Why this website has been quiet …

Dear friends,

I’ve been rather quiet around here of late, and that’s largely because I’ve started a Ph.D. program and have started to lose what little mind I had left.

I have also been working on a survey. I am hoping YOU can help me with this.

If you are in any way shape or form a fan of Sherlock Holmes, may I please beg you to take this survey and share it with everyone you know?

https://eSurv.org?u=2017WomeninHolmesFandomSurvey

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2016 NYCC “Elementary” Panel: A Reminiscing

Friends,

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The Jacob Javits Center

I finally have a chance, now, to sit down and happily reflect on my incredible experience at the 2016 New York Comic Con. What an amazing weekend! Because of life, I was only able to attend on Friday and Saturday, but my goodness, those two days were jam-packed with fantastic panels and shopping! No complaints here.

I could spin yarns about the Graham McTavish panel or the BBC America panel, but if you’re here at Art in the Blood, you want to hear about Elementary, I think. 😉

The Elementary panel was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which is a few blocks away from the Jacob Javits Center, where all of the vendors and artists are located. This is where the 2015 Elementary panel was held, and I think the venue really works for this sort of screening and panel discussion. Like last year, my good friend E helped me score seats in the second row, so we had a perfect vantage point to see everyone up close. Friends are the best!20161007_130147_29550635913_o

20161007_130239_30094910871_o

The view behind me (that’s me in the lower right corner, looking shifty).

The ballroom seemed quite full to me, and based on the hooting and hollering, these folks in there were pretty passionate fans. The only downbeat of the event was the rather odd chap who was tasked with revving the crowd. Realistically, we were already hyped, but I was not interested in doing the Macarena, thanks very.

The panel started with a screening of Episode 2, which was the ep that aired last Sunday. It’s always fun seeing Elementary on a gigantic screen, but I especially liked this episode, so it was even cooler. It’s also great to watch an ep in a room of hundreds of fans! Everyone gasps together, laughs together, AWWWWs over Clyde together…. Honestly, that was the hardest bit to keep secret. I wanted so badly to tweet out “OMG CLYDE OMG!” but I definitely didn’t want to ruin the fun for everyone.

After the ep, and the cheering, the panel came out one by one: Rob Doherty, Lucy Liu, and Jonny Lee Miller. LL was wearing the most adorable dress – the stars, planets, and constellations were subtly nerdy, which is utterly perfect for NYCC! I love “subtle nerd” as a fashion ethos. JLM was wearing a cool Wu-Tang t-shirt, so he wasn’t sporting geek chic, but he looked relaxed and chill.

One of the first things we learned was that the brilliant Nelsan Ellis was supposed to have been there, but he was very ill and couldn’t make it. I was very sad, both to have missed a chance to see him speak about playing Shinwell and because it sounded like he was not having a great day.

LL spoke early on about people being “in repair,” and how that, along with recovery, is a theme of the show. She spoke about how she sees Watson’s motivation this season. JLM said that Holmes remains very suspicious of Shinwell, and that got a great reaction from the crowd. I guess we all agree with Holmes: Nobody better be hurting Watson!

Side note: It will be interesting to see how Shinwell is developed. Will he fold into the Holmes-Watson adventures in a similar way to Canon? I hope so – we only get the briefest glimpse of the character in ILLU, but it’s pretty memorable.

RD talked a little bit about the Season 3 finale, about how significant it was and about how addiction and recovery are portrayed on screen. He then teased us mercilessly, saying that “someone big” is hopefully coming back. The moderator (I believe) threw out possibilities, like Morland Holmes and, of course, Moriarty, but RD wasn’t budging. I appreciated his fortitude!

We did learn that Virgina Madsen was coming back, and everyone was very cheerful about that fact. Then, LL suggested that there is going to be tension between Holmes and Watson. The crowd was not pleased. She mollified the masses by saying that she would be directing two eps this season. The people were happy once again.

Fans from the crowd were invited to ask questions. Someone asked JLM and LL about their favorite moments in the show. JLM said his favorite aspect is the cast and crew, who he described as a family. LL echoed him.  Another person asked for tips to make it as an actor, and JLM passionately advocated for community theater. One fan asked LL about diversity in representation in the media, and LL gave a great answer. I wish I would have been able to film it.

A great moment happened when someone asked JLM and LL what their biggest pet peeves were about each other. The crowd gasped and then cracked up. JLM and LL looked amused and thoughtful. I think JLM really was trying to think of something funny to say, but he wound up just talking about how wonderful LL is, and that he didn’t have any pet peeves. LL talked about how wonderful JLM is to work with too – she turned the question back on herself, sort of, and delivered the funniest line of the panel. She said that the worst thing that happens on set is what they call “Two Line-Itus,” which is when one actor has pages and pages of lines to memorize for a scene, and is performing great in the take, and then the actor who only has two lines keeps messing up. LL had everyone cracking up – now I want to see out-takes where Two Line-Itus strikes!

One person asked RD about what Canon stories he’d like to see made into episodes. RD thought it would be funny to say, “The one with the waterfall.” The crowd became nervous and twitchy. RD just smiled. The crowd behaved and did not riot. But it was really touch- and-go there for a minute!

A fan then thanked RD for not having a romance form between Holmes and Watson. The crowd forgot about RD’s threat to waterfall Holmes and cheered loudly.

20161007_142452_29884319160_oSadly, the Elementary panel had to come to a close. JLM and LL tried to keep answering questions, but NYCC runs on a pretty tight schedule. I thought it was really, really cool that both of them stayed, kneeling down at the edge of the stage to take pictures with the fans who rushed up to meet them. They were trying to shake everyone’s hand and take as many pictures as possible.

That’s emblematic of my biggest takeaway from the Elementary panel: These people seem like such nice, kind, generous and grateful folk. They thanked the fans over and over again. They spoke about their characters with such open affection. They liked to laugh and kid, and they obviously really like working with each other. It’s so incredibly fun to be a fan because I always get the impression that JLM and LL love their jobs and love their fandom. Total joy, on both sides of the aisle!

 

Upon the Terrace: RIP Douglas Wilmer

 

Douglas Wilmer was Sherlock Holmes in 13 episodes of the BBC series in the 1960's.

I was saddened to wake up today to the news that Douglas Wilmer had passed, per David Stuart Davies’ tweet. Mr. Wilmer first appeared as Sherlock Holmes in 1964, in the BBC production of The Speckled Band; Nigel Stock performed as his Watson.

Born in London in 1920, Mr. Wilmer was certainly an accomplished actor before donning the deerstalker, but for many of us, he became a fixture as the Great Detective for a time. Douglas_wilmerSherlockMost recently, he appeared in the BBC’s “Sherlock” in a charming cameo nod to his contribution to the visual canon.

You may note that Sherlockians and Holmesians speak of “standing upon the terrace” when a member of the community passes on. That is a reference to Holmes’ statement to Watson, in “His Last Bow”: “As to you, Watson, you are joining us with your old service, as I understand, so London won’t be out of your way. Stand with me here upon the terrace, for it may be the last quiet talk that we shall ever have.”

Therefore, we stand upon the terrace, and raise a glass to the fine gentleman Douglas Wilmer, who brought great joy to generations of Holmesians. Rest in peace sir, and our thoughts are with those who mourn most keenly.

 

A Very, Very Late Post-Mortem on the Birthday Weekend

So … this is very late! I meant to write this up immediately, but other Sherlockian drama got in the way and I wound up putting this off for ages and days. Finally, it’s Spring Break for me, so no teaching and thus I have time to put fingertips to keyboard and spell all of this out.

First, I absolutely have to acknowledge that I am fortunate in that I live in New York (Hudson Valley, holla!) and I work at a college, so I have the luxury to go down to New York City in January at a whim. I know it’s very challenging for most people to make it to the city for the Birthday Weekend, and I would love to make inroads into making that more feasible to people.


I took the train in on Wednesday so I could be there early for the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes’ (ASH) wonderful opening dinner party. I happen to really love the ASH parties — these cats are fun and they totally know how to throw a 
soirée. I found it very easy to circulate and mingle with old friends and new. I only got into one testy debate regarding BBC “Sherlock” and “Elementary,” but it was easily shut down and I got back to the business of cheerful eating, drinking, and chatting. I find the ASH folks to be so kind, so charming, and so welcoming of everyone. That’s the sort of community to which I want to belong.

20160114_120654A distinct highlight of the second full day was the Christopher Morley Walk. It was actually a really nice day, and bundled appropriately, a large group of us wandered with Jim Cox as he led the crew through Manhattan, 20160114_144554learning about the relevant Morley sites. Again, I had the pleasure of visiting with old friends and meeting new ones. 20160114_131300We ended our walk at McSorley’s, which was just divine. I had the joy to sit next to Kristen Pedersen Prepolec and her beaux Charles, who traveled so far to be with us. Delish food, good drink that was made extra awesome by the fact that the chap brought out like 8 drinks in each hand! I tried to get a pic but failed. Boo on me.

On Friday, I enjoyed the William Gillette lunch during the day. I had the pleasure to sit next to the wonderful Nick Martorelli, who is funny as hale. We shared notes on bringing significant others to major Holmesian events, so I felt extra better about bringing my Little Bird (LB) to the Gaslight Gala that night. Nick and Sir Chris Zordan are the grand masters of the Gaslight Gala, FYI. The Gillette lunch was incredibly entertaining, with presentations and skits to entertain as we munched. Holmesians are the most talented people, I think. Maybe I’m biased, but I think this fandom attracts the brightest bulbs in the factory.


On Friday night, LB and I attended the Gaslight Gala. One must be invited to the official Baker Street Irregulars dinner, and that is … a thing. I have mixed feelings about it. I’ve been a part of “secret societies” (I pledged Delta Gamma in college, complete with robes and secret rituals and whatever), and a covert Holmesian society seems a bit ridiculous in 2016. (I’ll break this down laters 😀 ) I chose my activities for the weekend with a clear mind — I know what I want to be involved in and what I do not. Am a bit head-strong in that way. 

The Gaslight Gala is a joy, and completely welcoming of new Holmesians. LB and I got ourselves gussied up a bit and headed off. The room was gorgeous, the silent auction tables were tantalizing, and the food was quite delish. The atmosphere was so light and so friendly — I was so happy to have the Gaslight Gala as LB’s first introduction to the Holmesian world. Nick made sure the programming went along smoothly, with humor and charm. The toasts were just brilliant — funny and thought-provoking — and we had ample time to visit with the people at our table. I didn’t win anything on the silent auction table, but I was very happy to help check people out. I love seeing people so excited with a win!

It was very important to me to see how lovely everyone was to my LB, who had never attended a Holmesian event. I shouldn’t have been worried, but my heart was warmed to see everyone coming up to him, welcoming him, chatting with him, and just being so generous and kind. That’s the community I love. Everyone is welcomed to the table, and everyone is embraced.

After the beautiful event, we made our way to O’Lunney’s, which is an eternal tradition for Holmesians. Every night is either begun and/or ended at O’Lunney’s. I happen to enjoy rituals, so this is so satisfying to me. The folks from the BSI dinner and the folks from the Gaslight Gala (and others attending neither) gather together to visit. It’s so lovely and it really speaks to the whole ethos of the Holmesian community — we are so fortunate to have a reason to come together, to share our enthusiasm, to meet wonderful people, and to reaffirm that we are not alone in the world.

We had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night, and then a lovely brunch on Sunday, courtesy of ASH. Yet again, I really loved the ASH event, where I got to visit with good friends, and even see some friends from my Hudson Valley scion (The Hudson Valley Sciontists) who I didn’t even know were in the city!

For whatever divisions exist, I have had the pleasure of enjoying the sheer joy of like-minded folks descending on New York City to share the enthusiasm regarding Sherlock Holmes. I honestly cannot wait for 2017.

If you are reading this and would like to join in the fun, but have obstacles, message me. There are some funds set in place to help folks, and I would certainly be happy to talk shop about how to do this trip on a budget.

The next Birthday weekend is January 4-8, 2017. Plan now, dear friends. Please chat with me if you need help in the planning.

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends”

Dear friends,

I am having a moment of déjà vu: Weren’t we just talking about respect?

I apologize for being slow to respond here; I was away in New York City on Sunday and am just now catching up. I was not delaying a response on purpose.

On behalf of ScarletSherlock and myself, we are fully in support of Ghost Bees and find the Baker Street Journal’s response to their concerns troubling at best. Identity is a vitally important concept and one that should be respected. Thanks to Google, anyone with an Internet connection can educate themselves about the social and cultural issues regarding identity and gendered pronouns. This is no longer a “secret” or hidden issue buried deep in the bowels of social media.

On Art in the Blood and our various social media platforms, respect is paramount. Willfully misgendering someone is not acceptable. When someone expresses a preferred name or pronoun, it’s not up for debate.

It is also absolutely appropriate for anyone (and everyone) to openly question and discuss the BSJ’s policies and the articles printed within. Even if it were a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly journal with a diverse editorial board, the BSJ can and should be evaluated and re-evaluated. The contributors and editors should be pleased that the publication is sparking interest and debate. There are no sacred cows in my book (no pun intended).

I look forward to finding Ghost Bees’ work in The Watsonian, as I enjoy both their art and the publication itself very much.

Le Chat Noir

A Simple Call To Arms: Enough is Enough

I had intended for my next post to be all about the 2016 BSI Weekend, but I believe other issues are a little more pressing.

It seems as though there’s some tittering on the Interwebs about online aliases. I have always called them “noms” (as in, nom de plume), because “Alias” was a TV show starring Electra.

The first and most important point for me to make is that we at AitB respect everyone’s right to name themselves. We reject any sort of fandom policing like this, especially as it can easily target a very specific section of the Holmesian community. Whatever you call yourself, you are welcome to join in our discussions, and your identity will be respected.

This is actually related to a larger fandom issue that includes aggressive “talk” about “Elementary,” but I’ll come to that in just one second.

I have been anonymous online for more than 10 years. Happily so. I engaged with Holmesians socially in the flesh, but I also maintained a robust online identity. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) highbrow and lowbrow conversations with Holmesians of all sorts, both online and off. Until 2015, only a few people knew to connect the Flesh!Me and the Online!Me.

I had serious reasons for setting up an anonymous online identity, but that’s not important. I chose to do so, and that’s the end of the story. For the record: Doxxing is unacceptable. Full stop.

The issue here seems to be rooted in this nasty trend of fandom policing. The Holmesian community didn’t invent this concept, but boy, I feel like we are trying to win the Olympics of Elitism. This makes me sad, but thankfully, it also makes me really damn mad.

We need to stop telling people how to be a “proper” fan of Sherlock Holmes, and then confirm with words and actions that if they do not live up to that “officially acceptable” version, they aren’t welcome at the table. That is an old-fashioned view of the world that is no longer valid.

If you do not like “Elementary,” good for you. If you feel the need to be rude to people who are fans, there’s something wrong with you, not the fans. Fans of one show aren’t subordinate to other Holmesians. Back when God was a child, when Art in the Blood was Holmesian.net, I was breaking up fights between fans of Rathbone and fans of Brett. This adversarial attitude isn’t new — it’s just gotten even nastier and more aggressive.

The squeaky wheels need to stop getting the grease. We as a community should be advocating for inclusiveness and happiness, not exclusivity and a misanthropy.

UColor_Le-Chat-Noirntil we meet in person,

Le Chat Noir

 

 

Bits and Bobs

shoscombe-old-place-jude-law

Dear friends,

A few items of note:

  1. I have been utterly remiss in failing to highlight the stunning new website for the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes. Monica Schmidt has done an amazing job of refurbishing the site. If you are unaware of the history of ASH, please drop what you are doing and hasten over there. These women are exceedingly important to the history of Holmesian endeavors. Also, their parties are simply the best.
  2. Hear ye, hear ye! ‘Tis time to register for A Scintillation of Scions! Yes, June seems ever so far away, but this event has a registration limit, so you need to move your tush. Scintillation is a fantastic mix of scholarship and shenanigans, as creator and organizer Jacquelynn Morris says. Last year, I learned a great deal and made some great friends who have really transformed my Holmesian event calendar. I can’t wait to attend again this year!
  3. This Sunday, 1/24/2016, we will tweet along to Granada’s “Shoscombe Old Place” (with bb Jude Law, yo!) at 6 p.m. EST. 6 EST. Follow #SHOS for a good time.
  4. I am working on two write-ups regarding the amazing BSI Weekend that just concluded last Sunday. However, the advent of the school semester put a cramp in my writing plans. They are forthcoming, likely tomorrow.

Cheers to all!

Chat

Birthday Celebrations 2016

424fdbc430_Sherlock-Holmes-striking-out-at-the-swamp-adder-252C-Sidney-Paget-252C-public-domainDear friends,

Happy Epiphany, Twelfth Night, The Master’s birthday! It’s a cold but beautiful day in the Hudson Valley.

A week from today, I will be in New York City to celebrate Sherlock Holmes’ 162nd birthday with some very spectacular Sherlockians. The fun for me kicks off with the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes (#ASH) dinner on Wednesday night and will conclude with an #ASH lunch on Sunday. In between there are lunches and tours and the darling Gaslight Gala on Friday night. I can’t wait to see everyone!

Sadly, my compatriot, ScarletSherlock, cannot come to the city this year, and for that, I am very sad. 🙁 We got to see each other twice this summer, but that’s simply not enough!

You will see a frillion tweets and videos and whatnot from me, so if you cannot be in New York City with us to honor one Mr. Holmes, I hope you will be able to live vicariously through me. If you are in the city and we haven’t met, please come say “Halloa!” I’ll be the one grinning madly and typing furiously on my phone.

Cheers!

Chat

“[F]ounded upon the observation of trifles:” An Evening (or Two) With BBC ‘Sherlock’

sherlock-special-675x290And that happened. 

(Spoilers from here on, FYI. You’ve been warned. Hugs and kisses!)

This is a review composed in repose, in tranquility if you will. Thankfully, I don’t make my living as an overnight critic anymore, so I can happily grant myself the luxury of viewing, contemplating (or raging, in some cases), then revisiting the work and giving it another consideration. In some ways, I think I could have written my review as I was watching “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” on Friday night, but that wouldn’t have been a good representation of my evaluation. Here, a few days out and a second viewing under my belt, I’m ready to put fingertips to keyboard.

From the very first mention that there would be a holiday special for the BBC’s “Sherlock” and that it would be set in the Victorian era, I rolled my eyes so hard one nearly popped out, Pekinese-style. The fanfiction of your own fanfiction … to AU your own AU … and into the source material’s framework no less? The folks on Archive of Our Own are wise enough to hold fests for this sort of malarkey so that it doesn’t happen too often. (For the purposes of me, “fanfiction” is not a pejorative term. I use it in the same way I would use “derivative,” but as a netizen outside of the academic classroom, that’s how I’m going to roll.) The idea of shoving Cumberbatch into Victorian garb and slapping Donald Trump’s hairpiece on poor Martin Freeman’s stiff upper lip, while keeping them in the context of the BBC!Verse, seemed hackneyed at best and the nastiest fanservice at worst. How could time travel actually work? Please don’t even TELL me it could be a dream…

Fast forward to Friday, January 1, 2016.

I live-tweeted that night, and I live-tweeted my second viewing on Sunday, January 3, 2016, if you would like to see my raw, gut reaction in time with my eyes beholding the dastardly vision. Here we go, however, Wordsworthian style: Read More

New Year’s Day, or What is That On Watson’s Face?

sherlock-special-675x290Dear friends,

First, happy holidays if you have been celebrating anything at all! Happy December if you have not been involved in ritualistic festivities. 😉

Now, January 1 looms, and with it, the airing of Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. Though my dearest chum ScarletSherlock will likely not participate because she has awesome plans for New Year festivities, I,  your ever-faithful Snark Master Chat, will be there to Tweet it up.

Get your bevvies and your nibbles and cuddle up for some tweet-astic good times.

For those of us in the US, the special will air on 1/1/2016 on MASTERPIECE Mystery! on PBS at 9:00 p.m. ET, and simultaneously online at pbs.org/masterpiece. #Sherlock, #Abomidible — I think we can find each other. 😀

Because many folks won’t be around for New Year’s Day, and as we’ve got lovely international friends who might enjoy some tweeting too, we’ll schedule a second round of watching and tweeting. I may never be able to not comment on whatever is perching on Mr. Freeman’s upper lip.

Cheers for a most spectacular 2016!

Chat