Texting, movies don't mix, audiences agree

CHAMPAIGN — The critics have spoken: a movie theater executive's short-lived idea — to allow texting after the lights are dimmed — got a resounding two thumbs down from the Ebertfest crowd.

"Bad idea," said Eric Pierson, who teaches film at the University of San Diego.

Middle East conflict gives rise to work, doc of peace

CHAMPAIGN — Co-director/cinematographer Andrew Young admitted after his new documentary "Disturbing the Peace" was shown Friday at Ebertfest that he had felt anxious and fearful every time he traveled to the Mideast to shoot it.

Melissa Merli's latest on Ebertfest, April 16, 2016

After the documentary "Disturbing the Peace" was shown Friday, the Ebertfest audience saw one of two silent films that are part of the five-day festival: "L'Inhumaine," a 1924 French silent film, with a live score performed by the Alloy Orchestra, a trio from Cambridge, Mass., that has performed at nearly every Ebertfest since it began in 1999.

She found her niche

URBANA — Thanks to physics, University of Illinois police gained an employee who has contributed immensely to its department for 25 years.

"When I came here in 1989, I was majoring in engineering. I was going to be designing rockets for NASA. Then along came physics," Joan Fiesta says.

Top of the morning, April 16, 2016

They played a charity hockey match last weekend at the UI Ice Arena, raising $3,337 for the Josh Gottheil Memorial Fund for Lymphoma Research.

But the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon, who organized a fundraiser that included students from Phi Delta Theta, Delta Tau Delta and Acacia, also had Josh's father in their thoughts as they skated in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 600.

REVIEW: A musical you don't want to miss

By Rosemary Laughlin

What do Jane Austen's Mrs. Bennet and Reb Teyve from "Fiddler on the Roof" famously have in common?

Five daughters to marry off.

'Just keep filming,' Ebert said

CHAMPAIGN — After Michael Polish's movie "Northfork" premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, the theater went completely silent.

Polish then saw a figure walking toward him.

It was Roger Ebert.

"I haven't seen anything like that before. You want to have breakfast?" the film critic said.

"You bet," Polish replied.

Life Remembered: Manzella had giant impact

CHAMPAIGN — Local restaurateur Frank Manzella barely cleared five feet tall, but the Italian immigrant's impact on family, friends, employees and his pasta-craving customers was giant-sized.

What's in a name? Muncie-Stearns Cemetery

FITHIAN — Chances are you've driven by Muncie-Stearns Cemetery, just north of Interstate 74 in Vermilion County.

The first burial there occurred in 1856, according to information gathered by Gary Cromwell, the secretary/treasurer of Muncie-Stearns Cemetery. Cromwell, who brushed up on cemetery history with former Muncie-Stearns president Floyd Martin, knows the grounds well.

Melissa Merli's latest on Ebertfest, April 15, 2016

Film/TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, who interviewed writer-director Michael Polish after the "Northfork" screening Thursday during Ebertfest, told the writer-director how a friend of a friend who had worked on Polish's "Twin Falls, Idaho," told Seitz he had to visit the set.