All are welcome to join us and share our interest in all things Sherlockian and Doylean.
All are welcome to join us and share our interest in all things Sherlockian and Doylean.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Drinks at 6:00 -- Dinner at 7:00
Speaker: Alan Rettig
"My Sherlockian Family Tree"
A Genealogical Quest Ends at Baker Street
- March 11 The next meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. It's open to all--details here.
- March 11 Reservations Due for Red Circle Dinner Meeting on March 14.
- March 14 Red Circle Dinner Meeting
- April 18 - 20 Awesome - Con. Get ready for fun at this pop culture celebration at the Washington Convention Center. It's a conclave of comics and all manner of geekdom, including collectibles, toys, games, art, cosplay and more. And since the Red Circle's Emily Whitten is the program coordinator, there's sure to be a Sherlockian angle included. The information is here.
- April 26 Denny Dobry's Open House Denny Dobry has for many years welcomed those who want to visit his splendid recreation of the sitting-room at 221B in his home in Reading, Pa. You can see pictures of the room here. He is holding an open house on Apr. 26, 1:00 to 6:00 pm, and you can contact him here to rsvp, and to ask for directions.
- April 27 Start of the Sherlock Holmes Class at Politics and Prose. More information here.
- May 2 - 4 Malice Domestic 26 The popular meeting of mystery lovers will once again hold forth in Bethesda Maryland. Check their website for details.
- May 22 Sherlock Holmes Under the Magnifying Glass: A Conan Doyle Birthday Celebration The Red Circle's own Dan Stashower will be featured at this Smithsonian Associates program celebrating Conan Doyle's 154th birthday. Actor Scott Sedar will join Dan to read from some of Conan Doyle's classic works. The program starts at 6:45pm at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center on the Mall. A cake-and-sherry reception follows. See the details here.
- September 12-14 From Gillette to Brett IV: Basil, Benedict and Beyond The fourth in the series of these popular conferences is set for Indiana University. See their website here.
- September 26 - 28 Alpine Adventures 2014 Sherlockian Conference at the Hotel Schatzalp in Davos, Switzerland honoring Conan Doyle's visits to Davos in 1893-1895. One of the organizers is The Red Circle's Marcus Geisser. Details are available here.
- October 10 -12 Creatures, Crimes and Creativity literary conference at the Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore. See their website here.
- January 16 - February 22 Baskerville The play’s afoot at Arena Stage's Kreeger Theatre! From Washington's own Tony Award-winning mastermind of mayhem, Ken Ludwig, comes Baskerville, a fast-paced comedy as our favorite detective solves his most notorious case. Watch as Holmes and Watson try to escape a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises and deceit as five actors deftly portray more than 25 characters. Join the fun and see how far from elementary the truth can be. NOTE: Your webmaster will be sore amazed if The Red Circle does not instigate a theatre party during the run of Baskerville. Watch this space for news.
For a much more comprehensive list of Sherlockian meetings and events around the United States and beyond, see Ron Fish's
Solved For those who've been wrestling with the Sherlock Holmes crossword puzzle (see below), you can find the solution here.
The New Sherlockians At our June meeting, Red Circle members Cindy Coppock, Nea Dodson and Lynne Stephens gave a summary of the first annual 221B Con in Atlanta. They reported that the April conclave drew 643 attendees, which exceeded expectations by a factor of six. It drew media attention too, with Mo Rocca of CBS Sunday Morning shooting a segment at the festivities. After a nine month gestation, the piece finally aired on January 19. It's a lovely tribute to Holmes and to a new generation of devotees, and proof positive that the great detective--and his appeal--are ageless. You can view Mo Rocca's piece here.
Sherlock Resurrected Well, now we know how Holmes snapped back to life! Maybe. The premiere of the third series of Sherlock films made us understand that the way Holmes survived his fall is less important than the effect it had on the friendship between the detective and the doctor. And we take comfort in knowing that any explanation is no less plausible than surviving a tumble into a Swiss waterfall. Those who enjoyed the new film, along with the excellent half-hour documentary that followed, may also be interested in the "extras" currently available online. The most formidable is an hour-long documentary about the Sherlock phenomenon, called Unlocking Sherlock. Far more than the standard "making of" fare, Unlocking Sherlock puts the Sherlock series in a proper historical context and gives us insights into the thinking of the producers and the cast. Their devotion to Sherlock Holmes--past and present--helps explain the consistent high quality of the films. You can watch it right here. And if that weren't enough, the BBC has also given us a tantalizing seven-minute teaser for the new series called "Many Happy Returns," which is available here, plus a discussion between producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, which you'll find here. Happy viewing!
Sherlock Holmes character and most story elements may be used freely in US Many Sherlockians have followed with interest the federal lawsuit brought against the Conan Doyle Estate by the well known Sherlockian, author and attorney, Leslie S. Klinger. Klinger contended that since the 50 Holmes tales published before January 1,1923 are no longer covered by copyright law in the United States, the use of the characters and plot elements in those stories are not subject to rights payments. On December 23 an Illinois federal district judge found in favor of Klinger, ruling that all elements in the pre-1923 stories may be used freely without paying licensing fees to the Estate. Klinger did not challenge the protected status of the ten remaining stories, which are still covered by US copyrights that will expire over the next decade. Klinger's suit marks the first time the Estate's position requiring payment for use of the elements in the pre-1923 stories has been challenged. The Estate will appeal the judgment. Full details are at Klinger's website here, and in a New York Times story here.
A Canonical Crossword Everyone at the December Red Circle meeting received a copy of the world's first Sherlock Holmes crossword puzzle, published by Christopher Morley in his column "The Bowling Green" in the Saturday Review of Literature on May 19, 1934. Back then it was used as a test to be passed for acceptance into membership in the Baker Street Irregulars. The puzzle was devised by his brother Frank V. Morley, without recourse to the Canon, and there were very few people who solved it correctly. Nor have many solved it correctly since without looking up some of the answers. A printable pdf file of the puzzle (and the clues) is available here, and the solution can be found here.
Meeting Notes from the Red Circle's December "Holmes for the Holidays" dinnner are available here.
Red Circle Theatre Party You may have seen the note in our calendar at the right that The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes will be presented this winter at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre in Arlington. It's theatre for young people by young people and the production is suitable for ages four and up. Since, to the best of our knowledge, all members of the Red Circle meet the age requirement, we have declared the Sunday Matinee on March 2 to be "Red Circle Day" at the theatre. The performance is at 3:00pm, so it's a great chance to bring your child, your neighbor's child, or just your inner child for an enjoyable afternoon. The cast has even agreed to meet The Red Circle in the lobby after the show to sign programs and chat. You can book your own tickets here, and the theatre will be our rendezvous. We are looking into an appropriate emporium to meet for family-oriented food and drink before the performance, and information about this will be posted here when it is available.
Celebrating Murray and Beyond Over the past two years Sherlockians in the Washington/Baltimore area have gotten to know Marcus Geisser. He is a globetrotting delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a devoted Sherlockian. While stationed here in Washington Marcus has been an active member of the Red Circle and has participated in other Sherlockian activities as well. . .at the UCLA conference celebrating Holmes onscreen. . .and at the recent Norwegian Explorers conference at the University of Minnesota, among others. Now, Marcus is saying au revoir to Washington and returning to Geneva, the home of the International Red Cross, to take up an important policy position there. To celebrate his time with us we present a remarkable paper that Marcus gave at a meeting of our sister society, The Six Napoleons of Baltimore, this past March. Celebrating Murray and Beyond links the work of the International Red Cross to the service performed by Watson's orderly in Afghanistan, the loyal Murray. It is well worth your attention, and you can read it here.
- You Don't Know Jack. . .Or Do You? Sherlockians have often speculated about why Jack the Ripper never appeared in Watson's published annals, even as one of the thinly-disguised surrogates the good doctor so often sketched for us. Now comes an intriguing twist on the matter, sent across the pond by the ever-alert Roger Johnson. It's an illustration from an 1888 pictorial newspaper called The Graphic. Although it looks for all the world like a Sidney Paget drawing of Holmes and Watson in hot pursuit, it isn't. Unsigned, and published nearly three years before Paget's first Holmes illustrations, it purports to show a group of vigilantes following a man they suspect of being the Whitechapel murderer, a.k.a. Jack the Ripper. Did Paget keep a "clippings file" that helped him find his muse? Or is it just a coincidence that this early illustration gave us such an uncanny preview of Holmes and the doctor?
- Meeting Notes from the Red Circle's June 21 meeting are available here.
- The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany The husband and wife team of Roger Johnson and Jean Upton are among the true "black belts" in the world of Sherlock Holmes. . .those folks who have probably forgotten more about the great detective than most of us will ever know. Roger and Jean are two of the many bright lights of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, and from their headquarters on the Master's home turf they warmly welcome all of us who cross their paths. Jean is also a member of The Red Circle, having attended meetings in 1988 and 1989. Their welcoming spirit is evident on every page of their new book, The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany. It is a remarkable work for one overriding reason: it serves admirably as a primer, speaking clearly, affectionately and authoritatively to Sherlockian newcomers, while at the same time giving old hands a valuable index to the details that devotees love to pursue. The films, the plays, the music, the important books are all referenced, not to mention statues, food, pipes, deerstalkers and the location of Watson's wound. The work is thoroughly up-to-date (for now, anyway!), and will always claim a place on the reference shelves of Sherlockians and Holmesians. When in A Study in Scarlet Holmes warned Watson of the dangers of overfilling one's "brain attic" with things that can be looked up easily, he must have had resources like The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany in mind. It is strongly recommended and is available from the usual suspects, including amazon. -- Alan Rettig
- Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age Our own Peter Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for more than four decades, and has a permanent home right here on our website. It's the most remarkable collection of Sherlockian news and notes anywhere, and your webmaster recommends a monthly visit. The December edition is available now, as are past numbers. It's just a click away--use the "Scuttlebutt" button at the top of the page.