When we first met Oak Park filmmaker Jeff Smith, he was about to show his documentary, Tony's Song, at the Oak Park Public Library. At age 52, Smith had left a safe but mind-numbing career at Amtrak to pursue an MFA in film and video at Columbia College. Last March, he was at full speed, with projects bubbling and the degree just a thesis film away.
It's been nearly a year?#34;an eventful year?#34;since I talked to Zachary Bokum's parents, John and Maggy Bokum. As an 18-year-old senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School in 2002, Zach signed up with the Illinois National Guard, figuring it would help pay for college and be good experience for his criminal justice studies at Western Illinois University. A weekend a month and two months in the summer for six years seemed like a fair deal.
Last July, Bill Dwyer took a look at FitzGerald's, the nightclub just across Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. The occasion was a new book, Live From FitzGerald's: Songs and Stories of an American Music Club by writer Dave Whitaker and photographer Blair Jensen.
With holidays come traditions, and in Oak Park, the Community Kwanzaa Festival has become a favorite annual event. Marking its seventh year, the feast and celebration will be held this Sunday afternoon at Pilgrim Congregational Church.
A taste of home is lovely at the holidays, especially if home is an ocean away. That's why cookies have a special significance for Ruth Jakobsen Patzloff, who came to Oak Park from Denmark four years ago when she married husband Mark.