The summer brought OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, a prequel which imagines how the wizard got to Oz in the first place. Of course that would also involve the back stories of, in this case, three witches, and how they got that way.
This wizard being a bit of a bounder, the story is also spiced up with a bit of romantic intrigue (of which there is none in the Baum original). But ultimately this version comes off as an epic fantasia on the original book, and features some truly spectacular 3-D effects. (This cyclone and the droll credit sequence with its jaunty Danny Elfman score are both knockouts).
GREAT AND POWERFUL was released by Disney Productions which at one time had planned an OZ musical, THE RAINBOW ROAD TO OZ. Originally planned for the Mouseketeers, who actually did a promo for the film on one of Disney's 1950s TV shows, it was never made. Disney finally did do "Return to Oz", loosely based on the second Oz book, in 1985.
Coincidentally (or maybe not) the original MGM 1939 version was released in a 3-D transformation in September. Personally, I've always thought OZ was a 3-D film just waiting to happen, and the detailed set design and camera setups adapt themselves perfectly to the dimensional process. The first circular truck around Munchkinland after Dorothy steps out of black-and-white into dazzling 3-D Technicolor is breathtaking, as is the incredibly choreographed Munchkin mini-opera which follows.
Even the BxW prologue, which looks like something out of John Ford's GRAPES OF WRATH, is enhanced by 3-D, particularly the shots of the barren road leading away from Dorothy's farm which now actually recedes into the far gray distance.
An odd postscript to this year's OZ-mania in a new stage musical which played the Pantages in LA in September. This version uses the MGM score but includes several new songs by, of all people, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (of EVITA/CATS fame). None of the new tunes were especially memorable - sample title: Red Shoe Blues, a song for the Wicked Witch! - and the overall production, co-produced by Sir Andrew himself, and, aside from a dynamic video cyclone, looked surprisingly tacky.
It's now almost difficult to recall that the source material for all this was a charmingly artless story that has been sited as the first (1900) genuinely American fairy tale. Though not without its naive charm, today the book itself seems like a first draft for the MGM film. Several writers labored for months on the beautifully cohesive screenplay, and many of the film's lines pervasively entered the language years ago.The literary Kansas opening takes up only a few pages and, there are no ruby slippers (they're silver) and no suggestion that Dorothy's journey was a dream. MGM did loosely pick up on the original W. W. Denslow illustrations, however, particularly in regard to Dorothy's hairstyle and the basic look of the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.
Fans of the book might also search out the comprehensive "Annotated Wizard of Oz," C. N. Potter, NY, 1971. And any film buff would find "The Making of The Wizard of Oz," Knopf, 1977, by film historian Aljean Harmetz, fascinating.
So.... To Oz? To Oz!
Freegal Music has many great options available for your Halloween party, or anywhere you feel like a little music to get in the mood for the holiday.
Need background music for answering the door on Halloween? A search of either "halloween" or "haunted" produces album results - make your own mix.
Have a spook-tacular time!
Catch the Aloha spirit with one of E.P. Foster Library's gorgeous Takamine concert size ukuleles. We only have five ukuleles for check-out and they are going fast!
There will also be a free beginner’s ukulele class: Brad from Anacapa Ukulele will guide you through the tranquil ways of the ukulele. The first class is in the Topping Room Saturday, November 9th at 1pm.
While we are on the subject of ukuleles, our databases [try searching "ukulele songbook"] and our catalog [try a Subject Keyword search for "ukulele"] have some delightful ukulele songbooks. Take some time to explore these options - you will be thoroughly entertained.
Catch the Aloha spirit with one of or gorgeous Takamine concert size ukuleles. Yes, we are a library and yes, we do check-out ukuleles, we do things a bit differently around here! One word of warning, we have five ukuleles for check-out and they are going fast!!
There will also be a free beginner’s ukulele class, so check one of our ukuleles out or bring your own. Brad from Anacapa Ukulele will guide us through the tranquil ways of the ukulele. The first class is in the Topping room Saturday, November 9th at 1 P.M.
While we are on the subject of ukuleles, our databases have some classic ukulele songbooks, delightful old books that are still relevant today. Our brick and mortar library has some great ukulele books too! Take some time to explore these options, you will be thoroughly entertained.
Check out the link to Open Library where I discovered many ukulele songbook gems.
Learn Doug Taylor's five-step method for navigating the internet, including the three functions of navigation (scrolling, linking, back & forth) and the two ways to access information (URLs and search engines).
Reservations are required, please call 486-5460.
Dr. Paul Koudounaris will discuss and show pictures from his new book
Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs
Death has never looked so beautiful.
Paul Koudounaris gained unprecedented access to religious institutions to reveal these fascinating historical artifacts known as “the catacomb saints”.
Richly dressed in fantastic costumes, wigs, crowns, jewels, and armor and hidden for over a century, some of these ornamented skeletons appear in publication for the first time.
Paul Herder reads from his book
Saturday, October 12, 1pm
Revolutionary Minds explores J. Krishnamurti's vision of education and the way in which his views on teaching and learning can inform the day to day challenges of the classroom.
Paul Herder has taught in Krishnamurti schools in America and England. He is currently teaching at Oak Grove School in Ojai.
What is Tech Fest? A kickoff program for the new Robots at the Library program using the Vex IQ robotics kits and AutoDesk.
Tech Fest is for anyone over 8 years old who loves problem solving, computers, building, designing, robotics or engineering. The goal is to encourage the next generation of students to use their imagination, problem solving, team building, and mentoring skills to have fun and solve the problems of the future!
Tech Fest is at the Oak Park Library on the Oak Park High School campus on Saturday, October 12 from 2 to 5pm. Sign up sheet available at Oak Park Library. Join Us!
♦ The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department will display their com-mand and control vehicle as well as their bomb disposal robot.
♦ The Ventura County Fire Department will display their fire equipment.
♦ AeroVironments will display their drones.
♦ General Motors will display two electric cars.
♦ Northrop Grumman will bring a display.
In the Fiction Writing Essentials Workshop, Doug will discuss how to map out a novel with an attention-grabbing beginning, plot twisting ending, character development, subplots and counterpoints. He'll include action, dialogue, and descriptive narrative as well.
Doug will use his novel, Bogota by Bus, as a training template to illustrate these essentials for writing commercially successful fiction. Workshop participants should come prepared with questions and thoughts!