Typography Workshop: Potato-type Ransom Notes
with Cinema Speakeasy, Echo Park Film Center, and KERNSPIRACY
Date & Time
December 5, 2010, 5pm–10pm
Machine Projects

There are a few things in this world that you will probably never live without: Oxygen, people, and words.

It’s this last element – well, typography, if you wanna split hairs – that Cinema Speakeasy is especially interested in this month, and they want to help you learn more about the wonderful, esoteric, magical world of typeface design.

So, Cinema Speakeasy is teaming up with Machine Project, the Echo Park Film Center, and KERNSPIRACY to present our first-ever workshop AND screening event.

POTATO-TYPE & RANSOM NOTES: A hands-on typography workshop with a verrrrry practical application

If you ever want to see your _______ alive again, join designer Micah Hahn, Kernspiracy’s Spencer Cross, and the Cinema Speakeasy girls at Machine Project’s first ever potato type ransom note workshop, where we’ll cover the dangerous intricacies of type-design – from Daggers to Graves – and learn a little about counters, kerning and some things in-between.

Award-winning broadcast and graphic designer Micah Hahn will lead the group in a lighting typography tutorial – from counters to kerning, daggers to graves, ogoneks to carons, cedillas to commas, and everything in between. Each student will then be assigned a knife, and a letter of the alphabet, and a potato of their choice – and will be charged with making one element of what by the end of class will become Machine Project’s brand-new Communal Potato-Type Typeface.

But wait- there’s also a practical application!

Remember that ghost stories book that your best friend borrowed last year and never returned? Well we have a way of helping you get that back. It’s called extortion, and nothing helps extortion like a beautifully crafted ransom note.

So, at the end of class, we’ll help each and every one of you get your way by helping you lay out a ransom note, to be set on [fancy paper here] for you to send to someone you want something from.

Envelopes will be provided. Legal protection will not.

Screening of Typeface

Echo Park Film Center (1200 North Alvarado St, Los Angeles 90026) 7:45PM – 10PM

Ticket cost (available at the door): $5*

*Or free with workshop admission. All revenue from screening to be split between the Echo Park Film Center and the ‘Typeface’ filmmakers.

After you have honed your extortion and potato carving skills, walk next door to take a load off, pop a beer and kick back with some new friends at Cinema Speakeasy’s screening of Typeface. As with all Cinema Speakeasy events, drinking is highly encouraged, as is sharing of alcohol.


Feature-length documentary (Dir./Prod. by Justine Nagan)

Great Characters, Both Wooden and Human

In rural Wisconsin, a lone employee waits in a cavernous old museum for visitors to come. A few individuals straggle in every few days and then, come Friday, the museum fills with life. Machines hum, presses print, artists buzz about. One weekend each month, the quiet of Two Rivers is interrupted as carloads of artisans drive in from across the Midwest. The place comes alive as printmaking workshops led by, and filled with, some of the nation’s top design talent descend on the sleepy enclave.

In a time when people can carry computers in their pockets and watch TV while walking down the street, Typeface dares to explore the twilight of an analog craft that is freshly inspiring artists in a digital age. The Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI personifies cultural preservation, rural re-birth and the lineage of American graphic design. At Hamilton, international artisans meet retired craftsmen and together navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique. But the Museum’s days are numbered. What is the responsibility of artists and historians to preserve a dying craft? How can rural towns survive in a shifting industrial marketplace where big-box retailers are king?