WBEZ | Roger Ebert http://www.wbez.org/tags/roger-ebert Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Possible U.S. sanctions on Venezuela http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-11/possible-us-sanctions-venezuela-110482 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP227227024155.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Delta and American Airlines are cutting back flights to Venezuela amidst a water shortage there and possible U.S. sanctions for human rights abuses.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-possible-us-sanctions-on-venezuela/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-possible-us-sanctions-on-venezuela.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-possible-us-sanctions-on-venezuela" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Possible US sanctions on Venezuela" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-11/possible-us-sanctions-venezuela-110482 Morning Shift: Evaluating our privacy in the digital age http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-17/morning-shift-evaluating-our-privacy-digital-age <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/surveillance Flickr jonathan mcintosh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk with a member of the White House panel tasked with crafting NSA reform. We also explore whether there are enough laws to protect our privacy in this digital age with The Nation&#39;s David Cole.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-evaluating-our-privacy-in-the-digita/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-evaluating-our-privacy-in-the-digita.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-evaluating-our-privacy-in-the-digita" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Evaluating our privacy in the digital age " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-17/morning-shift-evaluating-our-privacy-digital-age 7 ways the 'Star Wars' franchise is tied to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/7-ways-star-wars-franchise-tied-chicago-109148 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img 20th="" a="" alt="" ap="" century="" class="image-original_image" episode="" fox="" iv-="" new="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/star%20wars%20still%202_0.jpg" star="" title="Promotional still for the 1977 film &quot;Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.&quot; (20th Century Fox/AP Photo)" wars:="" /></div><p>Attention, young padawans.&nbsp;<a href="http://lucasfilm.com/">Lucasfilm&nbsp;Limited, LLC</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;The Walt Disney Company&nbsp;will be holding an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/09/star-wars-casting-call-chicago_n_4246880.html" target="_blank">open casting call</a> for &quot;Star Wars: Episode VII,&quot; the seventh installment of one of the most celebrated film series of all time, today at <a href="http://jamusa.com/park-west/">Park West</a> from 3 to 8 p.m.&nbsp;</p><p>The J.J. Abrams-directed sequel to 1983&#39;s &quot;Return of the Jedi,&quot; which will be released in theaters on <a href="http://starwars.com/news/star-wars-episode-vii-to-open-december-18-2015.html" target="_blank">December 18, 2015</a>, is currently in pre-production and seeking two leads to helm the continuation of the thrilling space saga.&nbsp;</p><p>According to casting director Maryellen Aviano, the &quot;Star Wars&quot; team is <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/11/08/may-the-force-be-with-you-star-wars-auditions-happening-in-chicago/" target="_blank">looking for</a> a 19-23 year-old man and a 17-18 year-old woman to play the new characters; which, considering the desired age ranges, could very well be the descendents of Luke and Leia from Episodes IV-VI.&nbsp;</p><p>The search for the new faces of &quot;Star Wars&quot; will continue in other major cities throughout the United States, Ireland, and the U.K. before a scheduled production start in spring 2014, with casting directors accepting <a href="http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/11/11/star-wars-auditions-now-available-online" target="_blank">online submissions</a> as well.</p><p>However, considering the number of connections that the <a href="http://www.secondcity.com/">Second City</a> has to the iconic franchise, finding the next jedi in Chicago may not be a stretch.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>1. Harrison Ford (Han Solo) was born here.</strong></p><p>Ford was born at Chicago&#39;s Swedish Covenent Hospital, raised in Des Plaines and later Park Ridge. He attended Maine Township High School, where he <a href="http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/harrison-ford.html" target="_blank">failed</a>&nbsp;at&nbsp;sports and never earned above a C average. After getting involved in theatre during his final year at Ripon College in Wisconson, Ford moved to California in 1964 with dreams of becoming an actor. He worked mostly as a carpenter in L.A. until landing a breakthrough role in Ron Howard&#39;s 1972 film &quot;American Grafitti&quot; at age 30.</p><p>Now, the 71-year-old actor will&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/report-harrison-ford-will-reprise-han-solo-in-new-star-wars-films-20130219" target="_blank">reportedly</a>&nbsp;return as&nbsp;Han Solo, the role that made him an international superstar, in J.J. Abrams&#39; reboot. Fingers crossed that a fellow Chicago native will star alongside him.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Jake Lloyd (Young Anakin) studied film at Columbia College.</strong></p><p>Lloyd is a former child actor best known for playing a young Darth Vader &mdash; or as Newsweek called him at the time, <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/37651/opie-backs-darth-vader">&quot;Mannequin Skywalker&quot;</a>&nbsp;&mdash; in the first dud of a &quot;Star Wars&quot; prequel, 1999&#39;s &quot;Episode I: The Phantom Menace.&quot; Lloyd was torn apart so mercilessly by critics for his Razzie-nominated performance that he only acted in one more role after that, then never again. With the claim &quot;fame turned my life into a <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2110383/Anakin-Skywalker-actor-Jake-Lloyd-Star-Wars-fame-turned-life-living-hell.html" target="_blank">living hell</a>,&quot; Lloyd destroyed all of his &quot;Star Wars&quot; memorabilia and left Hollywood for Chicago, finishing up a film degree at Columbia College in 2012.</p><p>After working with George Lucas at age 10, it seems fitting that Llyod would continue his film education at Columbia: the alma mater of Steven Spielberg&#39;s longtime cinematographer, Janucz Kaminski. Perhaps a career behind the camera might be a better fit?</p><p><strong>3. The original &#39;Star Wars&#39; CGI effects were made in Chicago.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>The first &quot;Star Wars&quot; film, 1977&#39;s &quot;Episode IV: A New Hope,&quot; was filled with groundbreaking special effects that would later spawn companies like <a href="http://www.ilm.com/">Industrial Light &amp; Magic</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pixar.com/">Pixar Animation Studios</a>. But&nbsp;director George Lucas turned to a Chicago institution for one particular scene: a military briefing of an attack on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pixL-g7YJm8" target="_blank">Death Star</a>, which required a 3-D rendering of the spaceship&nbsp;and the trench through which X-Wing fighters would travel to ultimately exploit its weakness. Lucas asked <a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2013/05/23/star-wars-connection" target="_blank">Larry Cuba</a>, a then 27-year-old research associate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, to kickstart the animation.</p><p>Cuba was known for his work with cutting-edge computer animations at the Circle Graphics Habitat, now known as the <a href="http://www.evl.uic.edu/">Electronic Visualization Laboratory</a>, or EVI. He and his team used programming languages developed by fellow computer scientist Thomas DeFanti as a basis for producing the 3-D computer graphics for &quot;Star Wars,&quot; and former students like Steve Heminover designed the laser graphics special effects. More than 25 years later, the actual Vector General computer that was used to produce the Death Star animation remains in Chicago, housed in Heminover&#39;s South Side workshop as a piece of true&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2013/05/23/star-wars-connection" target="_blank">cinematic history</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. George Lucas is married to a Chicagoan.</strong></p><p>Not only did Lucas marry Windy City native <a href="http://www.arielinvestments.com/our-team/">Mellody Hobson</a> at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif. on June 22, 2013, he also hosted a second wedding celebration at Chicago&#39;s Promontory Point just a few days later.</p><p>According to the <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/george-lucas-mellody-hobson-wedding-577565" target="_blank">Hollywood Reporter</a>, the lakeside reception was quite the star-studded affair. Among the most notable guests were Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Robin Williams, Jesse Jackson, &quot;CBS This Morning&quot; co-anchor Gayle King, Al Roker of &quot;Today,&quot; CNN contributor Van Jones, actress Rachel Bilson, Grammy winner Ne-Yo, Penny Pritzker, and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130630/hyde-park/george-lucas-mellody-hobson-reception-galaxy-of-stars-turn-out-for-bash" target="_blank">Prince</a> also performed with a 22-piece band.&nbsp;</p><p>Hobson is the chair of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dreamworksanimation.com/">DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.</a>, head of the Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Investments and chairman of Ariel Mutual Funds. She also contributes financial analysis for CBS News.</p><p><strong>5. Roger Ebert championed Lucas from the start.</strong></p><p>In one of his most memorable first reviews for The Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert likened the debut &quot;Star Wars&quot; film to an out-of-body experience. &quot;The magic of &#39;Star Wars&#39; is only dramatized by the special effects,&quot; he wrote. &quot;The movie&#39;s heart is in its endearingly human (and non-human) people.&quot; He awarded Lucas&#39; original work the full <a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/star-wars-1977" target="_blank">four stars</a>, an honor that he would also bestow upon &quot;The Empire Strikes Back&quot; and &quot;Return of the Jedi.&quot;</p><p>In fact, Ebert might have been the biggest &quot;Star Wars&quot; fan of any major critic. He even enjoyed &quot;The Phantom Menace&quot; and &quot;Revenge of the Sith,&quot; citing <a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/star-wars-episode-i-the-phantom-menace-1999" target="_blank">the former</a>&nbsp;as &quot;an extraordinary acheivement in cinematic filmmaking.&quot; In 1983, Ebert and partner Gene Siskel memorably sparred with critic John Simon over his negative assessment of the &quot;Star Wars&quot; films on Nightline, and Ebert defended them with every <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/critics-spar-over-star-wars-trilogy-on-1983-nightline-episode-18344732" target="_blank">fiber of his being</a>.</p><p>His favorite of the six films he saw in his lifetime was the second, &quot;Empire Strikes Back.&quot; In his 1997 <a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-empire-strikes-back-1997" target="_blank">review</a> of the film&#39;s re-release in theaters, Ebert wrote, &quot;It is because of the emotions stirred in &#39;Empire&#39; that the entire series takes on a mythic quality that resonates back to the first and ahead to the third. This is the heart.&quot;</p><p><strong>6. A &lsquo;Star Wars&rsquo; holographic video effect was used in Chicago on Election Night &rsquo;08.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>In a historic <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thOxW19vsTg" target="_blank">TV first</a>, the human hologram effect long associated with &quot;Star Wars&quot; was used as technological tool for CNN during its 2008 Election Night coverage in Chicago&#39;s Grant Park.</p><p>CNN reporter Jessica Yellin&nbsp;and Black Eyed Peas musician&nbsp;William James Adams (will.i.am) looked as though they were in the network&#39;s New York City&nbsp;studios talking face-to-face with hosts Anderson Cooper&nbsp;and Wolf Blitzer,&nbsp;when in reality, they were in Chicago&nbsp;at Barack Obama&#39;s rally. According to the<i>&nbsp;</i>Chicago Tribune&#39;s report of the <a href="http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2008/11/cnn-hologram-ob.html">&quot;freaky&quot;</a> effect, the process involved Yellin and will.i.am standing in front of a blue screen in a special tent, while being shot by 35 HD cameras.</p><p><strong>7. Chicago&rsquo;s Legoland has a &lsquo;Phantom Menace&quot; exhibit that is better than the movie.</strong></p><p>Considering that Episode I remains a putrid mess of wasted opportunity &mdash; thankfully, Episodes IV, V, VI and even III make up for it &mdash; an awesome exhibit&nbsp;at Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/chicago/">Legoland Discovery Center</a>, open to the public now through December 2013, brings the scenes of &quot;Phantom&quot; to new life.</p><p>The Lego Star Wars miniland exhibit, voted on by the public to commemorate the characters and events of the first prequel, features a large-scale Lego model display built from half a million&nbsp;Lego bricks. If you&#39;re a kid who loves &quot;Star Wars&quot; legos, or just a kid at heart, this mini-world of wonder beats the atrocity that is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jar_Jar_Binks" target="_blank">Jar Jar Binks</a> any day.&nbsp;</p><p>Bonus: Chicago actors are notoriously&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;q=best+chicago+actors&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8#q=actors+from+chicago&amp;rls=en" target="_blank">amazing</a>. To those auditioning at Park West today, may the force be with you!</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/7-ways-star-wars-franchise-tied-chicago-109148 The female film critic: an endangered species? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-06/female-film-critic-endangered-species-107574 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4957512965_14e1979696_z.jpg" title="The waning powers of the female film critic? (Flickr/Tancy Poker)" /></p><p>When I think of the people who first turned me onto talking and thinking about film, the list skews heavily female: Pauline Kael. Amy Taubin. Molly Haskell.</p><p>I even liked Libby Gelman-Waxner, who wrote the satiric column &ldquo;If You Ask Me&rdquo; for Premiere Magazine and, who by the way, was actually a nom de drag: comedic writer Paul Rudnick doing his best impersonation of a Manhattan housewife/career woman.</p><p>I&rsquo;m not sure why this was the case. Maybe I liked women writers because I was a woman who wanted to be a writer! As a film school student, maybe I just preferred &ldquo;serious&rdquo; critics. Most of these women, judged by either the length of their reviews or by their actual academic bona fides, seemed awfully serious to me.</p><p>Or maybe - <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/04/23/emanuel_bill_savage_weigh_in_on_rac.php" style="text-decoration:none;">and don&rsquo;t crucify me Chicagoans</a> - I just liked New Yorkers.</p><p>But I started rethinking my connection to film criticism after reading some depressing news. A <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/movie-criticism-more-male-dominated-ever-study-finds-93626" style="text-decoration:none;">two-month survey</a> conducted this past spring, of the movie aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, found that 78 percent of their &ldquo;top critics&rdquo; were men. And those dudes accounted for 82% of the site&rsquo;s total film criticism.</p><p>So, bottom line, according to the survey&rsquo;s author Martha Lauzen? As she concluded in a <a href="http://awfj.org/hot-topic/thumbs-down-representation-of-women-film-critics-in-the-top-100-us-newspapers-a-study-by-dr-martha-lauzen/" style="text-decoration:none;"> previous study</a> of newspaper film critics: &ldquo;Men dominate the reviewing process of films primarily made by men featuring mostly males intended for a largely male audience.&rdquo;</p><p>Talk about the man snake eating its man snake tail!</p><p>For now, some have complicated Lauzen&rsquo;s bottom line, including the great Linda Holmes at <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/05/24/186458888/are-women-really-missing-from-film-criticism" style="text-decoration: none;">NPR.</a></p><p>But to me, Lauzen&rsquo;s findings really resonate. I still read lots of female film critics, from Manola Dargis to Farran Nehme. Great as they are, they&rsquo;re still <a href="http://www.film.com/movies/great-female-film-critics" style="text-decoration:none;">few and far between.</a></p><p>And when I look for women critics in Chicago, the picture only gets worse.</p><p>Take your pick: the Chicago Reader, the Tribune, the Sun Times, TimeOut Chicago, Gapers Block, Windy City Times, WBEZ&rsquo;s Filmspotting? Most of these oulets&rsquo; film critics &ndash; and certainly the &ldquo;top critics&rdquo; &ndash; are men. Or take a look at the Chicago Film Critics Assocation, whose <a href="http://www.chicagofilmcritics.org/members-list">membership</a> is mostly male.</p><p>Then recently, two national outlets with local ties upped the gender inequity ante. Pitchfork announced it&rsquo;s new film site <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/50949-introducing-the-dissolve-a-new-film-site/" style="text-decoration:none;">The Dissolve</a>. Among the seven critics (most formerly of the A.V. Club), two are women: Tasha Robinson and Genevieve Koski.</p><p>Meanwhile, over at RogerEbert.com, <a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/chazs-blog/meet-the-new-editor-of-rogerebertcom-matt-zoller-seitz" style="text-decoration:none;">newly appointed editor Matt Zoller Seitz</a> is not only a man, he&rsquo;s a New Yorker!</p><p>In announcing the pick, Chaz Ebert lauded Seitz&rsquo;s many talents, including his ability &ldquo;to spot and encourage talent in other journalists, critics and video essayists&rdquo; and to mentor &ldquo;with a benevolent style.&rdquo;</p><p>Seitz has certainly built some fine film criticism outlets, including <a href="http://blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/">Press Play</a>. But if the contributors there are any indication, Seitz has mainly mentored men: Out of 41 writers, 8 are women.</p><p>Lest I sound like a cranky and slightly obsessed accountant, toting up gender counts at various media outlets, I want to stress that there are of course women here writing about film: Nina Metz and Maureen Hart at the Trib, Ruth Ratney and Carrie Kaufman at <a href="http://www.reelchicago.com/" style="text-decoration:none;">Reel Chicago</a>, and many more at <a href="http://cine-file.info/index.htm" style="text-decoration:none;">CINE-FILE.info </a>including Christy LeMaster, Candace Wirt, Chloe McLaren among others.</p><p>Of course, any attempt at a list is most defined by what&rsquo;s left off it, so if I&rsquo;ve missed any local female film critics, please don&rsquo;t yell, just add their names in the comments section below.</p><p>Meanwhile, ponder this interesting silver lining: While women may not have achieved critical mass in local or national critical circles, they are a significant presence among film programmers and presenters.</p><p>In fact, as I started to compile this list, I was astonished by how many local film series and festivals are due in whole or part to women. Another interesting fact: many of these women got into programming by starting as filmmakers or projectionists, and many of them are still working the booth at various local cinemas.</p><p>Here then, is as comprehensive a list as I can muster, with some musings from local programmers about why women seem to gravitate toward programming over criticism, and why the lack of female critics matters.</p><p>One thing to note as you review this list, and add other names below, there is almost no diversity among local female programmers - most on this list are white.</p><p>1. Film Houses. Barbara Scharres, Programmer, <a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/" style="text-decoration:none;">Gene Siskel Film Center</a>. Scharres started out by making films, then was hired as a projectionist by Siskel founder Camille Cook. After a stint as technical director she moved into programming. Scharres says that based on an annual gathering of North American film programmers, the male-female split is about 50-50. On the surface that makes the programming field more female friendly than criticism.</p><p>Scharres notes that women who present films tend to have more formal film educations or academic backgrounds, whereas much current criticism tends to favor &ldquo;Quentin Tarantino-types&rdquo;: Young, strongly opinionated male film fans who undergo a thorough and self-driven film education.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to put that down,&rdquo; says Scharres, &ldquo;But at the same time it does produce a more cowboy kind of field.&rdquo;</p><p>Scharres says maybe the people who hire film critics might be less disposed to a lack of female critics who don&rsquo;t come off as &ldquo;brash, enthusiastic fanboys.&rdquo; But she thinks their absence means we are missing something.</p><p>&ldquo;Women have a whole different take on things. just even the obvious bullshit detection when it comes to filjm&rsquo;s portrayal of women.&rdquo;</p><p>As an example, she cites the recent film at Cannes, François Ozon&rsquo;s &ldquo;Young and Beautiful&rdquo;, a movie about a rich young woman&rsquo;s random turn to prostitution. Scharres noticed a clear gender divide in the critical responses, saying it left most women saying &nbsp;&ldquo;what the f*&amp;k get out of here,&rdquo; while men seemed to find it &ldquo;so real, so beautiful, so plausible&rdquo;.</p><p>Scharres does write about film - she is one of the critics who covers Cannes for RogerEbert.com. Though I noticed that the site&rsquo;s recap of the festival followed the usual <a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/post-cannes-two-critics-look-back-over-this-years-festival" style="text-decoration:none;">two dudes talking format.</a></p><p>Others: Mimi Brody at Northwestern University&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/view/cinema/" style="text-decoration:none;">Block Cinema</a>. Julia Gibbs and Sabrina Craig at the <a href="http://filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu/" style="text-decoration:none;">Film Studies Center</a> and Haley Markbreiter of student-run <a href="http://docfilms.uchicago.edu/dev/" style="text-decoration:none;">Doc Films</a>, both located at the University of Chicago.</p><p>2. Multi-taskers. Christy LeMaster runs micro-cinema <a href="http://nightingalecinema.org/" style="text-decoration:none;">The Nightingale</a>, previously contributed to CINE-FILE.info and for a time was a film critic for WBEZ&#39;s <em>Eight Forty-Eight.</em></p><p>Like many others I spoke with, she got into programming because she&rsquo;d rather show a film then tell someone about it. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all sharing the movie, right?&rdquo; says LeMaster, &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s way more fun for me to watch it with everybody.&rdquo;</p><p>Though CINE-FILE includes a number of women critics, LeMaster says there&rsquo;s been lots of debate among contributors about the absence of film voices in local film criticism, and perceived sexism in some reviews by men.</p><p>Rebecca Hall said that was a concern for her, when she first started getting into film presentation. Hall started at Doc Films, taking tickets, projecting films and eventually tackling publicity and other administration duties because, she says, &ldquo;it was something no one else was bothering about.&rdquo;</p><p>But what most struck here was the &ldquo;weird culture&rdquo; of Doc, which involved a fairly regular group of guys debating films and showing off for one another.</p><p>&ldquo;Wow this is a guy thing,&rdquo; Hall remembers thinking. &ldquo;How can I even be friends with them? But of course I did end up being friends wih them.&rdquo;</p><p>Friends, and more. Together with Kyle Westphal and Julian Antos, Hall founded the nonprofit <a href="http://www.northwestchicagofilmsociety.org/" style="text-decoration:none;">Northwest Chicago Film Society</a>, which emerged out of the ashes of the former Saturday night screenings at the Bank of America cinema and had, until its <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/community-groups-scramble-after-portage-theater-closes-107425" style="text-decoration:none;">recent and abrupt closure</a>, done a weekly series at the Portage Theatre. &nbsp;</p><p>Like LeMaster, Hall was most interested in creating a space where &ldquo;we put on a show and people come to see it.&rdquo; But her path there has been less through programming and more via administration and business building.</p><p>That&#39;s been the case for others as well. Hall told me Linda Stagner runs the business end of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silentfilmchicago.com/index.html" style="text-decoration: none;">Silent Film Festiva</a>l, which is programmed by Stagner&rsquo;s husband Dennis Wolkowicz.</p><p>Others: Amy Beste programs the annual experimental media series <a href="http://blogs.saic.edu/cate/" style="text-decoration:none;">Conversations at the Edge</a> for the School of the Art Institute. Anne Wells and Nancy Watrous run the <a href="http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/" style="text-decoration:none;">Chicago Film Archives</a>, and regularly presents free film programming throughout the city (full disclosure, I&rsquo;m a member of the CFA&rsquo;s advisory board).&nbsp;</p><p>Lyra Hill, a projectionist and filmmaker, runs <a href="http://brainframe.tumblr.com/" style="text-decoration:none;">Brain Frame</a>, a performative comix event which includes a strong film component. Meanwhile Manual Cinema, which does shadow puppetry with &ldquo;cinematic motifs&rdquo; includes Julia Miller and Sarah Fornace among its members.</p><p>3. Film Festivals <a href="http://www.felkercommalori.com/" style="text-decoration:none;">Lori Felker</a> makes films, projects at the Siskel, and coordinates the <a href="http://cuff.org/" style="text-decoration:none;">Chicago Underground Film Festival</a>. <a href="http://gapersblock.com/ac/2011/10/03/interview-mimi-plauche-chicago-international-film-festival-programming-director/" style="text-decoration:none;">Mimi Plauché </a>has been Programming Director at the Chicago International Film Festival since 2006. Noha El Shareif is the Executive Director of the <a href="http://palestinefilmfest.com/" style="text-decoration:none;">Chicago Palestinian Film Festival.</a></p><p>That&rsquo;s all I&rsquo;ve got for now. Again, please add your favorite female film critics/programmers below. And let me know - does the lack of female film critics matter to you? Why or why not?</p><p><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@wbezacuddy</span></span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, on<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Facebook</span></span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and on<span style="text-decoration: none; font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport" style="text-decoration:none;"> <span style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Instagram</span></a></span></span></span></span></p></p> Thu, 06 Jun 2013 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-06/female-film-critic-endangered-species-107574 Ebertfest lost its founder, but not its direction http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/ebertfest-lost-its-founder-not-its-direction-106699 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88334561&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2438030817_8e5cd727f1_z.jpg" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="File: The Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois. A sold-out crowd will gather in Wednesday night for the 15th annual Ebertfest. (Flickr/Rex Bennett)" />The <a href="http://www.ebertfest.com/index.html" target="_blank">15th annual Roger Ebert Film Festival</a> kicks off in Champaign, Illinois on Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Roger Ebert won&rsquo;t be there. The famed Chicago film critic died earlier this month, just after stepping down (he called it a <a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/a-leave-of-presence" target="_blank">&ldquo;leave of presence&rdquo;</a>) as the Sun-Times film critic.</p><p dir="ltr">But Ebert&rsquo;s ethos&mdash;his influence and taste and general good spirit&mdash;is all over the event.</p><p dir="ltr">Ebertfest doesn&rsquo;t work like a typical film festival.</p><p dir="ltr">The movies aren&rsquo;t submitted. They are hand selected by Ebert and his staff. They&rsquo;re not &ldquo;in contention,&rdquo; or vying for prizes from select juries made up of celebrated members of the global film community. You also won&rsquo;t see studio types hanging around Champaign, trying to make distribution deals.</p><p dir="ltr">But there will be some film stars on hand.</p><p dir="ltr">Actors Jack Black and Tilda Swinton will introduce and talk about their respective films <em>Bernie</em> and<em> Julia</em>. Haskell Wexler, the legendary Chicago cinematographer, who is an unbelievable 91 years old (a longevity <a href="http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2013-04-17/wexler-heads-ebertfest-feeling-perfect.html" target="_blank">he chalks up to being grouchy</a>), will introduce the opening night film, Terrence Malick&rsquo;s 1978 stunner <em>Days of Heaven</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">Interesting directors abound, from as far away as Australia (Paul Cox, <em>Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh</em>) and as close as Lake Bluff, Illinois (Randy Moore, who will introduce his intriguing Disney noir <em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NFPQfdlDZY" target="_blank">Escape from Tomorrow</a></em>).</p><p dir="ltr">That effort to include homegrown talent, <a href="http://www.ebertfest.com/fifteen/bios.html#kumare" target="_blank">some with ties to the University of Illinois,</a> is one of the things that makes Ebertfest a special event.</p><p dir="ltr">But it also just sounds like fun to sit and watch movies, some old and some new, with people who both love films and love to make a living from them.</p><p dir="ltr">The schedule makes it possible to savor rather than gulp down the experience. Only 12 features and a couple of short subjects will screen over the five-day fest. Obviously watching them all is the thing to do.</p><p dir="ltr">But here are a few recommendations.</p><p dir="ltr">Two of my favorites are from last year, Richard Linklater&rsquo;s <em>Bernie</em> and Joachim Trier&rsquo;s <em>Oslo, August 31st</em> are very different movies that nonetheless have a surprising amount in common.</p><p dir="ltr">Both directors are independents who&rsquo;ve also formed ties with commercial enterprises (Hollywood and advertising respectively). Both have a deep interest in films about &lsquo;generational drift,&rsquo; or the ways young people struggle to find and maintain a sense of identity and place within a larger community and set of values.</p><p dir="ltr">And both of these films are driven by the performances of their incredible leads. Jack Black practically reinvented himself as an actor in <em>Bernie</em>, and absolutely should have been nominated for a best actor Oscar last year. But if you haven&rsquo;t yet watched Anders Danielsen Lie, who has now made two films with Trier, I think you&rsquo;ll be moved by his turn in <em>Oslo</em>. His character veers between possibility and pathos on his way to a tragic end. And as Ebert suggested in his review, you almost want to reach out and steer him out of the film and destiny he&rsquo;s trapped in, into another life, or maybe a different movie.</p><p dir="ltr">And because the pleasures of filmgoing can rise and fall on the company you keep, I wouldn&rsquo;t miss the opportunity to watch<em> Days of Heaven</em> with the Ebertfest crowd. Now that Malick (another Illinois native) is practically churning out the films, it is hard to remember the days when he hadn&rsquo;t made a movie for twenty years, when we only had <em>Badlands</em> and<em> Days </em>by which to assess his talents. Back then his films seemed like far cries from a distant country&mdash;what genius went into the wilds of the American landscape and emerged with these earthy and feverish tales? These days I&rsquo;m less enamored of his films. But what a great crowd with whom to rehash his career.</p><p dir="ltr">Finally, Tilda Swinton in person? <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi8GdqzHHk0" target="_blank">Wow.</a></p><p dir="ltr">The 15th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival kicks off Wednesday and runs through Sunday at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois. The event is sold out.</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" target="_blank">@wbezacuddy</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport" target="_blank">Instagram.</a></em></p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 15:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/ebertfest-lost-its-founder-not-its-direction-106699 Film industry and others honor Roger Ebert http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/film-industry-and-others-honor-roger-ebert-106625 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chazebert.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hollywood came to Chicago on Thursday as actors, directors, film critics and studio presidents honored late movie reviewer Roger Ebert in his hometown.</p><p>All of those who shared memories at the Chicago Theatre cheered Ebert as a champion of movies and a critic who used his influence to help filmmakers find audiences. He died last week at age 70 after a years-long battle with cancer.</p><p>&quot;He was always supportive of artists. He always gave you a fair shake,&quot; said Chicago native John Cusack, who appeared with his sister and fellow actor, Joan Cusack.</p><p>Ebert worked at the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 40 years. The day before his April 4 death, he wrote in a post on his blog that he was taking a break from his schedule of almost-daily movie reviewing because the cancer had recurred.</p><p>&quot;He was simply one of the finest men I ever met,&quot; Chaz Ebert said of her late husband during Thursday night&#39;s memorial.</p><p>Roger Ebert won national fame when he teamed with fellow film critic Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune in 1975 for a television show that had them each give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating to the latest releases.</p><p>John Cusack said he and his sister enjoyed watching Ebert and Siskel growing up. &quot;Chicago&#39;s lost a great icon but he&#39;ll always be with us,&quot; he said of Ebert.</p><p>John remembered running into Ebert at the Carnegie Deli in New York while doing a press junket for his very first movie. Ebert, catching wind of Cusack&rsquo;s nervousness about whether the pending review would pan or praise the film, leaned over and whispered &ldquo;I liked your movie.&rdquo;</p><p>Joan Cusack read a letter from President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas remembered Ebert as a &quot;cultural leader.&quot;</p><p>Earlier, Todd McCarthy, a film critic who has written for publications such as Variety, said a key to Ebert&#39;s success was that he was &quot;a populist without prejudice.&quot;</p><p>&quot;He was neither high-brow nor low-brow,&quot; McCarthy said. &quot;In the world of film criticism for 46 years there was Roger Ebert and then there was the rest of us.&quot;</p><p>Ebert continued the movie review TV show with Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper after Siskel&#39;s death in 1999.</p><p>&quot;I felt that as long as Roger was alive a little bit of Gene was, too,&quot; said Siskel&#39;s widow, Marlene Iglitzen Siskel, at the memorial. She said Ebert had an &quot;unsurpassed body of work.&quot;</p><p>Independent filmmaker Ava Duvernay took the red eye from Los Angeles to share the four times she&rsquo;d crossed paths with Ebert, who she credited with helping her first movie to succeed - a sentiment echoed by many others.</p><p>A choir opened the gathering by singing, &quot;Roger Ebert, we will always love you.&quot;</p><p>The historic theater was a fitting place for the event. Ebert screened movies there for many years. And in 2005, the city unveiled a sidewalk medallion under the ornate marquee of the theater as a tribute to Ebert.</p><p>&ldquo;He wasn&rsquo;t one of the go along to get alongs,&quot; civil rights activist Dick Gregory said. &quot;He broke all rules.&rdquo;</p><p>Chaz who ended the night by invoking Ebert&rsquo;s intelligence, heart, and great love.</p><p>&ldquo;When he thought he was disfigured, when I looked at him I saw beauty,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And when he looked at me, I saw the love that each one of us deserves to have. And I hope that all of you out there finds a love like that.&rdquo;</p><p>Next week, Ebert will be honored at Ebertfest, his annual film festival in Champaign.</p><p>He earned respect for championing small independent movies that he scouted out at film festivals while at the same time taking Hollywood&#39;s biggest names to task when they missed the mark.</p><p>Ebert was the first journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism and was the first critic to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.</p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dZlSEZrlxHU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p><em>Alison Cuddy contributed to this report. Photos by Andrew Gill.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 22:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/film-industry-and-others-honor-roger-ebert-106625 Afternoon Shift: Brass tax http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-04-09/afternoon-shift-brass-tax-106570 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/crop_AfternoonShift_CMS_tile_1200x900_0_13.png" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-288.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-288" target="_blank">View the story "Afternoon Shift #288: Brass tax" on Storify</a>]<h1>Afternoon Shift #288: Brass tax</h1><h2>We continue our Front and Center series with a look at the economics of guns. We'll hear from Tony Arnold about firearm manufacturers, speak with two gun lobbyists and find out how it all effects local law enforcement Then we hear about U of I's new supercomputer and talk with cabbies about the job.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Tue, Apr 09 2013 12:09:37</p><div><div><b>Gun manufacturers: </b><i>The&nbsp;Afternoon Shift&nbsp;</i>continues its<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center" class=""> weeklong examination of gun laws</a> &nbsp;with a look at the role that gun manufacturers play in shaping policy. WBEZ statehouse reporter <b>Tony Arnold</b> sheds light on the OTHER gun lobby: the manufacturers. <b>Bill Spain</b>, a former reporter for CBS&nbsp;<i>Market Watch</i>, talks about Illinois’ gun economy.&nbsp;Cook County Commissioner <b>Jesus Garcia</b>, a former Illinois state senator, and&nbsp;<b>Todd Vandermyde</b>, the National Rifle Association’s legislative liaison to Springfield, discuss the relationship between Springfield and the gun lobby. <b>Andrew Molchan</b>,&nbsp;director of the <a href="http://www.amfire.com/index.asp" class="">National Association of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers</a>, explains why some arms manufacturers are threatening to refuse to sell weapons to police forces in states that impose restrictions on the second amendment.</div></div><div>How Illinois' gun manufacturers keep winning the regulations battleThere&rsquo;s one interest group that&rsquo;s keeping a particularly close eye on the debate over guns: firearm manufacturers. As more of...</div><div><div><b>U of I supercomputer:</b>&nbsp;Last week Blue Waters, the supercomputer hosted by the University of Illinois, became fully operational. It is the world’s most powerful supercomputer on a university campus and has the capacity to more accurately predict climate change and unlock the mysteries of the cosmos. <b>Thom Dunning</b>, the director of U of I’s&nbsp;&nbsp;National Center for Supercomputing Applications, explains the hype.</div></div><div>U of I supercomputer debuts at 11.6 quadrillion calculations per secondAfter years of work, one of the most powerful computers in the world has launched at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rese...</div><div>U of I supercomputer Blue Waters promises to better model the world bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2… via @ChiBizJournalISTCoalition</div><div><b>Cabs:&nbsp;</b>Later this month, Truman College is hosting a <a href="http://www.ccc.edu/colleges/truman/events/Pages/Taxi-Recruitment-Day.aspx" class="">taxi driver recruitment day</a>. Jason Garcia is a licensed truck driver looking to become a cabbie.<b>&nbsp;</b>WBEZ North Side reporter <b>Odette Yousef</b> and retired driver <b>Dmitry Samarov </b>are&nbsp;hoping to&nbsp;dissuade&nbsp;him and&nbsp;talk about what it takes to make it in the taxi business. &nbsp;If you drive a cab, what’s your advice to would-be drivers? To join the conversation, call&nbsp;<b>312.923.9239&nbsp;</b>or tweet using #<b>AfternoonShift.</b></div><div>I'll be on @WBEZ #AfternoonShift at 3:30pm talking about cab life. Tune in.Dmitry Samarov</div></noscript></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-04-09/afternoon-shift-brass-tax-106570 Worldview: Syria's war up close, China's rail system, blogging the War on Drugs, and the Human Rights Film Festival http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-04-09/worldview-syrias-war-close-chinas-rail-system-blogging-war-drugs-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/FL_Syria_BTL_Stroller.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F87143713&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-syria-s-war-up-close-china-s-rail-system.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-syria-s-war-up-close-china-s-rail-system" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Syria's war up close, China's rail system, blogging the War on Drugs, and the Human Rights Film Festival" on Storify</a>]<h1>Worldview: Syria's war up close, China's rail system, blogging the War on Drugs, and the Human Rights Film Festival</h1><h2>A filmmaker on his harrowing new documentary from inside Syria. What is special about China's high speed rail system? A blogger's bold fight against the drug trade and The Human Rights Watch Film Festival comes to Chicago.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Tue, Apr 09 2013 08:19:13</p><div>FRONTLINE | Preview &quot;Syria Behind the Lines&quot;| PBSpbs</div><div>A bombing in #Syria, from @frontlinepbs journalist Olly Lambert's perspective. No words to explain this footage. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/syria-behind-the-lines/the-bombing-of-al-bara/#bmb1Michelle Zilio</div><div><p><b>A filmmaker documents both sides of Syria's civil war<br></b></p><p><br></p><p>Filmmaker <a href="http://www.ollylambert.com/" class="">Olly&nbsp;Lambert</a> recently spent time in Syria, livingand filming with both the regime and the rebels. The result is his new Frontline documentary, <i><a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/syria-behind-the-lines/" class="">Syria Behind the Lines</a></i>. Watch it <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/syria-behind-the-lines/the-bombing-of-al-bara/" class="">here</a>. He tells <i>Worldview</i>&nbsp; about his experience.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p></div><div>Syria Behind the Lines - FRONTLINEFRONTLINE's Olly Lambert is the first Western filmmaker to spend an extended period living on both sides of Syria's war-and to document, ...</div><div><p><b>China's rail system speeds ahead</b></p><p><br></p><p>China has become a global leader in high speed rail, but there have been some bumps along the way. <a href="http://www.humanities.uci.edu/history/faculty_profile_wasserstrom.php" class="">Jeffrey Wasserstrom</a>, author of&nbsp;<i>China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know</i>, joins <i>Worldview </i>to explain what makes China’s rail systems unique and how they came to be.</p></div><div>High-speed rail a highlight of Brown's China trip - The Sacramento BeeGov. Jerry Brown will be eyeing China's massive high-speed rail system as he tries to lure billions of dollars in investments to Californ...</div><div><div>A new front in Mexico's drug war<br><br>The author of <a href="http://www.blogdelnarco.com/" class="">Blog del Narco, </a> a blog that chronicles the violence of Mexico’s drug wars, has just given her first interview to the Western media.&nbsp; This is the first time that "Lucy," (she goes by a pseudonym) has spoken out about why she runs a blog that could put her life at risk.&nbsp; She <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/03/mexico-blog-del-narco-drug-wars" class="">spoke</a> with <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/rorycarroll" class="">Rory </a>Carroll</a>, U.S. West Coast correspondent for&nbsp;<i>The Guardian</i>.&nbsp; He joins <i>Worldview&nbsp;</i>to talk about the blog and the state of Mexico’s drug wars.&nbsp;<br></div></div><div>Why Blog del Narco has become the most important website in MexicoIn 2010, the birth year of the popular and controversial website Blog del Narco, Mexico's tumultuous drug war reached a turning point. Mo...</div><div><div><b>Human Rights Watch Film Festival</b></div><div><br></div><div>The <a href="http://ff.hrw.org/" class="">Human Rights Watch Film Festival</a> showcases activists and survivors confronting human rights issues globally. Jobi Cates from <a href="http://www.hrw.org/chicago" class="">Human Rights Watch-Chicago</a> and local filmmaker Danny Alpert stop by <i>Worldview&nbsp;</i>to talk about this year’s offerings at the festival, just underway in Chicago.&nbsp;<br></div></div><div>Human Rights Watch Film Festival opens tonightWhen I looked up the touring Human Rights Watch Film Festival in the Reader's online archive, I was reminded that, a mere seven years ago...</div></noscript></p></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 10:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-04-09/worldview-syrias-war-close-chinas-rail-system-blogging-war-drugs-and Morning Shift: Taxis, taxes and sports, oh my http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-04-09/morning-shift-taxis-taxes-and-sports-oh-my-106560 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/122911257_d021d4ae14_z_d[1].jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-17.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-17" target="_blank">View the story "'Morning Shift' :Taxis, taxes and sports, oh my" on Storify</a>]<h1>'Morning Shift' :Taxis, taxes and sports, oh my</h1><h2>On Tuesday's Morning Shift, we talk to Ald.Bob Fioretti on CPS Walk, WBEZ's Cheryl Raye Stout on Chicago opening day, Coach Collins of Northwestern, WBEZ Blogger Nico Lang on Caribou closings, WBEZ's Caroline O'Donovan feature, taxis with Chief Bibliographer Joshua Lupkin &amp; taxes with Jason Vanclef.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Tue, Apr 09 2013 07:43:50</p><div>taxiTheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³</div><div><b>Concerned Alderman Fioretti Walks the Walk with CPS</b></div><div>Alderman Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward is participating in the Walk the Walk Event protesting Chicago Public Schools decision to close 54 schools.</div><div>School closings protest walk set for West SideApril 9, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Protesters will conduct a Walk the Walk event Tuesday to draw attention to the distances, safety concern...</div><div>CPS Parents: Rahm Should 'Walk The Walk' On School ClosingsFearing the dangers posed by the new routes their kids will be forced to take after the district shutters 54 neighborhood elementary scho...</div><div><b>Chicago's opening day for America's favorite&nbsp;pastime&nbsp;</b></div><div>We’ll get first-week impressions of the Cubs (utterly painful) and the Sox (somewhat less so) from WBEZ Sports Blogger Cheryl Raye Stout, who has been in both clubhouses and attended games over the last 8 days.</div><div>Upton Brothers Propel Braves To Walk-Off WinESPN</div><div>Dylan Axelrod: Chicago White Sox starter undaunted matched against Felix HernandezAxelrod thinking about opposing hitters, not Mariners counterpart With Tuesday's day off, the White Sox could bring back opening day star...</div><div>Cheryl Raye Stout SportsThe Bears didn't fiddle around in their dismantling of the Tennessee Titans 51-20. The first quarter alone was a record setter for the fr...</div><div><b>Northwestern's Coach Collins speaks on his new role and hoops history</b></div><div>We talk with new Northwestern University men’s basketball coach Chris Collins about his new position, his philosophy on how to build Northwestern into an elite program, and his history with Chicago-area hoops.</div><div>Is Chris Collins a 'perfect fit' for Northwestern basketball? Maybe.Chris Collins was a big prep school hoops star for Illinois. Can he turn around Northwestern University&amp;#39;s team as coach?</div><div><b>Caribou's "Cruisaboo" significance among Chicagoans</b></div><div>Minneapolis-based coffee chain Caribou Coffee announced Monday that it will close many of its Chicago locations. &nbsp;It may seem like another coffee chain, but for some Chicago residents in Lakeview, its holds a special designation. &nbsp;WBEZ Blogger Nico Lang explains the folklore around what many have coined “Cruise-a-boo.”</div><div><b>Pedicabs Feature</b></div><div><div>WBEZ's Caroline O'Donovan&nbsp;gives us the lowdown on the expanding pedicab biz in Chicago.</div></div><div><b>The roots of the taxi industry</b></div><div>Building on the cab theme, we’ll talk about the complicated history and current issues between consumers, the city, and the taxi business.</div><div><b>The trick of the trade on taxes</b></div><div>Financial Planner &amp; Wealth Strategist, Jason Vanclef, RFC author of&nbsp;<b><i>The Wealth Code: How The Rich Stay Rich In Good Times And Bad</i></b>&nbsp;gives us some tax-time tips.</div></noscript></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 09:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-04-09/morning-shift-taxis-taxes-and-sports-oh-my-106560 Waiting for Westboro http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-04/waiting-westboro-106556 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WP_000023_1.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The view from the pew: inside Roger Ebert's funeral. (WBEZ/Nico Lang) " /></div><p dir="ltr">I wasn&rsquo;t initially planning on going to Roger Ebert&rsquo;s funeral. Like many <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-04-04/afternoon-shift-remembering-roger-ebert-106496">Chicagoans</a>, I <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-mourns-roger-ebert-106533">mourned</a> <a href="http://www.salon.com/2011/09/15/roger_ebert/">his death</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/famed-chicago-film-critic-roger-ebert-dies-106498">memorialized him</a> in private, sharing my sorrows about his loss amongst friends who counted themselves fellow &ldquo;Ebert superfans.&rdquo; My colleague, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-04/roger-ebert-draws-young-film-buffs-chicago-106465">Leah Pickett</a>, broke <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-04/roger-ebert-architecture-critic-too-106499?utm_source=feedburner">the news</a> to me and at first, I was upset with her for suggesting it was even possible. Ebert couldn&#39;t die. However, the Chicago <em>Sun-Times</em> confirmed her story. Just as quickly as we had to process the news of his semi-retirement, there was this. Ebert was gone, like someone switching off a light.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;ve never cried over a celebrity death before, but I burst into hysterical sobs at the news. I rarely cry, and when I do, it looks more like epilepsy than tears, a flurry of gasps and spasms. Instead of crying, I&rsquo;m known to slowly leak, like a faucet silently pouring water down a drain. On Thursday, I flooded with emotion, rushing out from every pore. I felt like even my hands were crying.</p><p dir="ltr">But when <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/04/08/roger-ebert-funeral-memorial-plans/2062499/">details </a>of his <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-roger-ebert-funeral,0,2028613.story">funeral</a> broke, I felt like I had no place there. Who was I to go to his memorial? Why was his death my business? Despite the impact he had on my life, I couldn&rsquo;t look into the face of Chaz Ebert and tell her that the love of her life meant as much to me as he did to her. I couldn&rsquo;t even begin to compare our sorrow.</p><p dir="ltr">However, DNAInfo <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130407/downtown/westboro-baptist-church-picket-outside-roger-eberts-funeral">reported</a> Sunday night that the Westboro Baptist Church planned on picketing Roger Ebert&rsquo;s funeral as retribution for Ebert&rsquo;s long-standing criticism of them. Ebert, a noted humanist and former Catholic, referred to the institution as &ldquo;odious&rdquo; and testified his ideological disagreement with them by linking to articles critical of WBC in his many tweets. (The man loved to tweet.)</p><p dir="ltr">Calling the beloved critic a &ldquo;<a href="http://jezebel.com/westboro-baptist-church-will-picket-fag-enabler-roger-471188556">f*g enabler</a>,&rdquo; Westboro <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/roger-ebert-westboro-baptist-church_n_3037250.html">promised</a> to show up at 9:15 a.m. as attendees filed in for the 10 o&#39;clock service. The hate group said in a (totally sane sounding) press release:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">&quot;This fool sold his soul for some fame &amp; fortune, forgetting that God has made a simple declaration regarding His people: &#39;Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.&#39; (Psalms 105:15). Now the famed critic is in a new jurisdiction, where he can see the blessings poured out on God&rsquo;s humble servants in heaven, from his seat of eternal torment &amp; sorrow in Hell!&quot;</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">For anyone familiar with WBC, you know this trolling, childish behavior is par for the course. This is what they do. Westboro commonly protests military funerals to punish our dead soldiers for society&#39;s sins and mocks the dead to generate publicity. When opponents of the group show up to counterprotest, the group uses this as a way to mobilize the right-wing, presenting themselves as marginalized warriors of God in an America that&rsquo;s leaving them behind.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9792316-large.jpg" style="float: left;" title="A Westboro Baptist Church supporter at a 2007 demonstration. (AP/File)" />Westboro wants to make you angry. It wants you to scream back at it and stoop to its level. It wants to use hate to spread hate.</p><p dir="ltr">I knew that going to counterprotest Westboro wouldn&rsquo;t solve anything, but I needed to be there to defend Ebert&#39;s honor. For all of the times that he championed the little guy and worked as an agent of change and social justice, I needed to stand up for him. I needed to be there. I couldn&rsquo;t be silent.</p><p dir="ltr">I woke up at 7:00 a.m. and arrived at State Street&rsquo;s Holy Name Cathedral early, expecting that Westboro would already be busy setting up. I pictured vans full of identically dressed women with long hair and skirts of modest length and balding, white-haired men with thick glasses, black ties and megaphones. I pictured people who wore hatred like it was a second skin, one they could peel off when the cameras were gone and the crowds parted.</p><p dir="ltr">However, I found no one, except for the funeral goers patiently waiting for their opportunity to honor a friend, loved one or stranger. During the funeral, multiple speakers testified that Ebert was a &ldquo;man of the people&rdquo; and a critic who represented America, and the service attracted all types: kids coming as funeral tourists, snapping pictures and commenting on how &ldquo;cool&rdquo; it was; colleagues like Michael Phillips, Rick Kogan and Richard Roeper; politicians and local celebrities; and character actors whose faces you couldn&rsquo;t place, the inestimable litany of those his legacy touched.</p><p dir="ltr">Even Rahm was there, back from <a href="https://twitter.com/MayorEmanuel">his time vortex</a>.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">While I waited for Westboro, I stood with a budding film critic who grew up in Missouri and was glad Ebert&rsquo;s last review didn&rsquo;t end up being of<em> The Host</em>, Andrew Niccol&rsquo;s critically reviled Stephenie Meyer adaptation. His take on <em>To the Wonder</em>, the divisive new Terrence Malick film, was published the morning of his funeral, as a tribute and testament to his own curiosity and imagination. Malick was one of Ebert&rsquo;s favorite filmmakers and a cinematic poet Roger Ebert had a lot in common with: They came from the same generation, while sharing the same mystical awe of cinema&rsquo;s power.</p><p dir="ltr">As I talked with these people, I found that they were all looking for something: A woman from Los Alimos, Cal., came all the way to hand out pamphlets and inquire about the state of Ebert&rsquo;s soul. Her name was Tina.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Was Ebert Catholic?&rdquo; Tina asked me. I confessed that I did not know. Tina asked about the state of my soul. I confessed that I did not know about that, either. Like Ebert, I was raised Catholic, but as an adult, I&rsquo;d given myself the space to doubt and explore other traditions that weren&rsquo;t the one I grew up in. I related the solace I&rsquo;ve found in Buddhist meditation and Hindu scripture. I keep a copy of the Bhagavad Gita on my desk. I quoted Joseph Campbell: &ldquo;If you only know one religion, you know none.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Tina smiled and told me that if I ever wanted to come back, the church was waiting. She handed me a card with St. Maria Faustina&rsquo;s face on it and told me to pray &mdash; for my own salvation and for Ebert&rsquo;s. &ldquo;You have a beautiful soul,&rdquo; Tina said, as if she didn&rsquo;t expect it to stay beautiful. I wanted to ask her what she thought Ebert&#39;s soul looked like, but Tina moved on. She had more trading cards to hand out.</p><p dir="ltr">The budding film critic looked at me and laughed. &ldquo;It takes all kinds,&rdquo; he offered, as a condolence for our conversation. Then, I remembered the way Tina thanked me for talking to her and giving her the time of day, when most people just ignored her. She seemed to need me as much as she thought I needed her. When Tina approached me, she told me that they wouldn&#39;t let her stand with anyone else. I looked at the critic, frowned and put my hands in my pockets, just as it started to rain again.</p><p dir="ltr">I began to wonder if I needed Westboro as much as they needed me. I wondered if any of us would find what we were looking for &mdash; or even if it was to be found amongst Ebert&#39;s ashes.</p><p dir="ltr">Suddenly, the crowd began to file in. I looked back at the line behind me and out to the sea of reporters setting up to shoot, collecting mourners&rsquo; stories on pads of paper. One of the men standing ahead of me in line went back three times to the same AP journalist, because he kept finding more to say. When we would call her up to him, she smiled, &ldquo;Got another story for me?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">I failed to spot our friendly protesters, so I was faced with a choice: I could stand outside with the critics of Ebert&rsquo;s soul and the revelers of his eternal torment. I could wallow in the world&rsquo;s hate and look into its worst face. Or I could join the people who came to be a testament to love, the folks who couldn&rsquo;t stop remembering Ebert and the ones who refused to be deterred by rain or the gusts of the Chicago morning. I could turn this dark day into an opportunity for hope and transformation, fighting to keep his work and his memory alive.</p><p dir="ltr">I wasn&rsquo;t dressed for a funeral. I came in my plainclothes, my well-worn black jeans, Cubs hat and striped hoodie, backpack slung over one shoulder. But it didn&#39;t matter what I was wearing. I was there.</p><p dir="ltr">I went inside and stood between two women, one of whom sported dark velour pants and leopard-print sunglasses; she constantly smiled at me to show how fine she was. The other one came from Glenview and talked about Ebert as if he were a friend. Her name was Kathy. She called him &ldquo;Roger,&rdquo; just like everyone else did.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/V__8C01.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Illustration of Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey. (Courtesy of Kathy Thisson) " />Kathy loved &quot;Roger&quot; so much that she had a portrait of Ebert painted in her house, along with pictures of Peter Sellers and other icons she grew up with. In the picture, Ebert sat on a balcony with Oprah, taking notes and enjoying the view. She hung the illustration in her entertainment room, so she could watch movies along with Ebert; they could enjoy the view together. Kathy told me that she got to show it to him once, and Roger loved it. He even asked for a copy.</p><p dir="ltr">To her, Ebert wasn&rsquo;t just a trusted critic. He was a <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/04/roger-ebert-rip/63914/">window to the world</a>. Rahm reminded us that "life is too short not to be shared with others," and when Kathy approached Chaz during communion, she thanked her for sharing her husband with us. He was the most <a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/roger-ebert-hails-human-existence-as-a-triumph,31945/">wonderful gift</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">When the service ended, I wondered aloud whether the Westboro Baptist Church ever came out or if we had just missed them. Kathy and I laughed that a hate group would target a man known and beloved for his deliciously scathing reviews, sad that he couldn&rsquo;t be around the comment. I asked her what Roger would have said about his hostile guests. She told me, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know, but if they came, I bet he would have loved it.&rdquo;</p><p>Westboro never showed up, and we never get to laugh with Ebert in the face of hate. We&#39;d never see what that face looked like or figure out what they were looking for &mdash; if they were like the rest of the funeral misfits searching for comfort or someone to share his life with.&nbsp;We wanted someone to listen to us or to cry with, realizing we&#39;d never back get the thing we really wanted. Roger Ebert&#39;s stepdaughter, Sonia, told us that Ebert &quot;realized that connecting with other people is the main reason we&#39;re here.&quot; And as Roeper carried his friend and companion away, that consolation of humanity was enough.</p><p>It&#39;s too bad Westboro missed Ebert&#39;s service. They could have <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-04-05/morning-shift-two-thumbs-roger-ebert-106510">learned something</a> from him.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com">Tumblr</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-04/waiting-westboro-106556