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.

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

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

“Sherlock” Special Trailers and Information

THIS IS COMPLETELY SPOILERY, SO YE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!!

Well, it’s almost time: the BBC “Sherlock” stand alone special is nearly upon us! Personally, my jury is still so out on this whole idea, but I hope that — worst case scenario — the costumes and setting will be spectacular. 😀 I mean, it’s still Holmes and Watson, solving crime and stuff, so … but yeah, nope. I’m in the noping phase right now.

Most Important Infomation: January 1: “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” will air on BBC One in the U.K. and PBS in the U.S.

Many cities are offering the episode in movie theaters, so if that is your jam, be on the look out for that!

The BBC’s news release reads:

Dr John Watson, meet Mr Sherlock Holmes.

We’ve been here before – but what if this wasn’t the modern day but the late Victorian period? What if the world’s most famous consulting detective and his best friend lived in a Baker Street of steam trains, hansom cabs, top hats and frock-coats? [Chat note: THEY DO LIVE IN A WORLD OF VICTORIANA, YOU BUFOONS. YOUR TV SHOW IS THE AU HERE.]

Welcome to ‘Sherlock’ in 1895!

Some things, though, remain reassuringly the same. Friendship, adventure and especially, MURDER…Why is Thomas Ricoletti a little surprised to see his wife dressed in her old wedding gown? Because, just a few hours before, she took her own life…

Mrs Ricoletti’s ghost now appears to be prowling the streets with an unslakeable thirst for revenge. From fog-shrouded Limehouse to the bowels of a ruined church, Holmes, Watson and their friends must use all their cunning to combat an enemy seemingly from beyond the grave and the final, shocking truth about… the Abominable Bride!

For your viewing pleasure, if you have not seen these:

When words do fail…

Friends,

Yesterday, November 13, 2015, France suffered an unbelievably horrific attack. We all know that our beloved Sherlock Holmes has French roots, and there are robust scions and fan groups in France. Our hearts are broken over these hideous events. Thank goodness, our comrades at  are well, at least physically. For that, we are so grateful.

Last night, this list of organizations and agencies was posted on AJC.com. I believe that all of these are fully legitimate and they have boots on the ground in France. As I learn more, I will update this list:

Donate to Doctors Without Borders

Donate to the French Red Cross (in French)

Donate to Restaurants du Cœur, which provides food to those in need (in French)

Donate to Secours Populaire Français, an aid organization

Donate to Solidarités International, an aid organization

Everyone, be well and stay safe. We are going to have our little Tweetalong tomorrow (11/15/2015) to hopefully give everyone something fun and entertaining to do. A little Holmesian diversion might be quite nice right now.

~Chat