I'm Going Out 

Nerdery with a Purpose

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"Did you know that at http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org, Bernd Schneider says that according to a source at ILM that the new Enterprise from the Star Trek AU (Alternate Universe) 2009 film was originally designed to be 366 meters long?" So reads a recent post by "LoyalStarTrekFan" on trekmovie.com, and this, for better or worse, is how many hardcore geeks spend a fair amount of their time: Debating the length of the USS Enterprise. And also arguing about who would win in a fight between Wolverine and Superman.

Thankfully, there are also those über-fans known as the "Browncoats," who worship Joss Whedon as their messianic leader and exalt his sci-fi/western TV series Firefly and its 2005 big-screen adaptation, Serenity. To be fair, Browncoats also spend time debating their favorite sci-fi franchise—but between message-board tiffs about whether Kaylee or River is cuter, these fans have also raised over $250,000 for the civil rights organization Equality Now.

According to Portland's local group of Firefly and Serenity fans, the PDX Browncoats, over $28,000 of that quarter-million dollar worldwide total has come from Portland, where annual benefit screenings of Serenity have been held since 2006. This year, the event—which, alas, is saddled with the Yanni-ish title "Can't Stop the Serenity"—includes two screenings, with an all-ages matinee and a late-night, 21-and-over shindig where booze will be available and the audience can shout at the screen.

Because I'm one of those aforementioned Serenity and Firefly nerds—both the film and the TV show, with their sharp dialogue and excellent characters, are some of the best sci-fi to come along in years—I have yet to miss one of the PDX Browncoats' Can't Stop the Serenity events. If you have yet to hit one, here's your chance—if you want to say hi, I'll be at the one where, for once, I won't get in trouble for drunkenly shouting at a movie screen.

Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st, Saturday June 27, 3 pm (all ages), 10:30 pm (21+), $10-22 (all proceeds benefit Equality Now). More info: serenitynow.pdxbrowncoats.com.

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