Saturday, March 10, 2018

look for this one!

so last night we had a really great evening- we saw a free screening of the documentary called "California Typewriter" which was completely adsorbing and utterly engaging and totally terrific! And to make the evening even more fun, we ran into our friends Gene & Mary Ann at the screening and so we grabbed a bite afterward at Louie's Modern downtown.

so first - let's give a shout out to the upcoming (and 20th!) Sarasota Film Festival (SFFXX)

and then on to the film itself- which was note perfect, in my opinion- it had it all- laughs and drama and nostalgia and reminiscences and "deep thoughts" about life .... how could you go wrong?

"Starring" well known proponents, users, and collectors of the typewriter, the movie explored the history of the typewriter and the near death of the typewriter before giving us a glimmer of hope that all has not been lost.  As the long playing analog recordings have hung on, so too it seems, life may be extended for typewriters.

The film centers on two men, Ken and Herb,  who work in a typewriter repair store in Berkeley California called California Typewriter- they are shown below - first the repairman Ken and and then the owner Herb.  They have worked together for decades.

The film starts with a vignette of the Royal Road Test - a 1966 piece of performance art by Ed Ruscha, Mason Williams and Patrick Blackwell.  A current day Mason Williams sets up the scene: Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams threw a royal typewriter from a convertible going sixty miles out into the desert. Then they documented the whole event in photographs. Typewriter keys hanging from tumbleweeds, the carriage return and other parts mangled in the dirt. It was a precursor of the art to come.

some stills from the book they published on the performance art piece-

then we meet Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard, David McCullough and John Mayer all of whom are fans of typewriters to varying degrees - Hanks is an avid collector, the others use them to varying degrees, as a mechanism for creation - enabler for slowing down the thought process so as to take the time needed and as a way of recording variations for posterity.... absolutely fascinating interviews - and along the way we also learn the history of the typewriter and the revolution it brought in the post civil war era as well as its role in creating work for women that paid a living wage.

throughout the various snippets of history and collector interviews we go back to the typewriter shop and get to know the family and employees of California Typewriter. Along the way, we meet the artist - Jeremy Mayer who creates art strictly from typewriter parts.  Hooked on images from Fritz Lang's Metropolis when he was a kid he started creating things that resembled the robot from the film.

you can see the work he does in the promo poster for the film (above) - one side of the head above being the repairman at California Typewriter and the other being his image created by Jeremy Mayer...

as the shop heads to failure, Jeremy helps them set up a website to advertise their wares, their services and the culture surrounding the "typewriter revolution" - set up via the typewriter manifesto... they have popular TYPE-INs and start to eek out a real living.  Things are still precarious as the film ends, but one does get an appreciation of the typewriter via the various collectors (especially one Canadian guy named Martin Howard.)

So I hope I have whetted your appetite to see this film because I thought it was a perfect example of documentary and worth seeking out!

You can visit the shop's online presence here -

You can see the film trailer and buy it here-

You can see Jeremy Mayer's work here-

from the film's website-
CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER is a documentary portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse, featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard, and others.

It also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last standing repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging machines clicking.

In the process, the film delivers a thought-provoking meditation on the changing dynamic between humans and machines, and encourages us to consider our own relationship with technology, old and new, as the digital age’s emphasis on speed and convenience redefines who’s serving whom, human or machine?

Oh and I forgot to mention the Boston Typewriter Orchestra and the lady who writes poetry on a typewriter in response to a question from the people who see her performance art. It was all good and all incredibly interesting- GO SEE IT!!!!!

PS - I have to add this because it really tickled me to see the list of reviews of the film- located on this link. There were too many to type out and it won't cut and paste--- sorry you will just have to go there to see "Soul of an Old Machine" and "Songs in the Key of QWERTY" etc..... they loved it....

 And PPS- I found some photos from my travels that were similar to a small portion of the film (about where the typewriter was alive and living - in third world countries) they are from Columbia and Bolivia in that order-

official documents must be typed and so there are people outside government buildings to help with the forms.... more tiny bits of typewriter info for your entertainment....

Friday, March 9, 2018

finally to the end

Of my catch up posting for all of February when life overtook us and we had no time to spend - sometimes not even a computer to be found to make notes upon LOL -

So on Superbowl Sunday when we are always seeking alternatives to the horror of football on TV we went to a concert-

Held at Fogartyville- we heard RUNA- this is what the Fogartyville website said-

Quickly gaining recognition as one of Irish music’s new “super-groups,” RUNA has been enchanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats since their formation in 2008. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music.

RUNA consists of vocalist and step-dancer, Shannon Lambert-Ryan of Philadelphia, Dublin-born guitarist, Fionán de Barra, Cheryl Prashker of Canada on percussion, Dave Curley of Galway on mandolin, vocals, bodhrán, and step-dancing, and Maggie White of Kentucky on the fiddle. Check them out on their website:

We had heard them play here a few years ago and here is my review- The male singer David Curley had several lovely numbers that I really liked,  Their instrumentals were excellent.  But they lost me when the female singer (center of the top photo) sang because I couldn't understand the words- even when Phil pulled up song lyrics on his phone I still could barely follow along her speedy pace made them a blur. I know that this sounds like the criticism of an old person who can't hear but I have excellent hearing (as did my mother until the day she died) and have no trouble telling Phil minutes ahead of the UPS truck arriving that is almost to our house... so it is not that.  When I had the lyrics in front of me I could see the words and also could see she left out a fair number of the words on the paper in order to reach the inordinate speed at which she sang.

sadly Dave Curley seems to have left the group and has been replaced by Maggie White's husband or brother or whatever- a shame since Curley and Prashker were my favorites of the prior concert-

and that is exactly as it turned out again- I really didn't care for the lead singer- although she had gotten more understandable- and I liked the new guy Zack White pretty much- although he doesn't dance like Curley did - but overall I still liked the percussionist and the male singer over the female...

so they were a nice way to get together with friends (Jean and Barb & John) and pass a few hours on a Sunday when it absolutely poured rain at dinner time but not much more.  And that is the missing month in five or six quick posts- sorry I took so long...

my fabulous birthday dinner!

Yes we were in Chicago for my birthday weekend (not because of my birthday weekend but became Rich Warren had scheduled Tom Paton for that Saturday night for a concert at WFMT for Folkstage)

so we made plans well in advance to go to Oriole- my very favorite restaurant in town - heck in the country - maybe even the world LOL

here is the fabulous menu for the evening- starting with a champagne cocktail designed by Star Bartender Julia Momose for my birthday celebration called the "TOR DE FORCE" followed by a special starter course a gift from our friends both attending the dinner and the folks at Oriole- CAVIAR FOUR WAYS!!!!

and then my Genie Kwon birthday cake!!!! chocolate - chocolate and more chocolate- with malted milk balls - and mousse - and white chocolate petals on the amazing cake which I got to take home the leftovers!!!!

a close up of my "all chocolate all the time" cake! it was stunningly beautiful but more tasty than even that!

the wines - the St Aubin showed better than the Corton Charlemagne but the Puligny Montrachet which is a new wine 2014 was excellent.  We had two 99 Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers which were very good and split opinion on the better of the two.  We had a kick butt 1983 Oregon pinot from Yamhill Valley vineyards... and a 96 Clerc Milion Bordeaux and a old 77 Dow Port for port lovers-

it was so much fun sharing the meal with friends Shari and Kevin and Evelyn and Todd--- all perfect dining companions who we met thanks to the Chaine de Rotissuers group in Chicago... lovers of good food and good wines all!

So we are almost caught up with the missing month. And that is a good thing because tonight we went to a special screening of a terrific movie - really enjoyed it and I will be telling you more about it in the post after next- because I have one more to do to be completely caught up with the backlog,,,, so hold on- we will get there!

even further back

from the present to the first part of February due to my being too busy to post while we were moving.... these are what would have been posts in chronological order and now they are reverse chron order- LOL  so working back another week in the missing posting-

the week in between the last post and this we basically did nothing but meet service people at the empty house to bring some of the systems up to speed after the condo inspection reported some issues...

but when we make it all the way back to the second weekend in February we have our trip to snowy Chicago! Where we had dinner on the arrival night at mfk (yum) and the next night went to the theater to see the fabulous and heart wrenching production of Skeleton Crew at the Northlight  and the following night had my birthday dinner at Oriole (separate post)  and a concert at WFMT by Tom Paxton and dinner after with friends Mike & Leslie and Ron & Mary at Bien Me Sabe- a whirlwind tour which also had doctor and trainer appointments and more than 10 inches of snow!

above the chicken ballotine from mfk! we LOVE that place-

the absolutely outstanding cast!

below Skeleton Crew set-

it snowed that night and again the next day for most of the day - we added and added to the already large amount - as shown on the photos of the deck - covered in snow-

But we soldiered on- with the birthday dinner (a truly special evening with friends recounted in its own post) and with the Saturday WFMT concert and late ight dinner with more friends before scooting out of town in less than 96 hours -

the shrimp tostones at Bien Me Sabe - a favorite starter!

the next day we got up and got on a plane back to Florida and here is what our dinner Sunday looked like- we stopped on the way home from the airport-

we had visited Chicago in January 2017 and not had bad weather so we got cocky and booked a february trip this year - that will teach us! won't do that again!