Oz fans

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Is there any sort of Oz fan club?

If you've been reading this FAQ to this point, you already know the answer to this one! The International Wizard of Oz Club (IWOC) was founded in 1957 with sixteen charter members, and now boasts a membership of about six hundred Oz fans worldwide. Their main publication is The Baum Bugle, a triannual journal of all things Ozzy. Recent issues (as of autumn 2005) have covered such subjects as the actors who played the Munchkins in The Movie, some of the "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" columns about The Movie, Movie scriptwriter Noel Langley, the character of Terrybubble from Speedy in Oz, a look at the books The Marvelous Land of Oz and Queen Zixi of Ix on their centennials, Oz as an empire, the Dorothy comic book and how it's produced, Dorothy as a conqueror, and Anna Laughlin, the first actress to play Dorothy. The Bugle also regularly features reviews of new Oz books and other products, Oz news from around the world, bibliography on Baum's books, a regular column devoted to The Movie, and many other items. IWOC members also get early word on conventions and new publications, and some special offers.

IWOC also publishes Oziana, an anthology magazine of original fiction, poetry, and art by IWOC members and others; has reprinted a number of Oz books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, Jack Snow, and Rachel R. Cosgrove; has published six new Oz novels; prints an annual calendar, with Ozzy dates and original art; has published anthologies of short stories by Baum and Thompson; printed Oz art books from John R. Neill and Dick Martin; has issued a series of Oz playing cards; made Eric Shanower's graphic novels and Del Rey's line of Ruth Plumly Thompson Oz books available for resale; compiled and printed a set of Oz maps; and all kinds of other Ozzy things.

Currently (2011), basic membership in IWOC is US$25 for United States and Canada residents (US$15 for Oz fans seventeen and younger) and US$35 (US$25 for younger members) for people in other countries. Premium memberships with special gifts cost more, of course. Send membership dues and other correspondence to The International Wizard of Oz Club, PO Box 2657, Alameda, CA 94501-0657. IWOC's WWW site is at http://www.ozclub.org/, and memberships can be ordered online via this link.

Hey, where's my copy of The Baum Bugle? It should have come by now.

The Baum Bugle is the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, an organization run almost exclusively by volunteers. As a result, the publication schedule of the Bugle doesn't always match up with what people would like, since members' paying jobs often must come first. In fact, the Bugle has become notorious for never quite coming out on time. Please be patient, and I can assure you that you will eventually get all three issues you are entitled to. However, if you hear about an issue coming out, and you don't get it within two or three weeks, contact the Oz Club and let them know.

Are there any Oz conventions?

One of the main activities of IWOC is recognizing and supporting conventions, hosted independently by its members, around the country. In the past there have been as many as five of these conventions in a year, but now the only regularly held convention is OzCon International (formerly known as the Winkie Convention), in California, every summer (usually in July). You can find out more about OzCon International at its website, http://www.ozconinternational.com/. The Oz Club has also started up a rotating national convention, held in different parts of the country each year. The 2011 convention, for instance, was at the site of the old Wizard of Oz theme park in Banner Elk, North Carolina, while the 2020 National Convention will in Upstate New York, at the site of the Roycroft Colony. Oz illustrator W. W. Denslow was a part of this group.

For more information on IWOC conventions, contact IWOC, or check out the conventions page of their website, http://ozclub.org/find-an-oz-event/.

Other annual Ozzy events are also held around the country. Here are some of them:

  • May: Yellow Brick Road Festival, Sedan, KS. Contact Nita Jones, 150 East Main, Sedan, KS, 67361.
  • May or June: Oz-Stravaganza, Chittenango, New York (Baum's home town). See http://oz-stravaganza.com/.
  • June: Judy Garland Festival, Grand Rapids, MN (Garland's home town). Contact John A. Kelsch, PO Box 724, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or call 1-800-664-JUDY, or see the website at http://www.judygarlandmuseum.com/main.html (this is also the website for the Judy Garland Museum).
  • October: Oztoberfest, Wamego, Kansas. See http://www.oztoberfest.com/.
  • October: Autumn at Oz Party, Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Held at the site of a now-closed Wizard of Oz theme park. See the sponsor's website at http://www.emeraldmtn.com/LandofOz/autumn.htm for details.

While not exactly a convention, a group of fans in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, around the Seattle area, meet four or five times a year in an event known as an Oogaboo Rendezvous. These informal one-day affairs are mainly social, but they do have quizzes and show the occasional video. To get on the mailing list to receive notice of future events, fill in the form at http://oogaboo.org/announcelist.html, or write to info@oogaboo.org.

What are Oz fans called, anyway?

There is no one agreed-upon name for Oz fans, like Star Trek fans calling themselves "Trekkers." So fans are generally free to choose whatever name they like. Among the more well-known are Ozmologists, Ozites, Ozzies, Ozzers, Ozmatologists, Ozoids, and Ozmaniacs.

What's the appeal of Oz to homosexuals? Are all Oz fans gay?

To answer the second part first, no, of course not. People of all types attend Oz events — young, old, families, and of many socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. And yes, some are also members of the gay community. (But no, not all gays are Oz fans.) There is nothing in the Oz books or movies that is specifically aimed at gays, but it is a place where the heroes are not all macho he-man types. Look at it this way: The protagonist of The Wizard of Oz is a young girl who is lost and trying to find her way home. She is accompanied by three friends who are all male, yet flawed and labeled by society as incomplete or outcasts. Nevertheless, she accepts them for what they are, and all four of them help each other to get what they want. There is a lot there that can appeal not only to homosexuals, but to anyone who has ever been labeled as different and shunned as a result. Even during her life, Judy Garland became a gay icon, and she readily accepted all of her fans, and that may have had some spillover affect onto The Movie, since it was an annual television event. The Cowardly Lion in The Movie also has some gay traits, and both Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West have been described as divas, which may make The Movie more appealing to the gay community.

Have there been any famous Oz fans?

Shirley Temple in her room in 1937. Note the row of Oz books behind her on the bottom shelf.

Oh, yes, quite a few. Among the many famous Oz fans you may have heard of are writers Poul Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Carol Ryrie Brink, Lin Carter, John Dickson Carr, L. Sprague de Camp, Edward Eager, Harlan Ellison, Nora Ephron, Philip José Farmer, Neil Gaiman, Martin Gardner, Elizabeth Gilbert, William Lindsay Gresham, Robert Heinlein, Zenna Henderson, J. A. Jance, Diana Wynne Jones, Erica Jong, Norton Juster, Daniel P. Mannix, Phyllis McGinley, Seanan McGuire, Mary Miller, Russell B. Nye, Ellery Queen, Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem, James Thurber, Gore Vidal, Philip Wylie, and Jane Yolen; movie directors James Cameron, Martha Coolidge, Walt Disney, David Lynch, George Lucas, Sam Raimi, Steven Spielberg, and John Waters; singers Gloria Estefan, Janis Joplin, Randy Rainbow, and Rufus Wainright; songwriter Stephen Sondheim; ice skater Tai Babilonia; actors Jack Black, Candace Cameron Bure, Kevin Costner, Zooey Deschanel, Megan Fox, James Franco, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway, Barbara Hershey, Mark Linn-Baker, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bronson Pinchot, Hilary Swank, Shirley Temple, Denzel Washington, and Betty White; musician Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Muppet creator Jim Henson and his daughter, Lisa (and, in one television special, Muppet character Janice also confessed to being an Oz fan); talk show hosts Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah Winfrey; comic book writers Kurt Busiek, Erik Larson, and Roy Thomas, and letterer Todd Klein; education rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai (who received her copy of the book from former British Prime Minister David Cameron); and astronomers James Christy, Frank Drake, Jay M. Pasachoff, and Carl Sagan. Actress Mila Kunis, who grew up in Ukraine, is a fan of Volkov's Magic Land books.