Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In Memoriam: Sandra Stevens and Jane Stuart-Andrus

Your Regional Coordinator writes:

I'm sad to have to pass on the news that a JASNA Syracuse member and a kind friend to JASNA Syracuse have both died recently.

First, Sandra Stevens died on March 17. Sandra was the skilled "mantua-maker" featured in this post last year on the JASNA Syracuse blog, and was a dedicated member of both the JA Book Club at the Colgate Bookstore and JASNA Syracuse. I got to know Sandra better through her work on the Regency gown featured in the blog post, and I'm grieved that such a gentle and talented person was taken from us so soon. We send our condolences to Sandra's daughters, grandchildren, and other family members.

Second, Jane Stuart-Andrus--a co-owner of RiverRead Books, JASNA Syracuse's congenial meeting place in Binghamton--died on April 5. Jane's online obituary is a wonderful tribute to a life excellently and energetically lived. We send our sympathies to Jane's family and to her fellow RiverRead co-owners, Connie Barnes and Patricia Hutchinson-Day.

I'll send out a reminder about our JASNA Syracuse May Day meeting at RiverRead (5 Court St., Binghamton, Saturday 5/10, 2 pm) as we get closer to the date.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two Assemblies in May

After the winter we've had here in Central New York, the prospect of not one but two assembly balls--one in Rochester and one in Spencerville, Ontario, just across the border--is a most welcome one. Here are the details:

First, the Eighth Annual Jane Austen Ball in Rochester, co-sponsored by the Country Dancers of Rochester and JASNA Rochester, will be held on Sunday, May 4, at 2 pm. The elegant private venue that has hosted the Ball for the past several years will once again be the setting (details available upon registration). A full prospectus for the weekend and a registration form are available at this page of the CDR website. The page also includes several YouTube videos, either from previous Balls or from CDR demonstration dances (click on the links for individual dance titles under the "Dance Program" heading).


Second, some of our JASNA friends in Spencerville, Ontario, have sent us this prospectus for their ball later in May. Our correspondent, The Belle of the Ball, can be emailed at this address, and a YouTube video of last year's ball can be viewed here. The prospectus follows:

My dears, it is with limitless joy that we announce our forthcoming Regency Ball in Spencerville. We hope to enjoy your presence on May 23-25, 2014 for a series of dance workshops and Mrs. Sarah Spencer’s Regency Ball.

Our slate of entertainments is not yet complete, but may we entice you with the following:
Friday May 23 Ball Dances Workshop, 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
Saturday May 24 Ball Dances Workshop, 10:00 to noon.
Saturday May 24 Callers Workshop, 2:00 to 4:00, wherein the services of many dancers are required.
Saturday May 24 Regency Ball, 7:30 to midnight, with a light repast at 9:30.
Sunday May 25 Advanced Dance workshop, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Additional fee required.

All dancing takes place at the Spencerville Town Hall.
All dancing workshops are casual dress.
The Regency Ball is mandatory period clothing.

Our caller is our good man David Smukler, with his delightful wife as accompanist, and his band of great renown for the ball.

Cost for this magnificent three-day event is $75 per person, with additional fee of $10 for the advanced Sunday workshop.

We trust we shall be favoured with your presence on this happy occasion.

Your humble servant,
The Belle of the Ball


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reminder Update: Ithaca Meeting, Sat., March 8

Here’s a very quick reminder of our JASNA Syracuse/Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca joint meeting this coming Saturday, March 8, at 2 pm, at the Crow’s Nest Cafe on the second floor of the Autumn Leaves Bookstore, 115 The Commons, Ithaca.

Our topic for this meeting, as noted in earlier announcements, will be “Theatre and Performance in Mansfield Park.” We’ll discuss some of the questions that readers have raised through the years about the planned Bertram/Crawford performance of Lovers’ Vows--as well as the extent to which “all the world’s a stage” for at least some of the characters.

(And as you can see in the photo above, Action Jane Austen has no personal objection to home theatricals. In fact, she quite enjoys acting out dramatic tableaux with her friends Action Sigmund Freud, Action Spider-Man, Action Harry Potter, and Action Crazy Cat Lady, plus numerous cats and a few others. Clearly, Action Sigmund Freud lost the "Argument Clinic" from the Feb. 1 meeting at Liverpool!)

Finally, we pass along a few requests from our hosts for this meeting, the friendly “pirates” of the Crow’s Nest Cafe: Please don’t bring “outside” food or drink into the cafe, and we need to keep our voices to a conversational level, since the cafe shares open space with the rest of Autumn Leaves. We heartily encourage you to purchase food and beverages from the “pirates,” and we should be able to abide by the voice-level request if we refrain from “ranting” like Mr. Yates playing Baron Wildenhaim!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reminder: JASNA Syracuse/JABC Ithaca Joint Meeting in Ithaca, Sat., March 8

On Saturday, March 8, at 2 pm, at the Crow's Nest Cafe (on the second floor of the Autumn Leaves Bookstore, 115 The Commons, Ithaca), JASNA Syracuse will be joining forces with the Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca to discuss "Theatre and Performance in Mansfield Park."

As part of our continuing observance of Mansfield Park's 200th anniversary this year, let's think about all the ways in which role playing plays a role in this controversial novel. As the Crawfords and the Bertrams prepare to perform Lovers' Vows, what's the problem with putting on a play at home--or at least this particular play, with this particular cast? Is more acting taking place off stage than on? And did Jane Austen herself disapprove of home theatricals? We'll discuss these and other questions--and perhaps read some of our favorite passages from the play and the novel.

Special note: A JABC Ithaca member has just informed me that this weekend's print version of the Ithaca Times has run an event listing incorrectly giving the date for this meeting as Sun., Feb. 23. The date and time will be as given in boldface above. We apologize for the mixup, and hope to see as many of you as possible on March 8.

A Concert in Ithaca and a Jane Austen Day in Philadelphia

And while we’re thinking and talking about Ithaca, here’s a message from an old friend of JASNA Syracuse, Dr. Joanna Manring--the director of the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies (formerly of Skaneateles and now of Lexington, KY). Joanna writes of an upcoming musical event in Ithaca:


Greetings, friends old and new!

I'm delighted to be coming to Ithaca at the end of March as the soprano soloist for Haydn's uplifting Creation with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and Ithaca College Choir under the direction of Lanfranco Marcelletti. A perfect way to herald spring! The concert will be in Ford Hall on the Ithaca College campus on March 29th at 8 pm.  Tickets are available at the CCO's website.

I hope to see you there!


In addition, Paul Savidge, Regional Coordinator for JASNA Eastern Pennsylvania, has sent us word of his Region’s forthcoming “Jane Austen Day” in Philadelphia:


I am writing to invite you and your regional members to Jane Austen Day 2014 in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 26, 2014, sponsored by the Eastern Pennsylvania Region of JASNA. This year's day-long event entitled The Unfinished Jane Austen will be a fascinating exploration of Austen's two unfinished novels, The Watsons and Sanditon, and a provocative discussion of what Austen might have accomplished if she had lived a longer life. We are very excited to have an illustrious panel of Austen scholars joining us for Jane Austen Day. Presentations by Professors Jocelyn Harris, Janine Barchas and Michael Gamer will be the highlights of the event.

Jane Austen Day will be held in the exquisite Grant Room at Philadelphia’s historic Union League and will include complimentary morning tea and coffee, a delicious luncheon, selected merchants including a bookseller, and an abundance of good discussion and fellowship.  Registration must be postmarked by April 5th. Information about Jane Austen Day is available on the Region's website.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reminder: JASNA Syracuse Candlemas Meeting at Liverpool, Sat., Feb. 1

On Saturday, February 1, at 2 pm,  in the Sargent Room of the Liverpool Public Library (310 Tulip St., Liverpool), our Candlemas meeting will be devoted to two midwinter diversions: an “Argument Clinic” on Mansfield Park, and a book swap!

2014 is the 200th anniversary year for Mansfield Park--which has always been Jane Austen’s most controversial novel. So, taking our cue from the old Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch, let’s hold an “Argument Clinic” on MP (though a much more courteous one than the Pythons’ session becomes!). Love Fanny Price or hate her? Want to take Mary Crawford out to dinner or hang her out to dry? Can anything positive be said about Henry Crawford--or, for that matter, about Edmund Bertram? What’s wrong with putting on a play at home, anyway? And so forth!

(In the photo above, Action Jane Austen is having her own "Argument Clinic" with Action Sigmund Freud. Can you imagine the conversation Miss Austen and Dr. Freud might have about Mary Crawford's "Rears and Vices" joke?)

To chase the February blues away even further, we plan a book swap. If you can, please bring at least one book to the meeting with you to donate to the swap; it needn’t be Austen-related, but it should be of potential interest to our members and guests. And plan to take away at least one book! Any books left over at the end of the meeting will be donated to the Liverpool Library for its book sale.

Finally, please make a note of the dates, locations, and topics for our Lady Day and May Day meetings. (The Lady Day meeting is rather early, and the May Day meeting is rather late--but that’s the way things worked out with various folks’ schedules.)

On Saturday, March 8, at 2 pm, in the Crow’s Nest Cafe of Autumn Leaves Bookstore (115 The Commons, Ithaca), we’ll join forces with the Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca to discuss “Theatre and Performance in Mansfield Park.” (More about those home theatricals...plus the playing of roles in “real life” in the novel.)

And on Saturday, May 10, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books (5 Court St., Binghamton), we’ll talk about Austen’s treatment of the clergy in her work in general--and in Mansfield Park in particular.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Austenmas!

First, a very happy "Austenmas" (as Lisa Brown calls Jane Austen's birthday, December 16) to you all! And a very happy birthday to Our Authoress, who at age 238 is riding higher than ever in our and the world's esteem. (Above, a photo of a quilt Jane Austen and other family members made.)

Second, here's the link to the national JASNA organization's Austenmas gift to the world: Volume 34.1 of Persuasions On-Line, JASNA's electronic journal.  This link always goes “live” at midnight on Dec. 16. The issue includes papers on Pride and Prejudice from JASNA's 2013 Annual General Meeting in Minneapolis, as well as a very lively "Miscellany" section (which even includes a paper on the YouTube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries)!

Third, here's a supplement to a recent communication: In addition to the two English Country Dance events already held in our Region this month, the Syracuse Country Dancers will be hosting an English Country Dance at the United Church of Fayetteville (310 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville) on Saturday, Dec. 21, 8-11 pm. Carmen Giunta will be calling. Music by Baa and the Shepherds: Barbara Seppeler, piano, Lee and Julian Shepherd, violin and cello, with a guest appearance by Ruth Thomson, Celtic harp. Thanks to Lee Shepherd for the information. (Note, by the way, that information about events hosted by ECD groups in three Upstate cities--Syracuse, Rochester, and Binghamton--can always be obtained by clicking on the appropriate links in the “Links” column on the right side of this blog.)

Finally, JASNA Syracuse’s first meeting of 2014 will be the Candlemas meeting, held in the Sargent Room of the Liverpool Public Library (310 Tulip St., Liverpool) on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 pm. Taking our lead from the old Monty Python sketch called “The Argument Clinic,” we’re going to hold an “Argument Clinic” on Mansfield Park, JA’s most controversial novel (which is celebrating its bicentennial in 2014). Love Fanny Price or hate her? Want to take Mary Crawford out to dinner or hang her out to dry?  We’ll shake off the midwinter blahs even further by having a book swap. Details about the swap, and about subsequent 2014 meetings, will be given in the new year.