This past weekend, myself and the inimitable lady geek and interviewer extraordinaire, Emma Bauer had the pleasure of taking in the new theatrical production of The Wizard of Oz. The occasion at the magnificent Ordway Theater was “Bloggers Night,” and as such, balconies were filled with internet-savvy wordsmiths, more eager to tweet pictures of their programs than preoccupy over the next day’s write-up for the paper or a thorough review for the pages of a magazine.
The challenge for this geek and part-time blogger was this: what to say about the Wizard of Oz, a story that had admittedly never set my heart on fire?
My parents did show me the classic Judy Garland-led film at one juncture in my early years, but it never stuck. It’s not something I carried with me, as I was apt to do with so many other things, from Mickey Mouse to TMNT and Spider-Man.
Here’s the funny thing though. Sitting in the Ordway Theater, the story, magic, and world of the Wizard of Oz had this immediacy, as if though it was one of those things that dominated my younger years. The words and melodies of the songs known word for word and beat for beat, the personalities and desires of the characters understood and held close. I left concluding that this speaks to not only the enduring and wide-reaching pop-cultural impact of the Wizard of Oz, but also the timelessness of this tale and its themes of escape and longing.
L. Frank Baum originally wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, striving to create a distinctly American fairytale. In the decades that followed, it spread far and wide, adapted into countless different forms and flavors. But the central themes were always there, and upon reflection, these are themes that sit at the core of so many fandoms and geeky universes we hold dear today. Escapism seen through the young heroine longing desperately for something better “over the rainbow,” in a fantastical world far away. The hero’s journey seen through the search for that one elusive thing we lack, sought from the grasp of a wise and powerful man inhabiting a shining city at the end of a long, perilous road – this also wonderful allegory for the “American Dream” ever-present in Baum’s time and still in ours today. And ultimately, that final lesson, that the things we desire, and the things we need, are there within us all along if we’re willing to look for them.
A row of young children sat in front of us in the theater, watching each scene with rapt attention, hanging on every word and responding earnestly and visibly to every outcome. As the wizard spoke his final words in the show’s penultimate act, I found myself in a frame of mind not unlike these young ones, as the words swept me up and resonated strongly.
“If you have what it takes to want a brain, you have what it takes to have one.”
“If you feel enough to want a heart, you feel enough to have one.”
“If you’ve got the courage to ask for something, you’ve got the courage to have it.”
Each an enduring message and an important reminder.
All told, this newest iteration of the Wizard of Oz offers an exciting and fun night at the theater, filled with impressive staging, confident performances and quite a bit of cinematic flourish as well. But young or old, lover of the yellow brick road or no, I think it is in those universal themes and timeless lessons that you will find something worthwhile, should you seek out the magic when it comes your way.
Guest post by Adam Giorgi, who also happens to be my brother. He’s a writer, gamer, reader and Potter head. He also makes cool comics from time to time. Check out his blog: Geek-Attack. Follow him on twitter: @adamgiorgi
Bon Mot I haven’t liked myself very much lately. It’s normal to go through periods of self-reflection and feel like you don’t recognize yourself. It’s important in these moments to remember we are human and loving ourselves is the greatest gift we could give our own heart. Not a manicure. Not a new dress. Not concert tickets. Just acceptance.
Recite This is a nifty website that lets you create some free printable posters with inspirational quotes. Here’s a few I whipped up. That you are free to download and post on your wall.
Last week I had the delightful experience of hosting the photobooth at the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Nerd Thursday event. These were some of my favorite pictures from the night.
Yes, that’s the BGC crew in the bottom right. We were a little uncoordinated. But who says geeks aren’t hot?
I know it’s not nice to brag, but sometimes a nerdy girl must. The truth is, a smart girl is just better at things. Life things. Work things. Fun things. Friend things. Game things. Just things. And I’m not afraid to show that off to other people. That’s why I made this:
Post this at your desk. On your wall. At work. Whenever someone walks in, they’ll know not to mess with you. Instead, they’ll ask what you’re reading.
Did you know there are lots of other great free printables in the Being Geek Chic archives? Check out (and download or print!) all those here.
Friends! Emma and I will be co-hosts next week at Nerd Thursday at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts! If you’re in the Twin Cities area, please come out for a good time on Thursday, October 17th from 6 to 9 PM.
We’ll be joined by all kinds of other cool cookies, including LEGO masters Brickmania, video gamers/event makers Tipsy Pixels and many, many other nerdy friends. Plus, there will be music from Food Pyramid and in case you haven’t already hit play on that big soundcloud contraption - well I suggest you do.
Life is often like Bilbo Baggins’ journey. It’s a bit unorganized. Messy. Riddled with detours. Humans can get hung up on the fact that the journey isn’t a straight and narrow path. Don’t.
Forward. Backward. Left. Right. It doesn’t matter. Your journey is your journey. Go live it. Don’t get obsessed with the “right” direction. It all works out in the end. Just ask Frodo.