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Occasionally, all we need is a random act of amiable strangeness. Luckily, the costumed ragtime performers known as the Xylopholks are only too happy to step up.

Last week, amid a crush of evening commuters, I stood slackjawed on the L train platform and witnessed what I could only assume were two grown men, one in a blue Cookie Monster-ish costume, the other a pink gorilla [turns out it was Jon Singer and Bridget Kearney--ed.], playing rollicking ragtime on a xylophone and a stand-up bass, respectively. Quite apart from the spectacle, what was most impressive was how accomplished this duo is, both clearly masters of their instruments despite the movement-encumbering shaggy costumes they performed beneath. Heavy is the head that wears a Muppet.

They call themselves Xylopholks, and though the linked YouTube clip can give an idea of seeing and hearing them, nothing could have prepared me for the uncontrollable smile that forced itself onto my face that night. They are an artistic assault on the sensory order of nitrous oxide. I don't care that they'll never win a Grammy or show up on MTV or probably even record a full album. As a random burst of amiable strangeness, so particular to New York City, they are perfection. They also play parties.

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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