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Starfleet vs. Browncoats for a Night of Bowling

on Sat, 01/19/2013 - 16:03

In the anthology collection finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly (BenBella, 2004), Roxanne Longstreet Conrad offers an amusing essay exploring what would happen if Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his band of space scavengers switched places with Captain Jonathan Archer and his crew aboard the starship Enterprise. Conrad is obviously biased in her assessment, envisioning Reynolds and his colleagues in crime finding new ways to plunder in the Star Trek universe, while Archer’s commitment to peacefully exploring the outreaches of the galaxy would lead to a disastrous encounter with the cannibalistic Reavers. Although such an outcome may be unfair to Star Trek aficionados, it does raise an interesting question—what would happen if the crews of both Serenity and the Enterprise did happen to meet within the confines of deep space?

On Friday, January 18, 2013, just such a scenario played out in Pittsburgh, and apparently the answer is that they would go bowling together. At Legacy Lanes in Whitehall, Klingons mingled with the likes of Jayne Cobb, sharing drinks, pizza, chicken wings and a friendly game of ten-pin. The event was organized as a way for the two fan groups to meet and mingle, and was a success on both fronts as over two dozen members of the local USS Inferno—a collection of Pittsburgh Star Trek fans—and the Rivers and Bridges Brigade of Firefly Browncoats arrived for a night of festivities. A few even attended in costume, including the aforementioned Klingon and Jayne Cobb, and an assortment of additional patrons came dressed in Starfleet uniforms and the trademark Hawaiian shirt of Firefly pilot Wash.

The friendly night of bowling was the brainchild of Cap’n Chris from the Browncoats and USS Inferno executive officer George Edwards, and originated from a conversation between the two at a local Can’t Stop the Serenity fundraiser organized by the Rivers and Bridges Brigade. Both shared a desire to hold more fun-themed get-togethers for their respective groups, and felt that a joint effort would be beneficial for both Star Trek and Firefly fans alike. It turns out that they were right, because not only did attendees have an enjoyable time at Legacy Lanes, but immediately began clamoring for similar events in the future. George Edwards of the Inferno even said that he would like to see other Pittsburgh-based science fiction clubs join in on the fun, unifying local fans of all types in a shared social environment.

Roxanne Longstreet Conrad may have satirically envisioned a world where the crews of Serenity and the Enterprise are polar opposites in finding Serenity, but in Pittsburgh the two fanbases of Gene Roddenberry and Joss Whedon discovered that they are more alike than different, and have started a Steel City tradition that will hopefully continue to expand in the future. After all, what could be a better than a Klingon, Imperial Stormtrooper and Jayne Cobb sharing the same lane at a local bowling alley?

Anthony Letizia (January 19, 2013)

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