Is OPRF stuntman’s star rising?

Oak Park and River Forest High School custodian Kevin Sorensen was already a kind of mini-celebrity at the high school because of his stunt work in films. But thanks to a Feb. 4 Wednesday Journal profile, Sorensen’s star has grown a little brighter. The Chicago Tribune, as they often do, picked up on our coverage and wrote its own story about Sorensen in the Feb. 26 edition. And this week, TV channels 2 and 7 will be at the school to film segments about him. Sorensen offered his thanks to Wednesday Journal for launching him onto a wider stage.

Lights at the end of the tunnel?

It is decision time on stadium lights – the longest-running deliberation in the village of Oak Park since the Stankus Hole fiasco. The neighborhood war over stadium lights has been going on longer than the Iraq war (ours started in the fall of 2001).

The latest bureaucracy to beat this issue to death, the short-handed and turnover-plagued Oak Park Plan Commission, is scheduled to continue its deliberations on the high school’s lights application this Thursday. The 7 p.m. meeting takes place at village hall, 123 Madison St.

It was three years ago this month that the Dist. 200 Board of Education narrowly approved installing lights, and more than a year since the short-handed Zoning Board of Appeals failed to approve lights last January.

An OP Swedophiliac?

He doesn’t speak Swedish, doesn’t look Swedish and isn’t, in fact, Swedish, but Craig Bonnell, an Oak Park musicophiliac, has become one of the world’s foremost authorities on Swedish pop music. The 41-year-old stay-at-home dad was recently profiled in Time Out Chicago because of his peculiar specialization. He started a blog, titled Songs: Illinois, on MySpace and while searching for tunes, kept finding more and more Swedish songs. He started a second blog, Swedesplease, in 2005 and now has 3,000 readers who download his Swedish MP3s. Last year, the government-funded Swedish Music Information Centre actually flew Bonnell over to cover the annual Hultsfred Festival, his first visit to Sweden. Apparently, there’s more to Scandinavian culture than ABBA.

Barber poll blues

From Ken Trainor’s blog, Feb. 25, click here to read his latest posts.

After 32 years in that location, Frank Limentato is no longer cutting hair at Avenue Barber Shop, 125 S. Oak Park Ave. You’ll have to drive to Elmwood Park (Frank’s Barber Shoppe, no relation, 7308 W. Grand).

That leaves one less barber in Oak Park. How many remain? Hard to tell. Under “Barbers” in the Yellow Pages, you’ll find 13 businesses listed in the village. But it’s a stretch to call some of them barbers. A Plus Cuts Professional Corp. at 3 Chicago Ave. doesn’t sound like a traditional barber shop. In fact, if you can’t get your hair cut for less than $20 in a place that reminds you either of your childhood or the Andy Griffith Show or both, it’s not really a barber shop.

I’m also skeptical of Bob’s Hair Style Shop (912 Madison), Emil’s Barber Shop Hair Styling Salon (408 S. Oak Park Ave., in the Oak Park Arms building, I think), Final Cut (1011 Garfield), Joseph M. Dell Hairstylist and Barber (1018 North Blvd.), Lester’s Hair Studio (6340 W. Roosevelt), Pizzazz Hair Salon (1138 Chicago Ave.), and something by the name of Uprisen (106 S. Ridgeland), which sounds religious.

That leaves Adams 3 Barber Shop (22 Chicago), Frank’s Barber Shop (128 Madison), Frank’s Barber Shop (6134 W. Roosevelt, probably not the same Frank), Ron’s Barber Shop of Oak Park (6041 W. North, the only one who proclaims his affiliation with the village), and something extravagantly named Magnificent Barber Shop (302 Madison).

Seems to me you’re either a hair-styling salon (or studio) or a barbershop. I’m not sure anyone is versatile enough to switch back and forth, depending on the customer. People (mostly men) typically like their barbershops to be simple and comfortable with low-overhead. They don’t need it to be “Magnificent.” The only choices they want are “just a trim,” “clean it up some,” or “make it last awhile.” They’re long past any personal investment in “style.”

A haircut needs to be a quick, no-nonsense operation. Sure, any hair “stylist” can cut hair, but can he or she create the requisite comfort level? Well, since barbers are dropping like hair clumps, I may be forced to find out.

I would try all these places and report back, but I only get four haircuts a year, tops, so it would take a few years to complete the research.

But I’ll need to give one of these establishments a shot sooner or later. I just got my last haircut from Frank Limentato. That should last me till some time in May.

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