My hip and happenin' Spouse! Through his alertness and vigor, we have secured 2 tickets to The Great Googa-Mooga Festival, a free-but-sold-out extravaganza of food and live music in Prospect Park this weekend. The line-up of chefs definitely overshadows the musical acts (including Hall & Oates, the underwhelming* headliners).
The entire affair is starting to scare me, based on its wild hype (including this reverently snarky account in the New York Times calling it part of a "gastronomic summer of love"). It sounds as if Williamsburg will uproot, like Howl's Moving Castle, overshadow the Long Meadow, and touch down. In one particularly disturbing development, we have been alerted that "Line Talkers" in purple, Barclay's-Arena-sponsored T-shirts, will be on hand to tell us about menu choices up ahead. Are those like Navajo code-talkers, only for banh mi and panini? Dear Lord, what kind of apocalyptic lines are they expecting for foie-gras donuts and duck rolls?
According to the event's organizers (the merry pranksters at right), "Approximately 75 food vendors, 35 brewers, 30 winemakers and 20 live music performances will be on hand to help us relish some of life’s greatest pleasures—gathering with friends and neighbors to eat, drink, talk, laugh, dance, linger and just . . . be together." Personally, I can't wait to see the prices for all these artisanal noms and craft microbeers.
A MICRO-RANT: If I am shelling out $20 for an al-fresco lobster roll with organic endangered wildflower sprouts and a touch of lavender foam, I want to eat it at a nice table with a clean bathroom nearby, one with running water and, preferably, a set of previous users smaller and less...free-spirited...than the population of Burning Man. The whole groundlings thing, with mobbed Port-O-San visit followed by lots of hand sanitizer, just doesn't jive with the exquisite haute-cuisine picnic angle for me.
In a slightly discordant note amid all that mellow vibe, for an incredible $250, you can get exclusive "Extra Mooga" tickets, including lectures on "Molecular Mixology" and "Textures of Rhubarb," along with the chance to worship at the shrines of Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and other luminaries and, for all I know, personally butcher a heritage pig or a fast-food executive. (No word on whether this ransoms you out of the Port-O-San scene, however.)
But I quibble. Perhaps tomorrow you will see me crowd-surfing with a sprig of cilantro hanging off my lower lip, waving a draft lager brewed from hummingbird tongues and sobering up with some shade-grown, dolphin-safe macchiato. If you failed to score tickets, let's agree on a spot near the fence, and I'll toss you over a $40 sausage or something.
'READY FOR MARTY'?
* Hall & Oates belong to a category of act that we call "Ready for Marty," in reference to Borough President Marty Markowitz's long-running series of free summer concerts featuring well-loved but often fading pop acts. Markowitz, who relishes his role as B-list impresario, once mused aloud before a concert, when a crowd member shouted a suggestion for the line-up (Kenny Loggins, if memory serves): "Yeah...he's about ready for us."