Spring break | AspenTimes.com

Spring break

Stewart OksenhornAspen Times Staff Writer

A little bit of country, a little bit of of rock ‘n’ roll. Even a few small doses of jazz and classical music. A touch of Latin-spiced dance, and a bunch of kids’ stuff. Road trips as far as the mind can imagine. A fond farewell weekend for one of Aspen’s most significant music spots. And, of course, movies up the wazoo.That’s what those who are left in the valley are going to find as far as arts offerings go until the summer season rolls around. It’s not much, and thank god for that – something tells me this summer is going to be a busy one.Here’s what to mark on those April and May calendar pages. Films at Wheeler Opera House, throughout off-seasonIt’s too bad the Wheeler Film series screened “Lawrence of Arabia” while ski season was still going (and especially painful that the matinee screening conflicted with one of the most gorgeous spring afternoons imaginable). David Lean’s epic would have been a perfect way to spend four off-season hours. Still, there will be plenty of opportunities to cozy up in the darkness of the Wheeler over the next few weeks.”Rabbit-Proof Fence,” director Phillip Noyce’s fact-based account of three girls walking 1,500 miles of Australian Outback to return to their homes, shows Thursday through Saturday, April 17-19. “The Way Home,” a South Korean film about a 7-year-old Seoul boy left to live with his rural grandmother, is set for Sunday and Monday, April 20-21.”Morvern Callar,” starring Samantha Morton as a woman who awakens one Christmas morning to an entirely new reality, is scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday, April 22-24. “Chaos,” a darkly comedic, French feminist thriller, is set for April 25-27. The April schedule concludes with “All the Real Girls,” an acclaimed film about first love in North Carolina, showing April 28-30. Expect more movies in May and early June.Grottos closing weekend, Friday through Sunday, April 18-20Kiss Aspen’s most active music spot goodbye. The Grottos, for three years a place that delivered live music, DJs or karaoke most nights, is giving up the ghost. But it will go out with a bang: Local band Otherwise plays Friday, April 18, and the place goes down with a two-night stand from Phoenix ska band Warsaw Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20.When the dust clears, the Grottos will become Cabo’s, a Mexican restaurant that claims it will carry on as a music club. Meanwhile, Tim Lucca, the face of the Grottos from day one, will be running music operations at the Double Diamond.Michael Hurwitz, Steve’s Guitars, Saturday, April 19Singer, songwriter and guitarist Michael Hurwitz absorbed the influences of his native Laramie, Wyo., and his Mississippi-born mother to create a unique style of cowboy blues. His most recent album, “Bunkhouse Blues,” combines Delta blues and Western-style country. Hurwitz appears at Steve’s Guitars with the Aimless Drifters, a group that includes former subdude John Magnie on accordion.Road trips, tripper’s choice of dates and destinationsThe weather’s great! (We hope.) You’re off from work for two months. (That’s a good thing, right?) You have enough money for gas, beer and concert tickets. (Better check.) Road trip!Here are some suggestions of Front Range shows to fill the music jones: Jerry Douglas (Saturday, April 19, Fox Theatre; Sunday, April 20, Gothic Theatre); Jimmy Buffet (Thursday, April 24, Pepsi Center); Ani DiFranco (Thursday, April 24, Paramount Theatre); Steve Kimock Band (April 25-27, Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom); Railroad Earth (April 25, Bluebird Theatre; April 26, Fox Theatre); Zwan (April 29, Fillmore Auditorium); Chick Corea (April 30 and May 1, Cervante’s).Also, Dar Williams (May 2, Boulder Theatre); Big Adventure 2003, featuring Social Distortion and Bad Religion (May 10, Fiddler’s Green); Bob Weir and Ratdog (May 13, Paramount Theatre); James McMurtry (May 14, Tulagi’s); Big Head Todd & the Monsters (May 17, Red Rocks); Ziggy Marley (May 28, Fox Theatre); Coldplay (June 5, Red Rocks).Valley Kids, Aspen Art Museum, April 25 through May 18, with opening reception Thursday, April 24With galleries basically inactive, the Aspen Art Museum’s annual Valley Kids show is the big daddy of visual arts in the off-season. But even if Valley Kids was presented at the height of the season, it would be a major exhibit.Valley Kids is the most gargantuan art exhibit in Aspen, with students from some 40 schools and youth organizations contributing hundreds of pieces that fill the museum’s walls. The range is phenomenal, from the color-packed projects of the youngest finger painters to provocative pieces from ambitious budding artists. And even the quality is higher than most viewers would expect, with valley art teachers showing serious commitment, knowing their students’ works are going to be hanging for all to see.The 23rd annual Valley Kids opens with a reception on Thursday, April 24, from 4-7 p.m. Students from the Suzuki Violin Studio, directed by Heidi Curatolo, and from the Aspen Country Day School will perform. Young Composers Family Concert, Harris Hall, April 25The Aspen Music Festival and School’s Musical Odysseys Reaching Everyone program – better referred to as M.O.R.E., for good reason – has brought Guggenheim Award-winning composer Derek Bermel into four valley schools for a 10-day residency. As part of the residency, Bermel is working with 25 students in the Young Composers Forum. The forum will culminate in a free concert at Harris Hall, featuring the students’ compositions as well as some of Bermel’s work.Kelly Hunt, Buffalo Valley Inn, April 26Kelly Hunt, a blues/R & B singer and pianist, has reached the upper levels of the roots-music world. The Kansas-born Hunt has earned cheers everywhere she plays, and that list of venues has grown to include such top stages as the Telluride Blues Festival, B.B. King’s in Memphis, Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival and the House of Blues Radio Hour.Jeannie Walla, Bistro Basalt, April 26, and every other Saturday through May”The Rhythm of Broadway,” a planned evening of music theater from the Broadway Players at the Wheeler, was canceled, depriving audiences of a potential off-season highlight. But the cancellation won’t keep Jeannie Walla, a foundation of the Broadway Players, from singing. Walla has apparently found a home at Bistro Basalt for what she calls her “jazz standards and jazz not-so-standards,” a songbook that includes Betty Carter’s “Tight” and Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright with Me” as well as a few dozen others. Walla is backed by a trio of the valley’s best: keyboardist Tim Fox, bassist Tom Paxton and drummer Dave Poulsen. There’s no cover, no minimum, and the music starts at the listener-friendly hour of 7 p.m.Clay Boland Jr., Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, April 26Former New York pianist and current Colorado Mountain College instructor Clay Boland Jr. will play an evening of all-Gershwin. Boland should be in top form for the material; his recent CD, “Love Walked In,” features piano interpretations of 14 Gershwin tunes. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts’ renovation project.Festival de Folklorico Mexicano, Aspen District Theatre, May 4Francisco “Paco” Nevarez, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s Folklorico Mexicano director, has been working with downvalley kids, ages 5 to 16, in free after-school sessions. More than 60 of those students will take the Aspen District Theatre stage to show what they’ve learned. Expect lavish costumes and traditional Mexican music.Basalt Battle of the Bands/Heart of Basalt Arts Festival, Lions Park, May 10The Basalt Battle of the Bands – already big, with numerous student and professional acts taking turns in an all-day music fest – gets bigger this year. Added to the program is the Heart of Basalt Arts Festival, with valley artists demonstrating their work along Midland Ave. and at the Riverwalk complex. In keeping with the theme of the day, there will also be space for young artists.”The Matrix Reloaded,” scheduled to open nationally May 15″The Matrix Reloaded,” sequel to the 1999 blockbuster, finds Keanu Reeves’ Neo further developing his abilities to fight the totalitarian computer system, the Matrix, in the underground city of Zion. From all the buzz about plot and visual innovation, “The Matrix Reloaded” might just top the original. Even if it doesn’t, a second sequel, “The Matrix Revolutions,” is coming in early November – perfect for the fall off-season.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com

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