2009 Winkie Convention

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The 2009 Winkie Convention was a roaring success. Chaired by David Maxine, the highlights included an incredible program book, a revived treasure hunt, great presentations, and a very nice turnout. At the end of the program, David Maxine asked for suggestions on how to improve communication between Winkies during the course of the year. The Winkie Newsletter was born from that discussion.

The 2009 Winkie Convention Program Book

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Winkie Convention 2009 Newsletter Report

This is the report from the first Winkie Newsletter, written by Eric Gjovaag.

The 2009 Winkie Convention was the forty-fifth time that the Winkies met, and the twenty-fifth time they met at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. For the centennial of THE ROAD TO OZ, program chair David Maxine prepared an ambitious schedule of events, which attracted not only Winkies from California, but Oogaboos from Washington and Oregon, and various Gillikins, Quadlings, and Munchkins from all over the United States and Canada.

Events kicked off Friday afternoon with registration and a cookies-and-Ozade reception in front of our meeting room, the Fred Farr Forum. Several recent Oz authors were present signing their works, including Kathleen Krull and her L. Frank Baum biography THE ROAD TO OZ: TWISTS, TURNS, BUMPS, AND TRIUMPHS IN THE LIFE OF L. FRANK BAUM, Paul R. Bienvenue and Robert E. Schmidt with THE BOOK COLLECTOR'S GUIDE TO L. FRANK BAUM AND OZ, and Peter Maresca of Sunday Press Books with his latest offering, QUEER VISITORS FROM THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ. Robert Baum, L. Frank Baum's great-grandson, was also present to autograph his contributions to these books. Convention goers also got to meet each other through an interactive scavenger hunt. Anyone who could fill in all twenty-five squares with autographs received a copy of the recent reprint of the Little Golden Books edition of THE ROAD TO OZ. As if that weren't enough, the treasure hunt started up as well, with the hidden pieces once found being assembled to make a large picture quiz.

After dinner, the Winkies gathered for the world premiere of a ballet interpretation of THE ROAD TO OZ, featuring Ruth Bieber-Stanley as Dorothy, Eric Shanower as the Shaggy Man, and Judy Bieber as Polychrome. David Maxine and Peter Hanff then formally opened the convention, gave an overview of what was to come, and answered questions, while other members presented items in a show and tell format. After a break to rearrange the furniture, Kathleen Krull discussed her career as a writer of children's books, particularly biographies, and her book about L. Frank Baum. Peter Maresca then talked about his efforts to reprint the Sunday comic pages of both L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow and the final result. After this, it was time to head off to bed, in anticipation of the big day ahead.

After breakfast, Winkies gathered to find that some visitors from Oz and other far-off environs had shown up for the costume contest. Santa Claus appeared with some Ryls and Knooks, the Deadly Desert only turned a few people to dust, the Shaggy Man wandered by, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry came to see what the fuss was about, the Wizard showed up, the Tin Woodman clanked in, and Glinda floated in, too. Lots of shutterbugs came, too, to take their pictures. After the costumed characters wandered off, Eric Gjovaag and Lee Speth presented the quiz, while Judy Bieber, Paul Bienvenue, Jeff Taylor, and David Maxine discussed Oz as investment. Everyone then drifted over to one of the living rooms for a collector's roundtable, presided over by Peter Hanff, where people showed off some of their treasures and discussed the state of collecting.

After lunch, the business meeting got underway, with the collective conclusion being a return to Asilomar in 2010. Bill Thompson then presided over the auction, with many items of all sorts passing under his capable gavel. Meanwhile, Margaret Koontz conducted a workshop in bookmaking, with participants turning out one-of-a-kind copies of L. Frank Baum's short story Nelebel's Fairyland. While all this was going on, the Winkie sales room was open, and many found new treasures for their collections there.

After the grand banquet, Saturday evening opened with the presentation of a number of awards, including this year's Winkie Award, which went to Bill Thompson. Virginia Hawthorn then presented a talk celebrating one hundred years of Polychrome and seventy years of "Over the Rainbow" with a selection of different versions of the song, as well as an examination of Polychrome's role in the Oz books. Michael O. Riley then talked about the Pamami Press books he typeset and printed by hand in the 1970s and '80s. And David Maxine gave the centennial presentation on THE ROAD TO OZ.

The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, Eric Shanower talked about his work with Skottie Young on the Marvel comic book series THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, and also previewed the forthcoming next series, THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ. The convention concluded with David Maxine leading a discussion on the weekend's events and how to use that momentum to improve future conventions and involve more people in the International Wizard of Oz Club.

Winkie Con 2009 Prizes and Awards

Treasure Hunt:

  • Larry Hollister found the most Treasure Pieces
  • Madeline Knutson won the Treasure Hunt Quiz

Quiz:

  • Robby Gessel won the younger kids division
  • Susan Hall won the older kids division

Costume Contest:

  • Robby Gessel (as Nick Chopper) won the younger kids division
  • Eric Shanower (as Shaggy Man) won the older kids division

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