The Death of SkyMall: Why the Internet Can't Replace the Best Catalog That Ever Existed

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Bree Davies.
We could have never known that this would be the last-ever issue of SkyMall procured for my commune.
It was never about being in-flight entertainment. Since 2010 when my roommate purchased the home that would become the Witch House House, we have always kept a fresh copy of SkyMall next to our commode. Everyone likes to read when they are in the john; but even in a magazine rack full of copies of Vanity Fair, anarchist/feminist zines, local comics and self-help books, it was SkyMall that got the most toilet action.

When it was announced last week that SkyMall had filed for bankruptcy and we wouldn't be getting our usual crisp issue of the catalog-turned-household-amusement item come spring (as we have each season when someone takes a trip,) our Facebook feeds and group texts blew up -- even our friends knew how integral SkyMall was to everyday "witch life." The seemingly regular issue of SkyMall Holiday 2014 was now a collector's item. How were we going to collectively daydream about an inflatable log flume for the backyard? Or the FitDesk stationary bicycle-laptop holder? Or the armband that holds your iPhone on your wrist?

See also: Top Five Food and Drink Gifts We Will Miss from SkyMall

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The Wonders of the Wonder View Tower Are on the Block: Going, Going, Gone

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The Wonder View Tower isn't looking so wonderful these days.
A hundred miles east of Denver is a rise that, at around 5,900 feet, is the highest point between Denver and Kansas City -- or between Denver and Chicago, or between Denver and New York, depending on who's doing the measuring and who's doing the bragging. This rise marks what has traditionally been a busy travel hub: Wildlife have long beat a path to a nearby spring; cowboys brought their Texas-Montana cattle drives to that same spring in the 1860s; and an early stage route came by, too. The trains soon followed: As railroads headed west across the plains, optimists placed a boxcar just east of the rise for a depot and platted a town there.

At first it was called Creech, after a Rock Island executive; when that didn't catch on, the name was changed to Cable, but that moniker also fell flat. As the story goes, the burg got its next -- and final -- name when a dying Italian railroad worker told his friends that he wanted to die back in his home town in Italy. He never made it back to the Old Country -- but he did die in Genoa, Italy.

See also:
Our Journey uncovers Colorado's prairie treasures

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The Denver Zoo Is Boosting Tickets By $2; How Do Other Top Denver Attractions Compare?

Categories: Travel

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As the cost to feed and care for its animals rises, the Denver Zoo will be asking a City Council committee to allow it to raise the general admission price by $2, which would put the cost of admittance at $17. If it is approved, this would be the first price increase at the Zoo since 2012. But where does the Zoo rank among other other hot spots for families and tourists? We surveyed ten top attractions to find out.

See also: Broncos are popular animals at the Denver Zoo


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Ten unusual places to stay in Colorado

Categories: Travel

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Starlite Classic Campground Facebook page
A Colorado summer can be short, which is why those in the know hit the road early and often, from Memorial Day to Labor Day -- and even later if they can. There are plenty of campgrounds, RV sites, motels, condos and luxury resorts to choose from, but it's hard to top the character or quirkyness of the following list of ten unusual places to stay.

Our Summer Guide, which hit the streets last week inside the regular issue of Westword includes this list along with information on hundreds of events and things to do this summer. Keep reading for our picks.

See also: Ten don't-miss mountain festivals in Colorado

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Ten things to do on a Denver stay-cation

Categories: Summer, Travel

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See Chihuly this summer at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
There's a reason why tourists crowd Denver's city streets each summer: It's a happening town and sports valhalla, with pro teams, adventurous and ethnic eateries, a downtown mall, urban neighborhoods, a gallery scene, great museums, miles of greenway trails and all the promise of that blue mountainscape on the horizon. And that's just a taste. But how many of Denver's charms have you truly experienced, living right here in their midst?

Our Summer Guide, which hits the streets today inside the regular issue of Westword has information on hundreds of events, as well as this list of ten things to do on a Denver stay-cation. Keep reading for our picks.

See also: Laserium returns to the Gates Planetarium, and I'd definitely recommend seeing it on weed

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Rock on! Silverton kicks off summer tourist season with an unusual tradition

Categories: Travel

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Rocks for sale in Silverton.
Now that Memorial Day weekend is over, Colorado's summer tourism season is in full swing. And no part of the state is more eager to welcome visitors than the remote mountain regions that are finally thawing out after a long, isolated winter.

The season kicked off in Silverton the first Saturday of May, when the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - one of the state's top tourist attractions -- made its initial run from Durango into that high-altitude town, where it was met by an oompah band of townspeople dressed in Victorian garb. But passengers were also greeted by another, only-in-Silverton sight: kids selling rocks by the side of the train tracks.

See also:
Can Aaron Brill's single lift save Silverton?

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Dave Ross on tour mishaps, Drunk History, Deer Pile and his sketch group, Women

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Sharon Alagna
Dave Ross has accomplished a great deal in his comparatively short career. He's a member of Women, an all-male sketch comedy group that also includes Jake Weisman, Allen Strickland-Williams and Pat Bishop. On his Nerdist network podcast Terrified, Ross and his guests delve into their fears and insecurities. And he's in the middle of a month-long, cross-country tour that will roll through Denver next Wednesday, when Ross will headline the Fine Gentleman's Too Much Fun showcase at Deer Pile. Westword recently caught up with Ross to discuss booking his own tour, storytelling and appearing on the next season of Comedy Central's Drunk History.

See also: A guide to DIY comedy tours with the Fine Gentleman's Club

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Lake Steam Baths, gnomes on the range, and more drops in the 2014 bucket list

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Bucket lists, by their very nature, are a celebration of the ephemeral -- a wish list of fleeting activities to experience before the mortal coil goes into a death spiral. The following experiences, however, are united by a sense of enduring history, of continuing traditions that will persist past the expiration dates of our own lives.

See also:
Cruising Colfax, Casa Bonita and more drops in the 2014 bucket list

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Total Ghost's Randy Washington on living in Japan, Haruki Murakami and SNL

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Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Randy Washington may be more commonly know as Chön, the frontman of German pop sensation group Total Ghost, whose latest album, Electrosexual, was released on September 13. Total Ghost has a busy schedule ahead, performing at Park House with Chella Negro and the Charm at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 26 and at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 for the Greater Than Social Club. Since it would be against character for Chön to read, Westword caught up with Washington to discuss our shared loved for Haruki Murakami, living in Japan and the internecine squabbles at Saturday Night Live.

See also: Author Dave Prager on Delirious Delhi, Chinese food and monkey fights


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Author Dave Prager on Delirious Delhi, Chinese food and monkey fights

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Author Dave Prager and his wife, Jenny, pose for the cover of his book.
Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Dave Prager is an author, humorist and copy writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, and on NPR and the BBC. He's a former son of Denver who has lived in some of the world's largest cities, including New York, Singapore and Delhi, and his new book, Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital, was released stateside by Arcade Publishing in early June. In a refreshing departure from other India travelogues written by Westerners, Delirious Delhi is not a navel-gazing tale of spiritual development set against an exotic backdrop that the writer never really permeates. Rather, Prager's book is a personal account of his and his wife's experiences, which were rich and varied due to their willingness to try anything, including learning key Hindi phrases and indulging in bhang at the Holi Festival of Colors. Westword recently met up with Prager to discuss his book, Indian politics and seeing monkey fights in Old Delhi.

See also: Westword Book Club: Author Beth Groundwater on grammar, mysteries and whitewater rafting


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