Evansville resident Erik Goodge got a Golden Thumb from the late Roger Ebert and a standing ovation from an audience of more than 1,000 in Champaign, Ill., last week. Goodge, one of five wounded veterans featured in "Not Yet Begun to Fight," a 2012 documentary film by Sabrina Lee and Shasta Grenier, humbly accepted his accolades on the stage of the Virginia Theater after the movie's presentation at this year's Roger Ebert Film Festival.
He and Lee each received a golden-plated metal casting of the late film critic's thumbs-up signal of approval after the movie's screening, which closed this year's five-day festival.
Later, after a questionand-answer session on stage, he shook hands, signed autographs and posed for pictures with audience members who stayed to meet with the 24-year-old former U.S. Marine sergeant. It was the biggest audience he's addressed with the film, which he's accompanied for screening in smaller theater at festivals in Atlanta, New York and Chicago, Goodge said.
A black leather patch still covers the eye he lost to an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2009, but Goodge has gained 25 pounds and has grown a neatly trimmed beard since he was filmed for the movie during a week of fly-fishing in Montana through Warriors and Quiet Waters, a rehabilitation retreat for wounded veterans in Montana run by retired Marine Col. Eric Hastings.
That's not all that's changed for Goodge. In the documentary, filmed a couple years ago, he talks about the adrenaline rush of combat and expresses a fervent desire to return to Afghanistan. Now he has a girlfriend and plans to go to college, majoring in communications.
"I don't want to go to Afghanistan any more. I just bought a house, and I'm perfectly content to be living where I am," he said. Goodge wants to see "Not Yet Begun to Fight" continue to reach more audiences, he added, and he hopes to find a venue to screen it in Evansville in the coming year.
The other film with an Evansville connection already has played here. "Bernie," Richard Linklater's dark, quirky murder comedy drawn from a real event in Carthage, Texas, got a pre-release screening courtesy of Evansville native Matt Williams and fellow University of Evansville graduates David McFadzean and Dete Hultmark, whose Wind Dancer Films produced the feature.
They didn't attend the festival's screening, but Linklater did and actor Jack Black, who plays the charming killer, took part in the post-screening Q-and-A via a telephone patch into the theater's speakers.
They were among a dozen full-length titles featured in the 15th annual Ebertfest. This year's festival showcased an eclectic lineup of old and new films from the United States and around the world. They included: "Days of Heaven" (1978), Terrence Malick's visually mesmerizing saga; "Vincent: the Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh" (1987), Paul Cox's documentary blending images, locations and letters from the legendary postimpressionist painter who only sold one canvas during his lifetime; "In the Family" (2011), Patrick Wang's gripping domestic drama about a custody case involving the surviving member of nontraditional family; "Oslo, August 31st" (2011), Joachim Trier's descent into a drug addict's final relapse; "The Ballad of Narayama" (1958), Keisuke Kinoshita's cinematic Kabuki drama; "Julia" (2008), Erick Zonca's breathless thriller starring Tilda Swinton as an alcoholic kidnapper; "Biancanieves" (2012), Spanish director Pablo Berger's black-and-white silent homage to Grimm's tales and classic cinema; "Kumare" (2012), Vikram Gandi's documentary about his attempt to pass himself off as a New Age, mystic guru in Arizona; "Escape from Tomorrow" (2012), Randy Moore's astonishing black-and-white, guerilla-shot feature about a middle-aged man's dark, nightmarishly surreal implosion at America's favorite theme park; and "The Spectacular Now" (2013), James Ponsoldt's authentic coming-of-age film focusing on a pair of high school students grappling with departed fathers, sex, alcohol, peer pressures and impending graduation. For more on the festival and the movies, visit www.ebertfest.com.
The nomination deadline looms for the 2013 Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana Arts Awards.
Nominations close May 16 for the Mayor's Arts Award, an award for individuals, businesses and organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts.
The categories reflect a couple of changes from previous year's awards.
First, regional awards have replaced specific county awards categories. The selection committee will determine their number based on nominations.
And an Ensemble Arts Award category has also been added.
For more information, visit the Arts Council's office at 318 Main St., its website at www.artswin.org, or call 812-422-2111.
The Evansville Brass Quintet will join organist Sarah Moon on Wednesday to present "Pipes, Pedals, and Golden Brass," the final performance in this season's Bach's Lunch music series at St. John's East United Church of Christ.
Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. concert in the church, at 7000 Lincoln Ave.
Tickets for the concert are $5. A lunch box from Great Harvest is available for $10, but orders must be in by Monday.
The Evansville Brass Quintet is a 27-year-old ensemble featuring Arthur Adye Jr. on French horn, James Allison on tuba, Kim Fillingim on trombone and brothers Timothy and David Smith (David is superintendent of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.) on trumpet.
Moon, St. John's music director and organist, will perform a solo piece by Jeremiah Clarke and play another work by Andre Campra with the quintet. The quintet will perform music by J. S. Bach and other brass selections.
For more information, or to order lunch, call Kitty Savia at 812- 479-1126.
ROYAL TEA TUNES
First Presbyterian Church will lay out the tables and set the stage for a royal tea and choral concert May 5, but the reservation deadline is just days away.
You'll need to sign up by Tuesday to reserve a seat for the May 5 event, which will open with a 3 p.m. Tea for a Royal Occasion followed at 4 p.m. by Music for a Royal Occasion. The concert will showcase choral and instrumental music for coronations, funerals and weddings in England's Westminster Abbey. Harpsichordist Helen Reed will accompany the choir, led by the church's Britishborn music director, Robert Nicholls.
Tickets for the tea are $15 for adults, $10 for children 9 and younger. For reservations or information, visit the church at 609 S. E. Second St., or call 812-423-6297.
Arts Beat looks on the scene and behind the scenes of Evansville's cultural landscape. Contact Roger McBain at email@example.com, or call 812-464-7520.
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