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Pink gorillas put on wild ball at Botanic Garden

Pink gorillas put on wild ball at Botanic Garden
Monkeying around: Jon Singer and the Pink Gorilla Consort, which will headline the “First Annual Junior Masked Ball and Kid Cotillion” at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, have been playing shows dressed as various furry animals for five years.
Photo by Dave Ratzlow

The kids are going to have a ball at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden — in all senses of the word.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is once again hosting its midwinter “Illuminated” festival, a series of events and activities on the weekends of Jan. 25 and Feb. 1 aimed at drawing more people into the plant-focused park for some cold weather fun.

“In the winter, everyone gets a little stir crazy,” said Anita Jacobs, director of public programs for the garden. “It’s nice to get people out.”

One of the “Illuminated” events may also lure a few other creatures to the garden, too. At the “First Annual Junior Masked Ball and Kid Cotillion” on Jan. 25, toddlers and pre-schoolers will make masks, dress-up, and waltz along to a band comprised of a skunk, a dog, and two pink gorillas.

But this is no low-rent Chuck E. Cheese’s knock-off, said Jacobs — hiding inside the animal suits will be some serious musicians.

“They are virtuosic classical composers,” she said. “But it’s also ridiculous and hilarious.”

The band, known as Jon Singer’s Pink Gorilla Consort, is led by the skunk, Jon Singer, who also plays the xylophone. Singer said his musical menagerie would not be recreating one particular era of classical music for the event — just trying to get the young attendees onto the dance floor.

“We’ll be playing fanfares and fandangos,” said Singer, on his way home from teaching a music class at Queensborough Community College.

Singer, who studied briefly at the Juilliard School of Music, has traveled the country and the globe playing percussion — though he usually leaves the skunk outfit at home. The other animals in the band are also classically trained, though they are more jazz-inclined, he said. And in spite of all the different species in the group, he reassured parents of prospective dancers that they get along just fine.

“We all happily coexist,” he said. “It’ll be a safe, fun time.”And the “Illuminated” events are not just for kids — there will also be yoga for grandparents, a nostalgic egg-cream social mixer for over-55s, and a film screening of the 1952 Coney Island-set classic, “Little Fugitive,” amongst others.“It’s a chance for everyone to giggle and have a little fun,” said Jacobs.

“First Annual Junior Masked Ball and Kid Cotillion” at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens [900 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, (718) 623–7200, www.bbg.org]. Jan. 25 at 3:15 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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