South of Oz (convention)

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Convention
Name: South of Oz
Dates: June 14-16, 1991
Frequency:
Location: Hyatt-Orlando Hotel, Kissimmee, Florida
Type:
Focus: Beauty and the Beast
Organization: sponsored by "The Florida Beauty & the Beast Helper Communities" in association with The helpers Network
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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South of Oz was a Beauty and the Beast convention that was held in 1991 in Orlando, Florida. It was subtitled Where Magic Meets the Sea and Dreams Become Reality.

The convention also published a charity zine under the same name: South of Oz.

The con guests were Ron Perlman, Roy Dotrice, and Jay Acovone.

The "VIP Guest Chairperson" was Pam Smith of the Emerald Coast Helpers Society.

The con charity was "Make-A-Wish Foundation, Inc."

Controversies

The con took place during The Beauty and the Beast Wars, and this rift in fandom was illustrated in the lead-up to the con, as well as in the convention reports.

Anonymous Letter

There was an anonymous letter encouraging fans to NOT attend this con.

[Barbara S]: I have recently heard that an anonymous letter is allegedly being circulated (I have not seen this letter, nor actually heard of or from anyone who received it) which says, in effect, that Ron Perlman is not really going to appear at South of Oz, and that any true fan of B&TB would only attend our FAN-OUT convention in St. Louis. First of all, it has been confirmed that Ron will be at South of Oz, through his manager. There is no reason to doubt that. Secondly, I am of the opinion that an anonymous letter is one of the most cowardly acts possible, no matter what its intentions, and I would ask that—if this letter actually exists—if someone is doing this because they think they are helping me, they are not, and I would like them to stop. I have made my feelings about South of Oz quite clear, I think, and I will not be attending it. However, I still believe— as I always have—in freedom of speech and movement, and in the basic intelligence of fans in general. We each must make up our own minds about any issue in fandom, and neither coercion nor emotional manipulation of fellow fans is acceptable to me. I keep hoping that we will be able to move past this kind of nonsense someday, and learn to keep our "eyes on the prize... and less on each other." [1]

Disappearance of Vids

There was also some hijinks regarding Kim Taylor's music vids.

Thank you to the South of Oz steering committee for the return of Kim Taylor's popular music videos, which disappeared for a week from the video room at the convention. However, as it took over four weeks for the promised "overnight' mailing to reach us here in Virginia Beach, we are understandably disillusioned; and it is unknown whether Kim Taylor will entrust them to anyone to be taken to future conventions. [2]

Comments Regarding the Lead-Up

February 1991

[Linda M]:

Having been a subscriber from conception I've read, reviewed, disagreed with, agreed with, mulled over, and generally enjoyed each letter in every issue. Now, I'm hoping that your open forum will allow me to speak, and Heaven knows I can count on one hand the number of LOCs I've written to ANY zine.

#1 attended Tunnel Con and came back home with the devout belief that Fandom Would Survive. Being basically an unknown face in fandom, I'm usually content to sit back and do my writing, keeping in contact with mostly editors and the occasional brave penpal. And so it was with great anticipation that I sent in my money to attend South of Oz in June of 1991.

Now, I have been bombarded with the most atrocious of news, to which I called several of my friends (some of whom are also my editors) to either confirm or deny these rumors. Those rumors are that South of Oz is going to be a Third Season Con. — Not true.

South of Oz will basically be the same as TunnelCon. TunnelCon had third season material present, but that did not make it a third season con—although third season material was not as prevalent then as it is now be cause the season was still unexplored (and painful) territory. Yet since then, nearly (if not) every editor has written or included a third season story in a zine, even if its plot was "she's not dead/Catherine comes back."

All I know for sure is that this con is going to be another way for fans to show their love and support for this wonderful show, which promotes kindness, generosity, and tolerance. It'll give us a chance to collect autographs from actors who've never attended a con before, and allow us to renew those friendships and acquaintances that were born at Tunnelcon. (Remember how good you felt?) I'm supporting South of Oz. And if you decide to go, too, stop me and say "Hi!" We'll have a ton of fun! (Once again—an editor's note! It seems the best way to immediately answer certain questions or comments. First of all, Linda, I think we have to admit that people have different definitions of 'third season' content, in zines or cons. To you, it seems to mean anything that has anything to do with the third season of B&TB, positive or negative. To many others, a 'third season' con or zine is one that favors the third season—or B&TB in any form—at the expense of the first two. To those people, both of the conventions you mention qualify as "third season," since they prominently feature(d) and honor(ed) members of the fan community who have advocated acceptance of the third season as a criteria of being a true fan of B&TB. We are not anxious to travel to an event where we are likely to be labeled with the tiresome and ridiculous label of 'naysayer' or to be blamed for the demise of B&TB by those who are desperate to preserve Vincent pat any cost, even Catherine's life or Vincent's own integrity. I don't believe I would have 'a ton of fun' at such an event. Secondly, I would like to address the issue of duplicate personal statement letters to letterzines, something that seems to be epidemic lately. When you submit a letter to several publications, you should let all editors concerned know that you are doing this. I only discovered that your letter, Linda, was also in OUT...IN by accident. I'm afraid also that subscribers will start to get annoyed at paying for two or three different letterzines and finding the same material repeated in each one. We have received some other duplicate material (which we were advised of by the writer) concerning the issue of the zine Black Cover, which we are going to print, but after that, we would like to declare a moratorium on duplicate personal statements. What do the rest of our subscribers think?)
[Sue K]:

I figured I'd write once more to TT to address one of the specific controversial issues floating around in fandom. Speaking frankly on this issue is a bit risky, but I think the time has come.

This issue is "South of Oz." Rumors and counter-rumors fly hither and thither about whether "South of Oz"is, or is not, a "Third Season Convention." As one of those who has deliberately chosen not to attend the convention, for reasons that have nothing to do with my financial situation (and quite in spite of Ron Perlman's appearance), I'd like to give my point of view about this.

No "rumor" convinced me one way or another. I made up my own mind. (It doesn't take any fan leader to get me to have an opinion, believe me.) Hooked at the fan guest list, and saw the names of several individuals who had many times stated, publicly, definite viewpoints about Season Three and those fans who "dared" not to support it—i.e., a preference for the former and contempt for the latter. This is not my imagination,asrve seen these words of condemnation in print. When "South of Oz" chose these specific guests at the expense of any to balance out the viewpoint, it gave me the feeling that this convention supported views and attitudes I could not agree with. Whether or not anyone associated with "South of Oz" loved Season Three wasn't ever the issue for me; what WAS the issue was that most of the fan guests had gone on record belittling those, such as myself, who could not support Season Three—we, the so-called "traitors" and "nay-sayers" of fandom. While I saw a guest list that very firmly supported this point of view—accept or be labeled "traitor"— I saw no guests who represented the point of view of fans who prefer B6TB in its "classic" form. Let's face it—this fandom is divided. NO amount of wishful thinking will change that. But face it—this fandom is divided. NO amount of wishful thinking will change that. But the way to get fandom back together is NOT to have a con and and invite guests only of one viewpoint, ignoring anyone of the opposing viewpoint. Someone recently said to me that they thought it would be impossible from now on to have a convention that was NOT swinging one way or another—"Classic" or 'Third Season/accept all." That may be true. But it certainly can't be achieved if no attempt is made to balance the guest list, and absolutely no acknowledgement is made of the problem to begin with.

I bear no ill will towards the planners and organizers of "South of Oz," but I would ask them to really consider WHY people are unhappy with matters. If "South of Oz" is truly impartial, the guest list should reflect this- It does not. I speak not only for myself, but many friends who feel exactly as I do. I think our concerns are valid. Even if "South of Oz" gets more people than any other convention this year, there will still be many of us who will not attend for the reasons I've stated. I don't believe "South of Oz" is intended as a "Third Season Con" in programming or content, but I do believe that the choice of fan guests represents an emphasis and viewpoint I cannot support.

It would be really nice if all wounds would heal of their own accord. But if you don't acknowledge that a wound is there, it can fester and become something much more serious. If anyone has any doubts about the anger still generated in this fandom, I recommend a glance at the Feb/March issue of Pipeline. To pretend a given problem is merely the result of "rumor mongering" by some hateful group of fans, or some kind of smear campaign targeted against one point of view, is dangerously simplistic. By covering up the real problem, things don't improve; the problem just gets worse. Everyone wants to believe that people in this fandom are universally kind and acknowledge that than to pretend that everything is "sweetness and light."

A friend of mine, who likes some elements of "Classic" and "Third Season" B&TB said: "There will always be that chasm in B&TB fandom. It will never go away. I think by now people know what they want to see and gravitate towards those who believe the same. I don't consider this a bad thing." Nor do I—but for any fan event, club or publication that hopes to have all views represented, an across-the-board balance of guests, officers, representatives and/or viewpoints MUST be present.

Convention Reports

I read a lot of bad rumors about the South of Oz con. And I want to tell all of you that they were sadly mistaken. Though pro-Diana's out there, most fans who attended wanted Catherine back. And the possibility of Diana and Catherine being friends ....

But back to the con. All three guest stars had a wonderful time. Roy ("Father") joked about a food fight at the banquet, and promptly thereafter threw shredded rolls out at the fans' tables. Who sent them right back. It broke the ice and led to a very enjoyable evening.

The music videos were well edited. Various rescue scenes played to "My Boyfriend's Back"; Joe Maxwell was highlighted in : "That's What Friend's are For," to name a few. Also at the dinner they did 'The Shadow Play," which told of Catherine and Vincent's story by a storyteller far in the future. And how every so often a child with Vincent's face appears to unite the Tunnel world.

This is a must-see, so when the flyers come out you might want to get the South of Oz Con Video. Special highlights are the amateur and professional costume contest, which one lady won as Catherine (all bandaged up,as in the first episode). She also took best in show. Karl was Vincent during the Masquerade party and later at the Winterfest banquet. He also did a fantastic job in the make-up workshop....

I had a wonderful time at South of Oz. I enjoyed meeting people I knew only through their zine work. And attending the writers and artist workshops. Dorothy and Betty, who did TunnelCon were there, and they are planning Tunnel Con II in Las Vegas once again. So hope to see everyone there. Keep the Dream alive.[3]

Hi everyone! I just returned from Florida and the South of Oz convention. lean imagine that some of you are surprised I attended,given my feelings concerning our fandom, but I have to say that I did have a good time for the most part. It was great seeing some of my long-time B&TB buddies and just talking and having a ball. The hotel was nice, especially after the Penta last month! The only thing I didn't like was the humidity. Living in hot and very dry Los Angeles left me unprepared for it. The rumoutwas around 600 people, which made it comparable to TUNNELCON. Unlike T-Con though, the organizers had many more panels and events for guests toattend, which was nice. There were panels on V&Csintimacy, the bond, Father's role as Dictator vs. patriarch, and many more. The highlight of the con for most people was the Jay Acovone/Roy Dotrice/Ron Perlman chat on Saturday!

They were just delightful and it was obvious that they truly care for one another. Jay spent a lot of time talking about his movie with Steven Seagal — especially the gory details concerning his leg being blown off. When asked how he felt about Linda Hamilton, Jay replied, "She is one of the best actresses I've worked with. I'd like to work with her again ...In the movie!" which received much applause. Another fan asked him what he thought about the changes in the last season, to which he responded that, "I missed Hamilton. I missed Hamilton, I really did. That's not to say... Jo's a nice woman, a good actress. Hamilton's better for the role. She brought, I think she brought a lot more charisma to the role. She brought a lot more of that Beauty and the Beast thing we needed between — the relationship between — her and Vincent than Jo did. That's all."

For me, the most exciting thing occurred after a fan asked Ron about the status of the movie. Ron told us: 'Things have sort a moved forward a pace. That all of the writers have gotten together and begun brainstorming if there was a film what the film would be about. What worlds would it encompass and all those things. When all those writers get together, there's generally NO agreement, so they're asking for trouble! [laughter] The spirit is still very much willing. We all still want to do a film. I always felt that the cinematography and stuff lends itself to something bigger than the small screen. This would be the icing on the cake." Roy then interjected — "The interesting thing, Ron, that you told me earlier, which I think you all will be delighted about, is the fact that they have no intention of doing the film without Linda Hamilton." [Wild applause.] Ron came back with: "So much for Hollywood secrets. Why do 1 fee! like Phil Donahue all of a sudden?"

Unfortunately, Ron told us that a second album at this point didn't seem to be a likely happening, but that Koslow had put together a collection should anyone go forward with the project. I was very surprised that Perlman actually did the Vincent-voice — not once, but twice—during his session. He's always declined in the past. Afterwards, the guests all signed autographs. It was unfortunate that the con committee promised that EVERYONE would receive one, since the line was ultimately cut off before that became possible. There was a lot of anger as a result. I didn't get one, but I'm not an autograph person so it didn't bother me. (I'm a coward actually!)

The banquet Saturday night was very special as well. We entered the hall through a tunnel! It was a wonderful touch, and The Chesapeake group had also reconstructed Vincent's chamber. Beautiful work! Unlike T-Con, guests were allowed to pick their tables when they registered, which was nice. (Don't get me wrong when I compare the two cons, please! I enjoyed T-Con very much, and will probably attend #2!)

Awards were handed out by Roy Dotrice for the art and fanzines. Let's see... Claire Sieffert won Best in Show for her beautiful Catherine portrait. This same portrait also went for $1000 att he art auction! Beth Blighton and Barbara Gipson won several of the other awards. I was incredibly pleased when Sue Krinard (yeah, Sue!) won the Crystalline Award for her B&W cover on Kaleidoscope II, and that this zine won for Best Dramatic zine. Other winners included Kathy Cox for Destiny IV and Blighton for her beautiful artzine cover. The only award I was surprised at was that TT was ignored in the letterzine category. (Or maybe I shouldn't be, hmmm? [4] At any rate, I think you deserved to win, Barb. We thank you for your vote of confidence, Liz!)

I thought the banquet, for the most part, was well-paced and I liked that we were served the food rather than having a buffet. Each guest was presented with a gift and spoke a few words also. We were shown three music videos during the evening and they were a big hit with the audience, especially one called "My Boyfriend's Back," which included scenes of Vincent coming to Catherine's rescue! It was very amusing. Speaking of videos, I also saw another one later in the evening that was simply fabulous. I can't remember the name of the song, but it dealt with C&V's parting and included V's last kiss. Now, I know you Classic fans are screaming (trust me, everyone was sobbing) at this point, but as the song ended the video picked up at the point in"Remember Love" where Vincent awakens from his dream to find Catherine In his arms. It was perfect and wonderful and, at least for me, took away all the pain and negative power of the third season. I hope this video is made available to fandom as a whole.

On Sunday, the con held a "Healing the Rift in Fandom" panel. To be honest, I thought this was a very bad idea, and while it wasn't the total fiasco I expected, it didn't go a long way towards accomplishing its mission. Several panel members had some logical, positive and helpful things to say—Kay Simon, Jeanne Cloud, and Sharon Wells—about the labeling, people being entitled to their own opinions, etc. Unfortunately while Jeanne was saying it was a mistake, Wiltse's response to the labeling was that it was a "valid response to behavior." Huh? Also, many audience members voiced the sentiment that we must not set "limits" for the future and that the absence of one character should not ruin chances fora movie. Given the fact that fans such as myself have absolutely NO interest in a B&TB movie WITHOUT Linda Hamilton, I find it frustrating to be told that I am "limiting" fandom.

[snipped]

Later, I found it strange that statements were made that little in the way of charity work is happening in fandom today. As an audience member pointed out. Lights of Winterfest is going strong, as well as other endeavors. Perhaps if certain editors didn't spend so much time focusing on THE RIFT and all, they would see that most of fandom is doing something positive in the name of the show. A panel member also brought up the fact that subscription renewals are falling. Well, again, perhaps people should consider WHY this is happening. I am tired of reading nasty editorials and LOCs blaming Classic fans for EVERYTHING. PERIOD. If s one thing to discuss why you liked or disliked third season (as we do here in this letterzine), but quite another to attack another person's viewpoint. I just can't equate attacking a television show with calling another person names —"naysayer," "darksider," "ex-fan," and recently, "screamer" — all the while lecturing about the values of the show!

So, overall I thought thecon went rather well. I truly hope this fandom survives its current problems. Nothing will ever replace the warm feeling I get when attending conventions. [5]
[Maranda H]:

Ron, Jay and Roy all had tears in their eyes, talking about all that the fans are doing. They get letters of all we do, daily. They thought the show would be cancelled after the pilot. They thought after it was cancelled it would loseits thrust. But they were overcome.

Fans cried, talking about their lives and what B&TB has done for them. We met many people, from 37 slates and 3 other countries. Everyone I met opened doors. There wasnospearation; there wasahealing. AII3starsaskedforahealing. During the meal, people watched videos, cried, held hands. We all lit candles, led by "Father."

A guy asked Ron Perlman if V was aChrist figure. Ron handled it with respect, class, and I really admired him. He said he believed in Christ personally and saw the character of V as having morals and believing in nature and its creator. He tried to portray that in the character and,"... If you choose to interpret that, that way, if s your choice."

My impression was that all dealers and fans were honest, caring people. I knew there were many wonderful people in fandom, but I know so many more now. Our family has grown so much. I sat with people I didn't know, yet knew immediately. I thank God for such love and beauty. There is hope for a movie—but with Catherine (Linda)! We must keep this going. It's not just for a movie or the show, if s what if s doing for us, to us: therapy. [6]

I read a lot ot bad rumors about the South of Oz con. And I want to tell all of you that they were sadly mistaken. Though I heard a few pro-Diana's out there, most fans who attended wanted Catherine back. And the possibility of Diana and Catherine being friends, and the possibilities that Diana's job might help reach out to involve more characters. But back to the con. All three guest stars had a wonderful time. Roy ("Father") joked about a food fight at the banquet, and promply thereafter threw shredded rolls out at the fans' tables. Who sent them right back. It broke the ice and led to a very enjoyable evening. The music videos were well edited. Various rescue scenes played to "My Boyfriend's Back"; Joe Maxwell was highlighted in: "Thaf s What Friend's are For," to name a few. Also at the dinner they did 'The Shadow Play," which told of Catherine and Vincent's story by a storyteller far in the future. And how every so often a child with Vincent's face appears to unite the Tunnel world. This is a must-see, so when the flyers come out you might want to get the South of Oz Con Video. Special highlights are the amateur and professional costume contest, which one lady won as Catherine (all bandaged up, as in the first episode). She also took best in show. Karl was Vincent during the Masquerade party and later at the Winterfest banquet. He also did a fantastic job in the make-up workshop. We really have to hand it to Ron Perlman. In the first two seasons Vincent's "look" changed somewhat.

That's because of two things. #1— Every time they made a Vincent mask for Ron to wear, it could only be worn once. And each hair on his face is human hair and had to be done by hand — Ug! #2 — The mask designers tried each time he had to make a new Vincent "face" to perfect it. So it looked more "real" and it suited Ron. So take your tapes from the pilot through the second season and see if you can spot the changes. Karl also told us that in the first season Vincent's hands were also done one hair at a time. By the second season, special gloves had been devised. No wonder it took so long to do Vincent's make-up. As I said, we really have to appreciate Ron's stamina and forbearance to put up with it all. I mean, think about it—something itches and he wants to, say, scratch his nose—"Hey Ron! Hold still or this hair on your hands won't lay right!" yells the peeved make-up man. One of the other "treats" we were privileged in hearing was Ron doing "The Voice." Yesl He did it! Not once, but twice! It showed how warm and considerate the conventioneers made the guest stars feel. For Ron to do the voice with such spontaneity. Roy Dotrice also dropped the information that Linda — will be in the MOVIE!!! What the storyline is — is anybody's guess — Ron K. is not talking. I had a wonderful time at South ofOz. I enjoyed meeting people I knew only through their zine work. And attending the writers and artist workshops. Dorothy and Betty, who did TunnelCon I were there, and they are planning Tunnel Con II in Las Vegas once again. So hope to see everyone there. Keep the Dream alive.[7]

As I look at this blank sheet of paper, I wonder where I should begin. I guess I'll start with my trip to South of Oz. Considering all, I had a very good time. It was fun seeing old friends, making some new ones, and finally putting a face to some of the more well known names in B&TB fandom. Whatever problems the con organizers had, I think they still did a good job and everything I participated in, I enjoyed.

One of the most interesting things I noticed about the con in general was that it left me with the definite impression that the majority of fans there were people who supported the return of Catherine in the movie. Although our fandom has split into many factions, each with their own preferences, I still believe that the majority of viewers were fans of the "Romance," and for them the romance will always mean Catherine and Vincent. When I w as selling my B&TB burtons, and now with my zine, over and over again I noticed that most people seemed to be interested in Catherine and Vincent together. I think most want this couple to have their "Happy Life." I have to agree with that. I've even had people who support the 3rd season tell me that they would like to see a movie where Catherine returns. It seems that, although they don't mind a storyline that involves Diana or a new romance, many would still welcome a story line where Catherine comes back. Obviously, not every one feels this way, but I think more than we realize do.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that not all fans of Catherine were necessarily fans of Linda Hamilton. Some will accept any actress as long as Catherine is brought back. Again, to those fans the important thingis that thecouple are reunited and the romance be allowed to continue. I guess your preference depends on why you liked theshow to begin with. I just happened to stumble across it one Friday night as I was home alone and started watching it. I was very curious to see how they would continue each week and still keep the stories interesting. I liked what I saw and have supported the show since. It was Linda that caught my attention as I flipped the channels, but I was soon intrigued by Vincent and anxious to see how the romance would progress. I guess you could say I was a fan of the whole show. ref>Tunneltalk v.2 n.4/5 (1991)</ref>

References

  1. from Tunneltalk (April 1991)
  2. Tunneltalk v.2 n.4/5 (1991)
  3. Tunneltalk v.2 n.4/5 (1991)
  4. "Or maybe I shouldn't be, hmmm?" is likely a comment reflecting on Barbara Storey's refusal to attend this con due to personal feelings regarding The Beauty and the Beast War and perceived fandom representation.
  5. Tunneltalk v.2 n.4/5 (1991)
  6. Tunneltalk v.2 n.4/5 (1991)
  7. Tunneltalk v.2 n.4/5 (1991)