Today, 10/5/12, was the first full day at the JASNA AGM in Brooklyn. That’s Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meeting.
In this video, you’ll see Jane Austen encounter New York and the Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz. He kicked things off today and was so rousing and funny that he made me want to move to Brooklyn immediately. He worked the title of all six Jane Austen novels into his remarks, too. As he walked up the aisle to leave, I shook his hand, and he patted me on the back. It almost seemed like it was election season.
Anna Quindlen was the plenary speaker, and she spoke movingly about Jane Austen as an inspiration for today’s writers, of course, weaving in her own story. I was so impressed by Quindlen’s warmth, accessibility, intelligence, and passion.
I also got to try my hand at quilling – rolled paper put together to form images and scenes favored by those at leisure in the Regency era – and making a reticule, a handy little Regency style bag. No surprise I’m not very good at either, but great fun to try them out.
My favorite session of the day was with Russell Clark who spoke about why First Impressions bombed on Broadway in 1959. As a theater hog, I eat up everything about the Golden Age of Musicals and learning that this rendition of Pride and Prejudice just lacked that certain something of the My Fair Lady flair brought together two of my favorite pastimes — Jane Austen trivia and Broadway musicals. If he sends it, I’ll post Clark’s PowerPoint from the session, which was inspired.
And who knew that sex was coded into Jane Austen’s novels? Well, Miriam Rheingold Fuller did apparently, as she explained in her talk “Slits, Spikes, Steeds, and Scandals! Coded Sexual Indiscretion in Jane Austen’s Fiction.” Yes, it was as juicy as it sounds. Maybe even moreso…much too racy for this PG-13 blog.