| AspenTimes.com

A&E Agenda

Aspen Indigenous Society presents POW WOW 2023, Saturday, 1-8 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m., Aspen High School

Aspen Indigenous Society presents POW WOW 2023, Saturday and Sunday at Aspen High School.
Courtesy photo

A pow wow is a social gathering held in indigenous communities. A modern pow wow is a specific type of event for Native American people to meet, dance, sing, socialize, and honor their cultures. The event includes a prize competition in various dance and drum categories.

General Admission: $10; Students: $5; Veterans and children under 12: free.

  • Contest dancing and drumming in full regalia
  • Raffle drawings
  • Native vendor booths (jewelry, arts & crafts)
  • Fry bread and Indian taco stand
  • Presentation booths

W Aspen Presents genre-bending musical artist Aluna, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Aluna will perform at W Aspen’s first W Presents on Saturday.
Courtesy photo

The Living Room, the W hotel’s après spot, will transform into an electric music venue for one night only. Guests and locals are invited to celebrate the start to summer with musical artist Aluna, featuring Frasure. Known for her explorative dance music, inspired by pop-house, dance hall, funk, and Caribbean and African dance genres, she will be the inaugural performance for W Aspen’s W Presents series. 

“We are excited to host our first W Presents with the incredibly talented Aluna, featuring Frasure, to kick off summer at W Aspen,” said Chris Jaycock, the W’s general manager “Music is core to our hotel ethos, and this concert marks the beginning of what will be a historic summer season for us. We invite the Aspen community and our guests to experience Aluna’s eclectic and revolutionary sound for one special night.” 

Launched this past spring, W Presents is a live, electronic showcase series featuring headlining artists handpicked by W Hotels’ global director of music.

Tickets to W Aspen Presents Aluna featuring Frasure are complimentary. All attendees are required to RSVP or entrance to the event. 

Shelly Safir Marolt: “Underneath” Opening Reception, Friday, 4-7 p.m., The Art Base, Basalt

The Art Base will host an artist reception for Shelly Safir Marolt on Friday.
Courtesy photo

The Art Base presents Shelly Safir Marolt’s solo exhibition, “Underneath,” featuring large-scale, Victorian-inspired portraits of women with a contemporary gaze and neon underlay, alongside smaller paintings with ink, mud, acrylic, glitter, and pastels celebrating the female form.

“I’m not an artist with a mission statement. I’ve never had one idea that followed through all of my work over the past 30 years. I paint what inspires me,” said Safir Marolt. “I see something or read something, and I get a spark, an idea, and I paint. My process for each series is unique and individual to the pieces. The Victorian women paintings, for example, start with a neon underpainting. I then paint with acrylics and glitter using brushes. The vulva paintings were made differently, with ink, mud, acrylic, glitter, and pastels and painted with tree branches and brushes. They are more organic and immediate.”

Artist talk moderated by Suzan Obermeyer.

More information: theartbase.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions

Tab Benoit, The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW), Thursday, June 1, 8 p.m.

Tab Benoit will perform at TACAW on Thursday, June 1.
Courtesy photo

Tab Benoit is a Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has built a 30+ year career on the foundation of his gritty and soulful Delta swamp blues, acquiring a devoted legion of fans along the way, as well as 5 Blues Music Awards, including BB King Entertainer of the Year (twice) and an induction into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. 

His accomplishments as a musician are matched only by his devotion to the environmental health of his native Louisiana wetlands. He’s the founder and driving force behind Voice of the Wetlands, an organization working to preserve the coastal waters of his home state. In 2010, he received the Governor’s Award for Conservationist of the Year from the Louisiana Wildlife Federation. Benoit also starred in the iMax motion picture “Hurricane on the Bayou,” a documentary of Hurricane Katrina’s effects and a call to protect and restore the wetlands.

More information: tacaw.org/calendar/tab-benoit

Artist reception, Red Brick Center of the Arts, Thursday June 1, 5 p.m.

“A Feather in Her Hat” 30×30, Jennifer Hohlfelder
Courtesy photo

The Red Brick is holding an artist reception with food and drinks for two exhibitions. Artists will be in attendance.

“Messages,” Daniel Carr: An item diminishing in its importance, yet still charged with symbolism and representation, the postage stamp becomes the medium for the works by him. Stamps dating back 150 years and including all their cancellation marks and defects are rendered into images from the iconic to the everyday.


“Sense of Time,” Jennifer Hohlfelder, Hunter Hogan, Monica Goldsmith, Christie Helm: Many often think of time as linear, fixed, and for some, something there’s not enough of in a day. However, physicists have a different take and debate whether it is real, an illusion, or even a dimension. In this exhibition, time is considered in various ways. Nostalgia in Jennifer’s paintings is explored as an ideal that can offer joy and perhaps a reminder to appreciate the fleeting moments of life. In the quiet, sparse rooms of Monica’s interiors, time holds the potential for what is about to happen or just did happen in the scene. In Hunter’s paintings, images from magazines, home-finishing samples, and personal memories are cut from their original narrative and rearranged, collaging different events into a new story. Lastly, Christie takes us out of the immediate and draws us towards a spiritual realm where time is expansive, and eternal. These artists offer us different perceptions of time, which might be what is needed to make us accept its passing. 


Theatre Aspen confirms Julia Knitel and Sara King to star in ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,’ single tickets on sale Tuesday

Get ready Aspen, Broadway is coming to town and single tickets go on sale Tuesday.

Theatre Aspen announced casts and creative teams for Theatre Aspen’s 40th season, including “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” along with the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Doubt” and “RENT.”

The cast of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” (June 22-July 8) is led by Julia Knitel as singer/songwriter Carole King. The musical tracks King’s personal journey and professional rise from teenage songwriter through the release of her influential 1971 album, “Tapestry.”

“People know her, and they know her music, like almost no other female singer/songwriter” said Knitel. “But what they don’t really know is her story. ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’ She was 17 when she wrote that. It’s wild.”

Knitel, who was the understudy on Broadway before she landed the lead for the first national touring company, was the youngest actress cast for the role and spent the ages of 22-24 playing King full time.

She said she is excited to perform in Aspen for the first time and revisit the role now that “she is almost 30,” and able to connect with her from a more mature and grounded perspective.

“I’ve learned a lot from her,” she said. “She and I have these parallel stories, which I didn’t even realize until it was behind me. I also started my career professionally at 16 and was unaware of my limitations. I learned from her how to be unapologetically yourself, because Carole was told, ‘Well, your voice is only good enough for the demos and you know you don’t really have the look for a star.’ But what made her special was that she looked different than anyone else. She was singing with her true voice, writing songs that were coming from such a deep place, and her ability to perform them in a very unapologetic unpolished, raw way is what made her a star.”

Sara King will reprise her role as Cynthia Weil in Theatre Aspen’s production of “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical” this summer.
Courtesy photo

Sara King will also be reprising her role after a multi-year Broadway run as legendary songwriter (and close friend and competitor with Carole King and first husband and collaborator Gerry Goffin) Cynthia Weil in “Beautiful.”

“Cynthia is just this absolute firecracker. She’s very independent. She has opinions, and not afraid to push the boundaries,” said King. “She’s a strong-willed, very expressive woman who didn’t take no for an answer in a male-dominated world. She was a role model for Carole. It’s cool because in the play we get to see kind of the difference in energy. Carole King was more passive and a little submissive and a little timid and then Cynthia walks in and she really does drive the competition between the groups of friends.”

The creative team for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” features direction and choreography by Joyce Chittick (Broadway: “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Pajama Game 2006,” “Anything Goes 2011”) and by David Ruttura (associate director in Broadway’s “Beautiful,” “School of Rock”) and music direction by Alan J. Plado (“Beautiful,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Jersey Boys”).

Theatre Aspen also confirmed the creative team for “Doubt,” (July 14-29) featuring direction by Jenn Thompson (off-Broadway’s “Conflict,” “Women Without Men”), John McDermott (scenic design), Christina Watanabe (lighting design), Jane Shaw (sound design and composition), and Hunter Kaczorowski (costume design).

The production of “RENT” (Aug. 4-26) will star Michael Lepore (“Sing Street”) as Mark Cohen, Liam Pearce (“Legally Blonde” at The Muny) as Roger Davis, Chabely Ponce (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Ragtime”) as Mimi Marquez, and Jaye Alexander (“Titanique,The Drowsy Chaperone”) as Tom Collins.

The creative team for “RENT” features direction by Andy Señor Jr. (“On Your Feet!”), music direction by Jared Stein (“American Idiot,” “Deaf West’s Spring Awakening,” “Hair”) and choreography by Karla Garcia (“Hamilton,” “Wicked,” NBC’s “Smash”).

In celebration of Theatre Aspen’s 40th anniversary and to ensure locals get first shot at tickets, Theatre Aspen is hosting a special one-day-only on location event to kick off single ticket sales on Tuesday at 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the Hurst Theatre Tent. The first 40 ticket buyers at the box office will receive a free 40th anniversary wine tumbler, three-day pass to Cycle Bar Aspen and some chippers from Paradise Bakery.

Tickets will be available for purchase online at TheatreAspen.org or by calling (970) 300-4474 starting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

A one-day-only single ticket sales event will take place at Hurst Theatre Tent on Tuesday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Theatre Aspen, Mike Lyons/Courtesy photo

Wild Child finds way back with new album, ‘End of the World’

The first time Austin-based, indie-folk-pop band Wild Child came to Aspen to perform at Belly Up, they came over Independence Pass towing a trailer.

“I guess I just missed the sign that said, ‘Do not drive with a trailer,'” said lead vocalist and bariton ukulele player Alexander Beggins with a chuckle. “I was driving through the highest peaks I’d ever seen with a giant trailer going through these narrow turns, watching the back of the trailer get really close to the side of the road. And everyone’s on edge. It was the most stressful drive of my life.”

Luckily, they got to town safely and learned a good lesson: It might take work to get to Aspen, but it’s worth it. Since then, he said, they have returned to Belly Up “a handful of times,” though due to the pandemic, their show Sunday will be their first time back since 2019.

“My best memory of Belly Up is how the staff treat you. They are so accommodating and very friendly,” he said. “Of course, it’s also a wonderful, great venue just littered with memorabilia of different artists that have played it. It’s a good vibe, a good night all around, and Aspen is just a really cool town.”

Almost the end

Their recently released fifth studio album, “End of the World,” and subsequent tour almost didn’t happen.

Beggins said that in 2018, after being on the road for 10 years, the band returned to Austin “burnt out.” They decided to take a break, and he seriously thought his journey with the band might be over.

“It just wasn’t feeling good anymore, and we didn’t quite know what to do,” he said. “We started doing some of our own solo projects, and honestly, it kind of felt like we had our run, and it was time to walk off into the sunset. It ended up being so good for us to just take this break from the band. We were doing our own thing and just living our lives.”

He said after a yearlong break, during the pandemic, the band came together to make music for fun and try their hand at some digital content. They found a loyal fan base online that made them rethink the future of the band.

“We started writing music again, just because we wanted to, and it was fun, and there wasn’t pressure to make a new record or do anything,” he said. “After a good couple months of doing that, we had enough for a record and decided we wanted to record it. That’s what got us back together.”

Austin-based Wild Child is out supporting their new album, “End of the World,” with a show at Belly Up on Sunday.
Sarah Schneider/Courtesy photo

For “End of the World,” the two-surviving members of the original band, Beggins and Kelsey Wilson (lead vocals and violin), had the freedom to work with new musicians they had admired and try a new approach to recording the album.

“We hired this brilliant composer to arrange string and horn parts of songs, which we had never done before, and that was really rad,” he said. “Members of the Dallas Symphony came out to a recording session, and when they sat down with their sheet music and started playing, we were blown away. Sonically, it’s a much bigger sound that what we did before. It was kind of like hearing our music for the first time but through a different lens.”

Wild Child is finding its stride with this new album and tour. A little bit older and wiser and looking for more work/life balance, Beggins said, they have instructed their agent not to book them for more than two-week stretches on the road at a time, so that they get breaks to go home and avoid the burnout they experienced in 2018. 

“I don’t know what the future holds,” he said. “But we’re having fun doing it now and getting this new music out. It’s been great to see the responses of people singing the new songs. The record came out just over a month ago, and it seems to be digesting well. I think we’ll try and do a little bit more globe-trotting over the next year and see where that leaves us.”

If you go…

What: Wild Child w/Próxima Parada
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Sunday, 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show
More information and tickets: bellyupaspen.com/events/wild-child

A&E Agenda

Supper Club & Show: John McCutcheon, Saturday, 6 p.m., TACAW

Courtesy photo

TACAW is partnering with Epicure Catering to offer Supper Club & Show. Guest Chefs Julie and Allen Domingos are planning a culinary adventure in the lobby prior to the show. Patrons who don’t have a dinner reservation are welcome to purchase a standalone ticket for the show. Doors open for Supper Club at 5:45 p.m., meal served at 6.

John McCutcheon, roots/Americana: “No one remembers when the neighbors started calling the McCutcheons to complain about the loud singing from young John’s bedroom. It didn’t seem to do much good, though. For, after a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (He was a mediocre pianist and an all-star catcher), he had ‘found his voice’ thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords.”

His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His 30 recordings have honors including seven Grammy nominations.

For tickets: acaw.org/calendar/john-mccutcheon

Drunken Hearts, Saturday, 8 p.m., Belly Up Aspen

Courtesy photo

While the 2020 pandemic spelled doom and gloom for many a musician, it signified a new beginning for Boulder-based roots artist Andrew McConathy.

The guitar-playing frontman, lead singer, and primary songwriter of the group known formerly as The Drunken Hearts initially thought a worldwide calamity meant the beginning of the end to a career he’s pursued since 2010. Then an angel of mercy from his past emerged, giving him a second chance to make things right in his life and his songs. McConathy’s story of give and take, rise and fall, and hope lost and found gets the personal treatment on “Reckless Ways of Living,” his new album coming out June 9, with a release show on June 10 at Meow Wolf in Denver.

For tickets: bellyupaspen.com/events/drunken-hearts

Country Day Night Live, Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Wheeler Opera House, Aspen

Aspen Country Day School will hold Countryday Night Live at The Wheeler Friday and Saturday.
Courtesy photo

Every year, Aspen Country Day School’s graduating Eighth Graders brainstorm together to create a concept for the annual musical. Guided by drama teacher Marci Sketch, they write the script, choose the songs, cast the parts, and work with younger grades to find just the right scene for each student’s personality. It is performed this year by children in Fourth through Eighth Grade.

More information: wheeleroperahouse.com/events

Aspen Fringe Festival Tickets on sale May 9

15th Annual Aspen Fringe Festival tickets go on sale on Thursday May 9.
Courtesy photo

Tickets for the 15th annual Aspen Fringe Festival go on sale on May 9. The festival will run June 9-10 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. This year’s marks AFF’s first musical JuneFest and will feature musical theatre, dance, film, and opera, including award winning composer Craig Bohmler.

More information: www.aspenfringefestival.org

Interplay Art + Opera, now through May 19, The Art Base, Basalt

Courtesy photo

The Art Base and TACAW have partnered to bring Interplay: Art + Opera, an interdisciplinary, collaborative project conceived of by three Denver-Based performers — Kira Dills-DeSurra (mezzo-soprano), Leah Podzimek (soprano), and Jessica Nilles Kressin (piano) — to the Roaring Fork Valley. Fifteen contemporary artists of all mediums from the Roaring Fork Valley responded to the preview opera performance and will now be exhibiting their work at the Art Base through May 19. The same music will be performed live during the opening reception, so that audiences, artists, and musicians join together in sound and color, making for a multi-sensorial art experience.⁠

Masterpiece Mine, Tuesday May 9, 5:30-9:30 p.m., The Red Brick, Aspen

The Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

April showers bring May flowers and fun paintings, too. Vincent Van Gogh loved to paint the beautiful flowers all around him. In this class, participants will reproduce one of his famous paintings.

All levels welcome. Art educator Lorraine Davis will walk attendees step by step to recreate this masterpiece.

$50 fee includes all supplies and instruction

For more information: redbrickaspen.com/calendar/2022/peploe-zcasy-6rkwy-3c2pc-kmkm7-hrk7z-79ck2-dz38k

Studio for Arts & Works open studio event, Thursday, May 9, 4-8 p.m., 525 Buggy Circle, Carbondale

Carbondale based SAW is hosting an open house on Thursday May 11.
Courtesy photo

Visit with local artists in their studios, share in the creative community, and find unique handmade gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or other special occasions. Live music will start after 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and this event is free and open to all. For more information, visit the S.A.W. website at sawcarbondale.com, or find Studio for Arts and Works on Facebook.

High Country Sinfonia celebrates spring with new program

It may be off-season, but it’s also time for High Country Sinfonia’s spring concert series, “Chopin!” The concerts are May 4, 6, and 7 at TACAW, the Carbondale Branch Library, and the Aspen Chapel, respectively, and are free and open to the public.

“We play all up and down the valley,” said violinist Stephanie Zaza. “We want to draw as many people in as possible by pulling together a program that will appeal to everyone in the community. We’re not trying to squeeze ourselves into a single niche.”

To that end, the spring performance will include multi-movement pieces full of drama, adventure and romance with works by Frederic Chopin, C.P.E. Bach, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

High Country Sinfonia will be playing free concerts in Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale next week.
Courtesy photo

The concert will feature local pianist Kevin Kaukl as guest soloist for the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-minor. Along with the Chopin movement, the local string ensemble will present the rarely performed Sinfonia No. 2 in B-flat major by son of Johann Sebastian Bach, C.P.E. Bach. The concert is rounded out with a spotlight on the ensemble’s cello section performing the opening chorale of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

“Chopin is just such an incredible composer,” said pianist Kevin Kaukl. “He wrote this piece when he was 20 years old. It’s a concerto that it has a spectacular piano part. Obviously, he was a pianist, and he wrote primarily for the piano, but it’s also got a tremendous amount of orchestral playing. So, it’s a big work for all of us. It’s worth mentioning that of all the works that Chopin composed, in terms of his entire output, more of a percentage of his works are commonly performed today than any other composer in the Western classical music canon.”

Kaukl first came to the Roaring Fork Valley in the early 2000s as a student at the summer music festival and said he found himself being drawn back throughout the years. He decided to move here after completing graduate school because he “fell in love with the beauty of the mountains and the vibrance of the community.”

High Country Sinfonia’s founder and board president, Wendy Larson, has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for 48 years and taught at Aspen Middle School for 30 of them. A cellist, she has performed with various groups around the valley, including Aspen Choral Society. After retiring, she founded High Country Sinfonia in 2015.

“I noticed in the last 15 years there were more professional musicians moving and living in the valley,” she said. “Kevin is one of them. A lot are former music school students from the music festival, but they have chosen to live and work in the valley, and there were enough professional level musicians to start what we call a chamber orchestra, which is a smaller orchestra, and it’s lovely. We aren’t just musicians. We are your friends and neighbors. We live and work and exist here.”

High Country Sinfonia is a chamber orchestra made up of professional musicians in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Courtesy photo

Another thing that makes High Country Sinfonia unique is that they don’t have a conductor, so the musicians need to be prepared and carefully listen to one another — a reality that makes things more interesting for concert master Delaney Meyer.

“It’s definitely a different role when there’s not a conductor,” said Meyer. “Because you are in charge of showing the entrance, of giving energy for what a certain piece or a certain movement is meant to sound like. You’re kind of the conductor and the section leader at the same time. And it’s fun. A lot of collaboration, across sections, everybody taking ownership and taking charge of leading no matter where they’re sitting in the orchestra.”

High Country Sinfonia’s concert series will be presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at The Arts Campus at Willits; 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, at the Carbondale Branch Library; and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, at the Aspen Chapel. Admission is free with a suggested donation of up to $20 (no donations at Carbondale Branch Library).

Musician meant to take year off to tour, not 10

In 2012, wetland ecologist turned singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster decided to take a year sabbatical to pursue his love of music and tour the country. That year turned into 10, turning his hobby into a career.  

“I got my first guitar when I was 15 and taught myself to play,” he said. “By the time I was 18, I started to piece together the kind of music and songs that I write today. Ten years ago, I went out on the road, and I never went back. I have not collected a regular paycheck ever since.”

He said he does more than 150 shows a year and shares his tunes “the old-fashioned way.” He’s also going to release his sixth studio album in June.

On Wednesday, April 26, his journey will bring him to the Roaring Fork Valley for the first time for a one-night appearance at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale.

The reasons for touring have been consistent since troubadours roamed Europe. Driven by the search for adventure, new audiences, creative inspiration, and financial reward, generations of artists have turned away from the traditional in pursuit of a life on the road, a tradition in America stretching from vaudeville to modern-day mega-festivals like Coachella.

“It’s just me and my guitar and harmonica and vocals,” Foster said. “I’m a very scaled down version of a folk singer, basically, but my songs reach out from the human experience to the environmental. I touch on a lot of the places that I visit, all these many, many miles. I’ve done it all, across our beautiful country, which inspires a lot of my songwriting. Every album and every song comes from a different place. And so, I leave it to the listener for the interpretation.”

Scientist turned touring musician Jonathan Foster will make his debut appearance in the RFV on Wednesday April 26 at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale.
Keli Tims/Courtesy photo

He is originally from Cranberry Lake (population 200) in New York’s Adirondacks and now based outside Redding. He said his music reflects the intimate experiences of American life, and being from a small town and a scientist, he creates from a place where humans and the natural environment intersect, taking inspiration from classic and contemporary artists.

“A lot of my heroes and favorite acts are unfortunately not on the road anymore, like The Tragically Hip; but I did see Bob Dylan last June, which was really cool,” he said. “One of my favorite songwriters who has been around a long time is Todd Slater, and he’s still doing it. Jason Isbell has been doing a lot of great things. I always look to him for some good inspiration. And Gillian Welch. She’s super big role model to me. I’ve been listening to a lot more of the early blues last couple of years and rethinking the American experience and trying to look back on like, how unique it is and how lucky I am that I get to do this; and there are so many cool cats that got to do it before me, and it’s not easy for anybody just to set out and do this kind of crazy nomadic thing.”

As with many musicians, the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly brought his touring plans to a halt and shifted his lifestyle.

“I really didn’t know if it was just going to be over,” he said. “I had a tour about halfway booked. I had never had shows canceled before. I got outdoors. I went fishing and camping and was writing and painting and just tried to reconnect with what was important and to regroup and be prepared. There’s still a lot of negative things in my circle and my family, and we all have crazy stories from 2020, whether it’s politics, or the virus, or social unrest. It all went into that album. And I feel like at least I tried to do my best to make something for the world.”

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster will perform at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale on Wednesday.
Shadowfox Photography/Courtesy photo

Now, Foster is back to touring full time and finding that audiences are hungry for live music and human interaction. Even through this tough winter weather, his shows have filled with people ready to spend an evening listening to good music with their community, he said.

“There’s a need for real connection off our screens, so the folks that want it find it,” he said. “I just played in Bismarck, North Dakota, Monday night, and it’s 32 degrees, and I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being amazing. I’m also looking forward to being in your beautiful valley.  I hope to provide an intimate nice evening. I love to be able to tell stories about some of the adventures that I get to encounter every week.”

If you go…

What: Jonathan Foster
When: Wednesday, April 26, 8 p.m.
Where: Steve’s Guitars 19 N 4th St., Carbondale
More info and tickets: stevesguitars.net

A&E Agenda: A glimpse of coming events

O2 Yoga, Earth Day Yoga, Saturday, all day

O2 Aspen Earth Day-inspired yoga classes, all day long. Ten percent of proceeds from all classes at O2 on Earth Day will go directly to support children’s environmental education: o2aspen.com/pages/book-a-class

Laney Lou & The Bird Dogs, Belly Up, Sunday, 8 p.m.

Laney Lou & The Bird Dogs will perform at Belly Up on Sunday.
Courtesy photo

Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs are an energetic Americana band from Bozeman, Montana, that infuses four-part harmonies, songwriting, and rock-n-roll drive into a modern approach to traditional folk music. Coming from varied musical backgrounds, the five-person ensemble creates a sound unique to them, but one that finds common ground by adding the energy of Montana’s big sky country into their music. The Bird Dogs weave stories through their songs that are reflective, joyous, longing, or meant to share a journey with the listener.

Banned Book Club, 221 E. Main St. Apt. 4, Aspen, Tuesday, April 25, 5 p.m.

Banned Book Club will discuss “Beyond Magenta” on Tuesday April 25.
Courtesy photo

Pitkin County Library Banned Book Club meets to discuss “Beyond Magenta” by Susan Kuklin.


Aspen Community School spring musical, Wheeler Opera House, Thursday and Friday, April 27-28, 7 p.m.

Aspen Community School presents spring musical April 27 -28 at the Wheeler.
Courtesy photo

Aspen Community School students and teachers present, “Hop on the Magic School Bus,” based on the 1990s animated television series. Follow Miss Frizzle and her class as they adventure through historical scientific discoveries. Explore Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic and observational curiosity, Galileo’s and Robert Hooke’s discoveries through lenses, Jennifer Doudna’s recent discoveries of CRISPR technology, paleontology discoveries at Ziegler Reservoir in Snowmass, the progression of fossil fuels, and the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

For more info and tickets: wheeleroperahouse.com

Contemplative master Bill Redfield, ‘Developing Wisdom,Aspen Chapel, Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, April 23, 9:30 a.m.

Bill Redfield will discuss “Developing Wisdom,” at Aspen Chapel, April 22.
Courtesy photo

“Wisdom is one of the primary means by which real human transformation takes place.” Bill Redfield’s interest and expertise lies in the intersection between spirituality and psychology. Over the years, he has worked as an Episcopal priest and psychotherapist, specializing in group development dynamics and leadership. His work now is as synthesis of many streams. His specialty is wisdom mentoring. This is a process he has developed based upon an amalgamation of spiritual direction, coaching, and psychotherapy.

For more info: aspenchapel.org

5Point Film Festival returns with expanded community events

Adrenaline junkies, it’s time to get stoked for the 16th annual 5Point Film Festival returning to Carbondale Wednesday, April 19, through Sunday, April 23.

“From a programming perspective, the bar is so high, and adventure filmmakers are producing really high-quality projects,” said head of programming Charlie Turnbull. “Ever since ‘Free Solo’ won the Oscar, the genre has become very in vogue. It’s also spurred a lot of our filmmakers to tell more human-interest stories that have a backdrop of adventure and the outdoors.”

The festival will present 40 films, including 15 world premieres and 10 Colorado premieres.

Making its regional debut is the latest film from Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, “Wild Life,” which follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on a decades-spanning love story.

After meeting her husband, outdoorsman, and entrepreneur Doug Tomkins, she and he left behind successful careers in the brands they helped pioneer — Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit — to create national parks throughout Chile and Argentina via their non-profit Tompkins Conservation. The film follows the highs and lows of those efforts and will screen on Saturday, April 15, at 1 p.m.

“Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi’s new feature film about Kris Tompkins is great. It’s just a really beautiful love story slash conservation story that will blow audiences away,” said Turnbull.

Kris Tompkins on her hike up the mountain range in Patagonia, Chile.
Courtesy photo

Another film making its Colorado premiere is pertinent to what’s happening with the re-introduction of wolves into Colorado: “Range Rider.”

The film introduces us to Daniel Curry, a range rider whose job is to patrol wild areas on horseback, creating a buffer between wolves and cattle herds that graze on public lands. The film focuses on Washington State and the complicated issues that arise in rural ranching areas with re-introduction and asks if co-existence between ranchers and wolves is possible. The film is directed by Colin Arisman, with cinematography by Carbondale local Oliver Sutro.

“I’m really excited about the Colorado premiere of ‘Range Rider.’ ACES is supporting that screening, and I know it’s super topical here at the moment,” said Turnbull.

“Range Rider” takes on the issues and conflicts between ranchers and wolves in Washington State.
Courtesy photo

With about 400 submissions from filmmakers from the United States, Canada, and Europe, Turnbull said, it was tough to narrow it down to only 40 films. He said the key to programming the festival is to keep the audience “on their toes” with a mix of hardcore adventure, personal storytelling, and some films that are just light and funny.  

Audiences will also find a mix of outdoor sports from cycling, climbing, and skiing to paddling, running, and more.

5Point has added several free events throughout the five days, including a special screening of “Resistance Climbing,” a film about a group of climbers in conflict-torn Palestine.

“Resistance Climbing” tells the story of a group of climbers in Palestine.
Courtesy photo

According to Turnbull, beyond the film programming, 5Point is expanding its footprint throughout the week with new cultural offerings for attendees and the community.

For the first time, it will offer a curated music lineup that complements the nightly film programs, featuring Denver rock band iZCALLi, Brothers of Brass, and a one-night-only reunion performance of local yacht rock band The Davenports. All the musical performances are free.

The festival also will present live comedy night as part of the festival at the Black Nugget, featuring comedians Salma Zaky, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed, and Sammy Anzer, hosted by Denver comedian Eeland Stribling.

Another new addition, in partnership with Independence Run and Hike and ValleyOrtho, is the first 5K on Saturday, April 22, at 9-10 a.m. The race starts and ends at Independence Run and Hike, $25 per entry, free for VIP pass holders.

“We wanted to be a bit ambitious and to try and grow it into something that was more than just films, particularly with those free events,” Turnbull said. “We see it as a good way to cultivate community around this event and to build it into a festival where there really is something for everyone. Obviously, the films will always be our core kind of draw and programming component, but it’s really cool to have music and comedy and especially the 5k Saturday kind of opportunity for the community to come and enjoy something for free mingle with the filmmakers.”

For him, programming the festival and being part of the community is a dream come true. An Australian, he said he hadn’t heard of 5Points until 2018, when he came to the festival supporting his film “Bikes of Wrath,” which follows five Aussie friends as they attempt to cycle from Oklahoma to California in honor of John Steinbeck’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” following the same route as American farmers during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s.

He was so impressed by the experience and the community of Carbondale that when the opportunity came up in 2020 to program the festival, he jumped at the chance.

“It’s such a special and unique festival because everything and everyone is in one place,” he said. “There’s no competing screenings in different locations, which a lot of film festivals have. There are 800 people that come together, and the energy inside the rec center is really unique and hard to beat. It’s an intoxicating experience that (founder) Julie Kennedy created long before we did, but we hope we’ve still got it.”

For more information, passes and tickets, visit 5pointfilm.org/ or aspenshowtix.com.

Redstone Inn debuts local’s novel, ‘The Middle World,’ performed by Marble Charter School students

“The Middle World” musical will premiere with its first-ever public reading of the novel written by Nikki Beinstein of Carbondale this weekend. 

“A major goal for this reading is for it to become a full production one day at a professional theater,” she said. Call this an early step along the path.

The setting of the play is the actual Redstone, as in this one in Colorado.

The Redstone Castle has long been a source of mystery.
Chelsea Self / Glenwood Springs Post Independent

When a young girl living in Redstone accepts that she can interact with spirits through her new friendship with a neighbor boy, they summon a ghost that helps them unravel the mystery behind Redstone’s most iconic female, Lady Bountiful.

A blend of historical fiction and magic realism, “The Middle World” is a local and universal story of the transformative and healing powers of love. 

“All the stars seemed to align perfectly for my novel ‘The Middle World: Book One’ (published in 2016) to transform into a play. I absolutely love the collaborative process, and this project allowed for it to unfold organically.” Beinstein said. “Oriana Moebius of 13 Moons Ranch and the Redstone General Store graciously commissioned her friend Alexandria Basso to write the script during the fall of 2022.”

Basso and Beinstein connected immediately, and combined with Basso’s in-depth experience of reading scripts for a Hollywood production company, she was the ideal fit to reimagine the story for the stage, Beinstein said.

Marble Charter School students practice “The Middle World.”
Nikki Beinstein/Courtesy photo

“Bringing The Middle World to the stage has been such an inspired and humbling collaboration of so many devoted, creative female minds,” Basso said. “I can’t wait to see the final product come to life in the community and backdrop that inspired it.”

“Another wonderful coincidence was meeting Jessa Young, who has lived intermittently in the Crystal Valley for over 20 years, but whom I only met this past summer,” Beinstein said.

Young wrote the songs for the production.

“When I read Beinstein’s novel, ‘The Middle World’, I found it to be a riveting read,” she said. “The story delves into local history, through the experiences of two middle-aged kids who are driven to solve the mysteries that surround the Redstone Castle.”

“For a long time, people have sensed spirits at the Redstone Castle,” she added.

Her family included. Twenty years prior, her parents, also musicians, were visiting her in the Crystal Valley and booked a room at the Redstone Castle. 

“We were practicing for an upcoming show at Steve’s Guitars in the lobby of the castle, and I remember Dad, who plays the upright bass, stopped uncharacteristically in the middle of a song and exclaimed, ‘Boy, it sure feels spooky in here,'” she said. “While writing the songs for the Middle World musical/reader’s theatre, I definitely felt a spirit, a muse, or something beyond myself channeling the melodies for the songs, which came to me effortlessly and seemed to write themselves.”

Sxith-grader Ellamae Siemon said she was excited about the story.

“The reason I like the play is because I relate to my character, Rose,” she said. “It’s also an entertaining story and a fun way to learn about the history of Redstone.”

The show is Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Redstone Inn. Tickets can be purchased for $20/person: eventbrite.com/e/the-middle-world-musical-a-staged-reading-tickets-58405369933

Martha Redbone to close out Wheeler’s winter season with ‘Bonehill: The Concert’

On one hand, Martha Redbone has a specific story to tell about her Native, African American, and Appalachian roots in her show April 21 at The Wheeler, “Bonehill: The Concert.” On the other, her stories about family history and dynamics are relatable to just about everyone.

“I think it resonates with audiences because it’s a family story,” she said. “That’s first and foremost. Everybody’s got tons of family stories, and the real gift for me was that it made audience members reflect on their own family stories in their own journeys. And the importance of those stories that come up every time there are gatherings, weddings, baby showers, funerals or births, etc.”

“Bone Hill” is a musical work for theater created by Redbone and Aaron Whitby, her longtime collaborator and husband, that was originally commissioned by Joe’s Pub and The Public Theater as part of the New York Voices artists’ initiative and was co-commissioned by the Lincoln Center David Rubenstein Atrium.

“Bone Hill: The Concert” is a new musical work for theater created and developed by librettist/composers Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby at Joe’s Pub and the Public Theater, as part of the New York Voices artists’ initiative.
Courtesy photo

The concert follows the journey of Red, a woman returning to her homeland in the Black Mountain and coal mines of Kentucky where her family has lived for centuries. As a contemporary multi-racial Cherokee/Shawnee and African American family, they are bonded to their culture, identity, and the mountain despite its violent past and the ever-changing laws of the land that attempt to extinguish them.

“What I love about theater is it’s the one area that you can capture a moment in time or a piece of history,” she said. “And it can be, a day and a night and then the following morning; or it can be a week, or it can be a saga and three trilogies. But you can encapsulate a moment of a family story in and whatever time that you need, that you decide to do when you’re creating the piece.”

True to Redbone’s heritage and style, with “Bonehill” she takes the audience on a musical journey through traditional Cherokee chants and lullabies to bluegrass and blues, country, gospel, jazz, rock and roll, rhythm ‘n’ blues, and funk.

“I feel that the one thing that still resonates physically and emotionally with people is music. Music makes you feel things, whether there are words or not,” she said. “You can have complete silence and go for a walk on a trail, and there is music from the water hitting the rocks. When you hear the birds, there’s more music around you that resonates with your body. I think music is the one field where we still have a fighting chance to be able to share some important, powerful, profound messages.”

Martha Redbone incorporates traditional Cherokee chants and lullabies to bluegrass and blues, country, gospel, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm ‘n’ blues, and funk in her shows.
OzArts Nashville/Courtesy photo

Originally from Harlan County, Kentucky, she wants to tell deeper tales than that what has been commonly depicted in art and media about the region. She tackles issues of racial dynamics between Native and African American, Native American and white, stories from the perspective of the women and the lives of people of color living in Appalachia, their culture and music.

“One of the main misconceptions about Harlan County and Appalachia is that there are no people of color in those mountains. That’s the number one,” she said. “I was talking to someone yesterday who was talking about the ‘Harlan County USA’ documentary, and they said they thought that all the miners were white. They had no idea that there were any miners who were black or anything else. People are very literal. If you have a documentary out there depicting that, they think that’s it.”

But most importantly, she said, she wants to remind people of the origins of the people of the land who came before in hopes of saving it for future generations.

“I wanted to celebrate the beauty of the land and the original caretakers of that land, the Cherokee/Shawnee people in Appalachia and Black Mountain,” she said. “That’s important. Those were my ancestors that were there and looked after that land and planted those trees. Ancient Cherokee burial mounds are all throughout those hills there. Those are things that people don’t know or talk about.”

Martha Redbone closes out The Wheeler’s winter season with “Bonehill: The Concert” on April 21.
Kevin Yatarola/Courtesy photo

Redbone is passionate about continuing her educational work off the stage, as well.

She is an ambassador for Native and African American youth and guest lectures on subjects ranging from indigenous rights to the role of the arts in politics and Native American identity at many institutions, including New York University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

She includes workshops and motivational talks with grade school children as part of her touring schedule on reservations, including Red Lake, Minnesota; Cherokee, North Carolina; Yuma, Arizona; and Menominee, Wisconsin.

She is also contracted by The Department of Indian Education–Louisiana, LaFourche Parish, and teaches a Southeastern traditional singing workshop for the United Houma Nation’s Bayou Healers Cultural Enrichment Camp.

Martha Redbone celebrates her Appalachian, Native and African-American heritage.
Felicite Robichaux/Courtesy photo

She will continue her educational work while in Aspen.

In conjunction with the performance, Wheeler programs administrator Malia Machado has coordinated an outreach event at Aspen Country Day School for grades K-5 on Friday, April 21. This cultural exchange workshop will include Southeastern social dances with call-and-response-style singing and storytelling. Students will be invited to participate in a “no-pressure” fun vocal workshop in which they will learn some of the traditional music of Redbone’s ancestral Eastern Cherokee and Bayou tribes in the Southeast, known for its influences stemming from Native and African American shared histories. 

“I teach Indian education through and mentorship through music,” she said. “Young people want to know because they are not taught these things. I’m not here to preach to anyone or to tell anyone how to think. All I want to do is open things that people may or may have not heard about, about how we came to be, and how we have our resilience and say, yes, it is possible to be multiracial and multicultural and still hold on to who you are.”