Tribute to Roger Ebert

“I’ll see you at the movies.”

Yesterday, Roger Ebert, one of the most well-known and well-respected film critics of all time — and the first to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1975 — joined his friend, Gene Siskel, who passed away in 1999. Both my husband and I teared up at the news. While reading Ebert’s autobiography, Life Itself:  A Memoir, last year, I read and cried and laughed and sighed through the reflections and experiences he chose to share with us. And sharing is what Ebert did best. In addition to loving movies. 😉

"Roger Ebert Blvd." by Rex Bennett is licensed under a CC BY NC SA 2.0 license
“Roger Ebert Blvd.” by Rex Bennett is licensed under a CC BY NC SA 2.0 license

I even quoted Ebert in my About page when I started this modest blog.

I am beneath everything else a fan.

For his obituary at the Chicago Sun-Times, click here. And here is a moving, inspirational statement from his wife and longtime love, Chaz. And last but not least, here is Ebert’s final blog post, written a day before his passing, on his 46th anniversary as a film critic.

And Ebert’s final written words?

So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.

Two thumbs up for a life well-lived and well-loved. You have inspired an entire, ongoing generation of fans, Ebert. Rest in peace.

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‘Libraries raised me’ – a tribute to Ray Bradbury

“Sometimes a man can learn more from other men’s dreams than he can from his own.”

We woke up today to the news that legendary American author Ray Bradbury passed away at the age of 91. This is a sad day, but also a day for remembering the contributions a great artist and writer can make in society. Ray Bradbury made some lasting contributions, not least of which the incendiary novel Fahrenheit 451. That novel is so ingrained in our popular culture that you practically cannot have a conversation about censorship without alluding to that book.

"Ray Bradbury, Miami Book Fair International, 1990" by MDCarchives is licensed under CC BY SA
“Ray Bradbury, Miami Book Fair International, 1990” by MDCarchives is licensed under CC BY SA

And he was a lifelong — and vocal — supporter of libraries and librarians! His personal interviews are featured in the documentary The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film (read my review here), in which he talks about writing his first works in libraries (a little ironic, eh, to be writing Fahrenheit 451 in a library?!). And in a 2009 New York Times interview, as he was fighting to raise money for a local public library system, he stated simply:

Libraries raised me.

He also placed a librarian, the quintessential male Liberated Librarian, as the hero in my personal favorite adaptation of his works, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). It is an underrated film, in my opinion, but one that never fails to inspire. I highlighted the librarian character, Charles Holloway (sensitively played by Jason Robards), in my Hall of Fame, and the film earned a spot in my Best Librarian Films by Decade list. Something Wicked This Way Comes was even part of the initial list of films for my undergrad thesis, at the beginning of this journey of analyzing reel librarians. And the film and librarian character are highlighted in posts about reel librarians as moral and intellectual leaders of the community and exploring the male character type of Liberated Librarians. Thank you, Ray Bradbury, for giving us this great tale and a great librarian hero.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie comes with a (mostly civil) confrontation between Charles Holloway and Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce). In his quiet way, Charles defies Mr. Dark by saying:

Sometimes a man can learn more from other men’s dreams than he can from his own. Come visit me, sir, if you wish to improve your education.

Mr. Bradbury, thank you for inviting us into your literary dreams. I have learned a lot.

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