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


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

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 …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…