January 10, 2007
George Carlin and Don Rickles are among the headlining acts at the 2007 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. The 13th annual USCAF is set for Feb. 28-March 4, with events in various Aspen venues.Carlin, who turns 70 in May, will celebrate 50 years in comedy with an appearance at the festival. Carlin’s show is part of the new Headliner Series, which will also feature performances at the Wheeler Opera House by Steve Wright and Katt Williams. Carlin is best-known for the 1972 album “Class Clown,” his series of HBO specials, and the recent books, “Brain Droppings” and “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?”Rickles, known for his insult-oriented comedy, will appear with a special, hour-long screening of “The Rickles Project,” a documentary film directed by John Landis. The screening will be followed by a Q-and-A session with Rickles and Landis. Rickles will also be the first recipient of the new USCAF Pinnacle Award.Other highlights of the 2007 USCAF: “Entourage”: Behind the Scenes, featuring the cast and creators of the HBO series; a special screening of “The Winner,” a series created and written by Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”) set to debut this spring on Fox; and The Gaggle, a debate-style show centering around politics and pop culture. The USCAF’s 2007 Film Program will feature Bill and Stella Pence, co-founders of the Telluride Film Festival, as guest directors. Among the films in the program are “The General,” Buster Keaton’s 1927 silent classic about a stolen train, and a retrospective of works by animator Chuck Jones.The 2007 USCAF will also include stand-up, sketch and alternative performances.HBO, which presents the festival, has scratched previously announced plans to rename the event the HBO Comedy Festival.Ticket packages, including the $125 Locals Package, are available at http://www.uscaf.com, or by calling 1-866-350-3369.
Aspen-based Theater Masters will present a new program, the National Play Right M.F.A. 10-Minute Play Competition & Program, this month in Aspen. The competition will feature short works by graduate students from nine schools.The playwrights, one from each school, will participate in a weekend-long workshop to hone their plays and participate in panel exchanges. The 10-minute plays will be presented in the Take Ten theater festival, Jan. 21 and 23. Directors for the festival will be selected from the Directors Project, a program founded by Theater Masters founder, Julia Hansen. Actors from the Roaring Fork Valley, from the EgoPo ensemble in Philadelphia, and from Denver, New York and Los Angeles will make up the casts.The competition will be overseen by playwright John Guare (“Six Degrees of Separation”). Guare; Lane Savadove, artistic director of EgoPo; and Hansen will select the finalists for the Take Ten competition.
The Wheeler Film Series has added another date for the presentation of “The History Boys.” The film, already scheduled to show Sunday through Tuesday, Jan. 21-23, will also be screened Friday, Jan. 19.”The History Boys” is director Nicholas Hynter’s adaptation of Alan Bennett’s Broadway hit about a class of British teenage scholars.Also on the Wheeler Film calendar: “Snow Blind,” a documentary about the history and culture of snowboarding, on Sunday, Jan. 14; and “20 Centimeters,” a European film about a narcoleptic transvestite who dreams up elaborate musical numbers, is set for Jan. 17, with an 8 p.m. start.All Wheeler films are at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.