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» Saturday, April 02, 2016From Gillette to Cumberbatch and Miller
Alarm! Alarm! Yep, had to get up and hit the ground running this morning: face washed, dressed, packed my lunch, tucked up my tablet and my Sherlock silhouette cross stitch, and was off. Arrived at the hotel at nine for the "bargain buffet" (you don't get the omelet bar and they went chintzy and didn't let us have any cereal, either, so no endless milk, either). Instead had to get a tiny juice glass which cost $2. Boy, what a rip-off. Otherwise they had eggs, bacon, potatoes, different kinds of fruit, bread for toast (they had bagels but apparently "forgot" to restock), and make-it-yourself waffles. I skipped the nasty eggs, and appropriated two slices of bread and some jelly for a sandwich for the afternoon, and had bacon, potatoes, fruit, toast, and some pecans meant as waffle toppers to fill me up. Seats were at a premium, so I shared my table with a nice lady from Minnesota. She's a cosplayer (and likes cosplay enough to sew, which I don't) and likes Deep Space 9, which she recently binge watched. Also a fan of the Edward Petherbridge Wimsey stories and recommended the Roderick Allyn stories to me.
My first panel was about fanfic (and there do seem to be an inordinate amount of fanfic panels this year). Again, most of the conversation is about "Johnlock." I don't despise this subject, or make light of it, or think anyone who writes/reads it is stupid or weird. But I wonder why that is all some people want to read. There are so many here to whom Holmes/Watson is all about the relationship, and it seems (am I perceiving it wrong?) nothing else. What about the mysteries? the adventures? the detection? the glimpse of the past? I'm happy to read good 'shipping stories. But I want to read all the good stories, not just the 'ships at sea, so to speak.
I'd intended to go to another panel, but ended up at Bonnie MacBird's panel about her new Sherlock Holmes novel Art in the Blood. This is coming out in July in paperback and I'm looking forward to reading it. She talked about living in London and in Paris to do research for the book (it took her four years from start to publication) and having actors pose for the Sidney Paget-like illustrations and the custom drop caps, and how she ran the manuscript past two Sherlockians to make sure it sounded like Watson and a British scholar to make sure it didn't have any Americanisms! I'm really looking forward to it now.
Next I went over to the fan crafts room which was just folks doing some participatory crafts (garlands) and chatting. I sat down to do my cross stitch and the lady next to me was doing a crocheted water bottle holder and the ladies across from me doing some sort of crochet and a doll's baby blanket. We just talked about all sorts of different things and one of the garland people put on the soundtrack to Hamilton! which is a big thing at con this year: a singalong today and one tomorrow. Wasn't too bad! One of the women had a job that had something to do with Federal judges, and she was talking about how when they got to that level of judiciary they basically can do anything they like. One had his collection of Native American art in his office, another all his cat rescue photos (and presumably a cat or cats, since there were litter boxes and cat food), and one kept bees with a hole out the window so the bees could go outside and gather pollen!
The next panel was about adaptations of the canon. Radio was briefly mentioned, but they mostly talked about the most popular television and movie incarnations (not much discussion about Robert Downey Jr these days!). Sherlock and Jeremy Brett pretty much held sway here. There was some great chatter about the long-lost William Gillette film that was recently found and restored and released to DVD.
The Elementary panel was in the tiny Tyler room, but it was a full house and full of excited chatter about the new season, Morland Holmes, Fiona's introduction, and the bits of canon that have been inserted into the stories this year (like the wonderful reference in the recent "comic book" episode where Sherlock is reading through the entire run of The Midnight Ranger, and Sherlock says that his personal favorite was when the hero died falling over a waterfall in the embrace of his greatest nemesis). And what a great character Joan Watson is (except for that one weird thing with Mycroft). And that the police officers aren't portrayed as idiots.
Next, a great double bill from the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company! The first was a dramatic adaptation of a Naomi Novick short story in which Irene Adler finds out about Holmes' death at the Reichenbach Falls—and of course realizes it was all a hoax. The other was the very funny steampunk takeoff about the famous detective Grimpen Mire and his faithful companion Dr. Rosemarythyme. By the time they hit the Neapolitan of Crime joke I had completely lost it.
The next panel was called "Only in Fandom"—why are some of the most popular things done in fanfiction (crossovers, etc.) not done in mainstream media? Well, I can tell you why! Because sure as hell CBS ain't crossing over Elementary with something on another network, and neither is the Beeb! Not to mention that they would only go with the safe chances. In fanfic you don't have to please your financial investors; you can write what you like. Nevertheless, it was a good discussion (even if several of the panel members were still astounded about the Bones/Sleepy Hollow crossover—which I really hated).
"Dr. Watson's Medical Practice" was a super-interesting panel. The two panelists were "medical geeks" (one was a dermatologist) and they actually did research about what Watson's training would have been like, where he might have trained, what books he would have studied (you can find at least one of them online, which lists the drugs he would have used on which illness and how they were prepared). They also researched what his responsibilities as an Army surgeon would have been (not just treating illness and doing surgery, but camp sanitation, feeding and housing the hospital workers, etc.).
I didn't have a panel planned for six p.m., but ended up going to one of the discussion panels they have every year for some of the stories in the Holmes canon. These always have a theme, like colors ("Five Orange Pips," "Blue Carbuncle," etc) and this year's theme was body parts, so they did "The Man With the Twisted Lip," "The Engineer's Thumb," "The Devil's Foot," "The Yellow Face," "The Crooked Man," and "The Creeping Man." Summary of story, then was it a good Holmes story and why. Very enjoyable!
Then there was a bit of a kerfluffle. The next panel was one I was very much looking forward to, about female detective authors and their detectives. I was hoping for some discussion about Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey, and of course there are the classics: Agatha Christie and both Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, Margery Allingham and Albert Campion, Ngaio Marsh and Roderick Allyn, and newer writers like Ellis Peters and Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton, etc.
Well, not one of the panelists showed up. I think this was rude. For all I know, there was a good reason; maybe they went out to dinner and couldn't get back in time—but they were scheduled for a panel and should have made sure they were back on time. I suggested maybe the audience could just discuss their favorite female detective writers among ourselves, but most people wandered away in search of another panel. Eventually all that were left were a gentleman I've seen before at conventions, and a woman I call "New York Lady" because I don't know her name and her friend, who are big Sherlock Holmes and Elementary fans. NYL was already a bit upset because she had planned to buy something in the charity auction and it had been pulled from the auction before she had a chance to bid on it, and the fact that the panel members had not fulfilled their obligation just bothered her more. She said (and I agreed) that it was rude to the convention itself and to the people who had wanted to see the panel. We ended up talking—as all older people—about the intensity of the younger con goers to identify the Sherlock and John characters seemingly only through their sexuality. Again, I don't understand this. Certainly it's a part of their identity, and it's interesting to explore all the sexual options for the characters which couldn't be explored in Victorian fiction (at least mainstream fiction; the Victorians still indulged—it was just kept under cover), but why does it seem to be a preoccupation with so many people?
The last panel was a roundtable with a moderator who does studies of all types of fandom: we (all women) all sat in a circle and talked about how we got into fandom. One other lady and I were the oldest in the room; I started on Get Smart and she started on Dark Shadows, and then the ages stepped down from us all the way to the teenager in the room. One lady's first fandom was V (the original), another was Doctor Who, another was Young Riders, etc. One of the younger members was German and learned English from watching her favorite fandoms on her iPod! One young lady started at age 2 with Blue's Clues. Finally it was down to an older lady who said she wasn't really a big fan of anything, but she worked all types of conventions, from this one to DragonCon to horror conventions. She never intended to watch any horror movies, or participate in some fandoms, but she enjoyed hearing everyone talk about their particular fandoms. The whole thing was a lot of fun!
Came home to find James just settling in after having gone to supper with everyone to celebrate Colin's 25th birthday. Sorry I missed that, but I told Lin to give him a birthday hug from me.