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CUCKOO FOR KIKU

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Amidst the dropping cherry blossom petals at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, local pop-rock band Gaijin a Go-Go will drop its latest album, "Go Go Boot Camp" on April 29.

Although the group’s music grooves with ’60s-style go-go rhythms, the 11-member band will be an utterly contemporary addition to the Garden’s annual cherry blossom festival line-up, "Sakura Matsuri," which predominantly showcases centuries-old Japanese art and culture.

When DUMBO fashion designer Petra Hanson isn’t at her day job, the 6-foot-tall former model transforms herself into the platinum-haired Kiku Kimonolisa, lead singer of Gaijin a Go-Go.

Kimonolisa told GO Brooklyn that she is designing a cherry blossom-inspired costume for the festival, but like a tightlipped geisha, the coquettish vocalist would only reveal that it will be ’60s-inspired and fun.

The designer-musician used to live in Tokyo and now writes and sings in "Japanese, English and Japlish - we try not to alienate anyone." But her kitschy, mod costumes, kooky, pun-ridden lyrics and choreographed dance moves (performed along with the "twins" - both dubbed Annie May Smith) all transcend translation: anyone can see they’re about having a good time and getting the audience’s go-go booties twitchin’.

Even the band’s name, "Gaijin," which means "foreign barbarian," reveals their infectious, self-deprecating humor, which caught the attention of "Beavis and Butthead" director Mike de Seve. (He not only produced their new Skebe Music CD - which translates as Sleazy Music, he co-wrote three of its songs.)

"Our music is fresh and positive and there’s not a lot of that out there," says Kimonolisa. "It’s something different from an entertainment angle - it’s an art experience, a multicultural experience. We’re the arty band with a capital P."

Gaijin a Go-Go performs on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Esplanade Stage at 3:30 pm on April 29, as part of "Sakura Matsuri." The festival takes place, rain or shine, throughout the garden (900 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights) on April 29 and 30, from 10 am to 6 pm. All activities are free with garden admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors and students with ID, free for children under age 16. For a schedule of events, call the hotline at (718) 623-7333 or visit the Web site, www.bbg.org.


Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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