There’s No Place Like The Arts District for the Holidays!

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It’s that time of year again, waistlines are expanding, Dylan isn’t wearing shorts, and people are wrestling with each other over deals on flat screen TV’s. That’s right folks, “the holidays” are upon us and if your family is anything like my family you’ve already purchased all of your gifts for yourself and informed the family member of what they owe you. The logic behind this form of gift giving is you never get a gift that you don’t want. Sadly it does take the element of surprise out of opening the gift. Luckily there is still time to put some of the magic back into “the holidays” right here in the Oak Park Arts District. The schedule for holiday lights is out and there are plenty of ways to give original gifts your family will be sure to love. Or you could just give them the bottle of Grey Goose they’ve had their eye on…and now that I’ve revealed Gil’s present I’ll have to keep this article from him.

If you remember anything from November’s article I hope it’s that the Oak Park Arts District is attempting to give an alternative to material gifts, “We want to encourage people to think of the District as yes, a place where they can Shop Artfully but also as a place where you can have or give an experience centered around the Arts (be they the traditional arts like painting or culinary arts, theatrical arts, healing arts, etc)”.   Hence the theme of holiday lights this year, “Give the gift of happiness this holiday season.  Indulge in the Artistic”. Bead in Hand, located at 145 Harrison Street, is a lovely place with inexpensive drop in workshops, “We’ll have $5 drop-in projects every Friday and Saturday November 21 to December 20, great for all ages.  Frozen themed drop-in workshops are planned for winter break”. Handmade gifts are a wonderful way to not only give someone something but to also say that they are worth the time and care to make something for them. Bead in Hand will be offering a Candy Cane earring workshop on Friday December 5th from 2-6 p.m. and on Saturday December 6th from 2-5 p.m. On Friday December 12th and Saturday December 13th it’s angel earring time and Friday December 19th and Saturday December 20th it’s button wreath ornament time. All drop-in workshops are only five dollars and open to the public. For more information please contact them at 708-848-1761, or via e-mail info@beadinhand.com, or online at www.beadinhand.com.

Now if beads are not your thing and you’re still looking to escape from or with the family for an evening look no further than Open Door Theater. There resident improv troupe will get you to forget for a moment how you are ever going to seat eighteen people at a table built for twelve, “Laughter is the gift that keeps on giving, so ring in the holidays with The League of Improv Heroes, Open Door’s Resident Improv Troupe”. The “Heroes” will perform Friday December 5th, 12th, & 19th at 8 p.m. tickets are $15. If comedy isn’t your thing but you still want to escape little Johnny who won’t stop asking for a new bike you can still head to Open Door for some holiday jazz, “Swing into the spirit of the season with Holiday Jazz Duets with Linda Solotaire & Saalik, featuring Leandro Lopez-Varady on Piano”. The solo performance of Holiday Jazz Duets: Saalik & Linda Solotaire with Leandro Lopez-Varady on piano is Saturday December 6th at 8 p.m. tickets are $18 general Admission and $15 for students and seniors. For more information on these shows and to find out the additional shows playing this December at Open Door head to www.opendoorrep.org or call the box office at 708.342.0810.

Here at the Buzz we will of course have lights in our windows and we will be selling pumpkin, apple, pecan pies, peppermint bark, and one dozen or two dozen tins of cookies for Christmas as well as having latkes on Hanukah night. Makes sure to get your Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Solstice, or insert holiday here pie order in today as the holidays are drawing near, you can place an order in person with any Manager, or call the office number 708-660-0894 to place an order. Payment is due at the time the order is placed and we accept all major credit cards. This year we are also offering gluten free options for all of the pies we sell, unfortunately we can only offer a vegan option with our apple pie. For Christmas cookies and peppermint bark you can call and place an order for pick up at the same number or if you’re lucky enough you can just come in and pick up a tin as we keep a couple to sell in house. To get involved with Hanukah night you actually don’t contact anyone at the Buzz Café, we just provide the space and the food. If you would like to join us please contact Mike Bass at embass@aol.com as soon as possible as that is one of the only nights a year at the Buzz Café where it is hard to find a table.

For more information on the rest of the events taking place during holiday lights head to www.oakparkartsdistrict.com, Dancing Know Studio at 41-43 Harrison Street will be having events on Friday December 12th & 19th from 6-10 p.m. They can be reached at (708) 601-7497, Harrison Works on 17 Harrison Street is having an “Original Cigar Box Ukuleles” by Larry Vitalo from 6-10pm on Friday December 19th, and they can be reached at (708) 308-4602. If your kids are pestering you too much you can always send them off to Pamela Penney Textile Arts:  Sew-Flake Winter Break Camp, 9-1pm Monday December 22nd and Tuesday December 23rd. For more information and to register your child age 7-11 visit pamelapenney.com or call 708-383-2602.

 So I know that I may come off as a “Scrooge” during “the holidays” but if you really know me you’d know that I’m a softy at heart. I just prefer to calm of Boxing Day to the anxiety of preparing for “the holidays”.

Matthew Johnston, Feature Writer

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