A House of Monkeys

The success of any party depends on just a few things: the venue, the guests, the food and drink, and (of course) the music. Evenings at John DeVore's factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are invariably successful. More than that, they are fun. You love the place. You enjoy the company. The food is delicious and the drinks do the trick. And (of course) the music is intoxicating. You want to be there.

Monkeyhaus is the name of the sound room—that golden, friendly place filled with vinyl and wood and tube amplifiers, where we sit and talk and listen and laugh—but it is also the name of the party. Appropriate because the sound room is a party.

The latest Monkeyhaus took place on Friday, the 10th of July. There was mono and there was stereo, there was a lot of rock and roll—Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Sonic Youth—there was some smoky jazz, some smoky cigars, some smoky whisky and wine, cold cans of Dale's Pale Ale, sweaty bottles of Brooklyn, brick oven pizza from Il Porto, and all kinds of laughter and talk. Mal Waldron kicked my ass. The Dirty Three lifted me off the floor.

The guests (clockwise from top left): Stereophile editor, John "Ice" Atkinson; me; illustrator extraordinaire, Jeff "Stache" Wong; Monkeyhaus regular and writer of the September issue's incendiary "As We See It," Michael Lavorgna; Stereophile contributor, Jim "Steve" Austin; and Alex Halberstadt, Brooklyn-based writer best known for his great hair and his biography of blues singer, Doc Pomus. Not shown: Proud Andrew Klein. Not present: Uncle Omar, due to a sudden bout of lameness. Photo taken by: Hauskeeper, John DeVore.

Tom Collins's picture

stephen: you don't know how lucky you are. if i wanted to hear some of mr. devore's speakers, i would have to drive for 5 hours. i live in the cultural wasteland that is cincinnati. i am not in a position where i can move. there is one real audio store here. he carries several nice brands, but he can only carry so much. when the whole area is considered, there is a lot of population. i can't figure it out. anyway, enjoy the opportunities you have and know that there are others who would love to be able to partake as well. with that said, i appreciate when you can write about such events. it reminds us that there is life out there beyond the horizon.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Hi Tom. I hear what you're saying, but I do think I have some idea of how lucky I am. I'm pretty much overwhelmed by the greatness of the Monkeyhaus environment, and the camaraderie therein, every time I step foot in the place. And even before I arrive, as I walk beneath the bridges and down the long stretch to the front gate, and as I imagine all that took place in the Brooklyn Navy Yard before it was home to DeVore Fidelity, and on and on. I love those nights at the Monkeyhaus. To me, they are very special. The Monkeyhaus is exactly what hi-fi should always be. Everything else is bullshit. And I do wish that everyone could experience it as easily as I can. If I didn't feel that way, I wouldn't bother writing about it. Thanks for reading, and I'll be hoping that hi-fi picks up some steam in your area.PS
Boo, Reds!

Tom Collins's picture

keep letting us know about it so we can live vicariously.btw, you don't have to boo the reds, they never have any trouble self-destructing at this time of the season. its the same every year, they hit their peak in late may-june, start to slide just before the allstar game and then completely disolve during the rest of the season. it does make it easy to get tickets in august and september though and the stadium and night sky are beautiful from the park. once in a while they actually win. i think they have talent, but they are too thin so any injuries at all take them out.keep rocking.

Stuart Robertson's picture

These nights at Monkeyhaus sound fun. We need our own version, a Monkeyhaus-West, here in Los Angeles (anyone in LA reading this?). My good friend Sam and I get together as often as possible to play each other our favorite new vinyl finds but the club atmosphere sounds even better.