All are welcome to join our ranks, participate in our meetings, and enjoy our shared interest in all things Sherlockian and Doylean.
All are welcome to join our ranks, participate in our meetings, and enjoy our shared interest in all things Sherlockian and Doylean.
Friday, June 21, 2013
The National Press Club
14th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC
Drinks at 6:30 -- Dinner at 7:30
Guest Speaker: Lynn Whitall
"My Correspondence. . .is a Varied One"
Black Peter's Logbook
- June 7 - 9 A Scintillation of Scions REGISTRATION IS CLOSED. THE EVENT IS FULLY SUBSCRIBED.
- June 11 - July 7 "Anything Goes" is a delightful Cole Porter musical at the Kennedy Center Opera House. . .even more delightful, perhaps, because it is briefly (very briefly) Sherlockian, as you can see in a promotional video. . .tickets are now on sale. See all the details here
- June 19 Deadline for selecting your entree for the Red Circle dinner.
- June 21 Red Circle Dinner Meeting.
- June 22 Nero Wolfe fans meet at The Wolfe Pack in Baltimore. See details in "The Inner Circle" at left.
- August 9 - 11 Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place A major Sherlockian conference in Minneapolis co-sponsored by the Norwegian Explorers, The University of Minnesota and The Sherlock Holmes Collections. An impressive speakers list, reasonable prices for registration and hotel. See all details and registration materials here.
- November 1 - 3 Sherlock Holmes Weekend The Victorian town of Cape May, NJ is once again the setting for a Sherlock Holmes weekend highlighted by a new mystery for participants to solve. Join the fun and try your luck unraveling Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Anima Orbis. You'll find the details here.
For a much more comprehensive list of Sherlockian meetings and events around the United States and beyond, see Ron Fish's
- But can you get it at Simpson's? Those among us who are wine lovers, whether serious oenophiles or mere grape nuts, may be interested in a new enterprise launched by Vamberry the wine merchant, who plans an annual offering of a limited-edition California wine. The enterprise is managed by serious Sherlockians with an interesting website.
- A Half-Hour with Conan Doyle Holmesians (and Doyleans) Gyles Brandreth and Andrew Lycett appeared recently on the BBC Radio 4 program called "Great Lives." Their discussion makes for an excellent primer on Conan Doyle's life and career, and of course devotes due attention to a certain detective. It's good listening, with solid information and good humor as well. It's available indefinitely for you to download for free as a podcast. You'll find it here.
- Nero Wolfe, Anyone? The Wolfe Pack (admirers of Nero Wolfe) is alive and well, and John Baesch and Evelyn Herzog tell us that there's a reasonably local chapter that holds book
discussions in Baltimore. Their next meeting will be held on Saturday, June 22,
at the Mt. Washington Tavern, and they will be discussing The League of
Frightened Men. Details are here. Elizabeth de Mozenette is the moderator of MACABRe (the Mid-Atlantic and
Chesapeake Area Book RacemE), and will be happy to provide more information if you send her an e-mail. Rex Stout, who was to Archie Goodwin as Arthur Conan Doyle was to Watson, was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, and a portrait of Sherlock Holmes hangs on the wall over Archie's desk. And some Sherlockian scholars believe that Nero Wolfe was the son of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, who spent some time together in Montenegro in 1892 during the Great Hiatus. Wolfe, of course, inherited his father's abilities as a detective, and his uncle's gargantuan physique.
- Major Sherlockian Conference in Minneapolis, August 9 - 11. A robust international aggregation of noteworthy speakers will highlight the summertime Sherlockian conclave co-sponsored by the Norwegian Explorers, the University of Minnesota and the Sherlock Holmes Collections housed at the university library. Entitled Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place, the conference will feature experts from the US and abroad. The Red Circle's own Marcus Geisser is on the speakers list along with distinguished visitors from the Sherlock Holmes Society of London--and there will be even more speakers announced as the date draws nearer. Topics cover the range of Sherlockian interests, and include timely presentations on issues such as connecting new audiences to the Canon. Also on the agenda: dramatic entertainment, exhibits from the library's unparalleled collection of Sherlockiana, an auction, a dealer's area, and festive meal events. See the full description of the conference here, and make your plans to meet in the midwest this summer.
- Sherlock to run at least six more episodes "You're in for an absolute stonker of a resurrection!" said BBC Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch after the first read-through of the script for the seventh episode of the acclaimed series. With production set to begin, Cumberbatch stopped short of revealing how he will manage to survive his dramatic fall from the roof of St. Bart's Hospital--the cliffhanger from the last program that has left the Sherlockian world speculating for a year and more. There are several dictionary definitions for "stonker," but we trust Cumberbatch meant that he believes the script is exceptionally good. And there's more for fans of the series to smile about: Cumberbatch revealed that there will be a fourth trio of programs, and that he'd be happy to continue after that if schedules can be worked out. Many had believed that the three episodes now in production would be the last. All the details are at the Radio Times here and here.
- Giants in the Earth Francine Swift's "History of the Red Circle of Washington" (found under the "About Us" tab) was not the only report on the early history of our society at our 50th-anniversary dinner in 2000. Jon Lellenberg told some wonderful stories about six important Sherlockians who lived in or visited Washington in the 1950s. Jon calls them "Giants in the Earth," and so they were. You will certainly enjoy Jon's account. Read it here.
- Conan Doyle Slept Here (too) Yet another of Conan Doyle's homes is set to change owners and may actually face the wrecker's ball. Roger Johnson notes that Tennison House in South Norwood went up for auction on February 28. Conan Doyle lived here from 1891 to 1893 and wrote a number of the early Sherlock Holmes short stories during that time. Indications are that the home is in deplorable condition and will certainly require extensive rescue efforts by a Norwood builder if it is to survive. Tennison House is about ten miles southeast of central London, and joins Conan Doyle's beloved Undershaw in Surry on the list of his dwellings whose ultimate fate is unclear. The reserve price for the auction of Conan Doyle's Norwood fixer-upper was 1.35 million dollars, but the bidding did not reach the reserve price and the property was not sold. Sadly, the alarming state of decay may be the reason. Further details as they become available.
- In Defense of The Lion's Mane When Sherlock Holmes wrote his very own narrative about the "murderous" Lion's Mane jellyfish he seems to have heaped unwarranted calumny upon the poor Cyanea Capillata, which is the largest, but certainly not a particularly troublesome jellyfish variety. What's more, Bill Anselm points out that there's no need to venture to the Sussex coast to espy the Lion's Mane. According to a note in the newspaper Bay Weekly, we can sometimes spot them right here in the Chesapeake Bay. The fact that the Lion's Mane is far less lethal than Holmes would have us believe is confirmed by no less an authority than the website Jellyfish Facts, where we are told that the sting of the Lion's Mane generally causes nothing more than localized irritation and a rash. It can be successfully treated topically with vinegar, which is apparently more effective than gulping down the canon's universal antidote, brandy. Holmes relied for his "diagnosis" on the observations of the naturalist J.G. Wood, who Les Klinger confirms actually did write in the most alarming (albeit erroneous) terms about the toxic nature of the species.
- The Other Great Game What do baseball writers write about during the off season? Why, Sherlock Holmes, of course. At least one of them does. Ben Lindbergh is the Editor-in-Chief of Baseball Prospectus, and he's managed an amusing report on the final scenes of the pilot episode of Elementary, the Sherlock-does-Gotham entry in the 21st-century-Holmes sweepstakes. Fans will remember that Holmes tries to escape to an early dinner by confidently predicting the end of the baseball game Watson is watching. Lindbergh traces the research and editorial contortions necessary to make the TV pictures of the game match the script, which wasn't based on any real game that had ever been played. Naturally, our hero predicts the outcome flawlessly, using reasoning which is anything but deductive. It is, in fact, a guess, which is something Holmes insists he never does. Never mind. It's nice to know that Holmes has finally crossed paths with the National Pastime. Read Ben Lindbergh's fine analysis here. And thanks to Paul Herbert for bringing it to our attention.
Shameless Advertising Red Circle regulars (and irregulars too) will be glad to hear that Daniel Stashower's new book, The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War was published on January 29. A long-time Red Circle member, Dan's Conan Doyle biography, Teller of Tales is considered by many to be definitive. More recently, Dan has edited Conan Doyle's "lost" novel, The Narrative of John Smith, as well as Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Conan Doyle's diary of his time as a ship's surgeon on a whaler. Dan's new book traces a plot to murder Lincoln as he made his way to his first inauguration, and focuses on the efforts of detective Allan Pinkerton to thwart the killing. The online edition of Smithsonian magazine features an excerpt from the book along with photos and a video. See it all here. Plus, Dan's publisher maintains a page listing his upcoming appearances. See it here.
- Sherlock's "Great Hiatus" Extended Those who had hoped for the BBC's Sherlock to (spoiler alert) rise from the dead in 2013 may be disappointed. The start of production for the third season has been put off from January to March due to the busy schedules of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The three new films may air on the BBC late in 2013, but PBS is prohibited from scheduling them until after the first run in England. This means that they probably won't air in the United States until 2014. Full details here, and thanks to Cindy Coppock for the heads up.
- Portsmouth Celebrates Holmes The city of Portsmouth, whose bustling harbor is a prominent fixture of England's south coast, also harbors one of the finest collections of Sherlockiana anywhere. The late writer, collector and renowned Holmesian Richard Lancelyn Green donated a substantial portion of his holdings to Portsmouth. Green's bequest, said to be worth some $5 million, includes every Sherlockian collector's "brass ring," the Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887. This is the pulp-fiction "throw-away" magazine that happened to feature the first Sherlock Holmes story, "A Study in Scarlet." Portsmouth holds a unique place the history of Sherlock Holmes, and the City Museum there is mounting a special celebration in honor of the 125th anniversary of that singular Christmas annual and the seminal story within it. The photo shows museum volunteer Aneta Martiskova, with properly scarlet nail polish, reading from the Green/Portsmouth copy of Beeton's. You can read all about the doings here.
- The Case of the Broken Lamp The young folks who will turn out tomorrow's animated feature films are learning their craft at schools like The Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where Alberto Beguerie is a student. His two-minute film entitled The Case of the Broken Lamp mixes a film noir motif with youthful fun, and of course, a detective for all ages. Click it up and smile.
- Peter Blau and Bev Wolov are back from Sherlockian doings in Venice. Peter has written about the adventure in his logbook.
- Elementary Thoughts The reviews are in for Elementary, the new "Sherlock Does Gotham" series starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu (CBS, Thursdays, 10pm Eastern). The Red Circle's own Emily Whitten has given us her take on the program, and it's well worth your attention. Read Emily's review here, and add your own thoughts. Here's a selection of other opinions. Just click on the publication title to read the review. Positive reviews: USA Today The Washington Post The Los Angeles Times The New York Daily News Zap-2-It BuddyTV So-so reviews: StarPulse HitFix Negative review: Slate. In a special category is this New York Times article, which gives a mini-review of the series, but does an excellent job of also placing it in the pantheon of previous Holmes onscreen incarnations. And for some musings by Steve Hockensmith, who almost wrote his own modern-day Sherlockian TV show, check out this short piece in the Los Angeles Times.
- Jeopardy Contestants Short on Sherlockian Savvy We've always had a hunch that among the editorial staff of the game show Jeopardy lurks a dyed-in-the-deerstalker Sherlockian. Questions about the great detective seem to appear frequently. On the program that aired October 4 there was an entire category about Sherlock Holmes Stories, but the three contestants fared rather badly. Here are the five questions. We won't insult you by giving the answers. . .$400 "This" in Scarlet (answered correctly); $800 A Scandal in this European Capital (no answer attempted); $1200 "This" league of ginger-haired (answered incorrectly); $1600 The Adventure of these men seen in a cypher (no answer attempted); $2000 This many Orange Pips (no answer attempted). Dear me, dear me.
- Meeting Notes from the Red Circle's September 14, 2012 dinner are available here. Our guest was Daniel Stashower who spoke about his latest editorial effort, Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Conan Doyle's account of his adventures aboard the whaler Hope. Plus the evening's diabolical quiz on "The Illustrious Client."
- They're (Reichen) Ba-a-a-a-ck! A 70-member contingent from the Sherlock Holmes Society of London journeyed to Switzerland's Reichenbach Falls in September to once again re-enact the deadly struggle between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. The Red Circle's own Marcus Geisser, who's also a member of the London Society, was among the costumed pilgrims who braved the climb to take part in the Alpine antics. The BBC News Magazine program covered the excursion and produced a lovely video record of the event, which features Society President Guy Marriott. You can watch it here, and don't miss the accompanying text.
- Behind the Canonical Screen Some 110 Sherlockians assembled at the UCLA School of Television, Film and Theater over the Labor Day weekend to survey the many onscreen interpretations of Sherlock Holmes. Sponsored jointly by UCLA and the Baker Street Irregulars, the seminars covered the arts, crafts and sciences of the Sherlockian celluloid legacy. The Red Circle was well represented at the gathering with eight stalwarts crossing the country to take part. Topics ranged from scripting to costumes to animation to the evolution of Feminism in Sherlockian film--and much more. The many highlights included a sparkling colloquy on scripting between screenwriter/director John Landis and the author and screenwriter of The Seven Per Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer. Also featured was a screening of the pilot episode of the new CBS series Elementary, and a discussion with its producer, Robert Doherty. (Consensus view: Very good pilot; high hopes for the series, which Doherty expects to settle in as a consistently high quality "police procedural" program, with evolving characters and Sherlockian homages along the way). Saturday night was given over to a very special screening of the 1923 Stoll Pictures production of The Sign of Four, starring Eille Norwood. The presentation featured live piano accompaniment by film historian and composer Philip Carli, who has added music to many silent films. The entire weekend was acclaimed as a rousing success, and the applause was long and loud for principal organizers Mike Kean and Les Klinger.
- When the Wiener Was Schnitzel Many Red Circle veterans will fondly recall Haussner's in Baltimore, where we met for drinks and dinner after runnings of the Silver Blaze from 1973 to 1998, while Pimlico racetrack was still hospitable to groups. Haussner's was an institution, and deservedly so. There you could see the world's second-largest ball of string, pieces of the world's largest painting, and the art collected by the family over the years. Haussner's closed in 1999 but there are some reminiscent glimpses of the restaurant in this film.
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- For earlier, archived items from The Inner Circle, click here.