Woody Creatures create their very own magazine
Hunter S. Thompson’s widow has been anything but idle in the months since her husband’s death. In fact, Anita Thompson has been at the center of a whirlwind surrounding the gozno writer’s February suicide and its aftermath.Now, though, she is embarking on something entirely new. Thompson, 32, is to be co-editor of a magazine focusing on Woody Creek – her neighborhood and home to some of the Roaring Fork Valley’s more eccentric residents.Titled The Woody Creeker, the magazine is scheduled to hit newsstands in February. And to quote Anita Thompson’s own paraphrase of a line from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the publication is meant to be “by the Woody Creatures, for the Woody Creatures.”The magazine is not planned as a glossy publication, although the final format is still being worked out, Thompson said this week.
As for content, “We have some good writers already,” she said, mentioning a profile of Hunter S. Thompson by internationally known satirist and political commentator P.J. O’Rourke, based on interviews in 1987 and 1997.Local pundits and scribblers also will be represented, including Woody Creek’s de facto patriarch, George Stranahan; the erstwhile mayor of Woody Creek (and an Aspen Times columnist) Gaylord Guenin; musician Jimmy Ibbotson of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame and a close neighbor of the Thompsons’ Owl Creek Farm; Brandon Cohen, operator of a retreat with Native American overtones on the outskirts of Lenado; and others. As an example of the “attitude” that can be expected in the magazine, Thompson said its “poetry editor” is Tex Weaver, a local carpenter best known for his near-continuous use of expletives in just about any conversation, but most notably when talking about the influence of tourism on the community and culture of the valley in general and Woody Creek in particular. He is reputed to be a poet, as well.Stranahan, whose backing brought the Mountain Gazette into existence in 1972 (the business shut down in 1979 and revived five years ago), said the Woody Creeker is “sort of a magazine with attitude, that we will self-publish.”The first press run is to be 1,000 copies, and Stranahan declared, “We think this is a literary event roughly equivalent to anything Benjamin Franklin ever thought of.”Admitting that he originally signed up to write a “bridge column … something fanciful about how you were dealt bad cards,” he instead plans his opening salvo to be about “the legend of the Flying Dog.” His home in Woody Creek, the Flying Dog Ranch, got its name from a mysterious trip he and others once took.
Guenin was editor of the neighborhood’s last local “newspaper,” named the Woody Creek Earwig after the Woody Creek Tavern’s mythical softball team. The paper was launched primarily to publish the outcome of meetings of the Woody Creek Caucus neighborhood planning group.Guenin also worked on the first iteration of the Mountain Gazette and was on that same trip out of which the name for the ranch came.”I’m really excited about it,” Guenin said of The Woody Creeker. “We want to present an attitude without trying to promote the location.”Promotion of Woody Creek, he said, is the last thing on his mind.”We have enough assholes coming out here already,” he stated. “If it becomes a promotion for Woody Creek, I’m out.”On the hook to produce the new magazine, in whatever format it ultimately assumes, is Curtis Robinson, a former Roaring Fork Valley journalist who now splits his time between Frisco in Summit County, where he oversees the monthly Mountain Gazette, and working in the lobbying business in Washington, D.C.
“I do stand ready to help in any way,” Robinson said Monday, freshly returned home from a holiday trip and unsure about the current status of The Woody Creeker as a project. “We have volunteered our time and efforts to produce it. I just jumped into it because I thought it was extremely interesting.”Noting that Hunter Thompson and his longtime local friend, poster artist Tom Benton, had together put out a series of ribald, politically tinged “Aspen Wall Posters” in the 1970s, Robinson remarked, “There’s a rich history of community newspapering in Woody Creek.”Anita Thompson stressed that the magazine is “not a full-time job” for her. (She is also at work on a book she calls “Hunter’s Wisdom,” a collection of witticisms, aphorisms and other quotable expressions from HST’s bibliography of 14 books and her own personal notes.) Rather, she came up with the idea for The Woody Creeker mainly as a way to celebrate the oddities and richness of her neighborhood.”We’re living the Woody Creek lifestyle,” she noted. “We should be recording it, at least.”John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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A management plan for the Marolt Open Space guides the city to largely leave it alone, although a feasibility study will be done for a potential bike park on the south side of the property.