One of the many rewarding things about publishing 5280 is getting to tell you where to find the best stuff in Denver, but I've got to admit that it's no substitute for actually showing people our favorite places.
That was made clear to me when we recently hosted the City and Regional Magazine Association's annual conference, which brought more than 400 of our colleagues from nearly 100 magazines across the country to Denver. By day, we sat in cramped hotel meeting rooms and discussed the intricacies of improving newsstand sell-throughs and leveraging our content on the Internet, but at night it was 5280's job to show off the Mile-High City.
We kicked things off with a cocktail reception at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Lower Downtown. We love the Tattered Cover, of course, and figured it was an ideal place to entertain folks who make their living with the printed word. Still, nothing prepared me for the sight of 400 people walking through the doors, most with their jaws wide open. It was as if we'd given Augustus Gloop free reign at the Wonka factory. For much of the night, the lines at the cash registers were longer than the lines at the bar.
The next night we hosted another party, this time at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, the romantic underground nightclub that sits beneath the historic D&F Tower on the 16th Street Mall. I may be biased when I say that Lannie's is far and away the coolest room in town (okay, I'm dating Lannie Garrett), But in the amber light of the tiny club, I watched jaded editors loosen up, corralling themselves in cozy booths over cocktails, heads bobbing to the music of the Gypsy Swing Revue. Even those from cities much bigger than ours told me how much they wished they had a club like Lannie's in their towns, and by the end of the night, one well-known New York designer announced that she was ready to move to Denver.
The weekend reminded me how easy it is to forget how special something is when you're around it every day. Sometimes you need to see things through fresh eyes to really remember how much you love them.
Which brings me, of course, to this issue, which features our 11th annual (and, I think, best ever) Top of the Town. Under the enthusiastic guidance of assistant editor Cheryl Meyers, our team of 24 writers and editors spent 6 months scouring Denver for the city's very best people, places, and things. Take your copy and head out with someone who's new to town. I bet you'll both end up in love with this very special city.
One of the highlights of the CRMA conference is the annual awards program. 5280 was honored in three categories this year. "A Leg to Stand On," written by articles editor Mike Kessler, was awarded a bronze medal in the Profiles category. A gold medal in the Leisure category went to "Welcome to Dog City," our comprehensive pet guide. And another gold medal, this one in the Civic Journalism category, went to Executive Editor Maximillian Potter for "Nobody's Hero," his account of the mistreatment faced by Iraq War vets returning to Colorado. Anytime you win an award it's gratifying, but it was especially nice to be honored in such diverse categories. I take that as a powerful affirmation of my belief that a magazine can bring equal excellence to subjects both light and serious.