Skip to main content

Back to Where It Started

I don't know exactly how to write this entry, except to start off with the fact that I miss Roger Ebert.

It's difficult to put into words, mostly because Mr. Ebert is a man I never knew personally. Our physical paths crossed a time or two during his annual film festival in Champaign-Urbana, but we never spoke, we never e-mailed, we never directly communicated in any way. My relationship with him was as a kid watching him spar with Gene Siskel on an old TV in my bedroom, engrossed in their conversations about movies. And then, as an adult, enjoying his written film reviews, his tweets, and his blog entries.

When Roger Ebert died last April, I felt the loss immediately, mostly because he'd been so prolific through social media during his later years. Knowing that we should no longer expect his updates, or journals, or thoughts on the news was enough to make one sad. Oddly enough, his views on film were a bit distant in the things I would miss about his presence. Now, however, that has changed.

The Academy Award nominations were announced recently, and it occurred to me that I don't think Ebert watched or reviewed any of the nine Best Picture nominees. And it left me sad. Couple that with this time of year being a bit of a frenzy for folks like myself, trying to see some of the most talked-about films of 2013, and I really got into a funk at the (continuing) realization that there will never, ever be another movie where we'll get to know Ebert's opinion of it.

Of the nine Best Picture contenders, I've seen three: Gravity, Philomena and Her (in that order). With Gravity, I thought about Ebert a lot. He tended to like sci-fi movies, and here was a good one. It was science fiction with heart, grounded in a fair smidgen of a reality. But that was one film among many. Now, however, we're in the thick of really good films. After watching both Philomena and Her, I -- almost without thinking -- wanted to look online and read Ebert's review, to see what he thought of them. Alas...

So, we come back to where it all began: a portly, bespectacled, intelligent man from Urbana, Illinois reviewing films. That's where my journey with Roger Ebert started and, after everything from his cancer, his Twitter account, his exquisite blog entries and his wonderful memoir, it all comes back to that. The documentary Life Itself, based on his memoir, will be shown at this year's Ebertfest. That's good. I look forward to seeing it. Almost more, though, I'd love to read Roger's reviews of Nebraska, or 12 Years a Slave.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.