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QWERTYFEST MKE 2024

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Uncategorized | 1 comment


This was the second year of QWERTYFEST in Milwaukee, and organizers Tea Krulos and Molly Snyder plan to create a tradition. Timed to coincide with Typewriter Day (June 23) and located in the city where Christopher Latham Sholes invented QWERTY, the fest was a three-day celebration of typewriter culture and a reminder of how fun these devices and the people who love them can be. The schedule included parties, performances, contests, talks, hangouts, and other activities. Here are a few highlights.

The first night's events were held in Turner Hall in downtown Milwaukee. Founded by German immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century, the Turners are into healthy exercise with a healthy dose of beer. The hall is a capacious and historic space.


Attendees and vendors showed up with all sorts of typewriter-themed creations.






The audience assembled for the evening's show ...


There was a two-minute typing competition in which Jon Boyd won the coveted Quick Brown Fox trophy. (I came in second with my Optima Humber 99.)





Wendy Markus played the typewriters, with an accompaniment of other percussion instruments, in a performance titled Measures of Escapement.

The Clackathon was an uncategorizable event —a funny play created by Anja Notanja Sieger, aka La Prosette, in which various outlandish characters had to improvise poems on topics suggested by QWERTYFEST attendees.



The Boston Typewriter Orchestra played a dynamic set that inspired some dancing.


The BTO kindly posed with me and let me try their "guitar."



Saturday featured talks and workshops at the Charles Allis Art Museum

Tea Krulos told us about Wisconsin's close connection to Lovecraft booster August Derleth, Dungeons & Dragons, and Tolkien.


I gave a talk titled "Revolution Forever" that sketched the developments in the typosphere since I wrote The Typewriter Revolution ten years ago, and made the case that typewriters are no fad. They are destined to form part of the resistance to the über-digitization of everything that shows no sign of stopping. 
A PDF of my presentation, sans my commentary, can be found here (give the PDF a little time to load).

On Saturday evening, Carolyn Wynnack of The Whisky Type welcomed us to a party at Great Lakes Distillery.


There was spontaneous poetry ...


... Carolyn's Facit invited us to write ...



... and Vox Starling took the stage, playing enticing, hypnotic rock that lent itself to meditative typing.


From another attendee:




Bob Marshall of Typewriter Muse:



I had to hit the road before the last few events. But I look forward to returning, seeing new and old friends, and having more fun at QWERTYFEST MKE 2025!

1 Comment

  1. Mary E

    Looks like a really fun event with an impressive turnout. Golly – that Quick Brown Fox trophy. I bet you win it next year!

    Reply

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