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Things we love right now: Utah, ancient tech

Cedar City 

It’s not just the Shakespeare Festival — although that was the central reason why five friends and I planned a three-day excursion there weekend-before-last — it’s all the other coolness that surrounds the festival like a comfy cultural blanket. On Saturday morning, we rode bikes from our rental house north through town and out highway 130 to the Parowan Gap, where we drank our Gatorades beside huge panels of petroglyphs, most likely etched into the stone by Fremont Indians more than 1,000 years ago. Coming back to town, we were passed by teams of cyclists, who were there acclimating to the elevation and warming up for the Tour of Utah bicycle race, which was to begin the following day. Our own region’s personal Tour de France, the race offers the chance for cycling enthusiasts to see superstars like Cadel Evans and Chris Horner up-close, without having to pay for airfare to Paris. In between seeing three Shakespeare plays, Measure for Measure, Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night, my group and I took in some delicious Mexican food at Lupita’s restaurant (bonus: real beer served in frosty mugs) and lounged around barefoot in the back yard of our downtown rental house snacking on apricots fresh off the tree, reading books and chatting — which we could do, because the high temperature there was 20 degrees south of the 110 in August that weekend. But perhaps most telling is that Richard LInklater’s film Boyhood, which I’ve been dying to see, was already showing when we were there, at the Historic Cedar Theater on Main Street. In other words, this town of 30,000, with only three movie theaters total, had the film during its limited release, a good two weeks before its arrival in our major metropolis of 2.5 million. You gotta love a town that has that much gravitational pull for the arts. — Heidi Kyser

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Just my type

I'd never seen a round typewriter before last Thursday. Years ago, seeking totems of writerliness, I collected manual typewriters, maybe a dozen in all, but the oddest one I have — a small, spidery dude with a fold-over carriage — can't match the novelty of the circular one displayed in the Nevada State Museum's exhibit Every Age Is an Information Age: 150 Years of Communication in Nevada. (The show chronicles changes in communications, from the Pony Express to the smartphone.) "I would have to relearn how to type," I marveled when I saw that the keys are arrayed in one long line around the machine's front edge. Or maybe not — that arrangement might actually facilitate my fumbling, gotta-watch-my-fingers hunting and pecking. Although I was at the museum on other business, I did get a look at its back-room stockpile of old typers, a long shelf of heavy, blocky obsolescence notable for lacking the sleekness we take for granted in communications gear. Indeed, in no way do these machines fit our contemporary definition of the word "gear." (Thought exercise: What if Apple had gotten into manual typewriters?) Some of the machines are awesomely slab-like in size, weight and ambition — bunkered behind one of these beauts and throwing some serious arm action into it, a curmudgeon could pound out one hell of a screed against the glib, corporate shine of our modern life. Or maybe just a cranky letter to the editor. — Scott Dickensheets

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