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Celebrating the Life

April 16, 2013 - 8:47am

Event: The Fine Arts Library at The University of Texas at Austin hosts a screening of “The Typewriter in the 21st Century.” The event is free and open to the public.

When: 6 p.m. Friday, April 19

Where: Fine Arts Library, Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA 3.200) at The University of Texas at Austin.

 Background: The Fine Arts Library will present the Texas premiere of a documentary about a machine and the people who use, love and repair it.

The Typewriter in the 21st Century” — by filmmakers Christopher Lockett and Gary Nicholson — features 30+ interviews with authors, collectors, journalists, professors, bloggers, students, artists, inventors and repairmen (and women) who meet for “Type-In” gatherings to both celebrate and use their decidedly low-tech typewriters in a plugged-in world.

The film features authors Robert Caro and David McCullough, combined winners of 4 Pulitzer Prizes, 3 National Book Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and both avid typewriter users. They provide fundamental commentary about process and the value of slowing down, writing actual drafts and revising in a world of instant, draft-less editing.

The film was inspired by a May 2010 article in Wired magazine called “Meet The Last Generation of Typewriter Repairman.” Director Lockett and producer Nicholson discussed the importance of the typewriter in 20th century literature, their conclusion being that every great novel of the 20th century was written on one, and if typewriters are in their final days, they deserved to be celebrated one last time.

Funded largely through a Kickstarter campaign, the film eventually featured not only typewriter people — the aforementioned technicians, collectors, bloggers, users and fans — but famous typewriters as well. The film features machines once owned by Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Jack London, Sylvia Plath, George Bernard Shaw, John Lennon, Joe DiMaggio, Helen Keller, the Unabomber, John Updike, Ray Bradbury and Ernie Pyle.

The screening of “The Typewriter in the 21st Century” will be followed by a Q&A featuring producer Gary Nicholson and John Payton, owner of a typewriter “museum” in Taylor, Texas.

The event will be preceded by a small public reception at 5 p.m.

The event will be accompanied by an exhibit of historic typewriters that includes machines used by Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney — both on loan from the Briscoe Center for American History — and former theater professor Oscar Brockett, as well as examples of typewriter art, authentic instruction materials and typewriter scholarship. 

The Fine Arts Library — a branch of the University of Texas Libraries — contains the art, music, theater and dance collections for The University of Texas at Austin. Its collections primarily support research and instruction in the College of Fine Arts — which includes the Butler School of Music, the Departments of Art and Art History and Theatre and Dance — and serves numerous other university departments through its audiovisual collections. The Fine Arts Library collection includes approximately 350,000 books and scores, 400 current serial subscriptions, 48,000 compact discs, 12,000 DVDs, 12,000 videocassettes and videodiscs, 6,200 reels of microfilm, 24,000 microfiche and more than 135,000 LPs.

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For more information about this and all University of Texas Libraries news releases, please contact the current Communications Director, Travis Willmann, at traviswillmann@austin.utexas.edu or (512) 495-4644.


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