Letterpress List No. 38: Stand in Awe

In one moment of glory, all the bumbling that had preceded it was forgotten.

Shop Boy could be talking about Manny Ramirez’s 500th home run on Saturday here in Baltimore, which left all of the Boston fans dancing and cheering. (They flood the stadium whenever the Sox are in town, which is possible because Baltimore’s own fans never show up. Well? Am I right?) Anyway, as Manny stood and appreciated his majestic shot, the two fly balls that he clumsily misplayed earlier in the game suddenly didn’t matter. Amazing.

Geez. Talk about channeling Shop Boy.

See, about a week ago, Typecast Press reached its own historic milestone: Art on the walls.

We’ll pause here while the applause dies down a bit.

Yeah, what he said. (This, by the way, is a lousy photo of really cool card Typecast Press created for Stacey Mink and Geoff Brown — wood type and an old magnesium plate — to show their appreciation for those who’d helped turn Baltimore’s Night of 100 Elvises into their personal wedding rehearsal dinner.)

Oh, we’d decorated the studio some. You know … the requisite printshop girlie calender and such. But now that we’d finished with all the painting and arranging of the studio, it became obvious that something was missing.

Like this, for instance:

This illustration of creepy/cool Baltimore filmmaker John Waters, by off-kilter/cool local artist Greg Houston, has long been one of Shop Boy’s favorites. I bought the original after it appeared in the Baltimore Sun and it had been sitting in an art drawer ever since.

This image joins works by locals Andy Snair, Jess Pegorsch of Tilt Studio, Jordan Faye Block and Chris Hartlove on the studio walls or at the framer’s shop. (Not to drop names or anything.) Oh, and if you’ve never bought anything from illustrator Lynda J. Barry then you have no idea of how whimsical and fun gift wrapping can be.

Mary is, by the way, no slouch in that department either.

Of course, it’s never simply a matter of having art and the space to hang it. Oh, that’s good enough for Shop Boy — “Hey, that’d look great here.” Bang. Done. — but not Mary. She needs to see the art in every potential spot and in any number of combinations before deciding. This can leave Shop Boy perhaps leaning awkwardly across the back of a printing press and standing on one foot holding, say, three pieces of art against the wall while Mary ponders.

Mary: “A little higher on the left picture and lower on the right one. Can you put the big one where the small one is?”

Shop Boy: “Ugh … OK.”

Mary: “Whoa, whoa! Micro moves, Shop Boy … not macro moves.”

Shop Boy: “C’mon. My arms are getting tired. They look great. Let’s hang them.”

Mary: “What do you think?”

Shop Boy: “I can’t see them. I’m upside-down over here.”

Mary: “Oh, just let me do it. Don’t be so impatient. Why are you in such a bad mood?”

Ooooh …

Wasn’t …

Am now.

But we breathe and move on to the next wall. And the next.

And when all the art’s up, Shop Boy puts his arms around Mary and we admire the place. You might call it a masterpiece.

Shop Boy: “You’re a genius, Mary.”

Mary: “No, you’re a genius, Shop Boy.”

Eat your heart out, Manny.

***

Letterpress List No. 38

How about an hour’s worth of music to curse out Boston Red Sox fans by?

Now we’re not here to talk about baseball, but …

True story: Geoff Brown, an Orioles fan who does show up, had invited me to the game despite my own, um, baseball loyalties. Anyway, Shop Boy is a bit directionally challenged sometimes. So after purchasing refreshments, I suddenly found myself in the middle of an aisle, completely unable to recognize any landmarks. After standing and looking around like a complete nimrod for what seemed like a half-hour, I hear Geoff — a quiet man in general — screaming his lungs out to me from a section over. Had to be mortifying. Good thing I was carrying beer. Ah, just Shop Boy being Shop Boy.

(Sorry, Red Sox insider joke.)

Oh, I mentioned that Geoff is an outwardly mellow type of dude. What I left out is that, if you happen to be a pack of beefy Sox fans dressed all in team colors and slowly, smugly and defiantly strolling across the street in front of his vehicle on the way home, you’re gonna hear a different side of the man:“@%$#@&* +&%%$##, Boston scum!”

Of course, when we then got stuck at a red light 15 feet up the street from the targets of his abuse, Geoff half whispered, “Uh, geez, I was kind a hoping this light could maybe, um, change?” Oh, man. Shop Boy just about fell out of the truck. For a quiet guy, Geoff’s a scream. (Here’s his blog.)

Cue the music! Most of these tunes should be available at the usual places. Great and goofy video links are to YouTube.

Sweet MemoryMelody Gardot (Sweet for a Sox fan, anyway.)
Barroom HeroDropkick Murphys (Damn Boston punks.)
On the Way Out — Freedy Johnston (Stealing away.)
All Fired UpInterpol (International incident avoided.)
The Pedestrian Foxboro Hot Tubs, aka Green Day & Pals ( ;-) .)
Beat Box — Art of Noise (More peds!)
Picture ThisBlondie (Many a young man did.)
Walk Like a ManDivine (John Waters’ wacky diva.)
Minstrel in the GalleryJethro Tull (An artist admiring his own work? Manny, Manny, Manny …)
Draw the LineAerosmith (Jagged edges.)
Portrait (He Knew) Kansas (Obvious one, but a Shop Boy favorite.)
Framed Cheech & Chong (First, second and third degree.)
Hang Firethe Rolling Stones (What the hell.)
Beer RunGeorge Jones/Garth Brooks (We’re in.)
You Get Me LostFreedy Johnston (Shop Boy once wandered around Dodger Stadium for 45 minutes seeking his seat. Never found it. Went home.)
Nice Guys Finish LastGreen Day (Not always, despite this song from the album … Nimrod.)
The Boys Are Back in TownThin Lizzy (Red Sox fans’ invasion stalled temporarily by a river of invective.)

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