Printers’ Ball TIME WARP! logo (credit: Susie Kirkwood)

By Mason Johnson

Printers’ Ball

The Ludington Building
1104 S. Wabash Avenue
Friday, July 20th 6-11 PM
Free & open to the public

Do you like:



Free booze?

If you answered yes to even one of those, you’ll enjoy Printers’ Ball. Printers’ Ball may be a literary event, but there’s nothing stuffy about it. The idea isn’t to bore attendees, but to make sure everyone has fun, regardless of their interests. This year’s theme is “TIME WARP!” and Printers’ Ball encourages you to dress up for the occasion (though you’re also welcome to just show up in your jeans and t-shirt if you want – tuxedos or space suits are optional).

Printers’ Ball 2011 IT’S ALIVE! (credit: Jonathan Mathias /

Also, I can’t emphasis this enough, there’s free beer.

Located in Columbia Chicago’s Ludington Building, the main attraction is on the 8th floor. Tables surround the walls, covered with free words. Literally. Books, magazines, lit journals, zines, the list goes on… Anyone and everyone is welcome to donate their print project to Printers’ Ball’s smorgasbord of great publications, which allows for a diverse mix of wonderful things. So stop by and grab everything you can, especially the Printers Ball newspaper, sent from the future for your enjoyment! Plus, if you’re impressed by some of the more independent books, you can go down to the 2nd floor and watch papermaking and bookbinding demonstrations and learn how to make your own paper art. You can even send it to Printers’ Ball next year to be loved by Printers’ Ball many attendees.

Printers’ Ball 2011 IT’S ALIVE! (credit: Jonathan Mathias /

Printers’ Ball is more than just books! Things start off from the beginning this year with a weird (fun!) feel with Max Headroom leading the commencement. Who’s Max Headroom? Just the most bizarre 80s icon there is. Essentially a computer with the charisma of a dozen game show hosts, Max Headroom is worth knowing about.

Printers’ Ball will also play host to Ayn Rand: The Game Show – a quiz show set in the near future that sounds like it’ll end up being ridiculous.

In a good way!

If game shows and books aren’t your thing, then check out the Soul Train Time Machine Dance! Presented by Chic-A-Go-Go, you can participate in a dance party with Clint Ghent, star of Chicago’s original Soul Train.

White Mystery performing at Printers’ Ball 2011 IT’S ALIVE! (credit: Jonathan Mathias /

If you don’t like books, dancing, or game shows, then you’re probably a bad person. Printers’ Ball has a full schedule of performances though, so check it all out if you’re not convinced yet!

So go to Printers’ Ball. Grab a picture in the Glitter Guts photobooth to prove how cool you are. Grab some surreally goofy “outer space love poem” stickers made by Steve Roggenbuck. Have a beer or two (or eight). And, most of all, make sure you thank the organizers of this amazing event: Mairead Case, Aron Chilewich, Sarah Dodson, John Freyer, Susie Kirkwood, Chuck Lira, April Sheridan, Jill Summers, and Nell Taylor.

Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago