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Real Big Damn Heroes

Depending on how geeky you are, you may or may not have heard about Flanvention 2--the Firefly/Serenity convention that was supposed to be this weekend. I say "supposed to" as the folks in charge apparently made off with all the pre-paid proceeds, leaving hundreds of people who'd flown to CA from all over, um, conned.

And then some Browncoats hurriedly arranged a "Backup Bash"...and then loads of the actors showed up FOR FREE because they'd heard about what happened! Originally only Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Mark Sheppard were gonna be there. But then Alan Tudyk showed up. And Jonathan M. Woodward. And Christina Hendricks. And they posed for photos and partied late into the night with everyone. And Nathan pulled out all kinds of stuff from his closet to give to people. ("Anyone never read Harry Potter? Take my copy!")

Below a report, copied from Whedonesque:

I sit in front of my computer, at home now, in memory of my experience of what was _SUPPOSED_ to be Flan 2, the Big Damn Flanvention II, put on by Booster Events.

Well, it was cancelled. Following is my story. A little wordy, but hopefully easy to read:

I approached the lobby of the hotel from my car, carrying a little bag full of trinkets and such. I was PUMPED! I paid $759 for the BDP (Big Damn Pass) to this convention almost a YEAR ago at the beginning of January '06. There were rumors over the past week that it was going to be cancelled due to "financial concerns" (despite being a supposedly sold out con.) Yet just two days ago those concerns seemed to have been addressed and it was on!

"WHOOOOOOO!" I couldn't contain myself anymore, I screamed as I continued my approach. Who then do I immediately see right then? Mark Sheppard (aka Badger) on his way out of the hotel. I shake his hand, and thank him for coming. He then makes a strange remark to me, "You've got people inside who are putting things together, and I'll be back at 6:30." Odd.

I go inside, giving "verbal high fives" to every single person I see. (I'm not the shy type.) They all return odd glances at me. No biggy. After the fourth person looking at me and giving me a pathetic sort of "Awwwwwww" sound, finally this wonderful Browncoat (Rosie -- God bless her) takes me aside and "bears me the bad news." I was stunned. It was cancelled.

The supposedly "good news" was that the Browncoats were rallying to have a "Backup Bash." Supposedly Badger was coming back that evening (Friday night) and Jayne had showed up the night before. I was impressed. These actors came out purely of their own freewill and good spirit to meet their fans and turn a sour situation into a better one. I started drinking.

Met a great couple of browncoats at the bar (Joan and Rich) they introduced me to a few more folks and we went out to dinner. Great group of people, every one of 'em. Had a great time, drove back, got in line to get Badger's autograph. Back to the bar, another drink. Feeling happy now, talking to lots of folks, they're all participating in what was SUPPOSED to be a cocktail party with the actors. Mr. Sheppard finishes his duties and comes on back to mingle. I got to take pictures for other fans with him and them in it. Fun. I wander out back to the main lobby, talking obnoxiously to everybody on the way.

Lobby. I take a deep breath, and just happen to look to my left. Nathan Fillion (aka Mal Reynolds) comes strolling in with a big box. He stops and asks me, "Where's Jonathan?" Being a complete retard, I have no idea what he's talking about, but I got to lead our captain all the way to the bar where his adoring soldiers were waiting. I'm shouting, "Outta the way, outta the way!" (obnoxiously of course.) But then I realize, "This is Nathan Fillion, and he's gonna assault me or something if I steal any more of his limelight" ;-) I step out of the way and he enters the screaming masses of people just waiting to see him and who never noticed me in the first place =P

He immediately charms the entire crowd, heck I was ready to kiss him, and I ain't "sly" so to speak ;-) From apparently nowhere, almost as if they had orchestrated it, he summons forth this dark cap-wearing fellow from the otherwise oblivious crowd. Said fellow also being known by the name Alan Tudyk (aka Wash, our dearly departed pilot) Total Pandemonium. Especially because Wash wasn't even supposed to come to Flan, due to an unfortunate last minute cancellation.

Decently organized chaos ensues as Mal begins passing out all sorts of various memorabilia to folks in the crowd, favoring those poor souls that had traveled from afar to be at a cancelled convention. I'm just smiling, taking it all in. I especially laughed when he passed out the box that he had carried it all in, claiming that there was in fact nothing special about the box, other than it "had belonged to him." Heh. Of course it was still fought over like it was a tuft of his own chest hair or something.

Eventually the two of them lead the crowds out into the lobby, and then further outside to begin a huge host of group photos. I wanted my picture taken with Nathan bad. I mean bad. $759 bad. But at the same time (yes, glorifying myself again) I have a greater desire to see order formed from chaos. So in as loud and obnoxious of a voice I could muster, I started breaking people into lines to get their photos taken. There were a bunch of the other browncoats up front who were actually hosting the event then coordinating pictures.

Nearly out of breath, Rich and Joan (from before, remember?) come running to me to tell me that Christina Hendricks is in the bar, they've been talking to her and told her all about my desire to get a picture taken with her and a tube of lipstick my wife gave me as a prop. God bless her, she takes the lipstick from me and gives me a great photo. Many many thanks to her and to her gentleman friend Jim who was with her (sure hoping I got his name right ;-) -- thanks to both of them for coming out and participating in what turned out to be a wonderful evening.

Eventually the pictures wore off, the actors left the scene and it was time for me to go home. Jonathan Woodward and Brett Matthews also joined us at points throughout the evening and not to diminish their involvement but I didn't get to see them all that much. I did have the dubious honor of calling Brett by the name of "Glenn" instead, and got a chance to thank Jonathan on the way out the door.

As Nathan and Alan left the shindig, I raised my obnoxious voice once more and started singing the Firefly theme song like the total nerd that I am. The whole crowd joined in, and we sent our Big Damn Heroes off into the night.

I can't thank you all enough: Adam, Jonathan, Mark, Brett, Nathan, Alan, Christina. You are the best, and your dedication to your fans is phenomenal. Thank you for all the fantastic memories, and may God bless you in all that you do.

Still flying,

Eric Gavin (AdmiralJedi)

It's funny what makes the human race seem like a good thing at times.

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