Thursday, July 06, 2017

June Meeting Report

Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit - meeting report for June 17, 2017

The annual spring meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit lured 44 erstwhile members and guests to the society’s unofficial home base, the Commonwealth Club, in Warren, Michigan, on June 17, 2017.

Commissionaire Chris Music called the evening meeting to order at 6:34 p.m., welcoming the crowd and introducing the society’s board and the first-time guests – and the guest who came the farthest, Mary Miller, from Indianapolis.

The traditional toasts were offered with George Vanderburgh (in absentia) saluting The Woman, Rob Musial toasting the long-suffering landlady Mrs. Hudson, Eddie Stein raising a glass to Mycroft, and Bev Ellis saluting Watson’s Second Wife.

In addition, Al Calderini toasted Basil Rathbone’s recent 150th birthday and Jerry Alvin saluted Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire of Lebanon, Pennsylvania who so bounteously provided for the Red-Headed League – and making sure that was one of the tales that was “well-read.”
Rob Musial also recited a limerick written by the late sci-fi great Isaac Asimov about the evening’s story, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.”

Which led to the evening’s main event, with a short detour for a tasty repast of ginger pork, chicken Marsala and all the usual fixings.

Next, Michael Ellis rose to the podium to offer a brief recap of the “Creeping Man” story. Since it concerned a deluded older man’s affections for a younger woman, Ellis next led the multitude through the evening’s presentation, May-December romances and how they’ve been interpreted both in the Sacred Writings and the great mass of writings that followed Watson’s tales.

In the wide-ranging presentation, Ellis touched on gold-diggers, the Fountain of Youth and such romances as seen by Hollywood and songwriters. The highlight was the playing of a recording of “Aunt Clara,” as sung by Sherlockian James Montgomery more than 60 years ago at both Baker Street Irregular meetings and those of the Amateur Mendicants. The multi-versed song concerns an “adventuress” who’s done quite well though the chorus notes that “her picture is turned to the wall,” a chorus that most in attendance were soon giddily singing.

Ellis continued his overview with a look at Laurie King’s popular Mary Russell series about a girl who is befriended by an aging Holmes in retirement. He also touched on early 20th Century spurious research into the use of monkey glands, drug use during the Third Reich and actress Emma Watson – though not in that order.

Next, commissionaire Music presented the society’s annual Beggar’s Cup award to Anne Musial for her long dedication to the current iteration of the club, from welcoming attendees and producing name tags to obtaining the prizes and running the prize raffles that highlight each meeting. In addition to many other unsung duties, Anne also suggested the Commonwealth Club as a suitable venue for the Mendicants.

Then the door prizes were drawn with James O’Keefe winning the Big Book of Holmes’ stories, Eddie Stein taking home the special Life magazine issue on Holmes and Natalie Katkowsky winning the collection of Sherlock DVDs.

As the meeting wore down, all in attendance sang the traditional “God Save the Queen” and actor John Sherwood concluded the evening with the reading of the poem “221 B” and the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Addendum: The next meeting of the Mendicants will be Sunday Oct. 1 at Station 855 in Plymouth, MI and the speaker will be George Vanderburgh.

Friday, May 26, 2017

June Meeting Details

“When one tries to rise above nature, one is liable to fall below it.”                 
-Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.”       

And we hope that, along with enjoying nature, you’ll rise to the occasion and agree to join us at the annual late spring dinner meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.; dinner at 6:45 p.m.
Commonwealth Club of Detroit
30088 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI                                                                                                        
                                                   
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” which involves an agitated family dog, a scared young woman, a deluded older professor and an untimely love affair.

The evening’s presentation will look into such affairs as speaker Michael Ellis considers the question of “May-December Romances.”

There will also be toasts, a prize raffle, the presentation of the annual Beggar’s Cup award to a deserving Mendicant, the collection of annual dues and the usual folderol.

Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit and mail to the address below. Or to use PayPal, contact amateurmendicantsociety@gmail.com for instructions.

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

AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY OF DETROIT
c/o Edward F. Stein
29950 Summit Drive, #108
Farmington Hills, MI  48334

Your entrée choices include ginger pork, chicken Marsala, baked potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad, rolls and light desserts. As always, there will be a cash bar.

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Save the Dates

Save the dates!

The next 2 meetings of the Amateur Mendicant Society will be as follows (please note the change to the previously announced spring meeting).  More details coming soon... Hope to see you there!

Spring/Summer Meeting:
Saturday evening June 17th at the Commonwealth Club - Warren, MI
Speaker: Michael Ellis

Fall Meeting:
Sunday afternoon October 1st at Station 885 - Plymouth, MI
Speaker: George Vanderburgh

Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Meeting Announcement

“I had called upon Sherlock Holmes to wish him the compliments of the season…”                  
- Dr. John Watson in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”       

Along with wishing you the merriest compliments of the season, we’re inviting you to join us at the upcoming winter dinner meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, January 21, 2017
Doors open at 6 p.m.; dinner at 6:45 p.m.
Commonwealth Club of Detroit
30088 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI                                                                                                                      
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” which involves a priceless missing gemstone, a special Christmas goose and a wrongly-accused man. And a quiz so read the story.

The evening’s presentation will be “An Irregular Life: Confessions of a Fortunate Sherlockian” by the esteemed Mark McPherson, BSI.

There will also be toasts, a prize raffle, the presentation of the annual Beggar’s Cup award, a cake to honor The Master on his 163rd birthday and the usual folderol.

Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit and mail to the address below. Or to use PayPal, contact amateurmendicantsociety@gmail.com for instructions.

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, JAN. 13th to:

AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY OF DETROIT
c/o Edward F. Stein
29950 Sunset Drive, #108
Farmington Hills, MI  48334

Your entrée choices include rib-eye roast, chicken Marsala, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad, rolls and light desserts. As always, there will be a cash bar.

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



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 Sobolewski 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!