The TypewriterGirls

TypewriterGirls Portrait of the Dadaist as a Public School Official PGH


A Poetry Cabaret that Explores the Marriage of Art and Education

What: A Poetry Cabaret featuring a letter writing station where audience members can express their concern about the dwindling quality of public education and lack of arts integration to elected officials, educationally-themed Dadaist drinking and writing games, readings from poets who also serve the role of educators, magic, dance, live music, performances and private “lessons” from the famed Poetry Brothel from New York City, and the TypewriterGirls’ sketch comedy to tie it all together.

Who: The TypewriterGirls Poetry Cabaret (Crystal Hoffman and Margaret Bashaar) w/ dance by Staycee Pearl Dance Company; live music by Amoeba Knievel; magic from Mark Swindler; poetry from Lynn Emanuel, Andrew Mulvania, and Skot Jones, and performances and private readings from The Poetry Brothel NYC.

When: Saturday, October 23 Doors Open at 7 PM/Show at 8 PM

Where: Modern Formations, 4919 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Cost: $7.00 cover/$5.00 cover with a personalized letter to elected official expressing concern over the budget cuts to education and arts programs in particular.

Long Description:

Pittsburgh, PA–The TypewriterGirls have long considered themselves to be unique and enthusiastic purveyors of knowledge to the public in general and budding Dadaists in particular; however, on Saturday October 23rd, they begin to take their roles as alternative educators perhaps a little too seriously.

Can one of their shenanigan-filled, Dada-bred poetry cabarets become an actual institution of learning? Come find out if the girls can successfully integrate poetry, comedy, dance, magic, literary drinking games, art, music, and chaos into a coherent lesson plan at TypewriterGirls Portrait of the Dadaist as a Public School Official: Doors will open at 7 PM, with the performance starting around 8 PM; $7.00 cover/$5.00 cover with a personalized letter to an elected official expressing concern over the budget cuts to education and arts programs in particular.

Will the DEA shut down their classes on consciousness-expanding? Will Christian moral watch-dogs prevent education on the “dark arts” of magic and manipulation of one’s reality? Exactly how many governmental and social institutions will attempt to close their doors before evenings end?

Fortunately, they’ve assembled a crack team of artists with similar interests in spreading enlightenment to the masses: The Staycee Pearl Dance Company will be serving as gym instructors for those of us who found dodge ball and push-ups to be cruel sadistic rituals; comedy rockers, Amoeba Knievel, will be there to make music class impossible to snooze through; Mark Swindler will be adding an all-too necessary course to any sensible curriculum, Magic and the Mysteries of Reality Manipulation. However, as one would expect the true core of their institution is poetry and the evening will not fail with readings from Lynn Emanuel, Andrew Mulvania, and Skot Jones.

However, if all else fails, the girls have brought in The Poetry Brothel NYC and audience members will have ample opportunities to seek education in a dark corner of Modern Formations with any of their members privately.

Poet Bios:

The Poetry Brothel is an organization of poets and artists who take poetry outside of classrooms and lecture halls and place it inside the lush interior of a bordello. Based on the turn-of-the-century brothels in the United States and Europe, many of which functioned as safe havens for the fledgling, avant-garde artists of the times, The Poetry Brothel events present both male and female, emerging and established poets. The creation of character, as both disguise and freeing device, enables The Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression, where poets and audience can be themselves in private. Each poet, under an alias, offers the intimacy of his or her original poetry in one-on-one readings for $5 a piece. Tipping is encouraged. Poems may not be suitable for children or adults without a taste for whiskey, absinthe, or the Sublime.

skot michael jones; alternate form, skot–1. verb. To chant in an amplified guttural or sonorous manner, especially poems, incantations or mystical texts 2. noun. One who breathes alone, silently in a dark room 3. adj. oddly geometric, yet seemingly chaotic in form and/or fashion, especially as it refers to glyphs, sigils and unknown or archaic characters ie. “That icosahedron is very skot michael jones!”

Andrew Mulvania is an Assistant Professor of English (Creative Writing) at Washington & Jefferson College. His first book, Also In Arcadia, was published by The Backwaters Press in 2008. His poems have appeared in Poetry, North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Bellingham Review, Weave, and elsewhere, and new work is forthcoming in The Southwest Review. He was the recipient of a 2008 Individual Creative Artists Fellowship in Poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Lynn Emanuel holds a BA from Bennington College, an MA from the City College of New York, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She is the author of four books of poetry,Hotel Fiesta, The Dig, Then, Suddenly–, which was awarded the Eric Matthieu King Award from The Academy of American Poets, and Noose and Hook. Her work has been featured in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry numerous times and is included in The Oxford Book of American Poetry. She has been a judge for the National Book Awards and has taught at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Warren Wilson Program in Creative Writing, and the Bennington College Low Residency MFA program. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has been a winner of the National Poetry Series.

TypewriterGirls Portrait of the Dadaist in the PG’s 2Do List!


“TypewriterGirls Portrait of the Dadaist as a Public School Official,” a poetry cabaret exploring the marriage of art and education, will be held at Modern Formations, 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield, at 8 p.m. Performers will include The TypewriterGirls Poetry Cabaret (Crystal Hoffman and Margaret Bashaar), the Staycee Pearl Dance Company, music by Amoeba Knievel, magic from Mark Swindler, poetry from Lynn Emanuel, Andrew Mulvania and Skot Jones, and performances and private readings from The Poetry Brothel NYC. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cover is $7 or $5 with a personalized letter to an elected official expressing concern about budget cuts to education and arts programs.

Check out our listing on these two great sites!

Pitt News: TypewriterGirls Tackle the Plight of Public Education

“TypewriterGirls: Portrait of the Dadaist as a Public School Official”

Saturday, doors open at 7 p.m, show begins at 8 p.m.

Modern Formations, 4919 Penn Ave.

$7 cover/$5 with written letter to an elected official expressing concern about budget cuts in the public school system

These days, the world might rely on smart phones and social networking, but that doesn’t mean typewriters are out of style. Just ask poetry group the TypewriterGirls.

Crystal Hoffman and Margaret Bashaar, the two women who compose the TypewriterGirls, call themselves “purveyors of knowledge” to the world outside of their close-knit poetry cabarets. Now they’ve decided to center their knowledge on a fraught institution: the public school system.

The TypewriterGirls was originally a group of five young women who met during their sophomore year at Carlow University in 2004 in the creative writing department. There, they had a quirky professor who gave them each a typewriter as a present. From then on, they were known by their present name.

Soon, however, Hoffman and Bashaar were the only two who wanted to continue the group.

Together, they created a new sort of poetry reading: one filled with philosophy — sometimes their own — and inspired by surrealism and Dadaism, an anti-war and anti-bourgeois cultural movement founded in Zurich during World War I. This new kind of creative atmosphere became the poetry cabaret.

What exactly is a poetry cabaret? The term comes from the arts cabarets in Europe. “It’s essentially whatever we want to do there,” Hoffman said. In addition to co-conducting the poetry readings, Hoffman also writes a new and original comedy sketch that overarches the entire show.

“[It’s] almost like a large play,” Bashaar said.

Calling their new show “TypewriterGirls: Portrait of the Dadaist as a Public School Official,” the women aim to illuminate the recent budget cuts to education and arts programs in public schools.

Bashaar said she began to pay attention to the public school system when her 5-year-old son entered kindergarten this year. He is a lively and creative child, she said, and it was an interesting integration to watch.

But now the women are aware of the problems that face public school systems — problems that extend beyond budget cuts. Hoffman feels that many teachers are becoming “glorified babysitters.” Bashaar added that she doesn’t think teachers are doing enough, that they aren’t coming up with creative ways to help students and parents alike.

In addition to their Dadaism-themed drinking games, comedy, poetry and magic — all in support of public education — the TypewriterGirls will, according to Hoffman, “start [their] own alternative school” as part of the show.

Bashaar added that in their school, they refuse to have a “myopic, single-minded view about how things should be done.”

Along with the TypewriterGirls’ performances, the show plans to include additional performances by other artists, including poetry readings by Lynn Emanuel, a professor of English at Pitt, and private readings from the renowned poetry advocacy group Poetry Brothel from New York City.

Hoffman adds that she’s looking forward to how all of the acts interact as a combination of very nontraditional and somewhat risque pieces of performance art.

Both women stressed that this isn’t just any poetry reading, and that, as Bashaar teased, “sometimes, the audience becomes unwillingly a part of the show.” Although they wouldn’t say exactly what this show’s audience involvement would entail, past performances have included games and impromptu dance parties.

The TypewriterGirls have a passion for these types of performances. “Every act, every thing we bring in is like our baby,” Bashaar said. For their upcoming show, it looks like that baby is heading to school.

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