Friday, January 29, 2010

NBCChicago's Flash Mob Party Hits Wicker Park

(Photos: Jason Lewis,

"We want to continue doing special events going forward, but not just the same ol' same ol'," says Marcus Riley, an entertainment reporter for, about the offbeat parties he's helped organized to put the media outlet on a different level than its competition.

In December, they headed to the South Side for the coolest retro set since "Soul Train" filmed in Chicago.

Revelers donned their best disco threads, accessories and hats on the dance floor as they bumped and boogied through a Soul Train line.

Thursday's first-ever flash mob—which was heavily promoted on NBC's Facebook and Twitter pages—wasn't half as flashy as the retro affair, but cool nonetheless.


One hundred guests showed up to Usagi Ya's upper-level Rabbit Room, in Wicker Park, to indulge in free sushi, cocktails and music from local deejay Com-Lb.

Riley says's got more events coming up throughout the year, so if you want to be down, follow them here on Twitter.

Curtis Duffy Gets Super Props from Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz (left) and Curtis Duffy

Avenues at the Peninsula Chef de Cuisine Curtis Duffy is having one hell of a week.

Friday night he's hosting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's annual Grand Chefs Gala, where he's up for two honors in the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence (Best Fine Dining and Celebrity Chef).

And, as he was preparing for those festivities, word came down that he got some major props from one of the most famous chefs in the world.

Alinea's Grant Achatz, who Duffy worked with at Trio several years ago, tapped him to be a part of the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony taking place on May 3 in New York City.

Each year, a past winner nominates a new chef to cook for the event, and Duffy was lucky enough to get the nod.

"It will be such a memorable experience," said Duffy, who was still in shock from the news.

He's not sure what he's making yet, of course, but he knows it's going to have to be amazing to impress the country's most important people in the dining industry.

Also, we'll see if this means that he'll finally be up for a Beard award himself . . .