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July 21 2006

Keeping the spirit of Buffy alive. Very cool article about Buffy fan screenings in Portland, Oregon.

Good article - and featuring our very own esg too!
Wow, that's the first time I've seen my full name in a published article. Does that make me famous? I remember that guy, too. He was asking me all sorts of questions, like what is my favorite episode (Restless), and he didn't know the names of the episodes so I had to explain what happened in the episodes we talked about.

I had no idea what the article would be like, and I don't read The Oregonian, so I didn't think I'd ever get to see it. But it's a really nice article, definitely better than what I expected.

It's not enough that two of her friends have shown up for tonight's free showings of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

That's funny, because he's practically quoting what I said to a friend. I mentioned that only 2 of my friends showed up, and that wasn't enough. Ha! More of my friends did end up coming, which usually happens anyway.

Yes, there was a thunder storm, which we mostly missed due to watching Buffy while it happened.

Also, we befriended a Buffy newbie, and last week we asked her to join our group in our usual spot. She heard about the Buffy showings on the PDX Browncoats mailing list, and came to check it out, braving the scaryness of show, which is no small feat. She says horror gives her nightmares, but so far, no nightmares have been caused by Buffy.

Monday nights at the Mission are a lot of fun. If you're in Portland and you aren't going to these, you're really missing out.

ETA: Oh, and guess which moment wins first prize for the most applause and cheers so far? Spike driving his car into Sunnydale! Honorable mentions go to Oz's first appearance and Willow's " never let her do anything except work and patrol! And I know she's the Chosen One, but you're killing her with the pressure! I mean, she's sixteen going on forty! And you! I mean, you're gonna live forever! You don't have time for a cup of coffee?!" The audience loved those. Ah, good times. :)

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-07-21 14:48 ]
Wow, I just realized that the other person interviewed in that article may be a distant relative of mine. Her last name is my mother's maiden name. Huh.
"Elizabeth, as true a "Buffy" fan as you're likely to meet"

How cool is it to see that in print, esg? :-)

The article does have a nicely positive tone. I get the feeling that it never even crossed the writer's mind to lazily use a term like "rabid fanatics". Good for him.
"Elizabeth, as true a "Buffy" fan as you're likely to meet"

How cool is it to see that in print, esg? :-)

Again, he's paraphrasing me. I think my words were, "I'm the biggest Buffy fan you'll ever meet." It's so funny to read this because I didn't even remember saying all that stuff to him.

The article does have a nicely positive tone. I get the feeling that it never even crossed the writer's mind to lazily use a term like "rabid fanatics". Good for him.

That didn't even occur to me. You're right. The media usually does like to use the "rabid fan" spin. I should probably mention that the writer told me he also likes Buffy.

Btw, can anyone find in that article a link to the author's email? I just wanted to send him a little thank you note.

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-07-21 22:39 ]
Aww, that's so great. What a gift to the people in Portland. If I still lived there I'd go. Now if someone in San Diego would do this ...
I always thought the biggest btvs-fan was the Master himself...
I'm so jealous, and so happy for the people of Portland. I've never experienced such a concentrated sense of Buffy community, except here on whedonesque. I didn't watch a single minute of Buffy 'til the show had been off the air for over a year. But all it took was mistakenly catching one episode, at 2AM on network cable, and like Elizabeth, I watched every DVD and "got so swept up and involved in the story it eventually became a lifestyle." Seems that it would be a blast to feel that kind of energy in person, at an event such as this.

Note: the episode that gave me no choice but to watch another was The Body. I think the story would have ended that night had the first episode I saw been Teacher's Pet!
Great article. I too have always kind of missed having a community of Joss appreciators, apart from online. The closest I've got was watching a Serenity pre-screening which had an electric atmopshere and was also the first time I'd seen the film, and by that stage it was the final version. And the Serenity convention that was held a month or two after.

But I think it would be amazing to do something like this on a regular basis and be able to discuss it with other fans. Although I think that you would probably need to do it with a smaller cinema rather than one of the big, really popular places, or at least hold them during the week so they won't object to you borrowing one of their screens when they could be getting people pay to watch Superman or something.

ESG, were you actually involved in setting these nights up? If so, could you offer us some advice on following suit? And if not, would you know who did start it up and get some advice from them? Do you have to get permission from someone to play DVDs in a public place? How did you convince the cinema to go along with it (maybe the thought of people buying confectionary was enough for them?).

It would be great if you could share your ideas.
That story made my heart glad. The fact that people still care enough about the show (a lifestyle for me too!) to watch it in movie theaters... the fact that people bring friends to get them hooked (I thought I was the only one!) is so heartwarming.

Now all we have to do is make this happen in Dallas

On the note of getting friends hooked, I may have discovered the perfect episode to hook new audiences without spoiling something like "The Body," The Gift," or "Hush."


Let me know which episodes have been the most successful for you.
Alex2459, I was watching Hush last night and have often considered it prime Intro to Buffy material for the Joss novices in my world. In fact, I may bring the DVD with me to work and screen it over a lunch hour for a few of my colleagues who, having never watched the show (the title alone scared some of them off), are astonished to hear me praise it as among the very best in scripted television.
This is really wonderful to see. I live 2 hours north of Seattle and if I was close I'd so love to go to weekly Buffy screenings. Maybe it'll happen if I can find work in Seattle. :)
Great article -- nitpick though. Isn't Joss writing and directing WW? I know that, and you know that, but the common layperson might take "producing" a different way.
Simon, I'm getting a subscription page off the link. Anyway I can view this article?
I can sure empathize with that feeling of catching the show late in the game (in my case it had been off the air for a couple of years) and then getting so swept up in it, it's become a lifestyle. I bought the DVD player just so that I could watch all of Buffy.

Actually, I did see a couple of episodes when they aired. I didn't have a tv at the time, but was house-sitting for someone who did. I had by that time seen so many mentions in print of what an intelligent show BtVS was that I made a point of watching it. As it happened, the episode I saw was "Forever" the one that immediately follows "The Body". I found it confusing since I didn't really know who any of the characters were - I remembered seeing Spike in ads from Season 2 where he was clearly the bad guy, so why was he helping Buffy's sister? Buffy had a sister? For some reason that surprised me, too. And who was the beautiful woman throwing temper tantrums and what was that all business about a key? By the end of the episode I was impressed with the Dawn and Buffy interaction but bothered by one thing. I recognized the plot as having come straight from the short story "The Monkey's Paw." I remember thinking, the writers of this show have so little respect for the viewers that they don't think people would recognize they stole the plot from a classic. Of course the joke was on me. I didn't realize that it was a feature of BtVS to riff on horror classics. The show was counting on the fact that a number of viewers would catch the allusion. My dumb.

My choice for getting newbies to watch is "The Puppet Show." Although it doesn't have the greatness of Season 2 episodes, it's fun, and funny, has a good plot twist, and captures the wittiness that makes the show so appealing and because it's early people aren't lost without a lot of background to catch up on. Plus it's got one of my favorite Buffy lines ever, Principal Snyder's "I know Principal Flutie would have said, 'Kids need understanding. Kids are human beings.' That's the kind of wooly-headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten."

Also, I think "Some Assembly Required" is another good newbie hook. I know a lot of people don't like that one from season 2, but I don't understand why. I think it's one of the best of the early series. It's got everything - genuine horror, pathos, funny, heroism. And another riff on a horror classic.

[ edited by barboo on 2006-07-21 20:06 ]
Barboo, I'm not familiar with "The Monkey's Paw," so that's a new one on me. Like you, I think Some Assembly Required is underappreciated, or unjustly maligned. Another one I've always enjoyed but doesn't get a lot of love is Dead Man's Party.

The line you quoted from Puppet Show made me guffaw in my seat here at work. Thanks (I think) for that! Only one hesitation about Puppet Show: It has a magic dummy. Is it just me or are there many other people for whom a magic dummy is both a little too campy AND a little too creepy?
Razor, I had nothing to do with Buffy being screened at Mission Theater. Having something like this going on has been a dream of mine since I heard about screenings of OMWF in cities like Austin and Boston, but the most I could hope for here was exactly that, one screening of the musical.

I had the idea of approaching Clinton St. Theater, which does the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I'm not so much a sales person. It's been on my mind for a long time though. Since we don't know if Mission will even air episodes past season 2, it's still something I'd like to do. Pitching the idea to a theater would be an easier sell too now, since these screenings can be used as precendence. Also, perhaps Mission would like to be involved. I'd just need details on the interactive part of the OMWF screenings.

I don't know what logistics Mission had to face to put this on, but I do know money was paid up front, and they didn't even break even until the third week. It was something like $2,000 I think, but I can't remember for sure. Oh, and I believe it also had to be free and unadvertised.

I plan to talk to the guy on Monday to ask him if they will show a season 3, so I can ask him about what they had to do to get the rights. I'll also mention the interactive OMWF screenings again. Does anyone know who I can contact who's organized those?

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-07-21 21:12 ]
Yeah, good call barboo. "The Monkey's Paw" (by W.W. Jacobs) is indeed a classic. I read it in some big compendium of ghost stories as a kid and that and 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' really stood out. Still love them both today many (many, many ;) years later.

I actually started watching Buffy as it was first shown (in the UK) and I remember thinking it was good but not realising what it'd become. The puppet episode was fairly typical of my early experience of the show where I thought it'd gone too far (possessed puppet ? Is there anything cheesier in the horror genre ?) only to find that, even in the early days, it knew exactly what it was doing, riffing on and subverting expectations (jeez, I felt for that puppet at the end ;) and generally commenting on real-life from the vantage point of totally unreal-life.

1starbuckstown, I don't see much wrong with "Dead Man's Party" myself but I think a lot of people don't like the seemingly out of character vehemence of the Scoob's reaction to Buffy. I liked that the characters were written with flaws and unreasonable responses (on both sides) though. It just felt true - maybe not what we wanted to see - but true nonetheless (and Giles mini-rant about 'Americans' said with such stuffy resignation always makes me chuckle).

Nice article too. And ElectricSpaceGirl, fame at last ;). Just remember us little folk now that your name's in lights (well, black and white anyway ;).
Remember you? Pshaw. I'm already gathering an entourage and dressing like Paris Hilton. I'll have an album out soon and everything. And this fangirl thing? Just a character I've been playing to research a reality show.

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-07-21 23:05 ]
Hey, that's got legs. How about 'The Amazing Whedonesque' where board members are dropped in the middle of a thread on Wonder Woman casting and have to find their way back to civilization ? Or 'Average Whedonesque' where for weeks members are duped into thinking that Whedonesque is a forum only to have it revealed that it's been a blog all along ?

Boundless possibilities, limitless horizons, multiple lawsuits (hey, omelettes/eggs, right ?).
Even though you now know how it ends, it's definitely worth finding a copy of The Monkey's Paw and reading it. Maybe not when you're home alone. It creates a truly creepy atmosphere and is in fact a good deal more horrifying than the Buffy episode. Cautionary tale of be careful what you wish for.

The reason I love Principal Snyder's line so much is that I really, truly believe that that is what many conservatives in this country believe about liberals. And of course, how much do I love the fact that Snyder gets eaten at the end of season 3.

(Although, wouldn't it be great if he turned out to be the new Big Bad in the comic series - like when he got eaten his soul got transferred into a demon or something like that?)

Yeah Saje, that episode was a turning point for me. It was the first time I realized how subversive Whedon was. I mean I already knew that Buffy was the blonde, teen slayer, yada yada, so no big surprise with the first episodes. But I just completely bought into the whole standard, evil puppet plot, and when it got twisted it was all "I didn't see that coming AT ALL." Hey this guy Whedon's got some surprises up his sleeve.

Sometimes I wish I could just get hypnotized into forgetting everything about Buffy so that I could start over from the beginning experiencing all the surprises anew (and in the right order!)
Sometimes I wish I could just get hypnotized into forgetting everything about Buffy so that I could start over from the beginning experiencing all the surprises anew (and in the right order!)

I wish for that all the time. I've been very nostalgic lately for the days when this Buffy universe felt so shiny and new.
I have a group of online buffy friends that watches episodes together every Tues nite. Its a Yahoo group. Theres usually only 6 or 7 of us, so theres always room for more. If anyone wants to join us, drop me a line.

I totally would prefer a bar or movie theater for the setting, alas I dont live in portland. That sounds like a blast.
There's also the Jossathon, which is nearly wrapping up Angel season 5. I don't know what they're going to do when they run out of Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Serenity to watch though. Maybe they'll start all over?

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-07-22 01:31 ]
It feels shiny and new every time I tally up another convert ESG. I get positively giddy at the thought of bringing a non-believer into the fold!

When I bought the Chosen Collection, I sold my individual seasons, all but season 1, which I loan out happily. (Sadly, my anal retentive nature and only child syndrome does not allow the Chosen Collection to leave my home without me). But really, that also allows me to see the look on their faces when they watch it for the first time. It's brilliant! Convert #1 is on Disc 3 of Season 2 at the moment, but you should have seen the look on her face when Druscilla started her nutty ranting. It was so priceless I had to pause it because I couldn't stop laughing. Can't wait to see her reaction to Becoming Pt. 2.


ESG, I sent the article to a best friend and Buffy watcher who just moved to Portland. I told her "Just look for the girl at the Buffy screenings who really likes Buffy!'
I understand the fun of living vicariously through a newbies first experience with the verse, but it isn't ever the same thing as your own newbie experience. Yes, watching with newbies is always the way to enjoy the show in a new way. I always see new things or get a new perspective on the same stories, and I love that. But like I said, it isn't the same. You can only watch a Buffy episode for the first time once. Sadly.

Chocdogg, just tell her to look for the girl with the Buffy patch.
ESG, how cool for you!! Congrats on the recent fame. I'm so jealous...if only our town had something cool like that. I do have a group of close friends that get together once a week to watch some good sci-fi. We started with BSG now we're on to X-Files. Can you believe I've never watched X-Files? It was on when I was in high school and college so I partied way too much to watch TV. But, luckily I'm alive, married, a mom and now a complete sci-fi geek. Who would have guessed? huh. OK, back on topic....Portland is *the* place to be. My husband is on the job market right now. Does Portland need any philosophy professors??? ESG, see what you can do about that.
Harm, contact the colleges. Also try Craigslist.
Thanks, ESG. I was half way kidding about that, but you're so sweet. Academia is a little odd. They announce all the job openings in a journal. I just let hubby do his thing and hope for the best. But seriously, if you're a philosophy professor and you're dept. is lacking a Hegel scholar....I know one:) Thanks again, ESG.
Hush is definitely good... perhaps the best Buffy ever written, which is why I hate to reveal it first - most everything will go downhill from there. Surprisingly, I've found "The Puppet Show," extreme campiness and all,to be a relatively successful hook. I just tell people beforehand:

"This is from the show's first season. They had no money; it was 1997. If you can find ANYTHING to like about this episode, then I promise you'll love the show."

Just watching Snyder makes me yearn to be hypnotized as well... just to enjoy the early Buffster.
As a fellow portlander, I just gotta say, I really loved the audience reaction to jenny calandar's line "the term is techno pagan" from the episode i robot you jane. It was a roar of laughter. I haven't made it to all of the monday's, but its been good fun all the times that I have. Like seeing the Serenity Screening at Cinema 21, I just love seeing this stuff with an audience of fans. It's a totally different experience than watching it at home. Just thought I would throw that out there.
You *rock*, electricspacegirl! :-)
Nice article. Congrats for getting your name in there, esg! :)
Let me know which episodes have been the most successful for you

I found Welcome to the Hellmouth to be the perfect hook... My husband and I started watching Buffy when Channel Five re-ran it last year and by the end of The Harvest we were totally gone and have progressed from borrowing box sets on video to owning a very handsome The Chosen Collection...
"Welcome to the Hellmouth" did it for me as well. I had 'accidentally' become hooked on Angel (took about 10 minutes of one of the early episodes, just after the series was cancelled!) and so I decided to watch Buffy when Season 1 started playing on the Space Station (Canada). Half way through S1, I bought the first DVDs, then continued till I had bought them all in about six weeks!

I'm currently rewatching again ;-), but there is something special about watching them with new recruits or other fans. A local theatre (the same one where we organized the charity screening, as a matter of fact) showed "Hush" and OMWF just before Hallowe'en last year and it was so much fun to watch - and sing - along with 200 other fans. It would be great to watch all the episodes on a big screen with other fans.

And congratulations, esg, for being quoted - and for showing your fandom without sounding like a 'rabid fan'.

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