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Current events

Singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph performs with his band, the Jackmormons, this week at the Belly Up. (Stewart Oksenhorn/Aspen Times Weekly)

In an interview before Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day Festival last summer, Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools claimed that a big reason for the band’s song-writing strength was that, early in their career, Panic paid attention to such masters as Jerry Joseph. Joseph, who led the Boulder reggae/rock band Little Women through the ’80s, penned such Widespread tunes as “Climb to Safety” and “Chainsaw City.” But in opening for Panic over Labor Day, Joseph proved himself a powerful performer in his own right, both solo with an acoustic guitar and with his ripping two-piece band, the Jackmormons. Joseph was the first act on the Jazz Aspen bill, and though there were numerous highlights over the five days, the small, bald Joseph stood as tall as any of them. The globe-trotting musician, now based in Portland, Ore., returns to the valley to perform with the Jackmormons Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Belly Up.

Myla Goldberg’s 2000 novel “Bee Season” seemed a challenge for cinematic adaptation. Goldberg’s story involved four members of the Naumann family, all on separate paths toward spiritual enlightenment, and all struggling in their search. But directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, who had proved adept at capturing a somber mood in the 2001 thriller “The Deep End,” are equal to the task. Their version of “Bee Season” has a cohesive focus on the family members: father Saul (Richard Gere), a religion professor with a blind spot as regards his family; the elusive and troubled mother Miriam (Juliette Binoche); and most of all Eliza, an unassuming adolescent who wins her father’s attention by becoming a spelling bee champion. The film retains much of the original theme of spiritual pursuit, which can be a lonely, even isolating quest. The movie’s flourishes of visual and psychic magic seem a perfect device here.

Simplicity is the key in the recent works of New York City photographer Sarah Charlesworth. The 2003 work “0 + 1,” her first exhibit at the Baldwin Gallery, was simplicity itself, a series of white-on-white photographs. “Neverland,” a 2002 series, focused on single objects – a tree, a pencil, a candle – which allowed the viewer to contemplate the dreamlike symbolism and conjured associations. Charlesworth’s new series, “A Simple Text,” once again does away with the clutter of everyday life to focus on the visual essence of things: color, composition, imagery. Working with such objects as the Buddha, bowls of powdered pigment and a tree branch, against fully saturated backgrounds of either red or white, Charlesworth’s photographs invite meditation and an emotional response. It is, perhaps, an unintended side effect that the most immediate reaction to seeing “A Simple Text” is one of marvel at the beauty of the composition and glowing colors. The exhibit, including “A Simple Text” and select pieces from “Neverland,” shows through Dec. 22 at the Baldwin Gallery.

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