Letterpress List No. 72: Clips Don’t Lie

So, you want to know about  Immortal Cupboard, the film Shop Boy was going on about last time. Now, now, of course you do.

Mary and Shop Boy went to a screening over the weekend. It’s a very arty film about a poet’s life and work. Lots of water, birds, leaves and flowers, sun, fog, snow and ice, rain and flood, the pretty pictures interspersed with the poet’s words. Lovely and well done.

And Shop Boy’s got to tell you, our presses looked like a million bucks on the big screen.

Yup, there they were, the Vandercook No. 3 and C&P 8×12, smoothly — and, OK, slowly (for effect) — producing bits of Lorine Niedecker’s poetry as it would have been done way back then.

And there were Shop Boy’s hands, making magic happen, an angry red indent on my left ring finger showing that, like any wise printer, I’d removed my wedding band while operating the presses. Hard to believe Shop Boy used to worry about the ring falling off in the shower. Now it takes a crowbar to get it off some days. Mary says she likes it that way, so …

It was just a minute or so, a montage of Shop Boy printing, tying up lead type and such. Great editing job by Cathy Cook, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County filmmaker who’d stumbled upon Typecast Press by accident while walking her dog or something and immediately recognized Shop Boy as a talent. All right, the first part’s true. Anyway, the montage was pretty exciting, and we get a big credit at the end of the film. We were totally geeked, giggling and poking each other.

As the lights came up, Mary said that Shop Boy had done great and that the presses looked awesome. Just one little criticism:

Mary: “Yikes! Could you have cut your fingernails?”

Oh, they weren’t dirty or anything. Shop Boy’s pretty good about keeping ink where it should be — in the jar, on the ink plate, on the press, on the paper, period (Mary? Not so much) — and fairly religious about hand washing. I might leave behind a sickly sweet lavender smell when I shake your hand, but chances are I’m not passing much else to you. Probably should introduce a lot of guys I know to the concept. Ahem.

But Mary was right. Shop Boy’s fingernails were absolutely chewing the scenery. I generally don’t even think about the silly things until I tear half of one off at the printshop or cut myself … flossing. But when somebody asks you to be a hand model for a movie, you might want to prep the digits, right? Not smart.

Oh, well. Next time somebody making a film about a little-known, dead Wisconsin poet whose work was printed on old letterpress machines  stumbles upon Typecast Press and decides she needs a pair of male hands to demonstrate printing techniques, I’ll be ready.


Letterpress List No. 72

You might have noticed that the posts here have come in fits and starts. Shop Boy’s new job requires about all the brain power I’ve got — what little is left, I give to you, dear readers. You’ll probably be able to tell when things have stabilized. Or maybe not — Shop Boy’s writing can be a bit addled normally, you say? Hmm.

Bah. How about an hour’s worth of music — OK, a half-hour at first — to appreciate birds, water, snow, ice, poetry or the first hints of spring that are popping up by? Most of the tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great video links are to YouTube.

Montage — from Team America: World Police (Heartbroken I can’t find a good link yet … love this stupid song.)
The Hand That FeedsNine Inch Nails (Hee-hee.)
Hips Don’t LieShakira (OK, it’s a reach, but anything to get a little Shakira in here.)
Lost in HollywoodSystem of a Down (Ditto, anything to get a little System in here. This is a slow one — Mary would tell you that makes it even more insufferable.)
Shake Hands With BeefPrimus (And don’t even get her started on this stuff.)
It’s Raining Men the Weather Girls (Now try to stop Mary from dancing. Sigh.)
Mr. Me TooClipse (Good to meet ya.)
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?Creedence Clearwater Revival (Nice.)
FloeticFloetry (Why not?)
She Blinded Me With ScienceThomas Dolby (Poetry in motion.)
Harder, Better, Faster, StrongerDaft Punk (Think Steve Austin, maybe.)
Riders on the Stormthe Doors (Daft poetry? Guy was nuts.)

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