Oz in the News 3.26.11

Mila Kunis Signs up to go to Oz Sam Raimi‘s Oz, The Great and Powerful is casting up and Mila Kunis has now signed on, according to Variety. She’ll be joining James Franco, who’s starring as the titular wizard. The film is a prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum novel and film The Wizard of Oz, and Kunis will play Theodora, a young witch who’s rebuffed by Oz and turns wicked. The film is at Walt Disney studios, and currently has no release date.

Original Illustration Art from the Collection of Kendra and Allan Daniel Offered at Sotheby’s William Wallace Denslow became the leading American illustrator of children’s books with L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful
Wizard of Oz in 1900; and he followed that classic with the equally
well-illustrated modern fairy tale Pearl and the Pumpkin that the artist
co-wrote. His successor as the Imperial Illustrator, John R. Neill, too
added much to the magic of Oz as in the striking full-page picture
for Baum’s Tik Tok of Oz (1914).  Other illustrators of this period rife for
reconsideration are Frank Ver Beck and Fanny Young Cory (later Cooney) too who was dabbling in advertising when she was voted the children’s favorite artist at the legendary St. Nicholas Magazine.

Interview: The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle The two surprising figures that anchor the album – Judy Garland, who died of a drug overdose, and her daughter, Liza Minnelli – actually provide a helpful coda.  The songs that reference them – “The Autopsy Garland” and “Liza Forever Minnelli” – came out of a walk Darnielle took in Los Angeles a few years ago where he passed both Garland’s and Minnelli’s stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  “It was just this moment where I thought of people who survive things and people who don’t. People who can read the clues and dodge those bullets,” he said.  While Garland should be every performer’s role model — her Carnegie Hall live album is about “the nature of delivering to your audience, standing on stage and giving every last drop you have,” he said — she was an unhappy character. Minnelli, on the other hand, has had her share of ups and downs but seems to be perennially ebullient.  “When you’re born into a showbiz family, the deck is stacked against you,” Darnielle said. “But Liza managed to convert herself into a shockingly great performer. When you see her interviews, she’s so present.”  Darnielle, aware that this might surprise some of his fans, continued, “I know for some people, cool is not something you think of when you think Liza, but, frankly, those people are wrong.”

Oohs and Oz The 2007 tornado that obliterated Greensburg, however, led to a hellish nightmare that was all too real for its 1,400 residents, rather than a dream from which they’re still hoping to awaken.  The scene the next morning of May 5, 2007, was one of utter destruction and block after block of rain-soaked debris.  Though the events of that night and the months of rebuilding that have followed may never be depicted on the silver screen, plans are underway for a stage presentation next year of what this Kansas town has endured and accomplished.  Tentatively titled “The Other Side of Oz”, the performance will offer a unique perspective on how Greensburg has responded to the killer storm and moved on to build a model community of sustainability.

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