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Printer's objections -- about the F-word? -- delay issue of FM magazine

FM uses one of those words their old printer didn't like.
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Editor's note: See update below.

The writers at FM, a quarterly music-and-arts magazine, like a lot of words -- and sometimes they start with the letter "F." That wouldn't seem to be a big deal in this particular century. Still, FM editor and publisher Tuyet Nguyen is pretty sure their use caused a delay of almost a month for an issue that was supposed to be out in time for September's Monolith Festival. The reason? Content objections from Frederic Printing, an Aurora firm that was supposed to get the publication ready for distribution.

Nguyen, a former Westword contributor, admits that she still doesn't know the whole story.

"We got a very vague e-mail from our sales representative that was passed down from the president of the company," she says. "Basically, it was about our content being inappropriate, and their was an allusion to our frequent use of the word 'fuck' -- and it being in big letters."

Unfortunately, this note arrived at the eleventh hour -- on Wednesday, September 10, just three days before Monolith. "We'd gotten all the way to printing the proofs," Nguyen notes. "And there was no way we could find a new printer who could finish everything in two days. It totally screwed us."

FM reps promptly sent what Nguyen describes as "a really extensive, diplomatic, polite letter explaining our position that what we do isn't really inappropriate. We pointed out that we're an arts magazine that's really pro-community and pro-youth." Frederic's president responded by leaving Nguyen a phone message on Friday, but she chose not to follow up. "Maybe it was immature of us," she concedes, "but we were so riled up at the time that we didn't really want to deal with it." The FM-ers hadn't paid for the job yet, she points out, and besides, it was clear from the message that there was no room for compromise: "He just wanted to explain better and apologize for screwing with our schedule. But he still wasn't going to print the magazine, so we didn't really see the point of continuing the communications with him."

After Monolith, FM started looking for a new printer -- and found one in The Digital Frontier, based in Wheat Ridge. Nguyen thought execs there might have content issues, too, since the outfit's website reveals that a portion of Digital Frontier's profits are earmarked for charities "with a focus on Christian-based organizations assisting children and families of need in our local community and throughout the world." Fortunately, though, "they didn't have a problem with us," Nguyen says.

Thanks to this compact, the new FM is hitting distribution points today. Nguyen is hoping that folks who pick up copies at the Buffalo Exchange, The Fabric Lab and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, among other hot spots, can help bring the staff some closure. "We still don't really know what they objected to so much," she says, "so we're asking readers to peruse the magazine and decide what set them off."

Start with the F-words and continue from there. -- Michael Roberts

Update, October 7, 3:15 p.m.: Just received an e-mail from Tuyet Nguyen. Seems that another minor delay has pushed back distribution of new FMs yet again. She hopes copies will be available this weekend. We'll pass along the details in the coming days. -- MR

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