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» Saturday, April 11, 2015"Deerstalking" (or, 221B Con, Part 2)
Up this morning, leaving James to have fun at his club meeting, and got to the hotel in time for the breakfast buffet. The bacon is remarkably good; also had fruit, cereal, a bagel, toast.
My first panel covered the recent Russian Sherlock Holmes series. I still haven't seen this one, although we talked about the series last year and I did look it up and watch the first few minutes of the first episode. It sounds quite unique and earthy. There probably won't be any more, however, because the actor playing Watson died under suspicious circumstances. I didn't realized it was intended as a miniseries, with Watson growing at his writing skills in each episode. They were talking about the earlier series as well, which is apparently sacrosant among the Russians, who are great Holmes fans. They rerun it every year at Christmastime.
Next came the Alternate Universe/Crossover panel. I didn't realize there was such a variety of ships! I hadn't heard about Mycroft/Lestrade. (!!!!) As for alternate universes, there's apparently Sherlock as a chef, as a brewer, even as a florist! (Someone said they think Sherlock florist would raise poisonous plants in the back room...LOL) Someone has even written a Sherlock/Valdemar crossover, which had Sherlock rejecting being Chosen and John being a Herald. I hadn't heard the term "fusion" before. The definition was "If Sherlock is with Harry Potter at Hogwarts, it's a crossover; if Sherlock is Harry Potter at Hogwarts, it's a fusion.
Remember how I talked about the Asylum Sherlock Holmes last year, the one with the dinosaurs? Our guest at this convention was Ben Syder, who played Sherlock Holmes. He was funny and very honest about the cheesiness of the film, and told humorous stories about time on the film set, including how he auditioned seeing only two pages of the script. Apparently there was supposed to be an aquatic element in the film, but they couldn't afford it. Also, the character who turned out to be Holmes' brother in the movie was his uncle in the script (they should have left it as uncle; it might have made a tad more sense). I remember remarking that the phone that they used was not period; well, it turned out when it came time for a phone scene, they had no telephone at all. An old candlestick phone was all they had. At the other end there was no phone so Syder just talked to a corner. I may have to watch the film over just to see all the goofs he pointed out.
There was a funny story; he was living in London with friends. One of the roommates left and a new young woman from South Africa moved in. Wanting to welcome her, they took her out to the local pub. When he mentioned he had done Sherlock Holmes, she said "You look so much like Robert Downey Jr." Well, he doesn't, but he took it as a compliment—until he realized that she had probably seen his Sherlock Holmes and didn't realize it was the same guy!
Then it was time for "Sherlock Holmes and the Crime of the Century," the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's first radio musical, adapted from a stage play originally written by Thomas Fuller and Doug Kaye. Professor Moriarty and his sidekick Guiterrez (who speaks with a Cockney accent at will) work on committing the crime of the century before the 19th century ends: they are going to completely make England disappear by at first carting away all its symbols, including Queen Victoria! Sherlock is completely clueless and Irene Adler makes most of the deductions, and it was a lot of fun. Fiona Leonard played up a bit ditzy Victoria for all she was worth.
The first thing I had done this morning was stop by Angela Misri's table in the lobby. She is a young Canadian author who has written the first two of five novels about Portia Adams, a 19-year-old Toronto girl whose mother has just died. When her mother's will is read, she discovers she has inherited a home in London and a guardian, the wealthy and rather flamboyant Mrs. Jones. Portia, who is studious and wishes to study law, finds the opportunity given to her to go to college appealing, but doesn't know how she'll make out with a guardian. Then when she reaches London, she finds out the home she has inherited is 221 Baker Street, with Holmes' own digs still upstairs, and it turns out she is the granddaughter of Dr. John Watson! She also has a talent for solving mysteries, as she shows her handsome downstairs neighbor, Brian Dawes, a newly-minted police constable, who lives there with his parents. I bought the two books out, and that's where I went next, to her panel, which, sadly, was very sparsely attended. At first there was just me and another woman, and she was ready to pack it up and go chat in the bar, then I called Caran Wilbanks when she came by and Louis Robinson showed up. We had a jolly chat about finding a publisher, how she got interested in Holmes, her similarity to Portia (introverted, nose in a book, shy at parties, etc.; when I read that part I laughed: there's me!), etc.
Louis had the most fantastic story: they are going to use his new house for a movie! When they get done they will fix up anything they messed up, paint the outside, put in a driveway and a garden, I think he said a pool! How wild!
At four, it was time for research...or rather "how to research" at "Beyond Wikipedia." The folks that wrote Victorian-era stories said Google Books has become a great resource because of their scanning in old books. One woman who was interest in what Dr. Watson's military career might have been like found several old military memoirs about the Peninsular Wars on Google Books.
One of the panels I missed last night was "Sherlock Holmes' London," but they had another iteration today. One woman said she always flies into Dublin and then makes her way over to Great Britain by inexpensive means because it is so pricy to fly into England. Someone had taken a trip to London and passed around their photo albums, including pics of the Baker Street tube station and the interior of the Sherlock Holmes museum. Apparently, Simpson's, the real-life restaurant that Holmes and Watson used to frequent, is still there and running! Sadly, I don't think we'll ever make it to Great Britain; I asked about handicap access and was told it is very limited there. :-(
After travel of a terrestrial kind, I went to travel of a time kind, with a small Doctor Who panel. I'm getting old here; the two panel moderators looked like "puppies." :-) A lot of the panel was about new Who versus old Who, or rather the fans of such, and also the Peter Capaldi/not Peter Capaldi club, and the oh, God...Clara vs. oh, God, Clara! discussions Yay, someone else who thought "Flatline" was the best episode of the season!
My final panel was on Victorian London. I got the feeling that many people didn't get the answers they wanted. I kinda of thought the panelists were not as knowledgeable on the subject as they could have been. For instance, someone asked what the streets looked like. They talked about horses and carriages with many names, but I think the questioner were also referring to the physical composition of the streets. Someone also asked about pollution and they talked about the oil lamps and gas, but not much mention of anything else except for the cholera well. They also spoke about bathhouses (for those who supposed Holmes and Watson were more Holmes/Watson, bathhouses were notorious as gay meeting places) and the Tube. Someone wondered why Doyle set the stories in London rather than Scotland (I would presume it's the same reason stories are set in New York City; eight million stories in the Naked City and all that, and their answer was about the same). They also chatted a bit about the Oscar Wilde case and "the love that dare not speak its name." It was a nice lively panel, and a good way to end the night.
I had thought to stay for the Sherlock panel, but it wasn't until ten, and there were two hours until then. There were a couple of panels I could have gone to, but nothing I had to see and I was sleepy, too. There's a Sherlock panel scheduled for Timegate, so I figured I could skip it, and I came home. James was just eating his supper because after his meeting he had come home, walked the dog, then fallen asleep! Just chilled out by reading the first Portia Adams book (Jewel of the Thames). I'd read some of the other plot points before, in other mysteries, but I really like the character, as I mentioned earlier. Thrilled to see that she is going to Somerville College at Oxford, which Dorothy Sayers and Vera Brittain also attended.
Oh, James told me a story about his day. He went to lunch with the guys, then they had their meeting. When that was finished, James stopped by the Jamaican place to get dinner to go. He had the power chair, and just before he entered, a woman and her kids had gone through the door. The littlest girl, about kindergarten age, ran to the door and held it open for him! James thanked her profusely, and then when he left, the little girl did it again! He said it looked like she did it all on her own, without prompting from her mother! What a sweet thing! Maybe she has someone at home with mobility problems that she helps?