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If You Like Gina Kolata . . . : Times Writer Receives an Unlikely Tribute

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In the manner of the Dead Kennedys and Marilyn Manson, a band of brainy twentysomething rockers from Brooklyn have chosen to grant New York Times science writer Gina Kolata the ultimate (ironic) flattery: They've stolen her name. "I wasn't even aware of her byline until we were looking for a name," says Markus Koelbl, the drummer and a marine biologist. "We liked the sound of it, its rhythm. We wouldn't name ourselves after just any science writer."

While they wasted no time in snatching up the domain name ginakolata.com, they were anxious about potential legal action. They didn't know if Kolata would be flattered, unnerved, or (perhaps worst of all) simply not interested. "I don't know much about her, but I've heard a rumor that that's not her real name," says keyboardist Michael Nonson, a former computer programmer. "I mean, it sounds like piña colada! She's gotta have a sense of humor."

"Well, I do think it's hilarious," says Gina Kolata (real name: Gina Kolata), "but my friends say I don't have a sense of humor."

Nonson first alerted Kolata to the band's existence a year ago. "I sort of made it sound like it was a coincidence that we were named Gina Kolata. You know, 'Hey, Gina, we're all fans of yours. And hey, we're also named Gina Kolata!' But I don't think I played it cool enough. I scared her off." Adds Koelbl: "She blew us off."

"I get e-mails from them all the time," Kolata says with a laugh. " 'Gina Kolata plays in Brooklyn' or 'Gina Kolata shoots up tryptophan!' They keep inviting me to hear them, but I never go. I live too far away in New Jersey, and I'd have to drive in, and then you're in the city at 2 a.m. on a Saturday. I have to say I did go to their Website to hear them . . . " She trails off. "I don't know . . . it all sounds the same to me."


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