Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation to host virtual event around new PBS film about ‘Wizard of Oz’ writer Following the premier the night before of “American Oz,” a new documentary about Central New York native L. Frank Baum, the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” the Gage Center will hold a Zoom Q&A with filmmakers Randall MacLowry and Tracy Heater Strain, who together wrote, directed and produced the film for PBS’ “American Experience” series. Tickets to the virtual event cost $25 and can be purchased by calling the Gage Center at 315-637-9511 with a credit card, or directly through their online gift shop at https://matildajoslyngage.org/online-gift-shop. All proceeds will benefit the Gage Foundation. “American Oz” will debut on Monday, April 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS and will be available for streaming at americanexperience.org.
UW Professors Provide Narration for ‘American Oz’ Program About L. Frank Baum Susan Aronstein and Kent Drummond, both in the UW Department of English, are two of the narrators for this documentary, which explores the life of Baum, best known as the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which was published in 1900. The book spawned the classic 1939 MGM film “The Wizard of Oz” starring Judy Garland, as well as plays and musicals, including 2003’s “Wicked.” The two, along with Terri Rittenburg, a UW professor emeritus of management and marketing, wrote “The Road to Wicked: The Marketing and Consumption of Oz from L. Frank Baum to Broadway,” which was published in 2018. Both Aronstein and Drummond feel it is a great honor to have been chosen to help narrate the episode, and they hope the documentary will lead to a whole new audience for Baum, his works and books about his works. “We’re still not sure how the producers of ‘American Oz’ heard about our book. Of course, in order to write a book about the staying power of Oz, we had to delve into Baum’s life and work,” says Aronstein, a UW professor of English. “And the first several chapters deal directly with him. So, when the opportunity came to convey our research in a new medium, we jumped at the chance. We really enjoyed working with the producers — Randall MacLowry and Rebecca Taylor — and it was fascinating to observe the documentary take shape.”
‘The Munchkin Diary’: Sonoma author recalls her ‘Oz’ days, TV career She’s a former child “Munchkin” who followed her own yellow brick road from Hollywood to Stanford University, a stint with the CIA, a role as a social activist in Oakland and an extraordinary 22-year career in Bay Area television. Bruno, 89, somehow packed those and many other experiences into “The Munchkin Diary,” a rollicking memoir that not only tracks her many adventures, but is testament to her relentless energy and passion for life. “I have never been bored,” insists Bruno, who spends much of her time these days performing and teaching hula. “I’m wholeheartedly, 150 percent into whatever I’m doing. Once in a while when I get into a state of exhaustion, I say to myself: ‘I would like to know what’s like to be bored — to sit on the front porch and swat flies.’”
The Black Rainbow of Oz The sequel to “A Nightmare in Oz” has been released! “The Black Rainbow of Oz,” the much-anticipated follow-up to last year’s first entry into the New Oz Chronicles, is now available for purchase in Paperback and Digital through Amazon.com. What is to come of the mischievous Mombi as she ventures through the North securing a host of henchmen on her trek to release the fabled Black Rainbow? What will be the response of Glinda, Ozma, Dorothy and their closest allies as news spreads of the terrible plot? Sides clash in the latest entry to a new series of stories set in present-day Oz, involving all the characters you love (along with some new faces) as they confront that which they hoped never to confront: the threat of very real dangers.