For Sherlockians, it’s been a very busy last couple of weeks on the East Coast: Scintillation of Scions V, Montague Street Lodgers of BK, Three Garridebs of Westchester County, etc. - reviews coming soon for each. This weekend is no exception with two major events both happening this Saturday (June 23rd): Sherlock_NYC and their merry band of Sherlockians-in-training will be visiting the fabled Gillette Castle while over in New Jersey the legendary Dr Bob Katz and Peter McIntyre will be hosting a meeting of the Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes, a group which receives booming reviews! Unable to be two places at once, I chose the Epilogues due to an inordinate number of Sherlockians having suggested I attend an Epilogues meeting for some time now. I will report back on the Epilogues and I’m absolutely positive I’ll be able to post links reviewing the Gillette Castle event (which I’m sure will be a treat for all in attendance).
Finally, if you live in or around the NYC area don’t forget that on Saturday June 30, 2012 The Priory Scholars of NYC return after a five year hiatus - a group which has been in existence since 1954. Spots are still available, but please contact Headmistress Judith Freeman ASAP to assure a seat at a lovely indoor/outdoor Manhattan garden spot.
[Something that will hopefully not happen at the first post-hiatus Priory Scholars of NYC meeting June 30th 2012.]
If you are looking for a scion meeting or Sherlock event in your area (and not just in the North East, USA), I cannot recommend enough the always amazing and up-to-date Sherlockian Calendar maintained and supported by Sue & Ben Vizoskie along with webmaster Ron Fish. Support your local scion!! And with that, I bring you this week’s: Friday Sherlock Links Compendium!
Dan Andriacco, in reply to my post from last Wednesday (June 13) about author Nicholas Meyer’s LA Review of Books piece ‘Whither Holmes?’, played the role of Dr Watson and poured some virtual brandy down my throat in an attempt to talk me down from my self-described ‘Network moment’. One thing I absolutely love about the loose confederation of Sherlockian bloggers (check out Mr Andriacco’s ‘blog role’ for an idea of who/what I’m talking about) is the intelligent, entertaining and always engaging dialogues that spring up from time to time between two or more blogs. In this case, Mr Andriacco - as the title of his post suggests - argued that contrary to Meyer’s article (and my response) the sky is in fact *not* falling. To quickly summarize: Meyer’s piece is a spirited (if not downright passionate) warning about the possible direction Sherlockian culture may be headed due to the recent approach certain contemporary adaptations take and my short reaction piece agreed with Meyer to a certain extent. Dr Dan, in reply to my piece, attempts to cordially suggest I take a sedative and re-consider my siding with Meyer as well as dissecting Meyer’s various points, concluding that, whatever may come, “The Canon cannot be watered down!” Whoever is wrong in this (hopefully ongoing) debate does not err on the side of hubris, since it’s apparent that each stance begins and ends with a passionate and sincere love of the Canon. The sky may not be falling and/or I may be a little tipsy on Dr Dan’s virtual brandy, but I stand by the essence of my claim that all might not be right in the Street of Baker - and like Liberty, eternal vigilance is the price we pay for maintaining the purity of our beloved canon. As we all know, this isn’t over until Mr Mycroft Holmes sings!
[Dan Andriacco’s reply to my commentary on Meyer’s ’Whither Holmes?’]
The Serpentine Muse, broadsheet of the venerable Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, released their Summer 2012 issue (Vol. 28, Number 3) and it’s one of their best! The pièce de résistance is Susan Rice’s talk, originally given at the ASH Spring Luncheon 2012, “Lighthouses of the Past and Future” focusing on the recent emergence and popularity of the Baker Street Babes, drawing parallels between the origins of ASH and the Babes as well as another recent female-piloted group Sherlock_NYC. If you are not a subscriber to The Serpentine Muse (though you absolutely should, so subscribe today!!), track this issue down or borrow it from a friend; and just to give you a little taste of Mrs Rice’s polemical skill and rhetorical energy: “ASH was from it’s inception an affectionate, inclusive, supportive group based on twin pillars of friendship and Mr Holmes. This it remains forty-five years later, an amazing source of true bosom buddies, and now for the past few years open to buddies without bosoms as well. These young new Sherlockians are making the same discovery, and I hope they are fortunate enough to look around forty-five years from now and acknowledge the greatest gift Holmes has granted - for me it’s all of you.” (p. 9) Here here! By coincidence, I had the the great pleasure last weekend of having a Friday night conference/night out with ASH members Susan Rice & Mickey Fromkin, Baker Street Babes Kristina Manente (in town from London for the week), Lyndsay Faye (author of the brilliant The Gods of Gotham) & Jenn Eaker, and Sherlock_NYC reps Aubre Rose & Christine McAndrews. All manner of Sherlockian topics were discussed, gossip was traded and fun was had. A night for the memoirs! Sketchy photographic evidence below:
[Can you spot me among all the lovely ASHers, Babes and Sherlock_NYCers?]
The Sherlockian E-Times, a long-standing and respected Sherlock catalog of things to buy and learn, released their June 2012 edition (Vol. 12, Num. 6) in which you can expect info on new MX titles, a charming dedication to Sherlockian Bob Burr on his XXth birthday (rumor has it he’s now eligible for The Sign of Four-Score club!), a review of the Gathering of Southern Sherlockians 8, a few Sherlock quizzes and challenges, a picture from SoSV of two of my favorite Sherlockian bloggers Tracy Revels and Dan Andriacco, links to new Sherlockian artwork by Nis Jessen of Denmark (cf. image below for example) and the usual assortment of Sherlockian books, art objects and miscellaneous delights you’ve come to know and love from Joel Senter of The Sherlockian E-Times.
[Example of the work if Nis Jessen of Denmark. Click image for new and old work from Mr Jessen, in particular check out his illustration for STUD.]
Lyndsay Faye writing for Criminal Element composed a delightful and aptly titled piece “It Wasn’t Lupus: A Sherlockian’s Farewell to House MD“ commemorating, remembering and analyzing the recent end of long-running (8 seasons!) and beloved TV show House MD. If you’ve never seen or cared for the antics of Gregory House and his sidekick Wilson, move along. If you’re a fan of the show but could care less about any real or imagined Sherlockian connections, you can go too. This article is for those Sherlockians who perhaps started watching House because of the subtle (eg. House is shot by ‘Moriarty’ is S2) and not-so-subtle (eg. address is 221B) Sherlock Holmes references, but then stuck around because, well, House is kind of awesome. The core of Ms Faye’s essay is best described in her own words: “[w]hile the characters are direct corollaries, the mythology of the original never invades the program’s text directly. Rather, it is in the ethos and the overall arc of the show, as well as a few Easter egg bits of trivia for hardcore fans, that we understand that House is Holmes.” On a side note, it’s amazing how we Sherlockians/Holmesians absolutely thrive on ‘Easter eggs’ or all those sly/clever canonical/supra-canonical references inserted into shows/stories purely for the sake of the “hardcore fans.” My favorite Sherlockian Easter egg - possibly of all time - is the malfunctioning “1895 hit counter” on John Watson’s blog in BBC Sherlock Season 2, Episode 1 - in fact, visit his blog and the counter is still mysteriously stuck on one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five. Totally brilliant supra-canonical reference!!
[An oldy but a goody - if you’ve never seen this listing of House/Holmes similarities, check it out…”if the deerstalker fits…” Click picture for full sized image.]
Alistair Duncan in “Sherlockian or Holmesian - What do these terms mean now?” considers the semantic evolution of “Sherlockian” as a term that was once used interchangeably with “Holmesian” but which has now been somewhat appropriated by the legion of BBC Sherlock fans to mean a fan of the BBC Sherlock Holmes adaptation. Taking a pragmatic approach, Mr Duncan concludes that “given that usage is the ultimate arbiter, it seems that these two terms, which were once separated by geography rather than scope, are now effectively separated (in the UK at least) by scope rather than geography.” While some of you may consider this a non- or trivial issue, the active re-defining of “Sherlockian” first attracted my attention while listening to Baker Street Babes Episode 23 ”New and Old Sherlockians” where a few Babes interviewed longtime Swedish Sherlock Holmes devotee Mattias Bostrom. At some point Ardy of the Babes suggested that “there are changes in the meaning of the word “Sherlockian”. That’s something that I can definitely attest to as well. It used to be that a Sherlockian was somebody who played the Game, and also “Sherlockian” was the American expression and “Holmesian” the British word for the same thing. But recently, I’ve seen it used to mean that a Holmesian is a fan of the original stories and the Victorian world, and a Sherlockian is a fan of the BBC show.” In fact, I was so intrigued I asked for a transcription of Episode 23 (apparently other listeners did too) which they helpfully provided. This is perhaps my favorite BSB episode (though Ep 14 w/ Leslie Klinger and Ep 8 w/ Laurie R. King are close seconds) for it begins to address a number of important issues relating to what it means to be a fan of Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century. Start off by reading Mr Duncan’s post and then move on from there and after you’ve read the transcript and thought a little but about what it all means, try writing-up your own opinion on a blog or message board. (In a day or two I’ll be posting a short reaction piece to Duncan’s article and the BSB Ep 23 transcript as well as my opinion on the growing linguistic hullabaloo surrounding “Sherlockian”.)
[The ‘Sherlockian’ creed?]
Quick Sherlock Links:
[Click here for much larger version.]
Hollywood Reporter notes that “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Tops Home Video Sales”. I’m surprised both because Game of Shadows is so popular with the mainstream and also because people still buy DVDs.
Daily Kos, a left of center political blog, appears to have begun a Tuesday evening mystery serialization project based on the Master: “My story is new, though some of the characters are well past the age of copyright protection.” Make of it what you will.
Girl Meets Sherlock asks what your favorite Holmesian setting is for Canonical Thursdays: “my favorite Sherlock Holmes story is “The Copper Beeches.” That’s also my favorite setting. I love the idea of a perfectly normal country house that suddenly seems creepy because of a few small touches and the people inside it.” What’s so creepy about a kid with skills including but not limited to: “Smack! Smack! Smack!”
Tea at 221B posted a set of images of Sherlock Holmes chess pieces:
[One day I would like to acquire a nice Sherlock Holmes-themed chess set.]
Journal of Victorian Culture Online started a new online series all about blogs and blogging. They’ve outlined around six subtopics/questions such as “How do you read and engage with blogs?” and “Do you think social media can blur the identity of the researcher with their research?” Could be interesting.
Markings, a blog that’s quickly becoming a preferred read for it’s original content, published a piece entitled: ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’s Letters to Doyle 1893 - 1894’. You’ll recall that the extremely talented Robert Louis Stevenson departed this mortal coil prematurely in the year 1894 so the letters RLS swapped with ACD were some of the final thoughts recorded by the author of Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Philip K. Jones, master of the Sherlock Holmes pastiche database, posted a review this week of Dan Andriacco’s recent book Holmes Sweet Holmes (MX). “This is a worthy second volume and it continues the tradition of crimes in an academic venue” - this of course being the second volume in the ongoing Sebastian McCabe/Jeff Cody series.
Special & Rare on a Stick - blog of the person with the greatest job on earth Tim Johnson - has begun what appears to be a series of posts dedicated to reflecting on his past 30 years as a librarian. So far there’s a Part 1 and Part 2.
Desert News posted the oddly titled piece “Netflix recommendation: the best ‘Sherlock’ you’ve probably never seen” referring to the BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. I suppose not everyone in the world has seen Sherlock on BBC or PBS/Masterpiece, but now that it’s on Netflix the world really has no excuse.
Kieran McMullen is still finding actors who have portrayed Dr Watson for his ‘The Many Watson’ series. This week the distinguished stage/early film actor Edward Fielding is featured, who played Watson with William Gillette in the movie adaptation of Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes play; the 1916 film has sadly been lost to the ravishes of time and neglect (as far as anyone knows - if your grandfather has it stored in his attic, you should probably let someone know). Glancing over Fieldings’s IMDB profile, it appears Mr Fielding played a myriad of bit roles in a lot of very famous films from the 30s and 40s, and had a very successful stage career.
VICE Magazine published a ‘lost’ Sherlock Holmes story in this year’s VICE fiction issue: ”A Misbegotten Traipsing”, a fantastically way over-done pastiche focusing (as you’d imagine from the minds behind VICE) on a spun-out Holmes who ends up shooting a “hooded [traipser], as I stated, wandering casually, sipping a tankard of tea, and nibbling at a small packet of colorful pastilles bought from the all-evening apothecary”. A not-so-subtle take on the tragic Trayvon Martin case. For those that are easily offended, I would avoid reading this all together; for everyone else, go into this with a healthy sense of humor.
[Click for larger image - note the “hooded traipser” through window.]
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