The Show Must Go On

Despite a knee injury, Dannebohm prepares for annual invitation-only Christmas reception.

Among the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be falling. On the evening of November 12th, J. Basil Dannebohm, who suffers from young-onset Parkinson’s disease, did just that. He was found on the floor of his garage, covered in items that were on a shelf he attempted to grab to break his fall, he took the shelf down with him.

Declining a visit to the emergency room, Dannebohm was instead taken by one of his handlers to an orthopedic specialist on the morning of November 13th. A series of x-rays and an MRI revealed that Basil had a partially torn patellar tendon.

Despite his injury, Dannebohm will once again host his annual Christmas reception and Blessing of the Manger in early December at the Dannebohm residence. The 2017 theme for the invitation-only Christmas celebration is, “Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus,” taken from a song title of the same name featured in the Broadway Musical, “Flahooley,” the lyrics of which were written by “Yip” Harburg.

Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg was a popular song lyricist who worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (with Jay Gorney), “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow.” He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He championed racial and gender equality and union politics.

Among the honored guests at this year’s reception are two of Yip Harburg’s great-grandchildren: Aaron Harburg and his brother, David Harburg.

Aaron Harburg is currently producing a documentary entitled, “Song of the Century,” which focuses on Yip’s work on, “Over the Rainbow.” Aaron recently announced the appointment Representative-Emeritus Dannebohm as executive producer of the documentary.

“I am extremely honored to participate in the holiday festivities hosted at the Dannebohm residence,” said Aaron Harburg. “An opportunity like this to spread Christmas cheer and at the same time honor my great-grandfather E.Y. Harburg’s legacy is rare. I’m really excited to participate and share what I have learned representing the Harburg estate throughout years.”

David Harburg is an Ann Arbor, Michigan based recording artist who has been working on revitalizing the songs by his great grandfather. David is hoping to bring some of “Yip” Harburg’s work into the 21st century, as well as share some works of his own.

“I’m honored to be invited to such a special occasion, for my great grandfather to be honored by showcasing his work and his heart for the underprivileged, and for the blessing of my friends at Children Waiting Everywhere, who will be grateful for any and all contributions to some of the most needy in our world, the children of Uganda, specifically the refugee children in northern Uganda,” said David Harburg. “I’m grateful to Basil for how much of a gift he is to my family, my friends and myself.”

Each year, a charity is chosen and those on the guest list are asked to bring a monetary donation in the form of a check. This year’s charity, at the request of the Aaron and David Harburg, is Children Waiting Everywhere, a 100% volunteer, 501(c)(3) foundation dedicated to serving our brothers and sisters around the globe by sharing blessings and empowering them through education and self-employment. The organization serves one community, one family, and one child at a time, contributing to projects in microeconomics, education, and health. They are building up the lives of children waiting everywhere.

Three toasts are offered at the reception: one represents the past, one the present, and one the future. A nod to the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future who visited Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol.

Larry Hatteberg will offer a toast to the past, which reminds guests that while we cannot turn back the hands of time and correct our mistakes, we can honor the memories – people, places, and things that bring us holiday joy.

A Kansas legend, Hatteberg began his television career with KAKE-TV on May 23, 1963. Larry has received more than 130 local, state and national awards for news photography and reporting. His “Hatteberg’s People” video series has profiled over a thousand Kansans since its inception in 1974. He grew up in Winfield, Kansas, and graduated from Winfield High School. He attended Kansas State Teachers College and Wichita State University before starting at KAKE TV, where he worked for 51 years before his last newscast on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Today, Hatteberg hosts his classic segment, “Hatteberg’s People” in a new half-hour show on KPTS. Each week Hatteberg presents his classic stories about interesting and extraordinary Kansans and then updates us on where those people are now.

“It’s an honor to be a guest and Toastmaster at Basil’s Christmas Reception, said Hatteberg. “Christmas for all of us is a mix of feelings and expectations.  To be able to stop for a moment, and reflect on life’s meaning is a gift.  That’s why I’m happy to participate and celebrate with Basil.”

Ryan Jay will offer a toast to the present, which reminds guests to celebrate the here and now. We cannot change the past, we cannot predict the future. However, at this moment, in this time and place, we are creating special holiday memories.

Jay is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated film critics and Oz historians. Ryan has worked as a television producer of major pop culture and entertainment programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and even The Jerry Springer Show. In addition to his work as a film critic, Ryan emcees numerous events nationwide.

Sierra Scott will offer a toast to the future, which reminds guests that in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, we should strive to live each day with the same joy we experience on Christmas. Guests are reminded to be generous in kindness, patience, and love toward all of humankind.

Scott is the current Ms. Woman United States titleholder. Ms. Scott is a popular TV news anchor with 29 years of broadcast experience. She is the former co-host of “The Brett and Sierra Show” and “It’s All Good with Sierra Scott”. She now hosts “Positively Kansas” on KPTS. An award winning journalist, Ms. Scot is an alumnus of Leadership Kansas and serves on the board of eight charity organizations. She was Miss Missouri 1989. Sierra’s documentary on Darfur called “Destination Darfu, the Untold Story of Peace and Hope” premiered at the United Nations and was screed at the Toronto Film Festival.

“It’s such an honor to be able to toast the future with a man who works so hard to ensure others have the best future possible,” said Scott. “Basil works tirelessly to spread happiness and promote others.”

The “adult-only” celebration includes a visit from Santa Claus, an opportunity for “grown-ups” to re-connect with their inner-child. The garage of the Dannebohm residence is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with Santa’s Workshop, where guests receive a “grown up” goody bag and photo with Kris Kringle.

“There’s a passage in Charles Dickens’, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ that reads, ‘For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself,’” said Dannebohm. Having Santa Claus present reminds us of Christmas memories of a bygone era, and that special feeling we felt as children every Christmas season when we would pay a visit to Santa Claus, wishlist in hand.”

In addition to a festive Yuletide celebration, the evening also serves as an opportunity to officially bless the Nativity Scene on display at the residence through the holidays. The Reverend Robert Schremmer, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, will preside over the ceremony.

“I appreciate Basil’s invitation to be a part of the Blessing and the Advent gathering,” said Schremmer. “Basil has the unique gift of bringing people together. Such a gift is so appropriately enjoyed at this season when God brings earth and heaven together in a baby born to poor parents and placed in a barrowed feeding trough.”

Local members of the clergy from various denominations have been invited to the reception and are encouraged to participate in the manger blessing ceremony.

Dannebohm’s guests will be treated to homemade Christmas candies including: peanut butter bon-bons, cherry mash, peanut brittle, divinity, fudge, peanut clusters, and peppermint bark. They’ll also enjoy homemadeChristmas cookies, popcorn balls, and other delicious snacks. Waissal, hot cider, hot cocoa, wine, and beer will also be available.

Live holiday music will add a special cheer to the festive environment.

Decorating the residence for the celebration takes at least two weeks. Dannebohm personally creates every garland, and meticulously decorates each tree that adorns the house.

As a result of the injury, Basil is forced to wear a leg brace and must use walker for mobility. His medical team hopes this will allow the tendon to heal. If not, he will likely undergo surgery.

Dannebohm is adamant that the injury won’t disrupt the event or his advanced preparations.

“The leg brace makes preparing for the celebration a bit of a challenge but I’m certainly not going to permit it to stand in my way,” said Dannebohm. “Of all of the events held at the residence, the Christmas reception is my favorite. There’s something magical about the experience.”

For Dannebohm, hosting events at his residence is more than entertaining a group of especially invited guests – it’s his way of fostering a renewed sense of communication and understanding.

“One can’t help but notice the uptick of hatred and division that seems to be taking a grip on our world. I’m not certain why it exists. I think part of the problem is that the internet has made some people comfortable hiding behind a vague username or fake profile, degrading one another,” said Dannebohm. “Recently that has evolved into a deranged sense of confidence and a delusion that it’s somehow okay to take an agenda of hatred and falsehoods to the streets – sometimes literally. There are those who wonder how and why this increase in hatred occurred, I’m more concerned with doing my small part to ensure it ceases. That’s why I host receptions such as this. At the Dannebohm residence, our differences are set aside and our humanity is celebrated. For me, that’s more than a seasonal message at Christmas, it’s a cherished way of life.”

Dannebohm appointed as Executive Producer of “Song of the Century”

Kansas native and rookie producer aims to take upcoming documentary Over the Rainbow.

NEW YORK, NY October 23, 2017 — Filmmakers Ryan Jay and Aaron Harburg announced today the appointment of J. Basil Dannebohm as executive producer of, “Song of the Century,” a new documentary film revealing how “Over the Rainbow ” came to be and detailing its ongoing legacy; beyond Oz, crossing all cultures and generations, inspiring hope in the best of what the world can be.

“Basil demonstrated a love of ” Over the Rainbow” that was immediately palpable,” said producer Aaron Harburg. “His extensive expertise across multiple industries, especially in public relations and media, made him a perfect fit to ensure the project would come to fruition.”

Harburg is the great-grandson of Yip Harburg, the Oscar winning lyricist who penned “Over the Rainbow” and the other iconic songs from “The Wizard of Oz.” Yip’s songbook also includes familiar classics such as “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” “April in Paris,” and “Paper Moon.” For over a decade, Aaron has been producing video and media for the technology sector. His clientele has included everything from small startups to fortune 500 companies like Mercedes Benz, as well as major federal agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He has produced a number of short films included a winner of the LA Independent Film Festival.

“Our movie is a passion project, a labor of love, inspired by the opportunity to share with the widest audience possible, the last untold story about the making of “The Wizard of Oz,”” said “Song of the Century” director, Ryan Jay. “When Aaron & I met Basil, we instantly clicked on all levels. His interest in Oz is only surpassed by his impressive resume. We are proud to have him on our team.”

As a producer and director, Jay has worked on major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, among others. He is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated TV & radio film critics. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, “The Wizard of Oz,” Ryan has become recognized as an Oz historian, interviewing the casts and filmmakers of many Oz films, publishing articles, and presenting multimedia lectures, celebrating the legacy of Oz, to audiences from around the world at comic cons, universities, theaters and museums.

“The Wizard of Oz” is among the most viewed and best – loved films in history, featuring the crown jewel of all movie songs: “Over the Rainbow.” It is ranked the “Number 1 Song of the Twentieth Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This will be Dannebohm’s first time serving in the role of executive producer. Over the course of his career as a writer, speaker, and consultant, the Honorable J. Basil Dannebohm worked with an international clientele from a broad range of industry including: technology, real estate, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, religious and non-profit organizations, film festivals, tourism and entertainment venues.

Accustomed to a fast paced, jet setter, on-the-go lifestyle, Basil’s way of life took a dramatic turn in the summer of 2012 when he was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

Trading the corporate world for his, “new normal,” Dannebohm focused his attention on speaking engagements where he would address such topics as economic development, social media engagement, and collaborative approaches to business and community. Basil’s presentations have been enjoyed by audiences nationwide. Known for his straight forward candor and often humorous approach, he has a distinct style of presentation that’s anything but boring.

In 2015, he briefly served in the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 113th District. While his time in politics was cut short due to his health, Representative-Emeritus Dannebohm stood for his convictions and his constituents, even when it meant going against the “platform.” His political career caused Basil to be admired by some and sharply criticized by others. From his point of view, the experience could either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone in life’s journey he chose the latter.

“Needless to say, I’m honored to be presented with this opportunity, and at the same time, aware of the massive undertaking of such a project,” said Dannebohm. “The song “Over the Rainbow” has been covered by countless major artists in the last century. It is, in essence, more than a song – it’s an international anthem, known and loved around the world. For me, this project is beyond special, it’s personal.”

Born and raised in Kansas, the project has particularly special meaning to Dannebohm, who considers Dorothy Gale, “The beloved daughter of the Sunflower State.”

Harburg and Jay are bringing Dannebohm up to speed on the project already in production. As filming moves forward, the team will lean on Dannebohm’s expertise to ensure a successful roll-out.

“We’re lucky to have Basil,” said Jay. “He has this uniquely special gift to make amazing things happen. For a documentary about a magical song, we needed a magical man – we’ve found that in Basil.”

For more information about the documentary, visit www.songofthecentury.com

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The Songs You Know, The Man You Don’t

Academy Award winning lyricist’s great-grandsons bring an incredible story and performance to Salina

SALINA, Kans — You know at least one of his songs, but you more than likely don’t know his name. He was a major contributor to the great American songbook. He was an Academy Award winning lyricist. He was a human rights advocate. He wrote the lyrics to “Over the Rainbow” and all the iconic songs in The Wizard of Oz, also with hundreds of others including standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Known for the social commentary within his lyrics, as well as liberal sensibilities, he championed racial and gender equality and union politics at a controversial time with art and heart. His name was Yip Harburg and Salina residents will have the chance to hear his songs and intimate stories from two of his great-grandsons at an exclusive, one night only event.

“Yip penned words that have resonated across two centuries and every continent. His lyrics embodied the universal urge in the human spirit for personal and cooperate harmony and fulfillment,” said Aaron Harburg, who is currently producing a documentary titled, Song of the Century, which details the untold story of Yip’s creation of “Over the Rainbow” and the other songs from Oz.

“Yip’s work points people toward hope. He understood the human need for it. I want to carry on giving that hope,” David Harburg, an Ann Arbor based artist who has been working on revitalizing the songs by his great-grandfather.

The two will be in Salina to enlighten and inspire attendees with stories and some of Yip’s well known songs.

The evening will be hosted by Ryan Jay, one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated TV & radio film critics. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, The Wizard of Oz, Jay has become recognized as an Oz historian, interviewing the casts and filmmakers of many Oz films, publishing articles, and presenting multimedia lectures, celebrating the legacy of Oz, to audiences from around the world at comic cons, universities, theaters and museums. As a producer and director, Jay has worked on major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, Nickelodeon, and others. He serves as director of Harburg’s Song of the Century documentary.

“Among the cumulative creative forces behind The Wizard of Oz, Yip Harburg stands out as one who helped connect emotional dots between the story, performer and song,” said Jay. “To use the phrase of another beloved Oz lyricist, Stephen Schwartz, whom also counts himself a fan of Yip’s, his legacy has changed us, “For Good.””

The event will be held at 7:00pm on Monday, December 4th, 2017, at the Salina Community Theater in the Sunflower Bank Financial Theatre (black box), 303 East Iron in Salina, Kansas. The event is free and made possible by the Salina Community Theatre and J. Basil Dannebohm.

Monday evening’s event will include a less known and rarely performed Christmas song written by Harburg entitled, “Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus.”

“The song was written for the Broadway musical, Flahooley, said David Harburg. “It’s a really catchy Christmas song that, frankly, needs to be revived and counted among our favorite Christmas carols.”

The Harburg brothers hope that attendees of the presentation find a little Christmas spirit in the music and message of their great grandfather.

“The holidays are a special time for creating new memories,” said Jay. “Listening to the Harburg brothers share their stories and sing their great-grandfather’s songs will leave the audience with a joyous feeling, perfect for this time of year.”

For more information about the presentation, please call 620.564.3188.

Love for Las Vegas

Last night, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Contrary to the popular slogan, what happened in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas. This senseless tragedy affects all of us. Today, we mourn with Las Vegas, we pray with Las Vegas, we remember with Las Vegas.

More than 50 people were killed and more than 400 were injured when a gunman opened fire into an outdoor country music festival from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel on Sunday night, police said.

Country star Jason Aldean was onstage performing at the time. The audience was singing, dancing, and having a great time – living life to the fullest.

Then, in an instant, that celebration of life was cut short by a gunman, a coward identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada. Investigators are fairly confident this was not an act of terrorism.

Analysts from both the left and the right will offer their opinion on why such a tragedy occurred.

Today is not the day for that.

Today we should focus on love.

We should keep close to our hearts the friends and families of those who perished last night. We should keep close to our hearts those who suffered injuries and their friends and families. We should keep close to our hearts the brave men and women of law enforcement. We should keep our own friends and families, and others in our communities close to our hearts.

Today we should refrain from analyzing hate and casting blame, and instead focus on spreading love, especially to our brothers and sisters in Las Vegas.

May we be reminded of the words of Francis of Assisi, “Where there is hatred let me sow love.”

Good morning. Make today beautiful.

Eat, drink, live, love!

Here at the Dannebohm Residence it’s a beautiful autumn morning, a cloudy Monday, met not with gloom, but rather with in anticipation of the week ahead.

Vincent scrambled some farm fresh eggs. I steamed kale and toasted bagels – we had breakfast, then moved to the out of doors, where the temperature is mild, the winds are calm. The gardens are alive with butterflies and the sound of the fountains bubbling, and birds chirping – speaking through their color, the leaves of the trees show signs they will soon fall. Vincent is enjoying a cup of Earl Grey and a pipe. The aroma does a beautiful dance with that of my coffee and the faint scent of rain in the air, forecasted to arrive at any moment.

Enjoying moments like this are essential. Soon, creativity will commence – Vincent will paint, I will write. The house will be filled with beautiful music.

Creativity carries over to the table. Autumn days such as this make me think about what to serve for dinner on what will likely be a gorgeous evening.

This evening, served by candlelight, a rustic stew, made with venison and andouille sausage, with hearty chunks of vegetables including red potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, onions, string beans, portobello mushrooms, fresh garlic, parsley, Himalayan salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a hint of curry. Slow cooked in a Sean Minor 2014 Central Coast Pinot Noir.

Served with boiled eggs, aged cheddar, a side of quinoa blended with feta and kale, a salad made with artisan greens, and for dessert – bread pudding, topped with an apple, pear, and mixed berry compote, served with Saigon cinnamon ice cream.

Wine selections for this evening will be a Bordeaux with the meal and a Brut Champagne with the dessert.

Following dinner, weather permitting, a nice scotch and a cigar outside by the fire are in order.

Today only happens once.

You’ll never have this moment in time again.

Make it beautiful.

Eat, drink, live, love!

Basil’s Remarks at his Birthday Reception

(The following is a transcript of the remarks Representative-Emeritus Dannebohm gave to attendees of his birthday celebration on September 9th, 2017. 103 people from as far away as Colorado, Missouri, Maine, and Texas attended the birthday celebration including past and present elected and appointed officials, gubernatorial candidates, university presidents, family, and friends – old and new. The Molly Neeley Trio, Oz artist Vincent Myrand, author Christianna Rickard (niece of Ray Bolger – the scarecrow and cousin to Christopher Reeve – Superman), and Jane Albright who is the President of the International Wizard of Oz Club were all on hand, making it a truly special occasion.)

Good evening. We’ve heard some wonderful words this evening so I’ll keep my remarks brief.

One can’t help but notice the uptick of hatred and division that seems to be taking a grip on our world. I’m not certain why it exists. I think part of the problem is that the internet made some people comfortable hiding behind a vague username, degrading one another – when I was in office, I referred to them as ‘armchair politicians.’

Over the past few years, that has evolved into a deranged sense of confidence and a delusion that it’s somehow okay to take an agenda of hatred and falsehoods to the streets – sometimes literally.

Some people wonder how this increase in hatred happened, I’m more concerned with doing my small part to ensure it ceases. That’s why I host receptions such as this. In truth, this event is less about my birthday and more about bringing people together.

At this, and every other reception I host, all are equal, all are loved, all are friends. No matter your race, creed, color, origin, sexual orientation, gender preference, political views – all guests are welcome. At these gatherings, our differences are set aside and our humanity is celebrated.

It’s a sad situation that many of us communicate more with our neighbors via instant messenger than the front porch swing. It’s my hope that receptions such as this foster a renewed sense of communication and understanding.

Nowhere will you find a better example of strangers casting aside their differences and helping one another on a journey than in L. Frank Baum’s literary masterpiece, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Whether reading the book or watching the movie, young and old alike can take away a valuable lesson from the timeless classic. That’s why I chose to have a Oz inspired cocktail reception for my birthday.

If Baum taught us anything from this work, it’s that separately brains, a heart, and courage are powerful tools. However, when used for the good of others on life’s journey they become phenomenal building blocks of friendship and solidarity.

Like Dorothy Gale, I found a some of strangers, turned friends, to help me in my mission – and I’m grateful to them for traveling many miles to be here with me for this special occasion. I firmly believe that the lessons we learn from Oz are vital and incredibly relevant. Using Baum’s work as a guidebook, each of us seeks to make the world a better place. We seek the diversity, love, and understanding that can be found in the characters or Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion.

This evening, by reconnecting with a classic from our childhood, may this celebration remind us that with love as our guide, we can set aside our differences and truly make this city, this state, this nation, and this world a beautiful place. I encourage you, this evening, to be love and light to the world. A friend to the stranger on life’s journey.

Thank you for being with me on this special occasion. Humbly, I ask that you remember me in prayer. Be assured of mine.

Peace.

‘Oz’-some birthday

(This article originally appeared in the Salina Journal on September 9th, 2017. Click here to view the original story.)

Salinan to celebrate with lavish ‘Wizard of Oz’ party

By Gary DeMuth

For his 36th birthday, J. Basil Dannebohm is bringing Oz to Kansas, and he doesn’t even need a tornado.

The Salina resident and former member of the Kansas Legislature will be hosting a “Wizard of Oz” themed birthday reception today at his east Salina home, where he has invited a variety of people to celebrate what he called the diversity and humanity championed by the book and movie.

“I take pride that all kinds of guests are welcome at this and at every other reception I host,” he said. “Rich, poor, gay, straight, black, white, Republican, Democrat — at these gatherings, our differences are set aside and our humanity is celebrated.”

As a child, Dannebohm was enraptured by the adventures of Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, both in the 1939 movie musical and in the many books set in the magical land of Oz by author L. Frank Baum.

Now Dannebohm sees “The Wizard of Oz” not only as a timeless fantasy adventure for children, but a timely story for adults — one that embraces inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion, attributes sorely lacking in today’s polarized social and political climate.

“If Baum taught us anything from this work, it’s that separately brains, a heart and courage are powerful tools,” he said. “However, when used for the good of others on life’s journey, they become phenomenal building blocks of friendship and solidarity.”

At his invitation-only reception, Dannebohm has invited several special guests, including Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court Lawton Nuss, who will provide a birthday toast; Jane Albright, the president of the International “Wizard of Oz” club; and members of the Kansas Legislature.

Special guests for the evening will be “Oz” artist Vincent Myrand and author Christianna Rickard, the niece of the movie’s Scarecrow, Ray Bolger.

Bonded over Oz

A self-taught artist from Maine, Myrand works primarily with oil paints to create original pieces depicting scenes from the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz,” Baum’s books and other Oz-inspired works. When Dannebohm discovered Myrand’s “Oz” paintings online, he commissioned the artist to create two original oil paintings: a 16- by 20-inch piece entitled “If Ever, Oh Ever a Wiz There Was: The Imagination of L. Frank Baum,” which depicts the author sitting in contemplation while “Oz” scenes swirl around him, and “Optimistic Voices,” a 48- by 60-inch rendition of the famous movie shot of the Emerald City at the far end of the yellow brick road.

Myrand also will be exhibiting nine original “Oz” oil paintings during the reception under the title “Kansas, She Said, is the Name of the Star.” He was introduced to “The Wizard of Oz” movie at a young age by his mother. Together, they watched it on a black-and-white TV set while his mother described all the color scenes in great detail.

“The movie was our conversation piece, the way we could relate,” he said. “It was our way of bonding.”

Myrand said he probably wouldn’t be a successful artist today if it hadn’t been for the “Oz” books.

“It’s opened so many pathways for me,” he said. “I’m so happy to be here in Kansas, Oz’s spiritual center.”

Watched together

Rickard, who grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in San Angelo, Texas, said this is her first visit to Kansas.

I’m excited, because Kansas is still this mythological place to me,” she said.

Rickard, 64, is the author of the memoir “Remembering Oz: My Journey with the Scarecrow,” soon to be re-released under a new title, “A Legend in Straw: The Amazing Dance of My Uncle, Ray Bolger.” In the book, Rickard shares memories of her late uncle, as well as insights from “The Wizard of Oz” to help readers survive the storms and challenges of life.

Rickard said she has fond memories her “Uncle Ray,” whom she said was a talented, creative, incredibly intelligent man.

“He was huge on attention,” she said. “Tour buses would come by his house, and he’d get up from the lunch table, go out and do a kick for them or a dance on the front lawn. He was also a great family man. We’d watch ‘Oz’ together every year.”

Dannebohm said he doesn’t want the “Oz” reception to focus on his birthday. Instead, his goal is to bring people together “to foster a renewed sense of communication and understanding.”

“Nowhere will you find a better example of strangers casting aside their differences and helping one another on a journey than in L. Frank Baum’s literary masterpiece,” he said.