Saturday, March 25, 2023

Holmes, Doyle, & Friends 2023 -- Second Report

 Did you know a Penang lawyer was a walking stick made from a small palm tree?

I don't think I did. But Denny Dobry remedied that quickly as a preface to his talk on that specific walking stick and its appearance in movies. This is one unique talk!

When one considers how many times The Hound of the Baskervilles has been adapted for television and movies, it's easy to discuss all the actors that played Holmes and Watson across those productions, their Hugos and their hounds. But that key moment of the tale, where Dr. Mortimer leaves his stick behind at 221B Baker Street and Holmes makes deductions based on that stick . . . well, who would have thought to look at a single inanimate object across all those film adaptations? Denny Dobry, that's who!

And while he's given this talk in many a venue, this is my first time enjoying it. It's a lovely display of Sherlockian dedication and a Holmes-worthy observation of detail as Denny displays his special study of the cane's appearances in movie after movie.  (And how very, very few are true Penang lawyers. Two out of nine, in all he's researched so far.)

During this talk I was also enjoying a couple of Mrs. Hudson's Joe Frogger cookies, picked up from the local Agra Treasurers. It's a good, crisp molasses cookie that is helping me make it through to lunch. Since the next talk is "Dining Out with Sherlock Holmes," I'm expecting to get very hungry very soon.

Lynne Stephens has the unenviable task of, as she states from the outset, "standing between you and lunch" to speak on that subject. She immediately heads down a surprising path in her thoughts on food and Holmes -- not what he ate at Baker Street, but the sort of things he would eat when posing as one of the working class in gaining the confidence of those he was gaining information from. Street food vendors, eating houses, and pubs enter the picture and Lynne gets into the food language of the time. And Holmes using his powers of observation and chemical knowledge to pick up healthier choices from all the dangerous food practices of the day, that's a new concept we're getting in this talk. Eventually we get to Simpson's and roast beef, the two classics of Holmes eating . . . and lunch.

A box lunch, a little more wandering the dealers and trying not to spend any more money than I have already, and it's time for Marc Lehmann performing "The Adventure of the Cards in Glass." Three picked a card from a deck, and Ann Lewis at my end of the room picked out a queen of clubs. Each of the cards then appear in a glass, and Ann's levitated itself out of the deck.  I don't remember what the Sherlock Holmes allusion was at this point, but there was one. 

"Why, you are like a magician," Mary Holder would say if she was here, as she did in "Beryl Coronet." I'm surprised the Baker Street Irregulars professions series hasn't hit a collection by magicians yet.

And now, it's door prize time, with some book kits donated by Erica Dowell of the Lily Library. The Illustrious Clients seem to win a lot! 

Jim Hawkins comes up to speak on John Bennett Shaw, which I've been looking forward to, and he immediately coaches us to say "dot com" any time he says "John Bennett Shaw." With a little sound clip of Shaw himself, Jim heads into comparing Hans Sloane (Shaw's BSI investiture name) to John Shaw. He moves along to Shaw's workshops which ran 1977 to 1993, the infamous Shaw quizzes, and the great collector's journey. Shaw's connecting point with Ron DeWaal is explored, and the point of Shaw's transition to Santa Fe, New Mexico from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Brothers Three of Moriarty, the Memorial Manure Pile, the Trap Shoot, the Unhappy Birthday celebration -- all are covered.

Eventually, we get to the video tour that a 77 year old Shaw gave of his library to Steve Robinson, John Stephenson, and Greg Ewen back in the nineties, and finally, Shaw's passing. A good talk.

But the late evening is catching up to me, and I'm thinking I need a nap. More to come?

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