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updated: 8/21/2012 12:28 PM

Arcada Theater hosts 'Back to Woodstock' next weekend

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  • Chef Alain Roby poses with his life-size chocolate kitchen in his downtown Geneva kitchen.

      Chef Alain Roby poses with his life-size chocolate kitchen in his downtown Geneva kitchen.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer


Thankfully, I was a bit too young to head off to Woodstock in 1969 to take part in the most historic rock concert ever staged on American soil. Or, to be more exact, on the 600 acres of farmer Max Yasgur.

I don't think my parents would have been particularly pleased to hear a sophomore in high school say he was leaving for New York to "some concert I heard about on the radio." Especially when that sophomore had no car and no driver's license.

But the Arcada Theater in downtown St. Charles brings it all back Saturday night. Yes, it's a "Back to Woodstock" night with various cover bands playing the songs of that era.

One scheduled to play is a tribute band for "The Band." Coincidentally, I recently grabbed an excellent "The Band" CD out of a bargain bin at a store. It didn't take but a few songs to remind me this was an extraordinary group of songwriters and musicians, arguably one of the best ever assembled.

No matter which band was your favorite, you still can't go wrong listening to the music from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Sure, some of the psychedelic stuff seems silly at this point (remember Iron Butterfly?), but the bands that played at Woodstock, for the most part, survived the test of time -- the Who, Sly and the Family Stone, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. The list could go on.

So we can look at the concert at the Arcada this way: It will be Woodstock without the mud and, well, you know what else was at Woodstock that won't be at the Arcada.

A tree trade?: We know our cities have hundreds, if not thousands, of destroyed ash trees to remove at some point. Depending on a city's replacement system, some residents are understandably reluctant to pay for half of a replacement tree on the parkways in front of their homes.

Here's an idea that may or may not make sense:

Should the cities and park districts work together to begin their own little nurseries for the purpose of having replacement trees on hand?

In other words, plant some seedlings now, and as the ash tree removal process takes place over a long period of time, use "city nursery" trees to replace them, hopefully at far less cost over time.

Sure, it would take some staff and manpower to oversee such a process, but with some number crunching, it may prove to be less expensive over a long haul.

And, drum roll please, it may be a way to use less tax money for replacing trees.

Chocolate for a year: It's hard to believe chef Alain Roby has been operating the All Chocolate Kitchen on Third Street with his family for a year.

Geneva got lucky when the chef decided he had enough of commuting into Chicago in the wee hours to go to work as the pastry chef at the Hyatt Hotel.

He figured that a chocolate kitchen he previously operated in Geneva for a short time to help raise funds for the Little Hearts cause could likely become a permanent fixture in the city.

Plus, he knew had a good calling card, having been on the Martha Stewart TV show and getting all sorts of publicity for his huge chocolate creations that became entries in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Even more importantly, chef Roby and his wife, Esther, are wonderful people. They are the type whom you are not only glad you know, but are pleased they are part of your community.

Considering his harrowing experience as a young chef in Iran when he was held hostage during that country's revolution, as reported in a Daily Herald business story last Monday, we're glad chef Roby ended up here.

Other sensible costs: My goodness, people are upset about taxes around these parts. They likely always have been, but it seems the numbers of detractors has grown in proportion to rising tax bills in a weak economy.

Plenty of people struggle to pay those bills, based on feedback I get when I open my mouth even slightly about being tired of seeing a massive tax bill grow even more massive each year.

So, let me add fuel to the fire. Taxes aren't the only culprit.

We pay a lot of money for other stuff that seems out of whack. A few months ago I had my first hospital overnight stay since I was born.

A kidney stone attack resulted in bills of more than $11,000, of which I had to pay about a third out of pocket. What do I think something like that should cost?

My common-sense reading would be about $4,000.

I know some out there with serious health problems are probably laughing about my insignificant expenses, when considering chemotherapy treatments can be more than $150,000 a pop.

But you get the point. The cost of health care is beyond most anyone's reality.

Ice cream fix: The summer has been hot. Everyone knows that. But so hot that I haven't even felt like going out to get ice cream, even though I crave it? Now that's hot!

The recent, less-humid weather helped put an end to that travesty, so Baskin-Robbins got a recent visit. The end result was three scoops of Oreo crunch ice cream smothered in peanut butter, caramel and chocolate sauces. Whipped cream and nuts on top, of course.

That's called not letting this hot summer get too much of the best of you.

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