No single article of clothing is as versatile as the gorilla suit. You can wear a gorilla suit to an embassy party, to a jewel heist, to a high-speed car chase, and then practice your slamdunks in it, all in a single evening
. Without a well-constructed, well-tailored, and suitably altered gorilla suit (do you need boot-cut legs to go over your ski bindings?) your closet is sadly lacking.
But the fancy-dress gorilla suits of the past aren't made anymore. Even the patterns to sew your own are out of print. That's a tragedy. Here are some of the things you can't
do without a gorilla suit:
- You cannot attend fancy-dress parties in Italian chateaux and be mistaken for a British ambassador who is in a gorilla suit, unless you have a gorilla suit.
- You cannot drive a Nash Metropolitan around Blake Edwards-style at high speed in a gorilla suit, unless you have a gorilla suit.
- You cannot sneak up on David Niven while you are wearing a gorilla suit, unless you are have a gorilla suit and are wearing it:
- If you capture a dastardly criminal, you cannot send them on a transatlantic freight voyage in a crate with an amorous gorilla, unless you have a gorilla suit to put the dastardly criminal in.
- It will be impossible to perform the Algorithm March with gorillas (instead of ninjas), unless a number of people are in the same place, all with gorilla suits. Here's the Algorithm March with ninjas (not gorillas):
Plus, the following activities can all be augmented in some dimension by wearing a gorilla suit:
- Driving an Austin-Healey, a motorcycle sidecar outfit, or riding a Vespa scooter.
- Dressing your child as a banana. This will not make sense without a gorilla suit.
- Riding a bicycle. Especially a tandem bicycle.
- Attending the opera. Especially while wearing a top hat and carrying a silver-tipped walking stick.
- Fighting with a sword cane. Or dancing the Charleston
- Snowboarding maybe in a white yeti suit instead of a black gorilla suit skydiving, or doing BMX tricks. Or Scuba diving. And on, and on...
In the twenties and thirties, the gorilla suit was a wardrobe staple of rich, otiose gadabouts. Bertie Wooster owned a gorilla suit. So did Jay Gatsby. As the dinner jacket is to formal wear, the gorilla suit was to fancy dress apropos and appropriate in every situation calling for genteel madcappery.
But you can't buy a suitable fancy-dress gorilla suit any more. The suits commercially available are cheap. They have angry faces with bloody fangs. Not to mention saggy, distracting rubber nipples. As costumes, these ill-fitting suits are next to useless. And forget about even trying to wear a cheap gorilla suit while scuba-diving, riding a motorcycle, or dancing the tango. It'll fall to pieces immediately.
That's why, if you're serious about the last fancy-dress costume you'll ever need the only outfit you can wear to an embassy party and then directly to a treasure hunt involving high-speed chases if you're serious about needing a gorilla suit,then you're going to have to make your own!
On October 18 and 19, 2008
At a time TBD, you will have the opportunity to make your very own gorilla suit
to your own specifications
. The two-day workshop will be held in sunny, beautiful West Chester, PA
, and will allow you to construct your suit with exactly the items you need (integration with motorcycle helmet? Furry snowboard bindings? Scuba backplate?)
Participants will be provided with raw material (gorilla fur; fiberglass; two-part closed-cell foam; molds; sewing machines), basic patterns, and optional extras (patent reversible sit-on-and-mash'em operatic silk plug hats, monocles, spats, knee sliders
for motorcycle racing.)
Participants will create their own suits, pooling their talents, efforts, ideas, and creativity. At the end of the workshop, prizes will be awarded, a fancy-dress ball will be crashed, and a safe full of jewels will be cracked
. Yes, I'm perfectly serious.
Plus, by sewing a WaveTrend Active RFID tag
into each suit, we will be able to construct the world's very first working gorilla detector
, which has been a lifelong dream of mine:
If you'd like more information about the upcoming Gorilla Suit Construction Workshop, join the Facebook group
, or email me at !
Here's a badge, if you want one:
Phew! Since getting Boinged
, the inquiries are flying! Hurrah! (And no, M. Negru, this is not
a fly-by night scheme to cheat gorilla suit enthusiasts out of their hard-earned money with a non-existent workshop. If it were, that would make me the hardest-working niche-market con artist in history! But also the coolest. Hmm.) Anyway, Here's the emerging FAQ:
Seriously! it's not a joke :)
At some point TBD (things are up in the air.)
A space in West Chester, PA. There are lots of places nearby that are just oozing the right kind of Blake Edwards ambience
. But many of them don't have enough outlets for multiple sewing machines. Or they want a zillion bucks. We want to keep this affordable.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
I'm not sure how much it'll cost. I want to operate this as a "break-even" event. The fee will cover space rental, basic catering, and common-denominator suit materials, like gorilla fur, thread, fiberglass/paper mache, hot glue, and paint. Those who want extras for their gorilla suit (swordcanes, fencing masks, fezzes made with real lion fur, etc.) will buy and bring them separately. Though of course I'll try to get a group rate on patent-reversible, sit-on-and-mash-'em operatic silk plug hats.
WHERE CAN I STAY?
There's plenty of great places to stay around West Chester, from the utilitarian
to the swanky
. And there's a TON
of great restaurants.
Incidentally, there are a lot of things to do for your family members that want to come, but don't want to spend 72 solid hours
behind a sewing machine or zooming around in a motorcycle sidecar on a last-minute "get more hot glue" mission. Like Longwood Gardens
, or the American Helicopter Museum
. I will
be asking the helicopter museum about gorilla suit commando helicopter rapelling
I'M TOO FAR AWAY! WILL YOU POST INSTRUCTIONS?
We'll definitely videotape the event, and put detailed instructions up on the web. If we can bring back the "fancy dress" gorilla suit by allowing folks all over the world to make their own, I will be ecstatically happy.