Right now, Monkey Bubble Media is nothing more than a cute a catchy name for the signe chinois du Singe. But soon you will come to know us as a fun and intelligent media company.
Taking the cause of independent media and thought in hand, Monkey Bubble Media aims to bring you views and ideas you haven’t heard before with design that you have never seen the likes of. Our goals: To combat the oppresiveness of the mainstream press and the culture it generates … and to have fun, lots of fun.
Our projects at present include FrictionMagazine.com and it’s supplement and annually published print endeavor, Friction Magazine. Take a look at what we are doing and tell us what you think.
Monkey Bubble Media
277 Luedella Ct.
Akron, Ohio 44310 USA
Sure there are only a few now, but we have a lot up our sleeves and will have some exciting projects to offer you soon!
The first of many to come. FM Issue 1 delves into social and political issues while packing a punch with biting commentary and fiction.
Online since April 2001, FrictionMagazine.com has become the source for independent thought and culture on the web. And not only is it free, but it’s updated two to three times a month.
Friction Magazine fiction contributor Harmon Leon is taking himself and his new book, The Harmon Chronicles on tour. Check him out at the dates and venues below and target="_blank">look here for Leon’s contributions to Friction Magazine.com.
Nov 21st @ Rivercity Books in Northfield, Minn.
Nov 23rd @ Rumanator in St. Paul, Minn.
Nov 26th @University Bookstore in Madison, Wisc.
Nov 27th @ Bryant Lake Theater in Minneapolis, Minn.
Dec 2nd @ Quimby’s in Chicago Ill.
Dec 4th @ This Ain’t the Rosedale Library in Toronto, Ontario
The Harmon Chronicles is available online from ECW Press.
160 pages | 6 3/4 x 9
The first installment of the annually published suplement to FrictionMagazine.com offers up biting commentary, fun fiction, intelligent articles, and wacky interviews of some of your favorite indie rock stars. It’s everythign you’ve come to expect from your favorite website … and more!
Look for the following features: Joe Strummer of The Clash, The History of Street Stencils, An Excerpt & Interview of Scorch Author AD Nauman, Building Indie Media Empires, South American Revolution in Words and Pictures, Rachel Hartman of Amy Unbounded, the Decline of Rock Journalism, and the Seven Vices of Highly Creative People. Also look for fiction by D.A. Blyler, Harmon Leon, and Craig Platt and Art by Peter Kuper, Paul Hornshemeier, Rama Hughes, Christa Donner, and Aul & Callahan. And not to mention our Not Your Average Rock Star Quiz!
Pickled Herring Revenge
by Harmon Leon Illustrated by Paul Hornschemeier
Do You Think The Sky Will be Purple Tonight?
by Craig A. Platt Illustrated by Jon Allen
Hell is Only Temporary
by Zachary Houle Illustrated by Daniel Carter
by D.A. Blyler Illustrated by Palmer Saylor III
Me and Phineas Gage
by Brett Coker Illustrated by Josef Buchanan
An Interview with A.D. Nauman and an Excerpt
of her Novel Scorch
by Melissa Hostetler
The Seven Vices of Highly Creative People
by D.A. Blyler Illustrated by Peter Kuper
Rachel Unbounded: an interview with
Amy Unbounded creator, Rachel Hartman
by Jennifer Contino
Street Stencils 101
by Josh MacPhee
An Art Showcase: Christa Donner
And Morally Straight: Agenda-Setting, Gay Rights &
The Boy Scouts of America
by Brian F. Hartz
Building Media Alliances: A Participatory Media Manifesto
by Jen Angel, Josh Breitbart, and Jason Kucsma Illustrated by Seth Friedman
From Couch Potato to Media Manipulator: An Introduction
to Fan Fiction
by Keidra Chaney
The State of the Audience Address
by Nathan Callahan Illustrated by Bob Aul
Kids! Stop Terrorism Today!
by Aul & Callahan
Revealing the Transparent: Stephanie Black Unveils the Jamaican World Beyond Tourism
by George B. Sanchez
Life in the Trash Lane
by Keith David Hamm
South America in Words and Pictures
by Chris Strohm Photographs by Andrew Stern
Post September 11 Debate
by Michael Gutierrez
There’s Something There: Chasing a Punk Vision with
Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros
by George B. Sanchez
Not Your Average Rock Star Quiz
Stupid and Contagious: Nirvana and the Decline
of Rock Journalism
by Brian F. Hartz
City Lights Books, San Francisco
Quimby’s Bookstore, Chicago
Howard’s Bookstore, Bloomington
St. Mark’s Bookshop, New York
Chris’ Warped Records, Lakewood
Mac’s Backs Paperbacks, Cleveland
Powell’s City of Books, Portland
Reading Frenzy, Portland
Q is for Choir, Portland
Pages Book & Magazine, Toronto
Vice one:Be a drinker
Winston Churchill, a great fan of the martini, once said it must always be remembered that
he has taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of him. For Churchill, like
many other great drinkers, alcohol was a tool used to feed creativity and social discourse.
For others, like Ernest Hemingway, alcohol was a way to place the mind on a different plane
after writing all day at a desk.
This is what old Papa had to say: “I have drunk since I was 15 and few things have
given me more pleasure. When you work all day with your head and know you must again
work the next day, what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different
plane like whiskey?”
Some people might say that this is to use alcohol as a crutch, but that’s always been
the case. Mark Twain, who drank from morning until night, would periodically abstain
from drink and smoke just to silence the critics who said he was a slave to his vices. And on
his feistier days, he would give them a severe tongue-lashing. “You can’t get to old age by another man’s road!” he’d
scream. “My vices protect me but they would assassinate you!” His critics would then shuffle away to their 12-step
It all starts one quiet afternoon at the brewpub. I’m sitting with my associate Bobby, enjoying a pint of the house ale, when Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People) suddenly appears on the bar television. I can’t quite describe the level of annoyance the bald business
guru brings to a room of gentle drinkers trying to enjoy themselves while the rest of the populace is at work, but a sudden wail from a
man in the far corner, similar to that of a small dog yanked forcefully by the tail, alerts everyone that something is terribly wrong. In a
matter of moments all eyes are fixed in distress upon the television.
Soon customers with clenched fists start to share horror stories of managers who force-fed Covey’s book to them and
of group leaders who scurried around the office pasting up signs like: “Synergy!” or “Be Proactive!” or “What would Covey
do in your situation?” Rage and desperation had finally forced our fellow drinkers to leave their professions and find solace
in the thick, rich ales fermented by the pub’s microbrewery.
Bobby and I are amazed. Having spent ten years carving out lives as professional grad students, we’ve been oblivious
to the rising tide of worker despair. I remember seeing a Covey infomercial several months back; it seemed harmless
enough. Watching employees become automatons spouting Covey’s catch phrases at every opportunity was the funniest
thing I had seen on television in quite a while. But now, as the man in the corner begins weeping, Bobby and I realize
larger issues are at hand.
Covey is no business guru, but rather the result of a world gone awry––the world of work made worthless. Gone are
the large expense accounts. Gone are the smoke breaks and three-martini lunches. Gone are the innocent office flirtations.
Good lord, who would want to work in an environment like that?
I slam my fist on the table. “We need a book about the Seven Vices of Highly Creative People before the whole
country ends up in a straitjacket!” Bobby agrees enthusiastically, grabs a stack of napkins and begins writing. All the years
we’ve spent studying history and literature are finally paying off. It isn’t easy. But after six hours and five pitchers, we
finish the job. The pub closes so we gather the napkins and head for a late-night bar to celebrate. It isn’t quite a book, but
what the hell. We have better things to do than write another damn self-help book.
but it will
feel like it.
THE SEVEN VICES OF
If you go through
life free of bad habits
you won’t live forever,
Hig hly Creative People
author d.a. blyler
illustrator peter kuper
This article was first published on Salon.com
programs and the organizing of their sock drawers.
To be a drinker means, of course, to be social. Sure, it’s all right to drink by oneself on occasion. But because the
highly creative live so often in the private world of ideas, they also need to mingle with their friends at a good party. That’s
why F. Scott Fitzgerald threw his fantastic Gatsbyesque parties on Long Island, inviting such other besotted artists as Gloria
Swanson, Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, and Dorothy Parker.
Remember, though, when entertaining the highly creative some ground rules need to be set. Fitzgerald’s were posted at
the entrance to his home in Great Neck: “Visitors are requested not to break down doors in search of liquor, even when
authorized to do so by the host and hostess. … Weekend guests are respectfully notified that the invitation to stay over
Monday, issued by the host/hostess during the small hours of Sunday morning, must not be taken seriously.”
It’s always good to think ahead.
Lastly, something should be said for the occasional weekend bender, that is as long as your head is in the right place.
If a person is suppressing problems or going through severe emotional distress, alcohol can bring out bad tendencies … like
singing karaoke. But if you’re secure with yourself, the occasional bender can be a rather helpful mystical experience. As
Henry James once wrote, “Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no, while drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes!”
Vice two:Begin with a Smoke
In today’s climate, smoking might be the most unpopular of all the vices. To say the furor over its ill effects has reached
irrational levels is an understatement. Let’s accept the guidance of journalist Fletcher
Knebel, who keenly observed as far back as 1961 that smoking is the leading cause
of statistics. The fact is most people who smoke don’t die of lung cancer. But all
people who don’t smoke do die of something.
Marlene Dietrich, who had her own special love of cigarettes, put it into proper
perspective: “People who quit smoking think that they have made a pact with the
devil and believe they will never die. In reality they die from other illnesses: intestinal
cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the pancreas. Cancer forever gropes around for
So let’s not place blame on the lowly cigarette for the infirmities of the world.
Yes, smoking has its risks. So does getting out of bed in the morning. But a good
smoke is often a lovely affair worth pursuing.
Take the great Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, an ardent lover of tobacco and
life’s pleasures. He elevated cigarettes to the level of poetry: “If alcohol is queen, then tobacco is her consort. It’s a fond
companion for all occasions, a loyal friend through fair weather and foul. People smoke to celebrate a happy moment or
hide a bitter regret. I love to touch the pack in my pocket, open it, savor the feel of the cigarette between my fingers, the
paper on my lips, the taste of tobacco on my tongue. I love to watch the flame spurt up, love to watch it come closer and
closer, filling me with its warmth.”
Makes you want to light one up right now, doesn’t it?
Smoking has often been linked with creative genius. For example, Algerian philosopher Albert Camus is known to have
savored his smokes though his lungs were withered by tuberculosis. And who can imagine Albert Einstein without his pipe,
George Burns without his cigar, or Jackson Pollock without a cigarette dangling from his lips? Though a stimulant, smoking
has a relaxing influence and allows the mind to empty itself, enabling new thoughts to enter. Following the wisps of
smoke as they leave one’s mouth might actually be thought of as a creative exercise or, at the very least, as Oscar Wilde
once observed, smoking a cigarette is “a perfect pleasure, because they are exquisite and leave one unsatisfied.”
Vice three:Put Gambling First
Gambling is at the heart of every worthwhile accomplishment in life. Consequently, vice three is essential for the success
of your creativity. Instinctively, the highly creative person knows nothing matters except the throw of the dice. As the
French say, “There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing.” Or, in the words of Mark
Twain, “There are two times in a man’s life when he should [gamble]: when he can’t afford it and when he can.” These
are vital lessons.
The world is full of stories of highly creative people whose success was based on the big gamble. A young Steven
Spielberg sneaks into a Hollywood film studio, sets up an office, and proceeds to act like an employee, thus beginning
the most lucrative directorial career in history. Thirty-year-old Henry Miller moves to Paris with
little money and no prospects, determined to become the most talked-about American novelist
of his generation, and does. Hugh Hefner boldly walks into the offices of John Baumgarth and
acquires the rights to reproduce the photograph of a nude Marylin Monroe, a little-known
starlet, for his yet-to-be-published magazine.
Certainly, there are horrifying stories of those who gambled and lost heavily, whose
compulsive involvement in games of chance––often played out in the arena of big
business––nearly ruined them and scores of others. But it’s not until the end of life that we
truly know what we’ve won or lost. French philosopher Denis Diderot summed it up eloquently:
“The world is the house of the strong. I shall not know until the end what I have lost or won in
this place, in this vast gambling den where I have spent more than 60 years, dicebox in hand,
shaking the dice.”
Vice four:Think Oysters
The hysteria concerning eating habits has nearly reached the grotesque levels granted smoking. Fat or non-fat?
Cholesterol free? Salt or no salt? Most eaters, as long as they exercise a modicum of restraint, don’t have to worry about
dying from their diet. And all those critics who have tried to convince us that food is poison should be taken behind the
shed and whipped with a massive slice of uncooked bacon.
Let us bow to the wisdom of the marvelous chef Julia Child, now an octogenarian. When asked about so-called
health foods and non-fat products, she gnashed her teeth and stated emphatically that she never would buy such crap,
that they have nothing to do with the enjoyment of life.
Make no mistake, the highly creative do enjoy life. Sure, sometimes there is a suicide among the group and many
are prone to fits of depression, but when they finally decide to stop wallowing in their suffering, they embrace life with
passion. And when it comes to food, they want to eat well and eat properly. In other words, foie gras, fresh asparagus, and
filet mignon will always win out over a plate of french fries and greasy burgers. At least it will for those who are truly
creative and whose imaginations permeate their lifestyles as well as their art; something that sadly can’t be said of lesser
creatives––Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Arnold come to mind.
Certain foods are frequently associated with highly creative people; none
more so than the oyster. The inspiration of this shellfish can be traced throughout
the canon of English literature. From Geoffrey Chaucer to George Bernard Shaw,
it reaches its zenith with a tribute by Saki, who wrote, “The oyster is more
beautiful than any religion, nothing in Buddhism or Christianity matches its
I’m not sure I would describe them in such exalted terms, but I do know I
have had more invigorating conversations with writers and painters over a plate
or two of fresh oysters than any other food. The elegant bivalves inspire a level of discourse often missing in our quickmeal culture––yet one that any dining experience should never be without. And for many people there is the added
pleasure of oysters being the next best thing to sex. After all, we don’t eat for the good of living but the enjoyment of it.
Vice five:Seek Fashion First,Then Seek to Be Understood
In these days of dressing down and “casual Fridays,” it’s prudent to remember the highly creative have always known
communication with words is secondary. When winning friends and influencing people, the primary concern is your
attire––your own peculiar fashion statement. It is through the impact of this image that both friends and enemies will
initially come to know you. What is more gratifying than having everyone stop and stare, wondering why they feel so drab
and ineffectual, when you enter a room? If you have a stylish wardrobe, the battle to be understood is merely a stroll in
One of the inevitable consequences of dressing down is that everyone looks the same––and those with designer logos
like Hilfiger plastered on their clothes look plain stupid. The highly creative always choose their wardrobes with a more
consistent flair. Whether it be Picasso with his striped sailors’ tops, which he imagined gave him an eternally boyish edge;
or Hugh Hefner with his classic pipe and silk pajamas, which he believed gave him a kind of worldly nonchalance (and
could be stripped off quickly when opportunity knocked); the creative spirit picks a style and sticks with it.
Today there is a growing demand for comfort without any regard for style that numbs the mind. Comfort is, at times,
a worthwhile consideration. But simply because your clothes aren’t comfortable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. In the
days of Mozart, fashion was notoriously uncomfortable. Yet in a letter to his sister he once gushed, “We put on our new
clothes and were as beautiful as angels.” Sure, he sounds like a twit, but the important point is the beauty and style of
Mozart’s wardrobe overshadowed any discomfort. And it is this attitude that inspired our own Benjamin Franklin to
proclaim, “We eat to please ourselves, but dress to please others.”
The sexual appetite and prowess of those possessed by creativity can’t be argued. Anecdotes abound regarding the
bedroom antics of famous writers, artists, and actors. But why is it that sex yields such power over these individuals?
Perhaps Omar Sharif summed it up best when he remarked, “Making love? It’s communion with a woman. The
bed is our holy table. There I find passion and purification.” This sense of purification is extremely important because
such an experience is needed to begin the whole creative process anew and is a state difficult to achieve now that
religious rituals have fallen by the wayside.
The catharsis that comes from this experience often leads highly creative people to pursue several lovers. And many
are venomously referred to as philandering Don Juans. But it isn’t for lack of affection that a Don Juan goes from
woman to woman, as Camus explained: “But rather because he loves them with equal enthusiasm and each time with
all himself, that he must repeat this gift and this exploration. Why must one love rarely to love well?”
Richard Burton’s lovers would agree. They proclaimed it made no difference if he were
with another woman the following week because when he was with them they were his whole
world (try finding a woman that understanding these days). But it’s not surprising that Burton
found so many willing lovers. This is how he described his lovemaking: “When you are with
the only woman––the only one you think there is for that moment––you must love her and
know her body as you would think a great musician would orchestrate a divine theme.”
(Today most men maneuver themselves the way a line cook orchestrates a three-minute egg.)
Consequently, Burton felt that in many ways he was monogamous, because when he was with
one woman, he never thought of another. Needless to say, the highly creative are highly
creative at rationalizing their behavior.
Lastly, something need be said with regard to the highly creative who are lovers of the same sex. Writer and
historian Gore Vidal is quoted famously as stating, “There are no heterosexuals or homosexuals, only homo or
heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses.” Maybe. But before the days of George Michael and public
toilet rendezvous, sex for those driven by a desire for their own gender often took an even more mystical form than
heterosexual love. In the mind of American poet Walt Whitman, sex encompassed: “… all bodies, souls, meanings,
proofs, delicacies, results, promulgations, songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk, all
hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves, beauties, and delights of the earth.”
Vice seven:Abuse the Card
To nurture the previous six vices, resources are needed. Because most highly creative people never fully enter the
workforce, nor make a salary sufficient to their needs, credit is a necessity. Hunter Thompson cut to the chase nicely
when he declared that the first and most important rule of a writer is: abuse your credit for all it’s worth. The highly
creative travel an expensive road, and the best way to stay between the yellow lines––or at the very least keep food on
your table––is to abuse the card.
And the larger the debt the better the bet. As the essayist Samuel Johnson observed: “Small debts are like a small
shot––they are rattling on every side and can barely be escaped without a wound. Great debts are like a cannon, of loud
noise but little danger.”
Which must be the reason I feel so safe and secure when my card authorizes another round of drinks for the table.
Don’t fear if your creditors come closing in on you. When the highly creative find themselves in financial straits, they
skip town. For example, in 1891 Mark Twain took a much-deserved vacation in Europe which lasted nine years, leaving
his legion of creditors to antagonize the less fortunate along the banks of the Mississippi. Today, it is even easier to take a
long, literary holiday. And don’t forget, bankruptcy is an option always worth
considering. In fact, some highly creative people find utter destitution spiritually
enriching. Novelist John Updike once wrote: “Bankruptcy is a sacred state, a condition
beyond conditions, as theologians might say, and attempts to investigate it are
necessarily obscene, like spiritualism. One only knows that he has passed into it, and
lives beyond us, in a condition not ours.”
Having nearly reached this “sacred state” several times already, I can’t say I
would describe it in such lofty terms. I prefer the more pragmatic view Shakespeare
took: “He who dies pays all debt.” Or Oscar Wilde’s strangely sentimental one, “It is
only by not paying one’s bills that one can remain in the memory of the commercial
classes.” For my part, I’m doing all I can to be remembered for a very long time.
In the end, everyone should remember that the highly creative always have
expectations of great things. Their accumulated debt should thus be viewed only as an
advance on their future earnings. But it’s not an easy life. One should never underestimate the amount of distress caused
by overzealous creditors, especially when they bear down on poor debt-ridden artists––for these harassed souls are often
the true visionaries of our time, or any time. When approached yet again by one of his many creditors, Lord Byron
implored, “It is very iniquitous of you to make me pay my debts. You have no idea the pain it gives one.” I feel his pain.
If anyone should still be left unconvinced of the benefits of pursuing these vices, let us remember these sage words of
Abraham Lincoln: “It has been my experience that those with no vices have very few virtues.”
to read more of d.a. blyler’s essays,
“Engaging and nicely produced”
– Chris Dodge of the Utne Reader
Friction Magazine is an aesthetically pleasing, professionally produced conglomeration of art, fiction, and intelligently written articles. The format of Friction Magazine doesn’t scream zine. … No, as you flip through the perfectly trimmed pages you’ll feel like you’re looking at any other professionally printed publication. But once you start reading … ahh that’s when you discover the true voice of Friction Magazine. … This is a cool zine. Some people might be put off by its polished appearance, but it has its heart in the right place and its content is targeted to the DIY community!
– WEE of Almost Normal Comics