Brian Stuparyk is the owner of Steam Whistle Letterpress, a shop located in historic Over-The-Rhine that’s been pumping out hand-pressed cards, posters, flyers and more since opening in 2011. The shop uses vintage letterpress machines, a medium widely used to print for hundreds of years up until around the mid-20th century.
Steam Whistle is now selling their main card line nationally after receiving great reception at New York’s National Stationery Show, and Stuparyk also was a runner-up in ArtWorks’ Big Pitch competition.
CityBeat: How did you originally become interested in letterpress?
Brian Stuparyk: I was originally a photographer, and as I saw everything becoming digital I became less interested in that and wanted to do something more authentic. I studied print media in graduate school, and I was interested in things like letterpress because it’s actually a print, rather than a print-out. I bought my first letterpress about 15 years ago.
CB: Do you remember the first print you made?
BS: I remember being at the supermarket right around the time I had bought that letterpress and I overheard these two older ladies talking about dissecting bull’s eyeballs in high school. One of them was sort of obsessed with the shiny blue stuff on the inside of the eyeball and said she had always just wanted a bathing suit like that. It was in my head when I got back home and so I made a print about it.
CB: So you can only print one card at once?
BS: Not only that, but I can only print one color on one card at once, and most of my cards have at least three colors. It’s a pretty labor-intensive process. That’s why it costs more than a Hallmark card printed in China.
CB: Sounds repetitive — how does it feel to go through the process? Is it meditative at times?
BS: Yeah, it can be meditative in a lot of ways. It’s run by foot, so standing on one leg like a flamingo all day is a little hard on the hips. But I’m only printing a couple hundred cards at a time right now, so it goes pretty quick. At maximum speed I can print about 600 in an hour, but that’s exhausting.
CB: You told ArtWorks that you love letterpress for the imperfections. Why is that and how does that relate to artistic value?
BS: Oh, I don’t know that it adds any artistic merit, but the flaws give it character that doesn’t come out of a machine. Being handmade, each card is unique. It definitely adds a certain authenticity to it because, you know, the color can even shift a little between prints.
CB: The medium is simply paper, ink and a press. How would you compare this to other forms of media like painting?
BS: It is very different. You might spend months working on a painting and then you only have one and it’s so precious, whereas with a print I make hundreds at a time. Maybe all together they’d be worth the same as a painting, but individually they’re that much more accessible. Not only one person can own it and it isn’t so precious that it needs to have this high price tag on it.
CB: Why did you choose Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati to open shop?
BS: If I’d moved to Seattle, Portland, Ore., or New York, I would just be another letterpress guy doing more letterpress. But here in Cincinnati I’m the letterpress guy, and there’s a lot going on here.
CB: Many people say Warhol killed art by revolutionizing mass produced art via prints. Do you agree with that criticism?
BS: In terms of art, I don’t think so. Print has always been the democratic medium, something people should be able to afford. The reason etchings were made was to make reproductions of paintings people couldn’t afford, so it was always like that. I don’t know that he ruined something that wasn’t already stinking at the time.
CB: Since you were originally a photographer, do you think you might ever get into doing prints of your photography?
BS: Everyone’s a photographer now — everyone in the world has a cell phone. The world doesn’t need any more photographers. I think what’s charming about what I do is it’s authentic from the source. I’m not trying to take modern technology and shoehorn it into a letterpress the way a lot of people do now.
CB: Do you have a particular interest in vintage things beyond just letterpress?
BS: I definitely have an appreciation for well-made things, things that were built to last. When I get something, even in the modern age, I have a hard time not wanting it to last forever. The oldest press I’ve had was built in 1891, and if it’s well cared for it will literally last forever, and I think that’s what interests me.
For more information about STEAM WHISTLE LETTERPRESS, visit steamwhistlepress.com.
With Halloween coming up Friday, we’ve got lots of costumes to look forward to/dread: over-the-top celebrity ensembles, clever pop culture costumes, folks who didn’t get the memo that Halloween is not an excuse to be racist. But we get an awesome early costume from Paralympian Josh Sundquist. The athlete lost his left leg as a child and couldn’t be any better of a sport about it, as evidenced by his creative costumes year after year. This time around, he’s a foosball player.
Holy shit, Harry Potter can rap.
LeVar Burton has read countless books to children during his time on Reading Rainbow. But now, Burton just wants kids to Go the Fuck to Sleep.
Let’s talk about last week’s SNL. Jim Carrey hosted for the third time, this one in advance of
the upcoming Dumb and Dumber sequel (so help us, god). If you’re wondering why
the comedian never starred on the sketch comedy show, instead getting his big
break on In Living Color, he tried
— read more about his failed auditions here.
While the episode had its low points — more on musical guest Iggy Azalea later — Jim Carrey served up classic Jim Carrey insanity with plenty of physical humor, face-morphing impressions and even a walk down memory lane with his characters from the past 25 years. Best of all was his take on the weird Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ads.
Then there was Iggy Azalea. The musical guests so far this season have all catered toward a mostly younger audience, but that’s typically the case. And whether you’re sick of her faux Atlanta rap-cent or you still have “Fancy” as your ringtone, Iggy has churned out hit after hit over the past year and she should have been able to produce at least a mildly entertaining performance. But she did not. Both performances flat-lined, plagued with bad lip synching to less-than-stellar pre-recorded tracks, awkward quasi-dancing (you don’t have to have choreography just because you’re a girl, you know) and featured artists with whom she had zero chemistry. And I know following every episode of SNL someone writes a “Was this the worst performance in SNL history?” commentary, but you really have to watch the uncomfortable, dead-eyed performances for yourself.
It seemed more like a skit making fun of white girl
rappers than anything. But it stands as a reminder that ass alone does not a rapper make.
Blog You Should Follow: Drunk J. Crew
Pardon my Seinfeldism, but what is the deal with kids on competition shows? First there was MasterChef Junior, where kids who have been cooking since they were in diapers compete to impress Gordon Ramsay and other chefs. Now there’s Project Runway: Threads with little Tim Gunns that know their way around a sewing machine better I can ever dream (hot glue is my savior). Do you want me to feel inferior to 9-year-olds?
Apparently you can permanently alter the color of your eyes if you hate yourself just enough!
Marcel the Shell is back! Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp’s lovable personified shell returns for the first time since 2011 with a new video and a book, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On went viral in 2010 but the short film actually has critical accolades, too: It was awarded Best Animated Short at AFI FEST 2010, was an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the New York International Children's Film Festival. (You know, just in case you needed any further proof that Jenny Slate is the best.)
And speaking of new installments of viral videos, there’s a new Between Two Ferns with — as Zach Galifianikis calls him — Bradley Pitts.
New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: Paddington Bear, a character made popular through children’s books since 1958, gets the live-action treatment in Paddington; A troubled young man finds the will to live when his young but more mature niece is put in his care in Before I Disappear; and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Chelsea Peretti has a stand-up special coming to Netflix next month, One of the Greats.
This American Life, the true storytelling public radio show hosted by Ira Glass, is one of the most popular radio programs and podcasts today. Each week since 1995, Glass presents a theme — cars, summer camp, break-ups — and a variety of writers, comedians, journalists and everyday people share stories of their experiences with that subject. For the few unfamiliar with TAL, it’s one of those shows that will keep you in your car with the radio on long after you’ve pulled in the driveway.
Ira Glass will present his
live show, Reinventing Radio, this
Saturday at the Aronoff Center. CityBeat spoke to Glass about his history with
public radio — check out our interview here.
To celebrate the program and its adorable bespectacled host, CityBeat staffers have compiled a few of our favorite episodes (in no particular order).
Why not start at the beginning? This American Life’s very first episode — back when the program was called Your Radio Playhouse — aired on Nov. 17, 1995. The theme: New Beginnings. One of the guests is Ira’s mom.
Fear of Sleep (Aug. 8, 2008) features tales on various things that go bump in the night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia shares his astonishing stories of sleepwalking, which later inspired his movie, Sleepwalk with Me.
This American Life has done a few live productions over the years. On May 10, 2012, Glass
and friends took the stage at New York University’s Skirball Center for Invisible Made Visible,
a performance that was streamed live in movie theaters across the country. It
was an incredible interactive experience that included music, dance, comedy and
a short film. Check out photos here.
From mistaken identity to evil twins, Dopplegangers (Jan. 11, 2013) has it all. Including Fred Armisen’s impeccable Ira Glass impression.
A lot of This American Life segments are anecdotal, but sometimes the show has taken on newsier issues — and one time, they got it all wrong. On Jan. 6, 2012, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired. Mike Daisey spoke about the conditions of an iPhone factory in China, including vivid details and interviews with workers. Soon after, it was revealed that Daisey had fabricated his story and lied during the fact-checking process. Retraction is not only an interesting correction to the original Daisey program, but a commentary on journalistic integrity, the importance of fact-checking and the lengths people will go for a moment in the spotlight.
Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-ARTS or cincinnatiarts.org.
Good late morning, readers. Roughly 13 more work hours until the weekend... we got this. I think.
This week's issue was filled with Words Nobody Uses or Knows, most of which were found in our cover story, Lost in Wilberforce, a piece about how the country's oldest historically black college is dying a slow, sad and dysfunctional death. Nobody is sure if it can be saved. Not what I would call a light read, but wonderfully written and important nonetheless.
Best word of the issue, found in that cover story, is promulgated.
promulgated: to publish or make known officially (a decree, church dogma, etc.); to make widespread, i.e. to promulgate learning and culture (v.)
In this issue: "Dr. Algaenia Warren Freeman, a veteran HBCU
administrator, has taken the reins from interim president Wilma Mishoe
and is painted by the board — and the university’s PR firm
Trevelino-Keller — as emblematic of the 'force of change' promulgated in
the university slogan."
Next best word is fealty (also found in the cover story).
fealty: the duty and loyalty owed by a vassal or tenant to his feudal lord; an oath of such loyalty (n.)
In this issue: "Jarred, a Pittsburgh native, pledges fealty only to the University of North Carolina." I enjoy the comparison of the university to a feudal lord here.
And then there's salvos, a great sounding word that has two completely different meanings and is Italian.
salvos: the release of a load of bombs or the launching of several rockets at the same time; a burst of cheers or applause (n.) I find it amusing that this word can mean something deadly and delightful simultaneously.
In this issue: "'Your cerebral cortex cannot comprehend the complexity
of my complex bars,' says Jarred, with the kind of theatrical cadence
and gesturing that makes me think these might be introductory salvos in
an impromptu face-off right here. 'You can’t fuck with me.' " OK. Does anybody understand the use of that word in the above sentence? Because I've read it three times and I'm still not getting it.
Another terrific sounding word in this issue is coquettish, which for whatever reason reminded me of Cosette in Les Miserables. Or croquet? Coquettish Cosette played croquet. I don't know. It's in Rick Pender's review of An Iliad at Ensemble Theater, which, by the way, is an astounding production. Really. I see a lot of theater, sometimes multiple shows a week, because my husband works in theater, and let me tell you, this was by far one of the best productions I've seen in the city since I've moved here, like, two months ago. But I digress.
Coquettish: As a young, flirting girl. (adj.)
In this issue: "He is called upon to recreate a dozen or so characters from Homer’s sweeping epic — the professional warrior (and demigod) Achilles; the brave Trojan Prince Hector; Achilles’ protégé Patroclus; pretty boy Paris who lit the fuse on the war by stealing another man’s wife; the arrogant Greek King Agamemnon and his aged, disconsolate counterpart from Troy, King Priam; even several women, from the coquettish Helen and Hector’s steadfast wife Andromache; and a god or two, especially and humorously the fleet-footed Hermes, 'a young man with fabulous sandals.' "
Last word in today's vocab lesson is prescience, found in this week's Big Picture column, which is about the late George S. Rosenthal, a Cincinnati photographer who took photos of the city's West End neighborhood before it was destroyed by the construction of I-75 in the 1950s.
prescience: apparent knowledge of things before they happen or come into being; foreknowledge (n.)
In this issue: "I mean them no disrespect to focus this story on Rosenthal, but his work fascinates me for his prescience.
October is synonymous with Halloween, haunted houses, harvest festivals and more-sexy-than-scary costume balls. Whether you plan on being a slutty nurse, a moody John Snow, your basic zombie or Dracula, the Tristate offers more than enough events for you to get your freaky on all haunting season.BAR EVENTS
Good morning readers. It was slim pickings in this weeks issue for "Words Nobody Uses or Knows." I only found three, which is OK, because I'm still recovering from last night's Iron Fork event (where I may have had one too many samples of bourbon) and the less thinking I have to do, the better.
The best (or worst) word in this weeks issue is pompatus, which actually appears in the deck of Brian Baker's interview with singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei. Neither Microsoft Word nor the blog platform I'm writing in recognizes this as a real word. Because it's not. Wikipedia says (there's an entire page devoted to this) that pompatus is a nonce word, a word coined for a special occasion and not likely to be heard again, found in Steve Miller's 1973 Rock song "The Joker."
OK. I still don't know what this word means or is intended to mean. New World Dictionary defines pompatus as: one who is pompous (n.) But in the above context, that doesn't make much sense.
I suppose the lesson this morning is: Famous people sometimes coin disposable, meaningless words that confuse regular people who aren't "with it."
Oeuvre: the group consisting of all the works, usually of a lifetime, of a particular writer, artist, or composer (n.)
In this issue: "But a whopping 33 of the aforementioned images in Pursuit are self-portraits, which — due to their abundance in her oeuvre — we might conclude Maier was quite fond of taking."
And finally, there's triptych, which is a great sounding word and it's found in this week's Staff Picks.
triptych: a set of three panels with pictures, designs, or carvings, often hinged
so that the two side panels may be folded over the central one, commonly
used as an altarpiece (n.) Similarly, a diptych is two related panels of art work, while a quadtych is four, you see what Latin does there?
In this issue: "North American New Opera Workshop (NANOWorks) continues to challenge traditional ideas of opera as it kicks off its new season with the first two parts of Daniel Felsenfeld’s triptych, She, After."
Who you gonna call? Lady Busters! After years of talk about another Ghostbusters film, Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, The Heat, Arrested Development, Bridesmaids, The Office) say he will direct a femme-centric sequel and co-write the script with The Heat’s Katie Dippold. Here’s to them casting Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Mindy Kaling with Seth Rogen as a Dana Barrett character!
Katy Perry will be the halftime performer at Super Bowl XLIX. Expect plenty of day-glo, emojis, personified junk food, accessories from Claire’s 1999 collection and just the perfect amount of cultural appropriation. Hopefully Riff Raff will be in tow.
But Katy Perry isn’t just a Pop star with an awesome
gig — she knows her football, too. In fact, she was recently a guest picker on ESPN’s College GameDay for the
recent LSU v. Auburn game. I was...interesting.
Men in Hollywood are facing an epidemic. Too often
Everyman-looking funny dudes disappear for a minute only to reemerge changed.
Thin. Toned. Chiseled. We saw Jonah
Hill shrink, Chris Pratt turn to stone and even Drew Carrey get slim. Now we
have skinny Zach Galifianakis. What has the world come to?
If you haven’t seen or read Gone Girl, go do one or both right now so you can enjoy it before it inevitably gets spoiled for you. If you have experienced the mind-fuck that is Gone Girl, you know about the series of Amazing Amy books Amy Dunne’s parents wrote throughout her life. Soon, you’ll be able to buy actual Amazing Amy books. Meta. Peep a preview here.
As speculated earlier when a Twin Peaks casting call made its rounds on the Internet, the beloved David Lynch series is returning to television! The limited nine-episode series will air on Showtime at some point in 2016 — just don’t expect this to be a direct continuation of events from the last season that aired in 1991.
Who doesn’t like to fire up Sam Smith, dim the lights and have a good cry? Dude has soul. But for a lighter, more humorous take on Smith’s hit "Stay With Me,” check out Daniel “Forever Damien from Mean Girls” Franzese in “Please Go Home.”
All together now: “You can’t stay with us!”
Three years ago, Parks and Recreation introduced the world to “Treat Yo’ Self” Day (typically observed on Oct. 13, when the episode originally aired). So if you’re in need of a little pampering, Buzzfeed has a few ideas about how to celebrate this week.
Bill Hader hosted Saturday Night
Live last weekend — despite him having only left the cast a year ago —
bringing the return of some favorite characters (of course Stefon) as well as
fan favorite Kristen Wiig. Did you miss the episode? Apparently everyone did —
it was the show’s lowest rated episode ever
matched only by Charlize Theron’s episode from just 5 months ago. Woof. And it was actually pretty good!
One the flipside, everyone watched the crazy Walking Dead premiere Sunday. Let's celebrate the show's return with a new Bad Lip Reading, shall we?
New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: Haley Joel Osmet stars in Sex Ed as a sex-starved dude (…named Eddie…) who lands a gig at a middle school teaching — you guessed it! — human sexuality; Disney mystery-adventure Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney; and holiday comedy A Merry Friggin Christmas — one of Robin Williams’ final films.
We’ve all seen Iron Chef, right?
That’s basically what’s happening at CityBeat’s inaugural Iron Fork event from 5:30-10 p.m. Wednesday. The Christian Moerlein Brewery in Over-the-Rhine will transform into a local version of Kitchen Stadium with area chefs Frances Kroner (feast, Sleepy Bee Café, Random Snacks of Kindness), Jose Salazar (Salazar) and Joe West (The Cincinnatian Hotel and The Palace) going head-to-head in a cook to the death!
OK, not death — these three will be competing for the coveted Golden Fork Award. Beginning at 6 p.m. with Kroner, the chefs will each take a turn in the kitchen creating a dish using a secret ingredient (which they won’t know about until an hour before they begin). Salazar will follow at 7 p.m. and West will go at 8 p.m. Each chef will get help from a youth apprentice from Gabriel's Place, a local food education nonprofit. CityBeat dining contributors Anne Mitchell and Ilene Ross will join Kristen St. Clair, Kitchen Director and Resident Chef at Gabriel’s Place, as the competition judges.
As the chefs do their thing, there will be live feeds of the action on monitors around the event, so guests will be able to catch the fun while they enjoy beer from Christian Moerlein, Four Roses cocktails and bites from more than 20 area restaurants and food vendors including Django Western Taco, Huit BBQ and Jimmy G’s.
Tickets are $30/$40 day-of and include two Moerlein beers, a Four Roses drink and ample food samples. Get ‘em here. Proceeds benefit Gabriel’s Place.
It seems every day a new love letter to Cincinnati makes its rounds on the Internet. The latest is from New York Magazine’s Weekend Travel section, where Alex Schechter touts Cincy as a perfect three-day trip thanks to the city's breweries, restaurants and neighborhood redevelopment.
Where to Stay: Downtown’s 21c Museum Hotel and The Cincinnatian are mentioned for their accommodations, along with a few area Airbnb picks.
Where to Eat: Metropole, Salazar and Sotto — no surprise to local foodies. There’s even a cute explanation of goetta (“oatmeal-infused sausage hash”).
What to Do: The article sums up a local urbanite’s ideal Saturday in OTR with stops at Washington Park, the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., Findlay Market and Rhinegeist.
Insider’s Tip: Cincinnati’s beer brewing past and present is certainly a draw for tourists. Schechter suggests the American Legacy underground tour, where folks can explore beneath the streets of OTR.
Oddball Day: A hodgepodge of noteworthy Cincinnati destinations: munch at Holtman’s Donuts, Senate and The Eagle; Shop Jack Wood Gallery, Steam Whistle Letterpress and Article; peep local art at the latest Red Door Project installation; and check out a concert at the soon-opening Woodward Theatre.
And it looks like CityBeat
got a quick shout out in the Links section, along with Soapbox Media and 3CDC. Thanks!
Go here for more on the latest “no seriously, Cincinnati is cool” article your friends are sharing.