aswad and how it inspired many of us to continue to work hard for Equality Now. This year I want to talk about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for having the desire to get an education - something we in the west take for granted. She was targetted because, at 15, Malala was already known around the world for her blog on education and the state of women's rights in Pakistan. Here is a video from the New York Times, recorded with Malala and her father when she was only 11. Even then she was determined to continue her education. Now she is doing that, albeit in Birmingham, England, where she was taken for her surgery and safety.

I also want to talk about the heinous crimes committed against women and girls as young as five in India. There have been numerous accounts lately of girls being kidnapped and raped. Some have died as a result; some have committed suicide. These things don't just happen in India or Pakistan or Iran or Ethiopia or Egypt, of course, as we saw this week with the rescue of three young women who had been held captive for a decade in a house in Ohio. But when it happens in the United States or Canada or England, our laws are (usually) strong enough to punish the perpetrators - and deter a lot of people from committing the crime in the first place.

This is where Equality Now comes in. They work with groups in various countries to educate and to change the laws to protect women and girls from violence and discrimination aimed at them BECAUSE they are female. You can check out some of their successes and some of their ongoing campaigns on their website.

This year, we need you more than ever - to buy a ticket, bid on an item or two or more, to spread the word and bring your friends to support these causes - and to have fun while you're doing it. Dress up in a Whedony costume, sing your heart out along with your fellow fans, maybe enter the Evil Laugh contest - or write some Vogon poetry. We will come together to have an enjoyable afternoon, made more so by the fact we know we are helping women and girls around the world - and locally - have a better life.

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Over $900,000 raised in 8 years

We are very pleased to announced that in 2013 Can't Stop The Serenity raised $115,420.00 for Equality Now and 20 other charities. This is $5,000 more than in 2012 and brings our total to over $900,000 U.S. over the last 8 years. New cities joined with their events and we had screenings in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Thank you to all our sponsors, organizers, and participants, for contributing to this tremendous success! Whether you bought a Tshirt, donated to an event, bid on an auction, attended a screening or spread the word, we deeply appreciate your commitment and generosity in helping us to support the rights of women and girls worldwide.

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So Many Reasons

The CSTS Auction raises money for Equality Now. When you bid on an item, you know that the money is going to a very worthy cause.

But that isn't the only reason to bid on something. How about:

  • Demonstrating to everyone what a Browncoat you are.
  • Proving to someone special that you know what a Browncoat they are.
  • You just happen to have a Portrait of Jayne-sized space on one wall & an equivalent Portrait of Book-sized space on another wall.
  • It's possible that you plan to pretend the inscription "thank you for your support" on Dichen Lachman's picture was actually addressed to you.
  • Star Trek still is, and will forever remain, the first S-F show you ever loved.
  • That rare Spike figure will just give you another excuse to go see James Marsters and get it autographed.
  • You had fun watching Xena when it was on. Now you're curious to see what the 2 stars were like at conventions.
  • You are out in the black with no CSTS events anywhere near by. Those Fanpacks full of items usually sent to CSTS cities, will help fill the terrible terrible void.
  • Joss Whedon is your Master now and you want something signed by him to prove it.
Whatever your reason, go bid and please spread the word. Auction ends Tues. Nov. 26th at noon, Pacific time.

(Click on the pictures to see the remarkable detail.)

portraits of Jayne and Book

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The Auction is Live!

For the next 10 days, there will be great items up for auction on e-Bay with all proceeds going to Equality Now.

How about a copy of the Buffy script "Superstar" written by Jane Espenson, signed by Jane Espenson and donated by Jane Espenson?

A must have for those who collect action figures is the rare unpainted Jayne. It's been signed by Adam Baldwin. You might want the Hero of Canton poster, the hat and the Mercenary Jayne action figure to go with it.
Perhaps you'd prefer a unique hand cross-stitched Jayne on a Tshirt which has been paired with a signed photo of Jayne on the mule. This one is shiny because you can still see the equipment used to make the Mule hover.

You'll want to make room on your walls for these posters! The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing and Dollhouse, all in one Lot, and the Dollhouse poster has been signed.
There are over 40 lots in total.

Our thanks to the California Browncoats for running the auction for us.

Please spread the word. The e-Bay auction started at noon Pacific time on Sat. Nov. 16 and ends on Tuesday Nov. 26th.

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More variety more awesomeitude!

Browncoats are fans of many shows, not just Firefly. That's why we have items like a Tshirt and matching mug from Supernatural. (They both say "Fate")

For Star Trek there is a picture of James T.Kirk, a Star Trek shot glass, a Tshirt and a dogtag of Data. Another auction combo sees a Star Trek TNG 25th Anniversary Baseball Cap paired with dogtags of the new Kirk, Spock and Nero.

A Xena Fan Pack includes 2 DVDs of early convention appearances by Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor.
There are also Stargate & Vampire Diaries Fanpacks.

Even if you're not a fan of one of these shows, we bet you'll know someone who is, so spread the word. The e-Bay auction starts at noon Pacific time on Sat. Nov. 16.


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