Calamity Jane

The Jane Austen Society of North America celebrated its 30th anniversary recently with a Regency Ball at Chicago's Westin Hotel.

In addition, the Janeites paraded (in costume) down the Magnificent Mile, banqueted, and attended seminars with names like “Jane Austen and Global Warming” and “ “Blogging Jane; or, Blog Snarkily and Carry a Big a Big Cluebat.” Unsurprisingly, the event swings distaff: At the ball, "women are partnering women for the most part, though here and there one sees a male specimen in knee breeches, long coat, and curled wig sashaying happily amid the beribboned throng." And although the serious-minded event is far from a mere reenactment, one can't image that at just any academic conference you'd hear a woman murmur, “'She would do well to sew a little lace over the bodice'” of a colleague's decolletage. [The Smart Set]