Friends of Dorothy
Friends of Dorothy
A Gig at Grinnell College
ast May I heard from Katya Gibel Mevorach. She had been a classmate of mine in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades at PS 125 in Morningside Heights in Manhattan, where I knew her as Kathie. We had corresponded by email in 2014, when I was organizing a reunion of classmates to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our graduation in 6th grade, but we hadn’t seen each other since 1964! It turned out Katya had seen a presentation online that I had given about folklore in the gay community related to Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz film. She asked me if I would be interested in being a guest speaker in the fall for the American Studies Concentration committee of Grinnell College.
The American Studies folks came up with a plan for my talk on Sunday Nov. 10. They screened the MGM film, which was followed by a buffet dinner and my talk, “Gay Boys, Gay Men and the MGM Wizard of Oz.” Grinnell was a particularly lucky choice for a venue; my boyfriend Richard’s sister Angela works in the college administration. So we stayed longer than the one night that is usually part of a speaking gig, and hung out with Angela and her partner John for a few days.
Students and staff at Grinnell’s Burling Library created two displays. One was of Oz- and gay culture-related materials from the library’s collection.
And the other was of items of mine highlighting the MGM/gay connection.
After my talk, the audience of students, faculty and friends participated in a lively discussion about identifying with different characters in the film, current and past gay icons, the origin of the expression “friend of Dorothy” and more. I also sold and inscribed a few books. Word games and fun meals with Angela and John rounded out the delightful long weekend.
10/10/2022 07:27:22 am
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Dee Michel is the author of the book "Friends of Dorothy - Why Gay Boys and Gay Men Love The Wizard of Oz."