I once worked for a certain editor who sat me down after a long layout meeting and said, ''Rick, never forget this: The art department? They're your sworn enemy.''
Well, the guy was right about a lot of stuff, but he was dead wrong on this front. Let me introduce you to my ''enemies,'' a.k.a. a reader's best friend -- design director Geraldine Hessler and her deputy, art director John Walker. They redesigned News & Notes a few months ago, and now they've revamped the back of the magazine as well.
The goal is to give you a Reviews section that's a brisk read, that makes it easier to sort through all those movies, TV shows, DVDs, CDs, and books to find the stuff you'll love. The headlines stand out more clearly, so you can quickly scout the movies and artists you care about. The box office charts have been cleaned up, we've added book covers and CD covers to every one of those reviews, and we've moved the winners and losers of the week to the opening pages of each department. And, as you'll read in What to Watch, we've even managed to make Dalton Ross' name a tad bigger. In sum: all the reviews you count on, delivered in a package that's more reader-friendly.
We've also added an item: The Must List (above). Kicking off the Reviews section, it's a single page where you'll find a dozen things the EW staff is crazy for. It's a mix of the highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between -- this week you'll find Finding Nemo on the list as well as a novel set in czarist Russia. The 12 items have one thing in common: They're what we're raving about around the office watercooler, stuff we think you must see, hear, read, or play now.
Let us know what you think of the new format -- I'll steer all your suggestions John's way. Geraldine may not be around to listen to your good advice, since pretty soon she'll be headed off on a leave to tend (with her real partner, husband Colby Hall) to the other baby she's just about to deliver.
RICK TETZELI MANAGING EDITOR