‘Oz’-some birthday For his 36th birthday, J. Basil Dannebohm is bringing Oz to Kansas, and he doesn’t even need a tornado. The Salina resident and former member of the Kansas Legislature will be hosting a “Wizard of Oz” themed birthday reception today at his east Salina home, where he has invited a variety of people to celebrate what he called the diversity and humanity championed by the book and movie. “I take pride that all kinds of guests are welcome at this and at every other reception I host,” he said. “Rich, poor, gay, straight, black, white, Republican, Democrat — at these gatherings, our differences are set aside and our humanity is celebrated.” Dannebohm sees “The Wizard of Oz” not only as a timeless fantasy adventure for children, but a timely story for adults — one that embraces inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion, attributes sorely lacking in today’s polarized social and political climate. “If Baum taught us anything from this work, it’s that separately brains, a heart and courage are powerful tools,” he said. “However, when used for the good of others on life’s journey, they become phenomenal building blocks of friendship and solidarity.”
Michael Morpurgo: ‘I had to turn into a dog and see the world in Toto’s way’ I know now, after decades of doing it, why I return time and again to the task of retelling the great tales, ancient and less ancient. It is a kind of recharging of a storymaker’s battery. Go back to the old masters, not to copy as an art student might copy a Rembrandt, but to rediscover the magic of a story that has stood the test of time, that is still read and loved, perhaps 2,000 years after it was written. Go back to a legend or a tale or a great popular classic that has been superseded by a film, or several films, so that the original story or poem has been all but forgotten.