Sunday, August 03, 2008

Summer Meeting Minutes

A total of 57 members and guests attended the summer 2008 meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit, tying the club’s record for best attendance at one of its meetings.
The Aug. 2 dinner meeting at the veddy British Commonwealth Club in suburban Warren was called to order at 7:06 p.m. by the club Gasogene, John Kramb.

Our home for the evening - the British Commonwealth Club of Michigan.

Among the noted guests in attendance was W. Scott Monty II, a member of the Baker Street Irregulars (“Corporal Henry Wood,” 2001) and the Speckled Band of Boston. Among other duties, Monty oversees advertising and inquiries for the Baker Street Journal, writes the Baker Street Blog (which catalogs current events in the Sherlockian world) and operates “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere,” the only podcast aimed at devotees of The Master. Also attending their first meeting (and hopefully, not the last) were Dennis and Linda Ward.

Before a tasty buffet repast of chicken and/or steak pie and assorted side dishes, the society was informed of the latest Good News / Bad News situation, depending on one’s view. The Good News came with word of a new Sherlock Holmes movie, scheduled to begin shooting in October in London. Starring Robert Downey, Jr., the movie, said to be based on Dr. Watson’s stories and a comic book (!), will be directed by Mr. Madonna, Guy Ritchie.

Following on those heels, the Bad News presented itself with word that another Holmes’ picture is also in production, this one starring Sacha Baron Cohen as the title character and that esteemed Shakespearean stage presence, Will Ferrell, as the good doctor. As Holmes himself might say, “Good God, Watson, it’s worse than we thought!”

Fortunately, members were able to drown those sorrows with the evening’s usual toasts, to Watson’s Second Wife (presented by Ray Mandziuk), Mrs. Hudson (offered by Patience Nauta), Mycroft Holmes (given by Mark Diehl) and finally, The Woman (recalled by Rob Musial). Mandziuk also hoisted an extra one for Holmes.

Amateur Mendicants debating many fine points of Sherlockian Scholarship (and enjoying a few cocktails)

The Gasogene also recognized the salutary service and meritorious ministrations of longtime Mendicant, Dr. Edward Stein, who was presented with a special life membership certificate, emblazoned with an actual English tuppence.

Dr. Edward F. Stein, AMS receiving an award for his 30+ years of loyal service to the Society.

Recently-anointed club Lascar, Richard Jeryan, then led the assembly through the finer points of the assigned story, “The Reigate Squire(s)/Puzzle,” foremost among them, how that adventure came to be known under three titles.

The meat of the evening came with the presentation of a scholarly investigation, “The Moving Sherlock: A Study in Pictures,” by Mendicant and BSI Regina Stinson, who is also a co-founder of the Ribston-Pippins scion of Royal Oak, Mich.

Amply illustrated with clips from more than a dozen movies, Stinson’s monograph showed how the cinematic portrayal of Holmes has changed over the years, from William Gillette and John Barrymore to Jeremy Brett and Rupert Everett, not to mention Larry Hagman and Charlton Heston. Oh yes, and some guy named Basil Rathbone, too.

Regina Stinson, BSI delivering the evenings main event - a study of Holmes as depicted in film.

A raffle of the third commemorative marble tile, this one depicting a deerstalker-and-Inverness cape-clad Holmes as pictured by Sydney Paget in “The Silver Blaze,” brought $59 to the club’s coffers and was awarded to Pat Drzinski. A DVD, “The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes” was won by Anthony Armour while Gayle Conway took home the “Blue Carbuncle” CD.

As the meeting wound down, Commissionaire Chris Music informed the gathering that the next meeting of the Society would take place on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 11. The location will be the historic Dakota Inn Rathskeller in Detroit, which has been pouring out beer and camaraderie since 1933. More details will be forthcoming, after Labor Day.

Finally, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the group in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen” and Rob Musial read Vincent Starrett’s poem “221-B” and the meeting drew to a close at 10:04 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Musial Tantalus