Costume play abounds at 221B Con
Sherlock's home and the place next door
Mo Rocca and CBS Sunday Morning Crew
Three Sherlocks, a John and The Woman
April 13-14 2013, Atlanta, Georgia
a review by Lynne Stephens
photos by Cindy Coppock
The con badge artwork expressed the first 221B Con’s objective visually: 5 Sherlocks of 5 different eras, from Basil Rathbone to Basil of Baker Street. If your interest was Holmes of any flavor, age, or variety, the con would deliver, as the con organizers’ objective was to provide a “full range of Sherlockiana” to attendees.
It lived up to its promise, and how. Structured similarly to a typical regional science fiction convention, the convention ran three or four simultaneous tracks of Holmes-related programming all day Saturday, and late into the afternoon on Sunday, April 13-14, 2013. Hour-long panels covered a wide range of topics, including introductions to the canon; the background and details of key scion societies such as BSI and ASH; a review of the Granada series; a sampling of Sherlock Holmes radio shows; and a discussion of John Watson’s portrayal in film and TV, from Nigel Bruce to Lucy Liu. If you got “paneled out” you could duck into a small video room running Holmes content, a display room, and of course a dealers’ room. Or, as many did, simply sit in the lobby and socialize.
The five key con organizers sailed a tight and organized ship. Registration ran smoothly and quickly; panels started and stopped on time.
As it was a first-time convention, the committee originally expected between 75-100 attendees. But by 10 days before the convention, registration had soared so high above that number that the committee announced a registration cap of 700, to ensure that everyone who did come would enjoy their experience. The final numbers: 688 registered, with 643 actually walking through the door.
The majority of attendees were women, with a significant number wearing clever and creative costumes throughout each day. As would be expected, there was a large Holmes contingent (Rathbone era through Sherlock), along with Watsons, Irene Adlers, and Moriartys. Less prevalent but also very well received were costumes representing Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s other roles, such as his character James from Third Star, and the entire crew of MJN Airlines from Cabin Pressure.
Next year’s convention is set for April 4-6, with programming now extended to cover Friday night as well as Saturday and Sunday. The committee moved the event to the larger Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center. For more information, including registration and hotel information, visit the Con’s official website.