When we kicked off Show and Tell back in late July or whenever that was, we had an idea for a kind of a catch-all section, a place to put arts- and culture-related stuff that didn't quite fit into our food, music and news blogs -- comedy, fine arts, films, videos, dance, internets and all the other random pop detritus that gets flung around Denver and our weird cultural landscape. According to at least one commenter, though, we've sucked at that, pretty much across the board.
For a little context, this comment comes after a brief exchange between me and a commenter called "huthbot," who was originally responding to a post I wrote that made fun of a person featured on MTV's 16 and Pregnant who was suing the network for defamation, alleging MTV had edited the footage to make her look like a shitty person (surprise!). Huthbot's problem with that post, he alleged, was that he didn't think it belonged on a Denver arts and culture blog. In response, I invited him to suggest some things we should cover instead. Here's what he had to say (I put in some paragraph breaks for readability):
I have voiced both my concerns and my suggestions at length with Susan on several occasions and I am not trying to scrutinize you personally here. Honestly after examining several Voice Media markets I am unhappy to say that, in my opinion, the Westword print publication and website(s) have the worst content of any of them, worse than the Alibi. Several months ago when this blog was nothing more than a twinkle in the Westword's eye I made dozens of content suggestions and I will list them again for you but BUT I have a feeling that due to the parameters of a self indulgent parent corporation afraid of birthing its own competition and dealing with the death of print media these suggestions will go unheeded.
Some basic blog content would include studio visits with local artists containing photos of works in progress for up and coming shows, studio visits with national artists for up and coming shows in Denver. Segments where artist interview other artists. Life immersion segments interviewing local a artist throughout a 24 hour period (go to their day job, go to their studio, go to their band practice, go to their local bars, go tag trains...whatever they would do, day in the life sort of content.) Follow artists and musicians on tour and to national shows to see what its like to cater to a crowd outside of Denver. Interview national acts and artist from Denver that aren't based here anymore. For photo slide shows post photos from DIY house shows and gallery openings community oriented stuff Instead of posting photo content from beauty bar, shag, vinyl, and lipgloss showing the same coked up scenesters and calling it culture when actual its the exact opposite.
Do weekly drawing competitions where people win prizes like concert tickets, gift certificates from local vendors (maybe some that pay for add space), local movie premiers, the Denver film festival, the westword showcase, artopia (don't get me started on that). If you are smart and thinking ahead you will focus more on video content ie interviews, process tutorials, around town gallery visits during openings, Live footage from concerts, maybe even release live albums form some of the better recordings made at the shows, offer free downloads to "premier" web customers, embrace the the information cloud have more streaming and downloadable content.
I could go on for quite awhile here but these are the things off the top of my head. I think most of these suggestions transcend media and could be used for music, art, theatre, food, etc universally. I understand the definition of the word appalling and still feel it is the most applicable word to descried the content of this alternative press " arts and culture" blog and I can only hope you are becoming slightly defensive as a way of hiding behind your allegiances because fear of losing a job is at least a valid fear. I think most educated and creative people would tend to side with me that when comparing this site's content to that of the blogs that garner national attention this content is not only appalling but slightly offensive to those who put so much effort into making Denver a culturally relevant city.
Aside from huthbot's rather cryptic assertion that I am "hiding behind my allegiances" -- and I'm still not really sure what that means -- we're glad for huthbot's feedback, and we want more of it. After all, we're here to serve you, the reader.
So what do you think? Are you slightly offended by us? Appalled? Shocked? Mildly off-put? Or maybe you think our coverage is exactly as it should be, though we really doubt it. Let us know in the comments, and if you have ideas for what we should be covering, fire away -- we're always looking for them.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.