neadods: (madmaninnabox)
The 2016 Jane Austen Society of North America's Annual General Meeting (technically "JASNA AGM," for which read "Austaramacon") started off with a bang last night.

Technically the main speaker was the always entertaining Ken Ludwig, who did have some very interesting things to say about how Austen was not known to have access to many comic novels (as opposed to novels she laughed at, like, say, the entire gothic genre) but had a wealth of great Shakespearean and Restoration comedies to draw on to develop her own humorous style. You could feel the Mansfield Park fans snap to attention when he pointed out that two of the great Shakespearean actresses she would have known about were Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Yeats.

But The! Most! Entertaining! people, possibly of the entire weekend, were the Dr.s Janine Barchas and Kristina Straub, the two curators of Will and Jane: The Culture of Celebrity at the Folger. What could have been a dry and shy discussion of the artifacts was instead a rollicking rip through history, culture, and opinion. "We thought because there were so many of the gilt Hotspurs that they were important. No, the Folgers just collected EVERYTHING to do with Shakespeare" and "If it looks like a tacky duck and it flies like a tacky duck... it's tacky" and (my favorite) "We call them the vaginal Richards."

Click on the cut because you KNOW know you want to know more about that phrase! )
neadods: (sherlock)
I counted out the vitamin C when I packed, and I can't help but think things like "and the morning and the evening made the third day" as I take them. It's the third day. Ball tonight, and straight home to chaos tomorrow, as I'll have workmen in all week, with a brief layover at Tin Box.

How did I live without a smart phone? I checked into my flight back without ever leaving the best panel of the meeting, the one on what foods Austen herself may have eaten. The presenter has started diningwithjaneausten.org, and over the course of a year she will be testing a variety of recipes from the Austen family cookbooks and asking for testers. But note that posts will not stay up long, as she hopes to get a cookbook out of it.

There was also a session on how Austen seems to have gotten her hero's names from the famous Whig families of Yorkshire, including a man with the melodious name "William Wentworth Fitzwilliam."

I didn't find the women who play the Bingley sisters to be all that funny to me, so I left their talk and snuck in on the one about changes in architecture and furnishings.

And now I'm back at the hotel, taking a quick look at mail and packing so I won't have to in the morning.
neadods: (sherlock)
I need an Austen icon.

We get color-coded lanyards (first timer or not) and everyone puts their tickets for the special events or their order for the banquet in the back of the badge holder, which then, inevitably, flips around. So I spent a lot of yesterday with people named "high tea" or "chicken."

Also, there's a building I can see from my window that has turned the entire top set of stories into a light show. Last night it was a lava lamp all night. Tonight, it's an aquarium.

Today, I started to get into the swing of things at the con, and have friends. Met at yesterday's events. First up, a knitting workshop for cuffs. Like the bonnet, I took the materials and the pattern but did not do the project, as we were given wool, which I passed on to another participant. I worked on another square of the project du jour, a self-designed throw called "When I'm 64," which I will put on Rav for free if it works out. Certainly it's working up fast; while here I have completed 2 of the 64 squares (which will become a ~64-inch square throw).

From there to a dance workshop. The teacher, an elderly gentleman, was strict but very good, and had us just about grasping the basics of 3 dances. I shouldn't make too much of a cake of myself tomorrow at the big ball. (My main problem was one several women had; with a predominantly female membership we had to flip between male and female positions and some of us were having trouble remembering our gender of the moment and kept trying to dance the wrong side of the line.)

I had a long lunch at the British Pub, coming back late for the opening ceremonies and talk about silence in P&P. which hadn't interested me,but when I got there, the speaker was great. He peppered his talk with trivia challenges (”How many umbrellas are mentioned in Austen?") and went on to point out some rather deep things that he'd discovered. Such as it took him 14 reads of Emma to realize that everyone in town quotes the apothecary, but the reader never hears him speak directly. Or the last time you read Captain Wentworth's direct thoughts in Persuasion, he's thinking the direct opposite of the truth.

The first of the "breakout" talks (SF folk think "multi-track panels") was about economics and the Poor Relief laws, and how,that would affect P&P in that readers of the time would know that Darcy was from a county known for its liberal views. (Whereas listeners of this time heard the same "minimum wage laws will bankrupt commerce" and "the poor are poor because they're lazy"arguments that shape American politics right now.)

The second talk,the one I wanted most of all, with menus, place settings, and games of regency entertaining, with handouts... was cancelled. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that of course the speaker's family comes first and that my misery has the requisite company, as apparently fully 1/4 of the convention had signed up for that talk. (The con runners are having a hard time of it; another talk had to be given by the speaker's son because she'd broken her leg.)

I ended up making a consolation prize of the talk that showed how elements of Austen's juvenalia were toned down and made more realistic and put into P&P and others, and laughed so hard that I almost didn't miss the other one.

Tomorrow I may sneak between the breakouts on cooking in Austen's times and the simultaneous one on how film versions always reinterpret through the lens of their time of making, illustrated with how the Netherfield ball is handled. (I was telling someone that I might clutch a phantom phone as my excuse. She said when she was leaving a panel early, she always clutched her stomach so everybody got quickly out of her way.)

By the time I got back to the room I thought I was neither hungry nor thirsty, but I suddenly realize that without noticing, I've packed away a small Caesar salad, an entire Starbucks venti cooler (my latest addiction; at least it's a low-cal one) and all of the chocolate housekeeping gave me over the last two days. (I've been tipping $5 rather than my usual $2-a-day on the advice of my new tipping app; my housekeeper's response has been to shower me with thank you notes, pillow chocolates, and gifts from the cart.)
neadods: (sherlock)
So much to say, only an ipad mini keyboard to type it on. Today was the first full day of the Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meeting (read: 221BCon for the Austen set).

I got in and got registered yesterday; [livejournal.com profile] mechturtle took me to dinner at a fab Mexican/Honduran place. O'm not at the con hotel, but one a couple of blocks away. It's nice, but there's a big overworked piece of art of a woman's face.

Did I mention that my plane reading was The Shining? I don't know if I'm relieved or disappointed that it hasn't moved.

Anyway, today I:
- went to a bonnet making workshop, which I had to leave in a hurry to get to
- the Sherlock Holmes tour
- a lecture on Regency magazines
- a lecture on the history of tea
- a fashion show and the world's stingiest tea service

...which has tuckered me out too much for the curtain raiser and Pride, Prejudice & Piquet lectures. (Plus, it's premiere night.)

Random things: Jane Austen was born on the 2nd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which was far more complex than is taught in school. The mad tea party is apparently more upsetting and unnatural to a British audience than an American one with looser ideas of what a "proper" tea is like. (Is this true?). Ladies' magazines had "lots of poetry. Lots and lots of bad poetry. Lots and lots of really bad poetry." Ackerman's magazine was as much about furnishings as fashion; in the fashion plates "they were always sitting on something fabulous."

The Holmes tour caught the last few days of Sherlock Holmes In Time and Place - a room of Reichenbach Fall memorabilia that was difficult for someone looking for a ladies room, a lecture on how U MN got the largest collection of memorabilia, a chance to take photos of a Beeton's Christman Annual and a page of the Hound manuscript. Then after a short walk, another part of the exhibit (this one about tie-ins) and a replica of the sitting room and a talk about scion societies.

Also, bonnet-making is addictive and I want to crank out a dozen.

Tomorrow, knitted mitt workshop, dance lessons, a session about what the original P&P audience would have known about class and politics, and (if a family emergency has passed) a session on food used for entertaining.

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