Boogie with Whedon
Oh this last weekend was awesomely shiny.
I’d booked on Serenity Forever months ago and was looking forward to it but also worrying about meeting all the new people. I didn’t realise though just how much I’d miss home too – never been away for more than a couple of nights in over 18 yrs.
We arrived Thursday afternoon, checked in and then lurked in the lobby to see who else was arriving early. A group of us ended up going to a local pub for something to eat and then went back to the hotel for a while. Back in the room I felt a little homesick but went back down to the lobby later where some of us decided to play tabletop games. I’d never played the ones chosen so luckily they were co-op games and everyone was really helpful – Pandemic & Castle Panic if you’re asking. I decided an early night was being sensible so left around midnight (I think).
Registration didn’t start til around 4pm so the day was spent in the lobby meeting people and playing tabletop games again. I totally loved teaming up with my new partner in crime Lydia for Ticket to Ride. Once registered it was a case of waiting for the Opening Ceremony where we had our first surprise guest.
In the lead up to the con I heard people lamenting that Jonathan Woodward wouldn’t be there and so who would give Sunday Communion (if there was even one). The cheer when Sean Harry (the organiser) announced the first guest and it was Jonathan was deafening; everything went downhill from there … only joking, it just got better and better.
- Sean Maher
- Jewel Staite
- Nectar Rose
- Leah Cairns
- Magda Apanowicz
- Aaron Douglas
- Stephanie Jacobson
- Elyse Levesque
Everyone was brought on stage to be introduced and then it was time to start partying. At one stage Jonathan Woodward went around the room dragging everyone up onto the dance floor. Including me. I haven’t been to a disco in years; but I was still up dancing at 2am.
Nursing a slight hangover I attended most of the talks on the Saturday. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I had so much fun. Everyone was relaxed and ready for a giggle, I think as it wasn’t being filmed (strictly no video taken) meant the guests were more open with their anecdotes and discussion.
During the day Sean Harry announced, to everyone’s delight, that Bruce Boxleitner was in London promoting his book and would be popping by on the Sunday for an autograph session etc. Two surprise guests. One to go.
After the Q&A sessions, photo shoots etc there was a lull until the disco. Most of the guests went to the bar to hang out with anyone who was there. Jewel Staite and Sean Maher disappeared off to their hotel for dinner.
At some point around midnight there were rumours flying around – I was dancing away but saw a crowd by the bar and it was mentioned that Joss Whedon was here. Yeah right. Next thing guess who walked past me on the dance floor … Joss Whedon!! The story goes that he was having dinner with Jewel & Sean and fancied a dance, so they smuggled him into the hotel – only telling the organiser on the way through the hotel door. How true that is I’m not sure but I do know poor Sean Harry threw away a just lit cigar to chase after Jewel, Sean and some stranger with a scarf wrapped around his head.
For around two hours (I think) Joss and his friends danced, and he can certainly dance. Every time I looked across at him he had a big grin on his face. It was a pretty surreal experience. Unfortunately all good things come to an end, especially when you have hotel management who have no idea who Joss Whedon is and insist the disco finishes. It was funny watching the staff googling his name on their phones. So the lights went up and Joss gave a short impromptu speech then left to the sound of people singing the Firefly theme tune. I’m not sure how everyone got any sleep that night.
Still buzzing from the surprise guest the night before everyone headed down for Sunday Communion seeing as Jonathan had turned up. What is Sunday Communion I hear you ask. Well, at Starfury events it is Jonathan plus a guest or two giving a speech/sermon and then administering communion to the flock. It’s voluntary but I was dragged up as this was my first con.
The speech was suitable funny and random, we ended up talking about Geoducks (look them up but maybe not at work or in front of kids) and the IgNoble Awards. Then it was time for communion so most of the room formed an orderly queue around the edge of the room, I was fairly near the front.
Aaron Douglas placed a paper bishop hat on my head to show I was a newbie, Magda Apanowicz gave me a pringle and the Jonathan poured a shot of whiskey down my throat – and up my nose & down the front of my t-shirt. I then had to say Hallelujah into a strategically placed microphone.
It was all in good fun, and some people had more whiskey than was good for them (Jonathan).
After that there were more talks, Bruce Boxleitner got up on stage to say a few words too and then there were autograph sessions. Meeting the guests face to face, even for a few minutes, was great. They were all so warm and personable, willing to listen to the attendees ramble on about goodness knows what
The evening drew nearer and everyone started getting sad as we all knew the weekend was coming to a close. Even the guests were a little choked up giving their leaving speeches. Time for one final party before bed to be followed by Monday morning and reality.
Weary faces in the lobby saying goodbye to friends they probably wouldn’t see until the next convention. Jewel Staite put it well in one of her talks – she said (paraphrasing slightly) “you’re all here to see each other aren’t you? We’re just the excuse.”
I’d been told that Starfury attendees are like one big (if slightly dysfunctional) family and it is true, they are. By the Monday I had made new friends and was welcomed into this geeky family with open arms. Everyone wanted to know when I was coming to another (answer: when I can afford it) and we’ve all connected on Facebook. Yep, only these guys could drag me back to the hellhole that is Facebook.
I have PCB (post con blues) and also a mild case of con-flu. I hear music and remember dancing to it. I miss all the hugs I was getting. It was awesome to make a geeky reference and have everyone get it.
I think my family is going on a bread and water diet now so I can afford at least one convention next year.