Monthly Archives: September 2019

Oz in the News 9.30.19

Follow The Yellow Brick Road To This Emerald City Themed Rooftop Bar  Follow the yellow brick road from the ground floor of Queen of Hoxton up to the lively bar’s rooftop, which is having a makeover inspired by the Wizard of Oz and musical spin-off, Wicked. Witches are a central theme of the pop-up, which consists of a bewitching rooftop wigwam, and a jewel-encrusted emerald garden, complete with fire pit for toasting marshmallows on those chilly winter nights. Food is served Kansas-style — think hearty beef pot roast, or Munchkin pumpkin pot roast for vegetarians — washed down with the likes of Bad *itch Hot Chocolate (spiked with cognac or orange liqueur), hot buttered rum, mulled wine, or an Emerald Bellini. Join the inner circle of the coven through a series of events taking place up on the roof, including Emerald Isle storytelling (yep, we’re hopping from Oz to Ireland), an incense-making workshop, and a rooftop silent disco. Emerald City at Queen of Hoxton launches 24 October 2019, and is open until spring 2020 (barring tornados). Entry is free, except for special events — check website for details.

Oz in the News 9.27.19

‘The Imaginarium of Oz’ opens in Shanghai A new exhibition at the Micx reinterprets classic scenes from “The Wizard of Oz” using modern technology and immersive installations. The exhibition, entitled “The Imaginarium of Oz,” will run till January 5. Shanghai is the first stop on the show’s global tour. A total of eight different multimedia environments representing Dorothy’s fantastic adventure in Oz have been created by South Korean pop artists. According to producer Jia Ke, the show’s crossover elements are meant to bring diversity and innovation to the exhibition.

How Two Oz-Obsessed Midwesterners Made Judy Garland’s Birthplace a Museum “In terms of American history, and the fact that The Wizard of Oz is one of the most watched movies of all time, this is as important to me as any President’s house,” Kelsch says, walking around the enchanted garden on the south side of the building. Passing cutouts of munchkins, and others of Dorothy and her companions strolling down the yellow brick road, Kelsch goes further: “Does anyone know who Grover Cleveland is? Would they want to visit his house?” (Not particularly, he says.) Garland’s childhood home remains an attraction, in part because so many children knew her as Dorothy. The wooden house even looks like the one that landed on the Wicked Witch of the West more than 80 years ago.

Remember when Judy Garland wore a gingham pinafore in “The Wizard of Oz”? If clothes could talk, Garland’s Dorothy costume would reveal a punishing regime. When it went up for auction in 2015, sweat stains could still be seen around the neck of her blouse. Such was demand for the dress that three bidders pushed the price well beyond Bonham’s pre-sale estimates of between $800,000 and $1.2 million. “As we witnessed today… the dress is considered a true and timeless icon of classic Hollywood,” said Bonhams’ Director of Entertainment Memorabilia, Catherine Williamson. The final price was $1.56 million, including commission, but the dress is not the most expensive “Oz” costume on record. That honor goes to the Cowardly Lion, whose suit — made of real lion skin and fur — sold for more than $3 million in 2014.


Oz in the News 9.24.19

Why Is Judy Garland The Ultimate Gay Icon? While Garland was still alive, critics made ham-fisted attempts to answer this question. A 1969 review of her Palace Theatre show in Esquire Magazine reads: “Homosexuals tend to identify with suffering. They are a persecuted group and they understand suffering. And so does Garland.” However queer historian Dr Justin Bengry warns against generalising in this way. “It’s important to ask: for whom is Judy Garland resonant, important and iconic?” he tells BBC Culture. “It seems to be a significant category of gay men, in particular, who are invested in celebrities or the camp aesthetic that Garland embodies. But it’s also important to recognise that they aren’t the totality of gay men.” The camp that Bengry mentions is significant to Garland’s gay icon status. Queer film historian Jack Babuscio defines camp as “irony, aestheticism, theatricality and humour” – four pillars that form the foundation of Garland’s public persona. In fact, her life story is practically a blueprint for our modern understanding of what makes a gay icon. Analysing her story, from upbringing to death, helps us understand how and why some gay men look to famous women to help them navigate the world.

Oz in the News 9.21.19

Grant for George Eastman Museum aims to preserve original films The museum announced the grant on Friday. The $340,615 award will help to support the cost of the preservation project, which is estimated to cost $730,000. A backup generator will need to be purchased, along with an energy recovery system for the climate control system, and passive building enhancements to increase energy efficiency. Approximately 24,000 reels of motion picture prints and negatives, 40,000 nitrate photographic print negatives, and 25,000 frame clippings from nitrate-based film prints are housed in the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center in Chili. The original Technicolor camera negatives for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind are among those in the collection. Photo negatives by renowned photographers Lewis W. Hine, Alvin Langdon Coburn, and Edward Steichen are also in the collection dating from 1900 to 1950.

Oz in the News 9.19.19

Step Inside Old Hollywood’s Most Iconic Movie Sets If you’ve ever watched an Old Hollywood film—that is, one of the classic black-and-white pictures that’s likely filled with song and dance—chances are, you’ve seen the work of prolific art director Cedric Gibbons. According to IMDb, he’s been credited on more than 1,500 projects, largely due to the fact that he served as the head of the art department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1924 through 1956. He was directly responsible for more than 150 productions, including the iconic Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, and Anchors Aweigh, among many others. Today, fans of the Old Hollywood aesthetic can delight in a new book about the designer, MGM Style: Cedric Gibbons and the Art of the Golden Age of Hollywood ($45, Lyons), by Howard Gutner.

A ROYAL DRAG SHOW CLOSES OUT ESMOA’S JOYFUL TRIBUTE TO THE COSMOPOLITAN LAND OF OZ “Oz is a very important place. It’s a place where everybody is welcome. Nobody is judged for who they are. … In the story of ‘Oz,’ Dorothy lands there, and she meets lots of strange and queer characters, and they all become friends. … A place like Oz kind of lends itself to that [feeling of acceptance] — that is, this magical place where you can be whatever you want.” That mission of acceptance and finding your voice — figuratively and literally — is at the core of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, which also performs “Wizard of Oz”-inspired songs at ESMoA on the hour from 2 to 4:30 p.m Saturday. One of the first of its kind in the United States and inspired by an episode of the teen musical dramedy show “Glee,” TCLA is comprised of transgender, gender non-conforming, gender non-binary, gender fluid and intersex volunteer singers, who may have experienced voice dysphoria as part of their personal gender identity journeys or hormone replacement therapy.

Oz in the News 9.17.19

Cowardly Lion statue joins Holland Oz exhibit at Herrick A bronze sculpture of the Cowardly Lion, from the pages of L. Frank Baum’s classic Oz books, was added Monday, Sept. 16, to the permanent Holland Oz exhibit. Brodin Studio cast the bronze Oz statues over a six-month span. The first five character statues including Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man and Scarecrow were erected Aug. 30 outside of the library. Across the street in Centennial Park, there is a live sculpture made of flowers and plantings of a book designed to look like “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” along with a yellow brick road. A dedication event for the Holland Oz Project will take place at 11 a.m., Sept. 28, with an official ribbon cutting and meet and greet with Oz characters at Centennial Park and outside of the library.

Oz in the News 9.14.19

This ‘Wizard of Oz’ Airbnb Is the Most Magical Place Outside of Emerald City — and It’s Only $35 Per Night Nicknamed Dorothy’s Cottage, this tiny Airbnb is the perfect glamping spot for two people. It’s a simple studio cottage with a sofa bed, breakfast nook, small porch, and lots of “Wizard of Oz” details to enjoy. Among the incredible, Instagram-worthy touches are a pair of ruby slippers and legs in striped stockings sticking out from below the house (Wicked Witch of the East style), an exterior mural of Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion traveling down the Yellow Brick Road, baskets with stuffed animal versions of Toto sticking out of them, and lots of other “Wizard of Oz” memorabilia and knick-knacks. Anyone who stays in the home will have to be experienced in roughing it a little, since the bathroom consists of a porta john and an outdoor shower. While there’s no kitchen, there is a picnic pavilion with a grill, so having an outdoor cookout will not be a problem. If you’re looking for an elevated camping experience, this is definitely a magical option.

Freeform 30 Days of Disney Day 13: Disney Follows the Yellow Brick Road to Oz Holding the rights to the Oz stories allowed Disneyland Records to have a little fun with them. Walt Disney Presents The Story of the Scarecrow of Oz was released in 1965 based on the Baum book of the same name and narrated by Ray Bolger (of Babes in Toyland fame… and MGM’s The Wizard of Oz). It featured a new song called “Happy Glow” and a children’s chorus version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Two follow ups came in 1969 with The Story and Songs of the Wizard of Oz, featuring Disney recordings of five songs from the MGM film, and The Story and Songs of the Cowardly Lion of Oz which included six songs, some rumored to be intended for The Rainbow Road to Oz including “Living a Lovely Life,” “Trouble in Oz,” “The Ozphabet,” “Just Call Smarmy,” “The Puppet Polka,” and “If You’ll Just Believe.” That same year, a musical album called The Songs from The Wizard of Oz was released which included all of the songs from these three story albums. The final Disney Oz record came in 1970 with The Songs and Story of the Tin Woodman of Oz with three original songs written for the release.

Oz in the News 9.13.19

Celebrate ‘The Wizard of Oz’ With a Month of Magical Events in Hastings This month (and a little extra, in fact) the town will celebrate Billie Burke, L. Frank Baum, and all things colorized with a cooperative series put on by the Hastings-on-Hudson Village Arts Commission and the Hastings Historical Society called We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Journeys to Places Real and Imagined. Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the film, the program will exhibit inspired works by local artists, dive into the life and career of Burke, introduce children to Berkeley Crest with hands-on activities, and ultimately bring the joy of the classic film to everyone with an outdoor screening of the 1939 classic. All month long, guests can view a gallery of artistic works — oils, watercolors, photography, mosaic, fibers —from New York and New Jersey-based artists (of whom 10 are from Hastings), all answering the question, “Where does your art transport you?” This will be paired with a photo and written exhibit on Burke’s life and time spent in the village, all on display in the Village Hall Gallery on Maple Ave.

Meredythe Glass, Mercer Island resident who was in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ dies at 98 Mrs. Glass touched many people, whether through her work in “The Wizard of Oz” or her presence in her retirement community. “She was just a joy. Oh my gosh, will I miss her,” said Roxanne Helleren, resident life director at Covenant Living at the Shores, the retirement community where Mrs. Glass lived for 15 years. Mrs. Glass found great joy in people contacting her to get her autograph as one of the last living cast members in “Wizard of Oz,” Helleren said. One time, Mrs. Glass showed Helleren a letter from people in England asking for her autograph. “I said: ‘How did people in England find you?’” Helleren recalled. “She said: ‘You have heard of the internet, haven’t you?’”

The Wizard of Oz – 80 Years of Social Relevance 1939 was a desperate year. The conflicts between the Axis and Allies in the Second World War sent their citizens into turmoil. Tensions were high; fingers were being pointed left, right and centre. Society was falling apart. The war began in September 1939, one week after the US release of The Wizard of Oz on August 25th. When it was thought that all hope was lost, this magical story soared in and helped to spread a tiny bit of peace, bringing four vital qualities required to get through the war; courage, logic, love and hope. Dorothy’s adventures through Oz were not coincidental – she was the symbol of America.

Last ‘Munchkin-by-marriage’ coming to Lowell She would always greet her fans by saying she was “a Munchkin by marriage,” since she did not appear in the film, but her husband Pernell Elmer St. Aubin was in the movie playing a Munchkin Soldier. Pernell, who died at age 64 in 1987, only attended a few of the first Chesterton festivals, while Mary Ellen continued to attend faithfully almost every year since she was part of the reason the festival launched. Mary Ellen St. Aubin, who will celebrated her 99th birthday next week on Sept. 21, has agreed to be a special guest star for a new weekend “Wizard of Oz” festival Oct. 5 and 6 at Harvest Tyme Park and Pumpkin Patch, 17904 Grant St. in Lowell with more information at or (219) 440-2386. More than 45 acres and family owned, Harvest Tyme Park also has a large field of sunflowers and offers hot air balloon rides.

Hanna Andersson’s ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Collection Is Going To Send You Straight Over The Rainbow Perhaps it is because Halloween is in the air, but I love seeing all the recent collaborations with amazing children’s clothing brands and my favorite childhood characters. They’re everywhere, and it’s exactly why I’m following the yellow brick road to Hanna Andersson’s new Wizard of Oz pajama collection. I mean, ruby red slipper moccasins for my little gals? Yes, please. In this latest brand pairing, you’ll find long john pajama sets highlighting each character from Wizard of Oz, matching hats, ruby slippers as mentioned above, and in case parents are feeling left out, a pajama set for the entire family. Now we’re talking.


Oz in the News 9.11.19

‘Over the Rainbow’ Escapes MGM Purge for Stage Revival A few months ago, famed song stylist Michael Feinstein was helping his friend Angela White, daughter of composer Dave Rose — who was married to Judy Garland from 1941 to 1944 — move some filing boxes at her office in L.A.’s Studio City. When he noticed a folder marked “Over the Rainbow,” he peeked inside — and was overjoyed at what he found. “It contained vintage set parts for the song’s original film arrangement,” says Feinstein, 62, who’s also known as an anthropologist and archivist for the Great American Songbook. Now Feinstein will bring that bit of history to life: On Sept. 14, at an evening dedicated to classic MGM musicals at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, he’ll conduct the Pasadena Pops in a rendition of “Over the Rainbow” based on those unearthed orchestrations. “The original chart has a lot of orchestral sections that cannot be heard on the old soundtrack, so it will be a true revelation for people to hear what they have literally never heard before,” says Feinstein. Of course, the performance won’t feature the legendary vocals of a then-17-year-old Garland — that honor will fall to Tony winner Karen Ziemba — but Garland will be there in spirit via her daughter, Liza Minnelli. “My mother would have been proud to know that her original MGM chart of ‘Over The Rainbow’ is being revived and played again after 80 years,” says Minnelli, 73. “The arrangers were always very important to her, from Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins to Conrad Salinger and Skip Martin at MGM. She sometimes worked with them to craft the sound she wanted from the orchestra and had the best ‘ears’ in the business. I’ll be there to cheer Michael on and only wish that she could have been there, too.”

Renee Zellweger gets standing ovation for Judy Garland role “In 15 years at #TIFF I have never seen a standing ovation like the one for Renee Zellweger at Judy,” said Variety’s Jenelle Riley. After sustained applause, Zellweger joked: “OK quit it – you’re messing up my make-up!” The audience response in Toronto follows warm reviews for the film from critics and is likely to put Zellweger in the frame for a potential Oscar nomination. “Her transformation is quite astonishing here, and the extended sequences at the Palladium demonstrate her ability to recreate Garland’s physicality and mannerisms,” said Fionnuala Halligan in Screen Daily.

1,200 pounds of butter turns to Oz at the Kansas State Fair The Kansas State Fair butter sculpture is offering a new visual this year — color In the Pride of Kansas Building, Sarah Pratt and her husband Andy sculpted 1,200 pounds of unsalted butter into a scene from the Wizard of Oz. The scene depicts Dorothy – complete with ruby red slippers – along with Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion and Glinda. Pratt used Wilson’s red food coloring to make Dorothy’s ruby slippers. “I mixed it with some moldy butter that was going to get thrown out anyway. The moldy butter and the red food dye made it the perfect color red.” She topped the slippers off with red sugar sprinkles. “I don’t like to use a ton of color, but I thought this was perfect.”

Oz in the News 9.9.19

The Story Of The Original Tin Man – An Interview with Kiki Ebsen Kiki Ebsen returns to Theatre West by popular demand with a newly envisioned, world premiere production of her show “To Dad With Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen” through September 22, 2019. Multi-talented performer Kiki Ebsen honors her father, entertainer Buddy Ebsen, in a multi-media show, co-designed by Kiki and her brother Dustin Ebsen. The show highlights the icon’s seven-decade career during the best days of stage, film, theatre and television. From his earliest days as a New York song and dance man, Kiki takes the audience back in time as Buddy Ebsen starred in early films such as “Captain January,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Banjo on my Knee” and the “Broadway Melody” movies of 1936 and 1938. In addition, Kiki will reflect on his television work in “The Legend of Davey Crockett,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Barnaby Jones.” With heartfelt love from daughter to father, Kiki remembers her dad, singing beloved songs from Buddy’s film career, accompanied by premier jazz musicians Jeff Colella (piano), Granville “Danny” Young (bass), Kim Richmond (woodwinds) and Kendall Kay (drums).

My Journey to Oz & Kansas—Part 5: Why so much Oz? About six years ago, I read a biography of Oz author, L. Frank Baum. His life and personality fascinated me. I’d always wanted to write a novel set at the turn of the century, and as I read about Baum, ideas flickered in my mind—ideas that started to take shape in an early 1900s and a 1980 setting in the form of characters and events and a plot. I read and researched more, then joined the International Wizard of Oz Club so I could receive The Baum Bugle magazine, another great resource. I visited Baum and Oz landmarks, such as Syracuse, NY and the All Things Oz Museum in Chittenango, as well as the places listed above. Well, after much blood, sweat, and tears, after numerous critiques and revisions, after consulting Baum scholar Michael Patrick Hearn about details, the novel is completed except for final editing.