Oz, the National Convention 2019 Photo Gallery

Instead of words about the Oz Club’s convention, held just outside New Orleans in June, I’m opting to serve up a photo gallery. Thanks to Mike Gessel, who takes MUCH better photos than I do! If you have photos from anything I’ve missed that would be fun to share, send them my way and I’ll work them in.

Thank you again to all who attended. And particular thanks to Karen and David Diket. This convention was their’s from start to finish, and I am so very grateful for all the thought, energy, and care they put into it.  Click the photo below to get started.

The Ellender Memorial Library was literally filled with Oz.

 

So Many Dorothys; So Little Time 

Seven of the 1900-1970 Dorothys.

The Johnson County (Kansas) Museum served up a wonderful fashion show today. Fifteen various Dorothy costumes were modeled live, each accompanied by a scrap of music associated with that costume.  I gave each outfit context–laced with trivia–from the podium.  The crowd turned into paparazzi, the girls had fun, and I … well, I was in my element. I loved every minute of it.

 

Gift bags and food backstage made for happier Dorothys.

More than 40 tickets were sold in advance to the catered event, with additional tickets that day. Add in the staff, volunteers, and models and the tables were comfortably filled.  The room was decorated with inflatable “poppies” and an Emerald City for photos. On a side table I placed a large cut out of the Ted Eshbaugh Dorothy (Love her, but I am NOT putting that one or the Meglin Kiddie Dorothy on a person, even if those were, respectively, the first color and talking film Dorothys!). I added an MGM Garland dress, and a framed pair of bows specific to the original Ruby Slippers to the table for those curious about accuracy.

1925 Chadwick film’s Dorothy Dwan — the first time the character was aged to be an adult.

 

I was delighted to see Oz Club brochures placed at each chair!

Walter Krueger first dreamed up this fashion show concept for the Oz Club’s 2017 convention in the Chicago area. For this year’s event, I had additional costumes made, borrowed others, wrote a new script, tracked down more music, and purchased accessories. Most of my prep time was spent on shoes. We may have only needed nine specific pair–the other girls could wear black flats–but when you don’t know until a week before show time what size those nine pair need to be, it’s daunting. 

Me with Dorothy — now a Princess of Oz — and Billina.

My closing remarks thanked, “…friends Blair Frodelius and Gregory Foreman for providing our show today with music clips. Plus the makers of these costumes. While I picked them up a couple years before I ever thought I’d need to remember who made them, Shawn Ryan made several of these for an Oz Club fashion show in 2017. Sean Barrett, Judy Bieber, Karyl Carlson, and Zoe O’Haillin contributed others, and Katie Coen and Sachi Stroder created more specifically for today’s show.”
 

Left, McKenna Neef prepares to sing Over the Rainbow wearing her theater costume for an August production of The Wizard of Oz.

Our grand finale singled out our 1939 model, McKenna Neef, who will play Dorothy Aug. 2-10 at the Theater in the Park in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. She stepped forward to sing “Over the Rainbow.” There was a drawing for tickets to the show–one set won by my friend Chris Glasgow, curator of the Oz Museum–and we broke for photos and conversation.

Return to Oz, Oz on Ice, and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. Or as I thought of them, “bows, skates, and boots.”

After sleepless nights worried about “no shows”! Stage fright! Shoes don’t fit! Technical difficulties! or some other catastrophe, the show ran smoothly and right on cue.  It was only after we were finished that they had to clear the building over a water main break.  

Land of Oz Theme Park and Madison Square Garden Dorothys.

Something OzSome: The 2019 San Diego County Fair

Guest contributor J. Dianne Dotson takes us to the 2019 San Diego County Fair.

This year marked my very first visit to the San Diego County Fair. I ordinarily would not sign up for long traffic lines to go to any fair, anywhere. But nostalgia crept in. I grew up close to the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tennessee. So I had fond memories of cotton candy, nauseating rides, baby ducks, and seeing my friends. When I realized the Del Mar Fair had an Oz theme this year, I felt my past and present collide: my lifelong love for all things Oz, and my younger child’s field trip to the fair. I knew I had to go.

To give you some context, the San Diego County fair in Del Mar, California is immense. It attracts a huge audience for its run over a period of weeks every year. So imagine my utter delight when I discovered that Oz would be on display everywhere…and it did not focus on the 1939 film, but on Baum’s actual Oz books! You can see them over the gate as you exit, as well as in an educational exhibit.

There was an L. Frank Baum exhibit, and the backs of the displays were giant Oz book covers. Each display gave insightful information about Baum’s history, the stories, and the illustrators of his books. And the purist in me absolutely adored the silver shoe display! I think most people today do not realize that Dorothy’s shoes were actually silver in the books.

I also loved the lighting of this space, which captured everything from the twister to the moods of various Oz locales.

Very “Ozzy” characters roamed the fairgrounds as well.

So much love and care were put into the San Diego County Fair Oz displays. I felt truly seen as a hardcore Oz fan, and absolutely delighted that people of all ages learned more about L. Frank Baum and his Oz books.

My thanks to Dianne for sharing her photos and report.  Jane