Philly Tech Week 2016 starts not with a bang, but with a beep, with the Dilworth ARCADE Party an evening bash for the digerati.
On Friday, April 29, the west side of Philadelphia’s City Hall will be jammed with coders, gamers, electronic musicians and more.
But WAIT–what’s that sound? That clickety, clack, ding! ?
LAST YEAR, WE HAD JUST TWO TYPEWRITERS AT THE ARCADE PARTY; they were a hit and we’ve been invited back to do a full-fledged Type-IN.
Yes, there will be a Type-IN at the Arcade, showing off the noisy mechanical roots of word processing to the youngest generation, digital natives for whom the typewriter has a completely different attraction.
Brian Kravitz (of Philly Typewriter) and Michael Ardith (of Hometown Business Machines) will be on hand with two rows full of manual typewriters, from vintage desk top machines to sleek Italian portables.
We’ll also have an IBM Selectric –arguably the peak of analog typewriting history–available to astonish those who’ve never seen a type-ball dance like a hummingbird pecking words onto paper.
We will have a Speed Competition, and other surprise activities for your type-writing pleasure. It’s free, of course–thanks to Messrs. Ardito and Kravitz, and Trophy Bikes , the semi-official stamp and paper sponsor of the Type-IN at Tech Week.
The ARCADE PARTY starts at 5 p.m.. We figure the Speed Competition (with chintzy prizes) will start at around 7:30 p.m. NOTE: spaces limited for the contest. Please sign up in advance when you arrive!
OK, Chris Wink, one of the co-founders of Technically Philly (and featured in an earlier post here) , invited us to set up a Mini-Type-IN at the opening bash of Philly Tech Week. We trundled an Olivetti Lettera 22, an Olympia SM9, and several hundred sheets of bond paper into Dilworth Plaza next to City Hall. Surrounded by scores of tables packed with the latest circuitry, we were prepared to be mocked, or worse, ignored, by tech-centric millennials. Au Contraire, Claire!
We wore out our voicebox explaining the two machines; there was a line of thrilled first-time-typists (and a few nostalgists as well) waiting to get a clack at our machines from the opening bleep till closing (nearly 30 minutes over the limit). Parents boasted to their disbelieving kids, “I used to write actual homework assignments on one of those.” Satisfied neo-typists dashed off clutching the “hard copy” they’d stamped out with their force of their own little digits. We hope to see some of these fresh young faces at the Type-IN on May 16th in Manayunk! Thanks, Philly Tech Week, for letting some classic QWERTY operators hang out with the chipsters!
Matriculated! Or curated, at any rate…. The Institute of Contemporary Art ( icaphila.org )at the University of Pennsylvania wanted visitors to their 50th Anniversary Exhibition (now through Aug. 17.) to be able to type their thoughts. Left an Olympia SM-9, a massive Olympia SG-1, and an IBM Selectric II to choose from… They went with the Selectric–still period correct, certainly a design classic worthy of the ICA and impossible to jam. Will monitor the scene and see what gets typed….
Here’s a double row of newspaper pros clacking their stories backstage at the 1962 Academy Awards. Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images–as seen in AdWeek’s 3/24 issue, which noted that West Side Story won Best Picture back then. There must be two dozen machines; bet that made an awesome sound.
Of course, let’s start with Mom* and Dad as the first light cards against that black hole of an empty Rolodex 2400 (Made in Secaucus, NJ) , and yes, that eraser is blocking mum’s maiden name as we know many fiendish, identity-swiping super-criminals start their day by skimming Phillytyper!
If you’re out there, super-criminals, do please contact me care of this blog; I would be very receptive to swapping lifestyles on a crash basis–as tomorrow is trash day, and the kitchen tiles are buckling.
* Note that Ruth McGettigan is still with us at 90-plus; most recently she told me, “I got one of those old Ouija Boards — but nobody will play it with me,” and laughed.
This can hold a lot of cards. The plan: fill out and insert cards every day until it’s full, or embarrassingly, still hungry. Who gets into the Rolodex? Anyone I’ve met in person who I’ve exchanged names with at minimum, or can somehow say of them, “I know/knew/love/hated/can’t forget/played drums for or just plain met –him/her/that bastard/that angel/that genius, etc.” Amount of detail may vary. May contain nuts.
Found an old IBM Selectric Manual which showed how to make a “pleat” to hold smaller cards so they are amenable to typewriting. This removed the last obstacle to starting this Rolodex project–since common sense has long since waved me on with a resigned sigh.