By Dan McQuade
By Brian McManus
By Hilary Hughes
By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
"Do Not Talk to Typists," reads one of the "Rules of Conduct" posted behind the Typing Explosion during one of their regular performances. But during their cabaret show at the Bowery Poetry Club last Monday, the normally silent Seattle poetry-performance art trio talked to us. Typically, Sarah Paul Ocampo (short, brunette, severe), Rachel Kessler (tall, strawberry blond, disdainful), and Sierra Nelson (medium, blond, alert) write poems for a dollar apiece in assembly-line format, titles chosen by the eventual recipients, finishing each other's stanzas to a cacophony of whistles, bells, and bicycle horns. That night, though, the Typists turned the ritual into a self-referential, often very funny series of sketches. Entering to an old Sergio Mendes record crackling on a portable record player, the trio sported blue jumpsuits, which they removed to reveal their usual secretary uniforms underneath. Soon after, they took their typists'-union breaka staple of their regular act, every 35 minutes on the noseonstage. "I think it's going OK," Ocampo nervously noted to her worried-looking colleagues.
They also interpreted poems they'd written at the request of three audience members. I was one of the volunteers; the title I chose, naturally, was "The Sound of the City." (Best line: "You know you're really cooking when the fire alarm wails.") Each Typist took turns reciting itKessler in normal voice, Nelson in a mock-Scandinavian accent, Ocampo singingfrom what she could make of the other two's whisperings in her ears, one forward, one backward, effectively turning the poem into Dada. "Can I streets? Can I slush? Canaries like twitter," went one fractured phrase, proving that the Typing Explosion's poetic process, like any assembly line, is adaptable for production of just about anything. Michaelangelo Matos
Dennis Anderson and Lois Kahlert met 28 years ago, moved into a converted attic in Bensonhurst, and have lived there ever since. Universally known simply as "Dennis and Lois," they've become fixtures of rock shows in New York and beyond: the jolly, grandparental superfans who've sold T-shirts on tour with the Ramones, the Mekons, Oasis, and others. (Happy Mondays named a song after them.) Now both 55, they've collected around 10,000 albums, as well as countless books, toys, and rock 'n' roll artifacts. Unfortunately, they never acquired a lease for their apartment; the people they'd been renting it from put the house up for sale a few months ago, and early this month Dennis and Lois were served a 30-day eviction notice. "There's no possible way we can get out in 30 days. We're not 20 years old anymore," Kahlert says. "I don't mind movingwe've outlived that apartmentbut we can't find anything at this moment."
Kahlert and Anderson made an unsuccessful offer to buy the house themselves. Now they're looking to buy one of their own in Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge: "We don't have any money, but we can get a mortgage, and we figure the payments are what we're going to pay in rent. And then we'll stay there until we die." In the meantime, they're thinking of ways to raise fundsmaybe a T-shirt, maybe a benefit CD with songs by bands they've toured with. "We don't have our rock 'n' roll lifestyle anymore," Kahlert says. "What money we have, we're not spending on tickets. We haven't been out for ages. We sit at home with the TV now." Douglas Wolk