Browncoats: The Musical

Zoe is pregnant, Mal relives his glory days, Kaylee and Simon want to take the next step in their relationship and Jayne… wants to become a preacher? Sounds like it could be the long desired second season of Firefly but it’s actually Browncoats: The Musical!

Browncoats Playbill

Produced by Tea Time for Mad Girls, this one-night-only event brought our favorite characters back to life in an immersive theatrical production at the Gemini Scorpio Loft in Brooklyn, NY. Complete with themed drinks and cookies (the latter provided by Simple Sweets by Melissa), the event was a mighty fine shindig!

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Part of the stage set up at Gemini Scorpio Loft

This production took place about 9 months after the events of Serenity, with Zoe preparing to give birth and the crew figuring out what that meant for them in the aftermath of the political climate surrounding the events on Miranda. The musical disregarded the canonical comic Serenity ‘Verse, and instead choose to feature Mal preoccupied with re-joining the war effort. This means different things for each of the members of the crew: though Mal thought he could count on Jayne and Zoe, Jayne wants to follow in Shepherd Book’s footsteps and Zoe wants to be with her baby, even if she isn’t sure how to be a mother yet. Mal wants Kaylee and Inara safe and planetside, and doesn’t really care much where Simon ends up as long as River is expertly piloting the ship (what with her psychic-ness, and all). Simon won’t leave River and Kaylee doesn’t want to leave Simon and, despite Mal’s wishes, Inara wants to fight.

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From left to right: Paul White as Simon, Dava White as Kaylee, Francesca Negron as Mal, Ann Patricia as Zoe, Jen Wu as Inara, Kati Kane as Jayne

It takes the near-death of every crew member and the surprise visit of a beyond-the-grave Wash to get everyone’s head in the right place and keep them together on Serenity where they belong.

Though the set was fairly minimal with small details here and there, it worked as a representation of Serenity where actors ran between stage areas as they would do on the ship herself. However, all the running coupled with a full audience crowding a 2nd floor loft meant the venue was very warm. What’s more, the stages were not set up in such a way that the audience could see all the action. I learned later that the actors had only been to the space for the first time earlier that day. Given that, I was especially impressed with their set-up.

Browncoats: The Musical is a brand new production and that showed. Certain characters were written incredibly well, while others were portrayed superbly. I was disappointed to hear the word “damn” so many times when there’s an in-Verse alternative (gorram!). More complex characters like River and Inara had weaker writing, and unfortunately the actors’ interpretations did not feel like the characters I love.

Inara (Jen Wu) and Mal (Francesca Negron) lacked any real chemistry.

Mal and Inara lacked chemistry, and Jayne felt a bit sassier than I was used to. However, Jayne’s acting choices were some of the strongest, especially because the actor committed to said choices. Kaylee’s writing and performance were spot-on, while Simon fumbling between his sister and the mechanic he loves brought me right back to the TV show. Zoe brought the whole production together, though I was disappointed that she was played by a white actress. At times, the singing was weak, but I do want to note the heartbreaking performance of ‘’Lullaby’’ by a back-from-the-dead Wash, which brought tears to many eyes.

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Laurel Detkin as a heartbreaking Wash

This musical weakness is understandable, since this is a brand new production with little to no budget featuring volunteer performers rather than professional actors. Like most shiny Browncoat productions, the musical was more a labor of love than of cashie-cashie moneys.

Because the singing was rough at times, it did not do justice to some of the more well-written songs, for example, Kaylee’s love song to Serenity. I did like River’s interpretive dance though!      

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At times, the writing for Aleks Kovacevic as River felt too “on-the-nose.”

The production needs to work out some kinks if they hope to perform it again, but I was thoroughly impressed by much of what was provided and performed in this show. Plus I’ve had “Here’s to the Browncoat Cause” stuck in my head goin’ on a few weeks now… I hope to see more done with Tea Time for Mad Girls’ Browncoats: The Musical!

ENDED: AKF + Entertainment Earth Firefly Slippers Giveaway!

I am pairing up with Entertainment Earth to give one of my fans a shiny pair of Firefly slippers! Entertainment Earth was lovely enough to send me a pair to review, which F*ckYeahFirefly helped me out with. Read the review below, and then enter to win your own pair! 

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Inara the cat has a fondness for the slippers

When Entertainment Earth says “oversized,” they MEAN “oversized”! These cozy slippers are roughly 21 inches long from tail to nose. Your foot slips nicely into the top of the ship down to the cargo bay. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sole of the slipper is nice and cushioned! Before I put the slippers on, I didn’t even see the full inch of padding on the bottom of the ship. The plush outer feels like a hug for my feet, with just the right amount of tightness around the middle of my foot so that I don’t live in fear of it falling off. Serenity is keeping my toes nice and cozy. My very picky feet are quite happy with the interior design of the slipper.

The structure of the ship-slipper is pretty much what you would expect: the middle holds your foot, the nose and cockpit extend from the tops of your toes, and from roughly the middle of your feet to the back of your ankle run the engine pods. They stick out of the side of the slippers, so they are the most difficult part of the ship to maneuver with your feet, but after a few steps, you get used to it. They bounce charmingly along with your steps and as long as you watch to make sure you don’t knock into anything breakable (which you should be doing regardless of misbehaving slippers), you’ll be fine.

15354074_10209226077463372_853139025_oThe bottoms of the sole features no-slip rubber grippy dots, which help in maneuvering the oversized slippers, and the rest of the fabric has great detail of our beloved Serenity printed on it. It’s a different design than the Serenity Plushie you might see over at ThinkGeek or Quantum Mechanix: for one thing, the cockpit window is merged and the shuttles printed onto the sides rather than being their own separate things. The print is symmetrical right and left, which means either slipper can go on either foot and you don’t need to worry about remembering which one is which. The fabric itself is a lighter color, too, which means you can see much of the line work better. As you may or may not know, the ship has two designs: one from the show Firefly and one from the Big Damn Movie Serenity. The slippers incorporate elements of both designs – the line work is the structure of the ship from Firefly and the logo that Inara painted in the Big Damn Movie is present on the neck of the ship.

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Kaylee the cat is a little confused about her ship bein’ all small and miniature-ized

The stabilizer (the achilles heel of most Serenity products) is a separate piece of stiff fabric ingeniously sewn on so it can’t catch anything or rip itself off. It is printed with a pattern that fits with the rest of the ship, but is clearly a separate piece in much the same way the engine pods are. When I saw the promotional images online, I have to say I was worried about the stabilizer, but the idea of sewing it on is so simply genius that seeing it in person makes me smack my forehead and say, “now why didn’t I think of that?”

Overall, these slippers are cozy, nerdy, and fun to walk around in. They are one-size-fits-most and large enough to cuddle if that’s your style. I certainly plan to wear mine at every sleepover from now on.

This giveaway has ended.

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Madison Comic Con 2016

After thousands of miles of travel, and almost every single kind of mode of transportation possible, I am finally home from Wizard World Madison Comic Con 2016.

Havin1460122604781g never visited Madison, WI before now, the invitation to present my “Expanding Firefly ‘Verse” panel gave me not only the chance to visit my family in Chicago, but also a chance to see a new city! Plus I got to visit cosplay friends I don’t see very often. Oh yeah, and bring my panel to more folks… and see Jewel Staite in person.

The trip began on Wednesday night when I took a train into Boston. I stayed the night with a friend and then took the first Silver Line on Thursday to catch my 7am flight to Chicago. Once in Chicago, I stayed for just one night before getting up early and taking a train to the bus that would eventually take me to Madison. I traveled on the Van Galder bus line, which is $30 no matter what and resembles a double decker Megabus. I got the best seat in the house: the front row on the top deck which means huge windows all around. This bus had great wifi, but also randomly leaked through the ceiling at times. 8/10.

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I stayed with my friend SparrowStyle who happens to live right near the bus stop. We ate lunch before heading to the convention. Day one was relatively slow. We walked the entire convention floor (comparable roughly to the size of Wizard World Philly the first year that I went, or the Rhode Island Convention Center), and scoped out the room where I would be presenting my panel on Saturday. After that, we called it a day and headed home for sushi and Netflix. 

Saturday, we headed to the convention around 11 in the morning, so I would have time to set up the room for my panel and make sure my laptop hooked up correctly. I met up with my co-panelist, and we went over a few things before the panel started. This IMG_20160410_123403panel was a lot more in depth than the last time I presented it. I included information about new graphic novels (the next one comes out in less than a month during Free Comic Book Day) as well as about QMx’s partnership with Loot Crate for the Firefly Loot Crates. I also added information about fan films that exist or are being made, including Browncoat Redemption, The Verse, Browncoats: Independence War, and A Faithful Companion.

You’ll have to catch me at a convention to see the whole panel (and have a chance at some of the shiny things I give away at panels), you can check out future panels and events by clicking here. SparrowStyle and I walked the floor again, stopping here and there to pick up art. SparrowStyle and I also entered the cosplay competition, before I headed over to see Jewel Staite’s panel. I caught the tail end of the Agents of Shield panel and, as that was emptying out, managed to get a seat in the very front row of Jewel’s panel!

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We didn’t get much new info from Jewel, but she did talk about being a new mom: her son is now four months old! She did talk about how she almost got a role in Buffy, but scheduling meant she couldn’t. When she was cast in Firefly, she was asked by Joss directly to film a tape for Kaylee, she didn’t even have to put in a general audition. She did mention reading the character descriptions and wanting to read for River. Jewel also mentioned being so grateful for being able to travel all around the world thanks to Firefly, and how she still runs into people who’ve seen it or are just starting to watch it. She’s been working a lot lately, including a recent episode of Legends of Tomorrow and an upcoming episode of Castle, where she loved working with Nathan Fillion again.

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The Arena

After the panel, we spent more time around the convention floor before lining up for the cosplay competition. This year (unlike last year, according to SparrowStyle), the competition was held in the Arena, rather than the main convention center. This is also where all the celebrity panels were held. We lined up in the main convention center before we were escorted us over to the Arena (the area between the two was outdoors and pretty chilly). We waited backstage, and then were announced and had our four seconds to shine! Madison Comic Con had tons of fantastic cosplays this year in the contest. There was a whole group of Doctors (as well as the Doctor’s daughter and Amy Pond), a guy who made the power armor from Fall Out, and even a set of hands of blue. You can see pictures from the whole convention on the Wizard World Flickr page.

Overall, I had a fantastic convention experience. Madison is definitely an up and coming convention that I see getting bigger and bigger every year. I hope to be invited again in the future!  

Loot Crate Firefly Kaylee Interview

 I was interviewed for the first ever (!!) Firefly Loot Crate, naturally themed after our favorite mechanic. To save $5 on your first Loot Crate, whether it be Firefly or not, click here.

Full Transcript follows:

12034335_1130109867018762_5819709339031459687_o “If you’ve ever done a double-take at a Kaylee cosplay so perfect you cannot gorram believe it, chances are you’re looking at Ask Kaylee Frye. Wearing what could arguably be considered her cosplay destiny, the voice of askkayleefrye.com conquered social media (and our hearts) as everyone’s favorite space mechanic and fluffy dress enthusiast. We sat down with Ask Kaylee Frye in the engine room to discuss her career in coveralls. 

What convinced you to embrace your Kaylee destiny?
I decided to go to NYCC in 2012 with a friend, and I had a pair of green denim coveralls I had found at a thrift store a little while back. I figured, what the heck, why not wear them to the convention? People’s reactions were incredible! I lost count after 50 people asked to take my picture and told me I really looked like her. I feel bad, looking back now, because those coveralls are SO inaccurate (especially compared to the ones I wear now) but so many people told me my cosplay was great when really they just meant my face (thanks mom and dad).

You’ve become the go-to source for cosplayers seeking advice on their own costumes. What questions are you 100% tired of hearing?
People ask me a LOT where I get my stuff, to the point where I made an FAQ about it. I get asked about my coveralls a lot, because they’re very accurate to the show. I found them at a military surplus store that no longer sells them.

You have met many of the Firefly cast members. Any favorite stories about meeting the actual crew?
Oh man. The best I think was at Alan Tudyk and Morena Baccarin wearing flower crownsPhiladelphia Comic Con. I purchased photo-ops with Gina, Adam and Jewel. When I got my picture with Adam, Jewel happened to also be in the booth, just checking her phone on the sidelines. I got up to him and he looks at me, says “You look familiar!” and then points at Jewel. I also had a wonderful time meeting Morena Baccarin at Chicago Comic Con a couple years back. There was no line at all for her autograph, so a friend and I went up to her and just talked for a little while. We also had made flower crowns for her and Alan and Summer which she wore for the rest of the convention.

What is your favorite costume piece?
I do love my green coveralls. I’m really proud of them, especially because they were one of the first real cosplays I made for myself. Plus I know if I wear them, I’m gonna get recognized. I’ve also made costumes for my best friend and for my sister that I love.

If you had one piece of advice for other Kaylee cosplayers, what would it be?
The most important thing is the smile on your face. Your cosplay can be slap-dashed together, it can be totally inaccurate, but as long as you’re smiling, ain’t a power in the ‘verse that can stop you.12006663_1130105727019176_3523941287218418752_o

Whedonopolis’s 2015 Halloween Event

2021 Update: Given recent allegations against Joss Whedon, Ask Kaylee Frye no longer supports him. This blog post was written prior to allegations going public. Ask Kaylee Frye believes & supports all survivors.

On October 18th, 2015, fans of Joss Whedon’s work gathered together in Los Angeles to see the man himself speak a bit before joining together (and singing along) to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog.12120023_554560068029531_595936910563645241_o I was one of those lucky enough to be in attendance. Tickets originally went on sale September 13th, and were sold out by that evening. If you recall, that was the same weekend as Long Beach Comic Con, and so I missed out on picking some up then. Then, the day before the event, some extra tickets went on sale and I was sure to grab them as fast as possible! I chose to wear my most screen accurate cosplay, including the pink shirt I made with custom printed fabric!

12109949_504925226342068_7372415465684204266_oThe event began outdoors, with vendors offering various Whedon-verse merch, and everyone having an overall good time.

Once we checked in, we were got fancy swag bags that had loads of cool things that would let us interact with the movie! They included Captain Hammer’s hair and dry cleaning receipt (4 sweater vests), your very own bad horse puppet, bubbles for doing laundry, lacy gently wafting curtains, a penny, and a little confetti popper for when the Death Ray explodes.

My favorite thing, however, was the glowstick, which we were all instructed to use during the song ‘Everyone’s a Hero’

After that, there was a costume contest, and [spoiler alert] I won! It was judged by Shawna Trpcic, the woman who costumed designed Firefly, Dr. Horrible and many other shows!

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My prize was the awesome SDCC exclusive Buffy funko pop!

It was an amazing time, and I am so thankful that I got a chance to experience it with other fans all around me. To be in a room where everyone is singing this hilarious musical was incredible, and I hope to get the chance to do it again someday!

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