Special Media Editon


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Is Oak Park one of America's 'sexiest suburbs'?

Well, we'll know this week when the people at The View make their decision, but we seem somehow to have made the top 10. Which is why Joe Kreml, the village's video guru was out shooting footage during Downtown Oak Park's "Thursday Night Out" dining promotion last week. Donna Ogdon Chen, executive director of DTOP, was on hand to provide ideas. They took some film of John Mahoney dining at Marion Street Grille (celebrity is sexy), and shots of interracial and gay and lesbian couples (diversity is sexy), and people at sidewalk cafes (coffee is, if not sexy, then stimulating). Kreml also included footage of dancers at the Academy of Movement and Music (the arts are sexy), Frank Lloyd Wright homes (architecture is sexy?), people hanging out at Scoville Park (sunbathing is sexy), and Farmers Market (vegetables are sexy?).

"Sexy is kind of a subjective thing," laughed Kreml, "but there are plenty of attractive people in Oak Park."

"The footage and facts about Oak Park were amazing," said Karen Pollack, a producer for The View. Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group real estate firm in New York, who does a lot of "hot properties" type segments on TV, Pollack said, came up with the "sexiest suburbs" concept. They contacted 10 towns and asked for footage and facts. Oak Park got the call just last Wednesday, which is why Ogdon Chen and Kreml were out scrambling for shots last Thursday. The deadline was Friday.

"The footage was awesome," Pollack said. "Oak Park is definitely in the running." They're looking at a number of criteria, she said, everything from census data (number of singles, for instance, and the male-female ratio) to hot date spots, the number of plastic surgeons, and how many Mercedes are sold (Volvos are sexier).

As Kreml said, sexy is subjective.

The top five sexiest suburbs will be named on the July 20 broadcast of The View, which airs on ABC at 10 a.m.

We can hardly wait.

Trading Spaces with Noble Fools?

If the Trading Spaces foray into Oak Park seemed unusual to neighbors?#34;scripted fights by actors in an unscripted show??#34;that's because it was. The homeowners involved in the filming?#34;on South Harvey and South Highland avenues?#34;are also associated with Noble Fool, an improv comedy troupe. One of them, Lynda Shadrake, declined comment because all involved signed confidentiality agreements, but she referred us to Don Halcombe, spokesperson for The Learning Channel (where Trading Spaces airs). Halcombe admitted that in this "fun" episode, "Not everything is as it seems." It's scheduled to air on Sept. 10, but that could change, according to Halcombe. Stay tuned.

Breakfast with the Johnsons revisited

And continuing our odyssey through the media, our theater critic, Doug Deuchler, informed us that last Saturday's Those Were the Days radio show (1:30 p.m., WDCB-FM, 90.9) ran two 15-minute segments of "Breakfast with the Johnsons," the hit "reality" radio show from the 1940s and '50s, featuring the late Cliff Johnson, who died earlier this year, and his family sitting around the family kitchen with a microphone having breakfast and talking about any and everything. The segments came from the April 24-25, 1952 broadcasts.

"Maybe somebody would want to record it for posterity," Deuchler said.

Which raises an interesting idea. Seems like the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest ought to have a complete set of the breakfast broadcasts in their collection.

Meanwhile, the website for the radio station is www.wdcb.com.

Don't miss 'Mad Hot Ballroom'

Doug Deuchler is also responsible for the week's other top tip: the documentary film Mad Hot Ballroom, about ballroom dancing classes and competition in the New York City public school system. It's currently showing at The Lake, but independent films and especially documentaries don't hang around long, so don't waste any time. We guarantee you'll feel better about the world when you come out of the theater. And it's always worthwhile patronizing independent/art films because it encourages The Lake to book more of them.

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