Monthly Archives: June 2015

Oz in the News 6.27.15

It’s A Twister! Brilliant Avengers: Age Of Ultron & Wizard Of Oz Mash-Up  Australian visual effects artist Darren Wallace has been making a name for himself with his magical mash-ups, but he may have out done himself this time around. Today, he dropped the house on a new parody trailer that combines Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron with the 1939 masterpiece The Wizard of Oz. In the video, Ultron is the Tin Man, Captain America is the Scarecrow, Thor is the Cowardly Lion, Scarlet Witch is the Wicked Witch, Quicksilver is a flying monkey and Black Widow is Dorothy. M*A*S*H fans be on the look for a clever Hawkeye Pierce cameo. Even Toto drops in – literally out of the quinjet.

Oz in the News 6.25.15

061315_oz_2Grapevine’s yellow brick road to learning Blow through to the Land of Munchkins with its message of tolerance. Play dress up with Munchkin clothes in a Munchkin house. Hand puppets in the Land of Oz Puppet Theater help children embrace differences among people as they meet those who live in this fantastic world. Drop by and help put the scarecrow together. “Pick Your Brain” gives visitors a chance to figure out which brain corresponds with which animal. Team up and help solve the task of building the “road of yellow brick” to Emerald City. The special Oz spectacles let you see the city in its entire green splendor.

Oz in the News 6.21.15

The Magic of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Continues with Lasting Legacy  This week, we’re continuing our discussion about the lasting impact The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a children’s book from 1900, has made on American popular culture. It’s been 115 years since the book was first released, and the movie adaptation starring Judy Garland will be 76 years old this August! Author Rebecca Loncraine’s book about the creator– or “inventor” as he called it– of Oz, L. Frank Baum, details his experiences that influenced the beloved story.  “He didn’t really appreciate his own creativity and his own imagination,” Rebecca says. “I think he definitely had a bit of a low opinion of himself, and seeing Oz as something he discovered rather than invented meant he could disown his imagination to some degree.”

Oz in the News 6.19.15

web1_DEALBA_061115bh_006Entertainer shares his love of Judy Garland in show  If David de Alba isn’t Judy Garland’s biggest fan, he’s certainly on the short list. De Alba’s devotion to the late and legendary singer/actress can be seen, first, in the Garland memorabilia he has collected over the years, ranging from original music scores to a pair of shoes Garland wore in one of her movies to an entire collection related to her memorable turn in the 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” But beyond all that are the decades that de Alba has devoted to portraying Garland in musical presentations aimed, he says, at introducing Garland and her talent to younger fans and rekindling a passion for Garland in older fans who remember her but, perhaps, may have forgotten how good she was.

Authors, munchkin by marriage visit highlight Ionia’s Wizard of Oz Festival  Oz author Ron Baxley Jr. is a special guest author at the Wizard of Oz Festival in Ionia on Friday and Saturday, June 19-20. He will be in front of the Ionia Theatre in downtown Ionia with an author table, signing and selling his Oz books and discussing his travels to various Oz festivals and the Oz celebrities he has met. He will be available from approximately 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.  James C. Wallace II and his wife Amanda will also be available as special guests to discuss, sign, and sell their Oz books and to discuss their Oz travels and memories each day during approximately the same times Baxley Jr. will be.  “Munchkin by marriage,” Mary Ellen St. Aubin, will be available at times on these days in the theatre lobby as well and will be discussing memories and perhaps selling autographs. Karen Armstrong Owens will be a special guest at the Oz festival to discuss her Oz memories, sell International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc. memberships, and perhaps sell collectibles.

Oz in the News 6.17.15

33cf014bc60b675d56d75690eee4f137Dives fail to raise ruby slippers from Tioga Mine Pit  Last week, Itasca County Sheriff’s Office volunteer divers looked for the ruby slippers that were worn by Grand Rapids native Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” and were infamously stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids almost a decade ago. The slippers didn’t turn up during the four public dives in the Tioga Mine Pit, said Rob Feeney, the museum’s volunteer in charge of acquisitions. But in a practice dive about a week earlier, one of the divers came up with what Feeney coyly described as “something that was of interest.” Actually, two somethings: a pair of containers, one a small duffel bag and the other a partially deteriorated tin can. It was apparent the can had been in the bag, Feeney said. “They had been down there a while.” The dives were staged at the mine pit, Feeney said, because of longstanding rumors that the slippers — stolen in August, 2005 — had been sealed in Tupperware with a weight inside and tossed in the pit. It might not be all that easy to find a pair of slippers in the Tioga Mine Pit. Although a mere blip among Itasca County’s numerous bodies of water, it still covers 51 acres and reaches a depth of 225 feet, according to Minnesota Lake Finder. The search for the iconic slippers isn’t over, Feeney said. “This is really just the beginning,” he said. “We’re never going to stop doing this until they’re found or we know what happened to them.”

Oz in the News 6.16.15

emerald-city-nbc-titledNBC’s ‘Emerald City’ Casts ‘True Detective’ Actress as Dorothy Emerald City has found its Dorothy. Adria Arjona (Person of Interest) has landed the lead role in NBC’s upcoming Wizard of Oz drama, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Emerald City was originally developed for the 2013-14 season and picked up straight to series in January 2014. However, the network opted not to move forward when NBC and producers could not agree on a shared vision for the show. Universal TV shopped the series to other potential networks before NBC revived the series in April. Replacing Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Matt Arnold (Siberia), David Schulner (Dracula, The Event) will write, exec produce and serve as showrunner on the 10-episode drama, which hails from Universal Television. The series is slated to premiere midseason. Arjona is the first casting for Emerald City. The actress can next be seen on the new season of True Detective. She is repped by UTA, One Entertainment and Stone, Meyer.

Oz in the News 6.14.15

90Internet beckons crime to Land of Oz; Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road  It’s highway robbery in the Land of Oz. Drawn by websites and Facebook pages specializing in spooky, abandoned places, vandals and thieves are stealing artifacts from the old Land of Oz theme park – particularly bricks from its signature Yellow Brick Road. “It’s probably the most sought-after relic we have,” says Cindy Keller, caretaker, keeper and militant defender of the mountain-top attraction that closed 35 years ago. Land of Oz is falling prey to an Internet fad called “urbex” for urban exploration. Adventurers seek out deserted places and post eerie pictures of their expeditions on sites specializing in what is called “ruin porn.”

After 115 Years, The ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Is Still Magical Today, we’re taking a trip to Oz with author Rebecca Loncraine. Her book The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum details the experiences of Oz’s creator in such a way that you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled to another world, much like Dorothy did in that first book of Baum’s.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: ‘Wizard of Oz’ author had varied career  He wrote 13 novels and countless other works, but didn’t always use his real name. In fact, Lyman Frank Baum despised his first name and finally ended up as L. Frank Baum. Baum was born and died in the month of May, born on May 15, 1856, in Chittenango, New York, and died on May 6, 1919. His parents were Benjamin and Cynthia Ann Baum. To tell the truth, he wasn’t always a writer. He’d been an actor, screenwriter, producer, salesman and newspaper editor.

Oz in the News 6.12.15

71105368_StillItasca Co. Crews Plunge for Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers  “The biggest thing that ever happened to our museum was getting the slippers stolen,” said Jonny Miner, Treasurer of the Board for the Judy Garland Museum. “A lot of people up here actually know what happened but no one’s talking about it no one has,” said Rob Feeney, a volunteer and movie prop collector. Leads in the past few months have brought this team full of volunteers to the Tioga Mine Pit. “We’re confident that we’re in the right area and doing the right things,” said Miner. The ultimate goal is for the slippers to make it back safely to the museum, because after all, there’s no place like home. In a practice dive a week ago they did find some objects they think could be linked to the case. Those are currently being examined.  The team will also be diving Friday. The first will be at 11 a.m. and the second will be at 1 p.m.

10 years after the famous ruby red slippers thievery… so what may have happened?  “Darcy picks up one shoe and slowly turns it in her hands. She admires the famous slipper that she had previously only seen walking down the Yellow Brick Road. Taking a few steps away from the crime scene, Darcy slips off one of her own tennis shoes in order to squeeze her size six foot into this size five and a half, ruby covered, piece of memorabilia. Both kids gasp as the audible ripping sound of the slipper’s extremely fragile seam is torn by Darcy’s effort to make the shoe fit. Todd yells at Darcy, and Darcy bickers back, but before they know it they are out the door that they entered less than one minute ago, each with a slipper in hand.”

Oz in the News 6.11.15

canvasPennsylvania Lottery Extends The Wizard of Oz™ Second-Chance Game, Offers Extra $50,000 Prize  Introduced on March 24, The Wizard of Oz™ is a $10 game that offers 10 top prizes of $300,000. “This instant game has been a big hit with players since launching in March, so we decided to keep the fun going into the summer,” said Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. The original second-chance entry deadline is June 11, and the randomly-selected winner of the first $50,000 prize will be announced June 17.  All entries submitted for the first drawing will carry over into the newly-added second drawing, for which the entry deadline is Aug. 27.  The Pennsylvania Lottery remains the only state lottery that designates all its proceeds to programs that benefit older residents. Since its inception in 1971, the Pennsylvania Lottery has contributed more than $24.7 billion to programs that include property tax and rent rebates; free transit and reduced-fare shared rides; the low-cost prescription drug programs PACE and PACENET; long-term living services; and the 52 Area Agencies on Aging, including full- and part-time senior centers throughout the state.

Oz in the News 6.9.15

DSC_0124Oz-Stravaganza 2015 in Chittenango Photo Recap  Emma Ridley is a performance artist, with a history in dance, music, film, television, and burlesque. With her many transformations, including losing over 100lbs after having 3 babies, she has inspired a generation. Emma spent most of her early years being in the spotlight, starting at the tender age of only 8 months advertising as the Gerber baby, as well as appearing in many feature films, including Jackie Collins ‘The World is Full of Married Men’, starring Tony Franciosa and Carol Baker, playing their 4 year old daughter Lucy. Emma played another character called Lucy in the well known ‘Hammer House of Horrors’ film ‘The House That Bled To Death’. Many more film and television projects followed. Emma joined the Royal Ballet London at age 6, starred as princess ‘Ozma’, the queen of Oz, in Disney’s ‘Return to Oz’, and won rave reviews as Bobbie Mechelle in Neal Simons’ ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’ on the British Stage in Repertoire Theater. She also had a role in the American Disney TV show ‘Boy Meets World’, all while spending her very full youth writing, performing, and producing music and music videos. Emma then decided to “settle down”, out of the spotlight, on a Californian ranch/farm to raise her 3 children (with horses, goats and chickens, oh my!). She has since returned once again to the spotlight as a successful business creator and owner of “Goddess Fitness Dance”, a completely unique self-expressed ballet, yoga and pole dancing approach to fitness!

Grand opening for Wizard of Oz Festival  On Thursday evening, June 11 at 7 p.m. the Judy Garland Museum kicks off the Wizard of Oz Festival with “A Jazz Tribute to Judy” by pianist Josh Gallagher and “Remembering the Judy I Knew” by author Joan Beck Coulson. A combined ticket for both events is $15 at the door. English-born Joan Beck Coulson grew up in London during WWII, and like many of her countrymen, was a big fan of Judy Garland. Thursday, “Remembering the Judy I Knew,” Joan Beck-Coulson will share some of her very personal memories, along with slides and music. On Friday, June 12, Joan will be available in the Museum Gift Shop from 11 a.m. – noon to sign copies of her book. In addition, this week the Museum opens a new exhibit, “Judy Garland’s Public Service,” which was inspired by information in Coulson’s book. Josh Gallagher, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, began his study of classical piano at the age of four. During his high school years, under Minneapolis-based jazz pianist Laura Caviani, his musical interests turned to jazz. Josh is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he had the great good fortune to be selected as pianist in the Dave Brubeck Institute Jazz Sextet. Currently, Josh serves as music director and organist at St, Mary’s Catholic Church in Altoona, Wisconsin. A fan of Garland’s for many years, Josh Gallagher is looking forward to this tribute performance at the Judy Garland Museum.

Recasting the Wizard of Oz  Almost everyone has seen one of the world’s most classic and beloved films The Wizard of Oz. But sometimes looking back on it, I think that it could have been done a lot better had it been made today. Now I know many people argue that it should never be remade since its a classic, but knowing Hollywood, they will eventually redo the classic film instead of beating around it by making similar films like Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return and Oz: The Great and Powerful. One day, it will be remade. But if it was made right now, here is who I would imagine to be in it.