Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tik-Tok Tinsel!

I have a friend who is slightly obsessed with Disney's Return to Oz - and he is especially obsessed with Tik-Tok! Occasionally I make him birthday or Christmas presents, and this year he got a Tik-Tok Christmas tree ornament.

 Tik-Tok's head is built around a cardboard sphere using bits of paper, bristol-board, and a plastic screw anchor for the nose. The mustache is string appliqued to a bristol-board base. Once the sculpt was finished Tik-Tok got several good coats of gesso and then some spiffy "copper" acrylic paint. The last step was a deep blue acrylic "oxidation" wash to pop the shadows. I especially liked how the hat came out!

OK, now that I've captured the attention of Tik-Tok fans the world around - I want to let you know that this summer Tik-Tok will be starring in his own stage musical!

There will be a fully-staged revival of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz at the Winkie Con on August 9, 2014 in San Diego, California.

The Tik-Tok Man of Oz is a one-hundred-year-old stage musical written by children's author L. Frank Baum as a sequel to his classic story The Wizard of Oz. The curtain first went up on The Tik-Tok Man of Oz on March 31, 1913, at the Majestic Theater in Los Angeles, California. After a successful Los Angeles run, the show toured the USA and Canada, then closed in 1914.

All the surviving vintage music from the original production will be performed to keyboard accompaniment--including fourteen songs with lyrics by L. Frank Baum and music by Louis F. Gottschalk, additional songs from the original run, Gottschalk's dance music, overture, entr'acte, reprises, etc. There will be twenty-five musical numbers in total.

The Tik-Tok Man of Oz is being produced by Oz author and illustrator Eric Shanower and is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign. The fundraising efforts are going really well and the basic needs of the show have been met. But there are a lot of things Tik-Tok still needs tro make his revival truly incredible. So check out the fundraiser campaign through the link below and please try to contribute a little toward Tik'Tok's triumphal return to the stage!

If you want to see The Tik-Tok Man of Oz in August you'll need to come to WINKIE CON 50 - the biggest Oz event of the year. Click here for details!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Talkin' About Tik-Tok

Polychrome, the Shaggy Man, and Betsy assist Tik-Tok.
This year's Winkie Con features a unique program on Saturday evening, August 9, 2014. Clockwork Productions will revive The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, the musical play originally produced in Los Angeles, California, in 1913. The book and lyrics were written by Oz author L. Frank Baum, as a sequel to his 1903 Broadway smash The Wizard of Oz. The music for The Tik-Tok Man of Oz was composed by Louis F. Gottschalk, composer of many early film scores, including Orphans of the Storm by D. W. Griffith, A Woman of Paris by Charlie Chaplin, and Little Lord Fauntleroy starring Mary Pickford.

Oliver Morosco produced The Tik-Tok Man of Oz at the Majestic Theater in Los Angeles, California, where it premiered March 31, 1913. The show then toured the USA and Canada, arriving in San Diego, California, in 1914. Now, one hundred years later, San Diego will once again host a presentation of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. It's appropriate that The Tik-Tok Man of Oz will be performed in San Diego, since L. Frank Baum wrote the earliest drafts of the show in 1907 at the Hotel del Coronado, the famous luxury resort near San Diego.

The Tik-Tok Man of Oz has not had a fully staged production in a century. If you ever wanted to see a fully staged performance of one of L. Frank Baum's stage works, this is your chance. This revival will be presented one night only, on Saturday, August 9, 2014, as the evening program of the 50th annual Winkie Con, the world's longest running Oz event. The Regency Ballroom of the Town and Country Resort, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, California, will be turned into a theater to present the show.

Sheet music from 1913
All the surviving musical numbers from the original production--more than twenty in all--will be performed. These include the fourteen songs written by L. Frank Baum and Louis F. Gottschalk, as well as four additional songs by Oliver Morosco and Victor Schertzinger, an overture, an entr'acte, reprises, and dances. The original script by L. Frank Baum has been abridged by award-winning Oz author and illustrator Eric Shanower in order to keep the running time of this production under two and a half hours.

A full-convention ticket to Winkie Con 50 includes guaranteed seating for the Saturday evening performance of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. To register for Winkie Con 50, click here for the Winkie Con website.

Sheet music from 1913
The Tik-Tok Man of Oz features plenty of action, comedy, romance, and suspense. The star of the show is Tik-Tok, the copper clockwork man who must be wound up with a key to move, think, and speak. Tik-Tok is rescued by young Betsy Bobbin and her pet mule Hank who are helping the Shaggy Man search for his long lost brother. They are joined by Queen Ann and her brave Army of Oogaboo, as well as Polychrome the Daughter of the Rainbow and Ozma the Rose Princess. They all must face the magical power of Ruggedo the villainous Metal Monarch and his Metal Imps deep in the underground Metal Forest. The story is similar to the seventh Oz book, Tik-Tok of Oz, because L. Frank Baum based that book on this play.

The Tik-Tok Man of Oz Kickstarter Campaign
A Kickstarter campaign for The Tik-Tok Man of Oz has launched. Won't you consider becoming part of this fascinating project by making a pledge? To contribute, click here to go directly to Kickstarter. We're offering some cool rewards for contributors, including a DVD of the performance, a book reprinting all the surviving sheet music from the original production, artwork by Eric Shanower, VIP seating at the performance, posters, and more--you could even have a walk-on role in the show! Some of these rewards are exclusive and won't be available anywhere else. Watch our Kickstarter video to hear music from The Tik-Tok Man of Oz.

Auditions and Open Dance Call
The cast will have about twenty members to bring The Tik-Tok Man of Oz to life. Auditions are April 4 in the San Diego area. Open Dance Call is April 6. For details, see the Audition Notice here.

Behind the Curtain
The creative team for The Tik-Tok Man of Oz is already in place, and here they are:

Chrissy Burns, Director: Chrissy has directed such productions as 42nd Street, Sweet Charity, Nunsense, and Chicago. She has acted on many San Diego stages, including Lambs Players, Diversionary Theatre, Starlight Theatre, and more. She was recently seen in miXtape, the hit 1980's musical at the Horton Grand Theater. She teaches Musical Theater and Voice at Infinity Dance Arts in El Cajon, California.

Joseph Grienenberger, Musical Director: Joseph has been Musical Director for productions that include Man of La Mancha, Pacific Overtures, Blood Wedding, and The Wizard of Oz. His credits include stage direction, singing, acting, and orchestrating for the Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Repertory, and more. Joseph is a voice and acting coach and is a core chorister at San Diego Opera .
Jennifer Solomon-Rubio, Choreographer: Teaming with director Chrissy Burns, Jenn has choreographed such stage musicals as 42nd Street, Ruthless! the Musical, and Chicago. Her stage experience includes fashion shows, trade shows, and choreographic work throughout the San Diego region. She is studio director and an instructor at Infinity Dance Arts in El Cajon, California.
Christopher Boltz, Lighting Design: Chris worked on the television shows Third Rock from the Sun and That 70's Show. He coordinated lighting and sound for the pre-Broadway workshop of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. He has designed lighting for productions including Mirror Mirror, Epic of Gil, and The Rocky Horror Show. He teaches in the Theatre Arts department of Fresno City College.

David Maxine and Eric Shanower, Set and Costume Design: David has designed productions including Sweeney Todd, Oklahoma!, and The Baltimore Waltz for theaters such as Skylight Opera, Yale Rep, Trenton State College, and Bard College. He was Associate Designer for ABC News, Production Designer for the film Ready? OK!, and Scenic Artist at San Diego Opera and La Jolla Playhouse. Eric is a cartoonist whose comics projects include the ongoing series Age of Bronze, the story of the Trojan War, and scripts for New York Times best-selling comics adaptations of L. Frank Baum's Oz books with art by Skottie Young. He has illustrated numerous other comics and books.

If you want to be in the audience for this historic performance of L. Frank Baum's The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, be sure to register for Winkie Con 50 as soon as you can.

To see many aspects of Tik-Tok and his friends, see the gallery of images on The Tik-Tok Man of Oz website here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cosplay in Oz

A terrific Hammerhead from 1990.
This summer, August 8-10, 2014, the Winkie Con will be holding its 50th annual convention celebrating L. Frank Baum and the magical Land of Oz. One of the favorite pastimes of Winkie Con has always been dressing up for the Costume Contest on Saturday morning - maybe this year you should make a costume and join in the Ozzy fun! This year's Costume Contest will take place on Saturday morning of the CON, August 9, 2014.

People do superb work on very elaborate costumes, such as this fine Hammerhead from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, built and worn by Oz fan Dick Rutter. But many people make very simple and very effective costumes, too; Dorothy, the Shaggy Man, and the Scarecrow aren't nearly as difficult - and it's just as much fun participating! 

You can click on any of the pictures to see them enlarged.

The earliest photo I've found of a Winkie Con costume contest is from Winkie Con 5 in 1968 when we were so small we met at the home of Warren Hollister in Santa Barbara. Leading the parade is charter Oz Club member Ruth Berman as Princess Isa Poso from Ojo in Oz.

Winkie Con Costume Contest in 1968.

Oz fans dress up as characters from both the Oz books and Oz movies. In 1989, for the 50th anniversary of the classic MGM Wizard of Oz film, we got a veritable "gale" of Dorothys! Did you know that a large group of Dorothys was called a gale?

A "gale" of Dorothys at the 1989 Winkie Con.

Here's a cool grouping from 1978 showing General Jinjur, Gureeda from Speedy in Oz, the Tin Woodman, and Tip.

Winkie Con in 1978.

Use your imagination! You still have over five months until this summer's gala Winkie Con 50 - and it is so much fun! And you can reuse your costume for next Halloween!

In 1986 we saw a wonderfully effective Woozy Costume! One might think the Woozy would be hard to do, but look how great this basic construction from cardboard, paper, and paint turned out! The Woozy is being followed by Gloma the Black Witch from The Wishing Horse of Oz and Clocker from Pirates in Oz - both simple yet effective costumes.

Costume Parade at the 1986 Winkie Con.

This year at Winkie Con we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of L. Frank Baum's Tik-Tok of Oz. Tik-Tok, created in 1907 in Ozma of Oz, is arguably one of the first sentient robots! Indeed, our "theme" this summer is "Clockwork in Oz" - there's a $50 cash prize for the costume best reflecting that theme - so why not get a little steampunk on and make a Tik-Tok costume? Or even come dressed up as Mr. Smith or Mr. Tinker, the two men who  manufactured Tik-Tok in the first place! Below is a great Tik-Tok costume from 1982, this one designed and worn by Dick Rutter. He was really into paper-mache - which, by the way, is inexpensive and effective!

Fred Meyer greets Tik-Tok at the 1982 Winkie Con.

Some costumes are very unexpected - such as this awesome Kabumpo the Elegant Elephant from Kabumpo in Oz, worn by a teenage Eric Shanower and his sister Elizabeth. Yes, that's future Oz author, illustrator, and award-winning comics creator Eric Shanower!

Winkie Con 1980.

Also seen (left to right) are authentic costumes for Ozga the Rose Princess, Queen Ann of Oogaboo, and Private Files. These three are also characters from Tik-Tok of Oz and would be great costumes for this summer!

So look at all the fun you could have! Get started, make it a project, have some crafty fun! Look how excited these three Patchwork folk were at last summer's Winkie Con! Heck, you might even win one of the costume prizes! These prizes include Best Adult Costume and Best Child Costume, as well as the above-mentioned Best Theme Costume which includes a $50 cash prize.

Winkie Con in 2013.

My all time favorite Oz costume was Dick Rutter as Quox the Dragon, from Tik-Tok of Oz (seen below). Quox was about 12' long. He could crawl about (I think there was a skateboard under his abdomen to help him along)  and there was a fire extinguisher built into his snout and he belched smoke a couple times! Quox was pretty amazing! In this photo he is surrounded by a couple Winged Monkeys, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Ozga the Rose Princess.

Winkie Con in 1983.

Join us for this year's Winkie Con 50, August 8-10, 2014 at the Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center in beautiful San Diego. Click here for the Winkie Con website. The 2014 Costume Contest will take place on Saturday morning, August 9, 2014 - though you are welcome to wear you costumes as much as you like!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let it Snow!

Grave of Jack Snow (1907-1956) in Piqua, Ohio

This past Christmas Eric and I took a three week road trip to Ohio to visit Eric's family. We both did a fair amount of genealogical research, too - visiting with assorted cousins and taking pictures in cemeteries.

But on the way home we took a little detour so we could visit the grave of Royal Historian of Oz, Jack Snow - author of The Magical Mimics in Oz, The Shaggy Man of Oz, and Who's Who in Oz.  We arrived in Piqua, Ohio (where Snow is buried) after dark. We stopped by the Forest Hill Cemetery briefly so we'd know exactly where it was when we returned in the morning to find the grave and take a few photos.

Well we woke up to find that it had snowed about six inches during the night! Hunting for a specific gravestone in a cemetery can be hard enough when the weather is good - but when you have to brush the snow off grave stones (and you're freezing!) it can seem almost impossible.

Luckily, we found a grounds keeper who knew exactly where Snow's grave was and knew he was the author of some Oz books. I need to add that we had actually been looking for Snow's father's grave as Jack Snow's grave is unmarked. But we knew that Jack was buried to the right of his father. There are in fact a fair number of Snow graves in the same area as well as other family names such as Genslinger and Hyde.

Grave of John Alonzo Snow (Jack's Snow's father)

It has always bothered me greatly that Snow's grave is unmarked. Parts of the Snow family were very distressed by Jack's homosexuality - and this may well be the reason there is no marker.

But as you can see in the photo up top - I have at least temporarily remedied the situation!

Merry Christmas, Jack!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kayaking with Trot and Cap'n Bill

As most Oz fans know, L. Frank Baum had a close connection to San Diego from 1903 until his death in 1919. He vacationed at the lovely Hotel Del Coronado for many years, he boated in the area, and he used the greater San Diego area in some of his best children's books—ever more wonderfully than when he made La Jolla the home of Trot and Cap'n Bill.

They live on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and it is in one of the La Jolla sea caves that Trot and Cap'n Bill encounter the mermaids in The Sea Fairies (1911) and off the La Jolla coast that the twosome start their journey to Oz in The Scarecrow of Oz (1915).

La Jolla Sea Caves as Baum would have seen them circa 1905.

So what could be more fun than to relive Trot and Cap'n Bill's experiences and take a kayak tour of the very sea caves they explored a hundred years ago?

Now - I'm guessing that most of your reactions are kinda like mine was when my partner Eric Shanower suggested that we do this very thing about a year ago. I thought "Cool! Neato!" followed by "Uhm ... me? In a kayak? On the ocean? Eric, I think I might be allergic to kayaks."

But it looked like fun, and I didn't want to seem too wimpy, so I did it. I'm forever glad I did, too, and I've now gone back and done it a second time. It was so easy and so much fun that I decided to offer it as an "optional" activity at the 50th annual Winkie Con in August 2014.

So I want to show you all the fun you can have and to alleviate any fears or concerns. First off, most anyone can do it. I've seen kids on the tour as well as elderly and somewhat chubby grandmas. So let's take a virtual kayak trip! Come on, it's gonna be great!

Me - Ready to go!
After you check in at La Jolla Kayak you can change into clothes you won't mind getting wet - shorts and a lightweight shirt. Also take the time to put on a good sun screen. There are lockers to stow your clothes, valuables, and shoes. You'll choose a life vest and safety helmet, and then it's a three-minute walk to the beach with the helpful tour guide.

Most people choose to row in a double, so there are two people in each kayak. The kayaks are hollow, molded plastic. I don't think you could make one sink if you wanted to! Once at the beach you'll get a quick and easy lesson in how to maneuver your kayak.

One of the ever-so-helpful Tour Guides!
And we're off! Eric brought along some sunglasses. If you wear glasses you should bring along a cord so there's no danger of them falling off. You can also bring along a water-proof camera!

Eric and David head out! If they can do it, so can you!

In general the water is incredibly smooth. Often it's really clear, too, enabling you to see a lot of incredible wildlife, including this large orange fish. Queen Aquareine and the mermaids generally try to stay out of sight. But on really clear summer days you can sometimes catch a glimpse!

There are also many birds: brown pelicans, seagulls, and cormorants, though I have yet to spot any Orks on this tour. But there are always a lot of sea lions! Seeing them in the wild sure beats seeing them at the zoo!

A nice selection of Sea Lions napping on the rocks.

There are seven main sea caves. One of them, the Sunny Jim Cave, was (according to local legend) named by L. Frank Baum! I'll post another blog soon on all that!

Almost always you'll be able to row into one of the sea caves and really see where Trot and Cap'n Bill found their way to Oz! No sign of a gateway to Oz, but the cave does smell a bit like Ork!

Watch our for Orks when you go inside the cave!

And then it's time to row back to the shore! The whole tour takes about ninety minutes to two hours. It's lots of fun - and despite my initial worries about kayaking, it was fun and easy - and most importantly we had an Ozsome time!

So come on and sign up for the kayak tour! It's loads of Ozzy fun!
and to buy a ticket for Trot and Cap'n Bill's Sea Cave Tour!

The kayak tour will be led by La Jolla Kayak, but tickets must be purchased through the Winkie Con either online or by post. The tour will take place on Friday morning (probably around 9:00AM) and will run about ninety minutes. We will probably carpool to get to LaJolla from the convention hotel. Specifics will be sent to the attendees as we get closer to the convention.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Munchkins by Marriage

What do you think the chances are that David Maxine and Eric Shanower are both related to a Munchkin actor from the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz? If you answered 100%, then you're right. Click here to read the full story of this surprising and heretofore unknown relationship:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Robin Brown - the Original "Brony"

I must admit that I had heard of "Bronys," the male fans of My Little Pony. But, that said, I must now admit that I had no real conception of the expanse of Bronydom. Before we proceed further, and I somehow tie this into Oz, here's a look at the trailer for a new documentary called Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.

Gosh! Who knew? Now clearly we kid's book collectors, Judy fans, and Friends of Dorothy, are in no position to make fun of the boys in the next corral. So perhaps we should look for some common ground? The best way I can think is to for us Oz folk to embrace our inner-pony and let young Robin Brown, from Merry Go Round in Oz, come out as the one of the very first Bronys.

In celebration of this Brony/Oz connection I'm happy to announce that Merry Go Round herself will be making a special guest appearance to the Winkie Con this summer! Why not canter out west and join us for the Ozziest weekend of the year - June 21-23, 2013 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.

If by chance you think the Robin Brown/Brony connection is a stretch you can at least be grateful I decided against tying it all into Equus.