Elst Weinstein declared to me at Loscon, “I’ve been on TV more than anybody at this convention!” David Brin might have been nearby so I suggested that was hard to believe. Once I heard his story, however, I was convinced.
Elst appeared in an April episode of Storage Wars as an expert helping to identify a strange old medical device.
Storage units rarely figure prominently in fannish news – really, the last time was 1994 when Marty Cantor was working as the manager of a U-Haul facility and auctioned off an unclaimed locker in which the winning bidder found several decomposing corpses. Eventually the original renter was tracked to Jakarta and arrested for murder.
Storage Wars follows four bidders competing to score big at storage auctions. In “Live and Let Bid,” episode 19 of the show’s first season, someone found a peculiar old brass mechanism and turned for help in identifying it to The Southern California Medical Museum. Elst, a pediatrician, also is an avid collector and happens to be the museum’s volunteer curator.
He knew the item on sight. It was scarifier, probably dating to the 19th century and used by a doctor to bleed patients. Not long ago Elst’s museum mounted an extensive exhibit about medical bleeding, full of fleems, scarifiers, glass cups and leeches.
Elst was on screen for about two minutes. But A&E has repeated the episode over 100 times since April. As a result, he’s enjoyed many times his allotted 15 minutes of fame.
A local paper subsequently published a fine interview with Elst about the Southern California Medical Museum. Click here to read it.
The rest of the world can now own what Corflu Zed members had first chance to buy – a copy of Jerry’s Suzle’s TAFF Report, Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate Suzle Tompkins’ account of her trip to the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon co-written with Jerry Kaufman.
Suzle’s press release follows the jump.
(Somebody should gift Elst Weinstein with a copy of this. For obscure reasons, he’ll appreciate the photo of a warning sign painted in a driveway which a pothole repair has reduced to “Ook Both Ways.”)
The University of Iowa has made a very nice beginning in publicizing the M. Horvat fanzine collection on its website.
There’s also a page devoted to describing the way amateur press associations (apas) work. I wish its section on Contributors was less celebrity-driven:
Apas have historical signficance in that many of them contain the amateur work of famous genre writers and illustrators. Much of this material predates the writers’ fame, although this is not always the case. In addition, many apa members, though not professional writers, were significant voices in the world of fandom. Examples of apas with contributors of significant importance in the field include Apa-Five (Frank Miller), APA-H (Harlan Ellison, as “Cordwainer Bird”), Apa-L (Alan Dean Foster; David Gerrold; Larry Niven); Apanage (Jane Yolen); Elanor (March Laumer); Fantasy Amateur (Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Silverberg, Donald Wollheim); Rehupa (Charles de Lint; Michael Stackpole); and SAPS (Jack Chalker; Gordon Eklund).
In this case the fascination with famous names has hoist the writer by his own petard. How can somebody understand the notion of an apa for hoaxes and still be taken in by the contributions of Cordwainer Bird? All of Cordwainer Bird’s contributions to APA-H were written by Elst Weinstein or me.
When the Southern California Medical Museum in Riverside, California holds its annual open house on Sunday, April 27 the topic will be “Medical Quackery.” Speakers Hans Davidson, M.D. and Stan Korfmacher, M.D. will tell about the pills, potions, plasters and poisons that have been deceptively presented as cures for medical problems.
Well-known fan Elliot Weinstein, M.D., is co-curator of this museum. He is also a long-time collector of devices used by quacks who promised relief from all kinds of ailments.
Other displays in the Museum house medical artifacts, historical photographs, medical books dating back to 1843, and a life-sized diorama recreating a typical 1900-1920 era examination room.
The Museum’s centerpiece exhibit is always something of special interest, like co-curator Davidson’s attention-grabbing “bleeding and sucking exhibit“ which told why bleeding was considered the basis of medicine even as late as the mid-1800’s. The medicinal properties of the leech were also admired(!)
I attended the Museum’s Lewis and Clarke themed open house in 2003 and learned a lot, including a wonderful non-medical tidbit — William Clark spelled mosquito 26 different ways in his journal but never once got it right. A page devoted to the 2003 open house includes a beautiful photo of Elst and Carole Weinstein in their best 19th Century outfits.