"I think that your breakfast has completed the cure" ~ 2021 ASH Brunch
"I think, Watson, that if we drive to Baker Street we shall just be in time for breakfast." (TWIS)
Join ASH on Sunday 21 Nov 2021 via zoom for our annual Autumn Meeting. Details coming soon!
Traditionally held in October, November or December, the Autumn Members Meeting was at one time limited to members of ASH, but has since become, like the Spring Dinner, open to members and friends of ASH.
On November 19, approximately 60 ASH and friends gathered at Tony’s di Napoli Restaurant for the Autumn Luncheon. The traditional toasts were as follows: Mickey Fromkin—Queen Victoria, Nick Martorelli—Irene Adler, Dana Richards—Sherlock Holmes, Burt Wolder—John H. Watson, Heather Holloway—Conan Doyle, and Al Gregory—Friendship. Paul and Eileen Hartnett reprised their song “Shake Hands with Villains and Rascals of the Canon,” first performed at the 2016 Gaslight Gala. Karen Wilson brought down the house with “Sherlock Holmes: An American Parody,” which was inspired by the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical, while Marilynne McKay spoke on Dr. Leon Sterndale’s antecedents. As always, the program closed with the traditional ASH songs.
2015 Autumn Luncheon
On November 9, 52 ASH and friends gathered at Moran’s restaurant for the Autumn Luncheon. The traditional toasts were as follows: Mickey Fromkin—Victoria Regina, Lyndsay Faye—Irene Adler, Delia Vargas—Sherlock Holmes, Karen Wilson—John H. Watson, Bill VandeWater—Conan Doyle, and Marina Stajic and Nora Myers—Friendship.
Special toasts were given by Susan Rice on the centenary of John Bennett Shaw and William Baring-Gould and by Warren Randall to Dr. Joe Bell. E.J. Wagner discussed the real-life model for Charles Augustus Milverton, while Maggie Schnader’s topic was the opening of DEVI if had been written by James, Wodehouse, or Stout. And as always, we concluded with the traditional ASH songs, enhanced by Laurie Fraser Manifold’s clever illustrations of the song sheets.
2014 Autumn Luncheon
On November 16, 65 ASH and friends gathered at Tony’s di Napoli Restaurant for the Autumn Luncheon. The traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin to Victoria Regina, M.E. Rich to Irene Adler, Beth Austin to Sherlock Holmes, Tamar Zeffren to John H. Watson, Maggie Schnader to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Kate Karlson to Friendship.
Special toasts to the Canon and Italy were given by John Baesch (Pope Leo XIII), Elaine Coppola (Italian and Latin literature in the Canon), Al Gregory (Naples), and Nick Martorelli (Douglas Maberley). Many of these toasts and papers will appear in this and subsequent issues of the Muse.
Ev Herzog read greetings from ASH Patricia Guy in Verona, Italy and, in addition to the traditional ASH songs, Marina Stajic introduced Evy, Mickey, and M.E. for a performance of “Fascinatin’ Bitch” in memory of Maureen Green.
2013 Autumn Luncheon
On 9 November, 52 ASH and friends gathered at Moran’s restaurant for the Autumn Luncheon. The traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin to Victoria Regina, Lyndsay Faye to Irene Adler, Delia Vargas to Sherlock Holmes, Karen Wilson to John H. Watson, Bill Vande Water to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Marina Stajic and Nora Myers to Friendship.
Special toasts were given by Susan Rice on the centenary of John Bennett Shaw and William Baring-Gould and by Warren Randall to Dr. Joe Bell. E.J. Wagner discussed the real-life model for Charles Augustus Milverton, while Maggie Schnader’s topic was the opening of DEVI if had been written by Henry James or P.G. Wodehouse. Many of these toasts and papers will appear in this and subsequent issues of the Muse.
We concluded with the traditional ASH songs, enhanced by Laurie Fraser Manifold’s cleverly illustrated song sheets.
2012 Autumn Luncheon
On October 20, forty-three ASH and friends gathered at Moran’s restaurant for the Autumn Luncheon. The traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin to Victoria Regina, Alexian Gregory to Irene Adler, Jacquelynn Morris to Sherlock Holmes, Christopher Zordan to John H. Watson, Marina Stajic to Arthur Conan Doyle, and Marilynne McKay to Friendship.
Maggie Schnader discussed “The Mystery of Isadora Persano,” and Linda Hunt spoke on Irene Adler’s early years in New Jersey. Evelyn Herzog delivered Patricia Guy’s paper on the Great Hiatus. As always, we concluded with traditional ASH songs, enhanced by Laurie Fraser Manifold’s clever song sheet illustrations.
2011 Autumn Luncheon
On November 20, 67 ASH and friends gathered at Moran’s Restaurant for the Autumn Luncheon. The program began with congratulations to our newlyweds, ASHes Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin, and the announcement of our new ASH. The traditional toasts were by Mickey Fromkin to Victoria Regina, Bob Katz to Irene Adler, Marilynne McKay to Sherlock Holmes, Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves to John H. Watson, Dayna Nuhn to Conan Doyle, and Julie McKuras to Friendship.
M.E. Rich reprised her remarks on Lady Frances Carfax which she gave at the recent Cornish Horrors of Rhode Island meeting. Californian Russell Merritt provided some Conanical history, while Judith Freeman provided Canonical insights. Joe Moran linked matters Conanical and women’s history. Kate Karlson concluded with the women of HOUN. Many of these papers will, of course, be found in this and subsequent issues of the Muse.
As always, we concluded with traditional ASH songs, enhanced by Laurie Fraser Manifold’s cleverly illustrated song sheets.
2010 Autumn Luncheon
On December 5, forty-one ASH and friends gathered at the Black Duck Restaurant in Manhattan. The traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin, Queen Victoria; Sandy Kozinn, Irene Adler; Carol Cavalluzzi, Sherlock Holmes; Nancy Whitaker, John H. Watson; Margaret Fleesak, ACD; and Marina Stajic, to Friendship.
Special toasts were: Susan Rice, to twenty years of women in the BSI; Sue and Ben Vizoskie, to country house hunting parties; Lynn Walker, to Canonical picnics and game birds as food; and Bill Nadel, to Daffy Duck. Philip Shreffler spoke about John Hopley Neligan Sr.’s yacht, and Dana Richards discussed ACD and the United Divorce Reform League. Many of the above items will be appearing in the Muse.
As always, the gathering concluded with traditional ASH songs (although “Aunt Clara” didn’t make the cut this time).
2009 Autumn Luncheon
Although neither of the Muse editors was able to attend the luncheon, our sources tell us that fifty-four ASH and friends were able to get together in NYC. Not only was the food at the Cavatappo Grill excellent, but the placemats were imprinted “The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes.”
The traditional toasts were as follows: Queen Victoria—Mickey Fromkin; Irene Adler—Michael Pollak; Sherlock Holmes—Marjorie Schnader; Dr. Watson—John Baesch; Arthur Conan Doyle—Ian Dunford and Angela Williams-Dunford; Friendship—Elaine and Joe Coppola. In addition, Ev Herzog toasted the dead women of the Canon, while Elyse Locurto honored the good girls. Delia Vargas concluded the special toasts with one to the adventuresses of the Canon (and of ASH). Nancy Minogue Dean’s talk was “Composing Is a Form of Art,” while Kate Karlson’s topic was “Dark Deeds in the City of Light: Why Anarchists Love Paris in the Springtime.” As always, many of these toasts and papers will be appearing in the Muse.
As is customary, the program concluded with the traditional ASH songs. Laurie Fraser Manifold’s songsheet illustrations were, to quote Evy, “hilarious and adorable.” Each sheet was illustrated with a special ASH-related bobblehead doll with notes on the doll’s value in various states. The Muse editors eagerly await our sets so we can participate in the fun.
2008 Autumn Luncheon
The traditional toasts were given to, and by, the following:k the Queen, Mickey Fromkin; Irene Adler, Paula & Mike Riezenman; Sherlock Holmes, Joe Moran; John Watson, Peter Crupe; Arthur Conan Doyle, John Baesch; and friendship, M.E. Rich.
Special toasts on the theme of our Chinese venue included Lynn Walker on General Charles “Chinese” Gordon, Philip Shreffler on Tibet, Al Gregory on Opium, and Marilynne McKay on Tea in the Canon (in the form of an open quiz). Bill Nadel spoke about Judge Dee and Bob Katz shared “A Tale of Two Portraits” after which favorite ASH songs were sung.
2007 Autumn Luncheon
Over 50 Adventuresses and friends gathered at Moran’s in NYC on December 1. Thanks go to ASH Paulette Green who donated nineteen copies of Trevor Hall’s The Last Case of Sherlock Holmes to be given out in a drawing. We mourned the loss of Francine Morris Swift and heard the traditional toasts: the Queen, Mickey Fromkin; Irene Adler, Becky Robare; Sherlock Holmes, Carol Fish; John Watson, Alan Rachlin; Arthur Conan Doyle, Lynn Walker; and friendship, Sandy Kozinn.
Lyndsay Faye shared her experiences on writing and selling her still-to-be-titled novel on Holmes and the Ripper. Publication is scheduled for February 2009. Three winter cases were inimitably addressed by Susan Rice (MISS), Marilynne McKay (ABBE) and M.E. Rich (BLUE). Bob Bousquet reworked “The Night Before Christmas” from Moriarty’s point of view, and favorite ASH songs were sung.
2006 Autumn Luncheon
Approximately fifty ASH and friends crowded into the upper floor room at La Bonne Soupe on December 2 for the Autumn Dinner. Evelyn Herzog began by recognizing Trish Pearlman, Barbara Iris Van Buskirk, and Maureen Green—all of whom had crossed the Reichenbach since our last dinner. The traditional toasts followed: Mickey Fromkin—the Queen; Lee Ballinger—Irene Adler; Margaret Fleesak—Sherlock Holmes; Robert Bousquet—John H. Watson; Cynthia and Richard Wein—Arthur Conan Doyle (toast delivered by Cynthia); Paul Singleton—Friendship.
Then history was made as M.E. Rich, in conjunction with Evy, announced the opportunity for men to make an ASH of themselves. After the room returned to a semblance of order, Dr. Joe Fink gave us his unique views on the giant rat of Sumatra, followed by Allan Devitt and Susan Diamond presenting “Sherlock Holmes: The World’s Greatest Consulting Detective????” As always, the evening ended with the traditional ASH songfest.
2005 Autumn Luncheon
On November 4, Adventuresses and other female Sherlockians gathered at La Prima Donna. The traditional toasts were given by Mickey Fromkin (the Queen), Francine Kitts (Irene), Judith Freeman (Holmes), Nancy Dean (Watson), Carol Fish (ACD), and Susan Rice (Friendship). Peter Blau once again honored “A Unique Canonical Woman,” while Kate Karlson toasted “Where It Is Always 1895.” Sue Vizoskie, Lynn Walker, and M.E. Rich provided seasonal toasts related to November. Many of the toasts will be appearing in this and subsequent issues of the Muse. As always, the evening ended in the traditional ASH songs.
As everyone was leaving, Principal Unprincipled Adventuress Evelyn Herzog spotted the framed portrait of the eponymous “Prima Donna” (left) with this impressive notation: “The first woman in the world to be awarded a University Degree (prima donna laureata) June 25, 1678. She was Venetian Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, born 1646.”
2004 Autumn Luncheon
by Sue Vizoskie
The rainy weather did not deter 28 Adventuresses and friends from assembling for the ASH autumn meeting at Pete’s Tavern near Gramercy Park in Manhattan on Friday evening, October 15, 2004.
Evelyn Herzog, our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, called us to order and welcomed several guests: Lee Neuman, of the Tropical Deerstalkers (Miami) and Carol Russell and Roz Katz, both members of the Scowrers and Molly Maguires (San Francisco). With sadness we raised a glass to two Sherlockians who have passed beyond the Reichenbach: Gus Dallas, well known in the New York area, and Betty Pierce, a long-time Muse subscriber. Next, Evelyn welcomed our newest member, Lynn Walker, who will be known as The Head of a Private School at Walsall. This happy news was greeted with thunderous applause. “Get well” cards were signed for Francine Swift, Francine Kitts and Carol Fish—we wish each of them a speedy recovery! We all admired our song sheets and paper dolls as Ev thanked Laurie Manifold for her outstanding illustrations (see reindeer below).
After announcements, our traditional toasts were presented. Becky Robare toasted the Queen; Sue Vizoskie saluted Irene Adler; Sabina Hollis honored Sherlock Holmes; and Mickey Fromkin raised a glass to our favorite medical man, Dr. John H. Watson. In her toast to Arthur Conan Doyle, Bev Wolov revealed to us what she had learned through her experiences with sheep on Dartmoor, and, in his latest toast to unique Canonical females, Peter Blau paid homage to Holmes’ one successful female opponent, Irene Adler, and the woman Peter suggests was the “real” Irene.
Next, in toasting Canonical Friendship, M. E. Rich focused on absent friends, sharing news of distant ASH and remembering our lost ASH—bidding them farewell as they depart “from Charing Cross for the Continent, never to return.” Our programme highlighted our venue, Pete’s Tavern, from public and personal perspectives. Susan Rice informed us about O. Henry and his connections: historic, Sherlockian, and adventurous. Historically, O. Henry (William Sidney Porter) was a well known and frequent patron of Pete’s Tavern and wrote “The Gift of the Magi,” sitting (and imbibing) at a front table at Pete’s. He also wrote several pastiches, one entitled “The Adventures of Shamrock Jones.” These, perhaps, are best forgotten, but what is to be remembered is his connection to Adventuresses: his expression of the pure spirit of adventure in “The Green Door.” On a very personal note, Doré Nash reminisced about Pete’s and regaled us with memories of her schooldays and of Pete’s as a haunt she shared with classmates.
The programme continued with Lee Neuman’s presentation, “A Victorian Bedtime Toilette.” She demonstrated and offered for our inspection an array of elegant objects of adornment and personal care unique to the era.
Next, we all were amazed, delighted and transported by the debut performance of “Raincoat Theatre.” Ably assisted by Catalina Hannan and Sabina Hollis (who held the ends of the raincoat curtain), Laurie Manifold presented Holmes and Watson hand puppets. Completely made and dressed by Laurie, our charming heroes were true to character: Holmes listened intently to Catalina’s remarks at stage right, while Watson flirted shamelessly with Sabina at stage left.
Singing closed a terrific evening. Evelyn, with M.E.’s assistance, taught us two new songs, “Landlord” and “London’s Burning.” We sang our traditional four, concluding with our usual raucous and speedy rendition of “Aunt Clara.” Finally, Mickey Fromkin, composer and lyricist, treated us to a sneak preview of her new song, “ASH Was Born to Boogie,” to great applause.
As we parted company outside of Pete’s Tavern, we observed that the skies had cleared; perhaps our high spirits had pushed away the clouds.
2003 Autumn Luncheon
by Francine Kitts
It was autumn in New York—October 18, 2003 to be exact—and ASH gathered for the autumn members meeting at Moran’s in downtown Manhattan. Since our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress was busy planning a wedding, Catalina Hannan and Laurie Manifold were the able hostesses of the evening—and what an evening it was!
Mickey Fromkin gave her traditional toast to the Queen and the evening was in full swing. Susan Rice advised that fellow Adventuress Paula Cohen was not in attendance because she was celebrating her 30th wedding anniversary and that ASH forensic toxicologist Marina Stajic would be featured on a television documentary entitled “Poisonous Women.” We raised our glasses to congratulate our comrades.
The theme for the evening’s toasts was “Friendship.” Sabina Hollis’ clever toast to Holmes and Watson offered a look at the different categories of friendship; Trish Pearlman gave a witty toast to James Dodd, a most determined friend; Margaret Fleesak concluded that Violet Hunter had the best friend of all; M.E. Rich opined that although there were few friendships between women in the Canon, a fertile mind can fill in the blanks; and Maribeau Briggs delighted us with a film clip of Irene Adler, which was in the possession of the great, great, great grand-niece of our beloved Adventuress.
Then Laurie Manifold pointed to a table filled with items from her collection and discussed the rules of her new game, “This or That.” With Sue Vizoskie as her able assistant, Laurie drew names from a deerstalker. Sue picked two items from the table, and the person whose name was drawn got to choose either “this or that.” Thanks go to Laurie for her generous contributions (including the lobster lollipop) and to both Sue and Laurie for a fun-filled game.
As we were admiring our wares, Ab Fab’s own Patsy and Edina entered the room. Elyse Locurto (Patsy) and Catalina Hannan (Edina) performed an absolutely fabulous sketch and had the entire assemblage in hysterics. Amid uproarious laughter, they received a thunderous applause.
In addition to our “this or that” memento, we each received one of Laurie’s beautifully hand-drawn “Violet Hunter” paper dolls and a unique name tag from the talented team of Catalina and Laurie.
After hours of laughter and good company, the evening concluded with the traditional songs led by M.E. and Catalina. If it were not for M.E., who has mercifully mastered a “faster than a speeding bullet” tempo, we’d still be singing “Aunt Clara.”
2002 Autumn Luncheon
by Marilynne McKay
The Autumn Members Meeting of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes was held on Friday, November 8, 2002 at Moran’s Alehouse in the Battery district of Manhattan. I was reminded by at least two members that my first ASH dinner was at this very venue, lo these many years ago (over 10, anyway.) As far as I could tell, none of us had changed a bit!
Evelyn Herzog, our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, opened the festivities with “Ladies and Peter [Blau],” and we were off. Announcements included the unveiling of the ASH website (with gratifying cheers for the webmistress, yours truly). There was more in store for me as well as sister Adventuress Susan Rice as Evy shared with the world at large our major accomplishment at reaching yet another Significant Decade. (It’s surprisingly easy… you just look up one day and there you are. May you all share it — and many more — with us!)
The programme consisted of a light-hearted series of Canonical Toasts and mini-papers on all the usual suspects and some unusual ones, too. As always, Mickey Fromkin led with the traditional toast to the Queen. Next was Marina Stajic, who managed to work Aunt Clara and ASH William Baring-Gould’s outrageous insinuations regarding a certain famous Montenegran into her toast to Irene Adler. Lynn Walker recalled the best qualities of Victorian individualism as she did the honors for the Great Detective.
Trish Pearlman’s hilarious toast set off a capella responses from the assembly as she reported consumer research from women on three continents regarding “Dr. John H. (or James) Watson.” Jan Stauber reminded us of the many other facets of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as she toasted his contributions to (among others) spiritualism, divorce law reform, and skiing in Switzerland. Peter Blau then entertained us with a discussion of St. George’s Chapels he has known (along with a list of monarchs he has not known) as he toasted her majesty, Queen Victoria.
The next group of toasts commemorated stories first published one hundred years ago. Maribeau Briggs (right) invoked 3GAR as she enlisted the willing help of Elyse Locurto (in the role of “Miss Direction”, left) to demonstrate the ingenious talent of “Prescott’s Press.” Kate Karlson chose to memorialize ILLU by toasting neither Violet de Merville or Kitty Winter, but Baron Gruner, who exemplified the vile hobby of “collecting.” (Kate’s observations caused some ASH present to squirm in recognition.) The hero of BLAN (Sir James Saunders, of course) was celebrated by another great dermatologist, Marilynne McKay, who offered rhyming tips on skin care.
Other highlights included Susan Rice’s thoughts on the occasion of the 161st anniversary of the birth of King Edward VII — Susan’s examples reinforced her proposal that Prince Albert’s practical jokes made him deserve his contemporary reputation. Laurie Fraser Manifold pulled out all the stops by distributing a Kitty Winter paper doll with eight (8) outfits and a bibliography! She then went on to present (with Sue Vizoskie) a series of amusing limericks on various canonical characters.
The evening concluded with the traditional songs: Reindeer, Uffan Carol, Ashenpoof, and (thanks to songleader ME Rich) the world’s fastest rendition of Aunt Clara
Happy Birthday, Evy!
2000 Autumn Luncheon
by Paula Perry
The Autumn Dinner of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes was held on Friday, October 27, 2000 at the Chemist’s Club in midtown Manhattan. Subtitled “Ladies and Peter [Blau],” the evening began with the announcement of two new investitures: Sandy Kozinn as “Esmeralda” and Jan Stauber as “The Hotel du Louvre.” We then stood on the terrace for Margaret Hoffman of South Carolina, “The Hoffman Barcarole.”
An extensive series of Canonical Toasts and mini-papers formed the evening’s entertainment. First up was Mickey Fromkin’s traditional toast to the Queen. Next was Susan Rice’s toast to Irene Adler (in which Irene was equated to our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress); then Myrtle Robinson toasted the universal Sherlock Holmes, in rhyme, no less. Doré Nash toasted Dr. Watson, the very good man, followed by Sue Vizoskie’s tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Peter Blau, while toasting Sir Henry Baskerville, discussed Canadians in the Canon — including Meyers of Toronto, Newfoundland dogs, and Mrs. Spence Munro, the only woman in the Canon to have set foot in Canada (“I’ve been a governess for five years in Halifax.”)
The next group of mini-papers was themed American Canonical Women. Mickey Fromkin did double duty in toasting Elsie Patrick of Chicago (“Lord, what’s a cubit?”); Catalina Hannan spoke about Effie Munro; and Elyse Locurto toasted Hatty Doran (“the Noble Woman”). This was followed by a costumed presentation in Italian by Maribeau Briggs as Emilia Lucca, with Nora Myers serving as her translator (“bello Gennaro”) — you had to be there to appreciate it!
In honor of Ev Herzog’s birthday, M. E. Rich organized a Victorian food hamper, to which all the attendees contributed. This “modest” container apparently weighed more than the Agra Treasure as it required two people to pick it up. The extremely surprised Evelyn unwrapped, exclaimed, and daydreamed about tasting the contents, which included delectables such as Victorian crackers, gin, mushroom “ears,” and tinned kippers.
The entertainment continued with a group of mini-papers on Noble Ladies. Judith Freeman spoke on Lady Beatrice Falder, followed by M. E. Rich and Marina Stajic’s ‘veiled’ double presentation on Lady Frances Carfax and Rose Spender in their joint coffin.
Naughty Ladies was the final group of women to be discussed. Francine Kitts discussed Mary Holder, the charmed Muggle; Carol Fish (attending her first ASH dinner) spoke about Isadora Klein, who was undoubtedly modeled on Lola Montez; Linda Anderson spoke about Beryl Stapleton, while Kate Karlson toasted Kitty Winter, the avenging angel.
The evening concluded with the traditional songs: Reindeer, Uffan Carol, Ashenpoof, and the world’s fastest rendition of Aunt Clara.
Click + to see the Spring Dinner and Luncheons
The Spring Dinner and Luncheons
Traditionally held in April, May or June, the ASH Spring Dinner is for members and friends of ASH.
Fifty-three ASH and friends gathered at the Fillmore Room (formerly Moran’s Restaurant) in Manhattan on Sunday, April 3, for the annual spring meeting. The traditional toasts were given: Queen Victoria by Mickey Fromkin; Irene Adler by Bonnie MacBird; Sherlock Holmes by Ira Matetsky; John Watson by Eileen and Paul Hartnett; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Dana Gavin; Friendship by Kate Karlson. In addition, Paula Cohen reprised her special toast to the Victorian Age which was originally published in Vol. 6, No. 2 of the Muse.
Next Donny Zaldin toasted Mrs. Henry Baker, and Angela Mitchell gave an impromptu toast to ASH. Finally, the following five ASH gave toasts in honor of their respective investitures: Bertie Pearson, Anna; Patricia Guy, Mlle. Vernet; Debbie Clark, Annie Harrison; Alex Katz, Sarasate; Nick Martorelli, Mr. Kent. Many of these toasts will be appearing in this or subsequent issues of the Muse.
As always, the gathering ended with the traditional ASH songs, as well as Landlord! which was last sung in October 2004. Mickey Fromkin, Bertie Pearson, and Patricia Guy joined with Evy Herzog to lead the singing.
2015 Spring Luncheon
Fifty-six ASH and friends gathered at Moran’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 9, for the annual luncheon. There was a touch of sadness to the event as Moran’s has been sold, and a new restaurant will take its place. As a result, Evy and Susan Rice presented Tom Murphy of Moran’s with a certificate of appreciation from ASH and the William Gillette Memorial Luncheon for all he had done for both groups through the years. He also received a two-volume edition of the Canon.
The traditional toasts were given: Queen Victoria by Mickey Fromkin; Irene Adler by Frank Ferry; Sherlock Holmes by Julianne Burke; John Watson by Becky Robare; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Bob Katz; and Friendship by Jacquelynn Morris.
The speakers were Jenn Eaker on Holmes’ way with women, Bob Stek on CREE and monkey glands, and Karen Wilson with a poem about “the things we do for love.”
A highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity for attendees to take home an item from the late Joe Moran’s collection, donated by Joe’s family. Ben and Sue Vizoskie curated the collection, names were drawn, and everyone received something. Our sincere thanks to the Moran family for their generosity and to Ben and Sue for coordinating the event.
As always, the gathering ended with the traditional ASH songs.
2014 Spring Luncheon
On Saturday, May 24, fifty-five ASH and friends attended the Annual Spring Luncheon at Moran’s Chelsea Restaurant. The traditional toasts were: Victoria Regina—Mickey Fromkin; Irene Adler—Marilynne McKay; Sherlock Holmes—Jenn Eaker; Watson—Tiffany Knight; ACD—Lee Lord; Friendship—Lynn Walker.
The theme for the special toasts was “Pathways to Baker Street.” Ashley Polasek recognized the Doubleday edition of the Canon with the Morley introduction (1930) and Karen Wilson toasted Nicholas Meyer and the fortieth anniversary of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. Karen’s musical tribute to Elementary appears in this issue. Terry Hunt (right) channeled Señor Wences with Holmes and Watson puppets discussing the modern shows. Beth Austin theorized on brain fever, and Nick Martorelli discoursed on the Bert Coules BBC radio version of LION with Tim Evers and Lyndsay Faye providing theatrical support. (clockwise from left: Nick, Tim, Lyndsay, Ashley) The luncheon concluded with the traditional ASH songs.
2013 Spring Luncheon
Thirty-two ASH and friends met on May 4 at the Black Duck Restaurant to celebrate spring and all things Sherlockian. After Evelyn Herzog’s welcoming remarks, the traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin to Victoria Regina; Christopher Zordan to Irene Adler; Kristina Manente to Sherlock Holmes; Jenn Eaker to John H. Watson; Judith Freeman to Friendship; and Bob Zatz to ACD.
Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin gave a pair of toasts to Reichenbach Day, while M.E. Rich recognized racing and the Derby. Ev Herzog dealt with a topic many of us hate—spring cleaning, while more enjoyable subjects were addressed by Sandy Kozinn (country visits) and Peter Crupe (neighborhood pubs). Nick Martorelli toasted “spring and sports,” and Alex Katz addressed student life. The program concluded with Francine and Dick Kitts toasting Romance: a topic they know a great deal about, after which spirited ASH songs were sung.
2012 Spring Luncheon
Forty-seven ASH and friends attended the May 12 luncheon at the Black Duck Restaurant in Manhattan. The toasts were as follows: Victoria Regina—Mickey Fromkin, Irene Adler—Debbie Clark; Sherlock Holmes—Gordon Bitler (in collaboration with Linda Anderson and Paula Perry), John Watson—Matt Laffey, Conan Doyle—Melinda Caric, and Friendship—Michael Meer.
Susan Rice and Kate Karlson’s talks appear in this issue of the Muse, as well as some of the toasts. Terry Hunt discussed Watson the bigamist, and Richard Kitts spoke briefly about having sent his congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on her diamond jubilee and showed the handsome reply he received from the palace. Bob Katz gave his views on Watson’s wound—a piece we plan to publish in an upcoming issue.
2011 Spring Luncheon
On May 15, thirty-five ASH and friends gathered at the Black Duck restaurant. The traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin to Queen Victoria, Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves to Irene Adler, Edwin Van der Flaes to Sherlock Holmes, Harrison and Linda Hunt to John H. Watson, Peter Crupe to Arthur Conan Doyle, and Becky Robare to Friendship. The special toast was given by Susan Rice to the original ASH picketers.
Paula Perry read a report from Patricia Guy about her scion, The Assorted and Stradivarious of Verona. In light of the recent royal wedding, the theme of the talks was Canonical Royal Marriages. Not surprisingly, Mickey Fromkin’s topic was Victoria and Albert, while Evy discussed King David. E.J. Wagner provided an overview of the entire subject, while Francine and Richard Kitts gave an amusing riff on Neil Gibson, the “Gold King” and his multiple mates. Warren Randall concluded with revelations about the King of Bohemia’s marriage to Clothilde von Saxe Meningen. Many of these items will be appearing in the Muse.
Of course, the grand finale was the traditional ASH songs.
2010 Spring Dinner
We said that we’d have all the details on the Spring Dinner which took place June 5, 2010 at Moran’s Chelsea restaurant in New York in the next Muse. But we didn’t.
2009 Spring Dinner
ASH and their friends gathered at Moran’s Chelsea Restaurant in Manhattan on May 30 for the annual spring meeting. Unfortunately the Principal Unprincipled Adventuress could not be with us, but M.E. Rich chaired the meeting with her customary panache.
The traditional ASH toasts were given as follows: Mickey Fromkin, The Queen; Carol Cavalluzzi, Irene Adler; Marina Stajic, Sherlock Holmes; Herb Tinning, Dr. Watson; Lyndsay Faye, Friendship; Philip Shreffler, ACD. Judith Freeman honored the late Joe Fink by reading some of his brilliant riffs from Pound Notes. Our special toasts were of an equine nature: Warren Randall, Silver Blaze; Jeffrey Bradway, Shoscombe Prince; Marilynne McKay, the stable staff.
Susan Rice’s reflections on the beginning of ASH and BSI will be found in this issue, as will M.E. Rich’s discourse on “civil practice”—which might not be quite what you expected. Allan Devitt, Francine Kitts, and Susan Diamond also gave a presentation which will appear in a subsequent issue. And, of course, the meeting concluded with the traditional ASH songs.
2008 Spring Dinner
Approximately forty ASH and friends gathered at Bill’s Gay Nineties Restaurant in Manhattan on May 31 for the annual spring meeting. This year’s gathering was a luncheon instead of the traditional dinner. We welcomed enthusiastically many of the nineteen newly-announced male ASH.
Each attendee received a beautiful handmade Sherlockian note card from Pj Doyle, and new ASH Al Rosenblatt won the door prize, a set of note cards donated by Pj. Anyone who has ever received a Christmas card or note from Pj knows that she is an extremely talented artist in the paper medium. Many thanks to Pj for her thoughtfulness!
The traditional toasts were as follows: Mickey Fromkin, Queen Victoria; Pj Doyle, Irene Adler; Nancy Dean, The Master; Bill Vande Water, Dr. Watson; Jacquelynn Morris, ACD; and John Baesch, Friendship. You’ll find John, Nancy, and Pj’s toasts in this issue.
The theme for this meeting was the letter V—which provided our presenters with a wide range of opportunities. Not surprisingly, for Mickey Fromkin V means Victoria Regina. However, for Marina Stajic, Victoria means Woodhull. Judith Freeman took us down a more frightening path as she discoursed on vipers and venomous lizards. But most ASH associate the letter V with Violet, and all four were recognized. Evy read Dorothy Belle Pollack’s verses on Violet Westbury, as well as giving her own toast to Violet Hunter, while Julie Rosenblatt took on the case of Violet Smith. Marilynne McKay took on Miss de Merville with “What Was Violet’s Problem Anyway?”
2007 Spring Dinner
Approximately fifty Adventuresses and friends attended the Spring Dinner at Moran’s. The traditional toasts were given: Mickey Fromkin, The Queen; Peter Crupe, Irene; Delia Vargas, Holmes; Jeff Bradway, Watson; Elyse Locurto, Conan Doyle; and Ben and Sue Vizoskie, Friendship. Special toasts were given to three midsummer cases: Marilynne McKay, CARD; Susan Rice, BLAC; and Kate Karlson, LION. Featured speakers were Edgar winner E.J. Wagner and Bob Bousquet, followed by an hilarious presentation of “How Watson Learned the Trick” by the Raincoat Theatre (Sabina Hollis, Laurie Fraser Manifold, and Michael Pollak). The evening concluded with traditional ASH songs. We’ll have many of the toasts and presentations in issues of the Muse.
2006 Spring Dinner
On May 13, Adventuresses and their friends gathered at Table XII for the annual Spring Dinner. The traditional toasts were given by Mickey Fromkin (the Queen), Joyce Ann and Arthur Liebman (Irene), Allan Devitt (Holmes), Sandy Kozinn (Watson), and Lee Ballinger (ACD). Dana Richards provided a witty quiz on Canonical women.
Marina Stajic’s toast to Friendship focused on Marlene Aig and Pat Moran—two beloved Adventuresses who have been gone from our company for ten years. M.E. Rich spoke movingly not only about Pat, but also Lisa Jones Jennes, another member of the original Albertus Magnus group. Others sharing their memories of Pat and Marlene included Peter Crupe, Warren Randall, Ben Vizoskie, Susan Rice and Ev Herzog. Francine Kitts remembered Jan Stauber who died last fall.
To complete the Spring Dinner’s program, Judith Freeman spoke about weddings, while Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves discussed mothers in the Canon. Many of these toasts and papers will be appearing in this and subsequent issues of the Muse. As always, the evening ended in the traditional ASH songs.
2005 Spring Dinner
Adventuresses assembled on May 28 at la Prima Donna, located (where else?) in the New York Theater District. Milling and thronging began at the bar, where we were especially happy to see Trish Pearlman up and about in a stunning aqua wig to match her dress. We dined in a much-appreciated private room, surrounded by familiar period illustrations and posters of prima donnas of the past: Irene Adler would have felt right at home. Principal Unprincipled Adventuress Evelyn Herzog officiated, eliciting rounds of applause for various ASH achievements over the past several months (and noted in previous editions of the Muse).
Toasts opened the program: Mickey Fromkin to the Queen, Margaret Fleesak to Irene Adler, and Jan Stauber to Sherlock Holmes. Glorya Wachs toasted John H. Watson and Becky Robare toasted Arthur Conan Doyle. In a toast to Canonical Friendship, Marilynne McKay addressed the cordial working relationship between Holmes and Mrs Hudson.
Papers were varied and interesting: Marina Stajic discussed “The Long Island Cave and Its Dwellers” and John Baesch told us about the Whiffenpoofs. Bob Katz gave one of his entertainingly freewheeling scholarly presentations, this one relating to “His Last Bow.” (Since Bob eschews notes, these gems tend to be lost to posterity, but this one was captured for Muse readers by Evy-on-the-spot with her little tape recorder.) The program ended in hilarity as Laurie Manifold and Catalina Hannan performed a send-up of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First,” as Laurie and Catalina vainly attempted to explain to one another “A Change in the Program” involving several prominent Adventuresses sharing the first name of “Susan.”
The evening ended with the usual songs (Aunt Clara, etc.) plus a new one from Mickey Fromkin. A rocking good time was had by ASH prima donnas and guests alike.
2004 Spring Dinner
Adventuresses and friends gathered on June 5, 2004 at Étoile—the bar was roomy, comfortable, and equipped with the requisite big-screen TV for viewing the Belmont Stakes—the final jewel of the Triple Crown. In honor of this event, two themes were chosen for toastng: the Sport of Kings and Canonical Crowns.
Kudos were awarded by Principal Unprincipled Adventuress Ev Herzog to upcoming publications by Susan Rice (BSI Christmas Annual on ASH) and Muse Co-Editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay (Volume Two of Serpentine Muse-ings). June Kinnee had come the furthest (San Francisco), but Patricia Guy’s note from Italy logged the most milage. After the announcements came the “pop-up” toasters: Mickey Fromkin’s traditional salute to the Queen led off, followed by M.E. Rich to Irene, Carole Logan to Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Dean to John H. Watson, Michael Meer to Arthur Conan Doyle, and Al Rosenblatt to Canonical Friendship (a topic that ASH now commemorates regularly).
Kate Karlson addressed the theme of horseracing with an informative toast to everyone’s favorite horse, the longshot who pays off. Crowns were next on the agenda: Delia Vargas found her own triples in BERY, Julia Rosenblatt cited similarities in MAZA and SILV, and Philip Shreffler offered scholarly proof of the crown in MUSG.
In the guise of Mrs. Farintosh, Marilynne revealed “Opal Tiara” to have been that lady’s stage name, while the Golden Girls (Judith Freeman, Sandy Kozinn, Trish Pearlman, and Francine Kitts) described their misadventures with the ever-charming Dr. Watson.
The evening ended on a jolly note with voices raised for the traditional ASH songs: Ashenpoof, Reindeer, the Uffan Carol, and a galloping Aunt Clara. Lingerers reconvened upstairs at the bar and concluded that a good time had been had by all—except those who had placed big bucks on Smarty Jones.
2003 Spring Dinner
On May 31, over forty Adventuresses and friends gathered at Moran’s in lower Manhattan for the annual Spring Dinner. Our traditional toasts were given by Mickey Fromkin, Peter Crupe, John Baesch, Catalina Hannan, and Joe Moran. Maureen Green gave a special toast on Sherlockian friendship. The theme for the special toasts was Sherlockian settings with Becky Robare, Bill Nadel, Philip Shreffler, and M.E. Rich doing justice to various Canonical scenes.
Other presenters included Laurie Manifold and Sue Vizoskie, Elyse Locurto and Paul Singleton, Joe Fink, and Marina Stajic. And as always the evening ended with the traditional ASH songs and the not so-traditional “Sniff, Sniff for Old Pinchin Lane” (written by Warren Randall and sung to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song). As is our custom, many of the toasts and papers will appear in the Muse.
2002 Spring Dinner
On June 1, 2002, approximately 60 Adventuresses and friends gathered at Caterina’s restaurant for the annual Spring Dinner. As usual, attendees came from near and far, traveling from California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico, as well as Canada. As always, our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, Evelyn Herzog, coordinated the proceedings. The traditional toasts were as follows: Mickey Fromkin, the Queen; Joe Fink, Irene Adler; Sandy Kozinn, Sherlock Holmes; Lee Neuman, Arthur Conan Doyle; and Allan Devitt and Susan Diamond, John H. Watson.
Special toasts were given by Minnesotan John Bergquist to “Hungary in the Canon” and Philip Shreffler to those “not to be trusted.” The evening’s theme toasts recognized the cases which took place in June 1889. Francine and Dick Kitts explored life in the St. Clair household, Lynn Walker did the honors for BOSC, Kate Karlson (who knows a bit about engineers) toasted Hatherley’s thumb, and Elyse Locurto and Paul Singleton did a musical STOC to the “Babes on Broadway” classic “How about You?” (And here’s a question for Sherlockian film buffs: what notable BSI dinner guest appeared as himself in the film?)
M.E. Rich addressed the provenance of the Mazarin Stone and related topics with her usual wit and scholarship. Then Adventuress Isadora Klein (a.k.a. Marilynne McKay) regaled the audience with tales of her life and loves — Isadora’s, not Marilynne’s. The usual renditions of the classic ASH songs completed an evening full of humor, camaraderie, and a soupçon of scholarship.
You’ll find many of the aforementioned toasts and talks in The Serpentine Muse — subscribe now, if you haven’t already.
Click + to see the Gaslight Gala/Baskerville Bash
The Baskerville Bash
The Gaslight Gala replaced the Birthday Bash and 2016 was the first year this event was documented. Although the Bash was not an ASH-sponsored activity, there are many ASH in the B.B.C. (Baskerville Bash Committee) Sherlockian scion. The Bash replaced the ASH dinner traditionally held at the same time as the invitation-only BSI evening.
This year’s Gaslight Gala—a smashing success—was held on Friday, January 15, at the elegant Manhattan Club. Courtesy of relatively mild weather from Mother Nature, the trek to the venue was comfortable. As ever, I lament that The Great Detective wasn’t determined to have been born in, say, May or September, when the weather in New York City is generally lovely. C’est la vie.
The room was appointed beautifully, bright and open now after renovations since my last time attending the Gala. Guests arrived early to enjoy libations, visit with old friends, make new ones, and peruse the tantalizing silent auction tables. I particularly relish how warm and welcoming the many Sherlockians attending the Gala always are. To me it seems one of the easiest ways to introduce new Holmesians into the fray. My first time at the Gala was a pivotal moment for me; a whole new world of fraternization opened up. As my guest for the 2016 Gaslight Gala was a rather newly minted devotee of the Master, I felt even more appreciative of how the Gala’s atmosphere lives up to the promise per their website: “open to all Sherlockians, regardless of age, scion/society affiliation, type of superpower, radio frequency, or Michelin star rating.”
Master of Ceremonies Nick Martorelli conducted the evening’s programming with wit and grace. The pacing was superb—just the right number of toasts, a mixture of entertainment genres, and still time to talk with guests around the table.
This year’s theme was “Thieves, Scoundrels, and Rogues,” which lent itself to many artful interpretations of both traditional villains of the Canon and familiar heroes. I appreciate the formality of toasting first, possibly because my local scion, The Hudson Valley Sciontists, cleaves to that tradition. I adore when other scions create their own new traditions as well, and that is perhaps what I appreciate about The Gaslight Gala. It joyfully marries tradition and experimentation.
The toasts began with Stephanie Thomas recognizing Dr. Watson. Her toast was lovely and all the more special as it was Stephanie’s first Sherlockian toast! I suspect it will not be her last. Carla Coupe admirably toasted the roguish Sherlock Holmes (I came away convinced that Holmes is a bit of a scoundrel!), and David McCallister raised a glass to the nefarious John Clay. Karen Wilson offered several well-crafted and well-performed songs. Her composition dedicated to the life and times of one Irene Adler was especially appealing.
The sumptuous buffet dinner was a welcome respite after the toasting and songs—oh, really, there can never be enough toasting! At my table, the conversation drifted from David’s toast to John Clay to professional theater exploits and then onto my concern over a very difficult quiz to come. It turned out that I was quite right to be worried.
After dinner, Joanna Levine stepped up to toast Grimesby Roylott, who surely had to be the worst villain discussed, and Mary Alcaro raised a glass to Neville St. Clair—or was that Hugh Boone? With the end of the often humorous, often thought-provoking toasts, the action shifted to a dramatic radio play reading entitled, “The Case of the Missing Vernet.”
The play certainly was the thing, but no kings were killed. The players (Steve Mason, Rusty Mason, Stu Nelan, Monica Schmidt, and David McCallister) entertained the room with a sharp yet playful mystery. As Holmes outwitted the clever art dealer, we cheered and laughed along, particularly at the sparkling faux radio commercials, including one for Les Klinger’s books. If you want to pursue a lady Holmesian, you must buy her a set of the Klinger annotated volumes, in the hope that she will “cling” to you while reading. My rendition doesn’t do justice to the hilarious performance.
After a scrumptious dessert, the winners of the evening’s raffle were announced. We next took a fantastically difficult quiz, “Scoundrels, Stinkers, and No-Goodniks,” cruelly created by Al Gregory. I got a total of 5 questions out of 27 correct! I could say that I scored 6 of 27, but that 6th one was only due to Nick Martorelli’s kind intervention.
The final performance was “Shake Hands with Villains and Rascals of the Canon” by Paul and Eileen Hartnett. A second, slightly less difficult but eminently entertaining, quiz was delivered by Mike Miller—groan-worthy puns abounded and laughter was plentiful.
The silent auction featured many unique and beautiful items, including posters, Sherlock Holmes-themed teddy bears, and crafts. Of particular note were a stunning Sherlockian silk scarf hand-painted by Laurie Frasier Manifold and a beautiful tea box made of burled wood by Joe Coppola. The winners were delighted with their treasures.
As the evening regretfully drew to a close, I was cheered to hear everyone discussing the inevitable trek to O’Lunney’s. Even as we divide ourselves for Friday night, we find a way to rejoin as soon as possible, to share stories, congratulate newly invested folk, and remember why we journeyed to New York City in January: fellowship, scholarship, and camaraderie are cornerstones of the Holmesian experience. The Gaslight Gala is a very special gateway into our oddly precious community, and this year was no exception.
A solid round of applause goes to all of the fantastic performers and presenters. Special cheers to Nick Martorelli and Chris Zordan for their work as co-chairs of the 2016 Gaslight Gala. If I didn’t have the pleasure of visiting with you at the Gaslight Gala this year, I hope to see you in 2017. To read about past Galas and to learn of future plans, visit gaslightgalanyc.wordpress.com.
2006 Baskerville Bash
The 2006 Bash theme was “The Sherl-Oscar Awards,” presented by The Academy of Sherlockian Arts and Scionces.
2005 Baskerville Bash
The 2005 Bash featured a 1930’s Radio Hour highlighted by the game show Queen for an Hour and the soap opera, Search for the Days of Tomorrow As The Copper Beeches Turn.
2004 Baskerville Bash
The 2004 Bash was a special treat this year as it featured a Victorian Music Hall with performers who sang and danced some old and new favorites for the admiring crowd.
2003 Baskerville Bash
The 2003 Bash again had ’em rolling in the aisles at the Manhattan Club as the “Canonical News Network” introduced reports, toasts, and a special version of “You Bet Your Life.”
2002 Baskerville Bash
The 2002 Bash drew nearly 100 Sherlockians on January 11 to celebrate the 6th annual event — this one featured the “Bash-In,” a reprise of Rowan & Martin’s 70’s comedy hit, “Laugh-In.”
2001 Baskerville Bash
The 2001 Bash was a howling success as The Baskerville Buskers presented “This Is Your Life, Hugo The Hound” (among other entertaining skits and songs) to the assembled diners and drinkers.
2000 Baskerville Bash
The 2000 Bash was the first at the Manhattan Club, as preceding Bashes outgrew each successive venue. The “What’s My Crime?” game show was only one highlight of the festivities.
1997 Baskerville Bash
For the record, The 1997 Bash marked the beginning of a new Birthday Weekend tradition — the first in a series of escalating extravaganzas. The Baskerville Bash is the granddaughter of the venerable ASH Dinners of yore.
Click + to see the Birthday Weekend
The Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes birthday celebrations are held in New York and London the first two full weekends in January (the order varies between the two cities to enable fun-loving Sherlockians to “cross the pond” and attend both). ASH events bookend the New York Weekend with an informal dinner on ASH Wednesday and a Sunday brunch.
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend, beginning with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering hosted by Susan Rice at The Press Box and attended by approximately 80 enthusiastic Sherlockians who overflowed the dining room and cheerfully carried on their convivial comradeship downstairs.
As always, the GILLETTE LUNCHEON was expertly hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin (right). ASH Al Gregory presented The Beacon Society with a check for $1,000. Al makes his contribution a matching grant for donations to the Jan Stauber Fund to encourage other donations and to promote the dual cause of literacy and Holmesiana. At the Gillette luncheon, Al Gregory also announced that Steve Mason won the 2016 WHIMSEY award for his Sherlockian riff on Woody Allen, the radio play “When Death Comes A’ Callin’,” which appeared in Vol. 31 No. 1 of the Muse. Steve received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. Russell Merritt made a special presentation to Susan and Mickey of original lobby cards found with the newly discovered print of the Gillette silent Sherlock Holmes film. On behalf of “The Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State,” ASHes Linda and Terry Hunt presented certificates to ASH Doré Nash and Jim Cox in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Morley walk. ASHes Andrew Joffe and Sarah Montague, along with Curtis Armstrong and Paul Singleton, performed a skit of the Watsons visiting a TV relationship-advice guru.
This year’s BSI DINNER was a multi-part celebration of the women of the BSI on the 25th anniversary of that momentous weekend when women were first admitted as full members of the BSI. The Canonical toasts were all by women, including the following ASH: Julia Rosenblatt to Mrs. Hudson, given in the persona of her BSI investiture, Mrs. Turner; Marilynne McKay to Mycroft (in verse); and Catherine Cooke to Sherlock Holmes in the form of his New Year’s resolutions. A number of ASH received special recognition during the 2016 Birthday Weekend. Chris Redmond won the BSJ’s Morley-Montgomery Award and the following ASH received “Eddies” for editing BSI books: Catherine Cooke, Candace Lewis, Robert Katz, and Andrew Solberg. “Tip of the Deerstalker” awards for service to the BSI went to ASHes Peter Crupe, Al Gregory, and Bill VandeWater. Jenn Eaker received the BSI investiture of Mary Sutherland, while Will Walsh will now be known as Godfrey Norton. Congratulations to all!
Bob Coghill’s toast to an Old Irregular honored the late Maureen Green, ASH. Mike Whelan announced that ASH Bob Katz will assume the role of “Billy the Page” for the BSI; Bob Katz and Andy Solberg also spoke about the history of and plans for the BSI Trust. ASHes Peter Blau and Evelyn Herzog together traced the relationship between the BSI and women, from the earliest guests and The Women through ASH’s 1968 picket to the 1991 investiture of women by ASH Tom Stix; Susan Rice insightfully refuted the charge that Holmes was a misogynist; and Francine Kitts honored the thirteen BSI who died in the preceding year. Songs were special as well: ASH Betsy Rosenblatt did a torch rendition of “At Last” for women in the BSI (lyrics by Henry Boote) and ASH Susan Dahlinger wowed the assemblage (including author Nicholas Meyer) with a bravura performance of Sondheim’s saucy “I Never Do Anything Twice” as featured in the film A Seven-Per-Cent Solution. The highlight was a men-only rendition of a Henry Boote version of “Aunt Clara” celebrating women in the Irregulars. This song and “At Last” appear on the inside covers of Muse 32.2.
A number of ASH received special recognition: Chris Redmond won the BSJ’s Morley-Montgomery Award and the following ASH received “Eddies” for editing BSI books: Catherine Cooke, Candace Lewis, Robert Katz, and Andrew Solberg. “Tip of the Deerstalker” awards for service to the BSI went to ASHes Peter Crupe, Al Gregory, and Bill VandeWater. Jenn Eaker received the BSI investiture of Mary Sutherland, while Will Walsh will now be known as Godfrey Norton. Congratulations to all!
Friday night’s THE WOMAN DINNER featured several ASH. Candace Lewis presented “More on Fingerprints: the Mona Lisa and Macaroni”; Bev Wolov read her poem “The Woman” and performed in a short play; and toasts were given by Janice Fisher (The Woman), Elaine Coppola (Former Boyfriends), and Barbara Herbert (Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with Starrett’s “221b” as read by Basil Rathbone).
SHERLOCK HOLMES & P.G. WODEHOUSE: Saturday morning, The Clients of Adrian Mulliner led by ASHes Carol Cavalluzzi and Elaine Coppola met for a Junior Bloodstain. A dozen aficionados of Sherlock Holmes and the stories of P.G. Wodehouse had a lively discussion of P.G. Wodehouse’s “The Smile That Wins”, a story introducing detective Adrian Mulliner who “… was dark and thin and wore an air of inscrutable melancholy.” They also did a dramatic reading of Wodehouse’s “From a Detective’s Notebook,” the story of Adrian Mulliner’s “…unmasking of the man Sherlock Holmes,” followed by an animated analysis of Adrian’s deduction. ASHes Joe Coppola, Maggie Schnader (who has Wodehousian and Sherlockian postings on the website CriminalElement.com), and Karen Wilson also participated in the program.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of women in the BSI, Scott Monty and Burt Wolder interviewed Susan Rice and Evelyn Herzog for the “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere” podcast #89. http://www.ihearofsherlock.com/2016/01/episode-89-adventuresses-of-sherlock.html#.Vs8_zJwrLIU
THE BSI COCKTAIL RECEPTION on Saturday featured ASH Mary Ann Bradley (the hardest-working behind-the-scenes member of the BSI Weekend team), who introduced the members of “The Women” who were present. Al Rosenblatt and his daughter, ASH Betsy Rosenblatt, declaimed their poetic summary of the year’s events of interest to Sherlockians and Peter Blau did his usual adept stint as auctioneer. ASH John Baesch was the very lucky winner of the BSI Raffle—a his-and-hers Victorian jewelry set commemorating SCAN devised by Maggie Schpak featuring a silver and amethyst brooch and earrings as well as a genuine gold sovereign on a watch-chain. John’s wife, ASH Evelyn Herzog, is expected to help John make use of the prize.
Sunday concluded with the ASH BRUNCH at The Black Sheep, ably organized by Lyndsay Faye for a large crowd of Sherlockians who couldn’t seem to bear seeing the Weekend come to a close.
PYJAMAS ON PARADE
The fourth annual “Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet” Charity Ball, now a Birthday Weekend tradition, was held on Thursday, 14 January 2016. Hosted by the Baker Street Babes, the ball raises funds for veterans; this year the charity of choice was The Disabled American Veterans Trust. The Ball returned to the storied and illustrious Players club for the third time—a fitting locale for a Sherlockian event, graced by a sketch of Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes on the main floor and a Frederic Dorr Steele illustration downstairs.
Though each incarnation of the Ball so far has been remarkable, this year’s event outdid them all. It might have been this year’s theme: the Daintiest Thing in a Dressing Gown Pyjama Party. On a (remarkably warm, for New York) January evening, ladies daringly clad in corsets and Victorian undergarments, gentlemen in dinner jackets, and Sherlockians of both genders in dressing gowns descended upon Gramercy Park. Though each ball has had a theme, this year’s was by far the most costumed of them all, as almost every attendee donned comfy pajamas and slippers, Victorian dress, or, in the case of ASH Bob Stek (left), a bright pink bunny jumpsuit.
Judging this year’s costume contest would have been particularly difficult, with so many perfect replicas of the Frederic Dorr Steele painting in the very building walking, talking, and breathing. Not surprisingly, the pink bunny was one of the winners. Other winners were Chrys and Jerry Kegley in the couples category and Kelsey Hercs for female costume.
As usual, a quiz, a silent auction, and much socializing took place. The culminating event was a live auction, hosted by William Gillette himself. This, too, was memorable and Sherlockian: whatever price each lot started at, almost immediately $221.17 was offered, before proceeding to higher numbers as Sherlockians fell over themselves to donate as much money as they could to an organization that helps veterans. Over $10,000 was raised.
A Sherlockian event indeed, in its joy and celebration, its creativity, as well as its generosity.
2015 Birthday Weekend
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend which began with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at Annie Moore’s attended by approximately 80 enthusiastic Sherlockians. Kudos go to Susan Rice, for ably coordinating the move to Annie Moore’s when O’Casey’s closed two weeks before the event!
The next morning Doré Nash co-hosted the Morley walk with her usual charm and NYC expertise. That evening the Baker Street Babes hosted the Daintiest Bee Under Your Bonnet charity ball, raising $8,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. ASH Lyndsay Faye was one of the key movers behind the event.
As always, the Gillette luncheon was expertly hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. ASH Andrew Joffe, along with Paul Singleton, entertained everyone with “The Sherlock Holmes Cable Network.”
ASH Al Gregory presented The Beacon Society with a check for $1,000, a matching grant for donations to the Jan Stauber Fund to encourage other donations and to promote the dual cause of literacy and Holmesiana. Al also announced that ASH Jenn Eaker won the 2015 WHIMSEY award for her channeling of Slim, the swamp adder, in “My Version of Events” which appeared in Vol. 30, No. 3 of the Muse. She received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The Jan WHIMSEY (“Whimsical Humour Is My Speciality. Enjoy Yourself!”) Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author(s) writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Jenn for delighting us and our readers.
At the BSI dinner, ASH Mary Ann Bradley received a Two-Shilling award and ASH Marsha Pollak was given a “Tip of the Deerstalker” award. Congratulations to both! ASHes John Baesch, Terry Hunt, and Jacquelynn Morris were also featured on the program.
On Saturday, The Beacon Society meeting was held on January 10 at the Roosevelt Hotel. The Society was founded by ASH Maribeau Briggs to support educational experiences that introduce young people to the Canon and to recognize exemplary efforts that do so. For more information, go to BeaconSociety.com or the Society’s Facebook page.
The Clients of Adrian Mulliner, headed by ASHes Carol Cavalluzzi and Elaine Coppola, convened after the Beacon Society meeting for the Junior Bloodstain. The entertainment was a reading of ASH Gayle Lange Puhl’s “The Riddle of the Refurbished Room” with several ASH as performers.
At the BSI cocktail party, Betsy and Al Rosenblatt presented their traditional poem humorously recounting the events of the past year, while Peter Blau did his usual adept stint as auctioneer, and Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women.” Sunday concluded with the ASH brunch ably organized by Lyndsay Faye.
2014 Birthday Weekend
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend which began with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at O’Casey’s attended by approximately 50 enthusiastic Sherlockians. The next morning ASH Doré Nash lent local color as she co-hosted the Morley walk with Jim Cox.
Two major events during the weekend were the Gaslight Gala and the “Daintiest Thing under a Bonnet” Charity Ball. Angela Dunford-Williams and Anastasia Klimchynskaya, respectively, provide details on these gatherings in this issue.
As always, the Gillette luncheon was hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. At the Gillette luncheon, Al Gregory announced that ASHes Mickey Fromkin and Susan Rice won the 2014 WHIMSEY award for their verses “The Day of Reichenbach I and II” which appeared in Vol. 29 No. 3 of the Muse. They received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author(s) writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Mickey and Susan for delighting us and our readers.
ASH Al Gregory presented The Beacon Society with a check for $1,000. Al makes his contribution a matching grant for donations to the Jan Stauber Fund to encourage other donations and to promote the dual cause of literacy and Holmesiana. ASH Susan Dahlinger spoke about Gillette and copyright issues. The Friends of Bogie’s, ASHes Sarah Montague and Andrew Joffe, along with Paul Singleton, provided the entertainment and marked the 30th anniversary of their first performance.
Two ASHes received investitures at the annual BSI dinner. Harrison “Terry” Huntis now The Something Hunt, and Jacquelynn Morrisis The Lion’s Mane. ASHes Bob Katz and Andy Solberg received “Eddy” awards for their outstanding editorial work, and Susan Rice was given a “Tip of the Deerstalker” for chairing the Gillette luncheon for 25 years.
Congratulations are also in order for Catherine Cooke, who received the Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Tony Howlett Award for her outstanding service to the Society.
At the BSI dinner, several ASH were featured on the program. Teddy Niver gave the toast to Mycroft, and Francine Kitts led attendees in standing upon the terrace for those BSI who had crossed the Reichenbach in the past year. The program featured a convention to discuss updating the BSI’s Constitution and Buy-Laws; Andy Peck and Betsy Rosenblatt were among the debaters. Evelyn Herzog concluded the evening with a reading of Starrett’s “221B”.
The Beacon Society met on January 18 at the Roosevelt Hotel. The Society was founded ten years ago by ASH Maribeau Briggs to support educational experiences that introduce young people to the Canon and to recognize exemplary efforts that do so. Two of the Society’s officers are ASH, as well as most of the other Board members. For more information, go to BeaconSociety.com or the Society’s Facebook page.
Beacon Bursar Carol Cavalluzzi presented the financial report and the 2014 operating budget was approved. Tax-deductible donations to the Society may be made at the Society’s website via PayPal. Note that you don’t have to belong to PayPal to make a donation—all you need is a major credit card.
New Grants Committee Chair, Allan Devitt, explained that the former Awards Task Group is now divided into a Grants Committee, responsible for the Jan Stauber Grant program, and an Awards Committee, responsible for the Beacon Award and chaired by Marino Alvarez. The procedures for approving Stauber grants and the grant application form and guidelines have been streamlined and simplified. The Board has authorized $7,000 to be given out in grants with a maximum of $500 per grant. The application form is on the Society’s website. Applications must be submitted by May 1.
Elaine Coppola, Chair of the Awards Task Group, reported that the Society awarded seven Jan Stauber Grants totaling $1,932.36. She then presented the 2014 Beacon Award to Timothy S. Greer, instructor in English and Fine Arts and Director of Theatre at the Memphis University School in Memphis, Tennessee. Greer teaches a detective fiction course for high school seniors in which the students read the Sherlock Holmes stories in the original illustrated Strand edition, as well as other noted authors of the genre. Greer cites “the power of detective fiction to strengthen cognitive abilities and foster critical thinking skills.” Congratulations to Tim for his outstanding efforts in introducing students to the Canon!
On Saturday, the Clients of Adrian Mulliner (the scion for S’ian Wodehousians), headed by ASHes Carol Cavalluzzi and Elaine Coppola along with co-conspirator George Vanderburgh, convened after the Beacon Society meeting for the Junior Bloodstain. A reading of Gayle Lange Puhl’s “The Riddle of the Hunted Hound” featured several ASH as performers.
At the BSI cocktail party on Saturday afternoon, Betsy and Al Rosenblatt read their traditional poem, recounting humorously the events of the past year, and M.E. Rich was one of the performers in a Jerome Coopersmith radio production. Peter Blau did his usual adept stint as auctioneer, while Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women.” Sunday concluded with the ASH brunch once again ably organized by Lyndsay Faye and hosted by Melinda Caric.
2013 Birthday Weekend
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend which began with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at O’Casey’s attended by approximately 50 enthusiastic Sherlockians. The next morning Doré Nash co-hosted the Morley walk with her usual style and wit.
As always, the Gillette luncheon was hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. At the luncheon, Al Gregory announced that ASH Melinda Caric won the 2013 WHIMSEY award for her toast “An Open Apology to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” which appeared in Vol. 28 No. 3 of the Muse. Melinda received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Melinda for delighting us and our readers.
Congratulations also go to ASH Elaine Coppola who was honored by the BSI as “The Woman” for 2013. Sue Vizoskie gave the toast to Elaine. Our very best wishes go to Sue, who is recovering from injuries suffered during Hurricane Sandy. We hope she’ll be on her feet soon and that she and Ben will be back in their home.
At the BSI dinner, several ASH were featured on the program. Julie McKuras gave the toast to “An Old Irregular.” Peter Blau spoke about Julian Wolff, while Susan Rice and Evelyn Herzog reminisced about Tom Stix. Lyndsay Faye was part of the musical entertainment, and Francine Kitts led attendees in standing upon the terrace for those BSI who had crossed the Reichenbach in the past year.
The annual Beacon Society meeting was held on January 12 at the Roosevelt Hotel. The Society was founded by ASH Maribeau Briggs to support educational experiences that introduce young people to the Canon and to recognize exemplary efforts that do so. All of the Society’s present officers are ASH. For more information, go to BeaconSociety.com or the Society’s Facebook page.
Two major events during the weekend were the Gaslight Gala and the Daintiest Thing under a Bonnet charity ball. Becky Robare and Lyndsay Faye, respectively, provide all the details on these events elsewhere in this issue.
On Saturday after the Beacon Society meeting, the Clients of Adrian Mulliner, now headed by ASHes Carol Cavalluzzi and Elaine Coppola along with co-conspirator George Vanderburgh, convened for the Junior Bloodstain. The entertainment was a reading of ASH Gayle Lange Puhl’s “The Riddle of the Starving Swine” (adapted by William Hyder). Since Gayle’s extremely clever work will be recreated on October 19 at The Wodehouse Society’s convention in Chicago, we’re not going to tell you anything more about it as we hope you’ll come to Chicago and see it then.
At the BSI cocktail party, Betsy and Al Rosenblatt presented their traditional poem recounting humorously the events of the past year. Peter Blau did his usual adept stint as auctioneer, while Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women.” It was Mary Ann’s lucky afternoon as she won the Watson Fund’s raffle prize of the magnificent chatelaine crafted by Maggie Schpak. Sunday concluded the birthday festivities with the ASH brunch once again ably hosted by Lyndsay Faye.
2012 Birthday Weekend
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend, which began with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at O’Casey’s attended by over 50 enthusiastic Sherlockians. The next morning Doré Nash co-hosted the Morley walk with Jim Cox.
On Friday, the Gillette luncheon was hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. The entertainment included a skit by The Friends of Bogie (ASH Sarah Montague and Andrew Joffe, along with Paul Singleton) involving Holmes and Watson and the Titanic. ASH Al Gregory presented The Beacon Society with a check for $1,000 as a matching grant for donations to the Jan Stauber Fund. Al then announced that ASH Karen Murdock won the 2012 WHIMSEY award for her piece “Do You Write Like Arthur Conan Doyle?” which appeared in Vol. 27 No. 4 of the Muse. Karen received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Karen for delighting us and our readers.
At the BSI dinner, Mary Ann Bradley received the investiture of “Mary Morstan.” Mary Ann also received the BSI’s “Eddy” award for her editing of the 2011 BSJ Christmas Annual, The First Lady: Lenore Glen Offord. Offord’s ASH investiture (and also her BSI) was The Old Russian Woman.
Lyndsay Faye gave the toast to Mrs. Hudson, while Andy Solberg performed the honors for Mycroft. Bob Katz gave another one of his delightfully whimsical talks and a Peter Blau celebrity lookalike was feted in a special skit. Francine Kitts led attendees in remembering those BSI who had crossed the Reichenbach in the past year, and Marsha Pollak ended the evening with a reading of Bill Schweickert’s “A Long Evening with Holmes.”
The Beacon Society meeting was held on January 14 at the Roosevelt Hotel. The Society was founded by ASH Maribeau Briggs to support educational experiences that introduce young people to the Canon and to recognize exemplary efforts that do so. Currently all of the Beacon Society officers and committee chairs are ASH. For more information, go to BeaconSociety.com or the Society’s Facebook page.
At the BSI cocktail party, Betsy and Al Rosenblatt presented their traditional poem recounting humorously the events of the past year. Peter Blau did his usual adept stint as auctioneer, while Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women.” And ASH Francine Kitts won the raffle for Maggie Schpak’s rendition of Lady Frances Carfax’s jewels. Sunday concluded with the ASH brunch, once again ably hosted by Lyndsay Faye.
2011 Birthday Weekend
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend, beginning with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at O’Casey’s attended by over 50 enthusiastic Sherlockians. The next morning a jaunty Doré Nash was the Morley Walk’s “New York Connection,” providing insider landmark information as well as donuts at Grand Central Terminal.
Friday came the Gillette luncheon hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. The Friends of Bogie (ASH Sarah Montague and Andrew Joffe, along with Paul Singleton) presented a skit involving Holmes and Watson in social networking. The trio also performed at the BSI dinner in a tribute to “The Game.” Al Gregory announced that ASH Elaine and Joseph Coppola won the 2011 Jan WHIMSEY award for their piece “The Fayetteville Fairies” which appeared in Vol. 26, No. 2 of the Muse. Elaine and Joe received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Elaine and Joe for delighting us and our readers.
Another ASH joined the ranks of the BSI in January when Sherlockian author Lyndsay Faye received the investiture of “Kitty Winter.” Congratulations also go to Michael Pollak, husband of ASH Laurie Fraser Manifold, for winning the BSJ’s Morley-Montgomery Award!
The Beacon Society meeting was held on January 8 at the Roosevelt Hotel. For those of you unfamiliar with the society, it was founded by ASH Maribeau Briggs to support educational experiences that introduce young people to the Canon and to recognize exemplary efforts that do so. All of the Beacon Society officers and committee chairs are currently ASH. The website, BeaconSociety.com, has more information on how you can become involved in the society’s efforts.
2010 Birthday Weekend
ASH activities during the weekend began with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at O’Casey’s. The next morning Doré Nash co-hosted the Morley walk with her usual style and donuts.
On Friday the Gillette luncheon was hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. The Friends of Bogie (ASHes Sarah Montague and Andrew Joffe, with Paul Singleton) took a Holmesian approach to some traditional nursery rhymes. Al Gregory announced that ASH Philip Shreffler won the 2010 Jan WHIMSEY award for his “Toast to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” which appeared in Vol. 25, No. 4 of the Muse. Philip was not in attendance, but he will receive a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Philip for delighting us and our readers.
At the BSI dinner, three well-known ASH received their shillings at the 2010 BSI dinner and Susan Dahlinger received an Editors’ Award for her work on the Christmas Annual “Rathbone Returns.” Brava, ladies! Special thanks to Ben Vizoskie for the photographs. Sue Vizoskie argued that Holmes was a woman—no surprise to any of us. Francine Kitts led attendees in standing upon the terrace for those BSI who had crossed the Reichenbach in the past year.
On Saturday another ASH was honored at the Beacon Society meeting when Myrtle Robinson received the Beacon Award for her long-time efforts in promoting the Canon in South Carolina schools. Many of her activities have been reported in the Muse. Congratulations also to Pj Doyle for becoming the Beacon Society’s new Fundraising Chair and to Francine Kitts who has taken over from Myrtle as Program Chair.
Saturday Marilyn MacGregor co-chaired the annual meeting of The Clients of Adrian Mulliner—the scion composed of those many Sherlockians who are also Wodehousians.
At the BSI cocktail party, Betsy and Al Rosenblatt presented their traditional poem recounting humorously the events of the past year. Peter Blau did his usual adept stint as auctioneer, while Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women.”
Sunday concluded with the ASH brunch once again ably hosted by Lyndsay Faye. She also hosted the informal dinner at Kennedy’s Restaurant on Saturday night after the BSI cocktail party.
2009 Birthday Weekend
ASH played a prominent role throughout the weekend which began with the traditional ASH Wednesday gathering at O’Casey’s. The next morning Doré Nash co-hosted the Morley walk with her usual panache.
On Friday the Gillette luncheon was again hosted by Susan Rice in conjunction with Mickey Fromkin. S.E. Dahlinger spoke briefly about her William Gillette research, and the Friends of Bogie’s (ASHes Sarah Montague and Andrew Joffe, along with Paul Singleton) presented a somewhat revisionist take on several of Mr. Holmes’ more famous cases. Al Gregory announced that Greg Darak won the 2009 Jan WHIMSEY award for his pastiche “The Adventure of Holmes’ Shortest Case” which appeared in Vol. 24 No. 1 of the Muse. Greg received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. The award was established and funded in ASH Jan Stauber’s memory by her husband, Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). Our thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Greg for delighting us and our readers.
Several ASH were honored at the BSI dinner that evening. BSI shillings went to S.E. Dahlinger, The Bruce Partington Plans, and Allan Devitt, The Dancing Men. Susan Rice received an Editors’ Award for her work on the Christmas Annual “Of Dubious and Questionable Memory,” and Mary Ann Bradley was presented with a solid gold diamond-encrusted “The Woman” door charm, as well as a painting of herself by Gail Postal, in recognition of her services to the BSI. Professor Coram (aka Andy Solberg) provided a highly irregular dissertation on the Irregular shilling.
And the Contributions Editor is extremely envious of the Managing Editor (i.e., Evelyn Herzog) who won the Mazarin Stone (or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof) at the cocktail party raffle.
Friday morning began with the Beacon Society meeting. Susan Diamond is the group’s secretary and Marilynne McKay is the new webmaster of BeaconSociety.com. Myrtle Robinson, Andy Solberg, and Sue Vizoskie are all committee chairs.
Sunday featured two events starring ASH. This year’s ASH brunch was hosted by Lyndsay Faye, while ASHes Francine Kitts and Warren Randall, ably assisted by Dick Kitts, and coordinated the BSI “Knothole on Wheels” excursion to the wilds of Long Island and various sites associated with Christopher Morley. Congratulations to the Kitts duo and Warren for a flawlessly executed outing!
2008 Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes birthday celebrations are held in New York and London the first two full weekends in January (the order varies between the two cities to enable fun-loving Sherlockians to “cross the pond” and attend both). ASH events bookend the New York Weekend with an informal dinner on ASH Wednesday and a Sunday brunch.
Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend 2008 delighted Adventuresses who had not received an ASH Membership Certificate. The new certificates were welcomed by all ASH invested since the early 90s.
As is our custom, we’ll be reporting on those birthday weekend events that featured Adventuresses. On Wednesday night over 45 ASH and friends gathered informally at O’Casey’s. The high point of the evening was the presentation of ASH membership certificates to Adventuresses invested after the original certificates were made in the early 90s. Thanks go to the ASH design team of Laurie Fraser Manifold and Marilynne McKay for these and Dorothy Belle Pollack’s Poet Laureate award. (ASH not attending the weekend will receive their certificates by mail.)
Thursday morning, Doré Nash delivered the famous jelly donuts in Grand Central Station as she and Jim Cox led the Morley walk from the Algonquin to McSorley’s. Morleyites comment that the route changes a little each year as landmarks topple—see ’em next year before they’re gone!
As always, the Gillette luncheon was ably hosted by Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin. Attendees were visited by the Gillettes themselves: Tyke Niver as William Gillette and Teddie Niver as Helen. Al Gregory presented the Muse’s Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Speciality, Enjoy Yourself) Award to Warren Randall for “A Visit to 104 Berkeley Square,” a riff on “221b.” The award, a handsome certificate and a check for $221, honors Al’s late wife, ASH Jan Stauber.
The program was a reprise of an original work by the Friends of Bogie’s, which was first performed at a 1984 ASH dinner. ASHes Andrew Joffe, Sarah Montague and Elyse Locurto, along with Paul Singleton, appeared in this delightful literary parody.
And, of course, ASH history was made as Principal Unprincipled Adventuress Evelyn Herzog invested nineteen men as full-fledged ASH, the first since 1991.
At the BSI dinner, Marilyn MacGregor toasted Watson’s second wife and Marina Stajic honored The Master. Sherry Rose-Bond read the Musgrave ritual, and Betsy Rosenblatt was a featured speaker. To top things off, Betsy received her BSI investiture as Lucy Ferrier and Sherry Rose-Bond received the BSI two-shilling award!
At the BSI cocktail party on Saturday, ASHes Kate Karlson, Elyse Locurto, and M.E. Rich all appeared in the Jerome Coopersmith play. Betsy Rosenblatt and father Al delivered the traditional year-end poem, and Mary Ann Bradley introduced The Women. Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves donated a made-to-order dressing gown for the BSI auction, and Patricia Guy provided a rare bottle of Italian wine and carrier for the raffle.
The Sunday ASH brunch at the Oldcastle Pub & Restaurant was the perfect ending to the weekend—thanks to organizer Judith Freeman.
2007 Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend 2007 included an announcement of the first winner of the Jan Whimsey award for the most whimsical article in the previous volume of the Muse.
Our report will focus on events involving Adventuresses as the rest of the weekend is covered in other publications. Over fifty Adventuresses and friends gathered at O’Casey’s on Wednesday night for what was probably the largest ASH Wednesday ever.
From this rousing start, we moved on to the Gillette luncheon on Friday with over one hundred and fifty Sherlockians in attendance. As always, Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin did a superb job of organizing and conducting the event. One of the high points was the presentation of the Jan WHIMSEY Award to Regina Stinson for the most whimsical piece published in Volume 22 (2006) of the Muse. The annual award—a handsome certificate designed by Laurie Fraser Manifold and Marilynne McKay and a check for $221.17—was presented by Al Gregory in memory of his wife, Adventuress Jan Stauber. Adventuresses Elyse Locurto and Sarah Montague assumed prominent roles in the program—a humorous depiction of the telephone’s place in the Canon.
Elaine Coppola reported on the first Gaslight Gala, which has replaced the Baskerville Bash.
Congratulations go to ASH Dayna McCausland, who received her shilling as Lady Clara St. Simon at the BSI dinner. And it was the night of the Susans as Sue Vizoskie gave the toast to the Master, while Susan Diamond and Susan Rice were members of the two opposing teams for a version of Sherlockian Jeopardy. It was a closely-fought battle, but Susan Rice’s team emerged victorious. Marina Stajic provided comic relief as the scorekeeper, and Peter Blau was one of the judges. Peter was also honored with a newly created “editor’s award,” and Teddie Niver carried her tray high as one of the singers in the clever “Waiters” musical skit.
At the BSI cocktail party, ASH Mary Ann Bradley introduced The Women. Then Betsy Rosenblatt and her father Al gave the traditional poem detailing the events of the weekend. Susan Rice and her team members received a trophy for winning the BSI Challenge the night before. ASH B.J. Rahn won the raffle, while Francine Kitts had the winning auction bid for six Sherlockian pillows, and Muse editor Marilynne McKay had the winning bid for the Silver Blaze pillow which she then presented to co-editor Susan Diamond.
The weekend concluded Sunday with forty-six Sherlockians from seven countries (Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S.) in attendance at the Sunday brunch hosted by Judith Freeman.
2006 Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend 2006 celebrated an ASH winner of the prestigious BSJ Morley-Montgomery Award and unseasonably beautiful weather for weekend activities.
As usual, we’ll report only those events involving ASH as the entire weekend is covered fully in other publications and we have limited space. First of all, congratulations go to Adventuress Catherine Cooke, the winner of the BSJ’s Morley-Montgomery Award. This was a very good weekend for Catherine as she also won the raffle prize at the BSI cocktail party—a replica of the snuffbox the King of Bohemia donated to Holmes.
Approximately forty ASH and friends gathered at O’Casey’s for ASH Wednesday on January 11. On Thursday morning, Jim Cox and ASH Doré Nash led the Morley Walk, which this year included a side trip to the spectacular Brooklyn Promenade (left) to enjoy the unseasonably warm sunny weather.
Friday’s events began with the Gillette luncheon, ably hosted as always by ASH Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin. The program featured the William Gillette players (Andrew Joffe, ASH Sarah Montague, and Paul Singleton) in a witty skit about the three Doyle children.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll read a complete report on the Baskerville Bash. Highlights of the BSI dinner were ASH Francine Kitts’ toast to the second Mrs. Watson and ASH Teddie Niver’s sparkling turn as a turn-of-the-century music hall entertainer, accompanied on the piano by husband Tyke. We expect to hear reports of their Broadway debut momentarily.
At the BSI cocktail party, ASH Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women.” ASH Betsy Rosenblatt and dad Al provided their usual witty poetical recap of the past year and the BSI dinner. ASH Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves donated a handmade Inverness coat to the annual raffle for the Watson fund (if you’d like your own, contact Joanne at email@example.com).
The weekend concluded Sunday with the ASH brunch hosted by our own Judith Freeman at the Old Castle Pub. This year’s brunch had a strong international contingent with Canada, England, and France represented among the forty-eight attendees.
2005 Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend 2005 was notable for an ASH gathering at Le Train Blue in Bloomingdale’s and a Sunday BSI-sponsored trip to the Gillette Castle.
As always, we’ll only be reporting on those events that involved Adventuresses because the remaining events are amply covered in other Sherlockian publications.
The 5-day “weekend” began with ASH Wednesday at O’Casey’s. Approximately 45 Adventuresses and friends gathered to socialize and enjoy excellent Irish fare. ASH Doré Nash and Jim Cox led the annual Morley walk on Thursday morning. On Friday, Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin hosted the Gillette luncheon at Moran’s Chelsea Seafood Restaurant. Renowned Gillette scholar Susan Dahlinger spoke, and ASH Elyse Locurto and Paul Singleton provided their own witty version of an American (Sherlockian) in Paris.
Friday evening’s events were the Baskerville Bash and the BSI dinner. At the BSI dinner, Francine Kitts led the attendees in the Musgrave Ritual and Sue Vizoskie ended the evening with “221B.”
The next day at the BSI reception, ASH Betsy Rosenblatt and her father Al gave their annual poetic assessment of the weekend and the past year. Francine Kitts won the raffle, a stunning tea caddy made by Joe Coppola. That same day many ASH and friends gathered for hors d’oeuvre and appropriate libations at Le Train Bleu in Bloomingdale’s, sketched by ASH artist Laurie Fraser Manifold.
The weekend concluded on Sunday with the ASH brunch, hosted by Judith Freeman. Over forty Sherlockians gathered at The Old Castle Pub and Restaurant to do what Adventuresses and their friends do so well: enjoy lively conversation while consuming appropriate refreshments. Also on Sunday many Sherlockians went on the BSI-sponsored trip to the Gillette Castle. There Susan Dahlinger spoke briefly on Gillette and introduced the great man himself (as portrayed by Tyke Niver). ASH Teddie Niver, in the persona of Helen Gillette, joined us at lunch, resplendent in authentic Victorian dress.
2004 Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend 2004 was thrilling for Adventuresses who received awards and an investiture — as always, ASH was front and center at festivities.
Three Adventuresses received special honors during the New York Birthday Weekend. Francine Kitts received her Irregular Shilling with the investiture of Lady Hilda Trelawney Hope. In addition to her frequent appearances in the Muse, Francine teaches Canonical classes to older adults and is actively involved in many New York area scions.
Jan Stauber received the Beacon Society’s first annual Beacon Award. For 10 years, Jan has visited seventh and eighth grade classrooms to educate the students on Sherlock Holmes. Jan’s report on her work appeared in the Summer 2003 Muse.
The BSI awarded ASH Peter Blau “the Dr. John H. Watson Afghan Campaign Desk” in appreciation for his work as “society secretary, Sherlockian ambassador, and record keeper extraordinaire.”
Congratulations, Francine, Jan, and Peter!
Since the weekend is amply covered in other publications, our focus is on Adventuress activities. The festivities began with ASH Wednesday, an informal gathering of over fifty Adventuresses and friends at O’Casey’s restaurant. Thursday morning, ASH Doré Nash and Jim Cox led those willing to brave the elements on the Christopher Morley Walk.
On Friday, Susan Rice, along with Mickey Fromkin, hosted the William Gillette Luncheon. The Friends of Bogie’s provided the entertainment with Elyse Locurto joining Sarah Montague, Andrew Joffe, and Paul Singleton in a Sherlockian version of “The Miracle of Birth.” Carol and Ron Fish tell all about the 8th Baskerville Bash elsewhere in Muse Vol 20, number 2.
ASH at the BSI dinner lectern included Sarah Montague, Julia Rosenblatt toasting “The Woman,” Susan Diamond toasting Mycroft, and Sherry Rose-Bond, who closed the evening with a reading of Bev Wolov’s poem “The Woman.”
At the BSI cocktail party on Saturday, Mary Ann Bradley introduced “The Women,” and Betsy Rosenblatt, with father Al, provided the traditional verse on the past year’s events. The weekend concluded with the ASH brunch at the Baker Street Restaurant, coordinated by Marina Stajic.
2003 Birthday Weekend
Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend 2003 again featured Adventuresses in major roles in activities throughout the weekend and another ASH was invested in the BSI.Congratulations to Adventuress and frequent Muse contributor Sue Vizoskie who received her BSI shilling this January and is now known as Mrs. Saunders! The investiture from 3GAR is especially appropriate since Sue is one of the leading lights of that scion and is married to Alexander Hamilton Garrideb, a.k.a. Ben Vizoskie. Congratulations also go to ASH Janice Fisher who was named “The Woman” at the cocktail reception preceding the BSI dinner and was wittily toasted by ASH Sherry Rose-Bond. And, finally, frequent Muse contributor and ASH spouse Al Gregory received the BSI investiture of The Grimpen Postmaster.
The weekend began Wednesday evening with a convivial gathering of approximately 40 Adventuresses and friends at O’Casey’s. As is the custom, there was no program but plenty of good conversation and good food. Jim Cox, ably assisted by ASH Doré Nash, led the Morley Walk Thursday morning. Doré garnered rave reviews for her donuts and knowledge of all things New York. Thursday afternoon found many of us at the staged reading of Andrew Joffe’s dramatization of BLUE. Our own M.E. Rich delighted us in the dual roles of Mrs. Hudson and Maggie Oakshott.
This year’s Gillette luncheon, as always superbly hosted by Susan Rice with the assistance of Mickey Fromkin, honored Gillette’s 150th birthday. ASH and Gillette expert Susan Dahlinger gave a short presentation concerning Gillette’s revival tour and also provided the selection of Gillette correspondence read by Paul Singleton and Andrew Joffe. Unfortunately Sarah Montague Joffe was unable to attend, so the introduction to the program she had written was given by Susan Rice.
Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll read all about the doings at the Baskerville Bash, which we’re pleased to report also received coverage in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, along with other weekend events. Across town, at the BSI dinner, ASH played a major role in the program. Julie McKuras toasted “Dr. Watson’s Second Wife,” while Marilynne McKay explained what really happened during the Great Hiatus. M.E. Rich, a travel agent in real life, and Philip Shreffler provided a hilarious insight into Holmes’ booking travel for the hiatus. And birthday girl Marina Stajic introduced Paul Singleton’s entertaining Sherlockian version of Bob Newhart.
At Saturday’s cocktail reception, ASH Betsy Rosenblatt joined her father Al in giving the traditional poem about the weekend’s doings, while Evelyn Herzog proved that “good guys” do finish first when she won the raffle—a Scott Bond drawing of herself.
The weekend concluded on Sunday with approximately 60 Sherlockians gathering for brunch at Wylie’s. Hosted by Marina Stajic, the brunch had an international flavor. Marina conveyed greetings from Marcus Geisser, currently in Thailand, who had arranged to have small bottles of sparkling wine presented to all of the women present. Then Thierry Saint-Joanis, president of the Sherlock Holmes Society of France, announced the appointment of Catherine Nicolas-Egret as Directeur du Grand Depot de Paris. Catherine is the first woman director of the Society. To celebrate, the French delegation sang about four French women in the Canon and Jean-Pierre Cagnat did caricatures of the women. (Both songs and sketches will appear in the next Muse.)
2002 Birthday Weekend
The Birthday Weekend 2002 was a resounding success for Adventuresses as two ASH were invested into the BSI and another received the coveted BSI Two Shilling Award for her service to the BSI and the Sherlockian community.
Editorial note: Since so much is written about the weekend in other publications we’re focusing on Adventuress activities during the weekend.
Congratulations go to Adventuresses Mary Campbell and Marilynne McKay, who both received investitures as Baker Street Irregulars during the 2002 Birthday Weekend. Mary, a well-known Canadian Sherlockian, will now be called Brenda Tregennis, while Muse co-editor Marilynne is Violet de Merville. Adventuresses had even more reason to rejoice as Susan Rice (left) received the Two Shilling Award for her service to the BSI and the Sherlockian community. Jean Upton’s toast to Watson’s second wife was another high point of the BSI dinner.
An Adventuress was also awarded the highest honor at the Baskerville Bash – Francine Kitts received the coveted Hugo Award for her work in conjunction with the Bash. Once again, congratulations! You’ll find all the details on the Bash in Allan Devitt’s report elsewhere in this issue.
As always, the weekend began with ASH Wednesday. Approximately 40 Adventuresses and friends gathered at O’Casey’s that evening — no program, just lots of good conversation. The next morning an intrepid dozen met for the informative Morley Walk, led by Jim Cox and ASH Dore Nash. We went from the Algonquin to the Gotham Book Store on 47th Street, then downtown to the Woolworth Building, a hot-dog stand and more, ending at McSorley’s Ale House, a favorite Birthday Weekend haunt.
Noontime Friday found most Sherlockians at Moran’s for the Gillette luncheon, as always superbly organized by Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin. As part of the program, S.E. Dahlinger — the authority on William Gillette — read a description of the actor’s technical facility from a 1901 issue of Stage magazine.
At the Saturday cocktail party, bidding was spirited for Jean Upton’s original sketch of Sherlock Holmes as Pooh. Muse contributor Warren Randall is now the proud owner. A popular guy was 7-week old Peter Brennan Minichello (son of Adventuress MaryKate Brennan) — it’s never too early to initiate your children into the Sherlockian way of life.
That evening Maribeau Briggs and Paul Singleton presented “A Hound It Was…”— their compilation of film clips from, of course, the various cinematic versions of HOUN. Limited engagements of this work have played to packed houses and it’s worth a viewing. To order, send a check for $15 per copy plus $5 for shipping (U.S. only—contact Maribeau for foreign shipping charges) to Maribeau Briggs, On-The-Fly Video, 46 E. 29th St., 3F, New York, NY 10016. Checks should be payable to Maribeau.
On Sunday approximately 75 Adventuresses and their friends gathered for the annual brunch. As our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress remarked at the end of the event, ASH-sponsored informal events now are the “bookends” for the weekend, a tradition ASH looks forward to continuing in future years. Kudos go to Marina Stajic for organizing brunch.
2001 Birthday Weekend
The Birthday Weekend 2001 celebrated an ASH investiture into the BSI and an ASH winner of the Baskerville Bash’s HUGO award.
The weekend began unofficially with ASH Wednesday at O’Casey’s in mid-town. Approximately 40 Adventuresses and friends gathered for dinner and suitable libations. Thursday, frequent Muse contributor Ben Vizoskie received the Morley-Montgomery Award for the best article in the Baker Street Journal during the past year.
Friday, over 140 Sherlockians gathered for the Gillette luncheon, ably hosted as always by Susan Rice with the assistance of Mickey Fromkin. That evening Adventuresses assumed a prominent role at both dinners.
First of all, congratulations go to Judith Freeman who received the HUGO award for her many contributions to the Baskerville Bash and to Julie McKuras who is now also a BSI (The Duchess of Devonshire). Judith is a frequent Muse contributor and worked tirelessly to ensure that this year’s Bash was a howling success. Julie’s efforts on behalf of the Sherlock Holmes Collections and the Norwegian Explorers are truly outstanding.
At the BSI dinner, M.E. Rich, long noted for leading the singing at ASH dinners, did a star turn as “Julie the Wolf.” Adventuresses and their spouses also played a prominent role at the Bash as you’ll see when you read Judith Freeman’s report.
The weekend concluded with the ASH brunch on Sunday with a special celebration in recognition of Adventuresses Susan Rice’s and Mickey Fromkin’s 20th anniversary. Congratulations to both and best wishes for 20 more years!
In April, many Adventuresses participated enthusiastically in the Springtime in Baker Street weekend, which was brilliantly coordinated and executed by Bob and Terry Thomalen. Susan Rice gave a fascinating and thought-provoking talk on Sherlock Holmes and the “Great Game,” while Carol Fish closed out the weekend with a moving reading of William Schweikert’s “A Long Evening with Holmes.” Susan Diamond won Al Gregory’s “double-barreled tiger cub” quiz after a tense sudden-death round with Joe Moran. Al’s quiz was dedicated to Jan Stauber. The prize was well worth the effort: a beautiful embroidery of the moss rose done by Catalina Hannan.
On the lighter side, Elyse Locurto and Paul Singleton entertained everyone with “A Sherlockian in Paris,” followed by the Sherlettes’ program honoring Warren Randall, whose witty writings are well known to Muse readers. The Sherlettes, who are definitely not members of the ASH tone-deaf choir, include Maribeau Briggs, Carol Fish, Francine Kitts, Elyse Locurto, Laurie Fraser Manifold (who also did the exquisite artwork for the weekend’s program), and Cynthia Wein. They were aided and abetted by Sher-hunks Michael Pollak, Paul Singleton, and Richard Wein.
ASH at Springtime in Baker Street in Tarrytown, NY: front row, left to right: Sue Vizoskie, Sandy Kozinn, Kate Karlson, Evelyn Herzog, Cynthia Wein, Maribeau Briggs, Delia Vargas. Back row: Sabina Hollis, Elyse Locurto, Francine Kitts, Susan Diamond, Margaret Fleesak (behind Evy), M.E. Rich, Judith Freeman, Mickey Fromkin, Susan Rice, Laurie Manifold. (Photo thanks to Ed Ware.)
Click + to see the Baltic Cruise
August 25, 2001
On 25 August 2001, eight intrepid Adventuresses set sail on the Princess Danae on the Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Jubilee Cruise. The eight seafarers were (back row, left to right) Marina Stajic, Sue Vizoskie, Maureen van der Flaes, Julie McKuras, (front row) Susan Diamond, Marilynne McKay, Evelyn Herzog, and Marsha Pollak. The entire group numbered over 70 and toured several British embassies in Victorian dress.
ASH Jean Upton, now living in England, saw us off at the champagne reception — she confided that Holmes was wearing the original Baker Street exhibit costume and she had spent weeks repairing scores of moth holes.
In Copenhagen, Maureen was one of the winners of the “boat-spotting” competition — the idea being to spot as many boats with Sherlockian names as possible while cruising down the canal.
The Muse editors hosted “ASH Wednesday (observed)” on August 29 when Adventuresses and PALs (Prince Albert League, pictured l to r) Mike McKuras, Ed van der Flaes, Warren Randall, Ron Hosek, Allan Devitt, David Pollak, Ben Vizoskie and John Baesch gathered in the McKay-Hosek suite for libations, snacks, and scintillating conversation.
The following day Marilynne and Warren proved formidable competitors in the “Just a Minute” panel game. Six panelists took turns discoursing for one minute on Sherlockian topics without repeating any words — subject, of course, to interruptions and challenges. Marilynne led almost all the way, but just as the cheers were about to begin, the host — Jonathan McCafferty, aka Charles Augustus Milverton… well, what could you expect? As they say in Chicago, “the fix was in.” While Americans definitely won the Revolutionary War, this skirmish went to the British. Marilynne graciously conceded, citing a preference for the fleeting spotlight rather than the stodgy record, and Milverton went back to blackmail.
Other games provided entertainment as well. Ben and Sue Vizoskie distributed a beautifully designed card explaining the rules of whist, while Julie McKuras conducted spirited classes in “nerts,” a Minnesotan card game for long winter nights or ice fishing weekends. For more details on “nerts,” the Milvertonian blackmail notes, and other cruise activities, we strongly recommend purchasing a copy of Sue Vizoskie’s compilation of cruise essays (similar in form to the superb collection she published after the unveiling of the statue in London) — it will be available at the New York weekend. For those of you unable to attend Birthday 2002, we’ll have ordering information in the next Muse.
In Tallinn, a “pick-up” ASH choir performed “Aunt Clara” at the historic Estonian song contest amphitheatre to the amazement and possible delight of all within earshot. On “Scottish Night,” Marilynne, in full brogue and sporting the McKay tartan, raised a glass (of guess what?) to Watson, ACD, Mrs Hudson, and the Scottish nurse.
The grand finale on the last day was the Holmesian Revue — a series of highly irreverent skits and songs hosted by the inimitable Richard Lancelyn Green.
The grand finale on the last day was the Holmesian Revue — a series of highly irreverent skits and songs hosted by the inimitable Richard Lancelyn Green.
The ASH contribution, led by Evy, was the first stanza of the original Aunt Clara followed by special verses composed by the ASH version of Rogers and Hammerstein: McKuras, Stajic, and van der Flaes. Although the name combination doesn’t roll trippingly off the tongue, the lyrics were memorable:
Aunt Clara set sail on the SHS cruise,
She journeyed from Oslo to Kiel.
Her exploits on board will surely be news,
For she never appeared for a meal.*
She signed herself up for a tour of the bridge.
The ship’s officers stood at salute.
Then hors d’ouevres and champagne came out of the fridge
And to Clara each one raised his flute.
We never mention Aunt Clara,
But when I grow up big and tall,
I shall sail to the French Riviera
And let mother turn me to the wall.
*A reference to the Princess Danae’s far from memorable cuisine — the one “downer” on an otherwise delightful trip.
Frequent Muse contributor Warren Randall’s skit “I Have My Eye On A Suite-ee In Baker Street” was another high point with additional unexpected laughs provided by the collapse of one of the ship’s famous “break-away” chairs (the weathered plastic chairs disintegrated frequently under unsuspecting Holmesians). PALs Ben Vizoskie and Allan Devitt played Holmes and Watson, while Mrs. Hudson was played by Susan Diamond (subbing for Sue Vizoskie who was battling a touch of mal de mer). Ben and Allan also did solo turns that evening: Ben reading Bill Schweickert’s “A Long Evening with Holmes” and Allan/Toby leading a rousing round of “Sniff, Sniff for Old Pinchin Lane” to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song.
Front row, seated, left to right:
Helen Dorey, Pam Wilkes, Christine Mills, Maureen Dalwood, June Kinnee, Gloria Griffiths, Heather Owen, Evelyn Herzog, Rosemary Smith, Marilynne McKay, Pam Bruxner, Lanalee Montgomery, Carole Markham, Elizabeth Marriott, Loretta Morgan, Pat Donovan, Ann Witowski, Maureen Casket, Nancie Ross, Gail Gardner, Linda Smith
Standing, left to right:
Edward & Kate Horrocks, Judy Marshall, Doris Dale, Richard Dale, Lynn Godden, Auberon Redfearn, Catherine Cook, Ian Wilkes, Allan Devitt, Susan Diamond, MC Black, Keith Dalwood, Ross Kinnee, Robert Griffiths, John Barker, John Baesch, Ron Hosek, Roger Bignell, Joan Ward, Geoffrey Stavert, Val Kloss, John Montgomery, Calvert Markham, Guy Marriott, Dottie Spyrko, John Witowski, Maurice Casket, Ken Ross, Patrice Conus, Pat Nelson, Carson Gardner, John Schrandt, Leah Schulman
Top row, left to right:
Albert Kunz, Eileen Holman, Jonathan McCafferty, Elaine Hamill, David & Marsha Pollack, Maureen Green, Edwin van der Flaes, Sue and Ben Vizoskie, Julie & Mike McKuras, Warren Randall, Tony & Freda Howlett, Tony Marshall, Peter Horrocks, Marina Stajic, Richard Lancelyn Green, David Bentata
Click + to see the Sherlock Holmes Statue Unveiling
Sherlock Holmes Statue Unveiling
The highlight of the Return of Sherlock Holmes Statue Festival 1999 in September was the Unveiling Ceremony, which took place on Thursday morning, September 23, 1999, at 11:30 a.m. Sherlockians (American Holmesians) and Holmesians (British Sherlockians) had assembled in the special enclosure on Marylebone Road, at the Baker Street Underground station just off the corner of Baker Street.
The scene had changed from earlier in the week. Now, a temporary viewing stand was positioned between Marylebone Road and the buildings, and the enclosed viewing area was kept clear by portable white metal fences. The extremely large wooden box covering the statue had been removed, and the statue stood shrouded, waiting to be divested of its final disguise. Sherlockians are noted for their promptness, and by 11:00 a.m., many had assembled, equipped with deerstalkers, cameras, umbrellas and other accoutrements.
Unfortunately, rain gear was necessary. A few drops became a drizzle, then a downpour. We speedily, but carefully, opened umbrellas, excusing ourselves as we bumped each other with derrieres and elbows. Then the process was reversed when the downpour became a drizzle and ceased. Soon the rain began again. The process was repeated with increased difficulty as more spectators had assembled. In fact, we were so packed together that all the umbrellas were not needed. From the air, we would have seemed a horde of curiously-hatted elves hiding under collapsible mushrooms.
Did the rain dampen the enthusiasm? Not at all! Perhaps some of the Victorian dress suffered from the moisture, but never the crowd’s spirits! The excitement was palpable, and the hubbub became a crescendo as 11:30 approached. Above the din we heard the Band of the Royal Engineers approaching, their music growing steadily louder. Dressed in red coats, black pants, and wonderful black fur hats, they were extremely impressive! (Of course, Adventuresses always observe millinery!) Marching around the enclosure as they played, they halted directly in front of it, effectively blocking the view of the vertically challenged.
After an opening fanfare of trumpets, the ceremony began with the introduction of Anthony Howlett, the President of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. Unfortunately, the public address system was not working, and, unless you were in the very first row, you couldn’t hear a single word.
The technical problems were solved by the time Lord Tugendhat (yes, that is his name), the Chairman of the Abbey National, plc, began to speak. He recalled the proud association that existed for many years between the Abbey National and Sherlock Holmes. His referring to Holmes as a fictional character did cause some relatively minor reaction from Sherlockian spectators.
At the conclusion of his remarks, Lord Tugendhat attempted to unveil the statue. He pulled a cord to remove the white, shroud‑like dustsheet that was covering the statue, but he pulled to no avail; the sheet was caught firmly on Holmes’s pipe. John Doubleday, the statute’s sculptor, quickly sprang onto the plinth and freed the fabric. The statue was unveiled! A magical moment -‑ quiet at first then everyone clapped, chattered with excitement, and began to photograph!
The statue drew us, and we slowly surged forward to see its front. The nine‑foot tall statue sits on a three‑foot tall plinth and faces toward the buildings, not the street. So, as it was unveiled, we could see, at most, a profile of the Master. The statue’s orientation had been reversed to prevent careless tourists from being hurt by traffic -‑ i.e., large buses -‑ as they take photographs. Now, tourists backing up for a better view will bump into pedestrians and buildings, but, at least, they will live to show their photographs!
Much discussion has taken place about the statue’s placement, and, the debate will undoubtedly continue. And there will be additional comments about the unnecessary apostrophe and the missing comma in the inscription on one of the side panels of the plinth. However, these are but trivial distractions perpetrated by Moriarty. Let us not lose our perspective. There is now a statue of the Master standing close by Baker Street with the inscription “The Great Detective.” He stands firmly, attired in deerstalker and Inverness with his pipe held in his right hand, staring ahead thoughtfully. Sherlock Holmes has returned to Baker Street!
(Editor’s note: Adventuresses in London for the unveiling included Mary Ann Bradley, Maribeau Briggs, Mickey Fromkin, Evelyn Herzog, Kate Karlson, Francine Kitts, Marilyn MacGregor, Julie McKuras, Roberta Pearson, Marsha Pollak, Susan Rice, Priscilla Ridgway, Linda Spessotti, Marina Stajic, Dorothy Stix, Francine Swift, Adeline Tinning, Jean Upton, Delia Vargas, and Sue Vizoskie.