Friends of Dorothy
Friends of Dorothy
In early January I acquired some fun French Ozzy images. Here’s how.
The Cité de La Musique, Philharmonie de Paris is a music complex with concerts, exhibitions and more. I was there in January, and saw their exhibit about film musicals. My friend Zack, who had told me about the exhibit, was in Paris with his partner Gianni and I was there with my bf Richard. Although only Zack and I are diehard musical fans, the four of us went.
The exhibit mostly focused on Hollywood musicals, especially Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly, but images from the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland were also in abundance, as were those from La La Land. French films were also featured: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Triplets of Belleville.
Selections from several film musicals were displayed on a huge screen. When the soundtrack of a film was in English, there were French subtitles. Captions and descriptions were also translated into English and sometimes other languages as well.
Other areas were devoted to various aspects of film musicals, such as awards, costumes, and choreography, and there were even tap dance lessons!
An area set up specifically for kids had clips from several movies, including Oz, and included a quiz.
Richard and I tried on hats in the costume area at the end.
The gift shop had posters, videos, recordings, books and more.
I couldn’t resist buying three books with Ozzy content.
1. Be Happy contains a cd with songs from film musicals, each musical has a two page spread with text and image.
2. Comédies Musicales! is a workbook, with games and activities to help you create your own musical film.
3. Natalie Dessay Raconte’s Le Magicien d’Oz is a combination of Baum’s original story, the MGM film, and her own ideas, such as Dorothy seeing a rainbow when she is back in Kansas at the end of the story. The book has marvelous illustrations and comes with a cd of songs from the MGM soundtrack.
On March 21, 2008, as I was leaving Forbes Library in Northampton, MA, I noticed what looked like a bag of popcorn in a cake holder at the check-out desk. Next to it were flyers advertising a fund raiser; a handout entitled “The Friends Edible Book Event Guidelines” said “your edible book is your interpretation of a book you find of interest.” Entries “must be 100% edible and preferably fresh!” The popcorn bag was an interpretation of Tomie dePaola’s The Popcorn Book, a cake and covered with red and white striped fondant with real popcorn overflowing the bag.
The idea of an Edible Book was intriguing, so I took an application. After showing it to my partner Scott, we decided to create our own edible book. After batting around ideas, we settled on gingerbread cookies in the shape of birds in homage to Audubon’s Birds of America. Our entry garnered two awards: ‘Outstanding Sculpture,’ and ‘Most Likely to Pass for Sculpture in Our Living Rooms.’
Edible books have been around formally at least since the turn of the millennium, when co-founder Judith Holmberg of Santa Monica, CA got the idea during a 1999 Thanksgiving dinner with book artists. The festival honors French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book, The Physiology of Taste. Since 2000, Edible Book events have been held in Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, and Russia. The organizers are generally art centers, academic institutions, restaurants, and book arts spaces, and sometimes libraries. More info about the international event can be found at the books2eat website.
Here in Northampton anyone can create an edible book: kids, adults or any combination. Attendees (who don’t have to be creators) get to admire the entries, and judges come up with clever awards for each. Then everyone chows down and eats the ‘books’! Past entries and awards have included a Catcher in the Rye made out of vegetables, dip and rye bread [‘Best Veggie Pun’]; Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham made of green eggs and ham [‘The Al Gore “Let’s Be Green Award”’]; a Very Hungry Caterpillar fashioned from cupcakes; and "How to eat a poem" in which the words of the poem were inscribed on refrigerator magnets made of chocolate wafers covered with white icing [‘Most Metaphorically Layered’]. You can see photos of past entries at the Edible Book Northampton Facebook page.
This year I created an edible Friends of Dorothy and enlisted the help of Scott McDaniel, my collaborator on Birds of America. We used images of Dorothy’s companions from my title page. They were made out of fondant decorated with black food color markers. The title cookies were based on the shiny green letters on the cover that look like an Emerald City. I made gingerbread with honey instead of molasses and with green food coloring, sprinkled with green shiny sugar sparkles. They were set on a jelly roll sponge cake, to represent a page in a book. Our Friends of Dorothy was awarded ‘The Follow the Rainbow Brick Road Award.’ Most of the title was consumed at the event, but a week later, I still have a fair amount of sponge cake and much of the three companions. The cake may end up in tiramisu.