Matt Laffey’s Excellent Scion Adventure - Fall 2012*
Recent Sherlock Holmes Scion Meetings and Dinners (Fall 2012 Edition)
(* Title suggested by Dr Bob Katz, BSI)
The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes (December 1, 2012) Though there are a plethora of Sherlockian societies all united by a love for the Canon, each scion group has it’s own distinct flavor and The Epilogues are no exception. Founded in 1990 by Dr Bob Katz and co-hosted by Peter McIntyre, the group meets in a Quaker meeting house near Chatham, NJ and is divided into two parts: the evening starts with a delectable Dionysian orgy of home cooked deliciousness which then dissolves seamlessly into an Apollonian affair where Dr Katz leads the group in a discussion of two seemingly disparate canonical tales (CROO & DANC) followed by the coup de grâce where a common thread is discovered and the evening is neatly tied up in a grand display of Canonical synthesis. The Epilogues is one of the greatest scions you’re going to find and I wholeheartedly recommend attending.
[An exciting action sequence featuring Dr Bob Katz directing the discussion of CROO and DANC.]
The Broadway Special (November 30, 2012): Now and then it’s a good idea to remind yourself that there’s more to life than Sherlock Holmes and what better way to do so then attend a meeting of a local chapter of The Wodehouse Society? Described as an “association of agreeable human beings who share an admiration of P. G. Wodehouse and the rich products of his imagination”, it functions similar to the BSI, acting as a centralized ‘mother’ society with a myriad of small, local groups (in which The Broadway Special is one) supporting it. Hosted by Philip Shreffler - former editor of the Baker Street Journal and editor of Sherlock Holmes By Gas Lamp: Highlights from the First Four Decades of the Baker Street Journal - The Broadway Special meets once every two months at the storied Player’s Club across the street from Gramercy Park in NYC.
[Click for a larger version of Philip Shreffler holding a slingshot during the meeting of The Broadway Special - a chapter of The Wodehouse Society) - I swear Mr Shreffler is merely demonstrating the use of the sling shot and not summarily executing nascent Sherlockians or a likeness of Benedict Cumberbatch (*wink wink* *nudge nudge* *sigh*).]
Montague Street Lodgers of Brooklyn (November 10, 2012) Hosted by Peter Crupe (BSI), this Fall’s 2012 Montague Street Lodgers meeting had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy from November 3rd to November 10th. This was also the first MSLBK meeting to happen at Armando’s, coincidentally located on Montague Street in Brooklyn. The guest speaker of the night was Howard Einbinder who delivered a hilarious pun-tastic talk about Sherlock Holmes and taxes (cf. below) - and who also won the Marlene Aig-Patricia Moran award. Toasts were given by Joe Moran and myself (I toasted Sir Reginald Musgrave). Mr Crupe puts together a solid program and schedules meetings like clockwork so be on the lookout for the Spring 2013 meeting.
[Sherlock Holmes’ 1040 tax returns.]
ASH Wednesday (November 7, 2012) A constant in my life since I started down this wild and crazy road we call Sherlockian Culture is attending the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes' monthly dinners at O’Casey’s Irish Bar in Midtown. Normally the informal meetings consist of approximately 20 or so ASH members and NYC Sherlockians and requires minimal effort to attend, but due to a surprise freak snowstorm (following in the steps of Hurricane Sandy) only 8 intrepid souls braved and conquered the elements. The indomitable hosts Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin regaled us with tales of ASH meetings past and all present enjoyed the lock-in/Breakfast Club vibe ending in everyone sharing their deepest feelings regarding Star Trek versus Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The Sons of the Copper Beeches (October 26, 2012) One of the only remaining all-male Sherlockian scions in existence as well as one of the oldest scions on the East Coast, The Sons gatherings (which happen in Philadelphia) feel like a vintage BSI Dinner circa 1940s (or what I’d imagine such a dinner to be like after consuming Lellenberg’s multi-volume BSI Archival History Series). If you didn’t get enough of Dr Bob Katz (cf. above) at the Epilogues Meetings, the good doctor is the Headmastiff (as of October 2012) and master of ceremonies of this (progressively throughout the night) riotous group of Sherlockians.
[A rapt audience listens as a toast is delivered at the Fall 2012 Sons of the Copper Beeches meeting. Note Steve Rothman, editor of the Baker Street Journal, preserving the moment for posterity by snapping a photo on the extreme right.]
Priory Scholars of NYC (October 21, 2012) As co-host alongside Headmistress Judith Freeman, I take particular pride in reporting that our Fall 2012 ‘Back to School’ meeting attracted approximately 40+ Sherlockians and Holmes-enthusiasts leading to one of the more lively and energetic Sunday afternoons experienced in recent memory. Brief talks were given on the history of the PSNYC by Joe Moran, Evelyn Herzog, and others. Quizmaster Nick Martorelli served up a wickedly devilish test of our knowledge of “The Man With the Twisted Lip”, the winners of which received prizes from the Ray Betzner Trust. As discussion leader I had the honor of leading a quite spirited discussion of TWIS, in which almost everyone participated. The conclusion of the meeting was marked by Mickey Fromkin (in her role as Choir Mistress) leading a rousing rendition of “The Priory Scholars Song”. Everyone agreed on the success of ‘Back to School with the PSNYC Fall 2012”, but success is sometimes a double-edged sword and in our case we’ve outgrown East of Eighth and are on the hunt for a larger, more private space. For more information about the PSNYC please visit our website.
ASH Fall Luncheon (October 20, 2012) Taking place at a restaurant called Moran’s in Chelsea NYC, one might suspect a sinister edge to the proceedings - but fear not! The biannual ASH Luncheons are slightly more formal versions of their monthly ASH Wednesdays, which is to say they are even more delightful experiences in organized Sherlockian chaos (that’s a good thing). The erudite and stately Evelyn Herzog runs the show (“Layyydies!!”) and a most excellent time is had by all.
If you would like to engage in similar Sherlockian shenanigans, make sure to check out the Sherlockian Calendar for events happening in your area. And if you’ve never been to an event and are worried that you’ll instantly be quizzed on your canonical acumen or bitten by a (head)mastiff, fear not - Sherlockians by nature are an inviting and gregarious bunch and rarely bite.