Can’t Stop the Serenity in the News!

Great article from Wired Magazine on Charity in Fandom:

From a galaxy far, far away to, well, another galaxy far, far away, Serenity fans have shown an equally ambitious interest in doing good.

Serenity was not a financial success. Sure, writer and director Joss Whedon went on to direct a little flick called The Avengers, but the big-screen follow-up to his cancelled television sci-fi western Fireflywas a flop at the box office. Still, the show’s hardcore fans, who call themselves Browncoats, saw it. A lot. And a charity was born.

“With Serenity failing at the box office, local fans were going pretty routinely. Weekly, really,” says Christopher Frankonis, a scholar of all things Whedon better known by his online handle, The One True b!X. “On the way home from one of these second-run viewings, we were discussing how to see it yet again. So I suggested that perhaps we could convince a theater to hold a charity screening.”

Frankonis said it took “maybe 30 seconds” for the idea to grow into something bigger. “At that point,” he says, “it just became a matter of convincing everyone else.”

That was not a problem.

“We had 42 screenings last year, and we’ll probably pick up a few more [this year],” said Dave Catoe, global coordinator of Can’t Stop the Serenity. “Most events draw at least 200 people, so you’re talking about 8,000 Browncoats, maybe more, raising money for charity.”

Since the annual screenings began in 2006, Can’t Stop the Serenity has raised more than $800,000. Most of it has gone to Equality Now, an organization focused on advancing women’s rights. The remainder goes to charities selected by local organizers.

“Part of what I think happened in this particular fandom is that the loss of the show so early on left fans with nothing new to speak of, except what they offered to each other,” Frankonis says. “And the energy of maintaining those fandom circles became this whole other thing. Fans without a show can either become merely insular and masturbatory, or can look outside themselves.”

Read the whole article here!

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