Letterpress List No. 66: Room to Improve

In case you missed it, Typecast Press had a bit of a coming-out party this week, a holiday shindig featuring — ta-da! — the new “wing.”

typecast-holiday

Didn’t get Mary’s invite? Let us know and we’ll put you on the list for next year. Yeah, we know … a letterpress outfit sending e-mail invites is kind of, oh, well, um, we were busy printing others’ cards and, uh … but it’s cute, isn’t it? Devil-horn snowman hands were Shop Boy’s one contribution. Genius!

And to tell the truth, Shop Boy was feeling a bit evil as we prepped the spot for prime time.

We’d been too occupied with printing projects for me to do much more than sneak away to vacuum the room, a 17-foot by 18-foot space with built-in shelves and a huge loft, since we’d taken occupancy more than a month ago. Shop Boy’d been dying to get in there.

Major storage, folks. It’s the stuff of daydreams for a guy who’s spent a couple of years stepping around and over things and tending to move heavy boxes and metal parts by dead-lifting them above my head and walking sideways through a narrow passageway.

If you follow this blog (and why wouldn’t you, hmm?), you know that each step of the way in our expansion from one Vandercook in a shared studio to multiple presses in several rooms, we’ve sweated to make our spaces as safe and attractive as some of these hunks of cast iron will allow. But you know how it is: For all the promise that came with each new press, an equal or greater amount of paraphernalia and supplies came along, too.

So the space around the Heidelberg Windmill was OK when it was idle. But watching Mary occasionally stumble too close to the chugging thing as she walked around tweaking this setting and that, Shop Boy began to worry. Hey, it’s what I do.

Anyway, the new room meant that one entire set of metal shelves, 4 feet wide, 3 feet deep and 8 feet high, could leave the Heidelberg’s side, and some much narrower wooden shelves could be shifted from directly behind the machine to replace them. The end result would be a path almost 3 feet wide around the windmill. Just like that. Cool.

Now all Shop Boy had to do was lug all of the big shelving unit’s contents — each of the five racks is designed to bear up to 600 pounds, if that gives you any idea — down the hall. Then we had to muscle the shelves themselves down there, too.

And we celebrated our newfound elbow room by producing two of the biggest jobs we’d ever handled. Whew!

Of course, now all the stuff that had been crowding us in the other space was set higgledy-piggledy, as Mary would say, in the new room. We’d just have to deal with that later.

Like … the day of the holiday party.

Shop Boy will spare you the gory details — save for Mary bleeding on the curtains we hung on the chicken wire that covers the two 10-foot by 10-foot windows. (A previous tenant had felt that the windows gave potential thieves too good a view inside the building.) Oh, and there was Shop Boy’s sulking over being informed that there were probably a few more important things to worry about at the moment than … any number of things I was worrying about at the moment.

Like that makes this different than any other day?!?!

Humbug.

But the party was swell, despite all of the carrying on. We had a good crowd. How many guests? Lots! What am I, the National Park Service? Let’s just say that Barack Obama will very likely have a few more for his big day. Figure on, oh, three or four times as many as the Park Service will report. Hope those folks get a new calculator as a holiday gift. ;-)

And man, if Obama has the kind of debut that Typecast Press’ new room did, well, stand back.

***

Letterpress List No. 66

How about an hour’s worth of music to … oh, heck, just listen to. Who, in this busiest season of the year, ever gets to just sit back, take a deep breath and listen to favorite tunes?

But first, the guy we inherited this new space from is Curt Iseli, aka the Sign King, a cool and creative dude who not only built neon and metal signs but collected old ones. He asked whether we’d like to keep one that he had no space elsewhere to store: the 15-foot-tall display from an amusement park strongman game. You know, hit the base with a sledgehammer and see how high the pellet will go, from taunting lower-end levels like “Sissy” to  ego-boosting “Popeye” or all the way to the bell.

Well, after watching an exasperated Mary drag some insanely heavy stuff around the new room, I’m thinking of painting her name at the tippety top … maybe in blood.

Shop Boy?

Let’s just say I’m keeping the sledgehammer hidden these days.

SmoothCarlos Santana Featuring Rob Thomas (Shop Boy could be a bit more.)
Devil With a Blue Dress OnMitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels (Good golly.)
Heretic AnthemSlipknot (Here’s how it looks live. I dragged Mary to a Baltimore metal show featuring Slipknot, System of a Down and Rammstein. At one point, one of the ushers, most of whom were African-American, looked out into the sea of head-bangers and muttered, “White people are crazy.” Yeah, it was loud, but we could read her lips. Shop Boy was so proud …)
In My Room the Beach Boys (A lot of Brian Wilson and Co. lately. Must be a winter blahs thing.)
Here to ThereSonya Kitchell (Clever video.)
Sledgehammer Peter Gabriel (Big Bang theory.)
Kryptonite 3 Doors Down (Will you still call me Superman?)
Ring My BellAnita Ward (Give it a swing.)
If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) AC/DC (Every last drop.)
Party Out of Boundsthe B-52s (But the overflow area was just right.)
The Christmas Song Nat King Cole (It’s Christmas Eve. Enjoy. Just about everybody’s doing it.)
I Want a Hippopotamus for ChristmasGayla Peevey (Nothing else will do.)
Christmas Songthe Raveonettes (Baby, it’s cool outside.)
Baby It’s Cold OutsideTom Jones and Cerys Matthews (OK, enough with the holiday music. Sorry.)

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