Monthly Archives: May 2020

Oz in the News 5.29.20

Doom Patrol’s Wizard of Oz-Themed Season 2 Poster Reveals Dorothy DC Universe on Thursday unveiled a Season 2 poster for Doom Patrol (seen in full below), and it is fittingly Wizard of Oz-themed seeing as a Dorothy — as in Niles Caulder aka The Chief’s daughter — is front and center. Premiering Thursday, June 25 on DC Universe (and simultaneously released to HBO Max), Season 2 of the live-action DC series has “the strangest group of heroes” — Cliff Steele aka Robotman (voiced/sometimes played by Brendan Fraser), Larry Trainor aka Negative Man (voiced/sometimes played by Matt Bomer), Rita Farr aka Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), Jane aka Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Joivan Wade) — back to once again save the world. If, that is, they can find a way to grow up… both figuratively and literally.

Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival to be ‘a virtual experience’ June 12-13 As Dorothy Gale discovers when she leaves Kansas and sets off to find the Wizard of Oz, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. So it is this year, when the seventh annual Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival goes virtual, in light of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. The order was recently extended through June 12 and the festival is set for June 12-13. The Ionia Downtown Development Authority, which hosts the event, is following the governor’s guidelines “as directed,” and that’s the reason the festival will transition from an in-person event to “a virtual experience,” according to Ionia DDA Director Linda Curtis. There will still be plenty to do and see online, starting with celebrity guests telling stories from their recently published books on Facebook Live. Festival favorite Mary Ellen St. Aubin, whose late husband Parnell St. Aubin was one of the original Munchkin soldiers in the 1939 MGM classic “The Wizard of Oz,” may even make an appearance. “I spoke with Mary Ellen today. We hope to have a video from her home,” Curtis said. “That will be absolutely priceless. She is turning 100 this year.” Official characters and friends of the festival also will make guest appearances on Facebook Live — and possibly elsewhere.

Oz in the News 5.28.20

Oz Days set to follow the yellow brick road back to Chesterton Originally set for May, the festival has been rescheduled for July 11-12 because of COVID-19 concerns. The venue will remain the same, with the event held in and around the Duneland Falls Banquet and Event Center, 1100 N. Max Mochal Hwy. Missouri-based organizer Jackson Bishop, who has organized the Missouri Wizard of Oz Festival for five years, is overseeing the Chesterton festival. “It will be a reunion of sorts of past attendees, sharing lots of memories from past festivals,” Bishop said. Many of the same activities featured in past festivals will be on the schedule.” Though the schedule is being finalized, the festival will include vendors, artists, authors, crafts, activities and food. The festival’s Facebook page also touts costume contests for children and adults, including a virtual category for those unable to attend the 2020 event. The festival also will feature Mary Ellen St. Aubin, the first lady of the Wizard of Oz Days and of past festivals, Bishop said. “Mary Ellen was married to Pernell St. Aubin, who portrayed the smallest Munchkin soldier in the original 1939 movie,” he said.

Oz in the News 5.25.20

Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival shifts to virtual event for 2020 The annual Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival will transition from an in-person event to a virtual one in 2020, according to the Ionia Downtown Development Authority. The virtual celebration with Facebook live videos, including celebrity guests and official characters, is scheduled for June 12-13. Plans to provide online contests, activities, storytelling and more will be featured on the official Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival Facebook page. “The health and safety of our patrons, vendors, celebrity guests, volunteers, and official characters is of utmost importance to the Festival Committee and guided the decision to change from the previous format,” the Ionia DDA stated. The Ionia DDA states to follow the festival page for upcoming announcements and schedule updates. It is also working with downtown merchants to host decorating contests and activities for the festival. “We express our sincere appreciation to sponsors, donors and all that worked so hard to make this Festival a tradition,” said the DDA. “We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.”

Oz in the News 5.21.20

‘Oz’ theme park? Toxic dump? KCQ finds fireworks in history of Sunflower ammo plant Back in 1942, the federal government uprooted 150 farms in northwest Johnson County as well as the entire town of Prairie Center so it could build an ammunition plant. (In 1998) the big headline was when the area nearly became home to the world-famous Wonderful World of Oz theme park and resort. The developers, headed by Los Angeles lawyer Robert Kory, knew that the project would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and that much of that money would go to cleaning up the toxic site. But they were unfazed. The Oz idea faced local opposition from Taxpayers Opposed to Oz, or TOTO, and The Wall Street Journal wasn’t much impressed either. It ran a story in May 2001 that carried a De Soto dateline and began: “If a California developer has its way, Dorothy and Toto will once again be off to see the wizard — only this time the yellow brick road will be laid over a toxic-cleanup site that is now so poisonous, cattle aren’t allowed to graze in certain places there.” As the estimated cost of the project rose to more than $860 million, doubts about Kory’s financing also grew. In late 2001, Johnson County commissioners killed the Oz idea.

Cheltenham tea room launches Wizard of Oz afternoon tea As Dorothy says ‘there’s no place like home’ and a Cheltenham tea room has created a special Wizard of Oz themed afternoon tea that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, during lockdown. Complete with ruby slipper biscuits and yellow brick rocky road, Once Upon A Tea Room in Cheltenham has created the limited edition Wizard of Oz themed afternoon tea for delivery or collection on just two dates – Friday 29 and Saturday 30 May 2020. The Over The Rainbow Tea also includes finger sandwiches, scones, vanilla rainbow cake and even an emerald macaroon, plus a choice of hot or cold drinks. Costing £22.95 for one or £56 for a family, the special afternoon tea is available for collection or delivery within 10 miles of the tea room on Winchcombe Street in Cheltenham town centre. For more information, call Once Upon A Tea Room on (01242) 577929.

Oz in the News 5.19.20

Mosaic Pays Tribute to ‘Wizard of Oz’ Author at His Chicago Home There’s no place like home — especially the home of L. Frank Baum, the author behind “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” who wrote the series while living in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. The current owner of that home, affordable housing company Bickerdike Redevelopment, decided to commission an art installation from the Chicago Public Art Group to honor Baum. “We wanted to do some kind of depiction that really represented the intersectionality between the concept of ‘there’s no place like home’ and the need for affordable housing in our city,” said CEO Joy Aruguete. Now, you can follow the iconic yellow brick road to Humboldt Boulevard and Wabansia Avenue, where you’ll find Toto taking a stroll down the brightly lit road that leads to a tile mosaic created by artist Hector Duarte, who has been creating artwork all over the city for the last 50 years. With the help of two other artists, he finished the project in about three months.

At the movies: ‘Ben Hur’ and ‘Wizard of Oz’ as Japan reopens The chariots of 1959 epic “Ben Hur” and the yellow brick road of 1939 fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” are back on the big screen in Japan as cinemas begin reopening from the coronavirus crisis with a slate heavy on Hollywood classics. Asked about the selection of films on show, a Toho official simply said: “We’re playing films that are popular.”

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – In a well-yard! St.Petersburg’s benchmark is not only spacious palaces for former noble people but also for the tiny well-yards of the apartments-for-rent for poor ones. Having been a capital for 300 years, St. Petersburg had the most expensive land in the country. Thus, 19th-century owners tried to maximize their wealth by building rental houses very close to each other without any greenery or parks, and that’s how the famous well-yards appeared and still exist in some city center districts. Nowadays, locals try to make these yards cozier and try to decorate them with paintings or even sculptures. One of my favorite well-yards is at Pravdy street 2-8 which is devoted to the American fairytale “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” which is also very popular in Russia. Start from the yard at bld.8 and try to find all the characters: The Good Witch of the North on the wall of the house, sculptures of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion in one yard. Follow the yellow brick road at bld.4 to see the Winged Monkeys at the vizor over the entrance in the other yard (on the photo), the Wicked Witch of the East and the Wizard Oz himself (only during spring-autumn period as he is made as a flowerbed). In the middle of the kids playground, you can find Glinda the Good Witch of the South and make your wish!

Oz in the News 5.18.20

Art Matters Now — 12 Writers on 20 Years of Art: Greg Youmans on the Pathbreaking Trans Media Art of 2008 Tara Mateik is an artist with a digressive practice: one idea or interest leads to another and then another until a chain has formed of interconnected performances and videos. The project he proposed for Creative Capital was “Men with Missing Parts,” a series of performances and music videos in which he lip-synched pop songs in the guise of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. For this work, The Wizard of Oz was a way in: a means of talking about transgender identity and issues in a non-threatening and humorous manner, and through a cultural reference point with which everyone was familiar.

Oz in the News 5.16.20

‘WICKED’ Interested In Lili Reinhart and Dove Cameron For Glinda The Good Witch Earlier this week we got some exciting news that Wicked director Stephen Daldry was looking at Imelda Staunton for the role of Madame Morrible. There still has been no confirmation that any talks have happened or if an offer has been made. I will add that a recent Production Weekly listing does back up our report that Imelda is a person of interest. Their listing also indicates filming is expected to being in January 2021 in London, New York and Los Angeles. With the current pandemic though all production dates should be taken with a grain of salt. The film was already pushed from its 2021 release date so a 2022 release date would be most likely. Some more exciting news that we have heard but I cannot verify further so also take this news with a grain of salt is that casting is ramping up. We have been told from a reliable source but again this is just a rumor for now, producers are interested in Dove Cameron and Lili Reinhart for the role of Galinda/Glinda the Good Witch. Lili is currently attached to the hit CW series, Riverdale and Dove is known for her role as Mal in the Descendants film series. Dove has been fancast and rumored for the movie for some time but our source hears that she is a legitimate contender for a role in the movie.

Oz in the News 5.14.20

Wizards of a New Oz: Zeb Hatfield and Eric Weathers on Battle Brick Road Some classics lend themselves to modern exploration. Lewis Carroll’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND has been exploited in films such Disney’s iconic animated masterpiece, to books like Frank Beddor’s LOOKING-GLASS WARS. James Barrie’s PETER PAN has been a mainstay of musical production for decades while going through dark reimaginings like Brom’s THE CHILD THIEF. Similarly, L. Frank Baum’s WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the past century in television mini-series, animated cartoons, and comic books, either in adaptive retellings or wholly imagined variations. It’s the latter kind we encounter with BATTLE BRICK ROAD, a crowdfunded comic book project from Zeb Hatfield (FRANKENAUT) and Eric Weathers (FLYING FORTRESS). BATTLE BRICK ROAD find a grown Thea Gale venturing into the Great American Desert of the midwest in search of her father, and encountering characters terrifying yet familiar along the way. Check out our video interview with the BBR team below to get some behind-the-scenes insights as to the story, peeks at the artwork, and an appreciation for what it takes to produce a comic book through crowdfunding. You can back BATTLE BRICK ROAD at its Indiegogo page here:

Oz in the News 5.13.20

Virtual Wizard of Oz Con The first of its kind “Virtual Wizard of Oz Con,” celebrating all aspects of Oz, with a star-studded evening benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. All in one night, Film Critic and Oz Historian Ryan Jay interviews some of the greatest celebrities ever to have entered the Emerald City. From “Wicked” to “The Wiz,” don’t miss this unique chance to “Return to Oz” and gain exclusive access behind the curtain of your favorite Ozzy adaptations. Those who reserve tickets now will have the chance to submit questions in advance! *Featuring*:Kari Wahlgren (voice of Dorothy/Queen Ozma, Boomerang’s Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, Jessica in Rick & Morty, Zatanna in DC Superhero Girls), Todrick Hall (Straight Outta Oz, Broadway’s Kinky Boots, Chicago, Waitress), Gregory Maguire (Author, WICKED), Rob Paulsen (voice of the Tin Man in Tom & Jerry The Wizard of Oz and Back to Oz, Pinky in Pinky and the Brain, Yakko in Animaniacs), Shanice Williams (Dorothy, NBC’s The Wiz Live, Perfect Harmony), Emma Ridley (Ozma, Disney’s Return to Oz), Danielle Paige (Author, Dorothy Must Die) and more!

13 ON YOUR SIDE wins Regional Murrow award for ‘Origin of Oz’ series  The series highlights how West Michigan played a role in L. Frank Baum’s legendary book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The four part series aired as a half hour special last year.

Oz in the News 5.6.20

Marilyn Manson Wants to Record a Judy Garland Song With Brandi Carlile Marilyn Manson has shown an affinity for ear-catching covers over the years, and it appears as though he’s interesting in teaming up with Brandi Carlile on the Judy Garland classic, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Carlile revealed the potential pairing during an appearance on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show. “Marilyn Manson wants to record ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ with me,” said Carlile. “He’s been texting me about it.” She went on to reveal that Manson previously came to watch her play a Joni Mitchell tribute show in which she performed all of Mitchell’s Blue album. “He came, and he cried so hard,” recalled Carlile. “He had all his makeup down his face, and turns out he’s the biggest Joni Mitchell fan on the face of the planet.” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” initially came to fame as sung by Judy Garland in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. Reflecting on Garland, an LGBTQ icon, Carlile stated, “Judy Garland just makes me smile. Just to me, she’s everything gay. Just everything. When I listen to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ I feel happy but I don’t feel happy in contrast or contrary to the way I’m naturally feeling. I just feel like I can maybe have a daydream.”

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