Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fall Meeting Report

The annual fall meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit brought 45 erstwhile Sherlockians together to the Station 855 Restaurant near the train tracks that bisect the bucolic suburb of Plymouth, Michigan.

Calling the meeting to order at 1:37 p.m. was the society’s Gasogene, John Kramb, who welcomed the throng and introduced the board members, including two new appointed officers, Bev Ellis (Tidewaiter) and Bobbi Gorevitz (Lascar). Kramb also welcomed guests and first-time visitors Jerry Kelly, Rachel Gosch and Lisa Franks, her sister Beverly and mother Mary.

With that, the grateful crowd settled into the afternoon’s repast -- bistro steak medallions with zip sauce, chicken Marsala with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms or broiled Lake Superior whitefish topped with a sun-dried cherry brandy cream sauce. Each of these was accompanied by roasted herbed potatoes, vegetables, salad and a chocolate mousse dessert.

The meal also brought the Mendicant’s traditional toasts. Scott Monty, who oversees the podcast “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere” (ihearofsherlock.com) made the first salutation, to The Woman, in the poetic style of legendary broadcaster Charles Osgood who had just retired. Next, Bev Ellis toasted the “ever-patient” and long-suffering landlady Mrs. Hudson; Rob Musial stepped in to toast Sherlock’s “older and smarter brother” Mycroft Holmes and Ed Stein raised his glass to Watson’s Second Wife (and no doubt the best).

In addition, longtime member Jerry “Red” Alvin offered his customary additional toast. Noting that Jimmy Cagney once got a starring movie role because of his red hair, Alvin saluted the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Ezekiah Hopkins, who so bountifully provided for the maintenance of the Red-Headed League.

Next, Michael Ellis briefly went over the discussion points of the day’s story, “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane,” a story chosen mostly because football season had started again (with the Detroit Lions off to their usual dismal start, with one win and two losses by the end of that afternoon).
Anyway, Ellis documented the facts of the story, which in itself is notable for offering a clear picture of Holmes in retirement and because Holmes himself is the narrator, leaving many to maintain that the story suffers for Watson’s absence. In his examination, Ellis detailed some of the questions left by the story, from the evidence of the folded towel to the all-too-convenient locating of exactly the right book of outdoors (and seaside) creatures. Be that as it may, The Master again solved the mystery and all was right with the world, provided you weren’t Fitzroy McPherson, his fiancé, Maude Bellamy or his dog.

The height of the proceedings came as member Glenn Walters then presented his well-researched paper, “The Sherlockian Pastiche: Prevalent or Passé?” Sprinkling his talk with alliteration, Walters gave examples that were pure or pathetic, with the able assistance of Commissionaire Chris Music manning a small spotlight as a visual aid, no doubt to illuminate the brighter points. Walters related how he had read his first Holmes’ stories in elementary school, thanks to a Bookmobile librarian.
But the enduring popularity of the character (Holmes, not the librarian) has spurred a continuing growth industry in authors penning new tales, some good and some not-so. The problem, Walters said, was too often the new stories miss the spirit of Watson as the narrator, fail to adhere to the Canon of original tales, rely too much on other well-known personalities of that era and try to shoehorn Holmes into decidedly sci-fi or supernatural stories. In conclusion, Walters said that while Sherlockians can never get enough of their heroes, the original Holmes, Watson, Mycroft, Moriarty, Irene Adler, Mrs. Hudson et al can never be duplicated.

As the meeting wound down, Gasogene Kramb told the assembled members and guests that the next Mendicant meeting would be Saturday evening, January 21, 2017 at the Commonwealth Club in Warren. That is the society’s traditional gathering to celebrate a new year, old friends and Holmes’ birthday.

Next, the regular prize drawing overseen by Anne Musial produced several winners of Sherlockian books and trinkets, among them Bob Jurva, Lois Krawczyk, Donna Garrant, Natalie Katkowsky, Mary Proberhof, Rachel Gosch and Bobbi Gorevitz.

 Then the throng rose to sing the traditional “God Save the Queen,” followed by the customary reading of “221B” by Chris Music. And with that, the meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Monday, August 29, 2016

September Meeting Notice

“One glimmer of life came to his face for an instant… ”                  
-- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.”       

And we hope this invitation brings a glimmer of life to your face and that you will join us at the upcoming autumnal meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.
Station 885 Restaurant
885 Starkweather Street, Plymouth, MI                                                                                                    
                                                   
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane” in which Holmes’ retirement is interrupted by strange deaths, a mysterious killer and a beautiful woman. There will be a short discussion of the story so we hope you’ll peruse it.

The afternoon’s main presentation will be “The Sherlockian Pastiche: Prevalent or Passé?” by fellow Mendicant Glenn Walters.

Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit. Or to pay by PayPal, contact amateurmendicantsociety@gmail.com for instructions.

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, SEPT. 16th to:

AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY OF DETROIT
c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

Your entrée choices are chicken Marsala or broiled whitefish or steak medallions plus baked or roasted potatoes or rice pilaf, vegetables du jour, fresh-baked garlic bread and the usual accompaniments. As always, there will be a cash bar.

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Save the Dates

The AMS Planning Committee has been hard at work (for a change).  So much so that we now know the dates of the next TWO events:

Fall Meeting:
Sunday afternoon September 25th - Station 885 Restaurant, Plymouth, MI

Winter Meeting:
Saturday evening January 21st - The Commonwealth Club, Warren, MI

More details coming soon.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

70th Anniversary Dinner Report

The 70th anniversary dinner of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit saw 64 members and fellow travelers gather at Lelli’s of Auburn Hills to celebrate the society’s seven decades of longevity (with, like Sherlock Holmes himself, a hiatus here and there).
In keeping with the observance, the gathering was highlighted by a special program that reproduced the agenda of the society’s first meeting which occurred at a Detroit supper club on April 26, 1946 – coincidentally, the same year that the Baker Street Journal was first published.

Even the cover of the program had special significance, reproducing the artwork from the society’s “resurrection” dinner in 1975, complete with a reproduced autographed copy of Vincent Starrett’s famous poem, “221B”, on the back. In keeping with the afternoon’s historical theme, several people, among them Velda Dykehouse, Dennis and Lucille Petroni and Bev Sobolewski, even came in Victorian-era garb, adding to the celebration.
Gasogene John Kramb cordially welcomed the throng at 1:10 p.m. and introduced the board members, guests and new members, including Frank Bartolo of the Commonwealth Club. 

Underlining the historical significance of the afternoon, Kramb also noted that two former AMS Gasogenes were in attendance: Tom Voss and Dr. Ed Stein along with past Commissionaire Bill Volz and past Tantalus Ray Mandziuk.

With that, the afternoon got underway as members made their selections from Lelli’s fine board of entrees, ranging from a char-broiled filet with zip sauce, veal parmigiana marinara, chicken Marsala, sautéed lake perch or an eggplant parmigiana. Dessert was a special cake made to resemble a giant version of the society’s legendary lapel pin.
The lapel pin was also reprised in a gift bookmark everyone received. Designed by artist and member Martha Thierry, it showed the pin, the anniversary years and a Sidney Paget illustration of an amateur mendicant on one side and a complete list of the Sacred Writings on the obverse.

During the luncheon, the society’s traditional toasts were offered, plus the ones that were made at the First Dinner 70 years ago.

Toasted were The Woman (by Phil Jones), Mrs. Hudson (by Velda Dykehouse), Watson’s Second Wife (excellently done by Regina Stinson as a poem), Mycroft Holmes (by Ed Stein) and the Second Most Dangerous Man in London (by Rob Musial, who pointed out that this personage, Col. Sebastian Moran, caused Holmes to return from his three-year hiatus). Finally, as in 1946, a toast was offered to The Game is Afoot (by Al Calderini, who spelled out what the Sherlockian “game” is all about).

In addition, former Tantalus Jerry “Red” Alvin offered the now-customary toast to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late eccentric millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who so amply provided for the Red-Headed League. Alvin’s toast was made all the more convivial with a fine red wine, a 1986 French grand cru, supplied by member Phil Jones.

Glasses were also raised to Queen Elizabeth II who had celebrated her 90th birthday a week earlier, having surpassed in 2015 the record reign of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, the ruler during most of Holmes’ adventures.

Next, Baker Street Irregular member Mark McPherson, who attended his first AMS dinner in 1962, offered his perspectives on “The Adventure of the Literary Agent.”
McPherson, who has investigated the Loch Ness Monster, the final séance of Houdini, the Shroud of Turin and the location of King Arthur’s Camelot, was perfectly suited for delving into this matter, having presented the first commemorative plaque at 221B Baker Street in 1978 and for conferring with Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the daughter of the actual literary agent, on the dramatic work, “An Evening with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,” which he performed for a decade throughout America, Britain and Canada.

In keeping with modern AMS practices, the audience was also involved in the discussion points on the assigned story, “The Adventure of the Second Stain.” Led by Tantalus Rob Musial, the discussion considered the story’s finer points, including how Dr. Watson actually outsmarted Holmes by deeming the theft of the secret letter and the murder “an amazing coincidence,” though Holmes failed” to give the good doctor any credit for his deduction.
Harkening back to the society’s early days, Bev Ellis then read an extract on “The Historicity of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit,” as researched by the late AMS member, Robert Harris (BSI), which traced the society back to an unexplained tale mentioned by Dr. Watson that reportedly took place in 1887.

Taking another page from the past (and the First Dinner), AMS members next reenacted a “Meeting in Baker Street,” by the eminent early Sherlock actor William Gillette. It starred Billy the Page (Bev Ellis), Holmes (Michael Ellis), Prof. Moriarty (John Kramb), and a Narrator (Chris Music) and portrayed the fateful first meeting between the two adversaries.

Following that, Commissionaire Chris Music led the audience in another agenda item from April, 1946 – a recitation of the Musgrave Ritual, which was done “for the sake of the trust.”

No AMS meeting would be complete without the awarding of door prizes and the 70th anniversary luncheon was no exception, thanks to prize facilitator Anne Musial.
In the drawing, Terri Roth took home a Sherlock Holmes bag made by Debbie Streck, Natalie Kwatkowsky and Tom Doppke each won limited-edition Sherlock Holmes mugs and Michael Clyne took home the book “At the Dawn of Time,” an Allan Quartermain adventure that features Holmes.

As the meeting neared the end, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the crowd in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen and Michael Ellis read the meeting’s traditional closing, Vincent Starrett’s poem, “221B.”

With that, Gasogene Kramb noted that planning for the fall meeting in late September was already underway. With that, the meeting concluded and the 70th anniversary gathering went into the history books at 4:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial, AMS Tantalus

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

70th Anniversary Meeting Notice

"It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.”                  
- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Second Stain.”       

Don’t make your own capital mistake by turning down this invite to share with us the very special 70th ANNIVERSARY DINNER meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Lelli’s Italian Restaurant
885 North Opdyke Road, Auburn Hills, MI   
                                                                                   
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Second Stain” in which a missing diplomatic document could mean war unless Holmes and Watson can untangle this shadowy affair.

The once-every-70-years celebration will also feature a recreation of the very first meeting of the Amateur Mendicants on April 26, 1946 with presentations on the historicity of the AMS and “The Adventure of the Literary Agent,” a live drama (“Meeting in Baker Street”) and general rejoicing ad libitum – plus special toasts, prizes and more. NOTE: Business attire requested for the event.

Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit. Or to pay by PayPal, contact amateurmendicantsociety@gmail.com for instructions.

To join us, please mail your check for $35 per person by FRIDAY, APRIL 22nd to:

AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY OF DETROIT
c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

The special 70th Anniversary Dinner includes your choice of beef filet, veal Marsala, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, lake perch plus soup or salad, potatoes, green beans, rolls, beverages and special anniversary cake. As always, there will be a cash bar.

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

Sunday, March 06, 2016

70th Anniversary Luncheon - Save the Date

Save the date... the Amateur Mendicant Society's 70th anniversary luncheon will be held on Sunday afternoon May 1st at Lelli's Italian Steakhouse in Auburn Hills.

Stay tuned for more details!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Winter Meeting Report

Report of the February 6, 2016 meeting of 
The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit

The first meeting in the 70th anniversary year of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit was held on the evening of February 6, 2016 at the British Commonwealth Club in the Detroit suburb of Warren. (The original society of course was mentioned briefly in the Canonical tale, “The Five Orange Pips,” where chronicler Dr. John Watson noted that it maintained “a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse.” The Detroit group however has always been above-board.)

Upon calling the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m., Gasogene John Kramb welcomed the 56 members and guests and introduced the AMS board members, planning committee members and guests. Those attending for the first time included Paul Bissa, Josh Boggs and Jill Young.

As a sumptuous buffet of chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo and all the fixings was being readied and served, the traditional toasts were offered to The Woman (by Mike Smith), Mycroft Holmes (by Dennis Petroni), Watson’s Second Wife (by Brad Schwartz) and Mrs. Hudson (by Fritzi Roth).

In addition, longtime Mendicant Jerry “Red” Alvin wove a toast to natural redhead Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacky Colliss Harvey (author of “Red: A History of the Redhead”) and of course to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who so amply provided for the maintenance of the Red-Headed League.

Society Tantalus Rob Musial also bid the throng to raise their glasses to Mr. Holmes himself on the occasion of his 162nd birthday on the eve of Super Bowl 50 – or “L” for those of you who still count in Latin. The toast succinctly detailed the painstaking and meticulous scholarship that went into setting January 6, 1854 as Holmes’ natal day. As part of the celebration, a special birthday cake in the shape of the front door of 221B Baker Street was sliced and served.

With the completion of dinner, Commissionaire Chris Music briefly went over the discussion points for the evening’s assigned reading, “The Adventure of the Wisteria Lodge,” a tale in which a client comes to Holmes and Watson after a most singular evening involving voodoo – and murder.

Then, in the tradition of the first meeting of the year, Musial presented the society’s highest honor, the Beggar’s Cup award, given annually to the member who made what was deemed to be the best presentation to the club during the preceding year. That cup this year went to John Sherwood, who, as an actor, has portrayed Holmes for more than 30 years.

This was followed by a surprise presentation during this 70th anniversary year of special Beggar’s Cups to both Gasogene Kramb and Commissionaire Music for their efforts for the club over the past decade.

Then came the evening’s main event, the presentation “Will the Real Mrs. Hudson Please Stand Up,” by Michael Jones, who drew on textural criticism to consider the question of just who the most famous landlady in literature was (and if she existed at all). Being a pastor, Jones noted that the first Sherlockian scholarship was crafted in 1928 by Monsignor Ronald Knox. Both men of the cloth were well-suited to divining clues, facts and contradictions from their close readings of ancient texts, be it the Bible or the Holmesian Canon.

When Jones was finished, Gasogene Kramb stood to remind the multitude that a special meeting commemorating the official 70th anniversary of the Mendicants was being planned, likely in April. Details will be forthcoming as they are finalized.

Anne Musial then conducted the drawing for the door prizes. Michael Clyne won the Sherlock Holmes in London book; Brad Schwartz took home the Sherlock Holmes action figure; Thomas Biblewski won the Holmes video game and Fritzi Roth garnered the (assembled) Sherlockian jig-saw puzzle, a gift of Ray and Pat Mandziuk.

With that, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the room in the traditional singing of “God Save The Queen, Tidewaiter Ed Stein read the closing poem, “221B,” and Gasogene Kramb gaveled the meeting to a close at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Winter Meeting Notice

 “My dear Watson, is it beyond the limits of human ingenuity to furnish an explanation?”                  
-- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge.”       

Unlike Holmes, we need no explanation to invite you to join us for an evening of comestibles and conviviality at the annual winter meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit

Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Commonwealth Club
30088 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI                                                                                                                                                                          
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Wisteria Lodge,” in which a client comes to Holmes and Watson after a most singular and unsettling evening that has led to voodoo -- and murder.

Michael Jones will also present a learned discussion about the most famous landlady in literature, Mrs. Hudson. There will also be toasts, prizes, birthday cake for Holmes and the awarding of the annual Beggar’s Cup. Annual dues ($5 members, $15 non-members) will also be collected.

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

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, JANUARY 29th to:

AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY OF DETROIT
c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

Our dinner includes chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo, mixed vegetables, potatoes, salad, rolls, dessert and beverages. As always, there will be a cash bar.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall Meeting Report

To kick off the fall meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit, 54 Mendicants and their guests gathered on the evening of September 26, 2015 amid the familiar surroundings of the British Commonwealth Club in the Detroit suburb of Warren.

Gasogene John Kramb called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. by welcoming the throng and introducing the Society’s board members and the planning committee. He also welcomed new attendees including Velda Dykehouse; Chris Redmond, the noted Sherlockian scholar and editor of the site Sherlockian.net; Sherlockian actor John Sherwood and Sherlockian publisher George Vanderburgh and his friend Carol Wilton.

Then, members and guests raised their glasses in a toast honoring the late Richard Jeryan, a longtime member who served so admirably in recent years as the club’s Lascar. He is missed by all who knew him.

With dinner underway, Chris Music introduced the traditional toasts.  Toasts were offered to The Woman (by George Vanderburgh); Mycroft Holmes (by Al Calderini); Watson’s Second Wife (John Sherwood) and Mrs. Hudson (by Tom Biblewski).

The buffet dinner itself featured chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo, vegetables, potatoes and other delicious accompaniments.

Next, Jerry “Red” Alvin also rose to offer a toast but not, this time, to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who left his munificence for the benefit of red heads everywhere. Instead, Alvin recalled the early days of the Mendicants and legendary member Bob Harris and his connection to “The Creeping Man.”

With that, Gasogene Kramb again took the podium to offer the discussion points on the evening’s story, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” a story that again proves that man should not monkey around.

Then came the real meat of the evening – the presentation. Served up by Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot, the talk was billed as “The Collector, the Author, the Sherlockian.”
In it, Pilot discussed his 50 years of collecting materials related to Arthur Conan Doyle, believed by some to be the actual author of The Canon as opposed to one Dr. John Watson. The talk was illustrated by actual items from Pilot’s collection, which he gathered on a shoestring budget over decades by pluck, luck and serendipity.

With the presentation concluded, Gasogene Kramb informed the multitude that the next meeting of the Mendicants would be on February 6th at the Commonwealth Club. He also welcomed suggestions and noted that plans were underway to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Mendicants’ founding in April 2016.

Next, Anne Musial held the drawing for door prizes which included a Sherlock Holmes book donated by Phil Jones, a diabolical two-sided puzzle donated by the Jeryans and three books donated by Vanderburgh. And the winners who added to their personal collections that night were Mitzi Alvin, Brandon Vasos, Jack Hretz, Pat Drzinski and Carrie Mulko.

Then, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the group in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen,” Rob Musial, closed the gathering with the traditional reading of the poem, “221B” and the meeting was adjourned at 9:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Rob Musial, AMS Tantalus

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

September Meeting Notice

"It is a tangled skein, you understand, and I am looking for a loose end.”        
- Sherlock Holmes to Dr. John Watson, in “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.”

And we hope that you’ll help us untangle that skein by joining us for a fine evening of comestibles and camaraderie at the annual fall meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.
                                             
Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 7 p.m.
30088 Dequindre Rd., Warren, MI 
                                                                                                    
Our assigned reading is “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” a September story that involves a young woman, an angry wolfhound and a man who has begun to monkey around with things he shouldn’t.

The evening’s presenter will be Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot, BSI on “The Collector, the Author, the Sherlockian,” which draws on 50 years of scholarship, study and searches into arcane and amusing mysteries of the Sacred Writings.

We’ll also offer the usual toasts, prizes and more as part of this autumnal gathering of like-minded Holmesians – at one of our favorite haunts. We hope to see you on September 26th!

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person payable to "AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY" by Monday September 21st to:

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

The meal includes a buffet featuring chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo, mixed vegetables, salad, potatoes, rolls, dessert and beverages. As always, there will be a cash bar.

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