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Who could resist an invitation to a party at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with a "Night in Havana" theme? Apparently no one, because last Thursday night’s soiree, hosted by the Garden’s New Leaders Circle (translation: young professionals), was sold out.

After sucking down a couple of white wine spritzers-in-a-soda-can through a straw [we can think of a more fitting tribute from Francis Ford Coppola to his Oscar-winning daughter Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation") than naming a blanc de blancs in a miniature soda can after her], it was a challenge to focus GO Girl’s attention.

Should she be traipsing the exquisite grounds scented with June’s roses; staring slack-jawed at reveler Cara Castiglione, the lady in the revealing red dress with smokes in her cigar box purse and lust in her heart (the last part, GO Girl can only surmise, of course); or should she loiter inside the Victorian, glass-enclosed Palm House to see if one of the eco-friendly vegetarians in the group would make a scene over the spit-roasted whole pig on the buffet?

But there were no outbursts near the food, just long lines. Instead, the young, thin and fashionable stretched out near low, Japanese-style tables on the grass to enjoy their cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, or pulled up chairs to tables inside the Palm House, draped in vibrant bolts of fabric. In keeping with the island theme, women were offered orchids to tuck behind their ears (and attract suitors, at this thinly disguised singles event).

"It’s so romantic," gushed Bensonhurst native Stella Psaroudakis, one of the founding members of the New Leaders Circle.

So many distractions! Inside the Palm House, DJ David Medina got the young professionals to put down their mojitos and shake it on the dance floor - and increase the possibility of getting digits.

Among the VIPs seen mixing-and-mingling were BKLYN Magazine Publisher Joe McCarthy, milliner Guy Carsone of Hats & in Carroll Gardens, who donated one of his creations to the auction-raffle and coupons to the lavish gift bags; and Prospect Heights resident Lloyd Metz, also of the New Leaders Circle, whose 22-month-old daughter Sydney enjoys the garden.

And that’s what this posh singles event was really all about. Not the gift bags, the grub, the guys or the girls. It was about the kids. "Passport to Summer" raised $70,000, according to Elizabeth Culp, the Garden’s director of individual giving and corporate relations, for children’s environmental education programs at the garden.

As GO Girl merrily tottered out of the garden, on her way to the next soiree with a Jomart Chocolate cigar clamped between her teeth and a (fabulous) gift bag on her shoulder, she passed Bubba, the garden’s night-fishing heron, who was focused on retrieving his dinner from the lily pool.

"Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned in that," thought GO Girl.

Or not.

For information on next year’s "Passport to Summer" event, contributing to the Garden or becoming a member, call (718) 623-7254 or e-mail

Whine & dine

When she grows up, GO Girl wants to be just like statuesque and articulate Kate Levin, the city’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, or a champion of great causes like Prospect Park Administrator Tupper Thomas, and the boa-swathed Brooklyn Arts Council chief Ella Weiss, three of the revelers at the opening night of the "Celebrate Brooklyn" performing arts series in Prospect Park.

They really know how to work a room.

The movers and shakers were hobnobbing in and around an enormous tent pitched adjacent to the Prospect Park band shell stage on June 15. This pre-show, casual gala was a fundraiser for the series, which kicked off with a performance by Rickie Lee Jones.

But even before Jones performed, ticket holders (including Time Out New York President Alison Tocci; Consul General of Canada Pamela Wallin - the former broadcaster and journalist is another idol; author Jeff Breithaupt; and stage-and-film actor Shelley McPherson) were treated to music by Matt Munisteri and a brief show by They Might Be Giants (John Linnell and John Flansburgh) who sang the song they penned about the series ("Let’s Celebrate Brooklyn now").

Amidst his props for Celebrate Brooklyn, Borough President Marty Markowitz used his time at the mic to promote his own concert series, which is bringing Liza Minnelli to Coney Island on July 14.

But when Jones and her childlike voice finally took the stage, she whined. About the moisture - and a bug - on the piano keys. After pointing out her cocktail (that, GO Girl approves of), she threatened to jump on the next concert-goer who left early.

GO Girl would like to point out to Jones (who is no longer on GO Girl’s aforementioned list of women to admire and emulate) that this is an outdoor concert venue, so she should compensate for the insects and humidity like a pro.

And the people walking in front of the stage were not only the VIPs, they were probably going to the posh port-a-potties after partaking of the open bar! (Kudos to you, Celebrate Brooklyn Director and Producer Jack Walsh, for being a discerning potty renter!)

After the concert, GO Girl was left to whine, "Where was Jones’ band?" She showed up with a guitarist and bass player, but not even a drummer?

The tight-fisted crooner closed her set by reluctantly offering to sing "Chuck E’s in Love," "if you want me to."

No! Do your other hit!

What was that again?

GO Girl can only guess that Jones, who strolled through the after-party with a very un-rock ’n’ roll backpack, was upset that she, unlike GO Girl, did not get one of the supercool Target gift bags.

To find out about Celebrate Brooklyn’s upcoming benefit concerts or to become a member, visit the Web site at or call (718) 855-7882.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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