Many fundraisers feature women in designer gowns and men in tuxes, but over the weekend in New York City's SoHo neighborhood -- known for art galleries and hipsters -- one gallery held a different kind of charity event: The Bacon-Palooza.
The dress was casual, the people were young, and the cause was to raise money for kids with autism.
The event had everything bacon: bacon the movie, bacon the musical, bacon songs, bacon art, bacon products, and, of course, bacon food and drink. And the people who paid $50 to get tickets to the three-day affair said bacon -- not vegan -- was the hippest food.
John Ordover, who runs the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art, says he decided on the bacon theme because -- except for those with a religious requirement against pork -- everybody he knows loves bacon. "It crossed all the social lines -- rich, poor, happy, sad, outgoing, introverted," he says. "If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it's bacon."
There was balsamic bacon-wrapped shrimp with chipotle sauce, bacon sweet potato hash, bacon-wrapped dates, bacon dipped in chocolate -- to mention a few. Then there were the drinks: a BLT with bacon vodka, tomato juice and a sprig of lettuce, and a bacon egg cream, which consisted of bacon vodka, chocolate syrup, seltzer and milk.
Attendee Danny Comer tried the egg cream. "I can't taste too much bacon-flavored vodka," he said, "but I could drink these things all night, pretty delicious."
Alla Shynkin says she even has a dog named Bacon. "This is my favorite thing in the world," she says. "I like it almost burned, and I like it rare. It's just the best food ever."
Then there are the bacon products. Keith DeCandido reels them off, starting with a book: Bacon a Love Story. "It's a heartwarming tale, or at least stomach-warming tale," he says, laughing. "We have bacon-flavored lip balm; we have Mr. Bacon's board game; we have a bacon-shaped wallet, bacon air freshener, bacon soap so you can smell like bacon."
The bacon jelly beans tasted pretty awful; the bacon-flavored popcorn was not bad at all.
Patti Stone bought Mr. Bacon's Big Adventure, a board game. "There's Wiener Wasteland and the Sausage Sea," she says. "You have to get to the Gristle Grotto, and I have a 6-year-old at home, so this is fabulous."
We won't dwell on the bacon burlesque striptease where the pasties were -- you guessed it -- bacon. There were Gregorian chants based on bacon recipes sung by the Sugar-Cured Singers, and there were movie clips and musical offerings. There were bacon-related cartoons and art on the walls, and since this was a gallery of digital art, it was not surprising to find Lauren Pollack with her cell phone out.
"I just texted a picture of the event to a co-worker whose wife does meat art and mostly bacon-themed art work," she said.
Kim Kindya, Ordover's partner at the gallery, said simply: "SoHo is an old Italian neighborhood." That means, "cold cuts and cured meats. New Yorkers love their corned beef, their pastrami, and their deli meats."
But Ordover, who has an 8-year-old son with autism, is perfectly willing to have another charity event for those averse to bacon -- perhaps chocolate-covered tofu.
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