Friday, Nov. 21

A benefit for PADS and St. Christopher’s

For all the comparisons of Oak Park with Evanston, four local potters are hoping one of the northern suburb’s successes will take hold here. A ceramics sale that for the last decade and a half has been a hit for the McGaw YMCA in Evanston-and a benefit to its scholarship programs-inspired three Oak Park potters who have been part of it to start a similar event close to home. They joined with another Oak Parker who’s a kindred spirit in their art and now Mary Dye, Roberta Polfus, Linda Hillman and Nancy Gardner are leading Artisan WinterFair at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church this weekend.

The potters have rallied six other local artists-five in textiles and one in jewelry-for a show where 20 percent of their earnings will go to West Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) and to programs for youth at St. Christopher’s. The fair continues from
to Saturday, Nov. 22, and from to Sunday, Nov. 23. See the range of work at For other details, call Linda Bolte at 524-1568. St. Christopher’s is at

545 S. East Ave.
in Oak Park.

Friday, Nov. 21
Anniversary partying begins at

Marion Street
Cheese Market

It’s a long weekend of foodie partying in downtown Oak Park as Marion Street Cheese Market hosts four days of anniversary fun to celebrate its growth since Thanksgiving eve 2004. That’s when Eric Larson and his wife, Michelle Sherman, opened the doors to a 740-square-foot cheese shop at

North Boulevard
Marion Street
. Four months ago, the Larsons and two partners-Michael Pivoney, executive chef, and Mary Jo Schuler-took the business under the el tracks into the Opera Club building, to the corner of Marion and South Boulevard. The new place is a 4,200-square-foot food emporium-which does stock about 90 varieties of cheese at a time.

There will be free tastings and toasts all weekend, some with live music. Birthday cake will be served Monday night.

Marion Street
Cheese Market, 100 S. Marion, Oak Park. 708-725-7200

Friday, Nov. 21

Harrison Street
, aglow in holiday spirit

The shops, galleries and dining establishments in Oak Park‘s Arts District-on

Harrison Street
, from
Ridgeland Avenue
Austin Boulevard
-are going all-out with their Third Friday late-night this month. It’s Lights on Harrison time, as South Oak Park‘s shopping and dining destination decks out and carries the spirit of holiday welcome throughout the weekend.

Just about every business in the arts district is doing something extra. Here are a few we’ve got details for:

• Gallery Pink, at 149
Harrison (at Lombard), the weekend mix is called Festivitart. Works on display will include paintings by Jean Devaud and by gallery owner Janice Elkins, pottery by John Spiteri, ceramic sculpture by Ann Primack, drawings and sculpture by Margot McMahon and artisan: boxes and frames by Maura Checconi.  Chicago artist Nicole Hollander, a paper sculptor and nationally syndicated cartoonist for Sylvia, will be doing a book signing on Saturday from to

• Dancing Krow Studio, at 43
Harrison, will be hosting artists Karen Schuman, Christine Gleason and Bruce MacMartin. Their work will be on display and refreshments will be served from to Friday, to Saturday and to Sunday. 847-537-9187

• Briejo, at 211
Harrison, is the new restaurant and bar in the arts district, having opened just two weeks ago. The name, pronounced BREE-joe, is a composite of the owners’ first names: Brigette Lytle, an Oak Parker, and Jody André, a Forest Parker. The other name to know here is the chef, Michael DeBerry, whose cooking cred and enthusiasm we introduce in this week’s Holiday Food section. 708-848-2743

• Bead in Hand, at 145 Harrison, is welcoming owner Doris Weinbaum back to Oak Park for a weekend visit since her recent move to California, and everyone there is the shopping is celebrating Bead in Hand’s 15th anniversary.

Friday, Nov. 21

Save on Circle Theatre’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Circle Theatre channels the original material girl in a musical that will have you thinking of Marilyn Monroe gushing through “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” On Friday nights, catch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at a savings: $20. Reservations required: 771-0700, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park.

Saturday, Nov. 22

Oak Park Farmers Market Band in concert

Yes, it’s possible to see the Oak Park Farmers Market Band after the market closes. Soak in the bluegrass and don’t sweat the doughnuts this Saturday morning  ’cause there’ll be plenty of coffee. The band will have a three-hour gig at Buzz Café, in the Oak Park Arts District. 905 S. Lombard, at Harrison. 708-660-0894,

Saturday, Nov. 22

Cooking class with Chef Gaetano

A wood-burning oven isn’t only for pizza. That’s the first lesson in Chef Gaetano DiBenedetto’s Saturday-morning class this month. To get more insights-and sips of suggested wines, call 708-366-4010 to reserve at spot. $60. Gaetano’s is at 7636 W. Madison in Forest Park.

Saturday, Nov. 22

Oak Parker’s trunk show at Team Blonde, in Forest Park

Bits of bike chains, tail lights, swizzle sticks and countertops are building blocks for jewelry in the Oak Park basement studio of silversmith Alix Mikesell. She’ll be showing her line, called Happenstance, at the Forest Park shop that specializes in green accessories: Team Blonde. 7442 W. Madison. 771-5590,

Saturday, Nov. 22

An Encounter with Frank Lloyd Wright”

That’s the title of an afternoon presentation at the Oak Park Arms by Lyman Shepard, a retired stockbroker, architectural historian and Wright scholar. As Wright, Shepard will give us nuggets from the oft-scandalous career of man who put Oak Park on architectural radar. To be perfectly proper, the talk include will a show-and-tell about Wright’s masterpiece buildings, in Oak Park and around the world. Oak Park Arms is at

408 S. Oak Park Ave.

Sunday, Nov. 23

Shellfish 101 at Flavour Cooking School

A lecture on the fine points of handling shellfish will lead to a demonstration of four dishes: tomato seafood stew, Asian crab cakes, grilled scallops and lobster bisque. $50. Call 488-0808 to reserve a spot. 7401 W.
Madison, Forest Park.

Sunday, Nov. 23

Free concert by world-class pianist 

The Oak Park Library presents Russian native, Oak Park resident and pianist, Svetlana Krasnova in a free piano concert of classical music. Krasnova has graduate degrees in piano from the Gnesin Academy of Music in Moscow. She has performed in several musical galas including the Weathershield Music Festival in Vermont and the Rome Opera Festival in Italy. At the main branch of the Oak Park Public Library. 834 Lake St. 383-8200,

Sunday, Nov. 23

A YouTube sensation at Dominican

An act in a chamber series that packs YouTube appeal-with the Project, that’s what you’re getting in a concert at Dominican University’s Performing Arts Center. The artists in the trio are Greg Pattillo on flute, Eric Stephenson on cello and Peter Seymour on double bass. Pattillo’s beatbox flute rates 20 million hits on YouTube. The trio adds original tunes to its signature mix of jazz and the classics. $24. At Lund Auditorium, 7900 W. Division, in River Forest. 708-488-5000,

Sunday, Nov. 23

A Christmas concert, with classical voices

Oak Park Concert Chorale director Paul Lindblad will lead the local ensemble, now in its 28th season, in a concert headlined by Vivaldi’s Magnificat. Lindblad will direct his choir of about 30 voices through a show that also will include work by Oak Park composer Paul Bouman. For the pieces that aren’t a cappella, the accompanist will be Oak Parker Hannah Voigt. The concert will at St. John Lutheran Church in Forest Park, where Lindbland is director of liturgics. $18; $10 for seniors and students; free for children kindergarten age and younger. Group rates are available. For tickets, call 383-4742 or e-mail St. John Lutheran Church is at 305 Circle Ave. in Forest Park.