Click, Clack, Ding. That’s the title that’s being given to our upcoming performance on February 22, 2015 at the Boston Society of Architects. They are in the midst of a giant effort called StereoType and figured what better band to represent the power of the font than BTO. Assuming you can get to their home near South Station and the city isn’t entirely shut down until Red Sox Opening Day in April, we’re playing a free show that’s set to start at 2pm. Make a day of it, see us and then try to walk to the North End for some cannolis; make a game of trying to stay on the sidewalks and not be hit by plows.
So we were on Google’s Doodle a few weeks back, now that we’re given them space, we’re showing off the process. We recorded this track with 6 of us mashing away at keys. To make it more “jazzy” Alex had a friend add a trombone track. The final result was us behind a piano track that Google found someone to throw on top of us. Choose for yourself.
Happy 113rd Birthday Langston Hughes! Amazingly enough, we have been asked by the Google Corporation to help celebrate the greatest poet of the Harlem Renaissance by providing a soundtrack to a Doodle on their website commemorating the date.
We’ll be posting our unadorned backing track later this week, as well as an alternate version with trombone rather than the piano version that is used here. But since that’s not around to link to just yet, we’ll toss this in your inbox: typist Jeff’s first Most Bitter album actually kicked off with an adaptation of Hughes’ poem “Sunset in Dixie.”
Without pushbrooms or anything else to clear jammed keys, our esteemed typist Brendan recently spoke with the Boston Globe West (It’s like the Boston Globe but only gets sent out once a week to people who live too far from the city to commute regularly) and found a succinct summation of our proper place in the pop culture pantheon: “It’s like ‘STOMP’ meets ‘The Office.’”
In other literary news, the BTO is scheduled to make an appearance in The Typewriter Revolution: A 21st-Century Typist’s Companion, a book by Richard Polt due this fall from Countryman Press.
Welcome to 2015. The Year of the BTO Machine.
Last year we continued our museum and library tour throughout New England with stops in Lexington, MA, Providence, RI, Boston Univ., Brandeis Univ., and Manchester, NH. Never mind the wild weekend with “And I AM Not Lying…” with shows in NYC and Washington DC, with an all-too-memorable stopover at the Howard Johnson at Newark Airport.
For anyone anticipating our triple album, Workstation To Workstation, like the second Avalanches record, sometimes life happens, at least we’re getting there. We’re seeking mad scientists to help with recording to create the maximum effect for our audience.
Sometime soon, we’ll deliver:
Harold, Step Into My Office
Autographed Picture Of The Boss’ Wife
…and a few others that will spring from Alex’s need to pound on a typewriter as the best release there is.
Please Stay Tuned.
A full work day in the city for the Boston Typewriter Orchestra meant that we got to New York City just in time for a midnight performance at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Alumni/emeritus member Jim bussed in from Jersey City to fill the depleted ranks as only Jay, Brendan, and Jeff were able to truly represent Boston on this weekend. We kicked off the performance to a haggard crowd of city dwellers and kept on-stage Yankee sniping to a minimum. A night at the Newark HoJos would have been better spent sleeping off a drunken stupor in the UCB’s walk-in.
With Jim regaling us of tales from beyond the typing pool in the wild world of liquor distribution (we’re too greedy to share, being far more inclined to mere liquor consumption), we sped off down the Jersey Turnpike in the morning heading for our nation’s capitol.
Outside the Black Cat, we met up with Jeff Simmermon, the force that pried us away from New England for this weekend. These shows (titled And I Am Not Lying) were a whole night’s entertainment in one crazy swoop, with comedians, burlesque dancers, a boylesque dancer, and Simmermon as an officiant, comedian, and raconteur all in one. The Black Cat is DC’s finest den of iniquity, and stepping into the room to load in a bunch of typewriters it seemed like a mighty daunting space to fill.
With seating and tables added to the room, and some of the best sound men on the case, not only did the four of us sound like a whole orchestra of typewriters, but even we were able to hear it with monitors bringing the thump-thwack at us just as hard. With a deadline to return for back in Boston, we made a quick departure after the show concluded. The overnight livery service proved just reliable enough to make it home without catastrophe.
Friday March 14, 2014
And I Am Not Lying, midnight
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, East Village NYC
Even escaping Boston just ahead of rush hour traffic, the trek to Manchester was relatively painless and we played our first set for an overflowing room at the Currier Museum. We dusted off some rusty oldies for the second set, and clacked away to the delight of the audience. Seems like there was enough interest that we’ll have to find our way back north sometime soon.
March 6th, 2014 – Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Join us for speciality cocktails, a food demonstration, and unusual sounds! The Boston Typewriter Orchestra is a group that combines the insistent rhythm of typewriters with elements of performance, comedy and satire. During intermission, enjoy food, art making and discussions in the galleries. A cash bar and full menu are available at the Winter Garden Café.
**This post now contains revised links and actual set times. We aren’t playing a nightclub where set times are an approximation, these gigs are at museums so when it says that’s when we’re playing, the typical variance is rarely more than 10 minutes.
**Also included in the information for these performances is a directions link. Do we know the best way to get from your house to where we’ll be? Not likely. So the directions link will opens a google maps page with the particular museum preset as the destination.
The road was long and hard but usually paved pretty well so it didn’t take long. Now we’re back for April’s cruise across the campuses. At Providence’s Rhode Island School of Design and Waltham’s Brandeis University, we will be plopped in the midst of their respective art museums. The thing at Boston University isn’t open to the public, heck not even the students, we think, it’s a just conference for journalists. But if you really want to see us that bad, don’t worry, we’ll be around soon.
Welcome from the Boston Typewriter Orchestra. A couple of weeks ago our main site was hacked, requiring us to restore from an archived copy. As we’re just a bunch of guys on manual typewriters, this has taken a bit more time than we’ve liked. Please be assured, we’re still around and playing, and we’ll have our web presence up and going just as soon as we figure out how to load the archive disk into our newest Smith Corona. Until then, if you need to contact us, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex for the Boston Typewriter Orchestra
The Boston Typewriter Orchestra plays the IDEAS Boston conference October 20, 2011.
IDEAS Boston’s mission is to promote innovation and contribute to the economic vitality and competitiveness of the region. Through a unique conference, dissemination of new ideas after the event, and connecting cutting-edge thinkers across sectors, IDEAS Boston serves as an important resource to individual innovators throughout the community, and from a civic perspective helps to build the region’s brand as a hub of innovation attractive to businesses, college students, and workers.
For more information, go to http://www.umb.edu/ideasboston/entry/about“