My Adventures at the 2011 JASNA AGM

Over 600 “Janeites” attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) October 13th through 16th, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas.  My husband and I were among them. We’ve attended two other AGM’s, one in Milwaukee, WI (2005) and the other in Vancouver, British Columbia (2007), but this is the first year I brought a video camera to record a few highlights of the event. My husband, Matthew Shane Bronson, went with me to my first AGM in Milwaukee. He was reluctant to go, but by the end of that conference he was so thrilled with the events and Regency Ball that he became a member of JASNA, too. This year he was so excited about the conference that our first stop on October 12th was in Southlake at a costume shop called “Over the Top.”

Shane in Costume Before Saturday's Banquet

That evening about 7 PM we went by the Renaissance Worthington Hotel and picked up our registration packets. We each received an awesome bag filled with goodies.

At 8:30 the following morning (Thursday, Oct 13th), Shane and I attended a class taught by Ms. Beverly Francis on English Country Dancing. We learned four dances: “Sprigs of Laurel”, the “Duke of Kent Waltz”, “Midnight Ramble,” and “Mr. Beverage’s Maggot.”

Although I brought a nice dress to wear to the ball, it was not a period costume like my husband’s, so I did a little shopping Thursday afternoon for accessories (shoes).

2011 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and by the time the official welcome took place at 1:30 PM on Friday (October 14th), several women were already sporting buttons to support their favorite leading man from the book. One could choose either “Team Willoughby” or “Team Brandon.” I chose “Team Brandon.”

Highlights from my dancing class and sessions as well as the the banquet and promenade around Sundance Square are in my video entitled, JASNA AGM 2011- Episode 1 (~ 7 minutes).

The Regency Ball that followed the promenade could not be summed up in one video, so I created three:

JASNA 2011 AGM- Episode 2 (~5 minutes)

JASNA 2011 AGM- Episode 3 (~8 minutes)

JASNA 2011 AGM- Episode 4 (~9 minutes)

Despite the fact that we didn’t return to our hotel until 1 AM on Saturday night, I was up at 6 o’clock to pack, check out and arrive at the Regency Emporium and Author Book Signing by 8:30 AM. A wedding breakfast followed:

Beginning at 10 AM a brunch celebrating the marriage of Miss Marianne Dashwood to Colonel Brandon took place. The newlyweds made an appearance but so did Willoughby. Thankfully, Colonel Brandon dealt with the scoundrel, and we were able to finish our Barton Cottage bacon and Delaford fresh fruit in peace.

In the end, my husband and I were both sorry to leave, but at least we can relive the experience through the many photos and videos I captured of this year’s event. Sadly I don’t know if we’ll be able to attend next year’s AGM in Brooklyn, New York, but we are definitely planning to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the…

2013 Annual General Meeting
October 4-6, Minneapolis, Minnesota

709 days and counting…

Upcoming Author Visits and JASNA AGM 2011 in Fort Worth, TX

I was scheduled to visit several elementary schools in Fort Worth next week, and when I realized the 2011 JASNA AGM is also in Fort Worth and coincides with my trip, I knew I had to attend. I was too late to obtain an author table for the member book signing, but I’m so excited about the sessions and the Regency Ball Saturday night. The only question is, what will I wear?

Ch 46 of Sense and Sensibility, (Jane Austen N...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been a member of JASNA (The Jane Austen Society of North America) since 2004, and I’ve attended two other AGM’s (Annual General Meetings), one in Milwaukee, WI (2005) and the other in Vancouver, British Columbia (2007). This event is always a great inspiration for my novel(s), The Crossroads of Highbury (a work in progress since 2002). 2011 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Many of the sessions will focus primarily on that book, but I’m also attending sessions that cover broad topics for the Regency period. Here is a peek at my schedule next week:

Wednesday, October 12th

In the morning I visit Dobbs Elementary, and in the afternoon I go to Springer Elementary school.

That evening, sometime between 4 and 8 pm, I’ll drop by the Renaissance Worthington Hotel and pick up my registration packet for the AGM.

Thursday, October 13th

8:30 am – 10 am English Country Dancing Instruction. This class will prepare me for the Regency Ball Saturday night.

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM “The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen”
From the Chawton Estate, the British crime writer Lindsay Ashford, whose novels have been published on both sides of the Atlantic, will tell a fictional story that follows the relationship of Jane Austen and Anne Sharp. Shocked by Jane’s death, Anne turns detective, determined to discover how Jane died and who may have wanted her dead.  Attendees will learn that it is best not to take things at “face” value.

2:30 PM – 3:15 PM “Managing Muslins in the Modern Millennium”
During this engaging special session, Ms. Bradley will review the nuances of Regency clothing and accessories from head to toe, with particular attention to the class distinctions and the social aspects of dress.  Included in her talk will be an explanation of likely wardrobe choices of various characters in Sense and Sensibility.

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM “A Look to Die For”
After dinner on my own, I will step back into the Regency period with special guest lecturer Jinger Heath, founder of BeautiControl skin care company.  Ms. Heath will enlighten us on the perils of beauty with her presentation “A Look to Die For: Regency Cosmetics and Esthetics,” which examines the various methods and means that women used to enhance their looks in Jane Austen’s time.  I’ll learn which poisons of the past were used for “enhancing” a woman’s looks and what social conventions dictated the sacrifice of health for beauty in Regency England.

9:15 – 10:30 pm Whist for Dummies

Friday, October 14th

In the morning I visit Redeemer Montessori School in Irving, and that afternoon I return to the JASNA AGM.

Image via Wikipedia

The official welcome to the 2011 JASNA AGM is at 1:30 pm.

1:55 pm to 2:55 pm:  Dr. Joan Ray will discuss “Sense and Sensibility as Austen’s Problem Novel”.

Session A2 (3:15 PM) Liz Cooper, Wisconsin Region
Jane Austen, Publisher: Writing herself into money and longing for more
“I am never too busy to think of Sense and Sensibility.  I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her suckling child” – so wrote Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra.  But Austen had to use her own funds to become published.  Learn about the publishing world in Regency times and the royalties Austen received, drawn mostly from her own letters and from those of Austen family members.

Session B1 (4:15 PM)  Jack Laney, Collector and Historian, Kent, WA
Gentlemanly Pursuits: A Brief Discourse on Snuff, Cravats, and Firearms
This interactive session explores snuff and snuff etiquette, the many styles of cravats popular during the period and the firearms of Regency gentlemen. Participants will have an opportunity to try their skills at tying cravats, handling snuff and observing the discharge of a flintlock tinder lighter.  Fun, fun, fun!!!

Session C1 (5:15 PM)  Bill Peirson, Attorney, Dallas, TX
Ports of the Period
The Prince Regent, a man of overindulgence in many ways, liked his punch “strong.”  Join Bill Peirson as he reviews the various ports, sherries, brandies, and other alcoholic beverages that men of Regency England consumed with verve.

Whist Tournament 8:30 to 10 pm or perhaps the Sense and Sensibility Movie Marathon from 7pm to Midnight.

Saturday, October 15th

9:15 am to 10:15 am “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Sense and Sensibility” presented by Juliet McMaster, Elaine Bander, Peter Sabor

Session D1 (10:45 AM) Tom Kelly, Jane Austen Society, Scottish Branch, Edinburgh, Scotland
Dads, Cads, and Lads
This session’s primary question asks, what does Jane Austen’s portrayal of male characters say to contemporary male readers?  How do these groups of characters—the “Dads” who head up families, the “Cads” who disrupt them and the “Lads” who heroically wed our heroines—impact the loves and relationships of the two sisters in Sense and Sensibility?  A real Scotman’s perspective!

Session E1 (11:45 AM) Carrie Bebris, Author, Dayton, OH
Gunsmoke: Dueling in Jane Austen’s Time
Since the duel between Colonel Brandon and Mr. Willoughby takes place entirely off the page, modern readers might not realize that a duel occurred at all.  The unwritten drama in which the gentlemen in question risked death and criminal prosecution is brought to life in a multimedia presentation showing how the duel might have unfolded.

2 – 3 pm “Mr. Darcy’s Wet Shirt & Other Embarassments – Some Pleasures and Pitfalls in Austen Adaptations” presented by Andrew Davies

Session F1 (3:30 PM) James Nagle, Attorney, Seattle, WA
Coaches, Barouches and Gigs, Oh My! Land Transportation in Jane Austen’s Time
From Jane’s donkey-cart, to Henry Crawford’s barouche, Regency travelers, like us, hoped for speed, comfort and safety.  Unfortunately, Jane and her contemporaries had to sacrifice speed for safety or vice versa and endure the discomfort of long kidney-rattling journeys which made for extended stays with friends and relatives.  In this session I’ll learn all about Regency travel, and how your mode of transportation illustrated your status in life.

6 – 7 pm  Reception

7-8:30 pm  Banquet and a Toast to Jane Austen.

Jane Austen (Image via Wikipedia)

9pm – 12am Regency Ball

Sunday, October 16th

8am – 10 pm Regency Emporium and Author Book Signing.

10am – 12 pm Brunch featuring video interview of Deirdre Le Faye, a British writer who has specialized in the life and times of Jane Austen for more than forty years.