The feisty film critic Roger Ebert, still in the throes of complicated cancer and awaiting further surgery, will be attending his ninth annual Overlooked Film Festival tonight at the University of Illinois. “I ain’t a pretty boy no more,” he wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times. “I have received a lot of advice that I should not attend the festival. I’m told that paparazzi will take unflattering pictures, people will be unkind, etc. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. As a journalist I can take it as well as dish it out.” He goes on to explain that the cancer that started in his salivary gland spread to his right jaw and a portion of the mandible was removed. Two operations to replace the bone were disturbingly unsuccessful; they’re going to try again. Because of a tracheostomy, he’s currently unable to speak, which he said will spare him from having to explain to people at the festival why the films are overlooked or why he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
I was told photos of me in this condition would attract the gossip papers. So what? I have been very sick, am getting better and this is how it looks. I still have my brain and my typing fingers. […] P.S. to gossip rags: I have some back pain, and to make it easier for me to sit through screenings, the festival has installed my very own La-Z-Boy chair. Photos of me in the chair should be captioned “La-Z-Critic.”