Fans of the Buffy creator's musical body of work packed the Ossington last night for a very special anniversary screening.
In a dark, small-ish room with exposed brick walls in the back of the Ossington, a buzzing crowd has already begun to form nearly an hour before the main event. One girl is wearing a white scientist’s smock with a pair of black goggles dangling around her neck. A young gentleman is looking dapper in a classy librarian-esque jacket and tie. Another guy is really pulling off a plaid pyjama set—the silk ones were too expensive, he says.
This last costume-wearer is Evan Munday, co-organizer of the monthly Geek Love screening series, which celebrated its first anniversary on Monday night with a repeat of the event that started it all: a Joss Whedon Singalong. Together with Emma Woolley, these two lovers of all things geek-related planned their first event in 2011, screening the 42-minute-long Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog followed by “Once More With Feeling,” the musical episode of Whedon’s best-loved TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Did we just ignite an internet firestorm of debate?)
“Joss Whedon’s musical episodes provide people with a more readily available way to appreciate [his work] as a group, in that you can sing along,” says Munday. “I think it would be annoying if you were to watch an episode and just recite all of the lines, but singing—that’s an acceptable thing, and these episodes are the perfect way to have audience participation.”
This may be shaping up to be a big year for Whedon: His mystery-shrouded horror movie The Cabin in the Woods (directed by Buffy co-writer Drew Goddard) hits theatres this April, while The Avengers arrives in May. But Whedon’s devoted fans are still just as interested in Buffy and Dr. Horrible, that little internet movie he created during the 2007-2008 Writers Guild strike with his talented band of brothers and his actor friends Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day.
Munday and Woolley have packed about 80 Whedon-heads into the bar’s back room, including one fan who says she has watched “Once More With Feeling” on all seven continents. Among nerds, Whedon is like a rock star—stories about sightings and near-sightings fly at Geek Love, and a fairly enthusiastic field of swaying hands is not out of place during Captain Hammer’s misguided, macho rendition of “Everyone’s a Hero” in Dr. Horrible’s final act.
Geek Love has been screening different shows every month since last March, from X-Files to Star Trek: The Next Generation to Freaks and Geeks. According to Woolley, the idea was born out of a simple desire to watch Whedon’s work with more people than would fit in her own apartment. They get a solid showing at the Ossington most months, but “Whedonfest gets more people who aren’t our friends,” she says.
By the time we make our way home, after both episodes have been screened twice by popular demand (Dr. Horrible’s re-watching included the full-length musical commentary), we’re not so sure Woolley’s last statement is true. Riding the subway eastbound, debating the merits of the old versus new series of Doctor Who with a guy wearing a T-shirt covered in nerdy movie spoilers, we have sung ourselves hoarse, and feel like we’ve just left a roomful of kindred spirits.