Actual fun

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7 to 8:45 p.m.Thursday, Sept. 4
Big band concert in the park

Step through a greenhouse of palms and succulents to get to a concert with fox-trot and tango beats. The Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra, a band of 15 musicians who are regulars at Uptown's Green Mill Jazz Club, comes to the Bluestone Terrace at Garfield Park Conservatory for the last show in the conservatory alliance's summer Legacy Music Series. Terrace seats for the outdoor show are $10. No worries about rain: Horticultural Hall is the conservatory's indoor venue option. At 300 N. Central Park Ave.-about 4 miles east of the Oak Park-Chicago line, in the city's Austin neighborhood. 773-638-1766, ext. 26, www.garfieldconservatory.org

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4
Reading and book signing by Gioia Diliberto

Survival in Coco Chanel's world is the haute couture yarn in the second novel, The Collection ($15), from the Chicago author known for biographies of Jane Addams and Hadley Hemingway and for her 2004 novel, I Am Madame X. Barbara's Bookstore, 1100 Lake, Oak Park. 848-9140, www.barbarasbookstore.com

Thursday, Sept. 4
Dime-a-Dance

During its Dance Marathon Week-Tuesday, Sept. 2, through Sunday, Sept. 7- Intuit studio, in Oak Park's Arts District, is offering chances to try out dance for 10 cents a class: hip hop, ballet, belly dance and other classes for adults, children and teens. 237 Harrison, Oak Park. 524-0500, www.intuitdance.org

4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5
Yappy Hour at Animal Care League

Oak Park's shelter kicks off a Web-a-thon weekend with an afternoon of contests- doggie costume, doggie-owner look-alike, pretty kitty-and serious stuff, too: microchipping for $15. 1011 Garfield St., Oak Park. 848-8155, www.animalcareleague.org

6:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5
Sneak peek at the showcase house

The preview party, La Bella Notte, is the chance to check out the work of 16 Chicagoland designers in the transformation of a 30-year-old brick and stone home in River Forest. The 18-room home at 801 Park Ave. is this year's showcase house in a fundraiser for the Children's Clinic of Oak Park and River Forest. Plan on Italian food, a complimentary bar and live music. $125. Proceeds from the benefit will provide health and dental care for underserved children. For tickets, call 848-0528 ext. 300, or go to www.childrenscliniciws.org. For details about the house, go to www.2008showcasehouse-iws.org.

6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5
Live music at the Buzz Cafe

The Blunt Instrument, during Burgers, Beers and Bands night at Buzz, a café in Oak Park's Arts District. Burgers are organic and on the menu. Beer is bring your own.  Band is acoustic. 905 S. Lombard. 524-2899, www.thebuzzcafe.com

10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6
Free demo of martial arts

Learn about tai jii and chi gong at a free demonstration by Dr. Frank Yurasek at One Point Center Aikido. 114 Harrison, Oak Park. 466-7501

1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6
Tailgate party on Madison Street

Beer, wine, food and music at Famous Liquors' annual Oktoberfest. Food is from O'Sullivans; music from Old School Records. At 7446 Madison, Forest Park. 366-2500

8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6
Bellissima Opera concert at Unity Temple

A singularly Oak Park event-the CD release party for Voices of the Sacred. A concert by Oak Parkers, introduced by an Oak Parker, at an Oak Park landmark. The CD is the work of Bellissima Opera, a group of classical artists in our village-Dominique Frigo, Paul Geiger, Franco Martorana, Patrick Blackwell, Christine Steyer and Ed Zelnis-who recorded it at, yes, an Oak Park church (First United). The concert introducing the CD is at Unity Temple, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most notable local buildings. And the concert is being introduced by noted Oak Park author Caroline Myss. A CD signing and reception will follow. 875 Lake, Oak Park. Tickets, $25 to $50. Call 800-838-3006 or go to brownpapertickets.com/event/38578.

1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7
Anniversary party at Ten Thousand Villages

It's been a year already since this fair trade shop came to downtown Oak Park. Local band Club Aliados headlines an afternoon of music, dancing, artisans stories, face painting and coffee, tea and food samplings. 121 N. Marion, Oak Park. 848-4572, www.oakpark.tenthousandvillages.com
    
Starting at noon Sunday, Sept. 7
Community picnic

St. John Evangelical Lutheran's annual picnic. At Concordia Cemetery, 7900 Madison, Forest Park. (The church is at 305 Circle Ave., Forest Park.) 366-3226, www.stjohnforestpark.org

2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7
Food and fashion show

Let Fashion Week start in New York on Friday. We get our glimpse of what's in for fall in Forest Park-and with food that may take Manhattan. Flavour Cooking School's fourth annual Food & Fashion Fall Trunk Show-a two-hour, two-stop to-do on Madison Street-starts at 2 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres at Flavour, 7401 Madison. Then, at 3 p.m., fashionistas head a block and a half east to the chichi boutique space that Afkara Shoes and M. Santana share at 7247 Madison. There, champagne and a runway will await. Local shoppers who've discovered the separates and accessories at M. Santana and the shoes and handbags at Afkara will model in a fashion show of the hottest ensembles for fall. $15 a fashionista. To reserve a spot, call Flavour at 488-0808 or go to www.flavourcookingschool.com.

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