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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fairy tales come to life at Poetry Center


    Courtesy of Fairy Tale Review / Fairy Tale Review is edited by master’s students in the creative writing program at the UA. The 2013-2014 editorial board consists of (from left to right) Laura Miller, Erin Zwiener, Thomas Mira y Lopez, Katelyn Canez and Kate Bernheimer.

    Everyone remembers Dorothy’s ruby slippers and being entranced by the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying cohorts, but not all of us recall “Queen Zixi of Ix” or the great King Rinkitink.

    The 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” will be celebrated with a Night of Fairy Tales today at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. The event will explore the inspiration for the beloved film, while also focusing on how the themes behind our favorite fairy tales are more applicable to everyday life than we might expect.

    The Fairy Tale Review collaborated with the UA College of Humanities to create a fun-filled evening of music, food, film and readings from L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” series that is sure to rouse the imagination.

    “We are trying to create a really inviting and magical space where everyone can come and celebrate fairy tales and the interdisciplinary role these stories can play,” said Laura Mills, managing editor of the Fairy Tale Review.

    The vision for “The Wizard of Oz” was pulled from only one of the 14 brilliant novels from L. Frank Baum’s series. Night of Fairy Tales aims to highlight some of the missed content of Baum’s vivid writing that was not present in the film.

    “There was a lot in Baum’s ‘Oz’ series that was not included in the film, which was meant to be based from the books,” Mills said.
    Fairy Tale Review editorial staff members read through the 14-part series and selected seven excerpts they believed fit certain categories, such as studies in economics, gender, astrophysics and science.

    “Fairy tales are often misunderstood to be princess-gets-married stories,” said Kate Bernheimer, event coordinator and UA assistant professor of English.

    These two- to five-minute excerpts were then matched with faculty members of the same discipline who will be reading the passages at the events. For example, someone from gender and women’s studies will read a passage that can be focused on gender roles.

    “They’re often dark and twisted little books and their implication in the real world ­— as we try to show by matching interdisciplinary speakers with certain passages — are very much present,” said Thomas Mira y Lopez of Fairy Tale Review.

    New quirky characters, such as Patchwork Girl and Shaggy Man, will be introduced to the audience through the excerpts as well. Toto the dog, Scarecrow and the Wizard are all familiar faces, but Baum created hundreds of characters in the “Oz” series that aren’t as well-known.

    At first, these characters’ names may sound like they come from a children’s book, but Night of Fairy Tales isn’t just for children.
    “The event intends to offer audiences a glimpse into the ‘Oz’ novels, an experience of art,” Bernheimer said. “No expertise required.”

    In addition to Baum readings, the Greasy Light Orchestra will play throughout the night and a compilation of clips from contemporary videos that follow with the “Oz” theme will be shown as well.
    Special guest Timothy Schaffert will read a passage from one of his latest books, “The Swan Gondola.” His book was greatly influenced by “The Wizard of Oz” and is a masterful example of contemporary fairy-tale writing.

    Night of Fairy Tales offers the chance for a truly magical night to celebrate the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz.”

    “This evening is to celebrate you, and your potential for wonder,” Bernheimer said.


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