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All Things Bacon Sizzled At NYC's Bacon-Palooza

In this photo widely circulated on the Internet, a fake Diet Coke with Bacon can has caught bacon lovers' attention.

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.

I like it almost burned, and I like it rare. It's just the best food ever.
Alla Shynkin

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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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Flip through a newspaper or a magazine and most charity events you come across feature women in fancy gowns and men in tuxes dining on fine china. Well, now, a fundraiser of a different stripe held this past weekend in New York.

NPR's Margot Adler went to check it out.

MARGOT ADLER: The place, New York SoHo, known for art galleries and hipsters. The dress, casual; the age, young; the cause, kids with autism. And the surprising theme: bacon. You might think SoHo would have a vegan event, not a Bacon-Palooza. But $50 got you tickets to a three-day affair with everything bacon, even "Bacon The Musical."

(Soundbite of musical, "Bacon The Musical")

Unidentified Woman (Actress): (as Character) (Singing) Whose momma has the bacon? Whose momma has the meat?

ADLER: John Ordover, who runs The SoHo Gallery of Digital Art and was the primary mover behind the fundraiser, says except for those with a religious requirement against pork, everybody loves bacon.

Mr. JOHN ORDOVER (Owner, The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art): Bacon crossed all the social lines - rich, poor, happy, sad, outgoing, introverted. If there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's bacon.

ADLER: Bacon wrapped shrimp with chipotle sauce, bacon sweet potato hash, bacon wrapped dates, bacon dipped in chocolate, to mention a few. As for the drinks at the bar...

Unidentified Man: There's the first, which is a BLT. It's bacon vodka, tomato juice and a sprig of lettuce. And the second is a bacon and egg cream. It's bacon vodka, chocolate syrup and seltzer and milk.

Mr. DANNY COMER: I can't really taste too much bacon-flavored vodka, but I could drink these all night.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADLER: Because of the vodka?

Mr. COMER: Pretty delicious.

ADLER: Danny Comer is trying the bacon egg cream.

Mr. COMER: I mean, you can't go wrong with anything with vodka, right?

ADLER: Alla Shynkin walks in the door. Why is she here?

Ms. ALLA SHYNKIN: I have a dog named Bacon. I like it extra crunchy and almost burned, and I like it rare. It's just the best food ever.

ADLER: Then there are the bacon products - all items given for charity. Keith DeCandido reels them off, starting with a book.

Mr. KEITH DeCANDIDO: "Bacon: A Love Story," it's a heartwarming tale or, at least, a stomach warming tale. We have bacon-flavored lip balm. We have a Mr. Bacon's board game. We have a bacon-shaped wallet, bacon air freshener, bacon soap so you can smell like bacon.

ADLER: Not to mention, bacon jelly beans and bacon-flavored popcorn.

Patti Stone was buying the board game, Mr. Bacon's Great Adventure.

Ms. PATTI STONE: There's Wiener Wasteland and the Sausage Sea, and you got to get to the Gristle Grotto. So what more? And you have a 6-year-old at home, so this is fabulous.

ADLER: Since it's radio, we won't dwell on some of the live performances, like the woman doing a burlesque striptease wearing bacon pasties. Instead, we'll give you the Gregorian chants based on bacon recipes.

Unidentified Group: (Singing in foreign language)

ADLER: There were bacon cartoons and art all over the walls. And given that this was a gallery of digital art, it was not surprising to find Lauren Pollack with her cell phone out.

Ms. LAUREN POLLACK: I actually just texted a picture of the event to a co-worker whose wife does meat art and mostly does bacon-themed art work.

ADLER: Who knew there was such a demand?

Kim Kindya, Ordover's partner, said it's not that bacon is the hippest meat, as some were saying, it belongs here because SoHo is an old Italian neighborhood.

Ms. KIM KINDYA (Assistant Director, The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art): Cold cuts, cured meats, pork. You know, New Yorkers love their corned beef. They love their pastrami. They love their deli meats.

ADLER: 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.

Margot Adler, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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