Monthly Archives: August 2017

Oz in the News 8.30.17

Judy Garland’s clothes star in Newbridge Silverware If you’re an old-time movies buff, then a new exhibition at the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons will be like honey to a bear, writes Brian Byrne.
It’s all about personal items, clothing and costumes once owned and worn by Judy Garland, who died when she was just 47 but left a wonderful silver screen legacy. Her big child role was ‘Dorothy’ in the Wizard of Oz, but she is also remembered for stellar performances in Life Begins for Andy Hardy,Meet me in St LouisCrazy Girl, and A Star is Born. Clothing worn in some of those movies feature in the exhibition which runs until the end of September. The highlight exhibit for many will be the wedding dress she wore when she married her fourth husband Mark Heron in 1964. Following the Newbridge exhibition, the collection is scheduled to be sold off by Julien Auctions in Los Angeles.

Google Arcore Gives Android Users Augmented Reality Without Tango Last week in San Francisco, Google showed me an app called OzOz is a kind of augmented reality picture book: it places animated characters from The Wizard of Oz into the physical world, as viewed through a smartphone camera. Google is also showcasing a few semi-interactive tricks. In a simple demo app, you can set a little Android mascot down in a virtual forest, where it’ll wave when you hold your phone to its face. And in Oz, the Cowardly Lion jumps in fear if you turn the lights out.

Oz in the News 8.29.17

Wizard of Oz fans revel at New London festival Last Friday, Aug. 25, marked the 78th anniversary of the release of “The Wizard of Oz,” making the event timely. There was no mistaking the Nelsons — Mom Sandi and twin brother and sister Jared and Jordyn, 14 — as huge fans of the beloved 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Saturday, they dressed in character, along with dozens of other devoted fans, at the first Wizard of Oz Days at the New London City Park. Sandi was the Scarecrow, Jordyn played Dorothy and Jared was dressed in a hot-looking Tin Man suit, complete with silver electrical tape around his arms and calves to hold the outfit in place. Sandi Nelson says her fondness for the movie is a family thing. Her mother was named for Judy Garland. The “Wizard of Oz” was part of the Sandi’s childhood household. “This is how we celebrate her,” Sandi said of her mother as the family walked around the park grounds.

‘Wizard of Oz’ festival celebrates long-loved characters, story Dorothy, Toto and their friends traveled from Oz to New London this weekend for the town’s first “Wizard of Oz” festival. The popular characters mingled with attendees, and various performances and activities based around the story were held. “It’s a great family activity. There is no generation that has not been touched by ‘The Wizard of Oz,'” said Zachary Ryan Allen, who has portrayed the Scarecrow with the touring company Spirit of Oz since 2005. Allen also is an ordained minister, and Bishop plans to hold a contest this year where a lucky local couple get to be married by the Scarecrow and have on Oz-themed wedding at the 2018 festival.

Oz in the News 8.26.17

We’re Over The Rainbow For This Heartwarming ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Redux A group of Los Angeles-based seniors recently paid tribute to “The Wizard of Oz” to honor the 78th anniversary of the film’s release Aug. 25, and it’s safe to say we’ll never see the 1939 classic the same way again. This take on “Oz” stars a cast of performers, or “Scene-iors,” from Tuesdays With Matthew, a Los Angeles-based volunteer program for senior citizens. As seen in the video below, Sonia, 91, slipped into Dorothy’s ruby slippers, while 94-year-old Florence showcased her dramatic chops as Glinda the Good Witch. 

Where You’ve Heard That Creepy Song In Death Note Before Interestingly, the lyrics come from a seriously unexpected source: 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her newfound Oz friends sing the song, titled “Optimistic Voices,” as they march down the Yellow Brick Road on their way to Emerald City. The entire scene is quite different from anything in Death Note, since it’s literally supposed to be optimistic. Here, the entire world is ahead of Dorothy, the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) as they’re surrounded by technicolor magic. In Death Note, the tune is a dark lullaby for a clearly tortured man. Since the original Death Note has no apparent official connection to The Wizard Of Oz, there has to be some reason the movie’s team chose “Optimistic Voices” as the song that continuously pops up throughout the project. It’s possible Light can be seen as a dark version of Oz’s The Wizard (Frank Morgan) through the young man’s creation of Kira, a persona people the world over begin believing is an omniscient god. While the aging, balding Wizard hides behind the towering, powerful image of himself, Light similarly hides behind Kira.

Oz in the News 8.19.17

Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My! Autumn at the Arboretum Fall Festival Returns with “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” Theme For the 12th year, Autumn at the Arboretum includes the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village featuring pumpkin houses and creative displays utilizing more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash, along with hay bales and cornstalks. Themed “Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My!”, the Pumpkin Village takes each visitor on a trip highlighting the beloved book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Guests travel through Pumpkin Village on an actual yellow-brick road, spiraling through Pecan Grove with stops at each major occurrence in the story of Dorothy and her adventures in the “Land of Oz”–reimagined with pumpkins, squashes and gourds. Vignettes include “Auntie Em’s house,” the “Scarecrow’s Garden,” the “Enchanted Forest” with the “Tin Man” and “Cowardly Lion,” “Munchkinland,” “Emerald City” showcasing the carriage pulled by “A Horse of A Different Color,” and the “Wicked Witch’s Castle” including the Hay Bale Maze mimicking the castle walls. “Munchkinland” is also the home of the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch offering pumpkins for purchase and children’s activities. Photo-opportunities also abound throughout the village.

Wizard of Oz Days to be held Aug. 26-27 in New London When it comes to “Wizard of Oz” festivals, Clarksville’s loss is New London’s gain. Clarksville hosted a popular Day in Oz festival in 2015 and 2016. However, last week Clarksville officials abruptly announced that the town’s 2017 festival, initially scheduled for Aug. 19, was canceled for various reasons. Then on Tuesday, promoters announced that a new event — the “Wizard of Oz” Days — will be Aug. 26 and 27 in New London, featuring many of the same activities previously offered in Clarksville. What’s going on? You’ll have to ask Jackson Bishop, the former marketing director of the Clarksville Community Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the city’s Day in Oz festival. Bishop moved to New London some months ago, and he apparently decided to take Dorothy and the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion with him. And Toto, too.

Oz in the News 8.18.17

This ‘Oz’ production isn’t what you’d expect, but that’s what makes it magical Lake Simons, a masterful New York-based puppetry artist and daughter of Hip Pocket Theatre co-founders Johnny and Diane Simons, returns for her annual show at her parents’ theater, this time for “The Land of Oz,” adapted from L. Frank Baum’s “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” the second in his series of Oz books that begins with “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Lake Simons is well-versed in many puppetry styles, but for the past 10 years or so, she has focused on hand-held techniques and object manipulation. Here, not only do we see the terrific Jack Pumpkinhead, we see it assembled and come to life onstage. Same with the Saw-Horse. They’re both magical.Lake Simons’ collaborator John Dyer composed and plays original music, with some help on vocals from Dean, Camp and Elysia Worcester. The music is playful, and carries the narrative like a toy boat on a smooth, fast-flowing stream.

Oz in the News 8.17.17

Headstone of Piqua-born ‘Oz’ author unveiled A memorial dedication and headstone unveiling of Piqua-born author of two books in the “Wizard of Oz” series was held at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua today. Jack Snow penned two books telling the further adventures of Dorothy, the Wizard, the Scarecrow and other characters from the Land of Oz, who were first introduced by L. Frank Baum. The titles of Snow’s books were “The Shaggy Man of Oz” and “The Magical Mimics of Oz”, according to a release from the International Wizard of Oz Club. Snow was a 1925 graduate of Piqua High School and died in New York City on July 11, 1956. The headstone was supported by a grant from the International Wizard of Oz Club, which has more than 500 members worldwide.

Oz in the News 8.16.17

Lauren Looks Back: The Great Movie Ride At Disney’s Hollywood Studios Disney’s Hollywood Studios has closed one of its most iconic rides–The Great Movie Ride–to make way for the first Mickey Mouse ride in any of the Disney parks. The ride helped shaped Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally designed for a pavilion at Epcot (and would have been called “Great Moments At The Movies”, which would show you how movies were made, and take you through the movies themselves) former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and WDI president Marty Sklardecided the ride was strong enough to carry an entire theme park, and thus Hollywood Studios was born. There was also to be more Wizard of Oz, but MGM was unwilling to give out more than what they had already given Disney, and Disney didn’t want to pay for more either. If you’re familiar with the ride you’ll no doubt remember the Wizard of Oz scene, where the Wicked Witch appears in a cloud of red smoke.

Oz in the News 8.14.17

Allison Mack on Getting Lost in Oz and if She’ll Ever Return to Smallville “Well, it’s a new take on the adventures of Oz, and it’s something a whole new generation can relate to. The animation itself is so fun and curious and creative. There are tons of new characters involved in this new world of Oz. We never really explored Oz as a city. Here there’s a community and problem within the community. We see a drought and the government, and all these different elements that exist with in Oz that was created for the show specifically that really flesh out what it’s like to live in Oz and the culture of Oz in a way that we didn’t necessarily see in the original film version.”

Oz in the News 8.12.17

EASTENDERS’ Aaron Sidwell to Join the WICKED 2018 UK & Ireland Tour WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is delighted to announce that EastEnders star Aaron Sidwellwill play Fiyero on the forthcoming return engagement of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour in 2018. Aaron Sidwell is currently playing ‘Steven Beale’ in the BBC’s EastEnders, a role he originally played in 2007/08. His many musical theatre appearances include Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse), American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London) and the leading role of ‘Michael Dork’ in Loserville The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouseand in the West End). Aaron Sidwell is scheduled to appear at all venues. The full UK & Ireland Tour cast will be announced in September.

Oz in the News 8.10.17

‘Wizard of Oz’ fest takes Southland down yellow brick road “Dorothy’s story is a journey that everyone can relate to,” said Ryan Jay, a film critic and Oz historian who hosted interviews on stage at the event. “No matter how much the world changes in terms of technology, her experience remains universal.” He said it’s appropriate for the Wizard of Oz Fest to be held in the Chicago area because it’s where L. Frank Baum wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which was first published in 1900. Besides the 1939 film based on the novel, Jay said the Oz stories continue to spawn different adaptations, including an upcoming film based on the popular Broadway show “Wicked.” Baum went on to write 13 more novels based on the Land of Oz, including “Return to Oz,” which was adapted as a live action film by Disney and released in 1985. Emma Ridley, one of the stars of that film, was at Odyssey signing photos of the character she played, Princess Ozma. “It’s so great seeing the next generation of Oz fans,” she said. The British-born actress said she has had fun being part of the Oz family and traveling to conventions around the country. Also at the event was Mary Ellen St. Aubin, whose late husband, Parnell St. Aubin, starred as one of the 124 “munchkins” in the 1939 film. “It’s been very interesting,” St. Aubin, 96, said of representing her husband during Oz events. “I get to meet new people every year.”

New musical adaptation of ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkins and monkeys and mice, oh my! These creatures and more fill the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheater as the story of “Wizard of Oz” unfolds through Aug. 12. Presented by the Orinda Starlight Village Players, this show is a new musical adaptation by Malcolm Cowler, who also directs. The multitalented Cowler also wrote the lyrics for the 10 songs and created a three-dimensional land of Oz using RPG computer graphics. The clever graphics, which fill the backstage wall, add much to the production. Christopher Kula and Ray Christensen composed the music, while Jill Gelster and Marian Simpson did the costumes with help from East Bay Children’s Theater and Bay Area Stage.