Thanksgiving break: holiday viewing suggestions

"Legoland Thanksgiving Parade"

“Legoland Thanksgiving Parade”

From hip-hop
snow angels
to Lego parades,
an adult-sized portion
of casually-vetted Chicago
content to help readers get
the most out of the holiday

Falling onto a couch in front of a TV is the final and most relaxing course of every good Thanksgiving meal. It pairs well with prime time football, Charlie Brown, The Wizard of Oz, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

But getting there can be complicated by people disagreeing over what to watch and homeowners refusing to just let people eat their pie into the g—damn family room already. (Really, this is supposed to be a celebration.)

So here’s a quick list of suggestions to help pass the time and — for those who can beat the grog-inducing powers of tryptophan — to provide additional late night viewing.

SNOW DAY Over the course of an actual snow day, Chicago hip-hop artist Southside Jake enlisted colleagues Kidd Russell and The Fatman to write, record, edit, and release a rap tune and video about getting an unexpected, 24-hour wintertime holiday in the Ford City neighborhood just south of Midway Airport. The Lollapalooza-performing artist and his friends ended up cutting a semi viral hit that has generated nearly 7,000 views to date.


CHICAGO TALENT Seven-time award-winning editor and publicist Calynn Lawrence earned 40,000 collective views with Chicago Talent, a reality web series that showcases a collection of artists and small businesses. Combining a professional work ethic with tireless ambition and home grown finesse, she captures an abundance of charm and honesty from a hardworking group of Windy City residents.


AMERICA LA HERMOSA With help from NoiseFloor’s Devin Delaney, Chicago artist Sandra Antongiorgi’s Spanish version of America The Beautiful goes from sweet to rowdy in a little over two minutes. Recorded specifically for One City Films protest doc, F*** Your Hair, the song inspired Antongiorgi to think, “wake up, we can do better, we are a nation of immigrants,” as she brought the finale to an emotional crescendo.


THE T The award-winning web series follows Jo (Bea Cordelia), a trans woman craving an increasingly elusive intimacy, and Carter (Daniel Kyri), a queer Black man at odds with his conservative upbringing. Created by Chicago-based filmmakers Bea Cordelia and Daniel Kyri and currently streaming on Open Television, the show was made possible with a ton of help from the Chicago film community, including Full Spectrum Features, the Chicago Film Office, DCASE, and Periscope Post & Audio.


GEEK LOUNGE Chicago filmmaker Larry Ziegelman transformed his juvenile comic book obsession into a web series that gained Seed & Spark distribution last month. Following a group of outcasts in a bar that serves their kind, the story becomes a “quest for love, liquor, and answers to the world’s nerdiest debates.” Ziegelman combined an excruciating degree of refinement to his first-hand subcultural knowledge while getting it done, and the results are worth every minute.


ZERO WEEKS Chicago director Ky Dickens’ award-winning documentary is about the importance of temporarily leaving work to stay healthy. Offering intimate portraits of people who have adjusted their careers to care for a newborn, deal with a grave illness, mourn the loss of a loved one, or care for a family member, Zero Weeks reveals an impending national crisis: When people worry that taking time off for family or medical issues might put their jobs at risk, they can become demotivated and, occasionally, quit. See the trailer below. Watch the full film at Freestyle Digital Media or iTunes.


ART & DESIGN IN CHICAGO WTTW’s multi-part documentary series, created in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art, celebrates the city’s creative past through stories narrated by prominent local hosts. Click here to view all four episodes: If You Build It…, The Black Metropolis of Art, Give the Customers What They Want, and Off the Grid.


LADY PARTS JUSTICE IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER Nothing intensifies the holidays like a divisive political topic, and The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films deliver the goods with Lady Parts Justice in the New World Order. The activist / comedian “navigates vitriolic, conservative landscape” with a team of reproductive rights advocates who “put our labias out there in the forefront to expose the bullsh—t” According to the creator, segments like the Vagical Mystery Tour are “fun as f—k.”


LEGOLAND THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE This quick trip through a holiday exhibit at Legoland’s Discovery Center in Schaumburg does not include a cast or a plot, but it does show what can be done with patience, skill, and 3,000 pieces of the amazingly versatile toy.