2011 Winkie Convention

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The 2011 Winkie Convention was held July 8-10 at Asilomar, CA. The chair was David Maxine and the event was great fun, featuring a new swap table and old favorites including the treasure hunt and masquerade.

The 2011 Winkie Convention Program Book


Winkie Convention 2011 Newsletter Report

This is the newsletter written at the 2011 Winkie Convention by Laura Gjovaag.

Friday at Winkies

Ah, Friday at the convention, with the standard Monterey weather giving us clouds and a nice gentle breeze. The courtyard in front of the Fred Farr Forum started to fill as people arrived, while inside the Forum, Chairman David Maxine and his brave volunteers worked to set up the program and decorate. The arriving Winkies quickly noticed a whole bunch of pirate coins scattered around the courtyard and other areas. The Treasure Hunt had already started!

Two tables were put in front of Kiln. One manned by Eric Gjovaag became the Swap Table. New this year, the Swap Table allows Winkies to bring Oz items they no longer want or need and trade them for new items. If they have nothing to trade, they can donate some small amount to the Table to support the Winkie Convention. The other table was occupied by a member of the Asilomar staff who made root beer floats (with homemade root beer) for everyone who came up to ask. This was instead of the traditional Oz-ade and another new custom due to the new management of Asilomar.

As two pm rolled around more tables were placed outside the forum for registration, as Peter Hanff and Shirley Echols began to sort nametags and meal tickets. Each specially printed program book was bagged in plastic and marked with the name of the owner to give out quickly as people showed their nametags.

Peter explained to everyone who approached that we couldn't start registration until 4 pm, as Asilomar claimed that if even one room key was used before 4 it would seize up the entire computer locking system and everyone would be locked out. So people were turned away even though the set-up was ready by 3:30. At about 1 minute to 4, David Maxine got up on one of the square benches in the courtyard to welcome everyone and unveiled a square bench-sized game board for people to play. As he finished speaking a line started for registration. Peter and Shirley with two volunteers quickly supplied all the registration materials to everyone.

Included in the registration packet was a sheet for People Bingo as well as rules for the Treasure Hunt. The meet and greet continued until dinnertime as more people arrived to register. Everyone filled out their Bingo sheets, while others (particularly Hollisters) hunted for pirate coins, and everyone settled in their rooms.

Dinner in Crocker Dining Hall started at 6 pm. It was the same as last year, cafeteria style, with salads and bread on the table but the main course requiring people to go to the serving line and get their own food. Dinner was a shrimp scampi spaghetti. Dessert was bread pudding and fresh watermelon.

After dinner, everyone gathered in the Forum for the evening program. David started with a few announcements and welcomes. First-time Winkies were asked to stand, and David mentioned that Winkies with diamonds on their nametags are 1st-timers and should be greeted heartily. An Oz fan who traveled to the convention from Australia was also pointed out. The Winkie Newsletter editor was given a special gift for her service (related to under the sea, but not Oz). The last announcement was to introduce a talk by Professor Nowitall (Eric Shanower) on Bluefinned Blibberblugs. I think. I may have spelled that wrong.

Professor Nowitall started out rather boringly but the Fred Farr Forum was almost immediately hijacked to the bottom of the ocean by Ruggedo, who wanted to take out a large group of Oz supporters in one fell swoop. Clocker was able to send us a message and a magic ring, and the professor was able to summon Aquarine to rescue us with some mermaids. We then rocketed around the sea floor, being menaced on occasion, until the mermaids were able to use their abilities to send us safely back to Asilomar.

The next presentation was on W.W.Denslow, Cover Boy, presented by Cindy Ragni and Bill Thompson. This presentation was an illustrated slideshow that traced Denslow's works from start to finish, including his Oz works that the entire audience was familiar with. The evolution of Denslow's awesome hippocampus signature was particularly interesting.

A quick break followed so people could check out the big Oz Club sale or get information on the Winkie Newsletter.

After the break was Tommy Kovac, writer of THE ROYAL HISTORIAN OF OZ comic book. He explained that the fifth and final issue of the book was only available as a digital download, unless you buy the collection (which can be ordered at comic shops now, and will be out in September). You can order the first four books online here and the fifth digital issue here.

The next presentation is about OZOPOLIS, another comic book, written by Kirk Kushin. Check it out here for previews and information. Kirk was afraid we might be angry at him for his take on Oz, but the reception was very positive. He introduced his family in the audience as his talk went along, and emphasized that his story is for children.

The last program of the evening was on Fred Stone, the original scarecrow. Originally we were going to see a screening of "Forgotten Lives", but just in the last week it started to have legal issues which prevented the airing. Instead, David Maxine presented his introduction and closing for the film, giving us the beginning and the end of the story and hopes that someday we'll get to see the short film itself. David did show one tiny clip of amazing acrobatics by Stone, but hardly enough to whet the appetite. For the end of his presentation he showed clips of Fred Stone as a character actor. The final clip was the caviar scene from Alice Adams.

And then the party broke up as the Winkies wandered off to their rooms and parties and homes... More tomorrow!

Saturday at Winkies

Saturday at Asilomar is generally cloudy and quiet and this morning was no exception. Deer were captured on camera this morning. Breakfast at Crocker started at 7:30 am and was in the same room as Friday night, the half-dining hall to the left of the main hall. Like last year the food was served cafeteria style, and the main course was scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon. The bleary-eyed Winkies collected their food and strove to wake up in the dining hall. A few left early to get costumes ready for the masquerade at 9 am.

The costumes started when Orissa Kane (Laura Gjovaag) walked into the courtyard, followed soon after by Captain Salt (Eric Gjovaag). Then Queen Ann (Karyl Carlson) arrived with another Orissa Kane (Susan Hall)! While the Orissas tried to figure out who was the Flying Girl and who was the Chum, King Ato VIII (Robin Hess) arrived. Captain Salt and Queen Ann conspired together, and she joined the crew of the Crescent Moon and helped the good Captain gather more pirates from the growing crowd in the courtyard. Pirates recruited had a bandana tied around the head by Queen Ann, then Captain Salt asked them, "Do you promise to obey everything I say unless you don't want to?" While swearing in new pirates, another pack of rowdy pirates (The Koontz Family) arrived and joined the crew. To everyone's shock, a Sea Fairy (Eric Shanower) also showed up and unwillingly took the stage, saying he wasn't in the costume contest. Also, Dorothy (Freddy Fogarty) arrived to the jubilation of the crowd. The MC, Lee Speth, asked everyone to vote, and place their votes in a new tiny ballot box.

Asilomar provided snacks in the courtyard and David Maxine brought out his giant version of The Wonderful Game of Oz again and placed it on one of the large square benches. In moments, a roaring game had started. A few minutes later, the Quiz was announced in Afterglow and the courtyard emptied out as everyone challenged their Oz knowledge.

All three quiz versions will be printed in upcoming issues of the newsletter. The Standard Quiz and Rookie Quiz had clear winners, but the tie-breaker question had to be brought out for the Master Quiz as Susan Hall and Lee Speth duked it out for the title.

About this time the Dealers Room opened in the Hearth Living Room, as the Forum was being used for practice for the night's program and Kiln was being set up for the auction.

Right after the quiz ended, Freddy Fogarty started the Show and Tell in the Afterglow living room. Shirley Echols started the action with a vintage Viewmaster with three reels. Items were passed around so everyone could look at them more closely. Freddy came next with a child's bracelet from the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. Francis Blair was next with a Christmas ornament she got from Jerry Maren, showing him as a lollipop guild member. Mike Penick showed some Oz puppets from the mid-1960s, and Freddy jumped in again with a printing plate of an ad for the same puppets. Bill Thompson had a pamphlet with Denslow art in it. Robin Hess showed off a book of Salman Rushdie's analysis of the Movie. He also had a store promotion for the movie. David Maxine showed off a stuffed Scarecrow doll that was part of the Return to Oz set. Eric Shanower had a beautiful piece of John R Neill art. Aaron Almanza showed off a homemade Wheeler, first of a commissioned set of 20. Jared Davis showed off his custom-made Oz Action Figures. Carrie Hedges gave the crowd a preview of the new Oziana, which might be available as print-on-demand from lulu.com later this year or next. Sam Milazzo had artwork and letters he sent to Disney for proposed remastered video releases of various Disney-owned Oz projects. Stan Sieler had a copy of Peter Hanff's CYCLONE ON THE PRARIES about the creation of the first edition, and Peter gave a detailed explanation of the book and how it came to be. Cindy Ragni had a copy of Baum Bugle Volume 2 #1. Anthony Tringali had a cool Nickelodean Magazine from 2005 with an article about various Oz projects in the works at the time. Then Freddy got up again to show off some 1967 Off To See The Wizard promos and a Return to Oz crew t-shirt. David Maxine finished the action with a story about a ring he had made after going to his first Winkie Convention. Watch the Winkie Wiki for pictures of some of these items that I'm certain people will send to me to post. Hint, hint.

Luncheon was next, and the Winkies ate in the main hall. This time it was soup and fresh watermelon, Turkey and Bacon sandwiches with a cauliflower side salad, and coconut macaroons for dessert.

After lunch it was time for the business meeting and auction. At 2 pm, David and Peter got in front of the crowd at Kiln. First item was whether or not we should hold a convention next year. The votes were solidly in favor. Then Peter said that the dates we could get were July 6-8, which was not popular among some members due to the proximity to the Independence Day holiday. Peter said he would check to find if there is a better date available, and so the matter was dropped for the moment. David Maxine will be programming director again, and the theme will be Sky Island (so get reading). David reported that there will be a regular Winkie Convention Facebook page instead of just the annual event pages. Peter reports that early registration is still needed to pay Asilomar under the new rules, and David says that the Hardcover Program Books will again be given to people who register early (probably before December 1st). Eric Gjovaag got up to mention the Swap Table again, and Laura Gjovaag got up to beg, er, request submissions to the newsletter. The meeting then ended and the auction started.

The auction went well, totals were $5763, of which we get to keep $5248. Many items went for more than expected, and bidding was generally brisk and pleasant. Counter-programming was provided by Margaret Koontz in the Embers living room, where she provided arts for anyone interested. The Dealers moved out into the courtyard as the afternoon progressed. John Bell reports that the 2009/2010 Oziana both premiered and sold out at the convention, and the Swap Table made enough to support the newsletter mailing costs for the next year with plenty left over for the convention.

As the afternoon continued, Asilomar staff provided an afternoon snack with various crackers and pretzels, and drinks. The auction paused for a break to allow Winkies to indulge in the snacks and visit the dealers. The auction then continued, and during this time the Oz Flamingoes mysteriously appeared in the courtyard as in years past.

Dinner started at 6 pm, and the Winkies were directed into the right-hand dining hall where a cake was waiting, decorated in the theme. Dinner started with the usual salad and bread appetizers, progressed to mashed potatoes and roast beef with green beans, and finished with the lovely cake, which turned out to be chocolate with raspberry filling.

As people finished eating, David Maxine got attention and started the announcements of various winners, starting with the Quiz winners.

2011 Winkie Convention Award Winners

  • Quiz, Rookie Division - Ruth Bieber-Stanley
  • Quiz, Standard Division - Jared Davis
  • Quiz, Master Division - Susan Hall
  • Costume Contest, Child Division - Leland Koontz (Baby Pirate)
  • Costume Contest, Adult Division - Freddy Fogarty (Dorothy)
  • Costume Contest, Special Theme Division - Koontz Family (Pirate Clan)

In addition to the regular prizes, Carrie Hedges provided prints of the Oziana covers to every winner.

The evening program began with Peter Hanff announcing the Winkie Award winner with a short history of the Winkie Convention. The winner of the 2011 Winkie Award is Edith Hollister. The ballots having been provided in the registration packets, people were asked to vote for next year's Winkie Award.

Then the evening program got singing, with a musical presentation by Joe Cascone and David Haines "Songs in the Key of Oz: A Century of Oz Music" which includes a number of wonderful medleys of Oz songs from various points in Oz history. One amazing number was a rousing version of "What Did The Wogglebug Say?" that included a sing-along. The second part of the program, after a short break, was a condensed version of Joe Cascone and James Doyle's very faithful adaptation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Mere words are not sufficient to give an idea of how wonderful this show was. If you were there, you understand. If not, aren't you sorry you missed it?

Sunday at Winkies

Cold and cloudy, as usual at Asilomar on Sunday morning of the con. The Breakfast bell tolled at 7:30 am as the Newsletter editor was posting the public copies of the Newsletter in the Forum courtyard. The Winkies were again directed to the left half of the left side dining hall. The main dish was waffles, ham, and scrambled eggs. Winkies trickled in and tried to wake up, ears still ringing happily from Saturday Night's impressive musical program.

Main programming for Sunday started just after 10 am in the Fred Farr Forum. Peter Hanff collected room keys before the action started, which counted as the official check out. David again announced that the Newsletter would love to have submissions, and then the panel was introduced.

The final program of the convention was a panel on Oz in comics, with the focus being on the three artist/writers attending the convention. The panel was moderated by John Bell, and the panelists were Eric Shanower (Marvel Comics Oz Adaptations), Tommy Kovac (The Royal Historian of Oz), and Kirk Kushin (Ozopolis). The panel started with a quick overview of each of the panelist's work, both Oz and non. Then John Bell started asking questions about their influences, favorite Oz books, and more. A fun little argument started about whether or not Dorothy should be wearing modern clothing. After a few initial topics, John opened the floor to questions from the Winkies. Questions ranged from the passage of time in Oz to clothing in Oz to panelists opinions on Dark Oz books, and even The Lost Girls. Discussion was lively, interesting, and although the opinions of the panelists differed, polite.

The convention closed up after a couple of final questions, and David Maxine requested help cleaning up the room so we could make the noon check out time. The Newsletter Station stayed open for a few more minutes to subscribe a handful more people. Then the Winkies scattered, some to the road and a good handful to luncheon at Crocker, where we were seated in the main hall on the left side. The menu was Chicken Cobb Salad with Bleu Cheese and Tomato Bisque. Dessert was Magic Cookie Bars, but nothing magical seemed to happen when we ate them. Except we wanted more.

As people left, the others said "Good-bye!" and the Winkie Con ended for yet another year.


  • Carrie Hedges was constantly being introduced as the president of the Oz Club, so during Show and Tell she said people didn't have to play "Hail to the Chief" every time she spoke, at which point much of the room started humming "Hail to the Chief".
  • During one slide presentation, the computer would only show the logo for "Sharp" so David Maxine quipped, "This program brought to you by Sharp!" which got a laugh. The technical problems were few this year.
  • Internet access was available unofficially throughout the Asilomar campus during the convention. An Asilomar staffer explained that the internet access points were being tested over the weekend, and would not be consistently ready for another six weeks. Still, those of us who brought computers were pleasantly surprised.
  • The staff at Asilomar was friendly and helpful as usual. During meals, one table kept requesting carafes of Chocolate Milk, which were generally promptly delivered. Special requests were granted as much as possible under the rules of the new management.
  • An addition to the Flamingoes were two smaller Flying Monkey Flamingoes who hovered near the Wicked Witch.
  • During the final panel, as the panelists discussed Skottie Young's art, ye old Newsletter Editor tweeted with Skottie. Tweets will be available as a PDF on the Winkie Newsletter Website soon.
  • Friday and Saturday night after-parties were held, and much fun was had by all. Susan Hall provided games, and Eric and David created cocktails.

If you would like to order THE ROYAL HISTORIAN OF OZ, the best time to do it is NOW (before the end of July), as it is in the current Previews. Find a local comic book shop and ask them to order it for you from the July Previews, order code is JUL11 0784. It should be out in September. While you're at it, you can also order DOROTHY AND WIZARD IN OZ #1 by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young with the order code JUL11 0614, also due out in September.

The Newsletter Editor suggests that if everyone who attended this year's convention simply sent a couple of paragraphs of *something* Oz related, she would have enough material to fill the Newsletter for the rest of the year.

The program guide is once again a work of art and a collector's item. Winkies who registered early received a fantastic hardcover version of the book. The articles and stories inside make it worth the price of admission to the convention by itself. The number of articles make it impossible for me to review the book in the short amount of space I have here, but I will certainly enjoy reading it fully once I'm home and have time to enjoy it. Perhaps some other Winkie will send a review of it for a future edition of the Newsletter?

Next year's convention dates have not been set, but as soon as we know for sure what the dates will be a special edition of the Newsletter will be sent out and the news will pop up all over online.

Start thinking about your costume ideas and preparing for next year's quizzes (remember, there's a Rookie level, a Standard level, and a Master level, so everyone can join in at the level they are most comfortable with). We hope to see you all at the 2012 Winkie Convention.

Winkie Con 2011 Prizes and Awards

  • Quiz, Rookie Division - Ruth Bieber-Stanley
  • Quiz, Standard Division - Jared Davis
  • Quiz, Master Division - Susan Hall
  • Costume Contest, Child Division - Leland Koontz (Baby Pirate)
  • Costume Contest, Adult Division - Freddy Fogarty (Dorothy)
  • Costume Contest, Special Theme Division - Koontz Family (Pirate Clan)
  • The Winkie Award went to Edith Hollister