Once was enough for me after last year's "Great Googa-Mooga," but Spouse was keen to go, since we had scored two of the coveted free tickets as members of the Prospect Park Alliance. And I was lured by the well-publicized "flights of bacon" in the foodie festival's central "Hamageddon" area, devoted to all things trendy and porcine.
Under a light rain, mostly young folks streamed onto the Nethermead, unrecognizable under its carapace of booths, stages, Port-o-Sans, fencing, and security apparatus. The mighty metal pig was back, although not a functional cooking device this year (the smoke was for show). Crowds were lighter than last year thanks to the weather--plenty, but not a crushing mob. Tent space and seating were scarce; some took shelter under the snout of the Pork Idol.
I headed straight for the Flights of Bacon. They consisted of 7 li'l pieces from various Exquisitely Artisanal Purveyors, the sort of folks who probably grow and hew their own apple trees for smoking wood and make their own brine from reclaimed Coney Island waves. The price? $12.
For a mere $10 I got a tasty little pulled-pork sandwich on a bun, but it was no better than supermarket Lloyd's. Spouse got 2 petite Dumont Burgers, which looked like hockey pucks but were super-rare and exquisite; under field conditions, one could almost convince oneself they were worth $5 each.
Here were two alliances I didn't want to try.
(The dark-grey knobs are presumably the snails. "Snail and Rabbit" are two words that should only go together in a children's book about two little friends who learn that varying speeds of locomotion needn't preclude a lovely friendship.)
And speaking of self-parody, these two guys from Central Casting actually seem to be excited about their only-sort-of-ironic Googa-Mooga Trading Cards. Perhaps they were saying, "I'll trade you a Daniel Boulud for a Dale Talde!"
We left after licking out a tiny $5 cup of Blue Marble ice cream; the rain and beer were producing a damp, subdued Woodstock vibe among the celebrants, who had begun to huddle under blankets with their maple cotton candy and grilled oysters. My highlight was meeting some easygoing non-Brooklynites: Charlie Smith (right), the sculptor who fabricated the Mighty Metal Pig (and various things for Burning Man and the like), and his girlfriend Sweet Stuff and his buddy Hot Stuff (or so their labels said). They're from Atlanta and seemed to be enjoying the show; for the maker of an idol to Ironic Decadence, Charlie was a nice, down-to-earth guy.
UPDATE: RAIN AND WRATH
Sunday's dismal rain has prompted the cancellation of Day Two of the GGM. Meanwhile, the ongoing, acrimonious blogosphere debate over the "pimping out" of the park to the GGM promoters--including accusations of de-facto racial exclusivity and the discomfiture of green herons--has cropped up in the New York Times here. I can't vouch for the numbers being thrown around (the park's alleged $75,000 take from the event is decried as paltry), but the broader debate over the use of parks is heating up.