Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reminder: All Hallows Meeting in Binghamton, Sat., Nov. 3 (We Hope!)

Here's a reminder of our All Hallows meeting Saturday, November 3, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books, 5 Court Street, Binghamton.  Join us for a discussion of parents and parent figures--the good (but ineffectual), the bad, and the ugly!--in Jane Austen's works. Bring examples and quotes to share!

We'll also talk a little about the recent JASNA Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn, where both Regional Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown and I gave presentations (see the October 10, 16, and 19 posts on this blog). The Jane Austen's World blog has also just put up a long post about Lisa's session, with videos and photos, at this link.

SPECIAL WEATHER NOTE:  The Nov. 3 meeting will go on as scheduled IF Hurricane Sandy has caused no major complications along the Binghamton/I-81/Syracuse corridor during the week.  I will put up another post on Friday (assuming that power, if lost during the storm, has been restored by then!) with an update, after I check with our hosts at RiverRead to see what the situation is there.  (If I'm unable to post on Friday, this will probably be self-explanatory, but feel free to call me to ask. My contact info is at right under "Contact Us.")  Here's hoping we all make it through with no worse than a little wind and rain.

Finally, a special greeting to the folks who have joined JASNA in the last couple of months, and thanks to all of you members who have already renewed your memberships for the coming year.  (Remember that the new JASNA membership year officially began on Sept. 1.) If you're a member who hasn't yet renewed, we hope you'll do so--and if you haven't yet joined JASNA, it's never too late!  Go to this link for more information.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Laurie Viera Rigler Reading in Buffalo

On Thursday, November 15, at 7 pm, the Medaille College Write Thing reading series will be hosting Laurie Viera Rigler--author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, and an Austen-related web series--at the Medaille campus in Buffalo.  Alice Villasenor, a JASNA friend who recently appeared in the Young Scholars Panel at the AGM in Brooklyn (see the October 19 post) and who teaches at Medaille, sent us this news and adds, "It would be great to see JASNA members in attendance!"  For more information about the reading, go here.  And feel free to contact Alice here if you have further questions.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The 2012 AGM: Pleasant Moments and Memorable People

Your Regional Coordinator writes:

The 2012 JASNA Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn has been reported so extensively by the national media (see the October 10 and 16 posts for links) that I'm going to forgo my usual AGM post in favor of a photo essay focusing on my own favorite moments and people.  The photos were taken by either Syracuse/Rochester Co-RC Lisa Brown, Syracuse Regency Beau Ed Voytovich, or myself.

First and foremost, we had Jane Austen herself on hand offering good advice.

AGM Co-Coordinators Nili Olay and Jerry Vetowich, along with Special Events Coordinator Kerri Spennicchia (not shown), have been working like stevedores for the past several years to ensure that this AGM would be a success.  Three hearty huzzahs for Nili, Jerry, and Kerri!

Green "Statue of Liberty" caps identified all of the New York Metro Region's helpful volunteers (who were augmented by several reinforcements from the Rochester and Syracuse Regions).  Michael Levin, husband of Meg Levin (one of NYM's Co-RCs), models the cap plus an extremely dapper Regency waistcoat.

 NYM's other Co-RC, Linda Dennery, was the conference's mistress of ceremonies.

A small flotilla of volunteer models, dressers, and stagehands assisted in making Lisa Brown's "Dressing the Miss Bennets" the crowd- and media-pleaser it so deservedly was.  Here, Tom Grande of Rochester inflates one of Lisa's mannequins with the aid of a compressor.

Another of the hardest-working people at the conference was Jennifer Weinbrecht (second from left),  of Jane Austen Books, here chatting with a customer in the Emporium.  The customer is carrying one of the distinctive black and red 2012 AGM tote bags.

Some of the Emporium's more frivolous wares!

One special session that I thought should have gotten more attention than it did was an exhibit of items from the Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, that people were encouraged to handle and examine closely.  Here's a copy of a pamphlet describing the 1799 trial for shoplifting of Mrs. Leigh Perrot, JA's rich and eccentric aunt.

And this is the account book of JA's great-grandmother Elizabeth Weller Austen.  Elizabeth was first left a widow with seven children at an early age, and was then practically disinherited by her wealthy father-in-law in favor of her eldest son.  (Shades of Sense and Sensibility!) Elizabeth bravely went out to work--at a time when extremely few women did so--and saw to it that her other six children were brought up respectably.  Her meticulous accounts were a vital part of this effort.

Dr. Cornel West's Saturday morning plenary session--in which he linked JA to various major strands of Western civilization, in rousing African American preacher style--was probably the most electrifying I've heard at any of the five AGMs I've attended. 

The Young Scholars Panel, with (left to right) Rachel Brownstein as moderator, Gillian Dow, Alice Villasenor, and Juliette Wells, was well worth hearing Saturday noon. 

At my breakout Saturday afternoon, "Sex, Power, and Other People's Money: The Prince Regent and His Impact on Jane Austen's Life and Work," I got a very warm reception.  I'm most grateful to the members of my audience--which included many friends from the 2009 JASNA tour of England, from earlier AGMs, and from all the NY State JASNA Regions--for their support.

Meg Levin, who introduced me at the breakout, shows off not only the commemorative medals I brought to pass around, but her own elegant Regency attire!

And then it was time for the banquet, promenade, and ball!  Here, Jason Flay and Nadia Vedder of the Syracuse Region enjoy the banquet.

Mary Pinkes--also of the Syracuse Region, although now a student at Mount Holyoke College--accepted her first-place essay contest award at the college level during the banquet.

A drummer and a fifer led us on the promenade.


Dancers of all ages and skill levels enjoyed the ball, from our own dance expert Lisa Brown... the littlest Janeites!

Finally, at Sunday brunch, we had the usual preview of coming attractions.  Here, Elaine Bander as Mrs. Norris deplores the quantity of butter and eggs that will be served at the 2014 AGM in Montreal. Leslie Eiser as Lady Bertram, accompanied by Pug, looks on bemusedly.

And Jerry and Nili prepare to hand over the AGM banner to Gail Parker of Minneapolis (second from left) for the 2013 AGM.  Iris Lutz, national JASNA President, looks on at right.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Upstate Productions of Pride and Prejudice

Lest you should think that all the Austen-related action has been happening in New York City this month, separate productions of Pride and Prejudice have been mounted in Ogdensburg and Albany as well.  Alas, the Ogdensburg production is playing for one night only as your RC writes this, and she is contrite at having learned of it and put up this post so late.  Nevertheless:

For an account of the L.A. Theatre Works production of P&P that took place in Ogdensburg on Tuesday, October 16, go here.

And for information about the Capital Repertory Theatre production of Pride@Prejudice--which, happily, is playing in Albany through October 28, and which certainly sounds like an entertaining and "Twittery" version of the classic--go here.

More Links to Coverage and Photos of the AGM

Well, one thing's for sure:  Hold a JASNA Annual General Meeting in one of New York City's five boroughs, and the press shows up!  Herewith, more links to media coverage of the 2012 AGM in Brooklyn:

For The Wall Street Journal, go here.

For the New York Daily News, go here.

For The Christian Science Monitor, go here.

For the unique perspective of a young writer who was one of Syracuse/Rochester Co-RC Lisa Brown's models for the "Dressing the Miss Bennets" presentation, go here.

And for JASNA Syracuse Regency Beau Ed Voytovich's photo album, go here.

Finally, your RC absolutely promises to post a personal view of the AGM tomorrow, plus some more photos!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The JASNA AGM in The New York Times

A longer post about the JASNA Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn this past week will be coming shortly.  Meanwhile, The New York Times has taken note of the AGM:  An article and many photos were posted to the online edition the evening of October 8 and appeared in the October 9 print edition.  And, at least for the time being, our own Lisa Brown (Co-RC for both Syracuse and Rochester) is the most celebrated Regency clothing expert in the land!  Go here for the online article and here for the photo slide show.  With pardonable pride, we've provided our own photo of Lisa's presentation above.

And your RC's breakout session on the Prince Regent was also well received.