Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Commercial Rap

So we're heading back in the studio...again. Working on more new stuff. Got some more shows coming up in the new year and a pretty big release for us. Until then, check out some nice rap commercials from the 80's...oh and the cherry on top is a clip from Teen Witch. Don't sleep. These are big time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Just wanted to give a quick shot out to our people Prayers For Atheists and People with Teeth for coming and rocking Bowery Poetry Club the other night. PFA inviting us on stage to mash up Devil's Rebels and Coat Hanger 18 was super fun.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Metermaids & Doomtree at Knitting Factory, Brooklyn

It feels like it's been forever since our last show and an opportunity came up for us to jump on something last minute. So we thought, what's a better way to come back from a show hiatus than to rock with Minneapolis collective Doom Tree at one of our favorite venues? Nothing. That's what. If you aren't familiar with Doom Tree, get familiar. Here's some videos to help. See you there!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Komplexx Kreationz

Our drummer, friend, and co conspirator Drew "Komplexx" McLean just dropped his first mixtape. And he was cool enough to let us be a part of it. Check it out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back in the Studio

A few months ago a lot of you helped us win a contest at NY Deli Mag for best new artist...and we thank you again for your support. We won some studio time that we're going to cash in on in a few weeks. After doing a couple sample-based remix albums and with the 9th Wonder-produced Rooftop Shake EP getting ever closer to dropping, we thought it was about time to hit the studio with some instruments again. We've got a handful of incredible musicians enlisted and we're excited to see what kind of weirdo shit we can come up with this time. We'll be posting video of the sessions, so stay tuned. We're thinking the first track is going to be like a mix of Don't Stop Believing and The Gas Face.

Best. Cameos. Ever.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Update...sort of.

New Metermaids show updates? Uh, not yet. But we're working on putting some stuff together and hopefully we'll be seeing you soon. We know a Metermaids show is LONG overdue and we're anxious to get out of the studio and back to playing live. Keep an eye out for some upcoming NYC shows and hopefully some more distant locations...

Metermaids news and generally entertaining information? Well, not really. We've actually been working really hard behind the scenes on some things that we're going to put out there in the near future. Seriously. We also have some new merchandise coming down the pike soon. Good stuff. Really.

Until then, bear with us. And check out this video by Arcade Fire. We know posting other people's videos on your blog is like, uncool in the blog world, bro. However, this video is a new kind of interactive that's worth checking out. You have to go to the link to check it out because you enter information to make it personalized. thewildernessdowntown.com

Actual awesome stuff coming soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slow Burn, Summer's Over

Swell just posted it, but here's a reminder about the new Prefix Mag/Potholes in My Blog Summer Mixtape that we threw down on. There's a brand new, exclusive Metermaids track on there that we think is pretty good. And it's free. You can check it out here:

Summer's almost over and we feel pretty accomplished. We put out two mixtapes this summer, teamed up with Rob Swift, and are extremely close to letting the great white elephants out of the room. We've got some shows and releases and news coming in the near future that should keep us busy and get some new music out to the world.

Until then...check out the new video from our homie Sage Francis. It's off his latest album and the stop motion pretty much kills it. Holler.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Prefix / Potholes Summer Sampler.

So a while back we recorded an exclusive track for a Summer Sampler that two of our favorite websites, Prefix Mag and Potholes In My Blog, were putting together.

We have been so busy that I had sort of forgotten about the project AND the song.

But I listened to the song again today and remembered that I was really happy with it when we finished. Wolf calls son. It's called "Show Your Teeth" and it's in the Smash Smash Bang, garage-hop style we've been cultivating.

It fits nicely with this mix, which is pretty fantastic, and really worth checking out. It's free and contains a whole bunch of up-and-coming hip hoppers.

Anyway, you can grab it HERE!

Hope you dig!

More to come.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Billy Mitchell Presents: Sleigh Bells.

So, our summer of free remix projects continues, unabated.

Today saw the release of our five song Sleigh Bells remix EP, which we have titled "Billy Mitchell Presents: Sleigh Bells."

It's five brand new Metermaids songs over some of the rawest music (courtesy of our remixing genius Matt Stine) we have ever rocked over. To me, it seems like the perfect music to knock in the whiiiiiiip this summer. We've been blessed to be received so warmly from the internets with all of our stuff so far, and this project has been no different. A big thank you to all of the bloggers and writers showing us love (and understanding that this EP is tongue in cheek).

And in our continued effort to let people know how fucking great of a producer our boy Matty is, the EP comes complete with all the instrumentals. MC's think you can spit better than me and Six Guns? Prove it. All we ask is that you let us hear the track. There's a drop box right here on our blog. Do it!

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/album/billy-mitchell-presents-sleigh-bells">We Ztay Shynin' (Treats Remix) by Metermaids</a>

Anyway, you can grab this remix two different places:




We hope you dig. If you do, tell your peoples.

So much more to come.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Breaking Down "Hello" Pt. 4


Tomorrow our brand new EP, Billy Mitchell Presents: Sleigh Bells, comes out. We wanted to throw out the breakdown of one more track from our last album, Hello, before this new album comes out and we have to spend all of our time explaining Bedford Kings to critics.

I decided to break down Two Rows of Teeth, my solo track on Hello. This is actually an updated version of an old solo song over a remix of Them Crooked Vultures' track, New Fang. I wrote Two Rows of Teeth before I was even in Metermaids...back when Swell and I were basically doing solo stuff. I used to always rock the song live and when we started playing shows together and combining sets, I kept doing it. It was always the track we threw over something weird, like Thriller. So when we were coming up with some of the last concepts for Hello, Sean suggested that we throw this old bastard on there. And I was down.

The original song was over a beat by my old friends, Pretty Lights. I haven't kept up with them lately, but apparently they're doing alright for themselves.

And of course, what would a Metermaids song be without a ridiculous and mind-blowing video to accompany it? I put this video together using clips of one of my favorite tree-kicking, glass-fist-punching, empty-pool-fighting screen legends of all time...Jean Claude.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bedford Kings -- Sleigh Bells Remix.

So, the first track from our Sleigh Bells remix EP, which we've titled "Billy Mitchell Presents: Sleigh Bells" leaked today.

Everyone's seen "King of Kong" right? We named it after that Billy Mitchell, the most wonderful, evil man on the planet. If you haven't seen the movie, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Here is Billy Mitchell:

Anyway, we named the EP after Billy because we wanted to come at it on some arrogant, awesome, in-your-face Billy Mitchell-ness. So, yeah. The EP, subject-wise, is not meant to be taken seriously. We know we are neither cool nor tough. This project is meant to be fun. Hopefully that comes across to people.

That said, the first song is called "The Bedford Kings." Just like everything we release, the entire EP will be free for your consumption. Whaddya think?

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/album/billy-mitchell-presents-sleigh-bells">The Bedford Kings (Sleigh Bells Remix) by Metermaids</a>


Monday, August 2, 2010

We Won!

We never win anything. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us. The support from our friends and family can be overwhelming.

We have been lax with the blog again because we have been ridiculously, ridiculously busy. We have a project we have kept completely under wraps that we are SUPER excited about coming out with a quickness, and hopefully some much bigger news to relate to everyone soon. I tend to jinx things. So mum is the word right now.

We will be breaking down the mixtape more this week, for anyone who enjoys that little series.

I will leave everyone with this Chromeo Remix of Vampire Weekend's "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance." Now, I have no idea how late I am on this. All I know is that I've listened to it 50 times today.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Last Second

Alright, we're down to the wire on this NY Deli Mag vote. Go to the site and vote if you get a second. We'd love to win this sucker...


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Video We Made for The Invisible Man.

I made this video. It's genius son!

Hopefully everyone feels the same way.


Sunday, July 25, 2010


Our good friend and fellow NYC hip hop scene brother, Kats, is moving away to blistering hot Phoenix on Tuesday. For those of you who don't know Kats, he's one of the founders of freeicecream.net, the crew that brought Makers Mark Milkshakes and free BBQ's to Williamsburg the last few summers. We worked with him on the only Metermaids collab album to date, Business Casual, which you can download free from the free ice cream site. We wish Mark Kats the best of luck in PHX.


Monday, July 19, 2010


We are nominated to be Deli Mag's NYC artist of the month, but we need your VOTES if we're gonna make it! Just click on the image above and it will take you to their page. The poll is on the right side of the site. Feel free to pass this along to your friends too...we need all the help we can get.

You can also get there by going to http://www.nyc.thedelimagazine.com


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Star is Born - Metric Remix.

So, our Metric remix, which we entitled "A Star is Born," has followed its mixtape siblings out into the wild world of the internets. And like its siblings, it seems to be getting a great response.

We hope you dig it. And if you do, please let us know. We love positive reinforcement as much as the next rapper.

I put together a little video for this track -- it is kind of creepy, now that I think about it. But the song was meant to be a little creepy too. So I feel good about the end result.

As always, you can get the song and the entire mixtape for free on OUR WEBSITE!

More to come.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Breaking Down "Hello" Pt. 3


Last week we released a third single off the Hello Mixtape. It was our remix version of Dead Weather's "Treat me like your Mother." Now, if you haven't picked up on our admiration of Jack White yet, it's safe to say we're both fans. When we were picking songs to remix for the album, this was literally the first one that I thought of. We had to use it. It was a perfect fit.

We called our version "Rust and Sharp Edges." I'm not usually into giving too much away about what our songs mean...I like to leave it up to the listener to decide what it's about and it usually ends up sitting in someone's mind in a way much different than we originally intended. But not this time. It doesn't take Pitchfork to realize this is a rap song for rapping's sake. We almost NEVER do songs like this, so it was a little overdue.

It was actually inspired by a project we did with our friends a couple years ago called Business Casual, an album that was pretty much a free for all lyrically, that we got to just write funny and clever raps on. This song is a little battle-ish, a little rugged. Which is cool for me because I got into hip hop through the battle scene in Colorado and it was fun to channel that a little.

We have the next Hello single dropping later this week. From here on out, it really gets interesting. Stay tuned.

Until then, here's a video of Dead Weather performing Treat me Like Your Mother. It's kind of a busted version, but it was recorded at Music Hall of Williamsburg at a show I was at on my birthday last year, so what the hell?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rust and Sharp Edges.

So we released another single off the mixtape today -- it's called "Rust and Sharp Edges," and it's a remix of one of our favorite songs of the past year, Deadweather's "Treat Me Like Your Mother."

I'm not gonna break the song down now, I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware it was out there. Once again it's gotten a great response from the internets, which we could not be more thankful for.

We remixed this (has there even been a better music video, by the way?):

And made it into this:

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/rust-and-sharp-edges-dead-weather-remix">Rust and Sharp Edges (Dead Weather Remix) by Metermaids</a>

You can also get the original version, without Rob Swift killing shit, HERE!

Hope you dig. More to come.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Breaking Down "Hello" Part 2.


Rumor has it that another track off of our "Hello" mixtape might be released tomorrow, so it seemed like a good time for another installment. I apologize for spotty-blogging as of late, but the computer is located in a part of my apartment without air conditioning. Which means that a paragraph in to this blog I am already pouring sweat. Indie-rap is nothing if not glamorous.

The song I will be discussing today is "Yellow Tape," our remixing of Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks."

Now, I think that everyone knows and loves this original song. Personally I can't get enough of dirty sounding keys and gorgeous, airy harmonies. This jawn's got both. Also, Grizzly Bears are a BK band. Represent, represent-sent.

They also made one of the most bizarre, off-putting videos of all time for this song. Dig, man. Diiiiiiig.

"Yellow Tape," I believe, was the second song we recorded for the mixtape. I remember when Matt originally sent over his first instrumental mix he felt the need to explain why he left it sort of off-kilter -- not everything lines up perfectly. Occasionally some snares hit a little off beat, and the piano-loop isn't quantized to some mathematically perfect time. I don't know why Matt felt the need to sell us on the instrumental. We luh us some mistakes. We try to leave them in as much as possible. And the instrumental sounded wonderful to me.

I mentioned in the last installment that just about every song Sentence and I have written in the last year has somewhere been about our struggles in the music bidness. This one is no different. I guess the difficult part for us is finding ways to write about the subject matter that is foremost in our mind without boring the shit out of anyone who happens to listen. Unless all of a sudden it gets cool for bands to whine about the fact that they aren't famous -- in which case, we could have a double-album ready by next week.

Sentence and I thought about how we ultimately felt like the beat-cops who have to hold the line outside of a crime scene. We are the face of Metermaids, the same way these cops are what is visible to anyone passing by. But there is so much going on behind the scenes that we cannot control, so many details we can't pin down. We want to know exactly what is happening. And we get asked the same questions by friends and by family. At the end of the day, much like the cop behind the yellow tape, we want to tell people "There's nothing to see here. Move along."

Was that last paragraph kind of pretentious sounding? It might have gotten away from me. It happens. I've also just sweat through my shirt.

So, that's the story behind "Yellow Tape." As the second single off the mixtape, it has had by far the most reach -- it hit #4 on Hype Machine (which I have mentioned ad nauseum at this point) and is the most listened to song the past three weeks on our Last.Fm by a long shot.

Check it out!

The mixtape is killing right now, incidentally -- I mentioned it on Facebook, but in its first week it was downloaded more than our Sufjan Stevens mash-up was in an entire year (and Nightlife in Illinoise got a TON OF DOWNLOADS). So we are excited, and thankful. In equal measures.

One more quick note: Matt Stine, our fearless leader, and Miss Elizabeth Weinberg (who's beautiful voice you can hear on many Metermaids songs) tied the knot this past Sunday, July 4th. It was an incredible occasion. One I'm still recovering from, truth be told. Ha. So much love to both of them.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Top-Five Favorite Hooks We've Written.

Please forgive the self-centered topic.

We recorded a new song today, actually the first time we've recorded a song for another purpose other than putting it on an album -- more on that later, hopefully. Ha. And with this particular song, I am super excited about the hook that Sentence and I wrote. I was realizing, while we were recording, that writing hooks is maybe my favorite part of songwriting. And I think we are good at it. Never mind the fact that we have gotten a few reviews that do not agree with me. When people have a problem with our hooks, they universally claim they are too simple -- but I've always thought that was sort of the point?

I digress.

I wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite hip-hop hooks, but it's 2,000 degrees in my apartment right now and it's too hard for me to choose when there are so many I love. I figure this blog was always meant to open a dialogue between us and whoever is interested in what we are up to, so hopefully people will chime in with hooks from other people that they love.

Without further ado, here are my five favorite hooks that we have written.

5. Funk Terrorist

Funk Terrorist was the first song Sentence and I wrote together, way before we ever thought we would be in a group together. Now, admittedly the song is silly -- any song would be, when its entire premise is based around the word "Smackassistan." That's true, by the way. Walking around one day, I started laughing thinking about "Smackassistan." And so we wrote an entire song expounding on that. BAM.

Regardless, the song has always killed live. Especially on tour, we would gauge how well our set went over by the volume of the "Ohhhhh's." It's fun.

Judge for yourself:

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/funk-terrorist">Funk Terrorist by Metermaids</a>

4. The Inside

Originally, on our album "Nightlife," Sentence and I were both going to have solo songs. So Sentence wrote The Inside. I didn't end up with a solo song on the album. All of a sudden I'm feeling kind of slighted. Kidding, kidding, kidding. I remember when we were writing the hook, wanting to accentuate the bass hits -- so if you listen, you can hear that Sentence's part is rythmically (how the fuck do you spell that word) echoing the bass. That's what. The inside. Of your heart. Looks like. When he recorded it, it sounded cool. But it also didn't sound like a completed hook. So originally Sentence had me echo what he had said in the gaps. Then I tried it with a little melody too, and we decided that we liked it best. I still love the hook, and I think you'd be hard-pressed, in the hip-hop world, to find a hook that sounds like this one.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/the-inside">The Inside by Metermaids</a>

3. Shades Off

When we first took this song home as a rough mix, I think as a collective none of us were sure what to make of the hook. Everyone really liked the music, and the verses, but the hook just seemed kind of weird. Then one night, driving around, it clicked for me. And I loved it. Hahaha. I can love the music I make and not seem like a complete egomaniac, right? Anyway -- it's just so simple. And fun to scream. Take your shades off. HEY! Let me see your eyes. Also, Sentence and I joke around about how pretty much every single hook we've ever written is a direct command. This song has also always gone over really well live. I think the highlight, for me, was having a thousand people at Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival scream the "Hey's!" back at us last summer.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/shades-off-feat-jared-paul">Shades Off (Feat. Jared Paul) by Metermaids</a>

2. Don't Sleep

I actually get my revenge on Sentence here. Because while he can take sole credit for the hook on The Inside, this one was all me (because the EP this is on was recorded before Sentence and I were Metermaids, together). This song was written after me, and one of my best friends (and OG Metermaids-family-member) Matt Miller spent a humid summer night with one of our friends in breathtaking New Brunswick, New Jersey. At the end of the night, the two of us ended up crashing on couches. But there was no sleep to be had in the AC-less, sweltering humidity. So we ended up just talking for almost the entire night. And it ended up being a really nice memory for me. No Romo. I won't speak for Matt. Anyway, that was the sentiment behind the song. Hey! Don't go to sleep! We can do anything you want. Stay up with me. A funny moment for Matt and I that ended up being recorded and thrown onto television shows and all over the place. Considering that Matt and I started Metermaids together, there's some sentimentality involved too -- but I also just really like the hook.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/dont-sleep">Don't Sleep by Metermaids</a>

1. Planes Down

I could write a long explanation for this hook like I have for the others. But come on, yo. Tell me this shit isn't fun. We've closed every show with this song since we wrote it. Because seeing mad people with finger pistols in the air, screaming "Bang!" at the top of their lungs, is an incredible sight.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/planes-down">Planes Down by Metermaids</a>

Honorable mention goes to Matchbooks, considering that me and my baby have one of the lines from that hook tattooed on us, but that's not so much of a hook as it is a desperate plea to the universe. Haha.

Hopefully some other people will add some of their favorite hip-hop hooks to this, so it's not all about us.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Old Times

Taking a quick break from promoting our new mixtape...We went and saw our friend Sage Francis rock Webster Hall a few days ago here in NYC and it was pretty epic. I've see Sage play live a handful of times and we've played with him before, but this was probably the best I've ever seen him. Live band, swim trunks, Prayers for Atheists chilling, and an all-audience hug at the end. It was amazing.

I was just reminded of the Life is Easy DVD he put out a few years ago and I wanted to put up a clip that reminds me how much I love hip hop and music in general. This clip was recorded at my house when I lived in Denver a LONG time ago. This was when I produced a track that Sage and Slug rapped on that later appeared on Sage's Sick of Waiting Tables mixtape. It just reminded me about how I got into this music stuff and what it all meant to me. Music was the only thing I had going for me and this was one of the dudes I really looked up and respected sledding on my homie in my front yard. Shit was wild. This clip is actually just a clip of a clip - in the actual DVD he sleds on my boy AES, not just a cardboard box. Just wanted to share this little piece of nostalgia...


Breaking Down "Hello" Part 1.

When we released "Smash Smash Bang" last summer, I went through and broke down the songs on the EP one by one. I did it mostly for myself, so I could have a record of all the little details that slip once too much time has passed.

It got a surprisingly good response from people, so Sentence and I decided to do it for our mixtape as well.

"Girls and Music"

I am a knee-jerk-hype-hater. I remember being at South by Southwest a few years ago walking around with Sentence, during the crazy-hype-tornado that was Vampire Weekend's first album. We saw a Vampire Weekend poster somewhere, and both admitted that even though we hadn't heard a note of their music, we hated them somehow. Not a very mature reaction, for sure. And, actually, once the hype had died down and I listened to Vampire Weekend, I liked it. I ain't too proud to admit when I'm wrong. It's often.

I felt the same way about Animal Collective when Merriweather Post Pavilion came out. But at some point during my insomniac Youtube video watching marathons, I stumbled across their video for "My Girls."

And I really, really liked it. Once again, my knee-jerk reaction was completely off-base.

From the jump, in making this mixtape, I was pushing Matt (who did all of the remixing) to take a crack at this song. For whatever reason he didn't get to it. Finally, after we had most of the project done, he took a shot at it. And it sounded fantastic to us. One of the great things about remix projects is that you get to accentuate your favorite parts of one of your favorite songs. In this case, it's the "Wooooo!" Which we obviously accentuated even more on the hook.

I don't like to get into what a song is about. Suffice to say, almost every song Sentence and I have done in recent memory is somewhere about the struggle we have gone through trying to poke our heads above water in this business we call music. The hook was originally different -- more of a nod to my favorite song of last year (I think I have posted this video 10 times in this blog, but I don't care):

We changed the hook in the end, but I kept my shout to Republic of Loose in my verse. Because I wanted them to know I love them, somehow, some way. Ha.

Here are the lyrics:

Sentence --

Bring 'em in, pack out the place
Everything, everyone stays
Stowaways, runaways, strays
We all get in here today
Hands up and pledging allegiance
Plaster the tracks with your secrets
Packing up all of the pieces
Blast it back out through the speakers
Don't gotta worry about logic
'Bout what you hold in your pockets
Or if you're playing or folding
If you fly coach or fly cockpit
It's love and it's hate and it's pleasure
It's dumb and it's taking forever
It's numbness, it's pain, and it's pressure
Fuck, it's the greatest thing ever
Finger pistol, gun to the moon
Stick 'em up like nothing to lose
Wolf pack status, you can run with the crew
Till the sun comes up and the knuckles are bruised
On time when the break beat hits
Keep it cool like a AC switch
No sweat like, hey man shit
Nothing that a fresh coat of paint can't fix
Glossy black flying V
Classic, bring out the big drums
Show 'em who you're trying to be
Couple lightning bolts and a name on the kick drum
Four to the floor, now put it down
Give me some of that high-rent Brooklyn sound
Take a deep breath, look around
Nothing like some bad things to feel good about

Girls and music.
Keep my coming back.

Swell --

Shouts to the Republic of Loose. Now finna come and dust of these shoes. Act like we've got nothing to prove. Why? Because we've got nothing to do. Everybody here's already famous. Walking the streets you can just feel it. Little kids stay destined for greatness. Everything you touch is the realest. So we're back here like never before. And we're back here like never again. Sleep like we're going to work. And we work like we're making pretend. And we talk like we're making a friend. Smile while we're shaking the hands. And we blink like we're facing the end. And we jump like we're taking a chance. Baby we could have the life that we wanted. I'll make it all so easy. Paying the bills every month. No grinding teeth while we're sleeping. Taking cabs when we're going out drinking. No more fucking around with the train. You could have the clothes that you wanted. No more paying for shit with change. Little bit of wine got me fearless. I was born to be up on stage. Trust if the people could hear it they would remember the name. And the legacy's four to a track. One puts the door to your back. Two puts the dirt on your shoes. Three and four got you back here for more.

Girls and music.
Keep me coming back.

Here is what our version sounds (and looks) like:

And remember, this mixtape is absolutely free, and available HERE!

Much more coming.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Show Tomorrow Night With Prayers for Atheists and People With Teeth.

Yes yes ya'll.

So it's perfect timing, following the release of the "Hello" mixtape (which you can get for free HERE!) (and also thanks for the massive amount of support it's gotten!), that we get to rock a show tomorrow night with some great bands.

We will be playing with Prayers For Atheists, our good friends and Strange Famous Records representers, and People With Teeth, the young, dope rapscallions from right here in New York.

This throw-down is being held at Bushwick Music Studios, which is at 319 Scholes Street in beautiful Brooklyn, NY.

You can check out the Facebook invite HERE!

Anyway, thanks again to everyone who continues to support us -- if you come out tomorrow night we will hug you in person.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Hello" Dropped Today!

So, our "Hello" mixtape dropped today. We couldn't be more excited about it.

It's 8 new songs (and one re-remix) over remixes to some of our favorite indie-rock songs, mixed by the legendary DJ Rob Swift.

It includes our remix of Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks," which we retitled "Yellow Tape," which recently hit #4 on the Hype Machine, which was a nice little career moment for us.

It is available for free HERE! in both the DJ Rob Swift version and the individual track version.

We hope you dig it -- and if you do, all we ask is that you tell a friend.

More to come.





Friday, June 18, 2010

"Yellow Tape" #4 on Hype Machine Charts.

As of my typing this, roughly 5:20 on Friday evening, our song "Yellow Tape" has hit #4 on the Hype Machine Charts. It's got 80 minutes left -- so check it quick if you wanna see it. Haha.

Check it HERE!

We wanted to thank everyone who downloaded the song, everyone who tweeted about it, everyone who "loved" it on Hype Machine. Like I've said repeatedly, it was a big build up to releasing this mixtape, which we are very proud of, and it's incredibly humbling to get a response to the 2nd single like this.

We also obviously want to thank DJ Rob Swift for taking this mixtape and adding his flavor and expertise to it -- not only is the end-result something that everyone in our family is excited about, but it is also a life-long dream Sentence and I can check off our bucket-list. Ha. If you had told me when I was 16 that I would be releasing a mixtape mixed by Rob Swift I would have peed my pants. How hip hop is that?

Did everyone see that US World Cup game? One of the most exciting games I have ever seen. And we were robbed, goddammit. In my head that final score is still 3-2. Also, like I was telling my brother before the game, Donovan is one of those players that lives up to his hype -- his first goal was just outrageous, and his ball to set up the second goal was clinical. Fucking amazing.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Video for "Yellow Tape."

So we learned with our previous mash-up project, the critically-acclaimed Nightlife in Illinoise mash-up with did with Sufjan Stevens' album "Illinoise," we very much enjoy putting together mash-up videos to go along with our songs. Maybe we just have a deep-rooted desire to get our pants sued off.


Sentence and I made a video for every cut on the mixtape, which we will be releasing gradually after the mixtape officially drops. These are nothing fancy -- just fun little visuals that are a good time to put together. And being that we are both ferocious music-video heads, it only seems right to put visuals to our own stuff, even if we don't have the budget for visually stunning, mind-blowing music videos.

"Yellow Tape" is currently blowing the fuck up, which is so exciting for us (and we couldn't be more appreciative of everyone who has downloaded, tweeted, re-tweeted, Facebooked, told their friends, etc), so the time seemed right to drop this gem on the world.

The video for this particular song was put together by Sentence, and it might be my favorite out of the bunch. It's like "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys, only real. Haha. You'll see what I mean.

Also, if you haven't before, and are feeling generous with your time and affection, "Yellow Tape" is currently charting on both the normal and Twitter charts on Hype Machine -- the link is HERE!
if you feel like helping us out.

I am also going to re-post the download link:

So much love for everyone, and so much more to come.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yellow Tape Y'all.

The second single off of our Hello Mixtape mixed by DJ Rob Swift leaked today. It's called "Yellow Tape," and it's a remix of Grizzly Bear's song "Two Weeks," which is another song we enjoy greatly.

Once again the interwebs have been kind to us -- we are thankful to the blogs that have posted about it, the people who have downloaded it, and those who have tweeted, and retweeted, etc. It means a lot to us.

It was extra exciting to see "Yellow Tape" holding down the front page of Hype Machine for a couple of hours today, and getting a lot of love.

Check out the link HERE!

If you are kind enough to visit that page, and tweet about the song, it will continue its rise up the Hype Machine Charts, which we would be eternally grateful for. I will also personally thank you with the most romantic tweet-reply you could ever imagine. How's that for incentive?

Also remember that the song is for free, and if you are interested you can download it and share it with whomever you think might dig it as well.

At this very instant there is no download widget on this blog, but soon enough our fearless leader Matt Stine (the brains behind this whole operation) will make this widget appear, as if magically, and you will be free to download to your heart's content.

It will probably appear right below this line:

Much more to come, friends. Much more to come.


It Was Well Worth It.

It's been a crazy few months. Not just for me, but for just about everyone I'm close to. Lots of upheaval, lots of wishing for change, lots of not being ready for the change the universe eventually offers us.

The winter months of this year might have been the most difficult of my life, for a number of reasons I don't feel the need to get into. Ironically, I had originally planned to document that time in particular -- the time leading up to the release of all of this new music. I stopped myself from writing when I realized how cyclical my emotions were, and how ultimately I was writing to whine. I know my thoughts well enough to know that they don't need to be documented in that way. Or shared. Or remembered.

Personally, I feel like I've gotten over the hump. I feel like the seeds of good karma I planted back in the tougher months have started to sprout, started to flower a little. Time will tell, naturally.

And I've been feeling extraordinarily appreciative recently. Appreciative of my baby, of my family. Appreciative of my friends. Appreciative of some of my heroes who have taken the time to help, taken the time to listen, etc.

We, Metermaids, have a bunch of things to be excited about right now. We are releasing music that we worked very hard on, music that we took our time to release. We have been looking forward to this for a while now. It feels good. I'm sleeping much better recenty, which is always nice.

I don't know what the point of this particular blog is. I feel ok again. I hope you feel ok again too.

I could have just posted this Sage Francis song at the beginning of this blog and it would have explained what I'm feeling right now much more eloquently. But I'm a rapper. And I like to hear (see) myself speak (write).

More (good) news coming soon. More music, more videos, more shows, more summer, more not being cold when you wake up.


Sage Francis -- Best of Times.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Video We Made for Girls and Music.

So we went ahead and made a music video for our song "Girls and Music," a remix of Animal Collective's "My Girls."

It's not the most spectacular video in the world, but we really like it, and it was a lot of fun to make. Two borrowed Flip Cams, two bicycles, the joy of doing things yourself, and zero dollars. BAM!

Watch us find each other on bikes, through the dirty streets of Bushwick. Not so easy to do in one continuous take, huh? Holler at your no-budget inventiveness.

These flip cams are insanely dope, by the by.

Sentence gets the most props here for rigging the cameras to the bicycles, as well as figuring out how to do split-screen on iMovie. Shooting the video took about an hour. Editing it? Much, much more than that. Shouts to Steve Jobs. Everything's so easy on a Mac, right? Nahhhhhhhh.

Anyway, here it is. We hope you like it.

Pass it around!


Girls and Music, Without Cuts.

So the version of "Girls and Music" without any juggling or cuts has leaked as well, and I would feel silly if I didn't share it with you.

It's getting up on more and more blogs but you can check it out right HERE:

Download it, share it on your Facebook Wall, and then tweet about it. Thanks!

More coming.


Monday, June 7, 2010


So, the word is out. The Hello Mixtape, mixed by the legendary Rob Swift, is dropping on June 22nd.

In the meantime the first single from the project, a remix of Animal Collective's "My Girls," which we rechristened "Girls and Music" (how clever are we?!), has leaked out on to the interwebs. It's getting a great response. And we're very happy about that.

I won't re-post all of the blogs that have shown us some love. But I will link two here, because I like to play favorites.

Check out Hip Hop Linguistics HERE!

Check out Prefix Mag HERE!

We will have more and more goodies to give to everyone before the mixtape officially drops. So keep in touch.

We are officially back in the saddle here. We hope you enjoy everything.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Videos From Doin' Alright 8.

Here are some videos from Doin' Alright 8, which was a couple of Saturdays ago, and happened to be a fantastic time.

Much love once again to Donovan and Natty Night for documenting all of these wonderful evenings. Everyone should sleep better at night knowing that these two people are tirelessly hitting show after show and keeping a serious record of all the dope hip hop going around in NYC. We can't thank them enough. (They are also, along with being super-talented photographers, some of the nicest people you will meet).

Here's how our set went, to the best of my knowledge. Also, note that I was feeling particularly self-deprecating on this night. I am working on my self-esteem though.

Graveyard Shift

Blackout Baby

The Inside

Shades Off

Two Rows of Teeth Vs. Deadweather

Jimmy Page

Planes Down

There's going to be a lot more news coming down the highway soon. Exciting times, exciting times.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Tomorrow night a movie that features a Metermaids track is debuting during the Tribeca Film Festival...but it's not part of the festival. As far as I know, it has the track "NIGHTLIFE" off the Nightlife album in it, which is pretty tight. I didn't really know anything about it, but it features Kyle Gallner, who also stars in the new Nightmare on Elm Street movie, which could be a good look. We're pretty curious to see where they put NIGHTLIFE in a college coming-of-age movie like this. Here's some links to the website.

Facebook Page


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Doin' Alright 8

Last night we played Doin' Alright 8, put on by our friends Chronikill. We hadn't done a show in a few months, so it felt really good to rock again. We just finished up a couple of projects in the studio, so we should be back to doing live shows a lot more regularly in the near future. Our original DJ fell through, so huge shout to Tom for coming through and holding it down at the last minute. Everybody who performed killed it: NSR, Chronikill, Kalil Cash, Top $ Raz, YC the Cynic. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported. The crowd was spectacular and neither of us left the show injured, bloodied, bruised, or sprained...which is pretty rare. Here's some photos courtesy of Norman Nelson.






Monday, April 19, 2010

Show This Saturday.

So, this Saturday is Doin' Alright 8, which has been thrown for a long (and succesful) time by our homies Chronikill.

We had the chance to play one of these a while back, and it was fanfuckingtastic.

So, that being said, we would love to see you there. We haven't had the chance to rock in a while, and we are very excited to shake the dust off. We might even get the chance to bust out a bunch of our new stuff, even though that is probably more exciting to us than it is to anyone else.

Check out the Facebook Event HERE!

It's actually an eventful weekend. Friday night has both our good friend Clinton Curtis at Sullivan Hall -- CHECK IT OUT! -- And our good friends BrokeMC and Dyalekt are throwing their album release for their Deathrow Tull album at Shea Stadium -- CHECK IT OUT!

More info to come.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dig The Ahhhtwork.

I might get in trouble for posting this. Actually, I don't know why I would. Sentence is dope on the design tip. Here is the design we are tinkering with for the mixtape we are about to drop, mixed by the legendary DJ Rob Swift. We are calling the mixtape "Hello." As in, "Hello, we are the Metermaids. You should get to know us."

Do you dig?

EP is completely mixed and finished. Like the weight of the world off our collective chests. The mixtape will be done tracking-wise middle of next week, then mixed and thrown out into the world very soon. We are super excited for people to hear all the new stuff we have been working so diligently on.

More to come.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It Was A Blown Cover.

People need to go to this link HERE right now and download this song right now.

It is relatively early in the year, but this is song of the year.

Also, I watched Slingblade for the first time ever today, resting on the couch during what will surely be my last sick dayu for the next three years. Some of us don't get paid when we're sick. Some of us don't really need healthcare. The movie was really good.

Much happening right now. We will be back to updating the blog daily now.


Better Late Than Never

I feel bad that we didn't acknowledge the passing of this influential actor before...but we're pretty slow on the blog action. Straight up, if the 80's were an integral part of your formative years, Corey Feldman was like a member of your family. Just wanted pay homage.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Everyone should check out our Chilean friends Cuchufleta. They are super dope and have a bunch of free songs to download. Don't sleep muhfuckas!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Joke Rap.

I read this article in the Village Voice the other day. I thought it was interesting and worth sharing. I like joke rap. I think Das Racist are funny. And almost every hip hop artist I enjoy injects some sense of humor into their music. I'm conflicted about it, though, and have a hard time putting why into words.

I just rewrote a thesis statement fifteen times. I dunno. Read the article. Check out the artists mentioned. Notice the crowds they seem to draw. It's very safe for everyone to enjoy, joke-rap. Safe for hipsters. Safe for kids in the Midwest. Safe for journalists. You can discuss its artistic merits all day, and never have to discuss how it made you feel. I feel like it can be a weird double-standard, for the jokey-rappers. Blah blah blah.

Here's the article:


Donald Glover has been a viral-video phenomenon, a New York improv-comedy staple, an award-winning writer for 30 Rock, and, most recently, an actor on NBC's recently renewed Community. Funny guy. But he's really just a rapper.

Performing under the moniker Childish Gambino—chosen after he ran his name through a Wu-Tang Clan name generator during his freshman year at NYU—the 26-year-old is arriving at a time when hip-hop and comedy are intersecting in strange ways. Just don't call it a joke. "I guess that's just my brain," Glover says from his Los Angeles apartment while tweaking his recent Comedy Central stand-up special. "I never go into an album thinking, 'This needs to be a little funnier.' I only look at scripts or jokes that way. There's no winking at the culture of hip-hop. I'm dead serious."

The Atlanta-born Glover, though funny in his songs, isn't making what has come to be known, somewhat derisively, as Joke Rap—the knowing but goofy appropriation of the genre's style and attitude, sometimes without context, delivered as parody or novelty. That's the terrain of Andy Samberg's trio the Lonely Island, alongside Flight of the Conchords and—with his forthcoming, Dave Sitek–produced RAAAAAAAANDY mixtape—Aziz Ansari, who has proven himself a rap allegiant, detailing his bizarre personal encounters with Kanye West in his recent stand-up special, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening. The mixtape's first leak, "AAAAAAAANGRY," finds him literally hollering at Drake, Kid Cudi, DOOM, Clipse, and basically every other relevant rapper: "Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones—what about some Verses by Dr. Dre Verses?"

Glover makes a far more confessional, "girl-crazy" brand of rap on his fascinating, promising pair of mixtapes, I Am Just a Rapper and I Am Just A Rapper 2 (available for free download at childishgambino.com). "These raps are not my sketches/I'm a sick boy, nigga/When I cough, I hope you catch it," he chirps on Rapper 2's "The Real." Like nearly every track on the tapes, it's performed over a popular indie-rock song—in this case, Sleigh Bells' "Infinity Guitars." Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Animal Collective, and Vampire Weekend also get the Childish treatment, though his next album, Culdesac, will feature all original productions.

Glover, warm and enthusiastic over the phone, repeatedly cites Kanye as an inspiration—and it ain't hard to tell. West's halting cadences, obsession with high-end fashion (APC, Comme des Garçons, and Band of Outsiders—for whom Glover just modeled—all get Rapper shout-outs), and near-shrieking emotionalism abound. On "What the F*** Are You?" Glover raps over the Knife's "Colouring of Pigeons," unleashing a furious identity screed: "Yeah, I'm self-conscious, go ahead laugh it up/'Cause I dig deep and pull something out to back it up/They told my ass to blacken up/'What the fuck are you?/You don't even say shit/Quit writing gay shit.' " His wit makes him a compelling rapper, but it's the vulnerability that wins out: Glover describes his first Childish Gambino project, The Younger I Get, as "way too close to my heart" and "my emo album." He says no one will ever hear it again.

Not every accused joke rapper is as emotionally splayed. Queens duo Das Racist were singed with the Joke Rap brand when their "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" became a flashpoint last June; since then, the group's Himanshu Suri, while acknowledging the importance of their breakout, shudders at being called shtick.

"We're not making anything that we felt would be consciously described as 'parody' or 'novelty,' " says the 24-year-old. "We didn't think we were making fun of anything except what we felt were antiquated modes of thinking about rap. Irony is something we embrace—we don't think of it as a non-valid way of looking at the world. It's an appropriate lens. Especially when intertwined with race."

Das Racist's other songs are funny, too, but more complex. They also feature more actual rapping than "Taco Bell." The group's often hilarious, sometimes dark new mixtape, Shut Up, Dude, is a deeply self-conscious batch of word-association jumbles, references to other artists' lyrics, and half-hearted hooks. They don't so much rap as approximate rap's best and worst tics. The chorus of "You Oughta Know," a remix of an obscure, Billy Joel–sampling Cam'Ron song, is essentially "Ooo lalala aaaah nananana." It sounds like what people who don't know the words to rap songs do when trying to rap along. On "Hugo Chavez," the pair rap, "A million here, a million there/Tougher than Ethiopian warfare/Mohair coat's from the goat's back/Cocaine Blunts, we smoke that/Kodak moments/Eating doughnuts/Listening to coke rap/Listening to joke rap/Listening to Donuts/Listening to grown-ups/Listening to Camu/Listening to Cam, too/Watching Shampoo/Washing my hair with shampoo." To recap, in those few bars are references to a Lil Wayne lyric, a rap blog, a rap microtrend, a rap micro-microtrend, an album by the late J. Dilla, the late rapper Camu Tao, Cam'Ron, and a Warren Beatty film. Oh, and eating doughnuts. Well-played, Das Racist.

Suri, along with his partner, Victor Vazquez, hopes Shut Up, Dude will untangle some preconceptions, though the emergence of "Taco Bell" is still telling. For rap, repetition was a popular drink, and it still is. Which explains how the Lonely Island's farcical collaboration with T-Pain, "I'm on a Boat," received a Grammy nomination earlier this year—in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category. On the red carpet before the February ceremony, T-Pain was perplexed: "It's more amazing that a lot of my stuff don't get nominated for Grammys, then a mockery of the art is nominated," he noted. "It's weird."

Not too weird. What's so wrong with being funny? Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys were making joke rap before it became a dirty phrase. Nineties films like Chris Rock and Nelson George's CB4 and Rusty Cundieff's Fear of a Black Hat worked in a similar vein: smart but over-the-top parody, deftly written from inside the culture. No one made better satire than De La Soul, one of the most celebrated rap acts ever. Rap is encouraged to be funny: The best stuff is often littered with, ahem, "punch lines," and the biggest stars—from Slick Rick to Biggie Smalls to Lil Wayne—are championed for inspiring guffaws. And though Glover and Suri are both quick to distance themselves from the Lonely Island, there's a kinship there: What made the group's 2009 full-length Incredibad so interesting was not Samberg and Co.'s lyrics—sort of funny, I guess—but how slavishly accurate the production was. "I'm on a Boat" worked well as T-Pain homage, and "Dick in a Box" as Color Me Badd–style loverman r&b. But there was also the Black Sheep nod on "Punch You in the Jeans" and the West Coast pastiche "Santana DVX" (co-starring E-40). There's even a remarkable thematic similarity between Das Racist's "Fake Patois" and Incredibad's "Ras Trent." As instrumentals, these songs poked knowingly, operating in ways beyond "Weird Al" Yankovic's chintzy Casio-and-accordion reproductions of Coolio and T.I. songs.

Ten or 15 years ago, rap became both pervasive and ripe for lampooning—now, the jokes just work better as actual songs. The real comedy comes from outsiders and oddballs. South Africa's zef clowns Die Antwoord. Hollywood club slut Mickey Avalon. Joaquin Phoenix. They're the real jokes. For the polymath Glover, rap is just a natural progression. "Comedians are obsessed with rock stars, and rock stars are obsessed with comedians—it's always been that way. Eddie Murphy. Blues Brothers. They made music, too. And rock stars want to be comedians. Jay-Z raps about Delirious all the time. They're in love with each other. There's nothing weird about it."

Still, it's not hard to see why there's reason to be defensive. "I read all the time, 'Oh, this nigga think he Lil Wayne.' Nobody's saying that about 'Weird Al' Yankovic. Nobody listens to 'White and Nerdy' and thinks, 'This guy thinks he's Chamillionaire!' It's a joke. I don't want to be taken as a joke."

Friday, March 26, 2010



Some shit just stays cool. And some cool shit just pops up. Here's just a short list. The 'Stonefish' album cover is something I designed a couple years ago and didn't even know Fameless Records put it out (thanks for telling me, Input). I haven't heard it yet, but am going to check it out asap. My boy Adrift is the MC on the album and he kills, so it's probably good. And our folks at Boundless put out the new Raekwon mixtape. Check it out. Have a good weekend.







Thursday, March 18, 2010

This Made Me So Happy.

Sentence found this video on YouTube.

All I will say is that trying to make it as a musician can be a long, lonely road. And stuff like this makes it all worthwhile.

And if the kids that made this video are reading this right now, holler at us. Because we love you.

Check it out --



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Video for Matchbooks.

We are finally getting this up on YouTube, but here is the video we did for our song "Matchbooks," off of our EP we called "Smash Smash Bang."

It was directed by our good friend Tim Young. All the shit thrown at us came courtesy of our closest friends and family, the way it should be.

And a quick reminder -- you can get both the song and the EP for free at music.metermaidsnyc.com

Hope you dig.


Sunday, March 14, 2010


As the de facto visual director of Metermaids, I feel I have the responsibility of sharing pieces of inspiring and beautiful art. This gem really spoke to me. Enjoy.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Funky Souls.

So I'm sure people have noticed that I stopped my little blog project. I realized that it was becoming a way for me to whine. Ha. Everything moves in cycles, and I don't feel the need to document every up and down. In my head I also always believe that things move quickly, and there would be new and exciting changes every day leading up to the release of this project.

I forgot that we, as Metermaids, tend to take a while to do anything. In this particular case, that's a good thing. There is no reason to rush a project that is so important to us.

What I will share, as it has become official, is that the legendary Rob Swift will be handling all of the cuts on the EP. Which, if you are hip hop heads like we are, is infuckingcredible. Seriously yo. We have been getting his work back to us in the last couple days, and the man is just so good at what he does. So excited for people to eventually hear this shit.

Watch the man handle some business:

Word em up. I will try and update this as much as possible. Also, I noticed that Sentence not only made the blog look much better but posted an awesome video about gangs. So there you go.

Also, me and the lady went up to Providence on a whim to catch the record release party for our friend B. Dolan's new album "Fallen House Sunken City." It was insane. Like, amazing night insane. Got a hug from Sage, copped the album, talked to B. about what it's like to get birthday cake in your ear.

This is the song he closed the night with (with a marching band, no less):

I think his album drops tomorrow. Do yourself a favor and cop it.


Sunday, February 28, 2010


I have a little obsession with 70's & 80's street gangs. I don't know what it is, but I think it has something to do with the cutoff denim vests. Or maybe it's because toughness back then just looked way tougher than it does now. Either way, I stumbled on a video about gangs in Bushwick from NBC circa '76, which features the Devil's Rebels and the 83rd Precinct (which is one precinct over from mine). I also found a crazy website about NYC gangs that's weird, but worth checking out. ihttp://www.classicnystreetgangs.com Holler at your Savage Nomads and Assassinators.

Have a good week.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Blackout Baby video

Sentence made a new video for Blackout Baby. I think it's dope. I hope you agree. Check it out, and if you dig it, please pass it along. Hope everyone had a good weekend.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roger Ebert Article in Esquire.

This is really long, and completely worth reading. I don't know why it resonated with me so much right now. Maybe I do know why, and don't feel like sharing. Nevertheless, here it is:

For the 281st time in the last ten months Roger Ebert is sitting down to watch a movie in the Lake Street Screening Room, on the sixteenth floor of what used to pass for a skyscraper in the Loop. Ebert's been coming to it for nearly thirty years, along with the rest of Chicago's increasingly venerable collection of movie critics. More than a dozen of them are here this afternoon, sitting together in the dark. Some of them look as though they plan on camping out, with their coats, blankets, lunches, and laptops spread out on the seats around them.

The critics might watch three or four movies in a single day, and they have rules and rituals along with their lunches to make it through. The small, fabric-walled room has forty-nine purple seats in it; Ebert always occupies the aisle seat in the last row, closest to the door. His wife, Chaz, in her capacity as vice-president of the Ebert Company, sits two seats over, closer to the middle, next to a little table. She's sitting there now, drinking from a tall paper cup. Michael Phillips, Ebert's bearded, bespectacled replacement on At the Movies, is on the other side of the room, one row down. The guy who used to write under the name Capone for Ain't It Cool News leans against the far wall. Jonathan Rosenbaum and Peter Sobczynski, dressed in black, are down front.

"Too close for me," Ebert writes in his small spiral notebook.

Today, Ebert's decided he has the time and energy to watch only one film, Pedro Almodóvar's new Spanish-language movie, Broken Embraces. It stars Penélope Cruz. Steve Kraus, the house projectionist, is busy pulling seven reels out of a cardboard box and threading them through twin Simplex projectors.

Unlike the others, Ebert, sixty-seven, hasn't brought much survival gear with him: a small bottle of Evian moisturizing spray with a pink cap; some Kleenex; his spiral notebook and a blue fine-tip pen. He's wearing jeans that are falling off him at the waist, a pair of New Balance sneakers, and a blue cardigan zipped up over the bandages around his neck. His seat is worn soft and reclines a little, which he likes. He likes, too, for the seat in front of him to remain empty, so that he can prop his left foot onto its armrest; otherwise his back and shoulders can't take the strain of a feature-length sitting anymore.

The lights go down. Kraus starts the movie. Subtitles run along the bottom of the screen. The movie is about a film director, Harry Caine, who has lost his sight. Caine reads and makes love by touch, and he writes and edits his films by sound. "Films have to be finished, even if you do it blindly," someone in the movie says. It's a quirky, complex, beautiful little film, and Ebert loves it. He radiates kid joy. Throughout the screening, he takes excited notes — references to other movies, snatches of dialogue, meditations on Almodóvar's symbolism and his use of the color red. Ebert scribbles constantly, his pen digging into page after page, and then he tears the pages out of his notebook and drops them to the floor around him. Maybe twenty or thirty times, the sound of paper being torn from a spiral rises from the aisle seat in the last row.

The lights come back on. Ebert stays in his chair, savoring, surrounded by his notes. It looks as though he's sitting on top of a cloud of paper. He watches the credits, lifts himself up, and kicks his notes into a small pile with his feet. He slowly bends down to pick them up and walks with Chaz back out to the elevators. They hold hands, but they don't say anything to each other. They spend a lot of time like that.

Roger Ebert can’t remember the last thing he ate. He can't remember the last thing he drank, either, or the last thing he said. Of course, those things existed; those lasts happened. They just didn't happen with enough warning for him to have bothered committing them to memory — it wasn't as though he sat down, knowingly, to his last supper or last cup of coffee or to whisper a last word into Chaz's ear. The doctors told him they were going to give him back his ability to eat, drink, and talk. But the doctors were wrong, weren't they? On some morning or afternoon or evening, sometime in 2006, Ebert took his last bite and sip, and he spoke his last word.

Ebert's lasts almost certainly took place in a hospital. That much he can guess. His last food was probably nothing special, except that it was: hot soup in a brown plastic bowl; maybe some oatmeal; perhaps a saltine or some canned peaches. His last drink? Water, most likely, but maybe juice, again slurped out of plastic with the tinfoil lid peeled back. The last thing he said? Ebert thinks about it for a few moments, and then his eyes go wide behind his glasses, and he looks out into space in case the answer is floating in the air somewhere. It isn't. He looks surprised that he can't remember. He knows the last words Studs Terkel's wife, Ida, muttered when she was wheeled into the operating room ("Louis, what have you gotten me into now?"), but Ebert doesn't know what his own last words were. He thinks he probably said goodbye to Chaz before one of his own trips into the operating room, perhaps when he had parts of his salivary glands taken out — but that can't be right. He was back on TV after that operation. Whenever it was, the moment wasn't cinematic. His last words weren't recorded. There was just his voice, and then there wasn't.

Now his hands do the talking. They are delicate, long-fingered, wrapped in skin as thin and translucent as silk. He wears his wedding ring on the middle finger of his left hand; he's lost so much weight since he and Chaz were married in 1992 that it won't stay where it belongs, especially now that his hands are so busy. There is almost always a pen in one and a spiral notebook or a pad of Post-it notes in the other — unless he's at home, in which case his fingers are feverishly banging the keys of his MacBook Pro.

He's also developed a kind of rudimentary sign language. If he passes a written note to someone and then opens and closes his fingers like a bird's beak, that means he would like them to read the note aloud for the other people in the room. If he touches his hand to his blue cardigan over his heart, that means he's either talking about something of great importance to him or he wants to make it clear that he's telling the truth. If he needs to get someone's attention and they're looking away from him or sitting with him in the dark, he'll clack on a hard surface with his nails, like he's tapping out Morse code. Sometimes — when he's outside wearing gloves, for instance — he'll be forced to draw letters with his finger on his palm. That's his last resort.

C-O-M-C-A-S-T, he writes on his palm to Chaz after they've stopped on the way back from the movie to go for a walk.

"Comcast?" she says, before she realizes — he's just reminded her that people from Comcast are coming over to their Lincoln Park brownstone not long from now, because their Internet has been down for three days, and for Ebert, that's the equivalent of being buried alive: C-O-M-C-A-S-T. But Chaz still wants to go for a walk, and, more important, she wants her husband to go for a walk, so she calls their assistant, Carol, and tells her they will be late for their appointment. There isn't any debate in her voice. Chaz Ebert is a former lawyer, and she doesn't leave openings. She takes hold of her husband's hand, and they set off in silence across the park toward the water.

They pass together through an iron gate with a sign that reads ALFRED CALDWELL LILY POOL. Ebert has walked hundreds of miles around this little duck pond, on the uneven stone path under the trees, most of them after one operation or another. The Eberts have lost track of the surgeries he has undergone since the first one, for thyroid cancer, in 2002, followed by the one on his salivary glands in 2003. After that, they disagree about the numbers and dates. "The truth is, we don't let our minds dwell on these things," Chaz says. She kept a journal of their shared stays in hospitals in Chicago and Seattle and Houston, but neither of them has had the desire to look at it. On those rare occasions when they agree to try to remember the story, they both lose the plot for the scenes. When Chaz remembers what she calls "the surgery that changed everything," she remembers its soundtrack best of all. Ebert always had music playing in his hospital room, an esoteric digital collection that drew doctors and nurses to his bedside more than they might have been otherwise inclined to visit. There was one song in particular he played over and over: "I'm Your Man," by Leonard Cohen. That song saved his life.

Seven years ago, he recovered quickly from the surgery to cut out his cancerous thyroid and was soon back writing reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times and appearing with Richard Roeper on At the Movies. A year later, in 2003, he returned to work after his salivary glands were partially removed, too, although that and a series of aggressive radiation treatments opened the first cracks in his voice. In 2006, the cancer surfaced yet again, this time in his jaw. A section of his lower jaw was removed; Ebert listened to Leonard Cohen. Two weeks later, he was in his hospital room packing his bags, the doctors and nurses paying one last visit, listening to a few last songs. That's when his carotid artery, invisibly damaged by the earlier radiation and the most recent jaw surgery, burst. Blood began pouring out of Ebert's mouth and formed a great pool on the polished floor. The doctors and nurses leapt up to stop the bleeding and barely saved his life. Had he made it out of his hospital room and been on his way home — had his artery waited just a few more songs to burst — Ebert would have bled to death on Lake Shore Drive. Instead, following more surgery to stop a relentless bloodletting, he was left without much of his mandible, his chin hanging loosely like a drawn curtain, and behind his chin there was a hole the size of a plum. He also underwent a tracheostomy, because there was still a risk that he could drown in his own blood. When Ebert woke up and looked in the mirror in his hospital room, he could see through his open mouth and the hole clear to the bandages that had been wrapped around his neck to protect his exposed windpipe and his new breathing tube. He could no longer eat or drink, and he had lost his voice entirely. That was more than three years ago.

Ebert spent more than half of a thirty-month stretch in hospitals. His breathing tube has been removed, but the hole in his throat remains open. He eats through a G-tube — he's fed with a liquid paste, suspended in a bag from an IV pole, through a tube in his stomach. He usually eats in what used to be the library, on the brownstone's second floor. (It has five stories, including a gym on the top floor and a theater — with a neon marquee — in the basement.) A single bed with white sheets has been set up among the books, down a hallway filled with Ebert's collection of Edward Lear watercolors. He shuffles across the wooden floor between the library and his living room, where he spends most of his time in a big black leather recliner, tipped back with his feet up and his laptop on a wooden tray. There is a record player within reach. The walls are white, to show off the art, which includes massive abstracts, movie posters (Casablanca, The Stranger), and aboriginal burial poles. Directly in front of his chair is a black-and-white photograph of the Steak 'n Shake in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, one of his hometown hangouts.

He believes he's had three more surgeries since the removal of his lower jaw; Chaz remembers four. Each time, however many times, surgeons carved bone and tissue and skin from his back, arm, and legs and transplanted them in an attempt to reconstruct his jaw and throat. Each time, he had one or two weeks of hope and relief when he could eat a little and drink a little and talk a little. Once, the surgery looked nearly perfect. ("Like a movie star," Chaz remembers.) But each time, the reconstructive work fell apart and had to be stripped out, the hole opened up again. It was as though the cancer were continuing to eat away at him, even those parts of him that had been spared. His right shoulder is visibly smaller than his left shoulder; his legs have been weakened and riddled with scars. After each attempt at reconstruction, he went to rehabilitation and physical therapy to fix the increasing damage done. (During one of those rehabilitation sessions, he fell and broke his hip.) He still can't sit upright for long or climb stairs. He's still figuring out how to use his legs.

At the start of their walk around the pond, Ebert worries about falling on a small gravel incline. Chaz lets go of his hand. "You can do it," she says, and she claps when Ebert makes it to the top on his own. Later, she climbs on top of a big circular stone. "I'm going to give my prayer to the universe," she says, and then she gives a sun salutation north, south, east, and west. Ebert raises his arms into the sky behind her.

They head home and meet with the people from Comcast, who talk mostly to Chaz. Their Internet will be back soon, but probably not until tomorrow. Disaster. Ebert then takes the elevator upstairs and drops into his chair. As he reclines it slowly, the entire chair jumps somehow, one of its back legs thumping against the floor. It had been sitting on the charger for his iPhone, and now the charger is crushed. Ebert grabs his tray and laptop and taps out a few words before he presses a button and speakers come to life.

"What else can go wrong?" the voice says.

The voice is called Alex, a voice with a generic American accent and a generic tone and no emotion. At first Ebert spoke with a voice called Lawrence, which had an English accent. Ebert liked sounding English, because he is an Anglophile, and his English voice reminded him of those beautiful early summers when he would stop in London with Chaz on their way home after the annual chaos of Cannes. But the voice can be hard to decipher even without an English accent layered on top of it — it is given to eccentric pronunciations, especially of names and places — and so for the time being, Ebert has settled for generic instead.

Ebert is waiting for a Scottish company called CereProc to give him some of his former voice back. He found it on the Internet, where he spends a lot of his time. CereProc tailors text-to-speech software for voiceless customers so that they don't all have to sound like Stephen Hawking. They have catalog voices — Heather, Katherine, Sarah, and Sue — with regional Scottish accents, but they will also custom-build software for clients who had the foresight to record their voices at length before they lost them. Ebert spent all those years on TV, and he also recorded four or five DVD commentaries in crystal-clear digital audio. The average English-speaking person will use about two thousand different words over the course of a given day. CereProc is mining Ebert's TV tapes and DVD commentaries for those words, and the words it cannot find, it will piece together syllable by syllable. When CereProc finishes its work, Roger Ebert won't sound exactly like Roger Ebert again, but he will sound more like him than Alex does. There might be moments, when he calls for Chaz from another room or tells her that he loves her and says goodnight — he's a night owl; she prefers mornings — when they both might be able to close their eyes and pretend that everything is as it was.

There are places where Ebert exists as the Ebert he remembers. In 2008, when he was in the middle of his worst battles and wouldn't be able to make the trip to Champaign-Urbana for Ebertfest — really, his annual spring festival of films he just plain likes — he began writing an online journal. Reading it from its beginning is like watching an Aztec pyramid being built. At first, it's just a vessel for him to apologize to his fans for not being downstate. The original entries are short updates about his life and health and a few of his heart's wishes. Postcards and pebbles. They're followed by a smattering of Welcomes to Cyberspace. But slowly the journal picks up steam, as Ebert's strength and confidence and audience grow. You are the readers I have dreamed of, he writes. He is emboldened. He begins to write about more than movies; in fact, it sometimes seems as though he'd rather write about anything other than movies. The existence of an afterlife, the beauty of a full bookshelf, his liberalism and atheism and alcoholism, the health-care debate, Darwin, memories of departed friends and fights won and lost — more than five hundred thousand words of inner monologue have poured out of him, five hundred thousand words that probably wouldn't exist had he kept his other voice. Now some of his entries have thousands of comments, each of which he vets personally and to which he will often respond. It has become his life's work, building and maintaining this massive monument to written debate — argument is encouraged, so long as it's civil — and he spends several hours each night reclined in his chair, tending to his online oasis by lamplight. Out there, his voice is still his voice — not a reasonable facsimile of it, but his.

"It is saving me," he says through his speakers.

He calls up a journal entry to elaborate, because it's more efficient and time is precious:

When I am writing my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.

He is a wonderful writer, and today he is producing the best work of his life. In 1975 he became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer prize, but his TV fame saw most of his fans, at least those outside Chicago, forget that he was a writer if they ever did know. (His Pulitzer still hangs in a frame in his book-lined office down the hall, behind a glass door that has THE EBERT COMPANY, LTD.: FINE FILM CRITICISM SINCE 1967 written on it in gold leaf.) Even for Ebert, a prolific author — he wrote long features on Paul Newman, Groucho Marx, and Hugh Hefner's daughter, among others, for this magazine in the late 1960s and early '70s and published dozens of books in addition to his reviews for the Sun-Times — the written word was eclipsed by the spoken word. He spent an entire day each week arguing with Gene Siskel and then Richard Roeper, and he became a regular on talk shows, and he shouted to crowds from red carpets. He lived his life through microphones.

But now everything he says must be written, either first on his laptop and funneled through speakers or, as he usually prefers, on some kind of paper. His new life is lived through Times New Roman and chicken scratch. So many words, so much writing — it's like a kind of explosion is taking place on the second floor of his brownstone. It's not the food or the drink he worries about anymore — I went thru a period when I obsessed about root beer + Steak + Shake malts, he writes on a blue Post-it note — but how many more words he can get out in the time he has left. In this living room, lined with thousands more books, words are the single most valuable thing in the world. They are gold bricks. Here idle chatter doesn't exist; that would be like lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills. Here there are only sentences and paragraphs divided by section breaks. Every word has meaning.

Even the simplest expressions take on higher power here. Now his thumbs have become more than a trademark; they're an essential means for Ebert to communicate. He falls into a coughing fit, but he gives his thumbs-up, meaning he's okay. Thumbs-down would have meant he needed someone to call his full-time nurse, Millie, a spectral presence in the house.

Millie has premonitions. She sees ghosts. Sometimes she wakes in the night screaming — so vivid are her dreams.

Ebert's dreams are happier. Never yet a dream where I can't talk, he writes on another Post-it note, peeling it off the top of the blue stack. Sometimes I discover — oh, I see! I CAN talk! I just forget to do it.

In his dreams, his voice has never left. In his dreams, he can get out everything he didn't get out during his waking hours: the thoughts that get trapped in paperless corners, the jokes he wanted to tell, the nuanced stories he can't quite relate. In his dreams, he yells and chatters and whispers and exclaims. In his dreams, he's never had cancer. In his dreams, he is whole.

These things come to us, they don't come from us, he writes about his cancer, about sickness, on another Post-it note. Dreams come from us.

We have a habit of turning sentimental about celebrities who are struck down — Muhammad Ali, Christopher Reeve — transforming them into mystics; still, it's almost impossible to sit beside Roger Ebert, lifting blue Post-it notes from his silk fingertips, and not feel as though he's become something more than he was. He has those hands. And his wide and expressive eyes, despite everything, are almost always smiling.

There is no need to pity me, he writes on a scrap of paper one afternoon after someone parting looks at him a little sadly. Look how happy I am.

In fact, because he's missing sections of his jaw, and because he's lost some of the engineering behind his face, Ebert can't really do anything but smile. It really does take more muscles to frown, and he doesn't have those muscles anymore. His eyes will water and his face will go red — but if he opens his mouth, his bottom lip will sink most deeply in the middle, pulled down by the weight of his empty chin, and the corners of his upper lip will stay raised, frozen in place. Even when he's really angry, his open smile mutes it: The top half of his face won't match the bottom half, but his smile is what most people will see first, and by instinct they will smile back. The only way Ebert can show someone he's mad is by writing in all caps on a Post-it note or turning up the volume on his speakers. Anger isn't as easy for him as it used to be. Now his anger rarely lasts long enough for him to write it down.

There's a reception to celebrate the arrival of a new ownership group at the Chicago Sun-Times, which Ebert feared was doomed to close otherwise. Ebert doesn't have an office in the new newsroom (the old one was torn down to make way for one of Donald Trump's glass towers), but so long as the newspaper exists, it's another one of those outlets through which he can pretend nothing has changed. His column mug is an old one, taken after his first couple of surgeries but before he lost his jaw, and his work still dominates the arts section. (A single copy of the paper might contain six of his reviews.) He's excited about seeing everybody. Millie helps him get dressed, in a blue blazer with a red pocket square and black slippers. Most of his old clothes don't fit him anymore: "For meaningful weight loss," the voice says, "I recommend surgery and a liquid diet." He buys his new clothes by mail order from L. L. Bean.

He and Chaz head south into the city; she drives, and he provides direction by pointing and knocking on the window. The reception is at a place that was called Riccardo's, around the corner from the Billy Goat. Reporters and editors used to stagger into the rival joints after filing rival stories from rival newsrooms. Riccardo's holds good memories for Ebert. But now it's something else — something called Phil Stefani's 437 Rush, and after he and Chaz ease up to the curb and he shuffles inside, his shoulders slump a little with the loss of another vestige of old Chicago.

He won't last long at the reception, maybe thirty or forty minutes. The only chairs are wooden and straight-backed, and he tires quickly in a crowd. When he walks into the room of journalistic luminaries — Roeper, Lynn Sweet, Rick Telander — they turn toward him and burst into spontaneous applause. They know he's earned it, and they don't know even half of what it's taken him just to get into the room, just to be here tonight, but there's something sad about the wet-eyed recognition, too. He's confronted by elegies everywhere he goes. People take longer to say goodbye to him than they used to. They fuss over him, and they linger around him, and they talk slowly to him. One woman at the party even writes him a note in his notepad, and Ebert has to point to his ears and roll his eyes. He would love nothing more than to be holding court in a corner of the room, telling stories about Lee Marvin and Robert Mitchum and Russ Meyer (who came to the Eberts' wedding accompanied by Melissa Mounds). Instead he's propped on a chair in the middle of the room like a swami, smiling and nodding and trying not to flinch when people pat him on the shoulder.

He took his hardest hit not long ago. After Roeper announced his departure from At the Movies in 2008 — Disney wanted to revamp the show in a way that Roeper felt would damage it — Ebert disassociated himself from it, too, and he took his trademarked thumbs with him. The end was not pretty, and the break was not clean. But because Disney was going to change the original balcony set as part of its makeover, it was agreed, Ebert thought, that the upholstered chairs and rails and undersized screen would be given to the Smithsonian and put on display. Ebert was excited by the idea. Then he went up to visit the old set one last time and found it broken up and stacked in a dumpster in an alley.

After saying their goodbyes to his colleagues (and to Riccardo's), Ebert and Chaz go out for dinner, to one of their favorite places, the University Club of Chicago. Hidden inside another skyscraper, there's a great Gothic room, all stone arches and stained glass. The room is filled mostly with people with white hair — there has been a big push to find younger members to fill in the growing spaces in the membership ranks — and they nod and wave at him and Chaz. They're given a table in the middle of the room.

Ebert silently declines all entreaties from the fussy waiters. Food arrives only for Chaz and a friend who joins them. Ebert writes them notes, tearing pages from his spiral notepad, tapping his fingers together for his words to be read aloud. Everyone smiles and laughs about old stories. More and more, that's how Ebert lives these days, through memories, of what things used to feel like and sound like and taste like. When his friend suddenly apologizes for eating in front of him, for talking about the buttered scallops and how the cream and the fish and the wine combine to make a kind of delicate smoke, Ebert shakes his head. He begins to write and tears a note from the spiral.

No, no, it reads. You're eating for me.

Gene Siskel died eleven years ago, in February 1999, from a brain tumor. He was fifty-three years old. He had suffered terrible headaches in those last several months, but he was private about his pain. He didn't talk about being sick or how he felt or what he expected or hoped for. He was stoic and solitary and quiet in his death. Siskel and Ebert were both defined, for most of their adult lives, by comparative measures: the fat one, the bald one, the loud one, the skinny one. Siskel was also the careful one. He joked that Ebert's middle name was "Full Disclosure." Ebert's world has never had many secrets in it. Even at the end, when Siskel knew what was coming, he kept his secrets. He and Ebert never once spoke about his looming death.

There are pictures of Siskel all over the brownstone — on the grand piano, in the kitchen, on bookshelves. The biggest one is in the living room; Ebert can see it from his recliner. In almost all the pictures, Siskel and Ebert — never Ebert and Siskel — are standing together, shoulder to shoulder, smiling, two big thumbs-up. In the picture in the living room, they're also wearing tuxedos.

"Oh, Gene," Chaz says, and that's all she says.

All these years later, the top half of Ebert's face still registers sadness when Siskel's name comes up. His eyes well up behind his glasses, and for the first time, they overwhelm his smile. He begins to type into his computer, slowly, deliberately. He presses the button and the speakers light up. "I've never said this before," the voice says, "but we were born to be Siskel and Ebert." He thinks for a moment before he begins typing again. There's a long pause before he hits the button. "I just miss the guy so much," the voice says. Ebert presses the button again. "I just miss the guy so much."

Last February, to mark the tenth anniversary of Siskel's death, Ebert wrote an entry in his online journal called "Remembering Gene." He calls it up on his screen. It is beautifully written, filled with stories about arguments, even pitched battles, but nearly every memory is tinged with love and humor. Ebert scrolls through each paragraph, his eyes brimming, the smile winning again. The first lousy balcony set had painted pop bottles for rail supports. Siskel had courtside tickets for the Bulls and thought Phil Jackson was a sage. His beautiful daughters, Cate and Callie, were the flower girls for the Eberts' wedding.

And then comes the turn. Gene's first headache struck in the back of a limo on their way to be on Leno, which was broadcasting from Chicago. In front of the audience, Siskel could manage only to agree with everything Ebert said; they made it a gag. That night Siskel went to the Bulls game because they were in the playoffs, but the next day he underwent some tests. Not long after that, he had surgery, but he never told anyone where he was going to have it. He came back and for a time he continued taping the show with Ebert. Siskel's nephew would help him to his seat on the set, but only after the set was cleared.

Our eyes would meet, the voice reads from Ebert's journal, unspoken words were between us, but we never spoke openly about his problems or his prognosis. That's how he wanted it, and that was his right.

Gene Siskel taped his last show, and within a week or two he was dead. Ebert had lost half his identity.

He scrolls down to the entry's final paragraph.

We once spoke with Disney and CBS about a sitcom to be titled "Best Enemies." It would be about two movie critics joined in a love/hate relationship. It never went anywhere, but we both believed it was a good idea. Maybe the problem was that no one else could possibly understand how meaningless was the hate, how deep was the love.

Ebert keeps scrolling down. Below his journal he had embedded video of his first show alone, the balcony seat empty across the aisle. It was a tribute, in three parts. He wants to watch them now, because he wants to remember, but at the bottom of the page there are only three big black squares. In the middle of the squares, white type reads: "Content deleted. This video is no longer available because it has been deleted." Ebert leans into the screen, trying to figure out what's happened. He looks across at Chaz. The top half of his face turns red, and his eyes well up again, but this time, it's not sadness surfacing. He's shaking. It's anger.

Chaz looks over his shoulder at the screen. "Those fu — " she says, catching herself.

They think it's Disney again — that they've taken down the videos. Terms-of-use violation.

This time, the anger lasts long enough for Ebert to write it down. He opens a new page in his text-to-speech program, a blank white sheet. He types in capital letters, stabbing at the keys with his delicate, trembling hands: MY TRIBUTE, appears behind the cursor in the top left corner. ON THE FIRST SHOW AFTER HIS DEATH. But Ebert doesn't press the button that fires up the speakers. He presses a different button, a button that makes the words bigger. He presses the button again and again and again, the words growing bigger and bigger and bigger until they become too big to fit the screen, now they're just letters, but he keeps hitting the button, bigger and bigger still, now just shapes and angles, just geometry filling the white screen with black like the three squares. Roger Ebert is shaking, his entire body is shaking, and he's still hitting the button, bang, bang, bang, and he's shouting now. He's standing outside on the street corner and he's arching his back and he's shouting at the top of his lungs.

His doctors would like to try one more operation, would like one more chance to reclaim what cancer took from him, to restore his voice. Chaz would like him to try once more, too. But Ebert has refused. Even if the cancer comes back, he will probably decline significant intervention. The last surgery was his worst, and it did him more harm than good. Asked about the possibility of more surgery, he shakes his head and types before pressing the button.

"Over and out," the voice says.

Ebert is dying in increments, and he is aware of it.

I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear, he writes in a journal entry titled "Go Gently into That Good Night." I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can't say it wasn't interesting. My lifetime's memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.

There has been no death-row conversion. He has not found God. He has been beaten in some ways. But his other senses have picked up since he lost his sense of taste. He has tuned better into life. Some things aren't as important as they once were; some things are more important than ever. He has built for himself a new kind of universe. Roger Ebert is no mystic, but he knows things we don't know.

I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Ebert takes joy from the world in nearly all the ways he once did. He has had to find a new way to laugh — by closing his eyes and slapping both hands on his knees — but he still laughs. He and Chaz continue to travel. (They spent Thanksgiving in Barbados.) And he still finds joy in books, and in art, and in movies — a greater joy than he ever has. He gives more movies more stars.

But now it's getting late, which means he has his own work to do. Chaz heads off to bed. Millie, for the moment, hasn't been seized by night terrors, and the brownstone is quiet and nearly dark. Just the lamp is lit beside his chair. He leans back. He streams Radio Caroline — the formerly pirate radio station — and he begins to write. Everything fades out but the words. They appear quickly. Perfect sentences, artful sentences, illuminating sentences come out of him at a ridiculous, enviable pace, his fingers sometimes struggling to keep up.

Earlier today, his publisher sent him two copies of his newest book, the silver-jacketed Great Movies III, wrapped in plastic. Ebert turned them over in his hands, smiling with satisfaction — he wrote most of it in hospital beds — before he put them on a shelf in his office, by the desk he can no longer sit behind. They filled the last hole on the third shelf of his own published work; later this year, another book — The Pot and How to Use It, a collection of Ebert's rice-cooker recipes — will occupy the first space on a fourth shelf. Ebert's readers have asked him to write his autobiography next, but he looks up from his laptop and shrugs at the thought. He's already written a lot about himself on his journal, about his little childhood home in Champaign-Urbana and the days he spent on TV and in hospitals, and he would rather not say the same thing twice.

Besides, he has a review to finish. He returns his attention to his laptop, its glow making white squares in his glasses. Music plays. Words come.

Pedro Almodóvar loves the movies with lust and abandon and the skill of an experienced lover. "Broken Embraces" is a voluptuary of a film, drunk on primary colors, caressing Penélope Cruz, using the devices of a Hitchcock to distract us with surfaces while the sinister uncoils beneath. As it ravished me, I longed for a freeze-frame to allow me to savor a shot.

Ebert gives it four stars.