From the week of June 4, 2009

The New Westword Cover

Under Cover

Under that cool, slick cover, I found the same down-and-dirty Westword inside. Nice move!

Heather Vigil


Wrapping Westword in the new, super-hip 5280-style cover is like wrapping a fish with a cashmere scarf. I prefer the old rag.

Rumaldo Ulibarri


How much smaller are you going to get? I like the new slick cover, but at this rate, Westword is going to be the size of a paperback. Anyway, still love Denver's best rag. Keep up the great work.

Mario Acevedo


Time to fold. Really.

Sean McManus


I picked up the latest issue of Westword last night, and frankly, I'm still hyperventilating over the new glossy cover. Wow! Is this a temporary, experimental, collectible issue or for reals?

Kim D.


Editor's note: It's real, all right — and for keeps. By the way, when we added the glossy cover, the only shrinkage came from trimming the edge of the newsprint as the publication was stapled; the image size is the same.

"Classic Wonk," Ben Westhoff, May 21

Classical Gas

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ben. I couldn't have said it better myself. With 485 radio stations playing the classic-rock format (about 435 too many, IMHO), I have more than ample opportunity to be nauseated many times over the course of any given day, as the radio is always on at work and the classic-rock stations are unavoidable.

I am 47 years old and grew up listening to most of this stuff. Great music, some of it, and not to be discounted or forgotten, by any stretch of the imagination. But let's evolve a little bit, shall we? Gone are the days when you could tune in to a local radio station like KFML Denver and learn what's new and cutting-edge. What is an old fart like me to do? Troll the Internet endlessly looking for new music, I guess. Even my seventeen-year-old daughter is a classic-rock junkie.

There is no escape from the monotony. Please make it stop; I've had enough.

Nate Butler

Wheat Ridge

I agree with the fact that rock stations play way too many classic-rock "hits," but there is a bigger reason why you don't hear more new rock on the radio. Simply put, new music is not as good because it does not require the type of talent that innovative classic-rock groups had. I mean, if Radiohead is the best you have...give me a break. There will never be another Elvis Presley or the Beatles. There will, however, be many more Coldplays and Wolf Parades in the future.

Look at the facts: Alan Hovhaness or Michael Bublé haven't replaced Beethoven or Sinatra on the radio stations that use those formats. Great music will always be great music. Even if you think you love newer bands, if someone gives a listen to Abbey Road or Sticky Fingers, they'll probably further explore classic rock. The greatness of classic rock doesn't lie within Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," but instead inside of their albums like Sabotage or Technical Ecstasy. Greatest-hits packages are for grandmothers who don't love music, so I'd love to see all radio stations stop playing only hits (what happened to the Mountain?); that is something I can agree with Ben on. Also, kids who love music will always listen to their parents' music as long as what the folks play is great and everlasting. I listen to many bands that were around before I was born because of my parents. You know why? Because they were Sabbath and the Beach Boys and not Chris Cornell or Neko Case.

Ed Barcas


I am extremely sympathetic to the opinions that Ben Westhoff put forth. It makes no sense to me why many radio stations have effectively frozen their playlists somewhere around 1980, as if no music of any value was released after that. So whose fault is it? Unimaginative radio programmers? Corporate moguls? Or the lazy listening public? I suspect it's in the relationship between all three. Maybe if people stopped requesting "Hotel California," radio stations would finally give the song a much-needed rest (or maybe they could play a slightly more obscure song by the Eagles). People in their twenties don't seem as trapped by genre restrictions as I was growing up. I'd like to think listeners could handle a radio station that plays a mix of classic rock, a bit of funk, a little indie, etc. It's weird to think that if movie theaters followed the same pattern as radio stations, we'd all be watching movies from the '60s and '70s, over and over again.

Neville Harson


"The Art of Craft," Off Limits, May 14

Coors, of Course

"Independent craft breweries have always had a brittle relationship with the big boys of Bud, Miller and Coors," says Westword to open its Off Limits item about Coors's arrangement to distribute New Belgium's brews.

Not so.

Back when craft brewers were just getting going, Bill Coors called his tech guys together and told them something like this: "You're going to be getting a lot of calls from guys who are starting up little breweries, and here's what I want you to do: Help them."

And so they did. One Coors tech guy I know said he spent a lot of time running around the Western states helping these little breweries get going by providing technical advice and, sometimes, materials. All paid for by Coors Brewing Company. This was the thinking behind Bill Coors's point of view: Anybody who helps expand the market for beer by moving it beyond the old Joe Sixpack image would ultimately benefit the entire industry. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Busch family took the opposite approach: Don't help them. At the time, A-B regarded the craft brewers as a threat.

That's why, to this day, many independent brewers of craft beer have more positive feelings toward Coors than toward Budweiser. To put it mildly.

Lew Cady

Central City

"The Giveaway," Alan Prendergast, May 14

Dead Letter Day

I would like to inform Mr. Beech's family that they are wronging him by trying to undo what is done. Jack was obviously depressed in some form, took his own life, but in such a way as to cause the least harm to everybody. All that you are doing by taking Laradon to court is going against Mr. Beech's memory and last will. Sure there were warning why didn't any of you pick up on them? You, his family, should be held accountable! Not some complete stranger! Alas, in suicide there is but one person who is truly responsible...but he is dead now, so let him be in peace. The least you can do is carry out his last wishes instead of being greedy pigs fighting over it!

Sarah Isfahani


I loved reading all the letters in last week's paper about "The Giveaway." They were almost as thought-provoking as Alan Prendergast's original piece.

Dina Reynolds


"School Daze," Patricia Calhoun, May 14

Head of the Class

Why not, just as a lark, rather than the usual "struggling"-inner-city-"minority"-kid being done wrong/or doing the right thing to graduate high school/college, detailing what a heart of gold the kid has despite "overcoming" drug/alcohol abuse, a deep criminal record, having four or five out-of-wedlock kids, a divorce or two, an abusive parent/spouse/significant other, etc., and then giving them and their family a page or two to whine about how the system done them wrong in some minor way, profile some kids who, well, gosh, actually deserve some attention?

My kids are both graduating in June, too! One, two years early. When they were in the public high school, the oldest was the top student, and the youngest in the top ten. The oldest polished off eleventh-grade geometry over a two-week Christmas vacation — in the eighth grade. The youngest composes symphonies and operas. Their idea of "getting in a little trouble" is when Mom yells at them for not cleaning their rooms or when Dad recommends taking their half of the road out of somewhere other than the middle. One is headed to the military; both will be going to college immediately. Neither has any acquaintance with drugs, little use for alcohol, no "relationship issues," which of course means that neither, at seventeen and sixteen years of age, has one, let alone a couple or three kids. All — all — of their friends are just like them; none are in prison, pregnant/parents or the "victim" of abuse by a boy/girlfriend. All are graduating on time or early, and all of them will be going to college.

Too bad for poor Michael Ballez that he won't be able to attend some silly-assed graduation ceremony. But since his school and parents obviously never taught him anything, this should be a valuable experience for him. He gets to learn that life is not fair and that until and if you ever rise to a point where the rules don't apply to you, you have to play by them, despite all the excuses you and your relatives can come up with for why they shouldn't.

JM Schell


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