“From the late 1970s until 1987, Nichelle Nichols was employed by NASA and was in charge of astronaut recruits and hopefuls. Most of the recruits that she launched were minority candidates of different races and/or ethnicities, as well as gender, like Guion Bluford (the first African-American male astronaut), Sally Ride (the first American female astronaut), Judith A. Resnik (one of the original female astronauts recruited by NASA, who perished during the launch of the Challenger on January 28, 1986), and Ron McNair (another victim of the Challenger disaster). She lived in Houston, Texas during her years as a Johnson Space Center employee.”
I have loved Nichelle Nichols since I was a wee tiny baby in my playpen watching Star Trek over my big brother’s shoulder as I always apparently did, and this paragraph in her FUCKING AMAAAAAZING bio on IMDb (srsly, go read that) made tears practically shoot out of my eyes.
Seeing her in person on Sunday at a convention, and you could say I’m just a little bit stoked. SO MANY FEELS!!!!!
I had been a film critic for seven months when I saw his first film, in 1967. It was titled I Call First, later changed to Who’s That Knocking at My Door. I saw it in “the submarine”—the long, low, narrow, dark screening room knocked together out of pasteboard by the Chicago International Film Festival. I was twenty-five. The festival’s founder, Michael Kutza, was under thirty. Everything was still at the beginning. This film had a quality that sent tingles up my arms. It felt made out of my dreams and guilts. I consider him the most gifted director of his generation, and have joked that I will never stop writing film reviews until he stops making films. —Roger Ebert, an excerpt from Scorsese by Ebert
Martin Scorsese on the passing of Roger Ebert:
“The death of Roger Ebert is an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism. And it’s a loss for me personally. Roger was always supportive, he was always right there for me when I needed it most, when it really counted – at the very beginning, when every word of encouragement was precious; and then again, when I was at the lowest ebb of my career, there he was, just as encouraging, just as warmly supportive. There was a professional distance between us, but then I could talk to him much more freely than I could to other critics. Really, Roger was my friend. It’s that simple. Few people I’ve known in my life loved or cared as much about movies. I know that’s what kept him going in those last years – his life-or-death passion for movies, and his wonderful wife, Chaz. We all knew that this moment was coming, but that doesn’t make the loss any less wrenching. I’ll miss him — my dear friend, Roger Ebert.” —Martin Scorsese, April 4, 2013
Thought I was all out of tears, but surprise! I’m not.
Wednesday, July 18,  is the 20th anniversary of our marriage. How can I begin to tell you about Chaz? She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading. If my cancer had come, and it would have, and Chaz had not been there with me, I can imagine a descent into lonely decrepitude. I was very sick. I might have vegetated in hopelessness. This woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind forcing me back from the grave.
“At this point in my life in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”
“Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.
Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means.
To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”