For Immediate Release

Fifth Annual Printers' Ball

Celebration of print culture features free publications and entertainment
July 7th, 2009

CHICAGO—The fifth annual Printers’ Ball is set to take place on Friday, July 31, at Columbia College Chicago in the city’s vibrant South Loop neighborhood. The event will be held on several floors of the college’s landmark Ludington Building, at 1104 South Wabash. The Ludington is the former home of the American Book Company and current home to Columbia’s Center for Book and Paper Arts.

Founded by Poetry magazine and other independent Chicago literary organizations, the Printers’ Ball is an annual celebration of print culture, featuring thousands of magazines, books, and broadsides available free of charge; live readings and music; letterpress, offset, and paper-making demonstrations; and much more. This year’s Printers’ Ball is co-produced with Columbia College Chicago and the Center for Book & Paper Arts. Select events during the Printers’ Ball are being recorded for Chicago Public Radio’s Chicago Amplified.

What: Fifth annual Printers’ Ball, in celebration of print culture.
Where: The Ludington Building, Columbia College, 1104 South Wabash Avenue, one block west of Michigan Avenue
When: Friday, July 31, 2009, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Admission to the Printers’ Ball is free and open to all ages. Details on official Printers’ Ball lead-up events and collaborators are available at

Major collaborators for the fifth annual Printers’ Ball are the Alternative Press Center, the Center for Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Amplified, Chicago Underground Library, CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project), MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine, Newcity, Opium Magazine, Poetry magazine, Poetry Foundation, and the Student Affairs Offices of Columbia College Chicago. The Printers’ Ball extends special gratitude to Lagunitas, Hofbrau, and Chimay,  breweries for their generous support of the evening’s festivities.

More than 1,500 people annually attend what has become one of the largest celebrations of print culture in the country. This year, for the first time ever, the Printers’ Ball features publishers outside of Chicago, showcasing more than 200 local, national, and international literary organizations and the various ways they bring print to life.

The 2009 Printers’ Ball features:

  • Free ink on paper, including magazines, books, broadsides, and more
  • Printers’ Ball Library, hosted by the Alternative Press Center and Chicago Underground Library
  • Papermaking and book-binding workshops
  • Silkscreen, letterpress, offset, and rubber stamp printing demonstrations
  • CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project) presents Smashing Time DJs Carrie Weston and Mary Nisi
  • Baby Alright: “All-star Chicago funk-soul-boogie” cover project featuring Marvin Tate (vocals), Dan Bitney (drums), LeRoy Bach (guitar), Matt Lux (bass), and Toby Summerfield (guitar)
  • Joe Meno reading for McSweeney’s, Nick Twemlow for jubilat, Eula Biss for Iowa Review, John Beer for The Hat, and Caitlin O’Connor Creevy for Open City, accompanied by Philip Jenks, poet and drummer for the Howling Hex
  • Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match, hosted by Tod Zuniga, featuring: Robert Archambeau for Poetry, Michael Czyzniejewski for ACM (Another Chicago Magazine), Gabe Gudding for MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine, Adam Levin for Ninth Letter, Kathleen Rooney for Switchback Books, and Febronio Zatarain for contratiempo; celebrity judges Barry Hite, Jay Ryan, and Nami Mun
  • Nearly two dozen readers over six hours, representing 21 Chicago reading series, literary organizations, and publications:
    • Featured organizations include: Danny’s, Dreaded Biscuits, Elbowing off the Stage, The Encyclopedia Show, f magazine, Guild Complex’s Palabra Pura, Hair Trigger, Homolatte, Mental Graffiti, Off the Stage, Quickies, Ray’s Reading Series, recroom, Red Rover, Reading Under the Influence, 2nd Story, Second City Third Person, Silver Tongue, South Loop Review, Story Week Reader, Sunday Night Sex Show, and Thumbs and Knuckles
    • Readers include: Toby Bengelsdorf, Chris Bower, Casey J Bye, Brian Costello, Kate Dougherty, Lesley Kartali, Ish Klein, James Lower, Adam McOmber, Santiago Martinez, Jill Neumann, Coya Paz, Johanny Vazquez Paz, Paul Martinez Pompa, Jacob Saenz, Ashley Schroeder, Megan Stielstra, Erin Teegarden, Andi White, and Christopher Williams

For a complete listing of events and participating organizations, or for more information, visit or e-mail

* * *

About the Center for Book & Paper Arts Columbia College Chicago
The Center for Book & Paper Arts (CBPA) at Columbia College Chicago is dedicated to furthering knowledge and appreciation of book art, including letterpress and offset printing, bookbinding, papermaking, and artists’ books. We work to preserve historical techniques while promoting research and innovations in the media of book and paper arts.

About Chicago Amplified
Chicago Amplified is a web-based audio library of diverse educational events recorded throughout the Chicago region.

About Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago, an urban institution committed to opportunity and excellence in higher education, provides innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts to nearly 12,500 students in over 120 undergraduate and graduate programs, including film and video, art and design, arts management, television, radio, early childhood education, music, dance, and interactive multimedia—all within a rigorous liberal arts context. Founded in 1890 as a communications school, Columbia College Chicago was re-envisioned in 1963 as a liberal arts college with a “hands-on, minds-on” approach to arts and media education and a progressive social agenda.

About the Ludington Building
The Ludington Building at 1104 South Wabash on Columbia’s South Loop campus, was commissioned by Mary Ludington Barnes for the American Book Company. Built in 1891, The Ludington was designed by William LeBaron Jenney, the architect acknowledged as the inventor of the skyscraper. At the time, Chicago was a national center for the publishing industry and Ludington Barnes commissioned the building to house the offices, printing presses, and packaging and shipping operations of her husband’s company. The Ludington, named a City of Chicago Landmark in 1996 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, currently houses the school’s Center for Book & Paper Arts, Film and Video Department facilities, the Glass Curtain Gallery, and the Conaway Student Center.

About Poetry Magazine
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Harriet Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every significant poet of the 20th century.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Download PDF

Other Information

  • Browse Poems