Open Discussion on Things That Matter

I love my city and my county, and want to be a blessing here. In order to bless this community I’ve just started something I’m calling “Pub Talks.”

Pub Talks are regular opportunities for you to engage in conversations with others on a selected topic of interest, hot topic, local issues, etc. They are open to anyone from any point-of-view. The more diverse the discussion the more fruitful I think they will be. Last month the topic was religious freedom, dealing specifically with the current events of threatening Koran burning, the building of a NYC mosque near Ground Zero and what it means to be free as individuals and society.

This week the second round of Pub Talks are up. Topic: Does Money Buy Happiness? From the flyer…

It’s been said, “Money makes the world go round.”
But money is hard to come by. People are losing jobs, savings, houses, retirement & many are living with tighter budgets & fear of the future.

How did we get here? Who or what is to blame?
Is losing money or loving money the problem?
Is consumerism good, bad or neutral?
Would being rich make us happy?

Grab a beer & join the discussion.

There are two Pub Talks. First is Wednesday night at 7pm in downtown Crystal Lake at Williams Street Public House. Second is Thursday night at 7pm in downtown Woodstock at Odd Fellows. Hope you’ll join in an add your thoughts.


Willy Porter at the Opera House

Willy Porter’s concert in Woodstock was outstanding. I can’t believe more people aren’t finding these great concerts in our fair city. I strongly recommend you keep up with the Odd Fellows Events page for more great stuff from Bill and Dawn. These guys may be the best thing going for getting good local music to Woodstock.

Here are a few Willy Porter videos from the concert. Enjoy!

Willy Porter Coming to Woodstock

The good folks at Odd Fellows have once again provided Woodstock and the surrounding area with a great concert. Willy Porter will be at the Woodstock Opera House on Thursday, May 20th at 7pm. Check out Willy’s music. Buy tickets from the Opera House. Molly and I will see you there!

Alejandro Escovedo at the Opera House

Alejandro Escovedo in Woodstock

I love good music. Yeah, everyone says something like that. But it’s a real hobby of mine to find good music, and it usually isn’t found on the radio.

So when I heard from the good folks at Odd Fellows that Alejandro Escovedo will be playing in Woodstock, I started to drool. I hope you will join me for this concert on Sunday. Info below. A video of Escovedo is at the bottom to introduce you to him. I should also mention Willy Porter is coming in May.

Alejandro Escovedo
Sun., March 28th • 4:00 p.m.
Performing at the
Woodstock Opera House
Presented by Odd Fellows at the Waverly
To purchase tickets log on to:
Or Call the Box Office at 815-338-5300

Escovedo’s music has been widely lauded by the media, appearing in several high-profile publications including Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, USA Today, PASTE, HARP and Entertainment Weekly. He was invited onstage by Bruce Springsteen to join The Boss and The E Street Band, playing Escovedo’s “Always A Friend” before a packed Toyota Center in Houston on April 14, 2008. He has also appeared on Conan O’Brian, The Today Show, The Tonight Show and performed at the Democratic National Convention in Denver to a wildly enthusiastic audience.

5th Grade Art Class

I never much enjoyed art in school. It never clicked. Everything I drew or painted looked like the same blob. The past few years as I’ve become an artist through digital photography, I’ve really learned to appreciate all of the visual arts and wished I had a better childhood experience.

My photography has connected me locally to Starbucks as my galleries have been up three times there. I’ve also gotten to know local photographers a bit and even have talked about putting together a photography art show sometime. Good stuff.

Through all this I’ve also been able to connect with Ann Vanderbyl, the art teacher at Mary Endres Elementary School where three of my kids go. She gave me the opportunity to talk to the four 5th grade classes about photography a couple of weeks ago. Now, when I’m able, I get to wander the school halls with 5th graders and show them first hand how to take photos. The project is on shapes.

I’m really enjoying my time with these kids and love to help them grow an interest for photography. I hope this experience for them will lead them to see the world through the lens of the camera, and by that means to see the world in a new way. See all my “shapes” photos as I continue to help them with this project.

How can you serve in your local school?

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera.” -Dorothea Lange

Lighting of the Square

We enjoy the Lighting of the Square to kick off Christmas in Woodstock. We made a night of it. First we ate dinner at the always-delicious Pirro’s. Then, with winter coats and gloves on we took a stroll around the Square stopping in a few stores: Cobblestones, Read Between the Lynes and Starbucks. We spent a little time sitting and drinking our mochas/hot chocolates and watching the horse and carriage riders and the swelling crowd. Making our way around we then spent a bunch of time just watching the model trains in the front of La Petite Creperie.

Finally we made it onto the Square to sing Christmas Carols along with the Woodstock City Choir and the thousands who had gathered. Thirty minutes later Santa said something Christmas-y and Miss Woodstock threw a big switch and the Square lit up. Buildings outlined. Trees coated. A beautiful sight and cheers from the crowd. A few more songs capped off the night for our family and we went home with a song on our lips.

If you missed the Lighting, check out the other stuff happening over the next few weeks. Woodstock is a great place to enjoy the Christmas season.