Get with your creative program

Opinion

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By JACK CROWE

What are you doing with the other side of your brain? I know the left side goes to work, shuttles the kids and does the shopping.  But what about the right side? The creative side? What are you doing in your spare time that others outside Oak Park would never do because of a busy TV schedule?

And I am not talking about full-time artists who have the luxury of sitting in a studio on Harrison Street painting to their heart's content. I know there are lots of "real" artists in Oak Park, people who wear berets and chain-smoke. For full-time artists, creativity must be a terrible burden, something that stares you in the face each morning like a grim reminder.

For casual artists, creative expression is a gas. Part-time artists do not have time to feel angst. Getting a couple evenings free to do what they love is like getting away on spring break.

Here are some people I know in Oak Park who despite busy schedules find time for creative outlets. First, there is my wife. She has a sideline doing what I dismissively call the "plastic" arts. That is, she makes things at which, with my ten thumbs, I can only gawk in amazement. She makes exquisite prairie style stained glass windows. She quilts. Despite its postage stamp size, she had our garden on the Garden Walk this year, which is the closest thing we have to royalty in Oak Park. I once found her on a railroad embankment in River Forest cutting bramble to use in holiday wreaths. This does not happen in other neighborhoods.

The acorn must not fall far from the tree because my mother-in-law, who kept herself busy working, golfing and traveling before she moved to Oak Park, has now taken up painting classes at the Oak Park Art League on Chicago Avenue.

Last week a friend of mine, Kevin Bry, who is a lawyer by day, went public with his production of Our Village, a play that he penned and is producing on the history of Oak Park. It opens in the High School studio later this month. Who knew?

Another friend who has a lovely lyric soprano voice but cannot afford to give up the corporate day job teaches voice in the evenings at Cappelli's Studio and gives occasional classical recitals.

Here is my advice Ms and Mr. Oak Park. If you have not yet found your creative outlet in the village, get with the program. Forget those vapid New Years resolutions. Forget the busy schedule that barely leaves enough time for sleep.

If you have an inkling for dance, call the Academy of Movement and Music. Operators are waiting. If you want to putter with pottery, there are places in Oak Park that can make it happen. Remember, that is why you moved here in the first place.

And as for me? With the right side of my brain, I will be appearing as Felix in a production of the Odd Couple at Village Players Theatre on Madison Street from January 23 through February 12. You will want to catch this production before the "real" artists, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reprise this Neil Simon comedy on Broadway next Fall.

Information is at Village-Players.org or (708)524-1892.

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