The North Shore Weekend, March 25th, 2023

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NO. 544 | A JWC MEDIA PUBLICATION SATURDAY MARCH 25 | SUNDAY MARCH 26 2023 ECRWSS LOCAL POSTAL CUSTOMER PRSRT STD U.S.POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 129 GLENVIEW, IL “In a good conversation, one person talks while the other listens.” -
312.576.0048 SCAN TO VISIT MY WEBSITE NO TEAM NEEDED. YOU Just NEED Claire CLAIRE LIEBERMAN Give me a call for all your real estate needs! North Shore artist Karen Ross uses an ancient technique to examine modern society. pg6 2023 MAY 6, 2023 FEATURING Cocktails Auction Dinner Live Music Tickets and info Supporting Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play education programs PHOTOGRAPH
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2 | SATURDAY MARCH 25 | SUNDAY MARCH 26 2023 THE NORTH SHORE WEEKEND 555 & 559 chestnut street • winnetka, il 60093 847.999.3255 • • bunnyandbabewinnetka monday-saturday 10 am- 5 pm @ BUNNY & BABE
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8 flying high

Wilmette Troop 9 proudly welcomes nine new Eagle Scouts

8 hats off

The Service Club of Chicago rolls out the red carpet for its annual fundraiser

9 trees of life

Winnetka residents Mary and Mike McLaughlin help communities in 20 different countries


10 inside

Rex Reed gives this Willem Dafoe film without a plot only 1 star

11 #hashtag

Meet North Shore's own Ladyboss Courtney Wright and hear about her favorite things

12 weekender

The Last Word, a pre-prohibition-era cocktail, is perfect for spring parties

12 material pursuits

This weekend's "want" list includes Dinner With A View, magic potions, and spa baths in wine, literally!


14 sunday breakfast

Wilmette resident and conductor Stephen Alltop descends podium to discuss joys and rewards of music



Jennifer Sturgeon


Michelle Crowe, Dustin O'Regan, Kemmie Ryan, Sherry Thomas, Megan Weisberg


Theresa DeMaria


Wendy Franzen, Mitch Hurst, Bill McLean, Rex Reed




Wendy Franzen, Katrina Wittkamp

Tom Bachtell, Barry Blitt

TheNSWeekend @ TheNSWeekend
Lencioni ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ALL EDITORIAL INQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO EDITORIAL@NSWEEKEND.COM FIND US ONLINE NSWEEKEND.COM © 2023 THE NORTH SHORE WEEKEND A PUBLICATION OF JWC MEDIA, 671 ACADEMY DRIVE, NORTHBROOK, IL 60062 847.926.0911 Jenni Gordon is a licensed real estate agent affiliated with Compass, a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Photos may be virtually staged or digitally enhanced and may not reflect actual property conditions. Jenni Gordon Urban/Suburban Realtor® 847.778.0359 | 312.953.0359 3500 N Lake Shore Dr, Unit 6C Chicago $975,000 3 BD 3 BA 3,500 SF Want to sell your home in this robust market, but need a place to go with lots of space and light? 6C is the answer! Contact me to schedule an appointment!
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Colorful, joyful, abstract, and thought-provoking are just a few words that describe artist Karen Ross’ body of work. Ross’ encaustic paintings, named for the ancient art form in which pigments are mixed with hot wax, ignite the senses and invite introspection. When viewing Ross’ works, one catches the faint aroma of beeswax while contemplating her insights on 21st-century life.

In her home studio, she utilizes multiple griddles to melt the wax for a project, then uses a blow torch to fuse it to the paint, layering the two in equal succession. “Every layer becomes melded together,” explains Ross. “People don’t realize that you’re looking at umpteen layers of wax painted over and over. The works are luminous and have an enormous amount of texture. You really need to see it in person, which is true for most art but especially for this particular medium. When you see it up close, it becomes a completely different experience.”

Ross is self-taught. When she and her family moved to Deerfield in 2005, she closed her psychotherapy practice in the city and started abstract painting simply to create art for the walls of her home. But when she couldn’t get the

prominent exhibitions spanning from Florida and California to Texas and Illinois. One of her first solo shows was at Air Studio + Gallery in Glencoe in 2020, and she’s collaborated frequently with The Art Center Highland Park. Ross is now represented by Highland Park’s Laughlin Gallery.

“The friendships and connections that have developed through these shows and representation are one of the highlights of my career,” says Ross. “The North Shore community has been so inclusive, nurturing, and supportive of my work.”

Ross began creating encaustic word paintings in 2021 when she started playing with stencils. The first, It’s Not That Serious, became the basis of an entire show at Air and later launched Ross’ word painting collection. Ross’ You Are My Person was so popular that Laughlin Gallery made the piece into a print (the original is still available) based on the public’s reaction.

Hanging in her own home is the largest piece Ross has created, a word painting that says, “Please Look at Me” and “Why Are You Looking at Me” over and over.

“People do a lot of things to draw attention to themselves but then feel uncomfortable when they get that attention,” explains Ross. The inner therapist in Ross is intrigued by these conflicting feelings. “The work is a cheeky play on words. I have another painting called Imperfect, I’m Perfect Just one apostrophe changes the entire meaning. Another is called I Think I’ll Take the Stares, meaning ‘accept being looked at.’”

stripe paintings.

Ross describes her stripe paintings as “controlled chaos.” “Every stripe is its own mini painting with different colors and techniques inside each. I love the idea of wildness inside the controlled lines,” she observes.

In April, Ross will be part of a show at the Evanston Art Center, Artists Voice, with Art Makers North, a group of seasoned North Shore artists.

“There’s space for everyone,” says Ross. “Our work could all be saying something different but it’s cohesive when hung in a gallery together. I love hearing what speaks to people and why. Being an artist can be isolating, so I appreciate being able to meet other artists and talk about the challenges and opportunities with our work.”

Recently, Ross found inspiration for a piece from an artist friend. They’d been chatting for hours when Ross said, “I have so many questions.” Her friend’s response? “That should be your next painting.” Thus, Ross created a new work named I Have So Many Questions. Not surprisingly, Ross describes the painting’s buyer as “very inquisitive.” “It resonated with them for that reason,” she explains.

As Ross looks toward her artistic future, it is

acrylic to perform the way she hoped it would, Ross turned to tutorials on YouTube. It was there she first discovered encaustic painting and it was love at first sight.

Since then, her work has been featured in

Ross is also working on a series of rough nude sketches. They’re not her typical “bright” and “splashy” works but they’ve already been gaining traction on social media.

That’s the appeal of her work: she can shift gears depending on her mood. But whether soft and neutral or loud and exciting, Ross always “gets the itch” to create another of her signature

one in which she hopes to host more solo shows while continuing to work with interior designers on commissions for their clients and making an impact—however big or small—with her paintings while continuing to grow as an artist.

“One of the things I’ve learned through my work is the most beautiful works I’ve made are imperfect,” says Ross. “The imperfection is the beauty. We live in a society that’s very perfectionoriented, and there’s something comforting about striving for imperfection. I try to remember—with everything in life—that things will be more beautiful if I let go of needing them to be a certain way.”

For more information, visit or follow her @karenross4. Ross’ works are being highlighted at Highland Park’s Laughlin Gallery. For more information, visit

ART PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH REHMER Circles, Encaustic on Wood Panel, 36 x 36 inches
Words To Live By, Encaustic on Wood (framed), 25 x 49 inches Look At Me
Please (Why Are You Looking At
Me), Encaustic on Wood Panel (framed) 48 x 72 inches

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Wilmette Troop 9 celebrated nine new Eagle Scouts last week, an accomplishment only about six percent of Boy Scouts achieve nationwide.

In 2016, 12 boys in Wilmette’s Troop 9 moved from the rank of Cub Scout to Boy Scout, a rite of passage for more than a century. Last weekend, nine of those now young men were promoted to the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank—the Eagle Scout.

The celebration of this very rare, and hardearned achievement (only about six percent of Scouts progress to Eagle rank nationwide) took place at the historic Mallinckrodt Building in Wilmette.

While it takes years of hard work to earn the Eagle designation, in part the recipe for success of Wilmette Troop 9 can be found in the guidance of Scout Leader Jeff Spencer, a third-generation Eagle Scout. One of this year’s Eagle Scouts, Spencer’s son Andrew, represents the fourth generation of the Spencer family to achieve this high honor.

Along the way the Scouts, who are now all seniors at New Trier Township High School, have donated hours of time raising money for charity and organizing and leading service projects. Most have taken high-adventure trips such as SCUBA diving, sailing, and hiking over 100 miles through the Rocky Mountains—where they summitted a 12,441 peak with a picture of a fellow Scout who had to back out weeks before the trip due to a brain cancer diagnosis.

While some youth today catch a lot of unwarranted flack for being lazy and entitled, Spencer says the Scouts he has led in Wilmette are a fresh reminder that with dedication and commitment, there’s no limit to what young people can achieve—and they did it despite the pandemic.

“They all have very busy schedules, but then all of a sudden the whole world shut down, and it might have actually given them more time to focus on scouting,” Spencer says. “We found a way to keep this going with more virtual meetings, but scouting is not only teaching but activities like camping and hiking, and they did


The Service Club of Chicago hosts its annual fundraiser

May 8 to celebrate the hardworking women who bring its mission to life.

miss out on about two years of that.”

Spencer says Scouts age out at 18, so those in his troop still had to meet all of the requirements of Eagle Scout regardless of the limitation brought on by COVID-19, making their achievement that much more remarkable.

“They had to finish up and something I always say about the Eagle rank is when you're young enough to earn it—because you have to earn it before you turn 18—you don't really appreciate it and when you're old enough to appreciate it, you can no longer earn it,” Spencer says. “They'll appreciate it more and more as they get older.”

Spencer now has two sons who’ve achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and he says what he

The women of The Service Club of Chicago and guests will step out in their finest hats on May 8 as the nonprofit hosts its annual fundraising event. Held at The Langham, Chicago, “The Spring Hat Luncheon” will feature a red-carpet entrance, live music, a delicious lunch, and a hat contest. With a theme of “The Many Hats We Wear,” the event will honor and celebrate the many roles women have in their lives—friend, mother, sister, wife, partner, and businesswoman. The luncheon will feature a special conversation with national talk show host, Whitney Reynolds, to discuss all the hats women wear and how to wear them well.

appreciates about scouting is that it counters a lot of the influences that kids have today due to online technology. He recalls his quest to become an Eagle Scout when he was young.

says. “It ended up just being a lot of work in a short period of time instead of doing it over a long period of time. It taught me a lot, mostly about time management.”

“I remember a lot of kids that quit Scouts before they hit Eagle, and I remember it kind of set my mindset to be a finisher,” he says. “Like, I’m going to finish this degree, whether I use it or not, and then maybe I will get an MBA or do some something else. If I didn't receive the Eagle, I would not have finished that degree. I would not have done it.”

Scouting, Spencer says, is about everyday decision making and teaching kids how to do the right thing by recalling what they learned in the scouting program.

“It’s about respect for the values. You make decisions every day of your life, but it reminds you, ‘I need to make sure I live up to this. I can't lose my temper in this case because that’s going to be embarrassing’,” he says. “’I have to have a higher standard’,”.

Spencer’s middle son, Andrew, says that as a fourth generation Eagle Scout, it was pretty much inevitable he would follow in his father’s footsteps, but he learned a valuable lesson along the way.

“I knew I was going to eventually become an Eagle Scout because my brother and my dad and grandpa did it, but I put it off,” Andrew

Heather Gay, star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City and the founder of Beauty Lab + Laser, will be the special celebrity guest. Her innovative cosmetic medical practice is based in Salt Lake City and has its own behind-the-scenes podcast, Live Love Lab. Gay’s memoir, Bad Mormon, was recently named a New York Times bestseller. In addition to inspiring words from Gay, guests will enjoy a contemporary collection of ready-towear Italian luxury and style for today’s powerful woman from presenting sponsor MAX MARA. MAX MARA will also host the VIP party and showcase its timeless designs for powerful, confi-

Andrew Spencer’s classmate and fellow scout, Alex Farkas, a transplant from New Jersey, says he was just looking for some extracurricular activities and ended up getting hooked by the scouting program.

“I ended up joining Boy Scouts because some of my friends are in the troop, and then from there I only had four years to (reach Eagle Scouts), so I started out really strong. I got a lot of requirements done,” Farkas says. “But then my schedule started filling up a bit and boy scouts kind of took a back seat. Then I realized if I wanted to get Eagle Scout, I’d have to pick it up again. It was a lot of work just fitting it into the schedule.”

Both Andrew Spencer and Farkas say despite the amount of work and the time commitment involved to reach their goal, the journey has been worth it.

“There are a lot of lessons, but the two big ones are that anything worth doing isn't going to be easy and you need to put in the work and effort to do it. You have to have the initiative yourself,” Andrew says. “You can't rely on other people. You have to make a plan of what you want to do and get it done.”

dent women at the event.

According to event co-chairs of Bethany Florek, Julia Jacobs, and Whitney Reynolds, the goal is to raise funds to support the philanthropic mission of The Service Club of Chicago, enrich the lives of women, and provide attendees with “a memorable experience and information that is valuable to life’s journey.”

“The Spring Hat Luncheon” will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 8, at The Langham, 330 North Wabash Avenue in Chicago. For more information about tickets and sponsorships, visit

Wilmette Troop 9 scaling Mount Baldy in New Mexico. Many troop members would go on to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Trees of Life

Winnetka residents Mary and Mike McLaughlin lift communities in 20 different countries through their Trees That Feed Foundation.

Rica, Ghana, and other points beyond.”

Most people who retire think about golf or tennis or other leisurely pursuits. After all, they’ve earned their time in the sun. When Mike and Mary McLaughlin retired, they thought about breadfruit.

Natives of Jamaica and high school sweethearts who now reside in Winnetka, the McLaughlins wanted to use their time in retirement—and a chunk of their savings—to help communities in Jamaica and other tropical countries become selfsustaining through the planting of breadfruit trees.

In 2008, they started the Trees That Feed Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the growing, processing, and distribution of breadfruit in countries where breadfruit trees thrive. The trees are good for the environment, provide a local and sustainable source of nutrition, and can boost community-based economies.

“Mary had been concerned about the environment and she said, ‘Let’s plant trees’,” Mike says.

“That’s a step in the right direction. That’s not going to solve the whole problem all by itself, but we need to do that. My contribution was to suggest we plant fruit trees because you get the benefit to the environment but you’re feeding hungry people as well.”

Mike says the environmental value of breadfruit trees is mainly a side benefit. What the McLaughlins are really trying to do is feed hungry people—a problem that, globally, is getting worse. Breadfruit trees can also have a positive economic impact.

“The farmer can sell his fruit, and somebody can process it and make money doing that and then nourish people who are malnourished,” Mike says. “We see examples of that in Haiti where kids don’t get proper nutrition. Everybody wins and even our donors win because they are able to feel good about doing the right thing.”

Mary grew up on a dairy and sugar can farm in Jamaica. Her father also developed a five-acre food forest that was covered in fruit trees. As a child, she loved going there because it was always significantly cooler.

“My parents were rural pioneers; they grew up in the city and then became farmers,” she says.

“I always had this in the back of my mind that you could make money by reforesting the planet especially in tropical countries with fruit trees as long as there was a market for the fruit.”

Mary sold her business and she and Mike used the proceeds to start Trees That Feed. She says before they knew anything about philanthropy, they wanted to make sure they had a concept that worked. They also had to sort out the legal regulations involved in shipping plants to foreign countries.

“When we started Mike said, ‘We’d better find out as much as possible because we want to do this right’. We gathered the knowledge, and Mike’s role is to make sure everything is done legally and by the book,” she says. “When we ship plants across countries it’s all done legally, and we follow all in-

ternational standards. This week we got trees to the Minister of Agriculture in Barbados, the Minister of Agriculture in Trinidad & Tobago, and to the First Lady of the Bahamas, who is championing our cause.”

When Trees That Feed was first started there was a fair amount of effort involved in identifying potential partners in the communities the McLaughlins wanted to help. Now, however, the potential partners mostly come to them.

“The beneficiaries find us now because we have a reputation,” Mike says “We started in Jamaica because that’s where we’re from. We then went to Haiti because a couple of people suggested it and the needs in Haiti are so extreme. Little by little as we worked with trustworthy, reliable partners, they would suggest somewhere else to work—Costa

Mike says Trees That Feed can’t be everywhere at once and so they look at countries where there’s a need and as importantly, a local partner with some resources that the organization trusts and can work with.

“Sometimes it’s a church group, sometimes it’s another nonprofit, sometimes it’s a passionate individual who has knowledge of the local situation,” he says. “That’s how we got into Haiti with a lady we’re continuing to work with who was running a small university in Haiti and we’ve been working with her all these years.”

Right now, Trees that Feed is working in 20 countries and, Mike says, is almost too busy to add any more, although he’s adding volunteers, contract staff, and employee staff to expand its work.

“The ideal situation is a farmer who already has trees in the ground and the experience keeping the trees alive. We do some screening and look for some reasons to say, ‘yes’,” Mike says. “If a farmer wants 500 trees but has only an acre of land, we’ll give him 15 trees and ask him to send us pictures in three months or six months and see how the trees are doing and then we’ll send more. We’re careful to screen but also look for ways to say ‘yes’.”

“We also work well with governments, especially ministries of agriculture and forestry departments, because they see the need for what we’re doing and rely on the local knowledge that has emerged over the years and we are connecting people to them,” Mary says.

Support for Trees That Feed comes from three primary sources—a handful of large donors, hundreds of smaller donors, and grants from foundation whose missions and goals align with Trees that Feed’s works.

“In round numbers, we get about $500,000 a year. In America that’s small, but when we’re working in countries like Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania that’s big bucks to them,” Mike says. “I like to say we spend money with an eyedropper. When we fund a project that’s just a few thousand dollars it has a huge impact because it’s focused on a local community.”

Mike says he’d like Trees that Feed to become better known not because he wants to build an empire, but because he believes their sustainable approach to supporting communities could be a model for others.

“We get into local communities and our objective is to make them self-sufficient. They’re going to plant trees and we’ll help; they’re going to build little factories and we’ll help them with the equipment; we’ll help them market their product and package it and sell it,” he says. “Then, soon enough we hope, they’ll be independent, and they won’t need us anymore. If other organization saw what we did, I think it could result in better and long-lasting help.”

For more information or to donate to the Trees That Feed Foundation, visit

Mike and Mary McLaughlin and their Trees That Feed Foundation support efforts to bring nutritional food to 20 countries throughout the world.


A film about an art heist gone wrong suffers from a lack of plot or character development.

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 45 minutes

RATING: 1 star

A lumbering bore called Inside is a crucially wooden and mechanical vehicle for the peculiar talents of Willem Dafoe that amounts to nothing more than nearly two hours of pretentious bilge.

He plays a thief named Nemo who breaks into a magnificent Manhattan penthouse to steal a fortune in art treasures when the power system malfunctions in the middle of the heist, leaving him stranded with only his wits to survive. The rest of this seemingly interminable slog focuses on what he does in a curiously locked and indifferently owned luxury apartment that seems more like an art gallery than a living space.

No occupant phones or shows any interest in the empty space despite leaving a king’s ransom in rare art behind unattended. No alarm system rings. No voice ever registers on the answer machine. What we get is a growing insanity nourished by growing insanity while the star mopes, moans, agonizes, screams for help, and tries to find enough food to stay alive.

Did I say “endurance test”? This one breaks new ground in the effort to stay awake.

He pees. He sucks the last remaining ice cubes out of a refrigerator that is defrosting. He eats whatever he finds, as desperation creeps in. He breaks things in every room. He cuts his hand on a can opener. The film comes briefly alive

when he spots a cleaning lady on the closed-circuit TV and starts yelling for her attention. But she doesn’t hear him, so he sinks back into his lethargy, and so does the movie.

Nearing starvation, he eats the colorful inhabitants of the tropical tank and defecates in the swimming pool. Garbed in some kind of medieval religious caftan, he slowly begins to destroy the lavishly appointed prison.

“Art is for keeps” are four of the only words spoken, but they make no more sense than anything else in the film. You spend your time praying for dialogue while you keep an eye on your watch, but no reward ever comes. In the wordless silence, Dafoe just spends his time sinking deeper into mental despair, smashing glasses and destroying the furniture.

It is never clear why nobody ever rings the doorbell or why the plumbing doesn't work. Or, for that matter, what Willem Dafoe ever saw in Inside in the first place. No arresting or thought-provoking ideas are ever introduced. I guess you can call it a tour de force, but it’s not the kind of thing any actor would sign up for based on the number of lines the director (in this case a Greek named Vasilis Katsoupis) might hopefully save in the editing room. Curiously, the film credits somebody named Ben Hopkins with writing a screenplay that doesn't exist.

William Dafoe’s bizarre face and morally ambiguous stance make him an exceptional portrayer of unhinged psychological screen wackos, but the absence of any character revelation or plot development robs Inside of any remotely sustainable interest.

Illustration by Tom Bachtell Famed film critic Rex Reed weighs in on Inside.

COURTNEY WRIGHT values helping people and believes in “the grind.” An entrepreneur, podcast host, innovator, problem solver, wife, and mother, Wright wears many hats—the first of which goes on in the wee hours of the morning. Wright has come far since her days at Lake Forest College, but her drive, her tenacity, and her will to simply start something have been constants ingrained in her from her business-savvy parents.

Wright founded CDW Merchants, the leading 3D visual retail displays and e-commerce gift packaging provider for the nation’s top retailers including Kate Spade, Victoria’s Secret, and Club Monaco. In 2016, Wright packaged CDW for the last time and sold it to Bunzl PLC. That same year, Wright bought Gemini Builds It! and Showcase Acrylics, a leader in the framing, moulding, and custom display industry. As CEO, Wright quickly expanded their offerings to become a well-known name in e-commerce, design, corporations, museums and institutions, PPE, and health care, as well as the hospitality and events industries. She continues to look for organic growth opportunities through additional acquisitions.

With her solid mix of entrepreneurial foresight, creativity, and hustle mentality, it was only natural that Wright would develop a platform to share her highly sought-after business advice. The Ladyboss Podcast by Courtney Wright is a modern-day guide to business, offering listeners real conversations with other successful leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss failures, successes, and strategies.

Wright is a ladyboss, a female success story, and wants women to know they can have their cake and eat it too. She has been married to her life and business partner, Larry, for more than 26 years and they have two sons. Here is how this CEO and ladyboss stays on-trend.

In The Company of Women. I was so proud to celebrate Women’s History Month and to realize that our company has developed so many female leaders. When we bought the company just a few years ago, there were no women in management. A few short years later there are double-digit female leaders.

I am all things business, fashion, and health. I look to Codie Sanchez on Instagram (who has the most practical advice) and listen to Built to Sell Radio and The Genius Life regularly on my podcast channels.

I have to make a ruthless self-plug here so it helps the people I am trying so hard to help! Listen to The Ladyboss Podcast with Courtney Wright to hear all about entrepreneurs and their journeys. I am hoping to publish this insightful material into an entrepreneur’s field guide!



One of my favorite cocktails is The Last Word, a classic pre-prohibition creation first served at the Detroit Athletic Club in the early 1900s. Complex and perfectly balanced with sour, sweet, bitter, and herbal notes, The Last Word is made with equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Green Chartreuse is a delightfully herbaceous, naturally green liqueur made by French monks from a secret, 400-year-old recipe. The process is shrouded in

serves 2


• 1 1/2 ounces gin

• 1 1/2 ounces green Chartreuse

• 1 1/2 ounces maraschino liqueur (I recommend Luxardo)

• 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

• Luxardo cherries, for garnish (optional)

mystery as well, though it is known that Chartreuse is made with 130 botanicals aged for years in oak casks and placed in the world’s longest liquor cellar until mature.

I often mix up this cocktail with Sipsmith’s Lemon Drizzle Gin. Don’t let the words “Lemon Drizzle” scare you—this is a fabulous London Dry gin infused with lemon peel and citrus botanicals. The Luxardo maraschino cherry garnish is optional, but I wouldn’t skip it. Luxardo cherries are nothing like the cloyingly sweet, waxy maraschinos found in the Shirley Temples of your youth, though they do bring nostalgic satisfaction when you slide one into your mouth from a swizzle stick.


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, then shake until well chilled. Strain into two chilled cocktail glasses. Garnish with Luxardo cherries threaded onto cocktail picks, if desired.


This weekend’s curated luxury trends


This unique experience has dazzled some of the world’s biggest cities including Toronto, San Diego, Vancouver, and Montréal. Designed to represent the flora, fauna, and beauty of different natural regions of Earth, 33 domes will be transformed into terrariums juxtaposed against the urban scenery of Chicago’s bustling downtown. The spaces will be individually styled to reflect landscapes of the tundra, tropical rainforests, grasslands, arid deserts and boreal forests with live plants, hand-selected textiles, and elegant lighting. Guests will enjoy a stunning three-course, locally sourced meal designed by an awardwinning Chef. Using influences from cuisines around the world, diners will have the opportunity to select from four blind menu categories—beef, chicken, fish, or vegan —all of which feature the Chef’s exquisite array of flavors to pair effortlessly with the vibrant surrounding ambiance. A full beverage menu will also be available offering guests a variety of drinks for purchase.

The Dinner With A View will be open to guests from Friday, April 7 through Sunday, May 14. A minimum of 4 guests are required per booking, and domes can accommodate a maximum of 6 guests. Reservations are a must. Find the full schedule of seating times and book your dome at


Potion is such an evocative word, especially when it comes to beauty. The new line of tonics from Le Jolie Med Spa, called Pick Me Up Potions, are just our kind of hocus pocus. Pick Me Up Potions are available in three delicious flavors: Mango Turmeric, Dragon Fruit Rose, and Watermelon Cucumber. The drinks contain 100 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C and are proven to strengthen skin, nails, and hair, as well as boost your immune system and protect the body from environmental damage. Each drink also contains anti-aging properties, stimulates collagen production, and hydrates the skin, all while tasting like paradise in a bottle. As pretty as they are delicious, we love them on their own, mixed with a touch of sparkling water, or as an ingredient in a mocktail or cocktail. $9.99 each,


Wine lovers, this is your dream come true. Thanks to Aire Ancient Baths in Chicago’s River West, you can literally bathe yourself in red wine. One of the most indulgent items on the bath house spa menu, this 180-minute red wine bath to soak in “the antioxidant properties of the Spanish Tempranillo grapes,” according to Manager Michael Lara. This experience includes time in the ancient thermal bath circuit and the laconicum steam room, in addition to 30 minutes in the wine bath with a cranio-facial massage. End the experience with an hour-long massage with grape seed oil. You will be transported to another place while you enjoy the benefit from the revitalizing and purifying effects.

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Conductor and Wilmette resident Stephen Alltop, a senior lecturer at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and the music director of two symphony orchestras, continues to hit the high notes—on and off the podium.

For one inning circa 2006, during a Major League Baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Stephen Alltop sat behind a legend in the press box.

The music director of both the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and Apollo Chorus of Chicago watched.

And listened.

And … tingled.

The Dodgers’ longtime radio ace, Vin Scully, was doing an inimitable one-man show in a booth, using his mellifluous voice to provide efficient play-by-play and tell charming stories.

“Masterful,” Alltop, a Wilmette resident since 2016, says of the late broadcaster’s work behind the microphone. “I find inspiration in anybody who has an amazing work ethic.

“Today I find myself wanting to work harder than ever at the little things, because great music culminates only after hundreds of details are taken care of,” adds Alltop, an organist/harpsichordist/keyboard artist who now also serves as the music director of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and in two capacities at Northwestern University—senior lecturer (conducting and ensemble), Bienen School of Music, and director of music, Alice Millar Chapel.

A true-blue Dodgers fan since his days as a youngster in Arizona, Alltop is all about wielding either a conductor’s baton or a squash racket, rather than a baseball bat, these days. But the man keeps knocking it out of the park in his chosen field.

The Illinois Council of Orchestras named Alltop—who made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2007, conducting the music of Eric Whitacre—the 2022 Conductor of the Year for his work with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.

He has helmed the Apollo Chorus of Chicago since 1997. Founded in 1872 and the city’s oldest musical organization, it has performed at Ravinia Festival with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and at Lollapalooza; made appearances with London Symphony Orchestra, Josh Groban, and Sarah Brightman; and enthralled viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The Apollo Chorus’s Hallelujah enlivened a Christmas Special of the Netflix Series Sense8

Since 2014 Alltop has given presentations on conducting and leadership to MBA students and senior executives from around the world on behalf of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Each presen-

tation includes a live ensemble and spotlights the dynamics of verbal and nonverbal communication.

“There are parallels between music and leadership, between being a conductor and being a CEO,” says Alltop, who studied business briefly at the University of Arizona before transferring to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he graduated with Highest Distinction in Organ Performance and later earned Master of Music degrees in Organ Performance & Literature

and Choral Conducting.

“I often get the question, ‘Do those conductor gestures really work?’” he adds. “They do. A conductor’s gestures influence a performance as significantly as a business leader’s communication skills influence the work of a company’s employees. In music and in business, you have to have a plan, you have to facilitate that plan, and you have to lead with vision.”

Alltop, who holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University, also sees parallels between music

and sports. Veteran point guard (conductor of the offense) and future Hall of Famer Chris Paul plays for the Phoenix Suns, Alltop’s favorite NBA team. Paul ranks first among active NBA players in career assists. But it’s Paul’s leadership that impresses Alltop the most.

“Look at every team Chris Paul has played for in his career, and you’ll find that every one improved right after he joined it,” Alltop says, referring to the New Orleans Hornets (20052011), Los Angeles Clippers (2011-2017), Houston Rockets (2017-2019), Oklahoma City Thunder (2019-2020), and Suns. “The best leaders know what it takes to help their teammates become better players.

“It is an honor for me,” he adds, “to work with highly trained musicians and help them perform great music. I look at music as an opportunity to produce something special and to convey something, which is an incredible privilege and a reward.”

Alltop wore out two albums, Rossini: Overtures and Switched-On Bach, as a child and probably listened to Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell Overture more times than Chris Paul dribbles a basketball in a season. He was six years old, maybe seven, when he first experienced a visceral response to music.

“That hasn’t changed, hasn’t diminished in the least,” says Alltop, who has two children, Stephanie, 27, and Alexis, 24. “I’ll always be grateful that the church I attended in my childhood had a great music program, and my parents (Peggy and the late Jim) were quite supportive, early on, of my interest in music. I remember my dad telling me, ‘Do what you love to do and the money will follow.’”

In 2012 Alltop married Josefien Stoppelenburg, a gifted and decorated soprano who grew up in the Netherlands. They first met when she auditioned for him. They first performed together as friends, in 2011, for the Jane Austen Society of North America’s Greater Chicago Region chapter and headlined an event in Stoppelenburg’s homeland in 2018.

The couple entertained seniors at a Presbyterian Home in Evanston on March 19, five days after presenting “Heroines of the Baroque” at the Arizona Bach Festival at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Scottsdale.

On March 21 they graced an audience with their quintessence at Guarneri Hall in Chicago.

“It’s beautiful what we have,” Alltop says. “My wife and I lead a wonderful life together, full of music and laughter and travel.” Visit

SUNDAY BREAKFAST 14 | SATURDAY MARCH 25 | SUNDAY MARCH 26 2023 THE NORTH SHORE WEEKEND for more information and details of the “Cirque Returns” concert Alltop will conduct with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra this summer.
It is an honor for me to work with highly trained musicians and help them perform great music. I look at music as an opportunity to produce something special and to convey something, which is an incredible privilege and a reward.
Stephen Alltop
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