Celebrating its tenth year, this Saturday’s Printers Ball grows to include thirty-one free programs such as readings, workshops, exhibitions, performances, a DJed dance party and ongoing marketplaces of print goods throughout the day. Since the ball’s move to Spudnik Press at Hubbard Street Lofts last year, more organizations have joined up to collaborate and host its expansion into a greater variety of featured events that celebrate blurred spaces between the literary and the visual. Eight different sites in and around the lofts will host the events.
When reached for comment, Angee Lennard, the founder and director of Spudnik Press Co-op, and Corrina Lesser, the Printers Ball’s manager tag-teamed thoughtful reflections on the ball’s development over a decade as well as the impact it has seen locally and in national impressions of Chicago’s literati. Says Lesser, “There is so much interesting, experimental writing and publishing that takes place outside of mainstream publishing and Printers Ball is just the kind of event that recognized early on how important it was to provide a forum for that work.” Their curated events have come to emphasize collaboration and participation as means of production within alternative publishing projects. Lennard sees their annual programming as a bastion of fresh ways that traditional printmaking is being employed. “Digital printing and online publishing has come a long way since Printers Ball began,” she says. “I think this has transformed the ball to being as much about the process and tradition of putting ink on paper as it is about the individual texts being published. Both here at Spudnik Press, and previously at Columbia College, the ball has transformed into a celebration of the tactile act of printing.”
Two guests from New York stand out among this year’s highlights: musician and artist Tim Fite will give a performance at the start of the afternoon followed by a hands-on workshop (performance 4:30 pm, Simple Honest Work, then 7pm-8:30pm for the workshop). Well-known designer Chip Kidd will discuss previous and forthcoming projects (6:30pm-7:30pm, Simple Honest Work).
Printers Ball is the sort of day where to check out one demo might mean to miss another reading. A full schedule of the event is available on its website, but here are a few picks from the day:
- Taylor Hokanson invites participants to compose experimental texts with his sledgehammer-operated keyboard. Up through the afternoon, there’s time to stop in around other programs. (4:30pm-6pm, parking lot).
- Salonathon: Printers Ball Edition is a special iteration of the cross-disciplinary performance event that takes place weekly at Beauty Bar. Curated by Jane Beachy. (5pm-5:30pm, Johalla Projects).
- Trubble Club, a comic collaborative in Chicago, presents their take on an exquisite corpse (6pm-7:30pm, parking lot).