For four decades, filmmaker Tom Palazzolo has been the purveyor of affectionate, poignant, and dark musings on Chicago's urban landscapes, creating low-budget documentaries about the strange, hypnotic, and diverse ethnography of Chicago. This release features three films representing different eras of his work. Labor Day, East Chicago (1979) chronicles a neighborhood celebration featuring senior citizens, beauty queen candidates, and the local Lions Club chapter. With his observational style, Palazzolo captures the little details that make the people and places seem so familiar yet representative of another time and place. I Married a Munchkin (1994) presents the life and times of Mary Ellen St. Aubin, a woman small in stature who lived large. She and her husband, Pernell St. Aubin--one of the original Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz--were in show business for much of their lives, but they retired to run the legendary Midget Club on Chicago's South Side. Down Clark Street (2000) offers a personal perspective on the evolution of Palazzolo's neighborhood over the years. Using photographs from the 1960s, he compares the gritty, colorful urban landscape of old Clark Street with the glass structures and unremarkable storefronts of today. "While Tom Palazzolo's films feature distinctively Chicago imagery and subjects, they move beyond purely regional concerns to embrace archetypal ideas about American history, civil rights, and personal and political expression" (The Art Institute of Chicago).
Tom Palazzolo---USA---1979-2000---92 mins.