Monthly Archives: February 2017

Oz in the News 2.26.17


The big read: why we keep dreaming the dream of The Wizard Of Oz It’s the novel, Was, and the character of the gay fan, that touches most on a particularly important reason for The Wizard Of Oz’s long-lasting power, at least with a certain part of its audience. Almost as soon as the 1939 film was released, people began using “friend of Dorothy” as a euphemism for “homosexual” and the film has always been loved by gay men who, as young boys, are attracted to the movie without realising why. I sometimes wonder if it’s all down to that moment when Dorothy emerges from the grey house into the bright, musical world of Oz – she’s suddenly in a more colourful and exciting place; she’s escaping the restrictions of home; she’s coming out. Judy Garland herself, of course, is also a gay icon so that’s going on too: on top of the story of Dorothy yearning for a better life is the real story of Judy’s life going horribly wrong. Mark Cousins can see the appeal of the theory, but thinks it’s all a bit bigger than that. “Oz is all those better places, all those utopias, all that longing for Bowie or magic or transcendence,” he says. “Yes, it feels like coming out, which is lovely, but it’s bigger than that in a way. In The Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy takes a risk. She impresses herself. So often we disappoint ourselves. She doesn’t.”

Rifftrax: The Wonderful Land of Oz The Wonderful Land of Oz takes everything you loved about the original Oz movie and coats it in a slippery, weird, filmy substance. Scarecrow and Tin Man are back, looking like Yugoslavian knockoffs of Russian knockoffs of the original characters. There are also new characters, like the Wogglebug, and the Purple Cow. Sound pretty crappy, right? Well set your expectations even lower! It’s the Barry Mahon way!

Auction: Wizard of Oz – Collection of six signatures from actors and actresses Collection of six signatures from actors and actresses from Wizard of Oz. Comprises: pencil signature ‘Judy Garland’ on a 14.8 x 11.1cm card, ; foutain pen signature ‘Frank Morgan on a light yellow 15.1×11.1cm album page; ballpoint signature and inscription ‘To Beth, Jack Haley’ on a light green 14.8 x 11.1cm album page; pencil signature and inscription ‘To Joe – Best Regards, Margaret Hamilton’ on a blue154x115mm album page; pencil signature ‘Yours sincerely, Billie Burke 1937’ on an off-white card affixed to a 11.3×14.1cm album page; a ballpoint singature and dedication ‘The Gleasons are just kids. Aug 1st will be our 35th year together and we are still kids. Look over us, Charley Grapewin’ on a 10.4×14.5cm page.

Oz in the News 2.21.17

kansascollection_thekey4New Immersive Play Makes You Pick A Side In The Battle For Oz Speakeasy Society’s The Kansas Collection takes place after Dorothy’s departure and focuses on the unrest that grips Oz now that the Wizard has been exposed for a fraud. The Scarecrow and his camp are firmly anti-magic, believing the smoke and mirrors that surrounded the disgraced wizard are the root of Oz’s strife. Unfortunately, this means the new regime has also cracked down on good magic, which, as you recall, was a key element of the witches of the north and south. The audience is left to learn about each faction jockeying for power, and to choose whom they will pledge their allegiance. It can be confusing at times, and there seem to be multiple points at which one can decide to be a double agent. Adding to the disarray is the fact that time flows differently in Oz, meaning you might not be able to trust when you are, let alone who you are with. If starring in your own cloak and dagger, fantastical spy movie sounds appealing to you, you might want to jump on The Kansas Collection before the story progresses too far. Each show lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, but offers space to hang out, socialize, have a glass of wine, and glean information from other guests, who may be on a different path than your own. At $15 a ticket, it’s a deal. If you’re just getting started, you can do a few things. You can read this spoiler-filled recap of The Key here, though this account is only one possible track. If you go, you may have a different outcome. Or, you can wait for Speakeasy Society to re-stage The Key and The Axe, which they are planning to do in March. Get tickets here, or follow them on Twitter for the latest updates here.

What song did John F Kennedy ask Judy Garland to sing to him on the phone? A new memoir by “The Wizard of Oz” star’s third husband Sid Luft, which was crafted from notes Luft left unfinished before he died in 2005, tells how Garland was introduced to JFK by Peter Lawford and his wife Patricia, Kennedy’s younger sister, when Kennedy was a junior senator from Massachusetts. “JFK was young, lanky and extremely outgoing,” writes Luft in “Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland.” “He asked Peter and Pat to introduce him to ‘Dorothy’ in the flesh.” Garland and Kennedy struck up a friendship, and as Luft wrote: “In the coming years, JFK would ring Judy from either the White House or Camp David and ask her to sing to him over the telephone.” “He’d request ‘Over the Rainbow,’” continued Luft. “Judy was located somewhere in New York and obliged the President with several renditions of his favorite melodies.”

Oz in the News 2.16.17

judy-garland-pink-floyd-1108x0-c-defaultHow I was seduced by the ‘Dark Side of the Rainbow’ phenomenon Speaking in 2010, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason moved to debunk the theory: “It’s unthinkable that we would have felt that it was really important to work with Judy Garland, and devise an album based on that particular story. So I have to say that sadly, both the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow, and all the rest of it, had absolutely zero to do with that particular record.” In fact, audio engineer Alan Parsons has said the band were actually watching Mary Poppins during the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ sessions. Yet while it’s clear the band want absolutely nothing to do with the fan theory, it hasn’t stopped the speculation from mounting, with devotees convinced that even if the Floyd didn’t plan ‘Dark Side of the Rainbow’, the album and the film were somehow cosmically destined to work side-by-side. According to cognitive psychologist and musician Daniel Levitin, there is a hint of truth to this idea: “We are a storytelling species,” he tells LWLies. “Our entire left hemisphere is a great confabulator – it makes up evidence before the facts are in. So yes, we have an inherent need to match things up.” Levitin is referring to the phenomenon know as ‘Apophenia’, the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data. And with fans already claiming that Star Wars: A Force Wakens – a film released 42 years after Pink Floyd recorded their masterpiece – syncs with ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, it’s hard to refute his theory.

Oz in the News 2.13.17


REVIEW: ‘Dorothy and the Prince of Oz’ by Tulsa Ballet Three years and $1 million in the making, “Dorothy and the Prince of Oz” more than delivers on the magic. Visually, this is a stunning, almost overwhelming, thing to watch unfold, with Basil Twist’s dynamic, animated sets and puppets that fully evoke some amazing places and things, highlighted by Daniel Brodie’s inventive projections and Les Dickert’s sensitive and dramatic lighting. Mark Zappone’s costume’s are as colorful as pocketful of gemstones, and the score assembled by Oliver Peter Graber, mixing pieces by Glazunov, Bartok, Ravel, Grieg, Scriabin and others and tied together with Graber’s original compositions, was in spite of its patchwork nature, richly dramatic and cohesive. Choreographer Edwaard Liang, who created Tulsa Ballet’s new production of “Romeo and Juliet” in 2012, worked with Graber to devise an original story for “Dorothy and Prince of Oz,” inspired by sections of Baum’s final Oz book, “Glinda of Oz,” and his choreography tells this fairly complex tale clearly and concisely, crowned by a series of duets that are as incredibly demanding as they are emotionally expressive.

Oz in the News 2.11.17


Emerald City Season 1 Episode 7 Review: “They Came First” Emerald City packed a lot into one episode this week. In “They Came First,” we got a witch hunt, a bit of romance, and a few betrayals. I think this episode was solid, and it looks like next week will be even more exciting with a huge battle sequence, and I expect it to be amazing. The graphics are not the worst, and for just season one of Emerald City, there is a lot to prove. Will you turn in next week to see who wins?

Oz in the News 2.9.17


Wizart Trailers Melnitsa’s ‘Fantastic Journey to Oz’ Just ahead of its presentation at the European Film Market in Berlin, Russian animation studio Melnitsa and distribution partner Wizart have released a brand new trailer for Fantastic Journey to Oz — an animated feature based on the children’s stories written by Alexander Volkov and set in L. Frank Baum’s magical world. Inspired by the 1963 book Urfin Joos and His Wooden Soldiers, Fantastic Journey to Oz unfolds as the cunning and wicked Urfin plots to rule Magic Land, capturing the Emerald City with his army of wooden soldiers and renaming it “Urfinville.” But his devious plans can’t last, as Dorothy returns to Magic Land just in time to help the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the now-brave Lion save their home by uncovering Urfin’s true identity.

“For a full-length animated feature film, it is highly important to create a simple family story to strike a chord with audiences all over the world. In this field, innovative technologies just help us to meet creative challenges and make the film more exciting and spectacular for the audience. The movie tells us about simple morality and values close to everyone,” said Konstantin Bronzit, an Academy Award nominee (We Can’t Live Without Cosmos) and Fantastic Journey to Oz creative producer.







Oz in the News 2.8.17


Tulsa Ballet presents the premiere of ‘Dorothy and the Prince of Oz’ The production, budgeted at $1 million, features a set design and puppetry by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Basil Twist, costumes by noted designer Mark Zappone, and a score arranged by internationally known composer Oliver Peter Graber that combines music of Alexander Glazunov’s “The Seasons” with Graber’s composition. It also tells an original story inspired by the world created by L. Frank Baum in the 14 books he wrote that began with “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which Liang and Graber crafted from elements of the final book in the series, “Glinda of Oz.” The plot of “Glinda of Oz” centers around a war between two factions in a far-off region of the Land of Oz, and how Dorothy Gale, the heroine of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and most of the other books in the series, is tasked with resolving the conflict. The only problem, said Angelini, “is that the book is all about the war. There is no love story, and without love there is no ballet. So Edwaard and Oliver brought in what I think is a compelling love story that makes a real impact.”

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Jersey City for the ‘Wizard of Oz’ The Yellow Brick Road leads to Jersey City on Sunday when Puppetworks brings “The Wizard of Oz” to Merseles Studios for a months-long run. “The Wizard of Oz has always fascinated me, even as a kid,” said Olga Levina, artistic director of Jersey City Theater Center. “I read many of the Oz books growing up, and even saw theater productions, before I even saw the famous movie. Dorothy goes on a quest to find the Wizard and she discovers the value of her friendship with the cowardly Lion, Straw Man and Tin Man and they all learn to rely on their own inner strengths. This is children’s theater that teaches kindness, telling a story through exploration and self-growth, where important life lessons are realized.” Special “Marionette” effects include a tornado that transports the story’s heroine from her home over the rainbow to Oz, a monkey that flies and a melting witch, and a hot air balloon ride.

Feminism, decapitation, and talking jigsaw puzzles: the wonderfully weird world of Oz creator L Frank Baum This week Emerald City, a stylised retelling of The Wizard of Oz, arrives on British TV. In the US its disturbing imagery – cruxifixitions, hands covered in jewel-like boils, a Wicked Witch of the West who “vomits” spells – has already led to the show being called the most insane version of Oz yet. But how could Emerald City possibly be stranger than Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum (1856-1919) and the even stranger world he created in his much-loved children’s books? Let us count the ways…

Oz in the News 2.7.17


THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW Channel Comes to StreamNet.TV ft. Streisand, Minnelli & More LAStreamNet.TV is adding 26 one hour episodes of THE Judy Garland SHOW Channel to its platform. This historic collection of 26 one-hour-long episodes includes an unprecedented list of guests including Barbra Streisand, Mickey Rooney, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ethel Merman, Bob Newhart, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Lee, Steve Allen, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, and Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, among others. Judy Garland also performed solo concert performances as part of this amazing, wonderful TV show. In 1962, the CBS Network won the right to broadcast Judy Garland‘s musical variety show in an unheard-of pact worth $24 million. From June 1963 through March 1964, the one-hour episodes were videotaped at CBS’ Television City in Hollywood, California. There are once-in-a-lifetime musical pairings and duets between Garland and her guests. This collection is the only remaining audio/video in existence of the legendary diva at her physical and vocal peak.

Oz in the News 2.2.17

elements-of-ozElements of Oz: Producing Live Video and Interactive Theater “One of the initial inspirations for the app was creating an analog for the escapist nature of “Oz” in the devices we carry with us to escape reality on a daily basis. We also were interested in what the contemporary equivalent of Technicolor would be — and that’s where we think AR fit. The app has two basic modes — one for outside the show, and one for during the performance. If the user isn’t at the show, it provides some information about the show and has some basic AR effects — a storm (to precede the cyclone) and a few simple target-based augmentations that can be used with images from the original book’s illustrations. Once the audience comes to the show, we switch the phones into what we called “active” mode, which allowed us to trigger events based on the action on stage. The phones were connected to a single cueing server on the network, which allowed us to synchronize the behavior for the entire audience. At various times, we’d play video (like our “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” YouTube chorus) and audio clips or send text and images. In several key scenes, we would trigger augmented reality scenes, layering over the view of the stage with CG elements, like a tornado, blossoming poppies, flying monkeys, etc. It allowed us to create visual elements all around the viewer, too, not just between the viewer and the performers.”

The wizard of Emerald City “I was filming Magnificent 7 and I heard that Tarsem was doing Emerald City and was going to direct all ten episodes. So I asked right away: “Is The Wizard cast?”  They said “no” and so I immediately called my agent. ‘Get Tarsem on the phone. I want to play to The Wizard. If he’ll let me, I want to play it.’”

Musical wizard Todrick Hall heads to Oz Broadway star and newly minted RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Todrick Hall is heading to Australia with his Straight Outta Oz tour this June. Don’t miss this incredible talent at The Astor Theatre on Thursday 1st June. Tickets on sale from Tuesday 7th February at

Lions And Tigers And Bears? Meh. These 5 Scenes From ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ Are Still Creepy The Wizard of Oz has been a personal film favorite since I first saw it at the age of four. It is absolutely timeless, one hell of a production, and it still blows my mind to think that this movie came out in 1939. It’s the weird and #scary scenes that always intrigued me the most, along with the fantastic set pieces, storytelling, singing and dancing. But there are five #WizardofOz scenes in particular that are most memorable because of the oddness and fear they induced.