Wednesday, February 29, 2012


most of my time is spent with my two kids, Taron is in second grade while Siofra is only away from me for about 7 1/2 hours a week, unless I am shooting, so needless to say I have a lot of photos of them. These two are from today and the lower series from two days ago. just hanging out

she is pretty good at making funny faces at this stage

Easgate Cafe

as a chocoholic Eastgate Cafe on Harrison St. is one of my spots for a fix, their French desserts are delish! so I stopped by there today and took a shot of Olya, another in the line of Oak Park Indie business owners

the space is very charming with a european feel. Along with the lovely food they also sell imported books and gifts.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Danche Guitar Co.

The next stop along my Indie Oak Parkers way was to Danche Guitar Co. at 906 Madison

where I met Danche Ivanovic. I had never been in the store before, something was telling me I should go in, now I am sure to go back. It took about two minutes before we were chatting it up about great musicians and about Europe where we both lived until 14 years ago.

There is something magical about watching a master craftsman at his art

and I have to say I had never met someone who builds guitars like this before.

You know there are some good stories behind a smile like that

and I even got to hear a couple of tunes

He will be playing over at Trattoria 225 on Sunday night if you are looking to hear some blues.

One can take a Build Your Very Own Guitar class, learn to play or purchase a hand crafted custom guitar, acoustic (flat top) or Jazz (archtop) right here in Oak Park.

The Book Table

another stop on my indie Oak Park walk was to The Book Table. I wanted to pick up a copy of the new magazine "The Chicagoan" and that I did, along with a very fun card for a friend.

Jason has helped me find gifts for people on more than one occasion. Again it is easy to see why this is the bookstore that is still in operation on Lake street.

In Jan. I photographed Jill Salzman's book launch, Jason was there as a sponsor of the event, in Feb I photographed the PADS fundraiser, again he was there as a sponsor. So he runs a great bookstore with affordable pricing, he supports local writers and non-profits and can help you get the right gift for anyone.


when I was out and about yesterday working on my Oak Parkers project I stoped into the fire station. Ever wonder what they do in there when they aren't out on a call, well yesterday they were washing the trucks.

Chris Keenan took a few minutes to talk to me and pose for a photo

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pieritz Brothers Inc.

Pieritz Brothers Inc. is one of the oldest office supply stores in the United States and once you visit you know why.
Some of the reasons we choose to live in Oak Park are the tree lined streets, the sidewalks that lets one walk anywhere and the independent stores. It took me a few years to find this jewel but now that I have I don't plan on going back to the heartless mega-store.

When I go in there I feel like I'm entering a friend's home, there is always time for a chat, the space is cozy and comfortable and they are so helpful. If there is something you need that they don't have in stock they will get it for you. There isn't 10,000 of the same thing sitting on a giant shelf in an over-lit aisle, so I don't leave feeling the weight of mass consumerism on my shoulders.

I have always loved notebooks and pens, a new notebook gives the feeling of excitment and creativity, and this place has a selection any artists would want. Even my 7 year old son starting writing every night after he visited and picked out a new one.

John Roberts is usually there to help, with the face of a poet and stories to match.

And just look at this place

This is the second portrait in my Indie Oak Parkers series, I have a few more almost ready to post.

Monday, February 20, 2012

closing ceremony

On Sunday, the last day, we arrived just as the Tibetan lamas of the Drepung Loseling monastery had finished the mandala and were putting away their tools. Once again a lot have been done since the day before. They than left for a while to get ready for the ceremony.

"Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing."

One of the monks told the history of the mandalas and why they do them and what they represent. Then the chanting and music started, followed by the brushing of the mandala.

The monks then shared some of the sand, here my son is receiving some.

We then went to forest near by, took a very mucky hike to the river where the monks again chanted and played their music and the sand was released into the moving water.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

update on the Mandala

"Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.

The lamas begin the work by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform, which requires the remainder of the day. The following days see the laying of the colored sands, which is effected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid."

Saturdays visit

went by yesterday (Friday) morning to see how the mandala was going, the monks were not there at the time, but had added so much in the 24 hours since I first visited.

valentine friendship

a fun addition to the valentine party at school, a friendship photo booth. These 6-8 years olds had fun