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The 8th Annual Printers' Ball: TIME WARP!

Friday, July 20th – Friday, July 20th, 6:00 PM–11:00 PM

Columbia College Chicago
The Ludington Building
1104 South Wabash Avenue
Preregister for a commemorative poster

The Printers’ Ball is coming back to the future! Join thousands of readers, writers, and artists from around the planet for the greatest literary party in the galaxy—a one-night supernova of books, magazines, and otherworldly ink on paper, distributed freely; live music, readings, and other performances; letterpress, papermaking, and bookbinding demonstrations; plus even more. Free and open to everyone!

This year’s theme is TIME WARP!—time present, time past, and time future, contained for one stellar night of literary enterprise—and it all happens in Columbia College Chicago’s historic Ludington Building in downtown Chicago. Formal attire is not required; costumes are encouraged. The first guests will enjoy:

The evening’s highlights include:

  • Thousands of books, magazines, broadsides, and more.
  • Letterpress, papermaking, and bookbinding demonstrations.
  • A Printers’ Ball newspaper from the future.
  • 6:00PM9:00PM: DJ sets by Rob Sevier and Dustin Drase of Numero Group.
  • 7:00PM7:30PM: Ayn Rand: The Game Show: The Baffler hosts this literary quiz show set in the near future, starring Amber Tamblyn and Roxane Gay. Libertarian nonsense reigns supreme across the whole world, and all literature has been rewritten to match the philosophies outlined by Ayn Rand. She’ll be on hand to crown the winners and say mean things about people who are stupid enough to get diseases.
  • 7:00PM–8:00PM: "It's About Time" reading curated by Woman Made Gallery in celebration of 20 years of supporting women's art and writing, featuring Nina Corwin, Erika Mikkalo, Melissa Severin, Jennifer Steele, and Donna Vorreyeur.
  • 7:45PM8:45PM: An Evening of Contemporary Theremin Music: The Harriet Reading Series presents Will Alexander and Andrew Joron, two poets whose writing explores the dominion of surrealism projected through the lens of science fiction. Radically experimental, rapturous, and estranging, Joron and Alexander find ways of sounding the impossible through language warped in its lyrical turnings. Two short films by video artist Adam Shecter that venture into pixelated zones on the hither side of the real will also be presented.
  • 9:00PM10:00PM: Don’t Let the Dogs Get You Down: Paul de Jong (formerly of The Books) celebrates Poetry’s centennial with a set of short musical and video compositions based on adulterated finds from 100 years of Poetry magazine.
  • 9:00PM10:00PM: Chic-A-Go-Go Presents: Soul Train Time Machine Dance! Join Miss Mia and Ratso from the all-ages dance show Chic-A-Go-Go as they welcome their idol Clint Ghent, star of Chicago’s original Soul Train show on WCIU in the ’70s, to cohost an hour of dancing to the grooviest hits from the show! Get your head screwed on for the scramble board, your limbs limber for the Soul Train line, and your ears ready for the sounds that will send you w-a-a-y back!
  • 10:00PM11:00PM: Highly amusing Technicolor puppet show and barely contained electronic chaos by swamp boogie sovereigns Quintron and Miss Pussycat.
  • Airbrush artistry by Andrew Hannigan (BYOT: Bring Your Own T-shirt, tote bag, or other airbrushable swag!)
  • Special exhibits:
  • Little Review editor Margaret Anderson hosts a Beach Party on Mars, presented by the Read/Write Library.
  • Hugh Schwartzberg’s Poetry Time Machine (famous readings from the near past!)
  • Zine Warp 2012, a collection of work by exhibitors from Chicago Zine Fest.
  • Chicago Public Library card sign-up station.
  • Photobooth by Glitter Guts featuring the artwork of Edie Fake.
  • Steve Roggenbuck’s outer space love poem stickers.
  • Airbrush face painting by Making Faces.
  • Button-O-Matic by Busy Beaver Button Co.
  • Rubber stamping with Stampland.
  • Plus free carnival food, beer, and surprises!

The Printers’ Ball is presented by Poetry magazine, Columbia College Chicago’s Silver Tongue Reading Series, Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book and Paper Arts, the Read/Write Library, MAKE magazine, and hundreds of other literary arts organizations. To sign up your literary endeavor or to volunteer, e-mail editors@poetrymagazine.org.

Special thanks to organizers Mairead Case, Aron Chilewich, Sarah Dodson, John Freyer, Susie Kirkwood, Chuck Lira, April Sheridan, Jill Summers, and Nell Taylor.



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Other Information

  • Browse Poems

  • Detail, photograph by Jun Fujita, circa 1930s, courtesy of the Graham and Pamela Lee private collection.
    Current Exhibition
    Jan 12, 2017 – May 26, 2017

    This exhibition presents photographs and ephemera from the poet Jun Fujita (1888-1963). Fujita is an English-language tanka poet who published regularly in Poetry during the 1920s. The first Japanese-American photojournalist, he is responsible for the most famous photos of the Eastland disaster, the Chicago race riots of 1919, and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, among others. This show will explore his lesser-known landscapes.