Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz


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On August 15th 2014, The Wizard of Oz will celebrate its 75th anniversary!  Crazy, because on the same day it will be my 28th birthday as well!  On August 15, 1939, The Wizard of Oz held its red carpet premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.  And the rest is history!  The movie has gone on to become one of the most popular movies in history.  Even today, it’s still popular with many people and is shown to new people to carry on the great movie tradition.  For one week a few weeks ago, The Wizard of Oz was shown in IMAX 3D and it broke box office records, no surprise!

For those of you who missed the IMAX 3D version, you can grab a new Blu-Ray DVD.  This new Blu-ray release, packaged in a beautiful lenticular slipcase, includes the film both in regular Blu-ray format as well as Blu-ray 3D for those of you with 3D HDTVs.  It also comes with the Digital HD Ultraviolet digital download codes so that you can take it with you.  Creating the 3D edition took quite a while to perfect.  So the quality of this movie is going to be awesome!

The DVD set’s special features (only in 2D) include:

    • The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a new 69-minute documentary narrated by Martin Sheen that goes from the film’s production days through 75 years of movie love, covering costumes and makeup, the Technicolor work on the film, and stories and myths surrounding it.
    • Commentary by John Fricke along with cast and crew.
    • And a sing-along.  That’s going to be popular!

The 75th anniversary DVD release is available on Blu-ray (one-disc version, fewer special features), the Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/UltraViolet combination, and standard DVD (two discs). For those who need even more, there’s a 75th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition, which includes five discs with even more special features, a photo book, set of pins, ruby slippers globe, map of Oz, and flash drive that makes it look like your laptop fell on the Wicked Witch of the East.

I always make sure I get a chance to watch The Wizard of Oz at least once every year, and this next year is going to be special!

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Digital City Videos Are Here


Last week I had a blast at the UAB Digital City Ethnographic Film event.  Eight movies were shown on the giant IMAX screen inside the McWane Science Center.  And all the films were very good!  For a recap of the event click on the link.  http://geekalabama.com/2012/05/03/digital-city-at-mcwane-science-center/

Now all eight films have been put on Vimeo for everyone to enjoy!  Here’s the one I am in called Riders on the Storm produced by Kevin Franks and Tyler Malugani.  This film also features James Spann, John Brown, and T.D. Todd.  Notice the excitement that my tornado lamp was used in the opening of the film.

The other films were great as well.  I know you are going to enjoy these films.  Take the time and watch all eight!

Unfare System: Birmingham Public Transit by Melissa Crook and Daniel Twieg.

We Came To Learn: The Drop Out Recovery Program by Jessica Craig and Adrian Jones.

Abandoned Canvas: Painting on Birmingham’s Margins by Majaliwa Mzombwe and Naithon Henning.

From Mountains to Metropolis: Old Time Music in Birmingham by Stephanie Cook and Rachell Berry.

Awake: Hip Hop Artistry in Birmingham by Ebony Hinton and Sierra Nicely.

Physical Truths: Making Art at UAB by Katelyn Armstrong and Ali Massoud.

Never Too Late to Learn by Nathan Ennis.

Digital City at McWane Science Center


On Wednesday night I had a great time at the Digital City movie event which showed short ethnographic movies made by UAB students.  Eight ethnographic films were shown to a packed audience inside the IMAX in the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham.

These movies were made by students who were enrolled in the ethnographic film class inside the UAB Media Studies department.  Ethnography is a method used in social science in which community based research or fieldwork is conducted to learn about and represent a group of people or social phenomenon.  The students produced these films over a semester long research project.  The students had to investigate a social justice issue related to a local community or culture.

Before the show began; the music from Friends of Old Time Music & Dance was great.  They were featured in one of the movies!

The show featured eight ethnographic films ranging from hip-hop; seniors learning to use computers, graffiti artists, high school dropouts getting a second chance, people playing music, art programs at UAB, problems on Birmingham bus routes, and people who do storm spotting.

Ebony Hinton and Sierra Nicely produced “Awake: Hip-Hop Artistry in Birmingham.”

Nate Ennis produced “Never Too Late to Learn.”

Naithon Henning and Majaliwa Mzombwe produced “Abandoned Canvas: Painting on Birmingham’s Margins.”

Jessica Craig and Adrian Jones produced “We Came to Learn.”

Rachell Berry and Stephanie Cook produced “From Mountains to Metropolis: Old Time Music in Birmingham.”

Katelyn Armstrong and Ali Massoud produced “Physical Truths: Making Art at UAB.”

Melissa Crook and Daniel Twieg produced “Unfare System: Birmingham Public Transit.”

I was featured along with James Spann, John Brown, and T.D. Todd about storm spotting.  The film was titled “Riders on the Storm” and was produced by Kevin Franks and Tyler Malugani.  Yes I do look great up on a IMAX screen!

After all of the movies were shown; the audience gave a standing ovation to all of the filmmakers.

And the reception after the show was great as well!

Me with filmmakers Kevin Franks and Tyler Malugani.

It was a great night!  To learn more about UAB Media Studies visit http://www.uab.edu/mediastudies/

Check out past ethnographic films made by students at http://vimeo.com/channels/digitalcommunity.  I will let you know when this year’s films are put online!

Digital City Tonight


I wanted to share something happening tonight that is very cool!  I was interviewed by one of the students about storm spotting.  And tonight the Department of History will present Digital City, a free film screening of students’ ethnographic films, on May 2 in the McWane Center’s Imax theater at 7 p.m.

The production will feature films with topics such as Birmingham public transit, graffiti, high school dropout programs, storm spotters (me), old time music, pursuing art at UAB, hip hop and computer literacy for the elderly.

UAB Ethnographic Filmmaking is an interdisciplinary class that merges the methods of documentary filmmaking and anthropology as a way for students to research and represent local communities through film. Ethnography is a method used in social science in which community-based research or “field work” is conducted to learn about and represent a group of people or a social phenomenon. The students’ films are the product of a semester long research assignment in which students investigate a social justice issue related to a local community or culture.

If you plan to come tonight get there early!  They say it will be a packed house; plus its free to attend.  Look for a review post about this event on Geek Alabama soon!