Editor’s Letter: Please Enjoy Our May Issue Responsibly

In this month’s letter, ’Hour Detroit’ editor Dan Caccavaro talks our coverage on internet gambling, beer, and magic mushrooms

We didn’t plan for our May issue to center so heavily on what some narrow-minded scolds might call “vices.” Like the ever-shifting mores of our times, it evolved that way organically, before it dawned on us that people might think we were foisting some sort of theme or agenda upon our readers.

And yet here we are: Internet gambling. Fashionable alcohol. Magic mushrooms. And a visit with a pair of 1960s radicals who somehow, with time and seasoning, seem more cuddly and quaint than threatening or scary. In retrospect, the idea that our Steve Friess didn’t even think to ask Harvey Ovshinsky and Peter Werbe of the long-lived radical mag The Fifth Estate about the illicit substances they may or may not have indulged in back in the day seems almost derelict.

Dan Caccavaro
Dan Caccavaro

This issue, however, reflects our world today. If you’ve turned on a TV lately to watch anything from Jeopardy! to March Madness, you’ve endured a barrage of ads for the many new betting apps that went live in Michigan this winter, allowing gamblers to wager away without ever setting foot in a casino. Newbies will likely find the options overwhelming. Which apps are worthwhile and which are a losing bet? Fortunately, Friess is an old Vegas hand — he spent 20 years on and off covering the gambling industry out West and loved it so much that he named his son Nevada. He’s here to sort it all out for you with his gaming apps critique. Having spent weeks testing them out, he also offers this sobering warning: The sudden boom of on-demand betting will inevitably take a toll on Michiganders susceptible to addiction.

Craft beer, of course, has been in the zeitgeist far longer than mobile gambling, but it can still be a bit of a blur to all but the most intense hobbyists. As two pieces by Ryan Patrick Hooper reveal, Detroiters are leading the way toward making the craft-brew world more inclusive and welcoming for both women and people of color, two constituencies who have largely been marginalized by what has traditionally been a white male-dominated niche. Plus, with summer coming, we round up 10 refreshing Michigan brews to keep on ice for the long, lazy days ahead.      

Finally, frequent medical and science contributor Lindsay Kalter delves into the burgeoning national campaign to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms — and the fact that it landed one of its first big successes in Ann Arbor. The ’shrooms movement clearly takes a page from the stunningly successful effort to legalize marijuana. Like cannabis, which has gained acceptance as much for its medicinal uses as for its recreational appeal, mushrooms show intriguing promise as a treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental and physical health conditions.

We’re very a long way from the uptight 1960s. In their interview with Friess, Ovshinsky and Werbe note the irony of their being featured in a mainstream magazine like Hour, something that would have been unthinkable when their countercultural newspaper was in its prime. In a way, it’s a sign of their success. They may not have taken down The Man, but it must be gratifying to reflect on the part their efforts played in shaping mainstream culture a half-century later.

Read the digital edition of our May issue here