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Tea’s Weird Week: I’m Here to Chew Bubble Gum and Kick Ass, but also Announce a Paranormal Conference Date, Burn a Bӧӧgg, and Solicit Funds for a Typewriter Festival

Sorry about that column title, but it has been a helluva week. Let’s talk about it.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference dates announced! Here’s the breakdown: Friday, October 13– Friday the 13th Fest opening night party (venue TBA cause I haven’t found one yet).

Saturday, October 14– our main conference day returns to our roots at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center (ICHC). It’s a beautiful building (and haunted! Allison Jornlin wrote about the ghosts of the ICHC HERE) that will be filled with guest speakers and vendors. American Ghost Walks is sponsoring this so there will be free admission, just register for your tickets here:

Sunday, October 15 will be our Activities Day, featuring a Witches Faire, tours, and more special fun stuff. Follow us on Facebook or sign up for the American Ghost walks newsletter for the freshest news on MPC23.

Me and Bobby McBӧӧgg. See my article for a bunch of pictures of the ceremony.

Burn the Bӧӧgg! My latest article for Atlas Obscura is about a Swiss snowman (called a Bӧӧgg) burning ritual, a version of which I got to witness in New Glarus, Wisconsin. This article is part of a larger series that rolled out this week at Atlas Obscura, “Rites of Spring.” The entire series is of interest.

You can read my article on here:

That’s me with fellow writers Ridire Quinn and Ellie Piper typing QWERTYFEST letters at The Bindery.

QWERTYFEST MKE! In my last TWW column, I mentioned QWERTYFEST MKE, a new festival that I’m co-organizing with Molly Snyder, with help from a bunch of local writers, artists, teachers. There’s a lot going on and it’s kinda hard to report on it from the eye of the storm, but there’s lots of great things happening with the event. We’re happy with the variety found in the event schedule and I’m really excited about our tie-in publication, QWERTY Quarterly, which will help promote the event but also features short articles, poetry, fiction, and art by local talent. I told Molly the vibe of the publication is a little bit “typewriter zine meets the New Yorker.

On Thursday, we had 18 various writers meet up at The Bindery (a great local creative print lab) for a promotional letter writing session. We typed out letters to local media, organizations, and individuals. It was a fun energy, a big thank you to everyone who helped out.

Right now, our biggest challenge is getting word out, and fundraising donations and ticket sales– we’re trying to make our expenses for this year as well as having some money in the bank to pay deposits for 2024. So if you’re reading this, please consider throwing in some money so we can make this event happen. We want to celebrate Milwaukee history as well as showcase the incredible contemporary talent this city has. We just need to raise some money to do it.
Fundraiser page:


Thanks to those that attended my storytelling session at Lion’s Tooth. I audio recorded the event, which you can listen on Podbean//Spotify//Soundcloud//Google Podcasts//iHeartRadio//PlayerFM//Apple//Stitcher//Pocket Casts

My eBook Chicago Mothman: A History and Cultural Study of a Monster Case is available on Kindle now:

Tea’s Weird Week: Please Help Us Fund QWERTYFEST MKE, a Celebration of Milwaukee History and the Arts

Friends, soliciting money is not something I’m great at. However, I am part of a talented local group that is putting together an event that I believe strongly should be funded. QWERTYFEST MKE is happening June 23-25 this year. It’s a celebration of the typewriter as well as local writers, artists, musicians, and businesses. It includes a party, tours, “Type Talks,” workshops, and a Typewriter Brunch Open Jam. We are also creating a publication called QWERTY Quarterly, a zine that will showcase work by people involved in the event.

The idea for QWERTYFEST came to me when I walked by a historical marker downtown that notes that nearby was the workshop of Christopher Latham Sholes, who invented the QWERTY keyboard. I had seen this historical marker before, and always thought it was great that Milwaukee has this connection to the typewriter. This time when I walked by I thought– this is something that should be celebrated. Fast forward a few months and it’s a thing. My co-organizer for this event is Molly Snyder, a senior editor at Many other people are participating, and it’s a great thrill for me to have this opportunity to work with this assembled talent.

Here’s what’s going on at the first QWERTYFEST MKE.

Our logo, designed by Alicia Krupsky.

Friday, June 23: National Typewriter Day Party @ The Dandy. June 23 is the date that Sholes got his patent for the QWERTY keyboard, which he invented 150 years ago. It’s the perfect day to kick off the fest with a party that features a performance by Nineteen Thirteen. This cello-and-percussion duo’s music is the perfect fit for QWERTYFEST. Janet Schiff’s beautiful cello is not as old as the typewriter, but it is a 110-year-old, crafted in the year 1913. And Victor DeLorenzo’s innovative drumming is what helped give Violent Femmes their signature sound. Listen to them here:

The party also features the Clackathon, hosted by Anja Notanja Sieger. This is a unique event that is staged as a typing competition where local writers are challenged, game show style. It’s going to be a lot of fun! The evening will also feature a couple of vendors, QWERTYFEST merch, a crossword puzzle challenge, raffle for cool stuff (including a typewriter), and drinks at The Dandy’s bars. Tickets are $25 or part of the ALL CAPS Weekend Pass ($75).

Saturday, June 24: Various Locations

Workshops @ The Bindery (ticket info soon)

11am: “Typewriter 101” with teacher Lisa Floading
Noon: Writing Workshop with Kro, the Traveling Typist

2pm: Special tour @ Forest Home Cemetery (ticket info soon)

4pm: Type Talks @ Forest Home Cemetery’s chapel
“150 Years of the QWERTY Keyboard,” UWM Professor Jason Puskar
Presentation on women and typewriters by Senior Editor Molly Snyder
“Clack Bait: Drawing Stories and Exceptional Encounters,” 2022-23 Pfister Hotel Artist-in-Resident Christopher T. Woods

Admission for all three Type Talks is just $5, or by showing your ALL CAPS Pass.

After party TBA

Sunday, June 25: Typewriter Brunch Open Jam @ Company Brewing

This is open to anyone who wants to bring a typewriter, hang out and have brunch, and write! It’s free, but if you want to go, get one of our free tickets so we can get an idea of how many people to expect. Also, please do order Company Brewing’s great food and drink.

Wait, there’s more! We’re also starting a publication that ties into the event, titled QWERTY Quarterly. It’ll feature profiles on people involved with the event as well as articles on history, poetry, short fiction, a fun page, and more. It’ll be available in stores and at the fest, but you can get a free copy with the ALL CAPS Pass and/or it will be mailed to anyone who donates at levels of $75 or higher.

Pretty great stuff, right? We’re looking forward to celebrating with you and our hope is that the festival continues to grow and expand in the future.


Thanks to those that attended my storytelling session at Lion’s Tooth. I audio recorded the event, which you can listen on Podbean//Spotify//Soundcloud//Google Podcasts//iHeartRadio//PlayerFM//Apple//Stitcher//Pocket Casts

My eBook Chicago Mothman: A History and Cultural Study of a Monster Case is available on Kindle now: