Archive for March, 2009

Letterpress List No. 75: Jenny Appleseed

March 26, 2009

And we thought Baltimore was a small world.

While in Tucson, Mary and Shop Boy had stopped in at the University of Arizona to check out the school’s letterpress shop. Mary found the name of the young woman running the program earlier and, while we were in town, decided to give it a shot. Margaret Kimball — or Margi — said she’d be happy to meet us.

So, once more we packed Mary’s mom and dad into the car — actually, Wayne Mashburn served as our tireless chauffeur all week, with Mary riding shotgun and Shop Boy and Mary’s mom, also Mary, making wisecracks, pointing out odd landmarks, complaining about the heat and providing lousy directional advice from the back seat. We’d lured them with the promise of an art exhibit at U of A’s modern art museum and lunch at El Charro, the Mexican place everybody quite rightly raves about. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

We were to meet Margi in the courtyard. How would we find her in the crowd?

Mary (to Shop Boy): “I think that must be her.”

Margi (eyes wide in recognition): “I knew that had to be you.”

What’s up with that? Letterpress pheromones or something? These printing people are so weird that way. Oh, wait …

And so there was Margi, who Shop Boy must report looks an awful lot like a young Teri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives. Sorry, guys. She’s got a boyfriend. But maybe he’ll get kidnapped and locked in the basement by the jealous guy next door, whose wife will get revenge by sleeping with the mailman, whose ex will set him up by adding poison dust to the letters he drops in the mailbox of …

Or you could just join the University of Arizona Letterpress Club.

Seriously.

Margi, a grad student from Connecticut, is trying to build that part of the Arizona graphic arts program. Equipment-wise, she’s off to a great start. The evolving U of A shop is long and fairly narrow. There’s a  Vandercook SP15, a beauty, at its center. Then there’s a sweet Old Style C&P, one of those with the swirly, “decorative” wheel spokes that, Margi explained, are as strong as the cheaper-to-make, thicker, straight spokes of the New Style machines. Hmm.

There’s also a Baltimore No. 10, of all things. What’s that press doing in the desert? Not rusting, that’s for sure.

Mostly useless travel tip: Cars do not rust out in Arizona. We saw more classic muscle cars — in all states of customization — in Tucson than Shop Boy has ever seen in his life.

More useful tip: The Boneyard, where the Air Force mothballs its planes, and the Pima Air and Space Museum are farther beyond cool than you can possibly imagine. As a bonus, the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base had invited all sorts of military fliers down for a little air show training. Meaning — and Shop Boy nearly fell over when Mary’s dad, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Mashburn, pointed to the sky — a C-130 cargo plane, a modern fighter jet, a P-52 Mustang and some WWI bucket of bolts were flying in formation. It was like that all week: A-10 “Warthogs” doing tricks above the baseball stadium, attack helicopters maneuvering to refuel in midair as a C-130 uncoiled its hoses.

Even Mary was whooping over all of the impromptu shows. Dang, that was neat.

But where was I? Classic cars in the desert … poison in the mail … oh, of course, letterpress.

Margi showed us around, pulling the dust covers off everything — no wonder they’re so clean — we chatted a good while and then we left her with well wishes for the club and an invitation to come visit next time she’s on the East Coast. And one more thing: It turns out that a printer by the name of  Heather Green will be teaching a letterpress course at U of A this summer. She owns the Vandercook that Jim Irwin — on the other side of the city — had only the day before told Mary and Shop Boy about once owning but selling to someone named Heather Green. What are the odds?

Then off we went to meet the Mashburns in the art museum. Mary’s mom, I should tell you, is the Fairy Godmother of the Arts in Colorado Springs, Colo. It was she who helped lead the charge, when schools began cutting art education, to put it back. She’s no artist, as she’ll tell you herself. But she’s the one who instilled in Mary a passion for and an understanding of the arts and their importance to the human soul.

And I love her dearly, but …

Shop Boy partially blames Mary’s mom for this letterpress voodoo her daughter has me mixed up in. There, I said it.

Anyway, we found the Mashburns wandering through a gallery of restored works from a Spanish church — by Fernando Gallego — the creepiest progression ever on the life and death of Christ. Oh, the scholarship was fascinating: Restorers had discovered lines and doodles beneath the outer surface to suggest the artist’s thought progression.

Shop Boy’s thought?

Run!

Downstairs to the main gallery, that is, where a retrospective of modern expressionist works by Nancy Tokar Miller included, you guessed it, a book of poetry illustrated by Miller and created by a local letterpress outfit called … Chax Press.

Well, there you go. Quicker than you can say Google, Mary had the printer/owner’s vitals down his HDL levels. Really, folks. She’s always said she’d make a great spy. And Charles Alexander, This Is Your Life.

Wayne and Shop Boy had one more baseball game/air show to attend. So Mary and Mama dumped us off, went to visit Chax and, by all accounts, “Jenny Appleseed” here has officially let a loose group of Tucson letterpress types know a whole bunch more about each other and the potential for forming a tighter circle and saving the world through wood type and polymer than they’d ever imagined wanting to know.

Welcome to the club.

***

Letterpress List No. 75

A friend, Gail Gibson, has a great expression for the act of swinging your head side to side and scanning the room before dishing the real dirt on someone: The Baltimore Swivel. Swear to god … around here, if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t spread the nastiness without first checking the tables and barstools around you. They don’t call it “Smalltimore” for nothing. Shop Boy will tell you the horrifying true story of how he got burned another day.

Meantime, how about an hour’s worth of music to bond, watch a P-52 flyover or recondition a ’68 Mustang — by?

In Da Club50 Cent (Margi’s asking much more nicely.)
Johnny AppleseedJoe Strummer and the Mescaleros (A little snippet of the lyrics to this tune are featured on the menus we print for Woodberry Kitchen.)
Craig Stephen Lynch (Shop Boy’s going to hell for loving this so … it’s about sibling rivalry and, um, the brother of Jesus.)
Pictures of Youthe Cure (Craig would love these Gallego images.)
Heard It Through the GrapevineMarvin Gaye (Or from the next table over.)
Pretend to Be NiceJosie and the Pussycats (And don’t forget the swivel in your small town. Hey … isn’t that Rosario Dawson?)
Mexican RadioWall of Voodoo (Mary had wanted to make a side trip to the Mexican border. Sadly, not a very wise thing to do these days.)
Designated DrinkerAlan Jackson/George Strait (With Wayne driving, all bets were off for the, um, Typecast Press crew members aboard.)
Wild Wild WestEscape Club (Can’t hear this one anywhere else but the ballpark anymore. What does that say about baseball fasn?)
Your Lovethe Outfield (Ditto.)
Wild Wild WestWill Smith (Much cooler: “You don’t want nada … none of this.”)
Dreams Van Halen (And saw a lot of this above the field.)
CenterfieldJohn Fogarty (True story: Wayne catches the first foul ball of his life at the beginning of the week and gets his photo taken with the guy who hit it, Rockies centerfielder Ryan Spillborghs, at the end of the week. He and, ahem, Shop Boy’s hands make the nightly news in Denver … about the 1:35 mark of the video. We were totally geeked. It truly was a cool moment, folks.)
Shock the MonkeyPeter Gabriel (In honor of the “Monkey on a Stick” at the Kon Tiki Lounge, a Tucson legend.)
PoisonAlice Cooper (And the drinks ain’t bad there either.)

Doing Things by Feel

March 23, 2009

Essentially, my buddy Dave Schmickel was telling me somewhere between Baltimore and D.C., “That train long ago left the station.”

We were just sort of chatting on the commute, Shop Boy remarking on the exacting nature of yet another particular project testing the soul of Typecast Press when Dave wondered aloud — you know, for the sake of argument — whether we’d ever thought of acquiring a more modern printing press so we could turn around such jobs faster, more easily and, ahem, more cheaply.

Where, Shop Boy asked him, is the romance in that?

Point taken, though. I bet we all wonder from time to time what we’re killing ourselves for. Shop Boy talks to a lot of people about this letterpress stuff and how cool the process is and how amazing the old machinery is and how awesome it is to touch the items we print and …

“Oh, umm. Ah. Uh-huh. And how much does it cost? Really. But I can get it at Kinko’s a lot cheaper. I’d never hire you.”

And that’s my DAD!

Been there, am I right?

Don’t get Shop Boy wrong. Some of my best friends are modern offset printers … or people who frequent them, anyway. They don’t get it, they won’t get it, they don’t want to get it. As for us, while reserving the right to sometimes whine about same, we like doing really cool projects and we love really old things.

The crazy, bent thingy that somebody somewhere repurposed for prying up the tympan bales on the C&P. Still works! The pile of rusted, bent metal trays stacked so precariously as they await rehab that they occasionally crash onto the floor in a wonderful cacophony. That pokey little number that you use to shift the cylinder on the Miehle vertical. Oh, and that nutty Corner Making Contraption.

One particular exception to Shop Boy’s love of the tired and arcane: the ice pencil.

This is a rudimentary tool — just frozen water, really — my dentist uses to isolate the individual tooth from which the pain is emanating. He touches each one in the row until he’s certain he’s got the right chopper.

You know how it is. Your tongue can sort of “point” to the spot that is sore. Dentists apparently prefer a more reliable signal, rather than opening a tooth, pulling the roots, slapping a new cap on the thing and then having the patient say when he’s done, “Gee, it still hurts in that general area.”

So he goes for a subtle but more precise sign. Like Shop Boy about jumping out of the chair when this icicle finds the sweet spot.

Owwwwwwweeee!

Now, I’m not a violent man, but if he ever approaches my mouth with that Neanderthal tool again, Shop Boy’s liable to bop old Dr. Freeze with the nearest rock.

Yes, Shop By has another root canal brewing. Believe me, you know when it’s time. And I’m dreading having to tell my dentist tomorrow. (Have one or two and they don’t need to tell YOU.) I mean, they’re falling like dominoes, the teeth are. The roots, anyway.

My childhood dentist — um, how do I put this more gently than he ever would have? — was a thorough individual who believed with all his heart that if you drilled away most of the kid’s tooth, there’d be no further possibility of decay.

You know that sound of the fine drill bit, the little one whose high pitch lets you know that the dentist is just finishing up with the kid ahead of you? Well, in Dr. Monte’s office, the tipoffs to start sweating were the yells and crying when he had drilled past the point of Novocain with the most ornery drill bit in the shop. Not sure if that fine bit was ever used.

Mary hates Novocain and the way it makes her face feel a little puffy afterward. Ever since Dr. Monte, Shop Boy has overcompensated.

“Are you comfortable? Can you feel this little instrument tapping your tooth?” the dentist will ask.

“Feel?” Shop Boy responds. “I can still SEE you. When my whole face is so numb that my eyes swell shut and I am drooling all over your arm, you may quit injecting the Novocain.”

So what did he expect with the ice pencil trick? That Shop Boy would take it like a man? Thank him for narrowing the choices down to the exact tooth? I was furious. (Turns out he was touching the wrong tooth; the one that now needs the tree stump treatment. So there you go.)

Anyway, I guess my teeth are old things now. But I’m not loving them today. Sigh.

Look, Shop Boy’s been a lucky, lucky man healthwise. (Mary will now knock on wood. OK, OK … I just did too.) Especially for someone who ran headlong into so many immovable objects as a kid and so many happy hours as an adult. But there’s something sort of eerily … final about root canals. The tooth is dead. One more tombstone along the road to your eventual demise. That it’s natural doesn’t make it any more of a pleasant drive, you know?

As Woody Allen has said, “I’m not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

I feel you, Woody.

More Novocain!

Letterpress List No. 74: Wakeup Call

March 18, 2009

It was time to read the writing on the ceiling.

Mary and Shop Boy had just returned from a sunny, warm week in Tucson, Ariz., gaining three hours on the return flight home. The great state of Arizona refuses to recognize Daylight Saving Time, and so we never had to spring forward, losing an hour of sleep, until right then. Midnight to other folks on the East Coast was suddenly 9 p.m. to us. Party time.

And 6:30 the next morning was 3:30 a.m. to Shop Boy. So, what in heaven’s name was all that racket?

The Day I Tried to Live” by Soundgarden, as a matter of fact. Stunningly appropriate, though Shop Boy didn’t yet appreciate the humor in that as I staggered to my feet and fumbled for the alarm clock button so the sound wouldn’t wake Mary up.

No fear of that.

She’s getting used to the notion of Shop Boy sleeping through the night rather than waking with a start, sweat pouring off me and, convinced I’m late for work, hopping in the shower, dressing and kissing Mary goodbye on the forehead only to hear behind me as I head to the door: “Shop Boy! It’s 2 a.m. Are you crazy?”

As a baby, my mom once told me, an agitated little Shop Boy would rock himself to sleep by flexing and releasing his foot, creating momentum that made the crib sway back and forth. Pretty ingenious for a tot.

Not so for a full-grown man.

“Look at this …,” Mary said one night as we changed the sheets. “You’ve worn a hole with your foot.”

And that was that.

My Valentine’s Day present? An alarm clock that lets me awake to my favorite songs simply by plugging in my iPhone. Oh, and there’s a weird red window on there that beams the time of day wherever it’s pointed. Like the ceiling, where a prone Shop Boy can now see in big red numbers what time it really is.

So there Shop Boy stood unsteadily, rubbing his eyes as Mary snoozed, dreaming perhaps of teddy bear cholla, the adorable, prickly cactus that dots the Sonoran desert. Or the Mexican food of Tucson that has become, ahem, so much a part of us. Maybe the visits to three separate printshops that you’ll be hearing all about.

Or maybe just getting back to our own printing, which is what we love, after all.

See, it’s far too easy — when “rise and shine … breakfast is ready” becomes “get up … you’re late for work” — to lose the inner joyfulness a week away can bring, to forget why you do what you do every day. But this trip was too cool, too filled with memories — and devil’s food cake with white icing and coconut (thanks to Mary’s mom and dad!) — to go the usual route.

Instead of just trying to live, Shop Boy gathered himself, took a breath and one final glance at the ceiling — just to be sure — smiled as another bit of vacation goofiness crossed his mind and toddled off toward the shower.

It was already a good day.

***
Letterpress List No. 74

How about an hour’s worth of music to wake up to? Choose carefully, as any song — even “Muskrat Love,” say — can be terrifying to wake up to at the wrong volume. OK, “Muskrat Love” is terrifying at any volume, but you know what I mean. Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great videos are from YouTube.

The Day I Tried to LiveSoundgarden (Seize the day. And the video’s from Arizona!)
Chop Suey! System of a Down (Wake up! … I’ve threatened to use this as my morning reveille. But that would end badly — with the time projected on Mary’s back as she hit the ceiling.)
At DawnMy Morning Jacket (OK, kind of a yawner.)
Enter SandmanMetallica (Tucked in … nice and safe. No sweat.)
New Day YesterdayJethro Tull (Timelessly odd.)
Incense and PeppermintsStrawberry Alarm Clock (Ditto.)
One Man’s Ceiling (Is Another Man’s Floor)Paul Simon (So true.)
Sick and TiredAnastacia (She has been, but she’s a fighter.)
Between the Sheetsthe Isley Brothers (Subtle.)
No Sleep Till Brooklynthe Beastie Boys (Never subtle.)
Situation Under Control the Alarm (Just breathe, Shop Boy.)
Runnin’ Down a Dream Tom Petty (Great commuter tune.)
Sweet DreamsRoy Orbison (Nice.)
Muskrat Lovethe Captain and Tennille (Your brainworm, not mine.)

The Letterpress Mafia

March 11, 2009

You can’t hide from letterpress.

How far had we gone? So far away from everybody we know that Shop Boy could actually wear his cowboy hat without fear of having one of you see me and laugh.

Look, it’s for sun protection. Shop Boy ain’t no cowboy, as any of the folks at the Dallas airport who looked at me, as I merely carried the hat, with “oh right, you’re a cowboy” looks. Bah.

It’s sort of like the time Mary took Shop Boy to the menswear department to buy a suit for a wedding we were invited to attend. She immediately fixed upon a dark charcoal, pinstriped, double-breasted suit. Nice.

Till I put it on … and Mary started squealing. I glanced at the mirror and nearly tore a seam.

“Where’s the violin case?” Mary chortled.

The salesman was a bit put off by the two hyenas mocking his merchandise, but good heavens, there it was before our eyes. Shop Boy the mobster.

True story: Growing up in Cranston, R.I., right next to Providence, young male grandchildren of immigrants were taught to fear two things: God … and Raymond Patriarca, and not necessarily in that order.

Patriarca was the “reputed” crime boss of New England, running the mob from the cozy, Italian-American confines of Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood. Pretty neat place, actually. When you pass an archway with an inverted, gilded pineapple attached, you are there. Mary just calls the place Pineapple Hill.

But whatever we call the neighborhood, we say it with respect. Because for all we know, that pineapple is hung upside-down as a warning to other pineapples not to mess with the mafia. There’s a funny old state slogan (not endorsed by the chamber of commerce): Rhode Island — lobsters and mobsters.

OK, another funny one, from a Don Bosquet cartoon of a highway sign that reads: “Welcome to Rhode Island. Keep your smart remarks to yourself.”

With their stories of mob mayhem, our parents probably just wanted to keep what they thought were their squeaky clean kids out of some of the more, um, adult Providence neighborhoods. We weren’t squeaky clean, but we listened enough and did watch enough TV crime news and mob movies to believe that if you got crossways with the mafia, well, you could run but you couldn’t hide.

So here Mary and Shop Boy were on a nice, relaxing baseball journey to Tucson, Ariz., and we gotta go looking for trouble.

Didn’t have to look long.

Turns out there’s this guy (there always is) with a letterpress printshop in a lovely, nowhere place in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains partially ringing Tucson that’s called, appropriately enough, Catalina.

OK, so it was at Shop Boy’s urging that Mary sought out Jim Irwin of Letterpress Finesse. It is in Catalina that Jim keeps a printshop in a tiny cinderblock out-building that lost half its roof in the last windstorm. The cactus and odd desert plants are everywhere, huge, weird and blooming, the view of the mountains is breathtaking.

Jim’s got a Vandercook 4T, a beautiful old C&P and a Kluge, plus a power paper cutter and a bunch of cuts and old lead type in there. There’s a rack at the back of the shop where Jim’s rollers are protected from the rare Tucson rainstorm by an old, extra polymer sheet from Boxcar Press that forms a sort of awning — Mary’s kind of place, I figured.

Now, Mary elbows me in the ribs if Shop Boy speaks too well of our competitors in this global economy. But geez, what Jim Irwin turns out of his little shop is just astonishing. A pro, this guy. Still, Shop Boy can only imagine what the poor man was thinking as we rolled up, Mary’s mom and dad — Wayne and Mary Mashburn — in tow, for an impromptu tour.

He was a heck of a lot more charming than Shop Boy’d have been, let’s put it that way.

So we shot the breeze a bit, got a little advice on rust from a guy in the Place That Rust Forgot — Electrolysis? Oh, yeah, Shop Boy’ll be doing that — and Mary and Jim quickly started dropping names of letterpress folks they knew, knew of, or had worked with. Dang, do these people all know each other?

Made Shop Boy a little edgy, to be honest.

The Secret’s Out

March 6, 2009

The earliest sign of spring is a brand-new crush.

Oh, it’s OK.

Mary and Shop Boy joke about our “secret crushes” all the time. See, Mary has this thing for the men of letterpress. (She also likes chubby guys, apparently. Lucky for me. Sigh.) It’s always, “My new secret crush stopped by today and gave me some advice on the rollers.” Or, “My other secret crush gave me this great old book on printing.” There’s just something about dudes who share her passion for this nutty letterpress stuff.

Insert your own “large equipment” joke here. Shop Boy wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot … oops, guess I just did.

Forgive me.

For you see, Shop Boy has his own jones working these days. I’m obsessed.

And of course you know, distractions can be a killer in the printshop.

That’s why I’m dragging poor Mary across the country — away from all these whirring, powerful and heartless presses (and her secret crushes) for a week while Shop Boy gets a big distraction out of his system.

Baseball. In Tucson, Arizona.

Hey, you can have your own dangerous obsessions. I’m sticking with a romance a lot less likely to get me swatted with a metal ruler.

Colorado Rockies baseball. Can’t help myself. Sure, Shop Boy grew up a Red Sox fan. But we lived in Denver just long enough for me to enter this dalliance. And it stuck. Besides, I’ve been sort of angry at the Sox for making the Rox look like, well, little boys in the World Series a couple of years back. Imagine, a Red Sox fan resenting a world championship. Don’t want to summon a curse or something. ;-)

But you didn’t come here to read about baseball, so let me go get some, and Shop Boy’ll be back here with more essential letterpress knowledge in a bit.

Perhaps I can fit in a remote blog post or two between forkfuls of Mexican food. But no promises.

Let me tell you, I am hopelessly in love with that stuff.

Letterpress List No. 73: Roll Models

March 4, 2009

There Shop Boy stood … stooped, actually, the carnival strongman sign taunting me. “Popeye, my left gluteus,” I was sure I heard it say. Or maybe that was Mary.

See, she was at the other end of the sign, which is 15 feet tall and deceptively heavy. And she wondered what the big deal was. Her end sat upon a dolly as she steered it much as the caboose guy steers the back end of the hook and ladder around tight corners on the way to a fire. Mary was doing a great job of steering. But it was still jammed tight where two stretches of hallway are separated by about a 4-foot turn. A real jam.

True story: Shop Boy needed a haircut. We happened to be at a Baltimore bar named for a couple of local guys’ efforts to build — in a backyard — a one-man spaceship to the stars. Seriously.

“So,” Mary asked the woman bartending at Rocket to Venus, “know anybody who cuts guys’ hair?”

We’d had a couple.

“Call this number,” the young woman said. “Ask for Bethany.”

OK.

Shop Boy made the appointment, showed up at the appointed time and then drove home.

“Your hair looks great,” Mary said, running her hands through the ‘do atop my head, gelled within an inch of its life. “How’s Bethany?”

“You mean Deathany,” Shop Boy answered.

“What?” Mary asked.

“Yeah. She’s in the roller derby. Wow! You should see the tats — and the piercings! And blond and orange hair to the ceiling. Deathany: No 666 in your program, No. 1 in your heart.”

“I don’t care if she’s Satan,” Mary said. “She’s cutting your hair from now on.”

Deathany might be reading this and might be holding a sharp pair of scissors near my throat any day now, so Shop Boy should add that she’s sweet and funny … and will put you on your keister. Her main role with the Charm City Roller Girls is as a blocker/jammer for the Speed Regime, one of four teams — strong kid. Solid skater. I’ve seen her in action. And I’ve seen her take off her helmet afterward. Boing! Hair snaps back into spiky, multicolored amazingness.

I ask Bethany once a month why she bothers to keep me as a client — dullest hairstyle to ever walk through the door. Oh, there are gray streaks, but that’s about as wild and colorful as Shop Boy gets. She just smiles. I think maybe she and Mary have a diabolical trick or two up their sleeves.

Anyway, we could have used Deathany and a few of her teammates in our corner to, um, help persuade the strongman sign to bend around this seemingly impossible turn — or to somehow embarrass Shop Boy into finding an extra Top Dog surge of strength.

Because we had only two choices: Shop Boy was going to lift this sucker into as vertical a position as he could to soften the angle — for as long as necessary — and we were going to muscle it through. Or we were going to have to put the sign back where it was, endlessly in the way in our to-be teaching studio.

Let’s see …

I grabbed the sign about two-thirds of the way to the top and slowly raised it toward the heating ducts, fully extending my arms above my head and standing on my tiptoes as the top of the sign scraped along the wall, inching toward the other hallway.

Mary: “This isn’t going to work.”

Thanks.

The sign had been outdoors a long time before it came to the Fox Industries building and became ours when the previous tenant left and had no way to store it elsewhere. Its wooden structure had rotted in spots and the orange paint was peeling. So each time it was turned ever so slightly it released a shower of debris. What a mess. But it just looked too darned groovy to give up … until now.

The sign turned. Luckily, Mary had thought to wrap a trash-bag condom over the end so we wouldn’t mess up the hallway. So Shop Boy was spared a wood shampoo. And he saw the final bit of inspiration he needed in the words now visible at the very bottom of the strongman sign: Sick Duck.

Whoosh!

The momentum nearly carried us through the door to the Ladies Room, but Shop Boy caught his balance and stopped it just short. No Girlie Man here.

One more dead lift and the sign was propped against a wall in an unused room, awaiting the once-over from local artist David Hess, who has a huge barn where he creates his sculptures. He liked it enough to take it out of our lives. Mary said it went out of the building easy as pie.

The implication being that Shop Boy’s a Cream Puff.

Hell on wheels.

***

Letterpress List No. 73

Whew! Been a while without music, eh? Hope you missed it. How about an hour’s worth of music to flash around a track with the Speed Regime — or just let them do it and have a cheeseburger and a beer in the stands — by? FYI, the next bout for the Charm City Roller Girls is March 14 here in Baltimore. Doubleheader. Du Burns Arena. Check it out live. Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great videos are from YouTube.

Venus — Bananarama (She’s got it. The rocket builders? Not so much.)
Helen WheelsWings (Goofy but fun.)
Rollin’ Limp Bizkit (Cream puffs too, it turns out.)
She’s Lost ControlJoy Division (Go see a bout. You’ll know why this is included.)
Lace and WhiskeyAlice Cooper (And Chickens?)
Hang FireRolling Stones (From Tattoo You.)
Take Your Mama Out Scissor Sisters (If she’s in the way on the track.)
Will It Go Round in CirclesBilly Preston (The bad guys win every once in a while.)
Rebel GirlBikini Kill (Don’t start none …)
Fight Song — Marilyn Manson (… won’t be none.)
Kick It OutHeart (Let’s roll.)
A World Without TearsLucinda Williams (Gotta be tough.)
Hit Me With Your Best ShotPat Benatar (OK, that was too easy. A great song that’s become a bit of a cliche.)
Making MoviesDire Straits (The roller girl song — love it.)
A Rhapsody in Black and BlueLouis Armstrong (Um …)