One Man’s Mooga, Another Man’s Googa
Remember the local cranks who hated on Woodstock?
So what the heck was The Great GoogaMooga? You can read more about that here. Here’s another recap, where our writer survives lines and listens closely as Anthony Bourdain unloads on the Crocodile Hunter and Vladimir Putin. Plus, Daryl Hall and John Oates making everything better at the end.
Looking back at this weekend’s festival, it appears one man’s mooga can be another one’s googa. On Saturday, a lot of complaints were blasted through the Twittersphere about long lines and mediocre food. And although the squeaky wheels may have been justified in some complaints, not everyone felt that way.
The vendors that I spoke to, for instance, were ecstatic. “From the get-go, we knew that this would be awesome,” said 28-year-old native New Yorker David Sat, who, with two cousins, owns Wooly’s, a shaved ice vendor at the festival. “Saturday was madness.”
And he meant that in a good way, as in — his little stand was sold out by 7 p.m. and he was making bank. He opened up for business just a year ago after a trip to Hawaii and Taiwan convinced his family that they should start a booth selling the cool fruity stuff in South Street Seaport. Business on Saturday was great, and Sat was psyched. Is Sat’s little booth the sort of for-profit evil entity that New York Times film critic A.O. Scott was bitching about so much on Twitter?
And, for those who bothered to arrive before noon on Sunday, they were greeted by no lines at all — that is, except for Luke’s Lobster roll. The grimaces and griping appeared to be over exaggerated or transformed, as people happily sat on the grass, eating Spotted Pig burgers and listened to Charles Bradley singing, “I just can’t take your whining,” with a Little Richard oomph. Whether Bradley was talking to the crowd or some other muse could not be determined.
On the second day organizers cleared up many rough patches — food vendors streamlined their production and the drinks section was made more efficient. The only truly pissed off person I could find was Anthony Bourdain, who was on hand to speak to about 600 people in the Extra Mooga VIP section. But that’s Bourdain’s shtick: he makes a mint with his angry, rock-the-boat persona.
Bourdain bitched about Vladimir Putin, that “midget fucking punk,” and challenged him to a martial arts fight with his wife. And while one of his typically tired tirades against vegetarians was a straw man salvo, he certainly grabbed the audience’s attention by having some strong words about the deceased crocodile hunger Steve Irwin. “That fucking prick in shorts, that crocodile hunter, fuck him,” Bourdain added for good measure.
All sacred cows (parents, children, so-called, “beer nerds”) were fair game to Bourdain who enaged in a long Q & A with a crowd that was eating out of his hand. Proving he’s the Christopher Hitchens of the food world, he can be funny as hell, and also highly informative, such as revealing his favorite hangover cure: a cold Coke with aspirin, a joint and leftover Kung Pao chicken. Of course, anything Bourdain says in a speaking engagement comes with a middle finger full of salt.
Heat, food, crowds, booze, and madness of various shades can have quite an intoxicating effect after eight hours. But closing out the evening — and really making the vibe feel just right — was the headlining act of Daryl Hall and John Oates. Opening up with “Maneater” — the songs only got better. (And even the food was not forgotten: A very, very drunk guy near the stage insisted on raising up a giant cow bone, enough to inspire Oates to crack wise that it must have been a femur.)
Their impressive play list peaked with soulful rendition of their 1976 hit “Sara Smile” as the setting sun shined in their eyes. Sorry, but the joy of hearing 20,000 or so people covering several generations singing the chorus to a hit song that’s been played and replayed for more than three decades, is a beautiful thing.
I’ll predict that the naysayers will be remembered like those local cranks at Woodstock, who if they had only loosened up some, could have had a Googamooga good time.