Oz in the News 10.1.19

Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ character was inspired by a ‘Wizard of Oz’ star “I think what influenced me the most was Ray Bolger,” Phoenix told the Associated Press. “There was a particular song called ‘The Old Soft Shoe’ that he performed and I saw a video of it and there’s this odd arrogance almost to his movements and, really, I completely just stole it from him.” Phoenix particularly paid attention to how Bolger moved his face. “He does this thing of turning his chin up,” Phoenix said. “This choreographer Michael Arnold showed me that and tons of videos and I zeroed in on that one. That was Joker, right? There’s an arrogance to him, really. That was probably the greatest influence.”

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.