Oz in the News 11.1.11

‘Out of Oz’ gives ‘Wicked’ series a proper send-off   In four books, Maguire has expanded the mythology of Oz from L. Frank Baum’s books and created a land that’s just as rich as Middle-earth or Narnia, and balances the serious with the sublime, especially in its Harry Potter-esque phrases such as “Virus Skepticle’s bentlebranch folly.” His prose is inviting to new readers, and the author cleverly inserts nods to the 1939 Judy Garland movie and even The Wiz for those obsessed with flying monkeys and Munchkins. While it meanders at times, Out of Oz is a satisfying finish to the “Wicked Years” saga.

Gregory Maguire’s ‘Out of Oz’ ends the great and powerful ‘Wicked Years’  No summary could do justice to Maguire’s novel, which is hilarious, heart-wrenching and extremely poignant in its ending. Readers familiar with Baum’s books will delight in how Maguire rings the changes upon them. Others might never be able to hear “Over the Rainbow” again without wincing. The greatest fantasy series make one want to read them again. That’s what I intend to do with this one.

A final trip to Oz  So much happens in “Out of Oz” that it’s impossible to summarize. Most revolves around an impending war between Oz and Munchkinland, and an ancient magical book called the Grimmerie, which is passed about like a hot potato to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. The plot lines bob and weave, split and rejoin, and finally converge to tie up not just these characters but the entire series.

‘Wicked’ author to visit Wichita to promote ‘Out of Oz’  “I had a choice of hundreds of cities to go to – I chose Wichita,” Maguire said. Then he joked, “It has the word witch in it.”  When he first visited Kansas, Maguire said he walked to the edge of town and tried to lose himself in a field of alfalfa. He wanted to feel “pleasantly anxious about how deeply lost it was possible to feel in Kansas.”

Book Review: Wizard of Oz Scanimation  Scanimations are great illustrations that use a unique approach make the movie scenes come alive before your very eyes. The author/artist Rufus Butler Seder is the inventor of Lifetiles, glass-tiled murals that appear to come to life when the viewer walks by; he’s installed them at the Smithsonian, Sea World, Union Station, and other museums, aquariums, train stations and ocean liners around the world.

Jukebox Memoirs: The Wizard of Oz  Music can be scary or frightening at any age, but often makes a more lasting impression if we first hear it as children. Irish Heather Collins of Portland says that when she was a child, she was frightened by the soundtrack of The Wizard of Oz — and she still believes there was a lot more going on than just lyrics and melodies in the music of the classic film. 

Fresno Philharmonic performs ‘Wizard of Oz’ show  Who knew that Fresno Philharmonic’s Theodore Kuchar has long been completely over the rainbow? “I don’t think anyone in existence has watched ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as many times as I have,” says Kuchar, such a faithful fan that he can pinpoint the scenes in the film that spoke to him at different stages in his life. (As a pre-adolescent, he was preoccupied with the flying monkeys. Today, he gets a kick out of “what a shyster the Wizard is, the way he manipulates everyone.”) That dedication will no doubt serve the conductor well Saturday when he takes the podium for “A Symphonic Night at the Movies: ‘Oz’ With Orchestra.”

She has Halloween all sewed up  Dubbed “The Crazy Costume Lady” by her children, Cindy A. Gutshall, 49, of Penn Township loves to sew. “They seem to think I become obsessed once I start creating the costumes and come up with an idea how to do something,” she said. At the recent Halloween celebration at Mountain Springs Camping Resort near Shartlesville, Gutshall outfitted nearly 20 extended family and friends as cast members from “The Wizard of Oz,” including creating a flying monkey costume for her little 8-year-old Pomeranian, Gidget. She also dressed up Gidget’s sister, Rita, as Dorothy’s dog, Toto. In a touch of irony, Gutshall’s towering 6-foot-2 son, Kyle, 20, a junior computer engineering student and Penn State University, was dressed as the Mayor of the short-statured Munchkins.

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