Sunday, August 17, 2014

Great Times at the Wizard of Oz Festival Illinois!

On Saturday past, I had the pleasure of attending the Wizard of Oz Festival Illinois in Mapleton, Illinois, which is located a few miles south of Peoria along the Illinois River.

This was the third year for this festival and I can say that it was a huge success, both for myself and everyone who came to explore the Yellow Brick Road of Oz.

It all started the night before with a grand Wizard of Oz 75th Birthday Party in celebration of the film's release 75 years before.

Of course, the Fab Four, Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West were in attendance and provided a wonderful evening's worth of entertainment for the large number of kids who were in attendance.

I had a great time doing balloon animals, a few small bits of magic and telling the kids a wonderful story about Billina the Hen and how she once laid Deviled Eggs. Look for this short story, and many more, later this year when Tails of Oz is published.

The next morning was a bit wet, but only for a half an hour or so, then the rest of the day saw cool temperatures and no rain.

Here I am early on before I had a chance to get completely set up.

Once things got going, the crowds were steady and seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

One of the highlights of the festival was Bob Walls Marionette Show, featuring Steven's Puppets.

As you can tell, the kids were absolutely captivated by the performance of the Wizard of Oz. I've seen this show before in Chesterton during that wonderful Wizard of Oz festival that is no more. The performer, Bob Wall is a most amazing talent with a wickedly twisted sense of humor. The best thing the festival organizers did was to book this show for their festival. In this day of video games, television and Kindle, seeing a live performance is such a rarity and kids need more of this in their lives.

The puppets themselves are quite detailed and very unique.


Later in the day, the Grand Parade down the Yellow Brick Road was a huge hit for all the kids, especially those in costume... and there were a LOT of kids in costume.

After a fantastic day that saw book sales do very well, the whole Gang of Oz got together for a group photo under the rainbow.

Then, it was time for the closing ceremonies. Lots of thank-you's for the many volunteers who helped make the event as good as it was.

And the closing event was a wonderful colored balloon launch in celebration of 75 years of the Wizard of Oz movie.

Of course, I had to get in one last photo with the great costumed characters that I've known for a number of years now from all the Wizard of Oz festivals I've attended.

Yes, it was a great day to be in the Land of Oz over in the Land of Lincoln. I look forward to next year and I expect great things as this festival continues to grow and prosper.

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Mad Hatter's Christmas in July!

Teatime was always a favorite time of day for the Mad Hatter of Wonderland as he celebrated the 7th Annual Mad Tea Party.

 Just then, the Mad Hatter looked at the pocket watch that had magically appeared within his sphere of reference and noticed something only he could have seen.

"I see by the clock that it mid-July, so it must surely be time to celebrate my favorite time of year!"

The March Hare reached down and plucked the Dormouse from his usual sleeping spot within the teapot.

"Do do, do tell!" the March Hare requested... and the Mad Hatter politely obliged.

“Twas noel, and the santaclaus did crèche and tinsel in the snow;
All wreathy were the aunts-in-laws, and the merry mistletoe.

’I wanta lectrictrain, my dad! With car that slides, with track that rocks!
Beware the bricabrac, and shun the magi jackinbox!’

He took his blitzen sword in hand; Long time the festive foe he sought,
So rested he by the reindeer tree, and stood awhile in thought.

And as in holly thought he stopped, the lectrictrain, with eyes of flame,
Came yuling through the fruitcaked shop, and eggnogged as it came.

One, two! One, two! And through and through the blitzen blade went snicker-snack!
He grabbed it, and, with it in hand, He went decembring back.

’And hast though come with lectrictrain? Come to my arms, my gifty dad!
O Christmas day! Yip yip! Hey hey!’ He caroled in his glad.

Twas noel, and the santaclaus did crèche and tinsel in the snow;
All wreathy were the aunts-in-laws, and the merry mistletoe.”

 Just then, very merry fireworks exploded high above as the Dormouse came floating gently down.

As he landed among the cups and platters and teapots of the Mad Hatter's gathering, he noticed that something very odd had happened. It was as though time had slipped by... or backwards, as the case may be. I'm not quite sure~

Why Alice, where did you come from?

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Full Moon Rising over the Baaken

Yesterday was a most unusual day in Orbital Mechanics.

1st: There was a Full Moon rising. (not so unusual)

2nd: It was Friday the 13th. (getting a bit more unusual)

3rd: Mercury is in Retrograde (that means it appears to move backwards in the sky).

Combine the three and now you've got unusual.

Fortunately, I had a decent camera on me where I work in the North Dakota Baaken oil fields.

It is such a beautiful country up here. No wonder the Native Americans  worshiped this land and considered it holy.

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz

Monday, June 9, 2014

Magician of Oz joins the 7th Annual Mad Tea Party!

Over the years, I have enjoyed participating in a number a blog events, celebrations and the like, all of which are usually related writing and such. Being a writer of children's books based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum, I always enjoy these events.

In the past, I have especially enjoyed being a part of the Celebrate Oz blog happenings that are hosted by Oma Linda and her blogsite, Olde Bagg 'n Stuft Shirts.

Now comes a wonderful blog celebration entitled: 7th Annual Mad Tea Party; hosted by the blogsite; A Fanciful Twist.

Last year, I had the pleasure of writing a short story about the Mad Hatter for the Altered Oz blog celebration.

I'll be curious to see how the Mad Hatter celebrates his own very unique awesomeness during the 7th Annual Mad Tea Party?

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Legends of Oz : Dorothy's Return Looks to Be a Big Hit!

This weekend sees the return of yet another fine film that explores the world of Oz. It has a high bar to step up to, but all reports so far suggest that this film is up to the task.

The following gives a pretty good description of the main thrust of this film:

"Dorothy wakes up in post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Glinda from a devious new villain, the Jester. Wiser the owl, Marshal Mallow, China Princess and Tugg the tugboat join Dorothy on her latest magical journey through the colorful landscape of Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City"

There are many wonderful voices that this film draws upon. I was particularly pleased that Patrick Stewart, of Star Trek fame, 

voices the role of Tugg the Tugboat, who actually starts out as a tree, but ends up as a boat.

I have yet to see this film as I am out in the oil fields of North Dakota and away from movie theaters at the moment. I know that when I do see it, I'll be very interested in the role of Tugg, especially given that when I wrote Magician of Oz back in 2009, trees played a major role in the story. They include Tree-in-the-Road (an actual tree in Vigo county, Indiana that has a road built around it rather than having been cut down), the Council of Trees, the Gnarled Scrub Oak, the Flowering Plum Tree and especially The Sycamore, who leads an army of Fighting Trees against the Tin Woodman, who had destroyed so many of them back during the days of Dorothy's adventures. 

Another odd Oz connection with Tugg the Tugboat for me is that in my second book, Shadow Demon of Oz (2010), I wrote about a boat that comes to life named Navicula and also plays a major role in the story. Oz is indeed and wonderful place for many wonderful visions.
I wonder if Tugg the Tugboat will utter Captain Picard's famous command: "Make it so!"?

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz