Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Mecanographic music in Cincinnati

This Lettera 22 is on its way ...

... to Cincinnati's grand Music Hall ...

... where it will serve as a musical instrument.

No, not in Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter" (which, honestly, I wouldn't mind if I never heard again) but in the more aesthetically challenging 2016-17 piece "Aello — ballet mécanomorphe" by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth, which the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is performing on October 1. The score specifically calls for a typewriter "of type Olivetti Lettera 22 or similar." I was glad to be able to provide just the right machine.

Here is a performance of the piece in Paris, using an incorrect typewriter:

Sunday, September 19, 2021

WordPlay Cincy mural features writers and a typewriter

WordPlay Cincy, the nonprofit for which I've volunteered as Typewriter Guy since 2012, is moving into a much bigger building in the same Cincinnati neighborhood (Northside). This will allow the organization to evolve from offering after-school writing programs to becoming a more full-fledged community center. 

Their old location used to feature an impressive mural by Shepard Fairey, featuring the Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi (she later became State Counsellor of Myanmar, and was widely criticized for countenancing the genocidal persecution of the Rohingya minority).

So of course the new building deserves a mural, too. This one was designed by local artist Brandon Hawkins and painted by students. I was pleased to see that it features a typewriter.

 To the right are seven inspiring writers. Starting at the top and going clockwise, they are: 

Amanda Gorman, the 23-year old who was the first National Youth Poet Laureate and who recited a poem at Pres. Biden's inauguration:

Writer James Baldwin, shown here with his Olympia SM7:

Joy Harjo, current US Poet Laureate and member of the Muscogee Nation:

Nikki Giovanni (center), poet who grew up in Cincinnati (her tombstone awaits her a short walk away from my house, in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery). Here she is with her electric Smith-Corona:

Paul Laurence Dunbar, pioneering African-American poet from nearby Dayton, Ohio, most famous for the line “I know why the caged bird sings”: 

Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Mary Oliver:

Mexican-American novelist Sandra Cisneros (shown here with her 1930s Underwood Universal):

According to a fundraiser, "For the second phase of the mural, WordPlay and local collaborators and artists will design and install accessible, tactile elements from the ground to approximately 5' high for the blind and visually impaired to interact with the subject matter expressed in the 2-D painting throughout. Those elements will include Braille plates with information about the individuals and student writing depicted in the mural, 3-D ceramic pieces and other unique, inclusive and interactive installments."

I have to ask: Will there be a typewriter? 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Bumper crop

 My car's bumper sports more and more stickers from outposts of the Typewriter Insurgency.

Here's a closer look.

These are from Bryan Mahoney, The Typin' Pint:

These are from Ian McAndrew, Iron Fox Typewriters:

These are from Kirk Jackson, Nashville Typewriter:

From Ted Munk, The Typewriter Database

From Scott Sprunger, Poetry On The Spot:
From Mitch Hamm, Trinity Typewriter (design by his daughter Trinity, website under construction):

From Antony Valoppi, Type Space:
And finally, there is my own little enterprise (currently on hiatus due to a new puppy):

There's still room for a few more stickers. Any recommendations?