What’s in a name?

26 Nov

Ya just might be asking yerself  “Self, just how did them hepcat indie creators come up with such a swinging handle as Speakeasy Primates?’

Well let me clue you in on the inner workings of the artist’s mind. It is an odd and disjointed place. One never knows which synapse is gonna fire and reveal the cure for some six-syllable syndrome…

… or just the cravings for another late-night cup O’Joe. Regardless, at this point I owe you a story. Not necessarily a good story mind you – just the truth [or as close to it as my addled mind can recall].

A few years ago – while editing the latest issue of RKYV Online a conversation began ‘twixt some of my fellow contributors and I. The gist of which, was this: being Indie Creators could often be pretty frustrating. Hardly a Revelation worthy of evangelical rapture now is it? I mean nobody is gonna go start some whack0-fun cyanide-kool-aid cult based on that sort of flimsy epiphany.

The initial discussions revolved around our “pre-social network” experiences in collaboration which fell into two categories:

 1. A ridiculously small circle of individuals, we personally knew in our home towns, from which to draw upon.
2. The obstacle of having to “hire/pay” someone, up front, if we didn’t personally know them.


Our solution was to form a creators’ cooperative. Any writers, artists, letterers etc, that wished to find collaborators, within the group, for a project of theirs only had to agree to collaborate with the other members on their projects in exchange. This way we would be assisting eachother in creating works we were not only proud of, personally, but mutually invested in as well. Here is an interview I did with Comic Related.com @ our first con appearance as a studio, discussing what Speakeasy was all about. [my oratory skills have improved since, LOL] Interview with Comic Related.Com

Anyhow, we’ve since expanded to produce a few collections of art/poetry books and short stories [with illustrations] in addition to the cool comic books we all love. But you might be asking yourself, between be-bopping on the dance floor with a smoking dame and downing what passes for hootch in whichever dive you’ve found yourself in, “Self! What the hell does any of that have to do with how they came up with the BLEEDING name Speakeasy Primates?” And you’d not be unwarranted in yer displeasure at my seeming digressions – so I will come to it.
Simply put the first two projects we started, as a co-op studio, were “Buddha Monkey” – the adventures of the Shaolin Simian…
more on him later… And an epic tale of golden age mystery men, fighting mobsters in the prohibition era, aptly called “When Heroes Were…” featuring heroes such as…
Well ya see gents [and ladies] we needed a name at that point, didn’t we? We bandied about, the rest of the founding members and I, several ideas trying to reflect the fact that we were a cooperative; that we were something new. We tried some combinations that might pay homage to our first two projects. When suddenly my darling wife, and talented author, Pauline Paré came up with the answer: Speakeasy Primates!! There were indeed several scenes in “When Heroes Were…” that took place in a speakeasy and of course our favourite kung-fu monkey definitely qualified as a primate.
The rest, barring a chorus of cheers from the throngs of adoring fans soon to be camped outside our doors, is as they say history… and so am I.
Until next time,
r. j. paré

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