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Like Wow Man, Cosmic Xmas

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 13, 2006 3:40PM

The Chicago Cultural Center is one of those magnificent hives of activity that's so accessible that it's far too easy to take for granted. It's right there on Michigan Avenue, and impossible not to see; yet we often just rush right past it without giving it a thought. Well, we want to change that, especially after seeing the breathtaking Tiffany dome recently.

Tonight at 7 p.m. the Cultural Center hosts an event sponsored by the Chicago Film Archives, Cosmic Christmas, a program of odd/creepy/campy 16mm treasures from their vaults. And make no mistake, they have interesting vaults: the bulk of the Archives are items previously held by the Chicago Public Library with additional items donated by various Chicagoans.

The holiday program includes shorts and filmstrips made between the 40's and 60's with titles like "Christmas Thru the Ages," "Santa Claus Story," "The Christmas Deer," "Christmas Cracker" and "The Fairy Princess." The titles conjure up images of vintage Santas, low-budget industrial animation, awkward ballet and aluminum Christmas trees. It sounds like a blast, and best of all it's free.

The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 East Washington. "Wispy Morning" image courtesy of josephp.