Monday, August 2, 2010

Winkie Con 2010

Today's TIGER TALK is written by Laura Gjovaag, editor of the Winkie Con newsletter and blogmaster of Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog where she writes about comics, life, and Aquaman.

Report on the 46th Annual Winkie Convention
Pacific Grove, California
July 23-25, 2010

The Winkie Convention started as usual with people slowly filling the courtyard in front of the Asilomar Conference Center's Fred Farr Forum. The Chairman for this year was Bob Baum, great grandson of L. Frank Baum (at left). Greetings were exchanged and friendships renewed. Each registration packet included a name tag, a pair of green glasses, the directory, a history of  the Winkies, and the Winkie Con Program Book.

During dinner in Crocker Dining Hall, this year's chairman Bob Baum announced that "not nobody not no how" was getting into the evening program without green glasses. After dinner, Freddy Fogarty led the group in a round of People Bingo in the courtyard. For those unfamiliar with the game, it is a bingo sheet with each square describing people who you might find at the convention.  This was a great success, as everyone scooted around asking, "When did you first attend a Winkie Convention?" and, "Did you come from out of state to the convention last year?" Carrie Hedges was the first to get a single row and Bill Thompson got the prize for filling in the entire sheet.

The evening program launched with a rousing Show and Tell. Quite a few people got up to show off treasures or to tell about news that had happened in the last year of interest to Oz fans.  It was a solid start to the evening. Afterward, Bob Baum insisted that everyone wear their green glasses and play along with a Buzz Word story.  Each key character was given a statement to say or action to perform - or both - as Bob read the story of Dorothy attempting to reach Winkie Con. The crowd was good, Clare Baum took pictures, and much fun was had by all.

Next came the Green Glasses contest. Contestants came up and the hope was that the cheering of the crowd would result in a clear winner. However, everyone cheered so loudly for each contestant that Bob made an instant executive decision to award prizes solely by height!  Aaron Almanza (on left in photo) and Eric Gjovaag took 1st place, Karyl Carlson and Laura Gjovaag took second, and coming in shortest were Lynn Beltz and Susan Hall (on right in photo).

The first formal presentation of the evening was Atticus Gannaway who offered an amazing look into the life and work of the lost illustrator of Oz, Frank Kramer, who illustrated The Magical Mimics in Oz and The Shaggy Man of Oz.  Although Atticus did not go into great detail about the lengths he went to in order to gather this information, the effort was clear in how much he was able to locate and bring to the attention of the audience.

After Atticus finished, Laura Gjovaag took the stage for a moment to announce that Eric Shanower and Skottie Young had just won an Eisner for their adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published by Marvel Comics.  A great cheer went up in the hall!  After the evening's events at Winkies, the pair went on to win a second Eisner for the same work at San Diego Comic Con, hundreds of miles away.

Next up, Gita Morena and Bob Baum (both great grandchildren of L. Frank Baum) gave a presentation on what it is like to be a part of the Baum family and how it affected them both growing up and as adults.

Saturday morning came gray and cloudy as usual for Pacific Grove. After breakfast the Winkies gathered in the Forum courtyard for the Masquerade.  This year we had only three entries. Karyl Carlson came as Queen Ann visiting the Emerald City. Susan Hall made for a very grumpy Ruggedo, demanding her magic belt from a strangely absent Dorothy and scowling at the balloons that various people attempted to convince her were big yellow eggs.  And a strange new character was Eric Gjovaag as Ozzie McTavish, power hitter and center fielder of the Emerald City Green Sox, hoping that someone will write him into an Oz story.  McTavish also boasted of defeating the Narnia Lions and the Wonderland White Wabbits in the championship, and explained that the Emerald City Green Sox are the only big league team in Oz. The Munchkin Minor League team produces a lot of shortstops. 

Larry Hollister announced the start of the treasure hunt and set out instruction sheets.  People began to hunt for the pieces immediately, including one found before Larry finished announcing the hunt..

People headed to the Afterglow Living Room to tackle the Quiz. The Quizzard this year was Susan Hall.  There was a tie for 1st place, both winners getting 26 out of 30 questions correct.

After the quiz, Freddy Fogarty (on left) started the Returning to Oz Collector's Roundtable.  This was a lively and educational discussion of the movie Return to Oz and the merchandise available related to it. Everyone had a good time.

After lunch the auction preview was opened up by Bill Thompson. The auction ran briskly this year, with many great treasures ending up with new owners. A first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz went for $2,600.

As counter-programming to the auction, Margaret Koontz opened the Wizard's Workshop where people could work on various art efforts, including helping Karyl Carlson put together a copy of Dick Martin's Cut-and-Assemble Emerald City.

Dinner at Crocker Dining Hall had a number of excellently dressed up Winkies showing off their good looks and good taste, as it is Winkie tradition to dress up a little (or a lot, depending on how you feel) for Saturday dinner.

After dinner the evening program started with Peter Hanff's announcement of awards and prizes:
  • The winner of the Masquerade was Susan Hall as Ruggedo.
  • Nathan Hollister won the treasure hunt with 63 points.  He will be in charge of the hunt next year.  Kevin Thomas came in second with 51.5 points. The half point came from finding one of the pieces of last year's treasure hunt!
  • The Quiz winners Hal Koontz and Eric Gjovaag were honored, and Eric stated that he will be next year's Quizzard.
  • The Winkie Award was presented to this year's chairman, Robert Baum.

Up next were Frank and Maud Baum, who magically appeared in front of us while Robert and Clare Baum vanished.  Frank told the enthralled crowd about his creation of the Oz books, along with all the various efforts at making a living he tried before writing, and even going back to meeting his wife and being worried about her mother.  Near the end of the presentation, Maud told the crowd that Frank had planned to link the Oz books with a movie studio and toy line, beating Disney to the punch . . . if he had lived.

Peter Hanff presented a review of this year's theme book, The Emerald City of Oz, going through the artwork page by page and retelling the story.  A great many details of the artwork were revealed, including some very strange bits.  Peter ended the tale with the note from the book telling readers that Oz was cut off from the rest of the world, leading to a compelling moment of complete silence.

After a break to allow everyone to recover from the shock, Bob Baum took the microphone again to give a presentation by David Maxine on The Flying Girl.  A virtual history of flying was given as we learned how Baum did his research and created the Flying Girl books. Bob's in-flight announcements got everyone grinning.

Sunday morning was cool and cloudy. After breakfast the crowd was introduced to Scott Cummings, the Editor-in-Chief of The Baum Bugle, who gave a short presentation on the Bugle and his plans for the future.  He then opened the floor to questions and criticism, and a good discussion was held on the history and future of the Club's magazine.

Next, Bob Baum presented a collection of rare photos and postcards from Macatawa, the summer resort on Lake Michigan where L. Frank Baum and his family summered for a few years.

This year's Winkies was a great success and everyone had a marvelous time! The Winkie Program Book (on left) is astoundingly beautiful and will certainly be an Oz collector's item going for beaucoup bucks in 2050. The theme is The Emerald City of Oz and the book contains several articles on the subject.  Supplemental material for some of the presentations was printed in the book: a gallery of Frank Kramer artwork researched by Atticus Gannaway is one of the jewels, reproducing many Kramer works that Oz fans are unlikely to have seen before.  

Next year's Winkie Con will be held July 8-10th, 2011, at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. Hope to see you there.

- Laura Gjovaag


Tegan said...

Nicely edited, thank you! You make me almost sound coherent!

Anonymous said...

this is good i like the reports of the winkie con