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Thumbnails 1/14/19

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert


"OUT 100: Emma González, Newsmaker of the Year": The phenomenal young gun control activist spoke with our own Monica Castillo for Out Magazine.

Not everyone celebrated the arrival of a bold and confident queer Latinx woman on the national stage. Almost immediately after González’s first public appearances, trolls began attacking her online. In a Facebook post, Congressman Steve King’s campaign (R-Iowa) linked her to communist Cuba for wearing a patch of the country’s flag on her jacket. González, whose father is Cuban, defended herself and cited the elected official’s racist comments. ‘If somebody’s trying to challenge my Cuban identity, they are usually — if not obviously — racist,’ she said. ‘Look at the things he said, and what he called me. What he said was bottom-of-the barrel. He was not even trying. He went out of his way lots of times to call out various people and say things about minority groups.’ To González, identity is fluid and more encompassing than basic labels. ‘Identity to me means the way that you describe yourself when someone says, ‘Describe yourself,’’ she explains. ‘If I were to describe my identity, I would say that I am half Cuban, I’m bald, I’m bisexual, I’m 5-foot-2, I like to write, I like to partake in the arts, and I like to crochet. I would hope that if I were introducing myself to somebody, through those things, they would be able to get an understanding of who I am.’”


"Does Erasing Cyber-Reality Erase Our Actual Reality?": A personal essay evocative of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," penned by Emma Olsson for Eileen Kelly's excellent site, Killer And A Sweet Thang.

I think social media provides us with this peculiar way of storytelling, and perhaps it’s narcissistic, but the story is our own. I want to one day be able to look back at those odd little squares and read their stories of a time when I was 19 and 20 and 21 and in love for the first time. They hold deep connections to a memory, but they don’t necessarily signal a longing for a person. At least not for me. Something about the mourning of deleted pictures feels like a parody of our times. It’s impossible to imagine this scenario outside of a modern, digital context. In a time when online and offline lives are rich enough to be distinguished from each other, the act of removing little pieces of evidence from this online space feels particularly jarring. A deleted photo translates into something much deeper in meaning, to the deletion of proof of our existence together. I’d always tried to hold myself to the doctrine that one day, after the hurt had softened, I’d be able to look back on photos and relive the memories with gratitude. That I’d be able to see the soft things, the beautiful and happy things, not only the sad. Photos are potent in that way, and I hoped (and still do) to feel neither removed from this person nor bound to him. I hoped to just feel grateful, and it hurt me to think that he didn’t feel the same. That he wanted to cut me out of his memory — even if just on social media.


"'What 'Moonlight' Gave Us Was the Confidence to Execute Our Ideas Without Fear': Writer/Director Barry Jenkins on 'If Beale Street Could Talk'": A wonderful interview with the Oscar-winning director conducted by Jim Hemphill for Filmmaker Magazine.

We treat the sound the same way we treat the cinematography, which is with the idea that it should be a reflection of the main character’s consciousness. In terms of the cinematography, when Tish is remembering the more beautiful and tender times with Fonny, those scenes are overly lush and overly saturated because they function as memory — when we remember things, we don’t remember them as a documentary. There’s more light in the flashbacks, and much more shadow in the present-day scenes, where Tish and Fonny are in a kind of purgatory. As far as the sound goes, when I’m making a film, I’m not just considering the screen — I’m considering the house, the actual environment where the audience is going to watch the movie. One of the things we decided right away was that the voice-over narration in the film needed to be experienced in a different way than the dialogue, so if you’re sitting in an auditorium it feels like you’re inside her head. Her voice is coming from all around the room, whereas the dialogue is coming from the front channel, and it’s a very different effect. In other scenes we would stoke up the reverb and things like that, just to reflect what the characters are feeling.


"Becoming parents completely changed who we are": A beautiful letter from Mary Barnes to her husband, published at Motherly.

“These are the parenting trenches. The baby years. These years can make or break us. And can I be so bold as to say: I think they're making us. They're making us learn how to communicate better. How to find common ground when we disagree about real stuff, like the ways we want to raise our children. We're invested in not only the outcome but the short term effect. We're a team. They're making us think about the future. Not just the fun stuff, but the difficult stuff like estate planning, life insurance, and college funds for the kids. They're making us challenge ourselves to provide our children with comfort and opportunities. We've always worked hard but the stakes have never been this high. You know I'm the optimist, the dreamer, while you consider yourself the realist—but I think we can agree on this: going through some of the tough stuff with you by my side has shown me that we are stronger than the tough stuff. We can get through it. We can get through anything. As long as we hold on to each other. Motherhood transformed me. Fatherhood transformed you. And having kids completely transformed our marriage. We'll never be who we were on our wedding day again. Time marches forward—only forward. I miss the carefree version of ‘us,’ but I love this version even more. Because we know what we're made of now, and in so many ways we didn't before.”


"Independent films screened at Oakton College's annual pop-up: 'The festival is all about broadening horizons'": Our contributor Donald Liebenson reports on Michael Glover Smith's indispensable festival for the Chicago Tribune

Josephine Decker’s ‘Madeline’s Madeline’ that was screened during the film festival is the type of film that Smith says he envisioned when he launched the free event. ‘I wanted to show independent and experimental films that are exciting and a little bit challenging; movies that are different from what typically would play (at the local multiplex),’ Smith said. ‘The festival is all about broadening horizons.’ Smith, himself, is the author of ‘Flickering Empire,’ which chronicled the untold story of Chicago’s silent film industry, and the film blog ‘White City Cinema.’ He has also directed two film festival award-winning productions: ‘Cool Apocalypse’ and ‘Mercury in Retrograde.’ The filmmaker and instructor said he was inspired to start the ‘Pop-Up’ festival after inviting Harold Ramis’ wife Erica to speak to his student about a documentary she had produced on The Joffrey Ballet. ‘She is the daughter of the late film producer and director Daniel Mann, and she talked about growing up in that household, her life with Harold and being on his film sets,’ Smith said. ‘But it was in a classroom of 12 people, and I thought this was a conversation that should be held in an auditorium and open to the public.’”

Image of the Day

Chris Elliott is the latest amazing guest on Sam Fragoso's essential "Talk Easy" podcast, with illustrations by our Far Flung Correspondent Krishna Shenoi. Click here for the full conversation.

Video of the Day

Not only did Glenn Close's acceptance speech for her surprise win in the Best Actress (Drama) category for her brilliant performance in "The Wife" bring the Golden Globes audience to its feet, it could also very likely help the actress win her very first Oscar. And boy is she well overdue for one.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the former Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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