Thursday, April 10, 2014

221B Con report: Sunday

The last day is always bittersweet.

I managed to catch Marilynne McKay for breakfast and she introduced me to a member of the BSI, Bob Steck, "The Mysterious Scientist", who told me a number of engrossing stories about Sherlockian history.

It's going to be a tradition for me to take a picture in front of the door, so here's this year's picture and last year's.

The Baker Street Babes held a live podcast, starring Ashley Polasek who is going to receive her PhD in Sherlock Holmes adaptations. I needed to bow out for this panel in order to get my Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn ID badge, but I will tell you as much as I can about the discussion.

The podcast mostly centered on Ms. Polasek's journey from becoming a communications major to her current doctoral program, and it seemed that all along, she had this motif throughout her projects and changing majors that led to Holmes himself.

The Babes gave her this quiz in which they tricked her into thinking it was going to be a tough one, but turned out to be about herself- what her favorite Holmes adaptation was, which Holmes she liked best, and a few questions like, "Which actor has played both Holmes and Watson?" (A: Jeremy Brett, as one answer). At the end, she was named the 12th Baker Street Babe.

Around the time I left, the discussion was about the evolution of Sherlock Holmes in adaptations. He has evolved from a character who leads the story as a mostly self-sufficient hero with sidekick Watson to needing Watson so badly to the point where he is damaged and cannot manage himself or others without Watson. Ultimately, the focal shift is on Watson. Holmes has become a device to drive the plot and create conflict, interest, and draw, but the stories are ultimately Watson's.

Last year there was a similar discussion on a panel which was why Watson has become so important. The accepted conclusion that the group made was very interesting. We as an audience want Holmes to need Watson, as our mirror. We don't want Holmes going on adventures without us, so we create a Holmes that needs us (Watson) as badly as we need Holmes. Thus, the shift in the role of Watson.

Next, I went to Howard Ostrom's Si-Lock Holmes Silent film panel. Howard wrote an essay about Sherlock Holmes in silent films. I didn't think it would be an interest of mine, but I went anyway to see if I could learn something. Not only was there a wealth of knowledge presented at the panel, but I laughed so hard during the presentation that tears started to form in my eyes. He asked the audience some questions, and someone answered correctly, they got a laminated Holmes card.

You can read the essay here. Be prepared, it's a long (but enjoyable) read.

 I always try to work it out so that I arrive very early and stay late, but I always forget to factor in the time to get through security at the airport.

It was cold and rainy when I left last year, too.