Ask 'Mimi' Jan. 26, 2014

Ask 'Mimi' Jan. 26, 2014

From John Otto, Champaign: "Could you arrange to have Loren Tate write up a classical music concert and John Frayne report on a basketball game, just for kicks? (I think Frayne would be excited to see all the people standing.)"

An editor would have to request something like that as both Tate and Frayne are independent contractors here.

Tate, though, tells me he's strictly a "country music guy." He doesn't seem interested in trading places.

Frayne might be. He tells me he watches basketball games on TV and would feel comfortable reporting on a game.

"I do know the sport rather well," he said Monday. "On the other hand, I've never written about a symphony orchestra that's lost four in a row."

From Ben Galewsky, Urbana: "Will the Ebertfest screening of 'Life Itself' be its Midwest premiere? What are the early reviews saying?"

No, "Life Itself," based on Roger Ebert's 2011 memoir, will be shown in Chicago before Ebertfest happens in late April at the Virginia Theatre.

Critics who saw the world premiere last week at Sundance are giving it thumb's-up, as are donors to director Steve James' online fundraising campaign for the documentary.

It's being described as powerful, pulling no punches about Ebert's battles with alcohol and health, and showing graphic scenes of the famed critic's last four months on Earth. Early viewers also say it's humorous and tells little-known anecdotes — and of Ebert's infatuation with big-breasted women — yet not glossing over the importance to him of his wife, Chaz, and her children and grandchildren. Variety reported a sobfest during the Sundance screening; I predict there won't be many dry eyes when it's shown at Ebertfest.

Chicago's coming to the Bloomington Performance Center on Wednesday. What's your favorite Chicago song — and by the way, how did the band get its name?

My favorite is the first track the band recorded: "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

And the name? The six DePaul University students who formed the horn-heavy jazz-rock band in 1967 called it The Big Thing. After playing covers, they moved from Chicago to L.A. in '68, began writing original songs, changed their name to the Chicago Transit Authority and released in '69 their first self-titled album. After the real Chicago Transit Authority threatened to sue, the band shortened its name to Chicago.That first album is the newest addition to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Can't see the band live in Bloomington? Chicago performs with Grammy nominee Robin Thicke during the 2014 Grammy Awards telecast tonight on CBS.

Topics (2):Film, Music

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