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Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

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Monday, December 10th ,  6PM-7:30PM

Chicago Public Library: Greater Grand Crossing Branch
1000 E 73rd. St.
Chicago, Illinois 60619 , go to map

Admissions: Free!

Join us for a special holiday screening on Chicago’s South Side. JOY TO YOU presents a mix of locally produced gems with some seasonal classics and award-winning animations…and it’s all in celebration of YOU and that annual Christmas spirit. Co-presented with the Black Cinema House.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Castle Films, inc., 1946, 8 min, from the Conneely Collection, DVD projection)
On first glance this short film seems like the same old telling of the classic Christmas Eve tale we’ve heard time and time again, but this sure isn’t the way I remember it! Check out the infinite stillness of “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”?  And the uber-creepy Santa can’t stop laughing. His ho-ho-ho is, well, so ceaseless and forced, it makes you want to ask him to hop back on that sleigh and skedaddle back to the Pole.

CHRISTMAS CRACKER (Norman McLaren, 1963, 9min, from the Chicago Public Library Collection, DVD projection)
Nominated for an Academy award for best short subject in 1965 and co-directed by Grant Munro, Jeff Hale, and Gerald Potterton, these four animations are bound together by shots of a crazy Christmas mime waving his hands indecipherably in the air! What’s he doing? Look out for cool jazz soundtracks, outerspace voyages, and tin toys come to life. A National Film Board of Canada production.

Sears “Dolls” commercial (1968, 1 min, from the Chuck Olin Collection, DVD projection)
A breathy narrator introduces us to the “doll with a mind of her own.” Uh-oh…trouble ahead.

THE BIG DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS (Charles Sharp, 1962, 9min, from the Charles Sharp Collection, DVD projection)
THE BIG DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS is a charming, and oh-so-Chicago, story of a boy who gets lost in the lights and smells of downtown Chicago at Christmas time. He is taken in by the famous holiday windows at Marshall Fields and various other downtown department stores on State Street and Michigan Avenue.  Sharp captures all of the creativity, craftsmanship, and the mechanical spookiness of these animatronic displays.  In a split-second conclusion, the boy discovers the meaning of the season as he finds his parents in the holiday crowds.

Directed by Charles D. Sharp, narrated by Burton Moore, sound by Jay Kaufman, the boy played by Eric Bettelheim, produced by Cameras International, Chicago.

Karoll’s “Santa Claus” commercial (1960s, 2 min, from the Chuck Olin Collection, DVD projection)
Okay, there’s enough amazing vintage menswear in this commercial for the now-extinct Karol’s department store to make any styling man drool, but forget the images. What’s the deal with the Santa voice-over? Why is he whispering to us? Wait a second, has he had too much holiday grog? We’re all having nightmares about this Santa tonight . . .

ELVIS: A 1968 COMEBACK SPECIAL (“Blue Christmas” excerpt) (produced & directed by Steve Binder, 1968, 4 min, from the Chicago Public Library Collection, DVD projection)
An excerpt from an Elvis Presley television special, which originally aired on the NBC Network on December 3, 1968. Presley and his bandmates perform this gloomy Christmas tune in an “unplugged” style amongst a crowd of screaming fans (male & female!).

Sears “Recording Studio” commercial (1968, 2 min, from the Chuck Olin Collection, DVD projection)
This advertisement for Sears’ Toy Town touches on the often complicated relationship between studio engineer and musician. Except, this time the engineer resides in a cardboard box.

IT’S SNOW (Gayle Thomas, 1974, 5 min, from the Chicago Public Library Collection, DVD projection)
Color cut-out animation inspired by the shape of snowflakes and touched with the airy magic of these fragile designs. While music tinkles invitingly, snowflakes roll and whirl, pulse and glitter, shining with the many hues of twinkling lights. Made without words, this is a joyous film to please the fancy and captivate eye and ear. (National Film Board of Canada)

FAT ALBERT: CHRISTMAS STORY (Bill Cosby, 1978, 23 min, from the Chicago Public Library Collection, DVD projection)
Fat Albert and the gang are in the clubhouse rehearsing a Christmas play when a little boy knocks at the door. He and his parents are from out of town, have no money and his mother is expecting a baby at any time. The gang takes them in — and then remembers that old Tightwad Tyrone, the junkyard owner, is going to destroy the clubhouse. Will Mr. Tyrone change his mean spirited ways and help this poor family out?!

Film program by Anne Wells
Film program notes by Michelle Puetz, Nancy Watrous & Anne Wells

Black Cinema House is the brain child of Chicago native, artist, and urban planner Theaster Gates. It is part of Gates’ Rebuild Foundation, a “not-for-profit, creative engine focusing on cultural and economic redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities.” Just getting its start this fall, The Black Cinema House will provide screenings and discussions of underseen works by film and video makers of the African and other diasporas in the historically underserved neighborhood of Grand Crossing in particular and the South Side of Chicago in general. Video classes and workshops will provide area youth with the skills to make their own films and tell their own stories.

Chicago Public Library: Greater Grand Crossing Branch
1000 E 73rd. St.
Chicago, Illinois 60619
go to map