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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Up!

By Jocelyn Geboy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 25, 2007 3:21PM

Tonight, Roger Ebert will make a public appearance at the opening of his annual Overlooked Film Festival. It's the ninth annual, and it's held at the University of Illinois at Urbana. Roger wrote a really great piece yesterday about his recent surgeries and his illness as it concerned his attendance at the festival.

2007_04rogerscott.jpgCancer of the salivary gland spread to his right lower jaw, and a segment of his jaw was removed. He had two operations attempting to replace the missing segment, but both had complications and were unsuccessful. He currently cannot speak due to a tracheostomy; he will have a bandage around his neck and his mouth will droop.

He was advised not to attend because his physical appearance has been altered and he might get negative press from the paparazzi. The gossip rags might chatter. Sigh. First of all, whoever would be horrible to a man recovering from cancer and two horrible operations needs to go reexamine their lives. But, we're not naive.

Neither is Roger. But the article he wrote he flat out says -- go ahead and look. Take pictures and say what you will. He's glad to be alive and functioning. And really, what more can we ask for on any given day? When we read stuff like this here at Chicagoist, we realize we have some pretty high-class problems.

Back in September, we took an idea from a commenter and started the Get Well Roger Photo Project. We started a photo set of the Chicagoist writers giving Roger a hearty thumbs up to wish him well, and we asked you to do the same. You can add them to the Get Well Roger Flickr group. There are only 48 photos in there! We can do much, much better than that.

2007_04rogerjen.jpgSo get out your cameras and get clicking! Throw your thumbs up and snap a pic. Get creative. Chicago has a great gift in Roger Ebert, and since we sometimes are short on positive stories around here, this one truly is something we can rally around. You, too! Help us support Roger in his recovery. Give him a big thumbs up -- for not hiding his illness, for sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of film with us so for many years, and for never losing his sense of humor. He has some back pain, so the theater in Urbana is fitted with a recliner so he can watch the movies in comfort. He says, "Photos of me in the chair should be captioned “La-Z-Critic.”

photos of Scott Smith (upper right) and Jen Chung and Jay Wilkins (lower left) from the Get Well Roger Flickr group