The Typing Explosion | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Typing Explosion 

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Three poet-performer tricksters--Rachel Kessler, Sierra Nelson, and Sarah Paul Ocampo--make up Seattle's Typing Explosion. Dressed in prim 60s frocks and sporting pageboy hairdos, they set their electric typewriters in a row and ask audience members to choose one-line titles from old library catalog cards, using them to create poems on the spot. Trading pages back and forth to create a single poem, they signal one another when they're through using only a percussive language of bells, whistles, and horns. Posted nearby is an exhaustive list of rules--do not talk to the secretaries, do not touch them--and those who violate them will see their nascent poems sent through a shredder. Obedient souls receive a finished poem to take home, while the ladies keep the carbons for use in future projects. (In 2001 the Typing Explosion starred in a play based on its past work, Dear Diane, at Seattle's On the Boards.) The name presented itself when one of their ancient machines caught fire at an early performance. The Typing Explosion is being presented in conjunction with Columbia College Chicago's exhibition "Type/Writer," a "graphic celebration of the union of type and the written word." Columbia College Chicago, Hokin Annex, 623 S. Wabash, 312-344-7696. December 9-10: Tuesday, 6 PM; Wednesday, 1 PM. Free.

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