Greetings, my excellent friends, old and new alike! Austenacious had a fab time at the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday! It may have been 100° F in the shade, but we enjoyed chatting with Austen fans and other book lovers. We wished for some wholesome English rain, so we could be picked up by the beautiful people passing by, or at least cool off a bit, but whatthehey. At least Empire waists are back in style, and fans and parasols too.
We also had hours of quiet enjoyment watching small children and big children create dioramas using our Jane Austen action figures. We even got complimented on our antique toy collection. (Most common remark from passersby: “Look, a rubber chicken!”) The late Mr. Fitzpatrick had three rubber chickens, all of whom assisted Miss Austen at the fair, as did Strawberry Shortcake, the villains of G.I. Joe, and certain handsome Starfleet officers. What we say is, why limit yourself? And you evidently agreed with us, because Jane certainly had an interesting day! So, we are asking for your help. Use your imaginations! What’s Jane up to in these parallel existences, and should we be afraid? Please tell us, in each picture, what in the world is going on. The sky’s not the limit! Thank you so much.
All photos ©2010 Heather Dever or Christine Osborne. All rights reserved.
Hello, lovely readers! Please come out and support us and reading at the West Hollywood Book Fair on September 26! We will be in hanging in booth B5, chatting up Austeneers, zombie fans, and even Brontëites. We’ll also be premiering our premiere film, working title A Truth Universally Acknowledged. You may remember that we shot this at WonderCon, but production has been, um, delayed . . . to make you that much more excited . . . not because we got busy or anything . . . . Anyway, it will be so satisfying to have real data on this question at last! Bringing science to Austen, that’s us.
In the vein of films about books (has that been done at all?), check out the Book Fair’s awesome PSA on reading! Too bad they couldn’t fit Jane in, but maybe next time.
Photo credit: Used by permission from the West Hollywood Book Fair.
Guess what? Austenacious is going to the West Hollywood Book Fair! We would love to hook up with any of our LA fans at the Fair on September 26, 2010. (Well, or have tea, I mean.) We are so excited about this event! We even hope to have delicious new swag out to test your pocketbooks. But mostly we’d just like to see you.
Based on my previous experiences at the West Hollywood Book Fair and the inclusion of Austenacious at this year’s event, we might expect, among other delights, Zombiefied Regency figures posing for pictures with tourists, and children acting out Pride and Prejudice in their own words. “Hi my name is George Wickham and I look nice, but I’m evil!” I wouldn’t even be too surprised to see panels on new possible avenues for Austenploitation, and Carol Channing and Reza Aslan in conversation with Jane Austen about seances and big hair in the Middle East. Given the incredible confluence of different worlds at the Book Fair, our minds actually boggle at what might come of it all. We can’t wait!
Hope to see you there!
Photo credit: ©2009 by Heather Dever. All rights reserved.
Readers, I have some sad news. My husband, the oft-mentioned Mr. Fitzpatrick, was killed about 10 days ago in a bicycle accident. Those of you who knew him in person know what a true gentleman he was: brilliant, caring, incredibly generous, and invariably kind. He was kinda funny, too. Those of you who didn’t know him may not realize how much influence he’s had on Austenacious: he took the photos for our blog header, including the Halloween Jane-clone-fight, which was entirely his own idea, and he took many of the photos I use to illustrate our posts. And, of course, he was the source of much knowledge on swordfighting, dueling, and other manly topics. Hell, we might not have a blog if it wasn’t for his help getting us started on the technical end. He was so happy and proud of me, of all of us, for pursuing our vision for Austenacious.
To please me, Mr. Sci-Fi/Non-Fiction Fitzpatrick read Pride and Prejudice about two years ago. And of course he loved it. He appreciated Jane’s precision of language and thought, her keen eye for human foibles, and her subtly wicked wit. He often read lines to me that he thought were especially funny—and usually these were lines that I had never noticed, that I had taken for granted. He was distressed when a male friend saw the Keira Knightley movie and didn’t realize the story was supposed to be funny. I loved seeing the book through his eyes. I wanted him to do a post for you all, but he was waiting until he read a new Jane Austen book.
I’ve been trying to think which Jane Austen character was the closest match for Mr. Fitzpatrick, but she never wrote about anyone like him. He worked to make the world a better place, for ex-drug addicts, for poor children, and even for death row inmates. He was a tinkerer, a maker of all sorts of devices to make my life smoother or more fun. He was an explorer of secret places and secret societies, of ideas of all kinds. And he wanted to go to the stars.
I really wish she had met him.
Goodbye, my love.
Erik Fitzpatrick, 1975–2010.
Photo credit: ©2001 by Heather Dever. All rights reserved.
Oh, Britain. What happened? You’ve done such a wonderful job, lately, of choosing leaders according to their ideals rather than their stunning good looks—sure, we know you thought Tony Blair was fit at the time, but the harsh light of day has dawned on that one, hasn’t it? And, well, there never were many illusions about Gordon Brown. But now…well. We never thought you’d be susceptible to our American brand of Kennedy fever, but it seems we were wrong: apparently Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg looks enough like Colin Firth’s Darcy to be extra-popular with the ladies, and—surprise!—the resemblance didn’t hurt him at the polls.
(To be fair, we call ‘logical error!’ on the assumption that Clegg’s way with the puffy shirt won him a spot in the unlikely coalition government—once the actual Firth involved himself, you see, it was all over. He’s the [hot] man behind the curtain. That‘s some smart party marketing!) (On the other hand, we salute the use of the phrase “bodice-ripping” in reference to an actual activity.)
Surely, though, Clegg isn’t the only world leader with a grain with an Austenian streak, right? To wit:
President Obama entertains the children via an Easter egg roll at his estate, the unspecifically named White House. Some suspect that his good nature does not accompany a discerning business sense, though he’s diplomatic in receiving a visit from a neighbor regarding five unmarried daughters, and attempts to smooth over difficult relations by allowing his rivals to plan balls at will—as long as there’s consensus.
Hillary Clinton, ever practical, settles for the State Department, which seems to know an awful lot about the furnishings at Rosings Park.
Angela Merkel, after dispatching her less accomplished rivals, ends up with the hottie of the neighborhood: Germany. Neighborhood gossips look on for signs of marital distress, but have little to go on—as long as nobody tries to touch her shoulders. Such a lady!
Nicolas Sarkozy lands a lady of great glamor and breeding, and with a lovely voice. And it’s a fine thing that gentlemen’s high heels are in fashion, is it not?
Readers, who are we missing?
And also, an announcement: Due to personal circumstances, Austenacious will be taking a short hiatus. Regular programming will return Thursday, May 27. Until then, drink some good tea and find some neighbors to mock, will you?
Dear readers, don’t take this the wrong way, but we suspect that you are the kind of people who get your holiday shopping done early. No careless regifters or Christmas Eve night Rite Aid mavens here—your persistent thoughtfulness and industriousness leads us to believe that our readers routinely hoard awesome cards and salt away those perfect holiday gifts for the future. You probably label them and everything. Knowing you as we do, we don’t even believe that you forget what you bought and why, therefore ending up with a closet full of vaguely gifty crap at the end of the year!
Which is why, just in time for the ever-popular post-spring break shopping season, we have an important announcement to make.
Here—the last tab on the right—you’ll find everything for the twenty-first-century Austen fan, from Disco Jane on a water bottle to the Jane Austen Fight Club for all your apparel needs. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Stay tuned—our appetite for silly Austen t-shirts is vast, and new stuff will arrive often.
After all, you know, Memorial Day is coming right up. We wouldn’t want you to fall behind.
Well, kids, thanks for playing in the Second Round! We are now on to the Sweet 16, which is sort of funny, since our one 16-year-old (Lydia) got taken out by her own mother. This is war, ladies! Check out the Austenacious_MarchMadness_Round2_Official bracket for the standings. Voting highlights:
- Hello, Colonel Fitzwilliam! Where did you come from?! I guess not saying much is a way to get yourself liked in Austenland. Maybe Mr. Bennet will prove more of a challenge than Mr. Palmer? Mr. Bennet took out Edmund Bertram quite handily. Do we see him as a Captain Picard sort of figure? Or is Edmund just that annoying?
- Mr. Darcy collected 2/3 of the votes, so Captain Wentworth put up a decent fight. I do hope the captain tries again in eight years! Mr. Darcy now faces Henry Tilney. . . You know, I think Lizzie would like Henry. They would get on so well!—I’m just saying.
- No real surprises in the rest of the men’s match-ups, though I do think Jane Austen would be pleased that Robert Martin took down Mr. Elton. He may not be a gentleman, but he isn’t a douchebag either. We’ll just see what he and Mr. Bingley make of each other!
- On the women’s side, Eliza Bennet once again trounced her opponent—this time our own lovely Miss Bennet. I do think beloved sisters fighting is sad, don’t you?. . . Well, we’ll see what Lizzie and Miss Bates make of each other—yes, Miss Bates took down Kitty. Go Miss B!
- In a weird mother-daughter match-up, Mrs. Bennet ousted Lydia, so she’ll face Lady Catherine in the next round. Sort of inevitable that Lady Catherine would deal with poor Charlotte, I suppose.
- In a rare display of spirit, Anne Elliot took care of Caroline Bingley, so she’ll face Emma this round. This will be an acid test of our voters, I think!
- Mrs. Elton defeated Mary Musgrove by the narrowest of margins (in overtime, one might say). I guess bragging is marginally less annoying than whining? She’s up against Catherine Morland, who defeated Fanny Price. Ditz who likes clothes beats sweet know-it-all! Next on Geraldo!
OK, enough of these preview chat shows. Bring on the madness! Sweet 16 voting ends MONDAY NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT, March 29/30. (I know the other MM has moved on to and past Elite Eight at that point, but we do this our way.)
Once again, fearless voters, in a battle of wits, in a duel to the death, in a love fest for the ages, who would win?
Photo credit: ©2010 by Heather Dever. All rights reserved. OK, only some rights reserved. You can copy if you credit!
Hey, y’all, we got game! Thanks to everyone who voted; yes, your responses are important to us. The First Round is over: here’s the Austenacious_MarchMadness_Round1_Official bracket if you want to follow along. Voting highlights:
- Of the Sense and Sensibility crowd, only Mr. Palmer and John Dashwood made it past the first round. OK, we were mean to put Marianne up against Eliza Bennet, who slammed her, but Elinor was only barely edged out by Anne Elliot.
- Mr. Darcy wiped the floor with Colonel Brandon (maybe if Jane Austen had known Alan Rickman this would have been a closer fight?), and Captain Wentworth soundly defeated Mr. Knightley. I’m excited to see which of them will hoop it more in the next round!
- All the Bennet women made it through their matches, all except Mary, who fell to Miss Bates. That has got to hurt! Still maybe she’ll have more time to study this way.
Enough talk, more play! Second round voting ends WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT, March 24/25.
Once again, fearless voters, in a battle of wits, in a duel to the death, in a love fest for the ages, who would win?
Hello, all you Austen lovers, and pitters of Austen against Austen. Thank you to everyone who sent in a bracket—and may I say, we can expect an exciting two weeks!
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! I declare these Games of the first Jane Austen’s March Madness open! You may commence voting when ready. The polls will close at midnight on March 20/21. If you submitted a bracket, good luck! If you didn’t, we know you still have an opinion!
Out of all of Jane Austen’s characters, in a battle of wits, in a duel to the death, in a love fest for the ages, who would win?
A quick reminder:
Jane Austen’s March Madness brackets are due THURSDAY, MARCH 18! Tip-off (see what we did there?) for the big tournament takes place that day, and we wouldn’t want anybody to miss the chance to enter. Otherwise you might, like, have to follow actual basketball, and where’s the fun in that?
If you’ve already sent your bracket in, you’re good to go. Get your voting fingers ready!
If you haven’t sent your bracket in, what are you waiting for? Download, fill out the e-form, return it, and watch the magic happen! Who knows? You might win the pool, and how often does that happen? (Come on, be honest.)
You can follow the action here on the site and via Twitter (find us here!)—join the party, and bring a friend!
Thursday. Let’s do this.