By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Dec 09, 2002 at 5:06 AM

Riverwest's Flying Fish Gallery is currently featuring The Sock Monkey Show and the small, sunny storefront is stocked with 170 sock monkeys made by 104 different artists.

It is, quite possibly, the happiest place on earth.

Gallery owners Faythe Levine and Brent Goodsell, along with co-curator and 15-year sock monkey creator, Randy Russell, distributed flyers and posted messages on Web sites, calling for sock monkeys.

"My goal was to get 70 monkeys," says Levine, a 25-year-old Riverwest artist who has four monkeys in the show.

The contributing crafts people ranged from a great-grandmother, punk teenagers, members of a fourth grade class and a set designer in Hollywood. One even came from Canada.

Most of the button-eyed, lumpy-bodied little buddies are for sale, with prices ranging from $20 to $75, and remember: sock monkeys make great stocking stuffers.

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The monkeys range in style, from country cuteness to primate punk, and the heartwarming-but-still-hip exhibit also features a sock octopus -- called a "socktopus," of course-- a sock owl, a sock elephant and a sock cat.

Many of the contributors had never sewn before, but that was the idea. "We wanted to take a traditional craft that was accessible to anyone and make it the basis for a show," says Levine. "And the great thing about making sock monkeys is that you really don't need much medium. Mainly, just socks."

The Sock Monkey Shows runs through December 30 at Flying Fish Gallery, 800 E. Clarke St. The gallery is open on Saturdays, from 12-5 p.m., or call (414) 263-9209 to schedule a private showing.

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.