A collective endeavor which engages in rhythmic typewriter manipulation combined with elements of performance, comedy and satire. BTO aims to entertain the masses while providing an outlet for the creative urges of its members. *BTO promises to protect customer confidentiality with the utmost vigilance while remaining irreverent at all times.
Last year, we were invited to the inaugural take at a Typewriter Arts Festival, with a type-in, typing poets, typewriter displays, and both a film and a documentary about typewriters being shown on a Drive-In screen at the north edge of the Catskills. We had a blast, and this year they are expanding to two days across this beautiful expanse at Drive-In 32 in Greenville NY for QWERTY: The Second Annual Festival of Type and the Letter Arts.
While we won’t be playing until Saturday, the festival begins Friday on World Typewriter Day Friday with a 10th anniversary screening of Gary Hustwit’s documentary Helvetica and a live performance from Brian Dewan, who did the cover art for our new record. On Saturday evening, we’ll be followed by screenings of Ink & Paper and Doug Nichol’s new documentary California Typewriter. Both evenings will host a gathering of typewriter poets, typewriter and letter art and a type-in hosted by Eric Molbach. People are invited to bring their typewriters or use one of the free typewriters provided. The USPS is even setting up a remote mailing station so you can type a letter and send it from the Greenville Drive-In.
So when a camera crew from CNN showed up at our show at Once Lounge last week to record our performance to grab a few clips for a segment in their feature for their site Great Big Story, it felt pretty great. It was weird though, I mean, we were opening for bands with deep legacies (Trinary System featuring Roger Miller from Mission of Burma, and Black Helicopter featuring guys from 90s heroes Green Magnet School and Kudgel), and they packed up the cameras as soon as we were done. They’d actually been to our practice a week before and the results, well, are certainly great…
We’re off to Maine next Friday to play at the Portland Museum of Art, and have our June trek to the Greenville Drive In for their typewriter arts festival set as well. The artwork for the vinyl version of our EP is finished and it’s heading out to finally get pressed. And a story like this has been snowballing into other coverage and offers, so keep an eye on this space as we announce other shows. And if you’re on Instagram, make sure to follow us as we’ve nearly equalled followers and posts as we put up our 400th image.
So thanks to the miracle of the internet, we’ve secured the financing to manufacture vinyl for Termination Without Prejudice, Volume 1, a 10″ EP set to feature some of our songs (we’d originally figured on 4, but we’ve been thinking of expanding it to add another track to each side for a total of 6). There’s still time left to pledge until 8pm EST on Cyber Monday (11/28). If you miss that deadline, we’ll be putting a pre-order option on our bandcamp page once everything is mastered and ready to roll.
While our last show of the year will be Chandler Travis’ Christmas bash at Once Somerville on Wednesday 12/21, the band is also in the midst of working on scheduling events for 2017, so if you’d like to see the band play near you, let us know the name of art galleries, museums, or other venues across the Northeast that might serve us well so we can present our sounds. Already in the works is a return to the Catskills for the 2nd Annual Typewriter Arts Festival in June and we’re looking to perform around the area when the documentary that we’re featured in, California Typewriter, premieres at a few locations around New England.
We’re open to further treks, but getting us there is a bit prohibitive, so let us know…
Most bands spend half of their time at shows shilling for a table of merchandise hoping to make gas money to get themselves to the next gig. The last time I can recall that we even toted t-shirts to a venue, they never actually made it out of the trunk. However, the people they clamor for things and conveniently enough, we’ve got some new songs recorded to share with the world.
Instead of merely posting some songs on the internet and calling it a digital release and disappearing into the night, we’re gonna put these songs on vinyl. With 4 songs of an EP ready to go, we figured they’d fit nicely onto 10″s of wax. Plus that format evokes 78s which are as old as some of the manual typewriters that we use to make our music. We’re using the Kickstarter platform to crowdsource the funding of this project, so please donate and let other folks know what we’re up to
We hope that you’ll support our mission to put out a record. Please give all you can.
After performing in the auditorium earlier in the year during the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, this time we’ll be right in the atrium for everyone to see and hear as folks gather for their Signals event. It’s a celebration of Samuel Morse and will include a camera obscura and lots of code-breaking fun.
Everyone tells us that newspapers are dying. That the printed word isn’t printed anymore, it just flashes by in moments on LED screens. But the word is still around and occasionally there are tales of journalists that still do the bulk of their work on an old Underwood. In Boston the spirit of the old hardscrabble reporter hunting down leads (and filing FOIA briefs) exists in the form of the Boston Institute for Non-Profit Journalism.
Now why that might sound like an overly serious group that spends their time thinking about overly serious topics, it seems they do know how to party. Inviting us to come play at a brewery in Somerville is precisely the right way to approach things. So come and enjoy the day and we’re gonna play somewhere sometime in the midst of the mayhem. If we get a more precise read on things, we’ll let you know, but you know how journalists are, they do want all the information for themselves and love to push deadlines….
Weirdly there was more color on the leaves of southern New Hampshire than there were in the still verdant Green Mountains, but aside from the lack of crayon box foliage, we had an awesome time. Along with Martha Barnette, we were able to have a standing room only event to benefit the Burlington Book Festival.
Plus we did find good places to stop along the way.