Fandom Friday #17 ~ Oct. 26th, 2012

Let’s see…Where were we?  Oh.  RIGHT!  Fandom Friday!   It’s been an interesting week for us in many different ways, but mostly we’ve been having a fantabulous time and we’re super pumped.  We’ve been finding and making lots of new friends lately, which is really, truly wonderful and we’re both very impressed with how welcoming folks have been.  We certainly weren’t expecting to have things hit off as well as they have, and certainly not so quickly!  It’s been immensely exciting, so thanks guys!  We hope you continue to enjoy our chicanery!
Now then…What sorts of lovelies has the week to offer us THIS time?

1.)  Dunno.  But this somehow seems supremely appropriate at the moment:


Created as part of an impressive series by inkandstardust and locatable HERE.

This also reminds me an awful lot of the “We fight crime!  Together!” shirt HamishMD and I found a good while ago.  Someday we’re going to recreate the image on that shirt….while both wearing it.  Whereupon we shall laugh hysterically.

2.)  And then….then…There is THIS thing:

…Which is so full of fantastic that it simply MUST be shared. We originally found this via the Baker Street Babes, but it would appear as though it originally came from la bislacca.  Thank you ‘la bislacca’, you are brilliant!

3.)  Hmm.  I seem to be on a [BBC] Sherlock kick tonight.  Might as well roll with it.

Found somewhere within the wily depths of…’Sherlock Soup‘?

*Clears throat* “Hey!

4.)  Okay.   Okay.  That’s enough of that.  How about a little [BBC] Sherlock/canon crossover?

It’s just so lovely.  I can’t be entirely positive of who created this image, but it can apparently be found somewhere on Cassandra Clare’s Tumblr page.  HamishMD found this on Pinterest, where it’s coupled with an absolutely amazing quote from Vincet Starrett who seems to have always had a peculiar knack for hitting the nail right on the head.  It runs as follows:

”In the eyes of many, Holmes lives ever on: by warm firesides, on cozy sofas, in dark, flashlight-lit bedrooms, in the back yards during summer afternoons, in large armchairs on rainy days, in libraries and classrooms, in conversation, and in our living rooms … he lives on, as we read.”

So very, very true.  Thank you Vincent.

5.)  Now, it’s up to you to decide whether or not this really counts as ‘fanart’, but I’m of the opinion that it does.  But either way, this has got to be one of the loveliest cover ideas for HOUND I’ve seen.  I’d very much like to have this as a print.

I wasn’t able to determine exactly where this image came from, but apparently it can be found somewhere on the Tumblr page Hoodoo That Voodoo.

And now….Just because it’s [almost] Halloween.  We thought we’d point out to you that Sherlock DC is running a PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST!  Aw yeaah.  That’s right.  A pumpkin carving contest.  We’re planning on entering our own design here, but we really think you ought to too!  Come on…It’ll be FUN!

Oh….And one more thing:  In case you hadn’t already caught it, we’re now on Facebook too!

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Dancing With the Devil ~ Review of Devil’s Grin and an Interview with Annelie Wendeberg

Before we get started…

A Few Thoughts on The Devil’s Grin:

For those of you not yet familiar with Devil’s Grin, here’s an idea of what you can expect (pulled from Amazon):

“In Victorian London’s cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murders remains undiscovered until a cholera fatality is found floating in the city’s drinking water supply.  Dr Anton Kronberg, England’s best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment.  While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes.  The detective immediately discovers Kronberg’s secret – a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine – a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come.  But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper’s deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness.”

Intrigued?  You should be!  I (‘S.Sigerson’) just finished reading this book and must say that I enjoyed it greatly!  Anna/Anton is a strong, complex, and highly intelligent character with a sharp wit, sharp tongue, and an admirably solid set of morals.  Morals she is stubbornly determined to defend to the very end, regardless of the danger and personal cost.  She is a vibrant, glowing anomaly in a world of often terrifying darkness.  Step-by-step, we follow her through the atmospheric adventure alluded to above as she works her way deeper and deeper into the dismal underworld of Victorian medicine.  Along the way, she stumbles into the path of another great Victorian anomaly…our old friend Sherlock Holmes.  They both set their sights on resolving the same problem, but choose to go about it in two very different ways, grudgingly ‘agreeing’ to accept each other’s intermittent presence (but not without both getting in their fair share of biting snark).

This is a very different sort of Sherlockian fiction from what I’ve otherwise read thusfar.  Rather than being what I’ve understood as a ‘proper pastiche’ (something that attempts to ‘fit into’ the canon by mimicking Doyle’s style and structure), this is the story of an otherwise unrelated character who’s lifeline just happens to cross with that of Holmes.  It doesn’t carry (for me at least) an especially ‘canonical’ feel, but then I don’t believe it’s intended to.  Throughout the story, the emphasis remains on Anna and her own inner dialog (because yes, it really is more of a ‘dialog’), and not on Holmes.  That isn’t to say, however, that we don’t hear from Holmes.  Anna interacts with him regularly and I found it deeply refreshing and thought-provoking to explore and examine his character through the smart eyes of an absolute ‘outsider’.  Annelie provides us with a very different image of Holmes; hinting at hidden personality facets, while also directly underscoring the fact that every person who interacts with him within his own fictional timeline is going to see something different – just the way every reader of the canon does.  She also gives us lots of lovely little colorful details that really bring her scenery to life.  My personal favorite is how she draws our attention to the chemical stains decorating the walls and ceiling above Holmes’ desk almost the very instant Anna enters the flat for the first time.

I found myself really getting into this book and I read it rather voraciously.  I even made it a point one day to go for a long evening walk around the local reservoir just for the effect. (The structure isn’t ‘period’ in the slightest, but the building is made to look a little as though it were.)  It was a gorgeous autumn day and there were a lot of people about, but the space suddenly had a vaguely sinister feel to it.  When viewed from behind (the side facing the water), the building always looks mysteriously shut up and dark, making it feel semi-abandoned, which it of course isn’t.  Staring at the water, I found myself feeling very grateful that I needn’t be fearful of things like cholera in my morning coffee.  Nor did I encounter any bloated bodies.

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Fandom Friday #16~ October 20th, 2012

Hullo, all! Time for your weekly edition of Fandom Friday….er Saturday! It’s becoming a bit blustery in this part of the world. All very October, and very Hound of the Baskervilles. Time for a rewatch, me thinks? Ah, but which version? As I ponder this, enjoy our weekly links!

1. Earlier this week I got to spend some time with my significant other, who happens to be a huge Mythbusters fan. There’s nothing quite like science (and explosions) solving unknown questions. What could possibly be better than adding that to Sherlock Holmes? While they aren’t Adam and Jamie, the Sherlockian Myth-busters have got my attention!

I reject your reality, and substitute my own!

2. Speaking of rejecting forgone conclusions, here’s a little idea of how the 2011 Sherlock Holmes film should have ended….Stick around until the credits, it’s my favorite bit.

3. For many of us, detecting began at a young age. For some of us, merging our old “heroes” with our new ones involved hot tea all across our computer screen.

I think the oddest part of this is how much Sherlock’s hair in this reminds me of Snape’s in a Very Potter Musical.

4. Looking back on this summer, it was filled with LONDONY goodness. Here’s some more, featuring some of our favorite folks!

It’s Elementary: On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes

5. And not quite a vid, but a moving image nonetheless.

We have such an amazing history, we Holmes fans. I have to admit I’m a little amused, though sympathetic to those who are antsy about waiting a whole year and some for Season 3. When reading or watching the Granada Series I can’t wait 5 minutes between reading the Final Problem and reading The Empty House. The really heart wrenching thing, beside John Watson living for 3 years thinking Sherlock Holmes was dead…..the publication of The Empty House came nearly 10 years after The Final Problem.

Now THAT’S a dedicated fanbase!

What do we do now, Holmes? — We SING! ~ Review of ‘Baker Street’, the Musical (Jerome Coopersmith)

I ended up spending the night last night (Oct. 13th-14th) at a friend’s apartment after we’d gone out for an absolutely fantastic orchestra concert.  Just before heading to bed, my friend paused in front of her bookshelf, pondered for a moment, and then reached up to pull a thin volume from an upper shelf.  Wearing a big, shit-eating grin, she handed the small book to me and said “Here you go” before quickly retreating into the bathroom to brush her teeth.  The cover had the words “Baker Street” written in bold, stylized letters on a black background, hovering over a color photograph of three melodramatic-looking actors in front of a canvassed ‘streets-of-London’ backdrop.  It was the script for a musical.  That’s right…A musical.  Lemme say that one more time: MUSICAL.  I flipped the book open to a random page and promptly doubled over laughing.  There are things that I can visualize as musicals, and then there are things that I simply cannot.  The ‘canon’ is one of those that has mostly fallen into the latter category for me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I can see this potentially working, but only under really specific sets of conditions (the most critical of which being that it needs to not take itself overly seriously).  This is one of those things that I feel would either be outrageously funny, or atrociously horrible, with very little in between. You either nail it, or you don’t.

Needless to say, I couldn’t help but read the thing.  I was honestly expecting this to be really awful (my friend had actually told me about this earlier in the summer, so my mental image was already pre-set for ridonculous), but I tried to keep an open mind.  As it turns out, it really wasn’t as gut-wrenchingly horrific as I thought it would be.  In fact, I quite enjoyed it!  It wasn’t fantastic, but it didn’t make me want to jump out of a window either.  The plot was decent enough, if perhaps a bit bizarre (being sort of a bastardization of Final Problem and Scandal in Bohemia with just a touch of Empty House along with oodles of other references), and I thought that at least some of the song lyrics were rather catchy.  The hard part for me came in imagining what this music was supposed to sound like.  All I could come up with were snippits of the musical version of Jekyll & Hyde (another thing I thought would make an absurd musical, but was actually really fantastic).

I have to agree with my friend’s comment that the whole thing would be much better, and probably a whole lot funnier, if Holmes were the only character not singing (and dancing).  THAT, in my opinion, would be pretty fantastic.  I have a really, REALLY hard time imagining anyone managing to convincingly pull Holmes off on stage only to turn around and burst into song and dance.  Just about any other character can happily be assigned wide ranges of heartfelt or humorous songs to sing, but I have a hard time seeing it for Holmes.  In fact, I think leaving him out of the song and dance might even serve to ‘frame’ his character in a really an interesting way by highlighting the very calculated manner in which he deliberately chooses to distance himself from society and objectively observe.  I think it would make for a fascinating juxtaposition of personalities to have Holmes be the one island of cool, pure reason and logic amidst a shifting sea of colorful emotions and responses.

The Baker Street irregulars, on the other hand, are an entirely different story.  Maybe it’s the ‘Newsies effect’, but I absolutely loved the image of a bunch of scruffy ragamuffins prancing around and belting out Cockney-colored lyrics for the sake of impressing their ‘employer’.  There’s a portion of one scene somewhere in the first act where Holmes cuts their enthusiasm off with a blunt “Are you quite finished?” sort of retort, only to later completely thwart an encore by briskly collecting Watson and walking out of the scene.  That actually had me convinced.  That’s the sort of thing I was just talking about in the lines above.  I really liked that sequence.

Overall, though, I really did have fun reading this.  The opening lines of the prologue are strongly reminiscent of Vincent Starrett’s beloved poem (whether by choice or ‘coincidence’, I don’t know), and the remainder of the piece is lovingly littered throughout with all sorts of canon references.  Irene Adler is, of course, a main character in the story and there is some romantic tension between her and Holmes, but it’s predominantly one-sided (apart from a couple of ‘teasers’ and a few moments of mental distraction on Holmes’ part), which I’m mostly alright with.  I understand the need to ‘tease’ the audience a little with this in order to help keep the story engaging, but would have (personally) gone absolutely apeshit if they’d had Holmes and Adler ‘hitch up’ at the end.  Woops…spoilers.

On a somewhat tangential note, I really felt that parts of this piece were very strongly Great Mouse Detective-esque.  So much so, in fact, that I almost wonder if this wasn’t a partial source of inspiration.  There’s the fact that the story revolves around the Diamond Jubilee, the fact that it involves infiltrating Buckingham Palace during the ceremony and the stealing of royal jewels (a thing referenced relatively early on in GMD), the fact that Holmes and Watson at are at one point tied up in a room containing a complex machine set to kill them (in this case an elaborate clockwork bomb), the fact that Moriarty attempts to escape via a ‘high-tech’ motorized balloon, and so on.  These are also all really common plot devices, so I really couldn’t say for sure whether or not there’s any truth to that.

So, to conclude, because it’s late and I need to go to bed:  I genuinely found this script to be an entertaining Saturday night/Sunday afternoon read.  It wasn’t awful, but neither was there anything in it that really stood out to me.  It didn’t really ‘pop,’ as it were.  The character voices seemed well-enough thought out (without digressing into lots of nitpicking), and the story was kind of fun if a little “blah” for my tastes (though that might change dramatically if I were to see it performed).  I’d have really liked to see a bit more originality in it, but I also enjoyed the canon references.  I did also go and look some of the music up.  I quite liked some of the songs, but felt a lot of that to be a bit “blah” as well, though I admittedly can’t accurately judge from having read the lyrics and then listened to little snippits.  I think this could be really fun on stage if set up really well and adjusted a little.  It seems as though it did relatively well for a short while, but then dropped off the map, which I can see from having read it.  (Momentarily fun, but lacking a bit in ‘resonance’.)  For now, I’m going to give it a center-line three ‘Orange Pips’.  I do think it’s pretty awesome that Christopher Walken was in this, though!

Source (book): Coopersmith, Jerome. Baker Street. Garden City (NY): Doubleday & Co., 1966.

What Wikipedia has to say.

More information on Jerome Coopersmith: IMDB

Music Sample: It’s So Simple” from Act I, Scene I (I actually quite like this one, but sadly it’s the only full-song I was able to find short of buying them all.)

Fandom “Friday” #15 ~ Oct. 14, 2012

Well, we’ve missed our ‘Fandom Friday’ mark this week.  It was my job (S.Sigerson) this week and I’m afraid I dropped the ball.  I got a bit wrapped up in a few things and…well…forgot it was Friday.  HUSH. *pouts and wags silencing finger*  I do hope you will forgive my oversight, however and enjoy our weekly Fandom selections just as much on a Sunday as on a Friday!
1.) THIS…

…makes me laugh every time I see it.  I’m really not entirely sure why.  Might have something to do with my undying  love for Sound of Music.  Or maybe it’s just my morbid sense of humor.  Either way, this would make for a hilarious spoof.  Image was found in Pinterest, but the link leads to he Tumblr page Something to Sing About put together by ‘Jen..From New Jersey’.  I can’t be certain whether or not Jen created this image, but regardless, thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!

2.)  We try hard to keep things fair and even around here, granting as much attention to ‘Sherlock’ as to the canon and other interpretations as best we can.  This…This…is just deeply lovely.

Also found on Pinterest with a link leading (once again) to Tumblr.  This time it’s a page called “Fuck Yeah Granada Holmes“, maintained, so sayeth the header, by SherlockianConnoisseur.

3.)  Now, I know I just added this to our [brand-spanking new] Tumblr page, but I think this is the most fantastic thing that I thought I’d just go ahead and post ‘er again.  Got this in the mail this last Thursday and it made me enormously happy…

That’s a limited-edition silver coin commemorating the 125th anniversary of the first publishing of A Study in Scarlet.  These coins are currently being sold by the Deutsche Sherlock Holmes Gesellschaft (German Sherlock Holmes Society — The folks behind the marvelous Baker Street Chronicle) and if you hurry, you can still get your hands on one! (Follow the hyperlink through and shoot them an email.)  Mine is currently sitting proudly atop my desk.

4.)  Since we posted a link to matching ‘Holmes and Watson’ BFF rings, it’s only fair that we post this as well…

…Created by Oneeyedfox and up for sale over on Etsy.  I *may* have just recently had one of these made for the loving nemesis in my life, and by ‘may have’ I mean that I had his sister hide it somewhere clever where he’d find it, but be confused.  It was his birthday.  I should probably be scared now.

5.)  We all have our own ideas of what the rooms at 221[b] Baker Street look like.  My experience is that they vary pretty widely.  But THIS one is particularly impressive:

Again, I can’t be overly certain of who originally produced this, but it was yet another Pinterest find via Jaime Mahoney over at Better Holmes and Gardens.  How would YOUR mock-up look??

~ And furthermore…Who’s been dancing on my chest? ~

Fandom Friday #14~ Oct. 5th, 2012

Well, welcome to October! As I have stated repeatedly, my do I love fall! A very good month for mystery, and possibly a giant (possibly bioluminescent)  hound. This month you can definitely expect some more reviews from Stormy Petrels, and some more interviews too! And without further ado, our  fairly fantastic Fourteenth Fandom Friday!

1.) One of the most fantastic things about Sherlock Holmes being the most portrayed movie character (According to Wikipedia) is that you can often pick your Holmes depending on your mood.  Now we have this handy infographic for helping us decide!

Click the image to see it in full glory! Image by Brendan Riley

2.)  Ssigerson and I have mighty plans to see many Holmes places together in our future travels, including London, Switzerland… but one of those places is definitely the Holmes Collection at the University of Minnesota’s Library

The librarian just looks so GLEEFUL! Also note WHOM the Beaton’s Christmas Annual belonged to….

3.) 25 years ago several things happened. The Minnesota Twins won the World Series. Canada introduced The Loony. Maria Von Trapp died. Sherlock Holmes turned 100.  Oh yeah, and I was born.

As Sherlock Holmes turns a century and a quarter, and I just turned a quarter of a century, some commemoration is certainly in order.  Here’s a pin from 25 years ago that I’d love to own at some point:

Found from ASherlocksHome on Etsy

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