| Chicago Reader

Held in Philadelphia every New Year's Day, the Mummers Parade ranks as one of the country's most peculiar institutions: hundreds of men from tough working-class neighborhoods inhale beer and dress up as women, wearing elaborate self-designed outfits of silk and sequins, as rival brigades compete for what one participant calls "bragging rights." This entertaining 2001 documentary by Max L. Raab sheds some light on the event using both archival footage and numerous interviews. The marchers participate in different categories, from "fancy" divisions that perform choreographed dance routines (the rehearsal scenes, with macho guys in Flyers jerseys and cutoff T-shirts throwing their hands in the air, must be seen to be believed) to "string bands" that play pop standards using garish combinations of saxophone, banjo, and accordion. 68 min. Sun 5:15 PM and Wed 8:30 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, 312-846-2800.

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