Monthly Archives: July 2015

Oz in the News 7.31.15

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Oz fans to gather this weekend  The 51st annual Wizard of Oz convention will embrace all things Oz, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Disney’s “Return to Oz,” the 40th anniversary of “The Wiz,” and the 20th anniversary of “Wicked.” And 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of “The Scarecrow of Oz,” one of thirteen novels Baum wrote based on the people and places of the Land of Oz. This year’s Con will feature the usual fun and games, such as Oz quizzes for all ages and levels, a treasure hunt, collections, panel discussions, cOZplay costume contests and much more over the three day event. Among others, special guests and presenters this year include actors Piper Laurie, Emma Ridley and Justin Case and author Joan D. Vinge.

Greater Gulf State Fair: Lions, tigers and a ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme this year  Organizers have unveiled a slate of animal entertainment and a “Wizard of Oz” theme. The 61st annual fair takes place Oct. 30-Nov. 8 at The Grounds in west Mobile. The theme announced Wednesday is “Lions, Tigers, THE FAIR, Oh My!” Early-bird tickets are now on sale. According to Wednesday’s announcement, attractions will include:

  • A 20-foot-tall “Emerald City” designed by artists and build with recycled materials.
  • Venardos’ Circus of Oz, a circus show led by former Ringling Bros. ringmaster Kevin Venardos.

Emerald City’s Yellow Brick Road doesn’t end at Oz  Suzanne Morlock will transform a dingy alley in Pioneer Square into sacred ground for empathetic truth-telling with “3772: Yellow Brick Road,” an art installation featuring the real-life stories of people who have or are experiencing homelessness in Seattle.  “I learned at some point that Seattle always refers to itself as ‘The Emerald City,’” Morlock said. “That’s the reference in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ the place where these folks, who felt like they were deficient, were headed to get the magic that would make them whole. The idea that [Seattle] kind of views itself as this place … there’s a real disparity between the idea of the Emerald City and all that goes along with that, and having folks who are sleeping on the street.” Morlock plans to broadcast versions of seven people’s interviews over speakers in the alley that runs from Washington Street to Yesler Way, between Second and Third avenues, from 11 a.m. to dusk on Aug. 1. The installation runs in conjunction with the Art of the City Street Fest, a Black Lives Matter group exhibition and a gallery-wide performance by approximately 50 dancers and musicians inspired by Native American Seahawk stories.

Oz in the News 7.30.15

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Yellow brick road to riches: Dress worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz to sell for a staggering £750,000  It is thought Garland had around ten dresses made for filming of the 1939 classic – but many were recycled by MGM and reused for other films.  The owner of this dress has now decided to cash in and has entered it into Bonhams’ Treasures from the Dream Factory sale, which will be held in November in New York. Memorabilia experts at the auction house have given the dress a guide price $1.2 million (£770,000). Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, believes the universal appeal of the Wizard of Oz will mean huge levels of interest. “Last year we sold a test dress but this one was actually used on screen. It is a privilege to be selling it and I am expecting a lot of interest.” The test dress Bonhams previously auctioned, which wasn’t used on screen, sold for #157,000. This price was dwarfed by the Lion costume, which sold for a staggering #1.9 million. Dorothy’s slippers would likely sell for a similar figure if they were put up for auction. If the Dorothy Gale dress hits the #770,000 price-tag, it will become one of the most expensive dresses in history, thanks in part to Judy Garland’s star quality.

Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige Join NBC’s The Wiz Live!  Latifah is set to star as the Wiz, aka the mysterious and powerful wizard who holds the keys to the Emerald City, but whose metamorphosis from ordinary to extraordinary is itself a hoax. She rose to her lofty position after being transported by accident to Oz in a hot air balloon during a snowstorm.  Meanwhile, Blige will take on the role of Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, who holds sway over the Winkies and the Winged Monkeys that do her bidding. She captures Dorothy and her friends to avenge the unintentional murder of her evil sister, Evvamean, and to get back the powerful silver slippers given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the North.

 

Oz in the News 7.29.15

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Gaylord Texan Resort’s 12th Annual SummerFest  Looking for something fun to do with the family this summer? Head over to the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center to join in on their 12th Annual SummerFest event! Running now until September 7, this family-friendly spectacle will offer a grand amount of outdoor entertainment, culinary activities, kid’s movies and musical performances all summer long. Gaylord Texan’s 2015 SummerFest is centered on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Throughout the summer, families will have the chance to watch bi-weekly showings of “Oz” movies, take part in a daily OOHS & OZ Art Tour, create art inspired by Wizard of Oz at the Ahhhz Kids Craft Corner, meet characters from Wizard of Oz and go on The Lost Treasure of Oz Scavenger Hunt, which leads to an incredible prize! Additionally, attendees will be able to check out the Glass Cactus Summer Music Series and enjoy Pool-A-Palooza at the resort’s 10-acre pool, which will include lawn games, hair braiding, airbrush tattoo opportunities, live DJs and water photos. Go online now to check out the full list of activities available and start planning your perfect summer getaway at the Gaylord Texan Resort today!

Oscar Shamed As BBC List Of 100 Greatest American Films Largely Ignores Academy’s Best Picture Winners And Nominees  in a comprehensive new poll of the 100 Greatest American Films of all time, released this week by BBC Culture, only a measly 12 Academy Award winning Best Pictures turn up at all, and only 8 of them in the top 75.   Worse than that statistic for the lasting influence of the Academy’s Best Picture choices, according to this poll,  a whopping 60, count ’em, 60 other movies mentioned were not even nominated for Best Picture. However, The Wizard of Oz came in at #34.

‘Frozen 2’ to Be Top Notch; Possible Villain Either A Wicked Witch or Nome King?  “Frozen” co-creator Chris Buck said that the plot of the “Frozen 2” might “add a touch of Oz,” which had books authored by L. Frank Baum. It was not specified which Oz book it would be. However, given that a touch of Oz book could be added, “Frozen 2” might feature an antagonist somewhat similar either with the Wicked Witch of the West or Nome King. Both were prominent enemies in Baum’s novels.

Oz in the News 7.28.15

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Munchkin Oz Exclusively at Target  Steve Jackson Games is proud to announce that we’ll be travelling to the Land of Oz with a brand new Munchkin game: Munchkin Oz! Based on L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s books, Munchkin Oz blends the stories’ whimsical characters and places with Munchkin’s own brand of zany backstabbing. Munchkin Oz has started appearing on shelves at some Target locations and will be available throughout the country and on target.com in early August 2015. This is the second such exclusive release in partnership with Target, after Munchkin Legends (in Target in 2013, released widely in 2014). Fans who follow the Yellow Brick Road to Target and purchase Munchkin Oz will want to look for Steve Jackson Games at conventions and keep a close eye on Warehouse 23 (warehouse23.com), where they’ll findsilver shoesspecial promotional cards and other goodies from August through December!

Dorothy – a new play  L. Frank Baum (the man behind the writing of the original Oz books) created a beautiful and timeless story with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This new play explores his life and relationships, and how  they influenced and drove him to create one of the worlds most celebrated tales. From the Scarecrow to the Wizard himself, Frank Baum created each character from the love and friendship of the people around him. However, when tragedy strikes, we must ask ourselves if stories and imagination can be either a help or a hindrance in achieving acceptance of loss or whether they are a desperate clinging to what was once real. A beautiful telling of one of the worlds most beloved storytellers.

Oz in the News 7.26.15

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Two ‘Munchkins’ actors in ‘Wizard of Oz’ worked at SRP  They were not Munchkin-sized ruby slippers but rather the work shoes the former Savannah River Plant in Aiken County found for two of its employees who were Munchkin actors in the 1939 MGM classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” According to the Savannah River Site’s archives, they were the smallest work shoes the plant had ever ordered. The SRP workers, two “little people” brothers, Eugene and Eulie David of Barnwell, were once part of the Singer Midgets who performed in “The Wizard of Oz.” According to the SRS archives, Eugene portrayed one of the five fiddlers who saw Judy Garland (as Dorothy) and her dog, Toto, off during the “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” sequence. Eulie played one of the soldiers who marched during the “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead” sequence. John Fricke, considered the preeminent “Wizard of Oz” and Judy Garland historian, confirms the David brothers’ participation in the movie. “Both of their names appear on MGM’s ‘daily time report’ list of the Munchkin actors,” he said.

Oz in the News 7.25.15

puppet-oz460All-Puppet Wizard of Oz on Tap at National Puppetry Festival  Fans of Avenue Q and Hand to God take note: Puppeteers from 12 nations on five continents and from 40 U.S. states will converge on the campus of the University of Connecticut Aug. 10-16 for the 2015 National Puppetry Festival. Among planned events: a new interpretation of The Wizard of Oz by The Frisch Marionettes of Cincinnati, OH.  Host organization Puppeteers of America chose UConn for this year’s festival to mark the 50th year of the UConn Puppet Arts Program, which was founded by Frank W. Ballard. UConn last hosted the festival in 1970. For a complete schedule of performances and to order tickets, go to the website for the National Puppetry Festival or call (869) 465-4568.

Oz in the News 7.23.15

oz-1Abandoned States: The (Not-So) Abandoned Land of Oz  It’s a rainy, windswept Saturday afternoon, and I find myself staggering out of a wrecked old house on top of a mountain, as though tossed about in a tornado. Floorboards are bent and splintered, and things strewn about with abandon. Swinging open the back door, I go down a stairway and come to a path of yellow bricks winding through some strangely colorful woods. I’m not alone. A girl appears, wearing a blue and white gingham dress with matching blue bows in her hair. There’s a picnic basket on her arm, and inside a scruffy old pup. I look into the woods around us. “You ever seen any animals out here?” “I have, actually,” she responds. “I’ve seen a mountain lion, and a couple of bears.” “Lions and tigers and bears.” I chuckle. “Have you seen a tiger yet?” She’s a ringer for Dorothy, but this isn’t Kansas. We’re on Beech Mountain, in North Carolina. The two of us are standing in what was once a bustling, Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park.

Inside the $1m hunt to bring Dorothy’s stolen ruby slippers home  Word surfaced over the weekend that an anonymous fan has offered to pay up that $1m in exchange for the safe return of Hollywood’s most famous footwear. “At first we sort of wrote it off: ‘Oh great one, a million dollars,’” Feeney said on Monday. “But they were serious about it. It was just hard to believe.”  “It’s had a huge emotional impact on just about everybody that’s seen it the past 76 years,” said Oz historian John Fricke, “and the shoes are magic.” “Whether a crazed, obsessed fan took them for a collection, or someone took them to sell them, they could never display them,” Karen Owens, membership chair for the International Wizard of Oz Club, surmised of the thieves’ current whereabouts. “Why would you take away such a beautiful piece of movie history when you are just going to have to keep them on a shelf or throw them in the trash?”