Call it a haunting, a chromatic coincidence, a ghost monkey in the machine, whatever... but my backup digital camera detected an odd "purple haze" weaving its eerie way through the valedictory proceedings at the final-final (we really mean it this time!) closing party for Monkeys Retreat last weekend.

The alarmist in me wants to say it's a sign of the apocalypse that a large city can no longer support its premier subversive bookstore; but the pragmatist in me thinks that in an uncertain economy, one of the first mad-money casualties is your personal budget for ferret-fetishizing magazines and periodicals trumpeting the latest styles for the rubber-clothes obsessed set.

OK, I tease because I love. Besides, high rent and the specialty-store-crushing properties of the internet were certainly as responsible for Monkey's demise as anything else.

But while Monkey's did have those aforementioned publications (and even far stranger stuff!) it also had a lot of other great--if "tiny niche" reaching-- material as well. Perusing these shelves for the last time, I noticed how influential the great R. Crumb's style still is.

The Monkeys guys (aka the Comfest mafia) have been friends and neighbors of mine for a long time. Lots of them play in the Mendelsonics (comes from the last name of Monkey's owners), as they did for the last time in their own store (at least for the time being) Sunday. Great "action" shot, eh?

Fortunately for this guy, the internet now exists.