Paul Wood

Paul Wood

Ebertfest lineup: Gershon, Tilly, Madsen

Questions? Drop 'em in Tom's Mailbag by clicking here

CHAMPAIGN — Roger Ebert's Film Festival offers three guests known for their sultriness, two of them also known for Oscar prestige.

"Ebertfest" comes to the Virginia Theatre April 10-13.

'Marisol' turns back the clock to early '90s in New York City

URBANA — Director Jace Jamison said "Marisol" takes an imaginative approach to the absurdity of living in The Bronx in the midst of the Apocalypse.

The moon is gone, he said. Marisol Perez still goes to work as a copy editor, fighting to survive the impending rapture as her guardian angel wages total war on God.

The play opens tonight at the Station Theatre.

Those Who Served | Gunner joined front on Operation Torch

MILFORD — Staff Sgt. Hubert Neal served and was injured in North Africa in World War II.

He turns 100 this year and is hard of hearing, so his daughter, Virginia, facilitated an interview.

"I tried to forget it all," he said last week, adding that he loves his country and would do it all over again.

Significant Structures | An entrancing entrance at Urbana's Huff House

URBANA — There's no fooling around with the entrance off the porch at 611 W. Oregon St.

First, there's a pair of massive doors to pass through to a second set and a third, virtually an airlock.

Getting Personal: Tracy Wingler

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 57-year-old Urbana resident Tracy Wingler chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. He's been the highway-maintenance supervisor for Champaign County, and now he has a new position with the AHW John Deere dealership in Urbana. Wingler is big on the Cardinals, the Apple Dumplin' Restaurant and the GOP.

Wired In: Heather Howard

Each week, staff writer Paul Wood chats with a high-tech difference-maker. This week, meet HEATHER HOWARD, a Harvard graduate and biomedical engineer at PhotoniCare, which makes portable medical instruments and is seeing major growth.

How did you become a biomedical engineer?

Illini wheelchair-basketball forward's family came from afar to cheer him on

CHAMPAIGN — The premiere place to watch the Illini at the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on Friday was with a large clump of fans on the west side of State Farm Center.

Aretha Franklin concert documentary, local choir to open Ebertfest

CHAMPAIGN — An Aretha Franklin concert documentary shot nearly 50 years ago will open this year’s Roger Ebert’s Film Festival on April 10.

A live performance by a local choir — the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir of Champaign-Urbana, directed by Noah Brown, Audrey Mock and Terry Napper — will follow.

'Everyone can take something positive from' CUTC's production of 'Our Town'

CHAMPAIGN — It's a play that's familiar to many, with a familiar sort of people, and an ending we must all face.

But the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company production has its own touches in a play about savoring every moment of life.

Is God on the stage? How much are we stage-managed?

Those Who Served | Navy vet kept watch in wake of Korean War

CHAMPAIGN — In the tense period following the Korean War armistice, Navy Lt. Robert Bentz of Champaign spent much of his time dealing with the Chinese — watching for spies on the sea and in the air, and sometimes escorting dangerous prisoners.

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