Here’s Eric Isaacson, who says he is Roger Ebert’s 1,811th best friend.
Eric was an active member of the Compuserve showbiz forum in the 1990s, which Roger was a part of. He met Roger in person at the Conference of World Affairs in Boulder,and eventually Roger invited him to be part of a panel there. Eric’s claim to fame is that he lived off the proceeds of his shareware tool “Zipkey” for many years. He also wrote the Wikipedia entry on the Conference of World Affairs. Everyone in line at Ebertfest seems to have a good story.
Such as Rae Spooner of Urbana, who used to babysit Nina Paley as a child. She was wearing a shirt that Nina designed back when she was just a precocious child artist (Nina, not Rae). Rae may have also been a precocious child artist, but she didn’t say one way or another.