Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Meeting Announcement

"Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms."        
-- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.”    

And we hope you’re liable to join us for an evening of comestibles and conviviality at the annual spring meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.
The Commonwealth Club
30088 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI                                                                                                                                                              
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of The Greek Interpreter,” which concerns a starving man, a pretty woman, a nefarious pair of blackmailers – and our introduction to Mycroft Holmes.

The presentation will be “More Art in the Blood: Vernet, Verner, Sherlock Holmes and Detroit,” a well-grounded and comprehensive investigation by Chris Music, BSI into the Master’s relatives which has turned up some surprising local ties.

We’ll also have the usual toasts, plus prizes and more so we hope to see you on May 17, 2014.

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, MAY 9th to:

c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

Our buffet includes roast beef, chicken Marsala and pasta Alfredo. Mashed potatoes, vegetables, dessert and beverages will be provided.  As always, there will be a cash bar.

“Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spring Meeting

Mark you calendars... 

The spring meeting of the AMS will be on Saturday evening May 17th at the Commonwealth Club in Warren, MI.   The story will be the Greek Interpreter, and our speaker will be Chris Music, BSI presenting on "Vernet, Verner, Sherlock Holmes and Detroit".

More details coming soon.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Winter Meeting Report

Braving an afternoon winter storm on February 1, 2014, 44 stalwart Sherlockians journeyed to the posh suburb of Birmingham, Michigan for the annual winter meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit. The reserved-room surroundings of the clubby Big Rock Chophouse provided the setting as the group gathered to celebrate the 160th birthday of the Master himself, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

The meeting was called to order at 1:07 p.m. by the society’s Gasogene, John Kramb, who introduced Mendicant board members and welcomed eight newcomers to the proceedings. Among them was Martha Thierry, who produced the artwork for the 160th birthday bookmarks given to each attendee. Ironically, Thierry had also produced the bookmarks for Sherlock’s 150th birthday bash, held 10 years ago at Meadow Brook Hall during an even worse snowstorm.                                          

After running through miscellaneous club business, Kramb announced that the board, meeting in plenipotentiary and supernumerary session, had adjusted its annual dues, changing from its longtime annual fee of $12. Forthwith and henceforth, dues will be $15 for new members and only $5 a year after that. The $15 initial fee will cover the cost of a club pin, membership badge and the society’s extremely occasional newsletter.

The Gasogene did a fine job of explaining these benefits in spite of the drumming of rain on the roof overhead and the roar of a snowblower being used to clear the patio right outside the meeting room, presumably for the imagined throngs someone thought would soon be fighting for outdoor seating in the middle of the blizzard.

These minor annoyances quickly faded away as the multitude tucked into their pre-selected luncheon of either flank steak with portobello mushrooms and bordelaise sauce; grilled salmon in a chimichurri herb sauce or chicken piccata in a lemon-garlic sauce. Topping off the repast was raspberry sorbet with the addition of slices of a specially-created buttercream-frosted cake, emblazoned with Sherlock’s silhouette, a cake so fine that Mrs. Hudson would have been proud to serve it to her tenants.

At times during these gustatory delights, chosen members rose to offer the society’s standard toasts with Gloria Longueil saluting The Woman; Mike Smith toasting Watson’s Second Wife; Rob Musial raising a glass to the afore-mentioned Mrs. Hudson and Regina Stinson saluting Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s older, smarter brother. Longtime Mendicant Jerry Alvin also served up his own toast, weaving F. Scott Fitzgerald into a salute to the man who arranged for the propagation of the Red-Head League, the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, one Ezekiah Hopkins.

A silent auction was also held for a rare artifact, a bottle of “Study In Scarlet” red wine, a limited-edition vintage grown in Sonoma, California. Generously donated by members Ray and Pat Mandziuk, the wine (number 20 of only 200 bottled), brought spirited bidding and was finally acquired by oenophile Michael Clyne, whose munificent bid of $90 helped enrich the society’s coffers.

With the luncheon concluded, it was time for the annual Beggar’s Cup ceremony, in which a specially-engraved tin cup is awarded for the best presentation made at a Mendicants’ meeting during the preceding year. Second only to the Oscars, the cup competition is handled under tight security by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse. Opening the sealed envelope in front of the hushed room, Rob Musial paused and then announced, with obvious pleasure, that the secret balloting had produced a tie. Winning the 2013 cups were Jerry Alvin, for his presentation on “The 1970s Resurrection of the Amateur Mendicant Society,” and Regina Stinson, for her excellently-researched monograph on “The Legend of the Deerstalker,” which reviewed the two dozen illustrators of the Canon in its early days, complete with profuse examples of their work.

Continuing with the agenda, society Lascar Richard Jeryan next illuminated the finer points of February’s assigned story, “The Adventure of the Crooked Man,” which saw Holmes and Watson unravel a case of a locked room, a love triangle and a mongoose.

That was the perfect lead-in to the afternoon’s formal presentation, “A Holmesian Menagerie,” offered by Chris Jeryan. Using PowerPoint photos and wit honed from years of rigorous study, she took the audience through the Canon’s alphabetical bestiary, starting with “adder” and “bee,” winding through “jellyfish,” “kipper,” “leech” and others and on to “petrel,” “venomous lizard” and “whale” – with correct citations for where these various critters appeared in the stories.

Throughout the afternoon, attendees also took part in the All-Canon Quiz, visiting a table festooned with a collection of 20 small tokens, figurines or drawings, each representing something from one of the 60 Holmes stories. Chris Jeryan correctly identified 18 of the articles, earning a medallioned plaque for her scholarship while Regina Stinson scored 17 and took home the beribboned medallion of scholarship. Earning the consolation prize – a box of Union Jack “Keep Calm and Carry On” tea – was member Fritzi Roth.

With the meeting winding down, the free door prize drawing was held and Lois Krawczyk was awarded the small Sherlock Holmes pub sign. Gasogene Kramb also told the multitude that the next Mendicant meeting would likely be May 17 at the British Commonwealth Club in Warren.

Anne Musial and David Mohan then led the group in the standard singing of “God Save the Queen” and, with the traditional reading of the poem “221B” by Lascar Jeryan, the meeting concluded at 4:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Thursday, January 02, 2014

February 1st Meeting Notice

“It’s every man’s business to see justice done”                  
- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Crooked Man.”      

And we hope you’ll do us justice by joining us for an afternoon of comestibles and conviviality at the annual winter meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Big Rock Chop House
245 S. Eton Road, Birmingham, MI
Phone: (248) 647-7774                                                                                                  
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of The Crooked Man,” which concerns a love triangle, a “locked room” mystery and an exotic creature.

Our presentation will be “A Holmesian Menagerie” by Christine Jeryan and we will also be celebrating the 160th birthday of The Master. In addition, we’ll be awarding our annual Beggar’s Cup for Sherlockian scholarship and offering a unique and interactive All-Canon quiz.

We’ll also have the usual toasts, plus prizes and more. We hope to see you on February 1, 2014.

To join us, please mail your check for $25 per person by FRIDAY, JANUARY 24th  to:

c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

NOTE: Please make checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

You must also choose either chicken piccata, flank steak or grilled salmon with your dinner payment.

Cheddar garlic mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley, dessert sorbet and beverages will be provided.  As always, there will be a cash bar.

 “Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Next Meeting

Mark your calendars!

The next meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit will be on Saturday afternoon February 1, 2014 at the Big Rock Chophouse in Birmingham, Mich. More details to come...

Monday, October 07, 2013

Fall Meeting Report

For its annual fall meeting, the Amateur Mendicant Society again gathered at its unofficial headquarters, the veddy British Commonwealth Club, located in the suburban outlands of Warren, Michigan.

It was another record-setting event, as 69 Sherlockian scholars and friends gathered to enjoy each other’s company and fete The Master once again.

Most of the group was in their places by 7:11 p.m. when the society’s capo di tutti capi and Gasogene, John Kramb, gaveled the session to order.

Kramb quickly acknowledged the board members in the audience along with members of the society’s planning committee. A first-timer was also recognized, Angie Lai, a local actress who will perform in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Oct. 25 – Nov. 23 at the Broadway Onstage theater in Eastpointe, Michigan.

In other miscellaneous business, member and Tantalus Emeritus Ray Mandziuk displayed the bottle of limited first edition 221B Cellars wine to be auctioned at the society’s January meeting. Only 200 bottles of the “Study in Scarlet,” a blend of Sonoma County Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, are being offered nationwide by Vamberry the Wine Merchant.

During the evening, members also had a chance to browse a large selection of Holmes’ books and memorabilia, courtesy of member Mike Smith, who is handling the materials for the estate of the late Sherlockian Jerry Bixby. More will be available for collectors at the January meeting.

Kramb also alerted the audience about an upcoming TV documentary co-written by AMS member Brad Schwartz. The documentary, on Orson Welles’ famous “War of the Worlds” program, will be broadcast on the PBS “American Experience” series Oct. 29, the eve of the 75th anniversary of the original show about a Martian invasion, which popular legend holds created a public panic.

In other AMS broadcast news, member Scott Monty reminded the assembled multitude about his regular podcast and Web site,, which provides regularly-updated news and information about Sherlock Holmes in popular culture.

Next came the obligatory toasts which were offered to The Woman (by Al Calderini, completing his grand slam of toasting all four saluted characters), Watson’s Second Wife (by Phil Jones, marking his fourth time for saluting the second Mrs. Watson); Mrs. Hudson (by Michael Jones in a loooong toast or short paper that blended textural criticism, “LaLaLand” and the pre-Kevlar era) and finally Mycroft Holmes (by Bev Sobolewski, short and sweet). Bringing up the caboose was Jerry Alvin, who repeated a toast he did at a 1978 AMS meeting, to honor Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who so generously provided for the propagation of redheads everywhere with his generous bequest to create the Red-Headed League.

Resplendent in a British major’s dress uniform made for a family member, Dr. David Mohan also rose to remark on ancestral England, the War of 1812 and a recent flag ceremony at the Detroit Historical Museum. He ended by reading poet Rupert Brooke’s sonnet to an English soldier.

By this time, the buffet board was groaning and the group queued up to avail themselves of chicken cordon bleu, freshly-carved roast beef, savory potatoes, vegetables and an assortment of desserts.

Over dinner, several members were heard to comment on the arrangement of roses at the entrance table. Mysteriously delivered to the club minutes before the meeting, they contained only a card that read “My dearest Sherlock, My heart is breaking at the thought of your illness. Please get well soonest, my darling! Love, Irene.” One can only assume that this gift referred in some way to the evening’s assigned reading, “The Case of the Dying Detective” – but more on that later.

Following the repast, Tantalus Rob Musial offered special recognition to the winner of the 2012 Beggar’s Cup Award. Given annually since 2008 for the best presentation of the year, it was bestowed this time on Dennis Ward for his PowerPoint monograph, “The Enigma of Sherlock Holmes.” Wags who noted that Ward actually gave his paper at the January 2013 meeting failed to take into account that the AMS has only recently adopted the Georgian calendar in place of the Julian, thereby qualifying Ward’s work as scholarship in 2012.

Next, Gasogene Kramb offered a spirited review of discussion points on the “Dying Detective” story which was first published 100 years ago. This was followed by a diabolical 12-question quiz on same devised by Commissionaire Chris Music. Earning ribboned scholar’s medals for the most correct answers were Patience Nauta, Chris Jeryan and Terri Roth. Those who missed every question could find themselves subject to the Tapanuli Fever mentioned in the story.

Prior to the evening’s presentation, the regular door prize drawing was held and Elaine Johnson, Arlene Katkowsky and Joyce Hostnik were awarded summer-weight deerstalker caps.

That was a perfect lead-in to the presentation, “The Legend of the Deerstalker,” by Regina Stinson, AMS, BSI and co-founder of the Ribston-Pippins scion. Her excellently-researched monograph reviewed the two dozen artists who illustrated the Canon in its early days, among them Arthur Conan Doyle’s father, Charles Altamont Doyle; and more popularly, Sidney Paget and Frederic Dorr Steele, who contributed the most iconic depictions of The Master and his surroundings.

 With the meeting drawing to a close, Gasogene Kramb offered that the next meeting (and annual celebration of Sherlock Holmes’ birthday) would likely be in late January (or possibly in early February) and perhaps at a new venue; details will be worked out shortly.

Anne Musial and Dr. Mohan then led the 69-voice gathering in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen” followed by Lascar Richard Jeryan’s stalwart reading of “221B” and the meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Friday, September 06, 2013

Fall Meeting

               “But you have the truth now, Holmes, and you can die with the knowledge
                                                          that I have killed you.”                      
           -- Culverton Smith to Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.”
And you might say that we’re dying to have you join us for an evening of comestibles and conviviality at the annual fall meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 7:00                                            
British Commonwealth Club
30088 Dequindre, north of 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI                                                                                                                                                            
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of its first appearance, our assigned story is “The Adventure of The Dying Detective” in which a dastardly killer attempts to silence Holmes forever using a devious biological weapon.

The evening’s presenter will be Regina Stinson, BSI
on “Art in the Blood: The Artists Behind  the Most Famous Depictions of Sherlock Holmes.”

We’ll also have the usual toasts, a quiz plus prizes and more. We hope to see you on October 5th!

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th to: 

Edward F. Stein, A.M.S.
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

The dinner buffet includes roast beef, chicken cordon bleu, potatoes, vegetables, dessert plus coffee, tea, pop etc. As always, there will be a cash bar.

                  “Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Friday, June 28, 2013

Next Meeting

Mark your calendars... the Fall Meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society will be held on Saturday evening October 5th, at the British Commonwealth Club in Warren.   Our speaker will be Regina Stinson, BSI and our story will be The Adventure of the Dying Detective.  More details to come!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spring Meeting Report

On the lovely spring Saturday of June 15, 2013, the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit ventured to wilds of Troy, Michigan to investigate a new meeting venue – the Granite City Food & Brewery.

Soon, the front room of the said-named public house was filled to capacity with 65 hardy souls gathered in Sherlockian fellowship.

Gasogene John Kramb gaveled the meeting to order at 1:14 p.m. and introduced the society’s board members, the members of its planning committee and eight first-time attendees, among them Jon and Lisa Gandelot, Dave McCloskey and Allison Bellemore, Sean, Kaitlin and Mike Clyne and Cate Hallisy.

In addition, the meeting offered a rare photo opportunity – the gathering of four illustrious AMS Gasogenes: Kramb and three of his predecessors: Roy Pilot, Eddie Stein and Tom Voss.
(Past Gas - or is that Passed Gas?)

Long-time member Phil Jones also offered attendees a chance to review two books he’d brought along; including one on the BBC’s latest Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as the chance to attend an upcoming “Hound of the Baskervilles” play in Eastpointe, which is way far off-Broadway.

As Granite City publicans circulated amongst the crowd taking and fulfilling luncheon orders, the obligatory toasts were offered, to The Woman (by Patience Nauta), Watson’s Second Wife (Al Calderini) and Mrs. Hudson (Tom Voss). The toast to Mycroft Holmes was sadly scuttled because that toaster (Bev Sobolewski) had apparently been temporarily waylaid by Prof. Moriarty’s minions on her way to the meeting.

Soon, all in attendance were sated by the Granite City’s menu:  first course choices of baked French onion soup or cheddar and ale soup or either a Caesar or a house salad followed by either the grilled garlic butter sirloin, breaded Canadian walleye, chicken Marsala or the grilled chicken and asparagus linguini. The fare was finished off with that uniquely American dessert, chocolate mousse shooters. 

Following that gustatory sojourn, AMS Tantalus Rob Musial offered discussion points on the meeting’s assigned reading, “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet.” Attendees offered mostly correct responses to his questions but debate lingered on two perplexing points in the story: Why banker Holder took the priceless crown home with him instead of leaving it in his bank vault and just how he was going to repair the mangled artifact over the weekend in time to give it back on Monday to his illustrious client. (Or would Prince Albert be canned for getting what amounts to a $6.5 million paycheck loan in today’s money for such a national treasure?)

Unfortunately, the next event, the awarding of the annual Beggar’s Cup for the year’s best presenter of Sherlockian scholarship had to be postponed until next time because that as-yet-unrevealed awardee had also apparently been temporarily waylaid by Moriarty’s men.

Fortunately, the next course provided the real meat-and-potatoes of the afternoon.  After an introduction by AMS Commissionaire and archivist Chris Music, longtime member Jerry Alvin took us down a ramble into the AMS past – vividly recalling to all the 1970s resurrection of the society, largely due Aubrey Roberts, Gene Leeb and a collection of scholars at the ivy-covered Wayne State University. Many current stalwart members exist from that halcyon period, including Bobbie Gorevitz, Richard and Chris Jeryan, Tom Voss, Eddie Stein and Jerry and Mitzi Alvin.
(Prof. Jerry Alvin)

After those memories were shared (and enhanced by a facsimile of the actual December 10, 1975 meeting at the late Sixpence Restaurant in Warren, Michigan), Gasogene Kramb revealed his own exhaustive word search investigation. It revealed numerous veiled references to that day’s venue in the Canon, including 18 mentions of the word “granite” and 144 mentions of “city” in some fashion, including such tenuous links as “menda-city,” “fero-city” and “simpli-city.” There were, he said, also four references in the Sacred Writings to “beer” but none, sadly, to “brewery.”

Before the natives could turn restless, Anne Musial held the random door prize drawing, with Al Calderini winning a Sherlock Holmes pub towel and Dave McCloskey winning a new book of Holmesian pastiches, donated by Phil Jones.

The $1-a-chance raffle, which raised $47 in proceeds to benefit the society’s many charitable contributions, saw Calderini score again, along with Ann LaFond, Craig Grant and Sam Stinson (a major domo in the Ribston-Pippins scion) winning their choice of rare Sherlockian coffee mugs, emblazoned with quotes from the most famous tales and reproductions of Sidney Paget’s drawings of the Master.

In miscellaneous business, Commissionaire Music revealed that the next meeting would likely be in September and directed the faithful to the AMS website and Facebook page.

With the meeting concluding, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the assembled voices in a stirring rendition of “God Save the Queen,” followed by AMS Lascar Richard Jeryan’s haunting rendition of the Vincent Starrett poem, “221B,” at the conclusion of which the meeting was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial

AMS Tantalus  

Friday, May 03, 2013

Spring Meeting Details

“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable must be the truth."                                
- Sherlock Holmes in the Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

And it is most assuredly the truth that we want you to join us for a fine afternoon of comestibles and conviviality at the spring meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 1 p.m.
Granite City Food & Brewery
699 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI (next to the Top of Troy Building at I-75)
Restaurant phone: (248) 519-1040

Our assigned reading is "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet" in which Holmes and Watson must restore a valuable crown to solve a mystery and save a banker and his son from ruin.

The afternoon’s presenter will be Jerry Alvin on “The Resurrection of the Amateur Mendicant Society,” ably assisted by Ezekiah Hopkins, and
other members of the “class of 1975.”

We’ll also have the presentation of the annual Beggar’s Cup award for Sherlockian scholarship plus the usual toasts, prizes and more. We hope to see you on June 15th!

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by MONDAY, JUNE 10th to:

Edward F. Stein, A.M.S.
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI 48033

The menu includes your choice of grilled sirloin, walleye, chicken Marsala (all with garlic mashed potatoes) or chicken asparagus linguine; French onion or cheddar ale soup; Caesar or house salad and chocolate mousse. As always, there will be a cash bar.

“Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”