Tilda Swinton and Barry White Lead 1500 People in Dance-Along to Honor Roger Ebert

The rela­tion­ship of movie star to crit­ic isn’t always as par­a­sitic and fraught as you might imag­ine. Wit­ness Til­da Swin­ton bounc­ing around the Vir­ginia The­ater in Cham­paign Illi­nois, urg­ing audi­ence mem­bers to get up and dance in hon­or of the late Roger Ebert. (He gave high praise to Swin­ton’s 2009 film Julia, one of the offer­ings in this year’s Ebert­fest.)

Pri­or to leap­ing into the audi­ence to the strains of Bar­ry White’s “You’re the First, the Last, My Every­thing”, the actress decreed par­tic­i­pa­tion was manda­to­ry, no voyeurism allowed. With Ebert’s wid­ow, Chaz, bust­ing some seri­ous moves in sup­port, most of the 1500 atten­dees seemed con­tent to split the dif­fer­ence, cheer­ful­ly clap­ping along in their seats (though check out the grim “how long ’til we’re released from this hell” faces of the cou­ple in the bal­cony at the 4:10 mark).

Remem­ber White Men Can’t Jump? One is tempt­ed to tack on “or dance,” watch­ing the few game souls who tru­ly threw them­selves into the spir­it of the thing. No shame in that. It was, in Swin­ton’s words, a “spir­i­tu­al ser­vice”, not a tal­ent con­test. Sure­ly the biggest win­ners are the ones beam­ing breath­less­ly from the stage at song’s end. (Hon­or­able men­tion to any­one who’s inspired to nev­er again let a fear of embar­rass­ment lead to inac­tion.)

Life is beau­ti­ful. Life is short.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day wish­es she had been there, for sure. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.