Recap – Browncoat Ball 2010


The Browncoat Ball is a Firefly fandom gathering that different cities take turns hosting every year. As I understand the process, there’s a sort of national ball committee that runs the bidding and selecting process… there’s a list of requirements that you need to satisfy to put together a bid as a local organizing committee, including suggesting a hotel that people can stay at, different Firefly-themed events that you could run in your city, and the quotes for how much you’d charge for tickets and how much the hotel rooms would cost people, and the National committee picks the venue based on that. There’s probably already people sketching out their bids for the 2011 ball.

I flew down to Charlotte from Buffalo on Friday morning, with my brother giving me a ride to the Buffalo airport, and back again. There were classes on Friday afternoon, including a fencing demonstration that I really enjoyed, where they had us do some basic footwork exercises, put on the mask and pick up a sword one at a time to practice with an automated target. I sang at the Karaoke, (the books were labelled Klingon Karaoke but it was officially Shiny-oke for Firefly,) and there was a woman singing Firefly ‘verse folk songs that she wrote herself, and a screening of two Firefly episodes on DVD. I won a pony in pajamas in a random drawing, and got to bed after 2am, which is really late for me.

Saturday was the field trip-ey day. We rode the Charlotte light rail to a pub for lunch, with burlesque dancers for entertainment,  and then split up into different tracks. I was on the ‘tour the core’ track, which basically involved going to a few museums in the city. The ‘museum of the New South’ was interesting, a lot of local history stuff since after the war. The film footage they had about people who had participated in lunch counter sit-ins during the sixties was very moving.

I also got to chat a fair bit with Reba on Saturday, who’s from around Toronto, but lived in the Charlotte area for years with her husband and just moved back recently after her divorce. She’s interesting, I’m glad I got to meet her and hope she starts coming out to the Toronto shindigs soon. And I met Leila, the woman who helps run the Karaoke. She actually dresses up as a Klingon to go to conventions, and told me several times that she was adopting me as the son she never had.

Dressing up in my Simon Tam outfit for the banquet on Saturday night was fun, but I didn’t stay out that late, because I still felt low on sleep from the night before. And there wasn’t that much of note on Sunday, except that a bunch of us who’d taken the airport shuttle together ended up finding each other again after going through the security checkpoint, and all had lunch and drinks at the Chili’s together, sharing stories about other conventions and meeting stars and what-have-you, until it was time to show up at the gate for our flights.

It was a really fun weekend, and I think it helped to charge my creative batteries for Nano!

Photos available from Flickr

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