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Exploring Life in the Fox







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What’s inside... Dining & Cuisine



Spring Fitnes Goals – Sara Snelling


Featured Dishes


St. Charles Restaurant Week

Must try appetizers, entrees, desserts or cocktails available at local Fox Valley restaurants.



16 FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018


St. Charles Sculpture in the Park Launches 13th Annual Exhibit


Skating Brings Batavia Together


Second Annual Tri-Cities 50/50 Community Raffle to Kickoff in St. Charles


Random Acts Matters to Launch Paint the Town Orange Campaign For Random Acts of Kindness Week

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Naperville Events Explore the influence of the baby boomer generation at Naper Settlement



Interview with Shuki of Exceptional Events by Shuki Moran


Arts & Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment around the Fox Valley



Four Winter Weekend Getaways in Illinois


Cambria Chicago Loop


EMC2 Hotel

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Out & About


Faces and places from around The Fox

Fox Valley Magazine

Editor - Paul Stukel, Advertising - Kevin Ketchum,, 800-564-8024 x107 Production - NEXXUS Publishing, 524 W. State St., Suite E, Geneva, IL 60134, 800-564-8024

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dining & cuisine

Sara Snelling is an innovative, forward-thinking nutritionist with a food science, food service and food safety background. While earning her bachelor of science in nutrition and dietetics at Northern Illinois University, she did a variety of volunteer work within her community. This includes experience with teaching culinary classes, medical nutrition therapy instruction, public speaking and data analysis and research in nutrition across many demographics. Sara is a regular contributor to


Try fitness delicious collection of gluten free, vegan treats into your diet. BLUEBERRY BANANA POWER MUFFINS These bad boys are a great energy-boosting breakfast treat without such a sugar crash. And they’re vegan and gluten free! I add a little shredded coconut to mine and they’re super tasty! Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top before you bake for a sweeter top. WHAT YOU NEED Wet Ingredients • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds • 2 tablespoons water • 2 ripe & spotty bananas, mashed • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


• 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (or any plant milk) • 1/4 cup plain applesauce • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Dry Ingredients • 1 3/4 cup gluten free flour • 1/2 cup raw coconut sugar • 1/4 cup hemp seeds • 1/4 cup rolled gluten-free oats • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt • 1/3 cup crushed pecan pieces (or walnuts) • 1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries

WHAT YOU DO 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick spray. (I sprayed the muffin liners too, just to be safe!) 2. In a small bowl, mix together ground flax and water. Set aside. 3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mash bananas. Then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. 4. In a separate large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients, except the pecans and blueberries. 5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, adding in the “flax egg” mixture too, and mix until well combined, don’t over mix! Gently fold in the pecans and blueberries. 6. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way full (this recipe makes approximately15 muffins!) I like to add extra blueberries on top, and a sprinkle of oats too. 7. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 8. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Bake the rest of the muffins. *Store in refrigerator or freezer. ITALIAN LENTIL QUINOA MEATBALLS These take a little patience and time, but they’re SO worth it. These guys are versatile too! You can roll them into meatballs or flatten them into cakes and serve with pasta, veggies, crumble into a salad or onto lentils or zucchini noodles- so many ways to enjoy! And they’re vegan, and gluten free! Ingredients • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water (or you can use ground chia seeds) • 3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed & drained well • 1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained (I’ve also used cooked cauliflower in a pinch) • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds ground to a fine powder (or pumpkin seeds) • 1-2 tbsp olive oil • 1 medium yellow onion, minced • 1 tsp garlic powder • 1 tsp Italian seasonings • 1/4 cup fresh basil • 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs • 1/2 tsp Sea salt

• 1/4 tsp black pepper Instructions 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 2. Combine flaxseed and water in a small bowl, stir and set aside to setup for 10 minutes. 3. Use a food processor to blend the sunflower seeds to a fine powder. 4. Cook the lentils and quinoa separately according to package directions. Add both to the food processor with the sunflower seed powder. 5. Saute onions in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add the onions to the food processor. 6. Add basil, Italian seasonings, bread crumbs, garlic powder, flax mixture, salt and pepper to the lentil mix. Pulse until you have a fine crumb and all ingredients are combined. 7. Form the mixture into golfball-sized “meatballs.” If the mixture feels dry, add 1 tbsp olive oil to the mixture and pulse a few times. 8. Place the lentil meatballs on a parchment lined tray and bake for 15-20 (flipping once halfway through) or until both sides are lightly browned. 9. Serve “meatballs” over pasta or zucchini noodles with your favorite marinara sauce.

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THE ULTIMATE QUINOA PIZZA CRUST These guys are simply a guilt-free way to enjoy pizza or whatever you turn it into. A taco flatbread? A breakfast pizza?? Go nuts! What You Need For the Crust • 3/4 cup quinoa, covered by 1″ of water and soaked for 6 – 8 hours (or overnight) • 1/4 cup water • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 tablespoons olive oil

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, flip and return to oven baking for another 10 – 15 minutes until browned and edges are crispy. 5. Top with sauce, cheese and any other toppings you’d like and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until cheese has melted and started to brown. 6. Remove, let cool for a few minutes in the pan, transfer cutting board and slice. 7. Garnish with herbs, pepper flakes, grated cheese, etc., and serve immediately!

Optional Toppings • 1/2 cup tomato sauce • 1 cup shredded goat cheese • Fresh herbs • Red pepper flakes • Diced onion What You Do 1. Soak the quinoa in water, covering it by at least 1″, for 6 – 8 hours. 2. Once you’re ready to make the crust, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and drizzle one tablespoon of oil in the center. Spread around with your hands until evenly coated and set pan aside. 3. Thoroughly rinse quinoa, then add to a blender. Add the ¼ cup of water, baking powder, salt and remaining olive oil, and blend on high until smooth and creamy. This should resemble a thick pancake batter.

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dining & cuisine

Featured Dishes Must try appetizers, entrees, desserts or cocktails available at local Fox Valley restaurants. House Bottle of Wine

Champagne and Caviar All Chocolate Kitchen’s PRIMO 29 S 3rd Street Geneva, IL 60134 1-630-232-2280

Oysters on The Half Shell

$18-half dozen/$36-dozen. Chef’s selection changes daily. Pictured are Royal Miyagi West coast oysters. Catch 35 Naperville 35 S Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540 1-630-717-3500


Visit Chianti’s any Thursday and enjoy a house bottle of wine for $12. This includes our house Chianti, a customer favorite, which pairs flawlessly with our pork chop. Chianti’s 201 S. 3rd St. Geneva, IL 60134 1-630-232-0212

Bistro Meatloaf

Our fresh baked meatloaf is sliced and stacked with red-skin mashed potatoes, grilled onions, portabella mushrooms, drizzled with bistro sauce and topped with crispy onion straws. Colonial Café & Ice Cream 2 St. Charles locations |Algonquin| Aurora |Crystal Lake |Elgin |Naperville

Candied Bacon & Artisan Cheeses

Appetizer which includes a Trio of Cheeses: Stracciatella, Salemville Bleu, Sartori Parmesan, Honeycomb, Black Fig Jam, Grilled Polenta Crostini. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant 3710 E Main St. St Charles, IL 60174 1-630-940-1000

Artichoke & Crab Fonduta

Fresh crab | artichoke | garlic | fontina | grilled toast.

New Zealand Lamb Chops

Gorgonzola crusted | asparagus | crock of whipped potatoes | demi glaze. Livia Italian Eatery 207 S 3rd St, Geneva, IL 60134 1-630-402-6444

GIA MIA 13 N 3rd St. Geneva, IL 60134 1-630-405-5544

Fried Egg BLT Valentine’s Day Special

Fresh Chocolate covered Strawberries, served with a glass of Caviccioli red wine. Le Chocolat du Bouchard “The Bistro” 127-129 S Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540 1-630-355-5720

Cherrywood smoked bacon, sliced tomato, iceberg lettuce, fried egg, Colman’s mustard aioli, provolone cheese & avocado on brioche toast. McNally’s Irish Pub 109 W. Main Street St. Charles, IL 60174 1-630-513-6300

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Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Marinated chicken breast dipped in buffalo sauce served with lettuce, tomato, blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing. Pictured with a side of our sweet vidalia onion rings.

Roasted Lamb Shoulder

Lamb shoulder with caramelized potato gnocchi, baby beets, salsa verde, icicle radish, and cotija.

The Office 201 E Main St, St. Charles, IL 60174 1-630-549-0287

Niche 14 S 3rd St. Geneva, IL 60134 1-630-262-1000

Grilled “Backyard� Wings

Dry-rubbed and 24-hour citrus-brined grilled chicken wings + zesty garlic vinaigrette drizzle Topgolf Naperville 3211 Odyssey Ct. Naperville, IL 60563 1-630-596-1000

Niku Niku

Pappardelle Paradiso

Shakou St. Charles 312 W Main St. St Charles, IL 60174 1-630-444-0850

Villa Verone 416 Hamilton St, Geneva, IL 60134 1-630-232-2201

Sliced NY Strip, spicy tuna, asparagus, avocado and spring greens wrapped in soy paper and topped with unagi sauce, spicy mayo, ginger dressing and chili oil.


Tri-colored pasta with chicken and roasted garlic in a goat cheese sauce.

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dining & cuisine

St. Charles Restaurant Week Discover Your Foodie Side at St. Charles Restaurant Week Enjoy 20% Off Your Bill From February 26 to March 2, visit participating St. Charles restaurants and receive a 20% discount off the total bill when you present a special coupon—either printed or on your phone. Whether you’re visiting an old favorite or looking to try something new, St. Charles offers one of Chicagoland’s best dining scenes. “Restaurant week is a great way to get out and support your local restaurants and to experience the great variety of cuisine that St.


Charles has to offer,� says Matt O’Rourke, Economic Development Division Manager. St. Charles Restaurant Week coupons will be mailed soon. You also can download the coupon to a mobile device from our website or print a hard copy. Please note: only one bill per table is eligible for the discount, a minimum purchase of $20 is required, and the 20% discount excludes tax, tip, and alcohol. This offer is not valid with other promotions the restaurants may be running and is for dine-in only, no carry-out. For more information, contact Karla McCleary in Economic Development at 630.443.4093 or

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St. Charles Sculpture in the Park Launches 13th Annual Exhibit In preparation for the May 2018 opening of its Sculpture in the Park exhibition, the St. Charles Park Foundation, St. Charles Park District and Sculpture in Park committee have launched a website dedicated to this popular annual celebration of public art which takes place in Mt. St. Mary Park. The address for the new website is In addition to providing all relevant information about the event, the website will, for the first time, allow interested artists the opportunity to apply directly online. “The online application process will streamline the administration of the event, for both artists and staff,” said Erika Young, Public Relations & Marketing Manager. “Being able to submit an application through an event’s FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

website has become a standard function for juried shows and exhibitions within the artist community.” The deadline for applications to this year’s event is February 7, 2018. Interested artists can also find a complete prospectus on the website which conveys important information such as sculpture size, materials, installation requirements and insurance. Of further interest to contributing artists, Sculpture in the Park announced that the amount of its artist honorarium this year has doubled, from $500 to $1000 for each accepted sculptor. Also new to the program this year is a special, one-year installation of a selected piece that will be placed on display in the East Garden at the Baker Community Center, for which the winning artist will receive a $1,500 honorarium. The guiding Sculpture in Park committee for this event will also award a “Committee Award” of $500 to an exemplary sculptor who will be recognized at the “Sculptor’s Reception” to be held on June 15, 2018, at Mt. St. Mary Park. Visitors to the newly-designed website will be able to learn more about the history of Sculpture in the Park, view photographs from each year of the program’s history, and download a map for a self-guided walking tour through the exhibit at Mt. St. Mary Park. Launched in 2006, Sculpture in the Park has been a prime example of interagency cooperation within the City of St. Charles. From 2006 to 2009, the St. Charles Park District partnered with the Downtown St. Charles Partnership to bring an awareness of public art to residents and visitors to the St. Charles community. From 2010 to the present, the St. Charles Park Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, has partnered with the St. Charles Park District to manage and promote the acclaimed annual event, which reaches a population of 48,000 people. An exceedingly popular program, Sculpture in the Park event is made possible by the gen-

erous contributions of both corporate sponsors and individual donors. Parties interested in contributing to this year’s program can learn more about sponsorship opportunities through the “Donation” page on the website. In addition to underwriting the costs involved in mounting the exhibition, such donations enable the St. Charles Park Foundation to acquire a piece of sculpture from the exhibit for permanent installation in Mt. St. Mary Park or other park district facility. Currently, 13 sculptures can be seen throughout the park district, including 11 in Mt. St. Mary Park, one in Baker Memorial Park and one in Lincoln Park. Of these, four sculptures were donations by generous community members and sculptors. Sculpture in the Park was designed to create awareness of the sculptural arts and the synergy that can be achieved when such works are placed within the natural beauty of a park environment. Such works often interpret elements of nature in both abstract and realistic ways, providing innumerable opportunities for enjoyment, reflection and thought-provoking discussion. Sculptures are chosen by the Sculpture in Park committee who evaluate the submissions from local, regional and national sculptors. Their goal is to select pieces that will be a great “fit” within the 29-acre expanse of Mt. St. Mary Park and reflect its scenic beauty on the banks of the Fox River. A biking and walking path loops through the exhibit space, enticing visitors into the park and inviting passers-by to stop and appreciate the art on display. Past contributing artists include local sculptors Guy Bellaver; Jane L. Davidson; Douglas Eageny; Ray Kobald; James Lax; Howard Russo; and Todd Willing. Other sculptors have represented the greater Chicagoland and Midwest region and come from as far away as Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Kansas, New York and Florida. For more information on Sculpture in the Park, call Erika Young at 630-513-4319.

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Skating Brings

Batavia Together “The sunny skies matched the sunny dispositions of everyone attending! It was truly a celebration of all that is special about living in Batavia,” Batavia Women’s Club Member, Nan Phillips commented after the Post to Present: Celebrating 60 Years of Skating in Batavia event last Saturday. 60 years ago, Batavia became the face of America, thanks to the Saturday Evening Post Magazine using John Falter’s painting, “Fox River Ice-Skating,” on the front cover. But last week, on January 6th, Batavia was once again the face of a nostalgic, fun-loving America gathering together to enjoy the day and the community. Post to Present Committee Chair, Bob Hansen of Funway Ultimate Entertainment Center stated, “Batavians have done it again! From volunteers to families participating, Downtown Batavia events are the best!” It is estimated that over 600 people came out to skate and scoot on the Batavia Depot Pond during the 12p to 4p event in Downtown Batavia. The event was made possible thanks to a committee of individuals from many different Batavia organizations including Batavia MainStreet, Batavia Park District, City of Batavia, Batavia Historical Society, Batavia Women’s Club, Batavia Depot Museum, Lighthouse Marketing, and Neighbors Magazine. The Batavia Park District Parks staff spent plenty of hours the week leading up to the event making sure that the ice was cleaned off and stable for skaters. They also prepared fire pits and a warming center inside of the Peg Bond Center. “What a glorious day for our event! I don’t think I’ve ever participated in anything that felt so nostalgic,” Marge Brown continued, “It was like John Falter’s painting came to life.”


The original painting was available for viewing inside of the Depot Museum. The Museum Director, Jennifer Putzier mentioned that they welcomed more visitors in the one day than they ever get in the month of January. The painting is housed inside the Depot Museum for the public to enjoy. It was purchased and donated years ago by the Batavia Women’s Club. “I absolutely loved how so many community groups worked together to make this a memorable day. This is what Batavia is all about,” Brown said, “The s’mores, hot chocolate, hot dogs, photos taken from the fire truck ladder, artwork by third grade students to commemorate the day, fire pits, and of course, all the skaters combined together to make this day something that I believe will be remembered forever by all who were there.” During the winter months, when conditions allow, the Depot Pond is open for ice skating. Please note the weather must be below zero for several days to allow enough ice to form. When a green flag is flown, it is safe to skate. When the red flag is flown, skating is not allowed. The Peg Bond Center will be open as a warming house from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Restrooms will be accessible during that time as well. Batavia MainStreet is a 501©3 notfor-profit organization working to enhance, promote and revitalize Downtown Batavia as the heart of the community through dedicated volunteer efforts. For more information on Downtown Batavia Egg Hop, please visit or call 630.761.3528.

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events Serving Gas to Preserving History will explore the connected stories and histories of the McCornack Gas Station and the St. Charles History Museum. Through the 90 years of sitting on the corner of Main and 3rd Ave the McCornack Gas Station building has seen many changes, including ownership and name changes. Though serving the community a little differently from a gas station, the building has been home to the St. Charles History Museum since 2001. 85 years ago many of St. Charles most influential people set up the St. Charles Historical Society and called for the community to take part in their own history. This exhibit will celebrate the two separate enterprises, while also bringing together the history they now share in serving the community.

Second Annual Tri-Cities 50/50 Community Raffle to Kickoff in St. Charles Proceeds to Benefit Two Local Community Groups The St. Charles History Museum and the Tri-City Exchange Club are again teaming up to kick off the second annual Tri-Cities 50/50 Community Raffle. Last year we raised in total $20,360 which gave our first winner a GRAND TOTAL OF $10,180! The Kickoff will begin on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Blue Goose Market in downtown St. Charles. Tickets will be $5 or five tickets for $20. Staffers and volunteers will be present on Saturday to sell tickets and answer questions. Additional tickets will also be sold at other local community business partner locations, to be announced at a later date. The final raffle will be held on Saturday, Jun. 23, 2018 during the Museum’s third annual Best of St. Charles Foodie Fest event.


Alison Costanzo, St. Charles History Museum executive director, stated: “We’re thrilled to be hosting the second annual Tri-Cities 50/50 community raffle. The raffle was a great addition to our annual Best of St. Charles Foodie Fest.” With half the collected proceeds going to the owner of the winning raffle ticket, remaining proceeds will benefit the St. Charles History Museum and the Tri-Cities Exchange Club.

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Random Acts Matters to Launch Paint the Town Orange Campaign For Random Acts of Kindness Week Random Acts Matter (RAM) will be coordinating an all out effort to cover our community in random acts of kindness during Random Acts of Kindness Week , February 11-17, 2018. ‘Paint the Town Orange” will encourage all of St. Charles to perform random acts of kindness. view?ts=5a51933f We invite teams of students, co-workers, neighbors, church groups, really anyone and everyone to participate in performing Acts! We encourage participants to solicit pledges for Acts completed during Random Acts of Kindness week; however Acts performed without pledges also help us achieve our ultimate goal of sharing care and compassion with our neighbors. It’s a Win/Win!! SO: Start thinking about who you would like on your Paint the Town Orange team. At work or school you can have multiple groups working together or performing individual Acts. Great team building and community service rolled into one! FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

Look around our community, there are lots of opportunities to help each other, start planning for Acts your team can perform, no Act is too small! For additional information, to register your team and/or make a pledge, please visit us at or at We can’t wait to Paint the Town Orange with you! Questions? Email us at “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” -Marcus Annaeus Seneca

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Naperville Events events

January 26th - February 8th Naperville is ready for its 5th annual Restaurant Week! Starting January 26th and running through February 8th, the Naperville Restaurant Week will showcase many restaurants throughout town. From fast casual to fancy dining, each venue will provide either a prix fixe menu at an appetizing price, or discounts on featured menu choices. Come in out of the cold and sample something new or enjoy an old favorite! For more information visit February 10th • 12pm-5pm Benefiting 360 Youth Services, tickets are now available for the (Second Annual) Valentine’s Weekend Chocolate Walk to benefit local 501C3, 360 Youth Services. Sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, Downtown Naperville’s annual 360 Youth Services Chocolate Walk will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2018 from 12 noon – 5pm. Attendees will receive a commemorative souvenir Chocolate Tin along with a map touring many Downtown Naperville shops and restaurants where you’ll experience chocolate tasty treats and chocolate surprises! A perfectly delectable way to spend Valentine’s Day with the ones you love in support of a great cause. For more information visit LOCATION: Downtown Naperville FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

February 11th • 8am Enjoy over 20 educational booths with crafts and activities from all over the world: get a Henna tattoo, make origami, have some tea, learn to paint. Enjoy continuous dance troupes performing dances from Lithuania, India, Poland, Germany, Spanish. For more information visit LOCATION: North Central College - 450 S. Brainard St. • Naperville, IL 60540

February 24th • 12pm The 2018 Naperville Ale Fest - Winter Edition will take place on Saturday, February 24. Situated on the frozen tundra of Naperville’s Frontier Park , the fest will feature over 150 unique American craft beers. Pull out your long-johns and parkas, it’s time to experience winter’s best craft beers. The fest will also feature live music and food from some of Chicagoland’s favorite food trucks. For more information visit LOCATION: 3380 Cedar Glade Rd. • Naperville, IL 60564

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Explore the influence of the baby boomer generation at Naper Settlement In recognition of the profound impact baby boomers have had on the world, Naper Settlement is proud to present the Newseum’s traveling exhibit “The Boomer List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders,” which features 19 large-format portraits of influential baby boomers — one born each year of the baby boom, from 1946 to 1964. The “Boomer List” exhibit will be on view from Jan. 18 to March 19. Visitors will experience the work of award-winning photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and the boomers who reflect the depth, diversity and talent of their generation. This exhibit, created in partnership with AARP, is free with daily museum admission, which is $5.25 adults, $4.75 seniors (62+) and $4 youth (4-12). Naperville residents (with proof of residency) and members receive free admission. “We are extremely excited to be hosting ‘The Boomer List,’” said Director of Innovation and Experience, Lance Tawzer. “Making its Midwest premiere at Naper Settlement, we have a unique opportunity to provide a world-class, nationally touring exhibit to our community, and you do not need to be a boomer to enjoy this show. It is easy to be inspired by the boomer generation’s contributions to our country and culture.” The baby boomer generation is known for shaking up attitudes about sex, race and politics, and influencing everything from science and technology to art and music. The 19 men and women selected for “The Boomer List,” include actor Samuel L. Jackson, co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Wozniak, environmentalist Erin Brockovich and AIDS activist Peter Staley. “The Boomer List” was made possible by generous support from AARP. FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

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feature a&e

Interview with Shuki of Exceptional Events by Shuki Moran

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Shuki Moran began his career as a fashion designer for women’s clothing label ‘madness’. Responsible for organizing his own clothing launch parties, Shuki began to recognize his appreciation for event design and production. In 1990, after moving to California, Shuki began complimenting his event management skills by working with various catering companies in the greater Los Angeles area. It didn’t take long before he became the manager of one of the top catering companies in Los Angeles and built a solid reputation for himself among corporate and private clients alike. His record of successfully developing and delivering many of tinsel town’s high profile events was matched only by his equal dedication to his private clients’ weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, birthday and anniversary parties.


It is from humble beginnings that Shuki has grown a USA-wide reputable business; one that he and all those who have worked with him are very proud of. Fox Valley Magazine: Tell us about your time in women’s fashion.

“Shuki has designed every party I have ever had for the past ten years and I knew that he could take a dream idea and turn it into the most romantic fairy tale wedding in the world. To no surprise, he did just that...” -Jenny McCarthy

Shuki Moran: After finishing my service in the Israeli army, I decided to attend a private school for fashion design. After graduation, I started designing couture women clothing for the plus-size, or as I like to call them, ‘beautiful women’. With all my designs in place, and an available storefront in a hip downtown location of Tel Aviv, ‘Madness’ was open for business. My business philosophy was different than normal retail stores. While they all focused their marketing efforts on ‘skinny girls’, I targeted high-end buyers that were average or plus size ladies. I wanted to show women that you do not have to be skinny to be hip and look beautiful. I loved my clients! The most rewarding part of my job was seeing their confidence and smiling faces when wearing my designs. A common mistake women make in their wardrobe is thinking that black clothes make them look skinnier. That is the worst thing an average or plus size woman can do! Bright colors and floral dresses that extenuate their curves are much more beautiful. The fashion industry in Israel was difficult with their quick changing trends. Sometimes the industry would change colors or styles two to three times per season to encourage consumers to buy more. After five successful years clothing women, I decided to close my business and assist my father in his men’s clothing store, which was much less stressful. Fox Valley Magazine: You had planned on never leaving Israel, but in 1987 you moved to California. What were the biggest differences you first noticed between life in Israel and life here in the states? Shuki Moran: The culture was definitely a shock to me. When I was in Israel, we envied America for being a world leader and having so much

wealth. However the first thing I saw when arriving in California were homeless people living in boxes on the street. I still do not understand it today. Honesty and loyalty of the people also seemed to be a shock to me when I first arrived. I grew up learning to be direct and honest with people. If you had a problem with someone, you would let them know. When I moved to California it seemed people were more worried about image and sometimes said nice things

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when talking with you, but would turn around and say the opposite to someone else. Some of them just seemed fake. However, I was able to weed them out and found some real good friends in California that are still friends of my husband, Dale, and I even after our move to Geneva.

was held in a Beverly Hills mansion, and was a huge success. It was also the first ‘Celebrity’ catering event our company did. We established our name with this event and soon after we were hired for celebrity weddings, parties and even Madonna’s record release party. Fox Valley Magazine: After 10 years, why did you decide to strike out on your own and start your company, Exceptional Events? Shuki Moran: I started Exceptional Events by Shuki Moran because I maxed-out my position at the catering company and had nowhere to grow. Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate the catering company as the owner taught me everything I know on how to run an event from A-Z. It was the best schooling I ever had, and the owner is a best friend of mine today. My event production company started from scratch, slowly obtaining my own clientele. I worked with agents from two of the leading Hollywood agencies in California; the Creative Artist Agency & William Morris Agency. They assisted in helping me secure celebrity parties. My focus was weddings, Bar/Bath Mitzvahs and private events.

Fox Valley Magazine: You started out working as a waiter at events on weekends in CA and from there working with various catering companies to quickly becoming the manager at one of the top catering companies in LA. What was the first big event you organized? Shuki Moran: The first big event I managed was the Black History Award Party in Hollywood. It is a funny story how I acquired this business. One day a woman saw our catering sign as she was walking by. She came in and asked for a proposal to entertain around 300-400 guests. When asked what the event was for, she said she could not tell me. I created the proposal and contacted her to discuss. She then told me it was the party for the Black History Awards. I could not believe that we were able to secure this high-profile event. What a thrill! The event FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

Fox Valley Magazine: You were interviewed by Jim Carrey when he was looking to hire an event planner for a very large event. What an experience that must have been. Shuki Moran: Meeting Jim Carrey was an experience of a lifetime! My husband Dale at that time was working for Jim and asked me if I want to bid the catering and production of his Christmas Party. Well of course I did, but it was not that easy. I had to submit my proposal and interview with him before he accepted the contract. I was very nervous going into the interview because I knew that Colin Cowie, the number one event producer in LA, was also interviewing with him. I walked in there thinking I had nothing to lose. My proposal included having the party at one of Hollywood Studios where we would build an Olympic sized ice skating rink and have snow and a winter wonderland. He did not say much after I presented my ideas. Then 30-minutes later I received a

“When Shuki plans one of your events, it’s like working with an old friend. He listens to your ideas, helps you stay within your budget and the outcome is always stunning. His imagination and attention to detail will create a day or evening that you will always remember.” -Loy Rackley & Ryan Rasmussen call to inform me that Exceptional Events was awarded the contract. I felt like I won the Lottery! It was the biggest party I had and have ever done at Exceptional Events. I must admit I was a bit scared, but was also very motivated to put on the best event ever. I also knew that if I failed, I would be blacklisted from the celebrity crowd on future events. So I put together the best production crew I could and we worked day and night to make it happen. The day finally came and as guests arrived, snow was falling on them, Christmas Carolers were singing and Santa’s helpers welcome the guests. The ice skating rink was surrounded by lounge seating, and close by we built a Gingerbread House with a slide that emptied into an enormous pit of colorful balls. A kids haven! The children also had games and an area full of candies and dessert. There were approximately 500 guests, mostly celebrities, their families and agents from Hollywood. After the success of this event I felt I could do anything and the sky was the limit. I thank Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy for allowing me to make that happen! Fox Valley Magazine: What other celebrities have you done events for? Shuki Moran: I sign confidentialities with most of the celebrities I work with, however the ones I can name include Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Pete Yorn, David Beckham, and of course Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg.

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Fox Valley Magazine: What celebrity would you most like to plan and organize an event for that you haven’t yet? Shuki Moran: I would love to do an event for Lady Gaga. I think she would be incredible to work with and if anyone knows her personally, please ask her to call me. Fox Valley Magazine: What event or events have you done that are your favorites so far? Shuki Moran: Working in the Fox Valley with nonprofit organizations are my favorites. There is such a sense of reward in helping our community and those that are in need. It is much more than an event I create, it is giving back to those that have accepted me into their community. The Fox Valley is very generous and philanthropic, and I want to make sure these organizations receive an exceptional evening that they will remember forever. I also love working with all the amazing volunteers of these organizations which makes every day of planning so much more fun! This year I am blessed to be planning the fundraisers for Lazarus House in January at the St.


Charles County Club, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in February at the beautiful mansion of Karen and Ed French, Tuskegee Next in April at Plane Master in DuPage Airport, Golf Give Gala by ALE at Hotel Baker in St. Charles, and PaulyD Foundation at the Q Center in St. Charles. Fox Valley Magazine: You have lived in California, New York and Geneva IL, why is Geneva your favorite? Shuki Moran: Moving to the small town of Geneva IL was the best thing that ever happened to us (Dale). I want to thank Jenny McCarthy

who convinced us to move. I admit we resisted at first, as we did not think the Midwest would compare to our lives in LA, I mean what was there to do in a small town? But that was not the case. We fell in love with the town, community and people and now cannot ever fathom moving back to LA. I hope the people here know what an amazing community they live in. Ok, I admit winter sucks, but that is why we have all the amazing restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores to enjoy when it is cold (and warm), and forget about the winter! We were worried about moving to a very conservative place, and were afraid of not being accepted as we are a gay couple. However we never felt unwelcomed . This is our home.

myself. I started by convincing Jenny McCarthy to showcase her clothing line. She said she was in only if was like a New York style runway show. I then talked to all the local restaurants, retail fashion and beauty stores and got their commitments. The fashion show was a huge success, everyone did an amazing job and I could not do it without them.

Fox Valley Magazine: Several of the local events you have done are Fashion at The Airport and Unmasking the Face of Homelessness for Lazarus House …how challenging is it to make each event different and unique? Shuki Moran: It is a rule for me to make each event different and unique. As an event coordinator, I like to be creative. It is much more exciting to create a different design every time than to repeat myself over and over again which becomes boring. My most favorite fundraisers were ‘Fashion at the Airport’. With my love for fashion, I always thought it would be exciting to have an event that included a fashion show. This dream became a reality when my best friend Sylvie Baumann asked me to work with her on showcasing her fashion line in Geneva. The event was such a huge success, a year later I decided I wanted to do a bigger one. This time I did not have a client, so I was able to completely design the production

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I became involved in the Lazarus House because I see what they do for the community in helping those that cannot always help themselves. It was a perfect way to start the new year. It was also very heartwarming to see all the support from the community, and the hard work of all the volunteers. Charitable events happen because people help and care. Thank you everyone for making our community a better place to live. God bless you all. Fox Valley Magazine: Your next event is LivingWell Cancer Resource Center’s Annual Winter Benefit Gala on February 17th, what have got planned? Shuki Moran: This year’s fundraiser for LivingWell Cancer Resource Center will be completely fun and upbeat with a 70’s Disco theme. We are transforming the beautiful French mansion to a 1970’s club. Setup will start on the Tuesday preceding the event and we will work day and night to transform the home. I am always amazed how generous the French’s are in letting us take over their home for a week, moving all their furniture out and moving in all the disco décor. Not to ruin all the surprises, but there will be an LED dance floor and silver sequin draping transforming the living room floor and walls. Music will include a Disco band and lots of restaurants in the Fox Valley will be donating delicious food for everyone to enjoy. So get on your 70’s disco attire, reserve your spot and get ready to dance the night away!


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What’s Happening at The Arcada? Pink Floyd Nite With Echoes Of Pompeii This Pink Floyd tribute from Gary Indiana is made up of regular hard working members, who come together on stage to perform the best music, from the best band rock and roll has produced in the past 50 years. FRIDAY, FEB 2 at 8:00 PM An Evening Of The Eagles With The Dark Desert Eagles Touched by the passing of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, Pat Badger (an original member of the multi-platinum rock act Extreme) set out to form the Dark Desert Eagles band. Badger is an enormous fan of The Eagles’ musicianship, vocal harmonies and timeless repertoire. SATURDAY, FEB 3 at 8:00 PM Arcada Silent Film Night: The Sheik Accompanied Live By Jay Warren On The Historic Arcada Organ Experience the magic of Silent Cinema the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30PM. Live accompaniment by Jay Warren at the historic Arcada Pipe Organ. TUESDAY, FEB 6 at 7:30 PM


For tickets, call 630-962-7000 or visit

Grass Roots, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap And The Cowsills “Let’s Live for Today” “Midnight Confessions” “Sooner or Later” “Young Girl” “Lady Willpower” “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” SUNDAY, FEB 11 at 3:00 PM

The Fab Four…The World’s Foremost Beatles Tribute! With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ songs, the Fab Four will make you think you are watching the real thing. This incredible stage show includes three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-changing career. FRIDAY, FEB 9 at 8:00 PM

Steely Dan Nite With Deacon Blues DEACON BLUES was born in the twelfth year of the 21st century. Eleven stellar musicians,composers, and educators based in Chicago, they share a unique passion for the Becker/Fagen repository, better known to the world as Steely Dan. SATURDAY, FEB 10 at 8:00 PM

Country Superstar Easton Corbin His self-titled debut album released in 2010 and spawned back-to-back hits “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It;” making him the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles reach No. 1. In 2012 the Gilchrist County Florida native released his sophomore album, All Over The Road, which included the Top 5 hits “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and “All Over The Road.” THURSDAY, FEB 15 at 7:30 PM

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Marillion You may not have heard of Marillion but either directly or indirectly, however, you have almost certainly felt the influence of one of the UK music scene’s best-kept secrets. Today, any musician, artist, writer, or budding entrepreneur can quickly set up a crowdfunding campaign using established specialist companies like PledgeMusic and Kickstarter. Of course, this wasn’t always the case and previously, artists in need of finance and exposure had little choice but to sign their rights away in often exploitative and one-sided business deals. It can be argued that every artist today owes Marillion a debt of gratitude because now there is another way forward. MONDAY, FEB 19 at 7:30 PM

Gin Blossoms – 25th Anniversary of New Miserable Experience Tour Gin Blossoms indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during radio’s diverse mix of hair bands and grunge music superstars. They qualified to perform at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin Texas in 1989. That same year College Music Journal dubbed them “The Best Unsigned Band In America” and added an invitation to perform on MTV’s New Music Awards in New York City. Their breakout record New Miserable Experience was where their rise to fame began. This album kept the band on the chart for almost 3 years with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs. Rita,” and “Found Out About You.” The crossover hits on New Miserable Experience played on 4 radio formats and, to date, have sold over 5 million records. SATURDAY, FEB 17 at 8:00 PM

ONE – Metallica Tribute Band ONE has been paying tribute to Metallica for over most of ONE’s lineup lives. These four horsemen have chosen to join forces and bring the midwest the most authentic sounding Metallica Tribute to date. THURSDAY, FEB 22 at 7:30 PM


Starship With Mickey Thomas For their upcoming tour, the band will mine their deep back catalog — “we’ll play songs from every record I had a hand in,” says the singer, promising early hits like “Find Your Way Back,” as well as a medley of the group’s earliest hits as Jefferson Airplane. And, of course, the new material. As Mickey gets ready to start a new chapter in a career that has spanned forty years, his voice is on-fire and the music is a compelling blend of then and now. Loveless Fascination is sure to appease long-time Starship fans while opening the door to a new generation of rockers. FRIDAY, FEB 23 at 8:00 PM

Daniel O’Donnell: Back Home Again Tour One of Ireland’s best loved artists, Daniel O’Donnell has announced that he will be returning to tour in the USA! The tour will see the record-breaking chart singer play a more extensive concert tour than he did in Oct 2016, when he performed in venues in the Mid-East of the USA to packed houses of ardent fans. SATURDAY, FEB 24 at 7:30 PM

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Come Hear The Music Play,

Come To Cabaret February 7-March 18

Aurora’s Paramount Theatre – Chicago’s most decorated theater at the 2017 Jeff Awards, entering 2018 as the third largest musical theater in the nation – turns with the new year to one of the most well-known Broadway musicals of all time, the divinely decadent Cabaret. Bold, brassy, dark and sensual, Cabaret was unlike anything audiences had ever seen when it debuted on Broadway in 1966. Set in 1930s Berlin as the Nazis begin their rise to power, Cabaret centers on the patrons and staff of an underground nightclub, the Kit Kat Klub, who are chasing their own dreams of what freedom means. The world-famous Kander and Ebb score has some of the most seminal characters in all of musical theater essaying extraordinary songs including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen,” “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Maybe This Time.” Add a spellbinding story that still rings true today, and Chicago audiences will feel the same when Cabaret hits the Paramount’s Art Deco stage. Making her Paramount directing debut is Katie Spelman, Jeff-nominated for her innovative FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

choreography of Paramount’s Oklahoma!. Tom Vendafreddo, 2017 Jeff Award winner for Music Direction for Paramount’s Sweeney Todd, returns as Music Director/Conductor. Cabaret begins previews February 7, 2018. Press opening is Saturday, February 10 at 8 p.m. Regular performances run through March 18: Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Single tickets are $36 to $64. For tickets, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances. The Paramount is surrounded by affordable parking and a variety of restaurants for pre- or post-show dining. Cabaret is rated PG-13 for strong language, adult content and partial nudity. The sound of the orchestra tuning its instruments fills the air. The smell of liquor, tobacco and perfume permeates the club, causing a shiver of sinful delight. A man catches a dancer’s eye and wonders what she’s doing after the show. After all, life is a cabaret, and anything goes. It’s early 1930s Berlin, and the world is changing. On the horizon is an ugly and dangerous threat, but that’s no concern for cabaret singer Sally Bowles, whose only goal in life is to have a good

time. Sally soon finds herself living with Clifford Bradshaw, a struggling young writer visiting from America to work on a new novel. While their relationship moves beyond just being friends, around them the lives of citizens go from ordinary to a nightmare. Will Sally recognize her own selfishness? Or will she look to the ground as the Nazis steamroll over everything, and everyone, she holds dear? Nominated for 26 Tony Awards over three decades and winning 12 including Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical, Cabaret is exactly what musical theater should be: entertaining, enlightening, provocative, edgy and a continuing reflection of our own lives. The book is by Joe Masteroff, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Cabaret is based on the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten, which was adapted from the novel The Berlin Stories (1939) by Christopher Isherwood. It debuted on Broadway in 1966. The 1972 major motion picture, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minelli, Michael York and Joel Grey, won eight Academy Awards. The Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals. For more, visit or call (630) 896-6666.

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North Central College - February

Through Feb. 21, Art exhibit: North Central College will showcase artwork by Joe B. Milosevich and Colin Sherrell in their exhibit “Differentiating Similarities.” The artwork will be on display in the College’s Oesterle Library Gallery, 320 E. School St. Call 630-637-5700 for information and gallery hours.

the gods of ancient Greece. Tickets are $10 and $8; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege. edu/showtix.

Feb. 1, Lecture: North Central College’s Center for Global Education presents “Sustaining the Globe Series” lecture by Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Hikaru Kobayashi at Through Feb. 25, Art exhibit: North 7:30 p.m. in Smith Hall at Old Main, Central College’s Art Department will 30 N. Brainard St. Professor Koshowcase pieces by faculty in the bayashi has 37 years of experience College’s Schoenherr Art Gallery in in Japan’s Ministry of the Environthe Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago ment, including representing Japan Ave. Call 630-637-5375 for informain the Kyoto Protocol—the 1997 tion and gallery hours. international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases worldwide. His Feb. 1-4, Theatre: North Central Col- lecture will explain lessons learned lege presents a classic Greek tragefrom that agreement, focusing on dy written by Euripides, “Iphigenia the key relationship between interAmong the Taurians,” at 7:30 p.m. national and domestic policies. from Feb. 1-3, and 2 p.m. on Feb. 3-4 in the Madden Theatre at the Fine Feb. 3, Music: North Central College Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Dihosts Gospel Extravaganza at 7:30 rected by Laura Lodewyck, assistant p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, in the Colprofessor of theatre at North Cenlege’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine tral, the classical play captures the Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. The struggle between mortals, fate and concert brings together old friends, FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

new voices and the best gospel choirs in Chicago for a night of high-spirited music and praise. Tickets are $15/adults, $10/ students and seniors; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit showtix.

the Orchestra will perform Brahms’ Double Concerto in A minor for Violin and Cello. Tickets are $35/adult, and $15/students; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

Feb. 9, Music: North Central College presents “An Evening with Jazz Vibraphonist Brad Stirtz” at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, in the Madden Theatre in the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Stirtz has gained a reputation as an outstanding professional mallet percussionist, spanning the world with concerts in Uganda, Trinidad and across the United States. He has performed or recorded with jazz luminaries like Ed Thigpen, Patricia Barber, Jerry Goodman and others. Tickets are $20/adults, $10/students and seniors; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

Feb. 11, International Festival: North Central College hosts its 22nd annual International Festival “Around the Corner, Around the World” from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, in the College’s Gregory Arena at Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St. The festival features performances, educational booths, and food for purchase. Tickets are $6/person at the door or $5/person in advance. All proceeds benefit the International Scholarship Fund to support international students coming to North Central College. For information or to purchase tickets, contact Rebecca Pugh at 630-637-5132 or rjpugh@

Feb. 10, Music: The DuPage Symphony Orchestra presents its concert “Double Rich” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, in North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Featuring father and son duo Stefan and Alexander Hersh,

Feb. 15, Student Panel: North Central College’s Center for Global Education’s “Sustaining the Globe Series” continues with “Exploring Green Spain: A Student Panel.” Students who studied in Spain during the 2017-2018 winter term will report on significant innova-

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tions and practices that Spaniards are undertaking to sustain their country’s environment. The discussion takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, in Smith Hall at Old Main, 30 N. Brainard St. Feb. 16, Transfer information session: North Central College will host an information session Friday, Feb. 16, for transfer students. Visitors can learn about academic choices, the transfer admission process, scholarships and financial aid. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. in Smith Hall at Old Main, 30 N. Brainard St., and the event concludes with a walking tour of campus at 10:45 a.m. For information or to register, call 630-637-5800 or visit Feb. 16, Music: North Central College features its choral and instrumental ensembles in “Explore the Sound” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in the College’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Theatrically lit and staged, the ensembles perform music from virtually every nook and cranny of the great concert hall. Tickets are $10/adults, $3/students and seniors; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

171 E. Chicago Ave. This ensemble features three award-winning members: Konzertmeister Andreas Buschatz, violist Matthew Hunter, and cellist Knut Weber, as well as renowned concert pianist Markus Groh. Tickets are $30/ adults, $20/students and seniors; call 630637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege. edu/showtix. Feb. 19, Visit Day: High school students and their parents or guardians are invited to attend North Central College’s Visit Day on Monday, Feb. 19, in the Wentz Concert Hall lobby at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. The day begins with check-in at 9:15 a.m. and concludes at 12:30 p.m. with lunch at Kaufman Dining Hall. Visitors can take a walking tour and attend informative sessions on financial aid, academic highlights and student life. An optional event for high-achieving students is set for 9 a.m. For information and to register, call 630-637-5800 or visit

Feb. 17-18, Service: North Central College will host “Feed the Need,” an annual Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event on Feb. 17-18 in the Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St. The annual twoday event draws more than 5,000 volunteers who help pack more than a million meals to be given to children in need. For information and to sign up for a volunteer shift, visit Feb. 18, Music: North Central College presents the highly praised Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in the Wentz Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center,


Feb. 24, Music: North Central College presents Sony Masterworks recording artist and foremost jazz violinist Regina Carter as she

performs her concert, “Simply Ella” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Wentz Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Carter celebrates the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, the source of her inspiration. Tickets are $60 and $50; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit Feb. 25, Music: North Central College presents premier jazz stylist Tammy McCann as she performs “Tenderly Nat King Cole” at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, in Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. In this post valentine experience, McCann uses her sultry and emotionally charged voice to tribute Nat “King” Cole and conjure up a time when great singing was in the service of romance. Tickets are $35 and $30; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit Feb. 27, Lecture: North Central College hosts famed violinist Vijay Gupta, as he presents his “Street Symphony” lecture of music at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Wentz Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Gupta has made a name for himself as the founder/director of Street Symphony and the principal violinist for the Los Angeles Symphony. Admission is free. Contact Ramona Wis at 630-637-5629 or for more information. Feb. 28, Theatre: North Central College seniors will present five performances of the intimate musical comedy, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28-March 3 and at 2 p.m. March 3-4 in the College’s Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. Through a series of vignettes, the show explores the taboos and stereotypes of love and romance. Tickets are $15/adults, $10/students and seniors; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege. edu/showtix.

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The Elgin Symphony Orchestra Announces Its 2018/19 Season


Music Director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) Andrew Hilary Grams announces the ESO’s 68th season, which marks Grams’ sixth as music director. The season features many of the great classical masterworks and lesser-known hidden gems. Also featured are contemporary works by American composers John Corigliano and Mason Bates, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Composer-In-Residence from 2010-15. Seven (7) works will receive their ESO premieres. The season also includes the ESO debut of Joshua Roman, cello; the return of popular favorites like Natasha Paremski, piano, and highlights the solo talents of ESO musicians, concertmaster Isabella Lippi and horns Greg Flint and Steve Replogle. Two (2) Pops concerts are set for the season, including an evening of waltzes and polkas conducted by Music Director Grams - A Night in Old Vienna - on January 26 and 27, 2019. Andrew Grams leads six (6) weeks of subscription programs with the ESO during the 2018/19 season, and will present Musically Speaking Pre-Concert Chats before each Classics Series performance. Bates’ Cello Concerto, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Corigliano’s Troubadours Variations for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, Mahler’s Adagio from Symphony No. 10, Kodály’s Peacock Variations, Telemann’s Concerto for Two Horns and Two Violins and Villa-Lobos’ Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra are all receiving their ESO premieres this season. Grams will also conduct a Pops concert - A Night in Old Vienna. Andrew Grams and the ESO will host two (2) of the ESO’s popular, new Inside the Music with Andrew Grams events, lively and informal 90-minute presentations that use musical excerpts to explore famous musical masterworks. Music Director Andrew Grams, a brilliant communicator, leads the discussion, with the Orchestra illustrating points by playing sections of the piece, and then pulling-it all together with a full performance of the work. This season, Inside the Music will examine Richard Wagner’s monumental dramatic opera cycle, The Ring, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 or Jupiter, the last, the longest, and considered by many, the greatest of Mozart’s symphonies. “We crafted a season for you that offers great traditional masterworks, new


exciting pieces from composers of this generation, and lesser known treasures that deserve a hearing - all served-up in the casual and informal environment our audience demands,” says Music Director Grams. “At the ESO, was are working to ‘transform the symphony experience.’ Whether that be by me speaking informally from the stage at a concert, by staff working hard to be welcoming, or by creating a more informal concert format, our popular Inside the Music events, which are designed to show newcomers how great orchestral music works its magic on us, we at the ESO are dedicated to creating the highest quality entertainment experience.” The ESO Classics Series contains works by Bach, Bates, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Chopin, Copland, Corigliano, Haydn, Kodály, Mahler, Mozart, Schumann, Smetana, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Telemann, Villa-Lobos & Wagner. Music Director Andrew Grams opens the ESO 2018/19 season on September 15 and 16 with Mason Bates’ Cello Concerto, an ESO premiere featuring the ESO debut of cellist Joshua Redman. The concert also includes Chopin’s Grand Valse Brillante and Stravinsky’s ground-breaking The Firebird Suite (1919). Andrew Grams will also conduct five (5) more ESO concerts: • Concerts on November 3 and 4 hold works by three German titans of classical music - Beethoven, Strauss and Wagner. Andrew Grams conducts the program, which begins with Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture from his only opera, Fidelio, and also includes orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s The Ring and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, sung by soprano Laura Wilde, a recent graduate of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Grams will host the first of two Inside the Music with Andrew Grams on Friday, November 2, providing insight into Wagner’s The Ring. • ESO audience favorite, pianist Natasha Paremski, returns to perform in concerts highlighting Romantic composers Brahms, Chopin and Schumann February 9 and 10. The program opens with Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture. Ms. Paremski will play Chopin’s shimmering Piano Concerto No. 2 and the program closes with Schumann’s Symphony No. 4. • On March 23 and 24, Music Director Andrew Grams will conduct a program featuring two Baroque composers and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest composers of all time. The first half of the program holds Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 and Telemann’s Concerto for Two Horns and Two Violins, featuring ESO Principal Horn Greg Flint, ESO Horn Steve Replogle and ESO violins, TBA. The concerts close with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 or Jupiter Symphony. On Friday, March 22, Grams will host Inside the Music with Andrew Grams, diving deep into Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. • The season finale concerts on May 4 and 5, led by Andrew

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Grams, highlight the award-winning Elgin Symphony Orchestra, which has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year a record-setting four times from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The program holds the ESO premiere of Mahler’s Adagio from Symphony No. 10 and American composer Aaron Copland’s final symphony, No. 3, which includes the theme from his work Fanfare for the Common Man. • In addition, on January 26 and 27, Andrew Grams will conduct the Pops concert, A Night in Old Vienna, a program of waltzes and polkas reminiscent of Vienna’s famous New Year’s concert. ESO Listener Clubs, hosted by music historian Jim Kendros, are offered the Wednesday before Classics Series performances at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin and GreenFields in Geneva. Free and open to the public, Kendros discusses the composers and the music that will be presented in upcoming concerts. And all Saturday night concertgoers are invited to “Mingle with the Musicians” after the show at area restaurants, where they can meet Music Director Grams, guest artists and ESO musicians. Resident Conductor Stephen Squires will conduct three (3) programs during the 2018/19 season: • On October 5 at the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts, and October 6 and 7 at the Hemmens Cultural Center, Squires will lead the ESO, the Elgin Master Chorale and guest soloists TBA in the Pops concert, American Spectacular, a musical salute to America, honoring the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Page 3 of 4 • Squires will lead Classics concerts on January 11 at Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts and January 12 and 13 at the Hemmens Cultural Center that feature Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 or “Surprise” Symphony, Kodály’s exotic Peacock Variations and Anton Bruch’s famous Violin Concerto No. 1, one of the most popular violin concertos in the repertoire, performed by ESO concertmaster Isabella FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

Lippi. • Squires will conduct the ESO’s holiday concerts, Sounds of the Season, a popular Fox Valley tradition, on December 8 and 9. These extravaganza performances include soloists, dancers, the Elgin Master Chorale and an appearance by a very special visitor from the North Pole. Guest conductor Teddy Abrams, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, leads a Classics program of guitar favorites on March 2 and 3. Jason Vieaux, guitar, will perform Villa-Lobos’ Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra and Corigliano’s Troubadours Variations for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra. The program also includes Smetana’s The Moldau and Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini. ESO subscription renewal materials and new subscriptions for the 2018/19 season are now available. Grand, Classics, Pops & Schaumburg renewals and new subscriptions are due March 4, 2018. Public on sale and ticket exchanges begin April 2018 and tickets will be mailed in July 2018. For more information, call Patron Services Manager Audra Odzana at the ESO Box Office, 847-888-4000, Monday through Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm or visit our website at ElginSymphony.Org.


Upcoming Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus Concert The Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus will perform at beautiful St Mark’s Lutheran Church, 27 S Edgelawn Dr., Aurora IL on February 11th at 3:00 P.M. The concert is titled For the Love of Song and will illustrate various types of love experienced in life. The FVOC will present its first a cappella concert featuring masterful choral works. The presentation will include beloved compositions by Eric Whitacre, Rossini, Gwyneth Walker, Mack Wilberg, Josef Rheinberger, and Brahms. The Chorus is excited to perform under the direction of Chorus Master Lisa Fredenburgh. The chorus is comprised of singers from all over the Chicago area who have a high level of vocal skills and experience. The Chorus has spent seven seasons singing with the Fox Valley Orchestra and has developed into a cohesive and accomplished singing group and are more than ready to headline their own event. Abendlied (Evening Song), is a sacred motet by Josef Rheinberger for a six-part mixed choir. It has been regarded as his best-known sacred composition. And has been recently recovered into the standard choral repertoire after many years of obscurity. El Vito is a traditional Andalusian folk song and dance whose origins can be traced back to the 16th century. Mack Wilberg who arranged this piece is the current Music Director of the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I Gondolieri is a charming, flirtatious work from Rossini’s Péchés De Vieillesse (“Sins of Old Age”). This is a refined work, never meant to be published but was performed in the privacy of Rossini’s drawing room at Passy on the Left Bank of Paris. A Boy and A Girl, by Eric Whitacre was inspired by a poem titled Los Novios by Octavio Paz. Paz was a Mexican poet and diplomat who passed away in 1998. The original text was in Spanish in a very romantic form. It is rich in symbolism and paints a picture of romantic love throughout the course of life. The FVOC will also be performing selections from Brahms, Liebeslieder Walzer, Let Us Break Bread Together by Gwyneth Walker, and Eric Whitacre’s, Seal Lullaby. Tickets are $10 and are available on line at or can be purchased at the door.

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February at Zanies


Feb. 1-3...James Johann...has appeared on Comedy Central, the Late Show on CBS, CMT & toured with Jeff Foxworthy.

Feb. 8-10...Jason Dudey...has appeared on the Logo Network, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central & more.

Feb. 14-17...Bret Ernst...appeared in the Vince Vaughn Wild West Comedy Show movie, Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central.

Feb. 22-24...Kristin Key...Her cd “Songs in the Key of Kristin” was in the top 10 of the Billboard comedy charts, Comedy Central.


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Introducing Alison Bastian, First Director of the St. Charles Arts Council The Director shares her thoughts about the arts, the SCAC, the community, and her new role. We’re delighted to welcome her! It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself as the first director of the St. Charles Arts Council. I have a passion for the arts and this city, so I am excited to give back to both by heading an organization that directly nurtures and supports the local arts. My background includes time spent working as a professional artist (I exhibited work at SCAC’s inaugural neXt Gallery back in 2011!) (see below), teaching at Chicago arts organizations such as Marwen and Hyde Park Arts Center, and working for museums—most recently with the Field Museum’s anthropology collections. As a visual artist, I have come to value organizational


support in the form of exhibition opportunities, promotion, and networking with other artists and art advocates. This support system is integral to a professional artist’s success. As a community member, I understand that having access to arts education and programming leads to an overall greater quality of life and that a thriving arts and culture sector promotes economic growth. The St. Charles Arts Council bridges those needs of artists and the needs of the community, making the arts visible and accessible for mutual benefit. I am thrilled to continue this important mission and look forward to hearing from constituents to learn how SCAC can serve you. One of my primary goals for SCAC this year is to grow our volunteer base. For those of you who currently volunteer with SCAC, I thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to meeting and thanking each of you personally. This organization is dependent on its volunteers. We always have a need for assistance, but there are specific openings that we are looking to fill this year, and if we decide to take on new projects, we will need additional support. Please email us at if you have an interest in participating in any capacity.

it has cultivated an impressive collection of public art by local, national, and international artists. The arts have had solid support from the St. Charles community and residents of the Fox Valley area, but if we, as a city, want to become a destination for arts and culture, we need to envision and foster a dynamic, living and breathing arts scene. This requires public and civic commitment and an understanding that the arts are integral to the health and vitality of our community. The arts enrich our lives, promote healthy conversation, and connect us through a shared humanity. I look forward to working with you all in 2018 to strengthen the arts in St. Charles and to create a vision for SCAC’s role in this endeavor.

Another aim for the year is to get closer to realizing our vision for an arts center in St. Charles. This has been a goal of the Council since its inception, and this year I hope to work with the board to set the wheels in motion. This means securing a space and raising funds from a variety of sources. Here, community support will be crucial. We hope that we can count on you to support this endeavor—as an advocate, volunteer, or donor. St. Charles has been a welcoming host for several established cultural organizations, events, and programs over the years, and

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Four Winter Weekend Getaways in Illinois From cozy craft breweries and luxurious ski resorts to ice wall climbing and cross country skiing by candlelight, winter offers plenty of fun in the Land of Lincoln. “If you’re looking for outdoor adventures or a relaxing weekend indoors, Illinois is the place to be this winter” said Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “Visitors will find everything they are looking for to make the most out of the season.” Check out these four destinations in Illinois for an unforgettable weekend. STARVED ROCK COUNTRY, known for its riverfront views and welcoming community: • Play: Embrace nature at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, one of the best spots in the state to see bald eagles, along the Illinois River in December and January. Adventure seekers can climb frozen waterfalls at one of four canyons in the park. • Eat: Savor a bottle of bubbly at Illinois Sparking Co. in Utica, where visitors can taste Illinois made sparkling wines. Dine on fresh local flavors at The Lone Buffalo brewpub in nearby Ottawa. • Stay: Cozy up in one of Starved Rock Lodge’s rustic cabins, where guests can relax in front of a fireplace or hot tubs. FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

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GALENA, a charming, historic riverside town: • Play: Test your adventurous side at Chestnut Mountain in Galena. At 475-feet, the mountain offers 19 ski runs, and is one of the Midwest’s top-rated snowboard parks. • Eat: After a day on the slopes, visitors can revive themselves with handcrafted spirits at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or award-winning wines at Galena Cellars tasting room. Dine on fresh seafood and the finest steaks at Fried Green Tomatoes in Galena. • Stay: Escape the cold and recharge at the historic Goldmoor Inn with hot chocolate next to a cozy fireplace. OREGON, a gateway to the outdoors: • Play: Head to White Pines Ranch in Oregon and ride through a winter wonderland on horseback. The ranch also offers sledding, cross-country skiing and hiking. • Eat: Satisfy your hunger at White Pines Inn Lodge Restaurant. Choose from hearty, homeFOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

cooked dishes like chicken pot pie, country fried steak and fish and chips. • Stay: Relax at the pioneer-style White Pines Cabins where guests will find rooms with open-beamed ceilings and gas fireplaces surrounded by towering pine trees. Nearby Franklin Grove offers the elegant Lincoln Way Inn B&B located on the historic Lincoln Highway. CHICAGO, a big city with Midwestern charm: • Play: Ice skate the night away at Maggie Daley Park’s Skating Ribbon surrounded by the city’s picturesque skyline. • Eat: Dine at Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in the Wicker Park neighborhood after working up an appetite. After dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth at nearby Margie’s Candies, a Chicago institution. • Stay: Get some shut eye at the elegant Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, just steps from Maggie Daley Park. The contemporary-style rooms boast views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and the stunning skyline. Check out these events happening in Illinois this winter: • Cross country ski by candlelight at Candlelight Night Ski in Crystal Lake, Dec. 16-17 • Indulge in culinary delights during Chicago Restaurant Week, Jan 26-Feb 8 • Experience Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park, Jan. 28-29. • Celebrate the art of theater at Chicago Theater Week, Feb 8-18 • For more information about planning an Illinois getaway, visit

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Cambria Chicago Loop - Theatre District Offers Broadway In Chicago Packages

Celebrate the Chicago theatre scene and a night on the town with one of Chicago’s new and unique hotels literally in the heart of the Theater District Constructed above the historic Oriental Theatre at 32 W. Randolph Street, Cambria Chicago Loop - Theatre District, managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, honors its close connection to Chicago theatre with three exclusive Broadway In Chicago packages. Guests will enjoy a special night downtown including an overnight stay, dinner for two, and tickets to experience two of Broadway In Chicago’s most popular productions of all time, with either the Wicked or Hamilton packages. Also available is the Broadway Package, which is perfect for those looking to spice up their theatre evening in the Windy City. All three packages are now available for guests to book. Celebrate a night out with two Tony Award-winning musicals with the Hamilton Package and the Wicked Package. Both packages offer theatregoers two best available house seats to the chosen production and two drink vouchers for the show. In addition, guests of these packages will be treated to a sleeping room for two, a welcome amenity, and dinner for two at the hotel restaurant, Intermission. The price of this package varies, is based on availability, and must be booked 14 days in advance. It is not available to be booked on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.


The Broadway Package puts a unique spin on the normal theatre night with a sleeping room for two, dinner for two at hotel restaurant and bar, Intermission, and two drink vouchers for the show. The price of this package varies, is based on availability, and has a 7-day cut-off. It is not available to be booked on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Situated on the upper 19 floors of the 22 story building, Cambria Chicago Loop Theatre District features 199 stylish guestrooms, two lavish suites- one of which boasts an enchanting 18 foot high cathedral window that is original to the building, a game room complete with pool tables, shuffleboard, foosball and TV’s for watching games, a fitness center, and 2,600 square feet of adaptable function space that can be separated into four state-of-the-art meeting rooms, allowing for ultimate flexibility. Amenities include AV capabilities, valet parking for all guests, and customizable menus to fit every budget.

ABOUT CAMBRIA HOTELS & SUITES Cambria hotels & suites makes business travel easier—and more fun—than ever before. Offering modern décor, rooms that feel like an upgrade, and fresh, local cuisine at our Social Circle™ restaurant, Cambria makes every guest feel like a VIP. There are currently 29 properties open across the country and 30 under development in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit www.

Located within walking distance to many attractions the area offers, including the John Hancock Center, Skydeck Chicago and the Chicago Riverwalk, shopping and dining options are endless with the Cambria Chicago LoopTheatre District’s proximity to State Street, the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park and Block 37. For group information on any of these Broadway In Chicago packages, contact sales directly at lohara@ or 312.763.3814. For more information on Cambria Chicago Loop- Theatre District, visit

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Hotel EMC2- Autograph Collection Announces Exclusive “Exactly Like Nothing Else” Package

Celebrate the intersection of art and science with a one-of-a-kind package that features a private tour at the Art Institute of Chicago, followed by a unique dining experience at the Albert topped with signature cocktails, and much more! Make your trip to Chicago one to remember; and impossible to replicate. Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection (228 East Ontario St.) a boutique hotel in Chicago that celebrates the convergence of art and science through its design, cuisine and guest experience, and its contemporary restaurant the Albert, are thrilled to offer guests an exclusive Exactly Like Nothing Else Package. The package is perfect for a unique weekend getaway or staycation in the Windy City that is quite literally, exactly like nothing else. The Exactly Like Nothing Else Package includes a two-hour private tour at one of the largest and oldest museum’s in the city, the Art Institute of Chicago, where guests can make their way through the pivotal eras of art, beginning in the Ancient and Byzantine Era, and ending in today’s Modern day era. The package also includes a $100 dinner credit to the Albert, Hotel EMC2’s contemporary restaurant that features seasonal, globally inspired cuisine, offering a menu that will engage, stimulate and revive the palate. Guests will receive premium seating in Albert Kitchen, as well as two signature lightweight or full bodied cocktails. Daily valet parking completes the experience, ensuring the visit is an unforgettable breeze. FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit or call 1-800-2289290. Use promotional code 9EZ in the Corporate/Promotional code box when booking your online reservation. Offer valid only through December 30, 2018. About Hotel EMC2 Hotel EMC2, boasting 195 beautifully designed rooms and almost 2,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, opened its doors in spring 2017. A hotel that embodies imagination, inspiration and innovation, it captures the creative spirit: the essential, energetic ingredient that has led to the scientific understanding of the universe and that acts as the bedrock to artistic expression. Hotel EMC2 strives to activate the mind through modern, upscale amenities, a restorative yet stimulating atmosphere and sumptuous, seasonal cuisine to enrich the soul, allowing guests to feel right at home. This one-of-a-kind, boutique hotel is situated in the heart of the famed Magnificent Mile Shopping District within the vibrant Streeterville neighborhood and is pedestrian-friendly to Chicago’s greatest attractions, shopping and dining. A luxurious urban refuge, Hotel EMC2 is dedicated to providing an artistic and creative experience, where we lodge those that carry a pencil, a paintbrush or a dream.

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Drinks at All Chocolate Kitchen’s PRIMO Restaurant

out & about Snapshots of what’s going on around The Fox.


Mixologist Adrian Roby FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / February 2018

PRIMO Aviation

PRIMO Old Fashioned

After Hours at Green Envee

Ribbon Cutting at Merle Norman Cosmetics

Ribbon Cutting at Osteria Bigolaro

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February 2018 FOX VALLEY MAGAZINE / December 2017

Fox Valley Magazine - February 2018  
Fox Valley Magazine - February 2018