As I sat in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel while waiting for my sister to come in from work I saw: Peter Crupe, Jerry Margolin, John Farrell from Los Angeles (big guy with beard), Bob Thomalen, Wayne and Francine Swift, Joe Moran, Dorothy Shaw (wife of John Bennett Shaw), Dick Miller, Scott Monty, Andrew Solberg, Marilyn Mackay, Marilyn McGregor, Bob Katz, and a host of familiar faces to whom names cannot be put at the present time.
I met my sister Paula at about 6 pm and we went to a French fish restaurant for dinner. Really! I had calamari stuffed with spinach and artichokes and Paula had shrimp and scallops in teriyaki sauce and we shared a creme brulee. No French Fries. Then with some time to waste while waiting for the Pollaks to join us, we went over to the Roundabout Theater and got tickets for Saturday night for "Little Me", a play we had done in high school. About this time we noticed that the tickets David Pollak had gotten us for "Fosse" were box seats, right next to the stage. Terribly obstructed view of the stage for anything happening stage left but great for seeing every muscle in movement on those wonderfully lithe little bodies. Makes one want to run right out the to gym and get into shape.
Anyway, some of the shows represented were "Sweet Charity", "Dancin", "Kiss me Kate", "Damn Yankees", "Pajama Game", "Liza with a Z", "Chicago", "Pippin", "Cabaret", "All that Jazz". Huge cast - very talented. Totally unknown to us. The last number was Benny Goodman's "Sing, Sing, Sing". I spent the number watching the musicians instead of the dancers. sigh.
Afterwards, since the west coast 4 hadn't eaten, we went to Virgil's BBQ and watched them scarf down fried chicken, bbq chicken, chili and lamb. Paula had popcorn shrimp and I had some cheese stuffed jalapenos. Beers, of course.
It is snowing. Hard. Coupla inches so far. A messy greasy snow. Interesting cab ride back - sliding and slippying.
But to the luncheon. Got there about on time. Visited with too many people to - okay okay! Catherine Cooke, Barbara and Christopher Roden, Owen Dudley Edwards, Jon Lellenberg's wife Susan Jewell, Anthony Richards from England, the usual Brooklyn scion crew, Marsha Pollak again, Dorothy Stix, Dorothy Shaw, Pricilla Ridgway, Shirley Purvis, Sherry Rose Bond and Scott Bond, Warren Randall, Scott Monty, the usual ASH crew (Susan Rice et al), Hirachi Hiruama and Matsuda (?), the Hiratas, Richard Olken, Andy Solberg, Jerry Margolin, David Stuart Davies and his wife, the guy from New Zealand again (David Greeney?), and Dick Miller.
Lunch was the usual choice of roast beef, chicken marsala and salmon wellington. Our entire table picked the salmon! Dessert was chocolate three ways - cheesecake, cake and mocha layers.
Entertainment was Andrew Joffee and the announcer for the PSBS (Public Sherlockian Broadcast System) with the typical pledge period stuff and giveaways. He came on as if the previous program ("This Old House" with Jonas Oldacre explaining how to "Fireproof your home") had just finished. For a basic pledge of "$18.95" you got a tee shirt with the profound "When you have eliminated etc" quote on the front and on the back "I went over Reichenbach Falls and all I got was this lousy tee shirt" on the back. For $50 pledge you got a rare volume of Isaac Asimov limericks which had *not* been signed by the author (howls from the audience). For a thousand dollars a cruise on the Dutch ship "Freisland" with a chance to meet the Giant Rat of Sumatra and Cathy Lee Gifford. And on to the next program, a repeat of the famous Sister Wendy talking about pictures from the Holmes stories. Andrew's wife, Sarah Montague, played Sister Wendy complete with lisp and nun outfit. Paul Singleton and Andrew did dialogues from several stories and ended each in a "portrait tableau" which Sister Wendy then discussed to much hilarity. The best part was Richard Wein playing the horse, Silver Blaze in the first tableau. Bent over, on a chair. You had to be there...
Well. It's 1:50 am and we have just arrived at the apartment. We left for the BASH at 5 pm. The cab fishtailed and wiggled all the way down and then the snow changed to rain. By the time we came home again, it is all rain and the snow is all gone. sigh. Paula was upset at losing the snow. I wasn't!!
We got to the bash place early enough to help set up a bit and then help with the lines of people trying to check coats and get their packets of goodies.
We had toasts to absent or dead friends, Dr Mortimer, Mrs Barrymore, The Hound, and Selden by his sister (played in full accent and in rhyme by Rosemary Michaud). The Grimpen Mire choir sang (in costume and in dance) and the first paper was given by Will Walsh, "17 Steps to cure Addiction to Sherlock Holmes". Very funny. First step was to admit that Sherlock Holmes is fictional. And it went downhill from there. Another round of choir songs and then a Sherlockian Mentalist did tricks with cards, drawings, handing around things and getting people to think of one thing then guessing it etc. Then a paper by the Hounds own Brad Keefauver! on how Conan Doyle "built Holmes" in the great tradition of Frankenstein. And he proved it! You can prove anything you want by way of the canon. Then an auction of items, a few more songs and over at 11:30pm. The BSI were coming in from their dinner at the last bits.
I finally met Brad, Don Hobbs, Judith Orr, Steve Clarkson, Peter Calamai. And took pictures of all of them. Also got pics of Jane Hinckley, Bob Thomalen, David Stuart Davies, Owen Dudley Edwards, the Haradas (sp)(from Tokyo) in costume as Godzilla and Ghidra (really!). Still haven't seen Peter Blau.
We stayed an hour or so after the bash talking to friends and then walked with Steve Clarkson, Judith Orr, Sandy Kozinn and another fellow to try to help them get a cab. In the rain. That means no cabs available - either all were taken or off duty. Really. We led them to two corners to try to get them a cab and finally left them at a good corner and took the subway home (the subway was only half a block away).
Cocktail Party went ok. Got there right at 3 pm and the line for the coat check was around 4 miles long. But we survived and went upstairs to the party room to eat and drink. Open bar, with lots of champers. And yummy hot hors d'oeurves being handed around by the waiters. Pigs in blankets, chicken with peppers, crab cakes, quiches, asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, and more. Then the 'hot tables' opened: chinese chicken with veggies, pasta with pesto sauce, and pasta with tomato sauce. And the bar was still open. Al Rosenblatt did his usual poem about the BSI dinner (including a link between Monica Lewinsky and 'The Second Stain' -- we all groaned!) and Mike Whalen actually mentioned the Baskerville Bash in his remarks. Then Peter Blau ran the auction for the Watson Fund, and we dispersed. Talked to most of the people we saw during Friday's events, plus a few we'd missed: John Baesch, Peter Blau, and Teddie & Tyke Niver. Linda ran around trying to get pictures of people she'd missed-- caught John and Peter. Then Linda and I left and headed up to Times Square.
To waste time, we dropped into the Disney Store (and ended up buying Linda an Eeyore t-shirt), then into the Warner Brother's store across the street (where we bought some joke gifts for Mom), then into the Virgin Records Megastore (where we bought a tape of "Riverdance" for Mom). Then on to the Roundabout Theatre for "Little Me".
Linda's seat was front row, center. Mine was near the back -- we couldn't get two together, and after all, 1) she's the tourist, and 2) she's the one with the letch for Martin Short, the star. Linda hadn't remembered the show, but once she heard the music it came back to her. She'll have to tell you what it was like to be sweated on by Short and by Faith Prince.
I'll never wash again. (cue chorus of "Eeeuuuuwww!!!") Actually, none of them spit (unlike Christopher Plummer) and trust me, I would have been drenched if they did. The orchestra was up above and in back of the stage. I was literally 2 feet and sometimes less from the stars and the dancers. You wanna know who has scars and where? How blue Martin's eyes are? sigh. drool. Hey, if they are cute 2 feet away sweating and singing and dancing then on the big screen they can be devastating with all the makeup etc. Hell, they are devastating 2 feet away. They did some timely things with the script and business: the USS Gigantic scene started with two kids on the bow (or snout of the boat for the unnautical) doing the "King of the World" thing. And the interrogation of the actors for the murder trial in the beginning was done ala Bob Fosse complete with hand and hat gestures. The audience about died laughing. Lots of times Faith Prince was giggling so hard at Martin that she couldn't get her lines out and he would ad lib funnier and funnier stuff until one time she told him sotto voce to "Stop it!" and leaned on him until she could talk. I loved being that close. Wonderful. I owe Paula big time for that favor.
Too many people, too few waitstaff, too few kitchen help. and they wouldn't open the doors until exactly noon and there were about 40 frozen Sherlockians out in front willing to buy liquor at the bar if only they could come in and get warm. It was at the Landmark Tavern at 11th Ave and 46 St. small, two floors and I think we took all available tables. The bathroom upstairs was literally a bathroom with tub and pull chain toilet. No lock on door. Various people ordered (at our table) oatmeal pancakes, eggs benedict with irish bacon, chicken livers and eggs and scotch eggs. It was quite a diverse group and there were people there no one seemed to know. Various ones had to leave early to catch planes etc. When it became after 1pm and no food had arrived we started to worry. The plane catchers went down to the kitchen and asked that their food be cooked now. A good thing. We werent' served until 2 pm. After the first food at our table was delivered, it engendered a most lively discussion. Shirley Purves was the recipient of oatmeal pancakes. Which Sarah Montague declared "hearty". Her husband Andrew Joffee thought "healthy" was closer. Priscilla Ridgway said "stout". I decided it was a way for the peasants in Ireland to get rid of leftover 3 day old oatmeal - fry it in a big, big cake. Paula thought it was overly healthy and why didn't they just use oatmeal flour instead of the whole bag of oatmeal. Everyone had a piece, as Shirley said "anyone who could eat that whole thing was indeed a peasant in need of such sustenance." In other words, we had fun. I took Shirley's picture. Before pancake. We left after my eggs arrived and I ate a couple of the sausage covered hard boiled eggs which had been deep fried then cut in two. The sausage was good.
Back to the apartment after a quick run down to Century 21 to shop and then out to the bus and home to Bloomsburg, PA by 10 pm.
And if it don't snow to close the interstates I'll do it all again next year!
Article appeared originally on "The_Baker_Street_E-regulars" and "The Hounds of the Internet" 12-Jan-99.
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