This is one of the pieces of monkey art displayed outside the Monkey House.
This is the sign in the door. Sorry about the glare.
There is a stylized monkey silhouette above the door.
And a knocker – singular – to die for.
Behind glass (sorry about the glare) is monkey art. A couple pieces up close:
Wow. These monkeys rock a quirky vibe, no?
The Monkey House is a big room in the home of Ira Marlowe.
A few times a month, Marlowe invites people into his home and they watch a performance – music, magic. juggling, comedy, storytelling, or theater.
He spent the first ten years of his life in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia and then his family moved to Richmond, Virginia. He has had bands, he has performed solo, he has worked as a songwriter – he has paid his dues. He is recognized for his work as a a composer and lyricist for the San Francisco Mime Troupe and as a songwriter for children on account of his record label Brainy Tunes.
And the Monkey House is his home. Literally.
When he came to California in 1988, he discovered a scene for musicians and songwriters at San Francisco’s “Owl & Monkey Cafe”
When it closed, the vacuum was filled by the Bazaar Cafe in SF’s Richmond District.
When Marlowe opened the Monkey House in June of 2012, he followed in those footsteps. Marlowe mentions a couple of other venues that inspired his in-home performance space. One is Harold Adler’s Art House, which I wrote about recently.
The other inspiration is San Francisco’s Lost Church. The Lost Church describes its goal: “To create a network of Performance Parlors that can host and nurture local and touring artists in a way that the larger spaces never can..”
Why the monkeys?
The Monkey symbolizes cleverness in Chinese culture. The monkey spirit animal is a powerful symbol of good luck. To the American Indians, the monkey is the personification of cleverness and trickery. For Marlowe, the monkey is a symbol of unbridled creativity. He lives a ice of unbridled creativity and works to share it.
Stop tell, now show!
This is POTUS. POTUS is a very good dog. POTUS likes performances and likes the friends who come to hear the music or see the performances.
The performances happen in the front room, closest to the street.
This once again stylized monkey is on the western wall of the room.
A few dozen seats face south.
The stage is on the southern end of the room.
What am I forgetting?
What else? Monkey Art of course. Great monkey art.
And – what monkey collection would be complete without at least one sock monkey – here two sock monkeys?
A monkey holds candles on the table just inside the front door.
Behind the stage there is a green room that is only green in the figurative sense of the word, meaning that it is used as a waiting room and lounge for performers. The specific origin of the term is undetermined, lost to history, I now have photos of two green rooms in my posts, this one and the one at Harold Adler’s Art House. Both are quirky phenomenons. One or two more and we can have a Green Room post!
There are several monkeys in the room – of course – including this one.
There is an upright piano. Ira played for us. It was a perfect moment.
A hall hugging the eastern wall of the place leads back to Ira’s living quarters.
To state what is becoming the obvious, there is monkey art in the hallway.
Ira found this Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes. Zaius was a statesman who lived in Ape City during the latter half of the 40th century. He was a leading member of the Ape National Assembly, and served a dual role in ape society as Minister of Science in charge of advancing ape knowledge and also as Chief Defender of the Faith.
Ira added the guitar – ape art!
Sock monkeys and stuffed monkeys wait at the end of the hall.
There is one artifact in the hall that is not monkey-themed.
This is the prototype for a board game about putting a band together. Bright! Colorful! Clever!
There is a bathroom at the end of the hall. Surely, you say, the bathroom is sacrosanct and there is no monkey art there. WRONG. There is:
What a kick-ass way to end the post – I’d die for this see no/hear no/ speak no evil. You remember, perhaps,my post about Gabby’s see-no/hear-no/speak no evil postcards?
When I shoed the draft post to my friend, he chuckled. He reached into the shopping bag that serves as his briefcase and pulled out three books.
“The edition we all read in the sixties.”
“The first edition.”
“And the weirdest one. They were all for sale at a garage sale last weekend.”
I handed them back. “I sense another one of our continuing Vonnegut conversations coming on. What do you think of the post?”