Big Week | September 30 - October 7

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By Staff

Under the Influence

Through Thursday, Oct. 1, 1-5 p.m., Oak Park Art League

720 Chicago Ave. Oak Park

The exhibit can be seen in person. Visitors must wear a face mask. Only 10 visitors allowed in the gallery at a time. In our hyper-connected, contemporary society, the term "under the influence" is often associated with illicit drug use or the effects of alcohol consumption. But every one of us is under the influence of something — our past, our family, political climate, social media, peer groups, other artists and more. Whether good or bad, by choice or unconsciously, influences and influencers change our behavior, beliefs, thinking, values and culture. Artists are the mirrors of culture. So what influences you?

Darwin Day Essay Contest

Submissions open through Oct. 31 (

End of the Line Humanists, a local suburban nonprofit, announces its first Darwin Day Student Essay Contest, for high school (9th-12th grade) students living in or attending school in Oak Park, River Forest or Forest Park. This contest is designed to foster and celebrate science literacy among young people in our community. Participants will have the opportunity to earn cash prizes and recognition. Winners will be published on the End of the Line Humanist website, and be invited to speak in person or virtually at our annual Darwin Day celebration in February 2021. This competition is made possible by a grant from our parent organization, American Humanist Association.

Essay subject: The relevance of Charles Darwin's theories in the 21st century.

Length: 1,000-1,700 words

1st Prize: $500 

2nd Prize: $250

3rd Prize: $100

Judges will include three local scientists, and one writer/editor. All judging will be blind. Information on eligibility, contest rules, submission guidelines, and judge's bios at



Chili Cook-off and Folk Showcase

Zoom event, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m.

Music and Potlucks, a community organization, will sponsor a livestream event, the Homecoming Chili Cook-off and Acoustic Neighbors Folk Showcase on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. The event will support Beyond Hunger Food Pantry in River Forest. This is Music and Potlucks' fifth season of presenting music events to support the homeless and the hungry. The evening features "Chicago's official troubadour," Mark Dvorak in a Zoom performance along with Acoustic Neighbors, a gathering of local musicians including Josh Kotin, Jason McInnes, Susan Reeder, Ronna Baron and Betsy Backes, who will perform a couple songs each. To learn more about Beyond Hunger, go to Follow Music & Potlucks at


Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

NAMI Metro Suburban, Oct. 4, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Join NAMI's three-part series as we focus on "Cultivating Mindfulness: Addressing Household Stress". The presenter is Adenia Linker, MEd, SAYD, CYT.

Oct. 4, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Oct. 11, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Oct. 18, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

You may attend the entire series or just some of the sessions. Experiencing challenges that are increasing household stress? One strategy that can strengthen coping skills and support well-being is developing a mindfulness practice. Attendance is free, and CEUs are available for a fee of $15. If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is located at 814 Harrison St. in Oak Park. 708-524-2582.



Virtual Cabaret Performance

Saturday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. via Zoom

Chicago A Cappella's concert features live performances and virtual choir videos of pop and jazz favorites by 12 of the ensemble's vocalists. Tickets are $12. Register by Oct. 2 at noon to reserve your spot. During the one-hour concert, directed by Paul Langford, the singers will present solo performances of some of their personal favorites, with some accompanying themselves on guitar or piano. The songs include pop tunes such as "Don't Worry, Be%u202FHappy" and "Long, Long Time;" American Songbook standards including "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Misty;" and Broadway show tunes like "You Are Woman, I Am Man" from Funny Girl and "Single Man Drought" from I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. The concert serves as a fundraising opportunity for the group, which has experienced a significant drop in revenue this year due to the cancellation of in-person performances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets can be purchased at

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