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Showing posts from December, 2015

A Cool Medium

The headlines have all been similar: Haskell Wexler, Cinematographer, Dies at 93. That much is pretty straightforward. He was 93 years of age, a Hollywood film cinematographer, and his name was Haskell. But I know him as a guest (in multiple years) of Ebertfest, and a man who radiated life and energy. I never spoke a word to him, but saw him around inside and out of the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, and now he's gone -- another member of the Ebertfest family no longer with us.


Perhaps it's because the end of the year is coming? Or maybe it's to do with the shorter days forcing one inside and leading to solitude and contemplation? Regardless of the precise reasons, I find myself reflecting on times past around Christmas. This year is no different. Thoughts drift back to holidays that have come before, of locations that used to be filled with loving friends and families, of those who are no longer with us.
Decades ago, my dad's side of the family would gather close to Christmas, first at my aunt Charlease's place, in later years at uncle Paul and aunt Vilda's abode. Charlease lived in a grey-walled residence at Country Fair apartments. It was small and humble, but it was also warm and cozy.  I quite enjoyed the Christmas gatherings there. Paul & Vilda's house on Kirby Ave. was a spacious ranch. It made for better breathing space for our large family.
There were lovely holiday gatherings on my mom's side. We would often go to a…

The Fan Awakens

In just a few days, the seventh Star Wars movie will premiere in theaters, and I will be there for its opening. I'm older now, so this won't be any late night craziness (there's a 1:00am IMAX screening for those die-hard fans brimming with energy). This will be a 7pm showing, followed by food & drinks afterward with friends, to dissect the goings-on. Sixteen years ago I stood in line at the Savoy 16 for the midnight premiere screening of The Phantom Menace. Dear reader, I can not express to you enough how I hope Thursday isn't a repeat of that experience.
The first new Star Wars film in a decade (and the first without George Lucas's involvement), The Force Awakens promises a lot. I really hope it delivers. J.J. Abrams is at the helm for this installment. He isn't known for his originality, so I expect to see a lot of echoes and throwbacks to the original trilogy (hopefully none to the prequels). At least we'll have Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark…

Pic of the Week

Happy Friday! Here's a pic of British diver Chris Mears. Enjoy!