Saturday, March 17, 2018

Oz Updates

It might be mid to late March, but here we go.

Just yesterday, I finally renewed my membership for The International Wizard of Oz Club. I know we have a picture on the side advertising the Club (and when the blog gets linked to on Facebook, Facebook likes to use it as the thumbnail), but they deserve some extra talk.

The International Wizard of Oz Club has been the main assemblage for Oz fans since 1957. In The Baum Bugle (the club's journal released three times yearly), research about Oz, Baum, etc. not only advanced but was out there for other fans to read and use as a basis for their own research. Today, in addition to research, The Baum Bugle prints interviews of people who create new Oz material and reviews of books and other ways Oz has been presented. For fans of the MGM film The Wizard of Oz, there is often new or rarely seen material about the film.

The Club also promotes interactivity among fans, including at museum exhibits and conventions. It's under their auspices that Oziana was created, the magazine containing some of the earliest fan-created Oz stories and artwork. Oziana continues to this day and is available for all to purchase through its print on demand publisher at

So, you know, if you're an Oz fan, join the International Wizard of Oz Club!

(And if you don't keep your membership up to date, don't complain when you miss an issue of The Baum Bugle. Due to the limited print run, it's difficult to get previous issues to members when they join after those have been printed.)

Another thing is get yourself going to OzCon International this year! Colin and I are working hard to make it a great time for Oz fans. We're in a great location at Kellogg West on the Cal-Poly campus in Pomona, California on August 10-12.
We're bringing in all the Oz Con favorites:
  • Quizzes - There are four different quizzes for Oz fans. One of them is about the MGM film and general Oz pop culture. The other three are for fans of the books: the junior quiz focuses specifically on the Baum book of the year, in this case, The Tin Woodman of Oz; the standard quiz, covering L. Frank Baum's fourteen novels; and the fiendishly difficult Master's quiz, based on the Famous Forty Oz books. Prizes are awarded for this one.
  • Show and Tell - Bring a special Oz treasure from your collection: a book, a one of a kind piece of memorabilia, something rare, or just something that means something special to you. You can show it off and share why it matters. It's a very open forum program.
  • Costume Contest - Also fondly known as the Masquerade, attendees get into costume (and often into character) as favorite or even—sometimes—original Oz characters. Prizes are awarded for multiple categories: best child's costume, best adult's costume, best group costume, best theme costume.
  • Live Presentations - This will be our fifth year with multi track programming to give attendees more options. Special guests and attendees present talks and panels discussing many different aspects of Oz.
  • Auction - This auction is presented by the International Wizard of Oz Club and offers many highly collectible items from early edition books to rare items. There is both a live auction and a silent auction.
  • In addition, there's the presentation of the Winkie Award and as the board of the International Wizard of Oz Club will be joining us, we will also see the presentation of the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award. In addition, the Club will be presenting awards for the contests. (See below!)
  • Special Guests - Each year we invite notable people with a connection to Oz or fans. This year, our current lineup consists of James Ortiz, the co-creator of the off-Broadway hit The Woodsman; comics writer and historian Andy Mangels; son of The Hidden Valley of Oz author Rachel Cosgrove Payes, Robert Payes; The Making of the Wizard of Oz author Aljean Harmetz will be attending, as will fandom extraordinaries John and Bjo Trimble. We are looking into additional special guests. Other fans of note attending include Sarah Hadley and Nick Campbell, the pair behind the Burzee blog as well as Sarah taking over as editor in chief of The Baum Bugle. Also coming is Dina Schiff Massachi from UNC Charlotte, who will be speaking about various incarnations of the Tin Woodman.
In addition to all the regular Oz Con fun, since Pomona is so close, Oz con attendees are being invited to the spend the day after the convention at Disneyland. It's noted that this is not an official part of the convention, but a separate event.

There is early talk of the day after Disneyland of fans going to some sites of interest to Oz fans. Details on that are pending.

So, go ahead, register for OzCon, book your hotel room, plan your days and make it one pretty awesome summer vacation!

Finally, the International Wizard of Oz Club is sponsoring a few contests with cash prizes! As mentioned above, awards will be presented at OzCon, but it is not required to attend or even be a member of the Club to enter or win.

There are three categories for the contest: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Art. Fiction covers short stories (maximum of 10,000 words), poetry and drama scripts about Oz. I managed to win this one five years ago with The Way of a Lion. Non-fiction is a written piece about Oz. It could be you writing about your own experiences with Oz, or it could be about a specific piece of Oz lore or the Oz phenomenon of your interest. These must be submitted by the deadline (June 15 for hard copy, July 1 for digital) to be eligible. All work must be original and not published before OzCon.

Art is different and a copy of it must be sent to the convention. If you're sending the original piece, you must arrange for it to be returned if you want it back. This could be a painting, a pencil drawing, a watercolor or colored pencil piece, a sculpture, an original doll or plush figure, one year a short original animated video playing on a loop was submitted. The deadline for submitting these is July 15.

For details on submitting pieces, please refer to the rules.

So, between OzCon and the contests, Oz fans could win big this summer! This could very well be a summer for the books!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Jane Albright Tours The Toys of Oz

International Wizard of Oz Club president Jane Albright shared this video online recently. From January 14 to August 20, 2017, Kansas City's National Museum of Toys and Miniatures featured the exhibit Over the Rainbow: Toys from the Land of Oz.

The exhibit mainly featured merchandise and occasional costumes and props. Not everything in the exhibit is exactly a toy, but there's plenty.

Jane provided many pieces seen in the exhibit and contacted other collectors who loaned various pieces for it, in many cases completing collections of rare merchandise.

In this video—initially filmed for Facebook Live, so excuse the portrait mode video—Jane tours the exhibit on its last day and explains what the pieces are. If you couldn't make it to the exhibit, this is a nice alternative. If you did, here's a way to relive it. And the real highlight is Jane's clear and informative narration.

In the video description, Jane provides a list of the collectors who loaned their pieces to the exhibit. I have copied it below:

Jane Albright
Robert Baum
Bill Beem
Dianne Breitenstein
Bill Campbell
Currie Corbin
Scott Cummings
Valerie Dunaway
Billy Ferguson
Atticus Gannaway
Micheal Gessel
Peter Hanff
Edith Hollister
David Kelleher
Walter Krueger
John Masson
Gita Morena
The Oz Museum
Richard Rutter
Aaron Schultz
Bill Thompson
Jan Vanderwall
Chris Warkala