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.
Tonight is the official premiere of California Typewriter. Sure it’s shown at film festivals over the past year and a half, but tonight it begins a weeklong run at the Metrograph in NYC. Next week it’s opening in LA, and after that it should be popping up at screens across the country and we’ll try to keep you in the loop…
Here’s a clip featuring us that they are using to try to get folks to come out to the film… not using the charisma of Tom Hanks or John Mayer, or the recently deceased Sam Shepard, but it’s our mugs… go figure!
So we headed back to Greenville NY to visit our favorite place to watch movies. Outside.
Last year we were around for the first version of this, now it’s a second annual and a two day affair. We missed our pal Brian Dewan on Friday night, but made it for the whole of Saturday’s festivities.
That photo with all of us was taken by Doug Nichol, who directed the film that showed after our set, California Typewriter. Here, we’re checking sound and getting ourselves ready to type.
Our good pal Dwight Grimm thanked the crowd that gathered for the type-in and was ready to watch us play. I think he’s pointing to the screen here and getting ready to have us start.
As the evening approached we took to the stage with two sets prepared, just enough to take things to dusk. And we debuted our new metal tune to kick off the second set…
Clouds gathered to the south across the Catskills, but held off until the movie started, and then passed just as quickly, but the good omens were there from the start.
The sun set and the film rolled, and right in the middle of it all there we were. In a different quintet form, and younger…
Now we just need to find some more typewriter based films so that we can head back next year to help celebrate the joy of the typewriter and World Typewriter Day… 3rd Annual, here we come….
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.
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.
You know how Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees? That’s sort of like what’s going on here as we’re in the opening slot of the centerpiece, Saturday night benefit concert at the Livak Ballroom at the UVM Davis Center. We’ll be warming up the crowd for Martha Barnette of the public radio program A Way With Words.
Somehow it’s taken more than a decade for it to happen, but BTO is finally getting the last check mark to complete the New England states where we’ve played concerts. We’ll be in Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, September 17 as part of the 12th Annual Burlington Book Festival. Apparently these people didn’t realize that we don’t actually type words when we bash away at our typewriters, so don’t tell ’em until afterwards and we’ll see just how much fun we can have. And seeing as this is Vermont, we’ve even worked up our first bona fide Jam that we’ll be premiering at the show.
Sure, as the Boston Tpewriter Orchestra our sphere of influence is generally focused on the East Coast, having never ventured further than Washington DC for a live performance. Thankfully, one of the joys of making music in this era of technology is that recordings and videos can be seen and heard anywhere at all.
Now I’m not sure exactly how Doug Nichol came to hear of us, but he brought his cameras in and recorded us performing a few years ago. That footage has finally surfaced in the midst of his new documentary California Typewriter that debuted at the Telluride Film Festival this past weekend. While the film focuses on a shop in Berkeley, Jay and Chris both (separately) stopped in there with Doug while they were on vacations in the bay area.
For now all we get is that trailer, but we’ll keep you informed once it’s gonna be showing on this side of the country.