Aspen Times Most Anticipated Arts Events, Summer 2018 |

Aspen Times Most Anticipated Arts Events, Summer 2018

The Aspen Music Festival and School's 2018 summer season will run from July 28 to Aug. 19 and include more than 400 concerts and events.
Alex Irvin/Courtesy photo

Aspenites take their leisure time quite seriously, as most anybody who ventures onto the Roaring Fork Valley’s adrenaline-soaked trails can attest.

The town’s art-and-culture diet is no less intense. And, truth be told, keeping up requires some serious planning. The summer months are so packed with world-class offerings — from symphonies to cinema to several concerts by members of the Marley family — that if you blink you might miss a life-altering experience.

You also must make some hard choices. You can’t do it all (though many of us try). For example, on one Saturday in August, you might catch the closing performances of Theatre Aspen’s “Godspell” or “Ragtime,” or go dance along with Matt and Kim at their Belly Up show, or you might catch the Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride with his trio at the JAS Café or, if you’re venturing downvalley, you might celebrate The Temporary’s “first birthday” party at Willits or the Art Base’s annual gala in Basalt. That’s just Aug. 18. But most every night between now and Labor Day presents such a bounty, and similar tough choices.

To help you sort through the options, we’ve put together our seasonal “Most Anticipated” list, cataloging the best of Aspen’s summer arts offerings. Now open up your calendar and get ready for an epic season.

Most Anticipated: CLASSICAL MUSIC

What: “A Decade in Concert”

Where: Benedict Music Tent

When: July 30

Why: This world premiere event — set to tour the world after its bow at the Aspen Music Festival and School — pairs clips from nine Disney films from the last decade with live performances of their most popular songs. Conducted by Disney’s own Richard Kaufman and performed by the best and brightest of Music School students, these Disney favorites (including, of course, “Let It Go” from “Frozen”) promise to pack the tent with families and kids as young as 3.

AND DON’T FORGET: Yeethoven at Aspen Ideas Festival (June 27) … Jupiter String Quartet at Harris Concert Hall (June 28) … Pianist Conrad Tao with the Aspen Chamber Symphony at Benedict Music Tent (June 29) Daniil Trifonov piano recital at Harris Concert Hall (July 10) and with the Aspen Festival Orchestra at Benedict Music Tent (July 15) … “The Barber of Seville” at the Wheeler Opera House (July 12-16) … “Homage to Stravinsky” by the Aspen Festival Orchestra at Benedict Music Tent (July 22) … Stephen Hartke cello concerto by the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra at Benedict Music Tent (July 25) … Harris Concert Hall 25th Anniversary with violinist Robert McDuffie (July 28) … “Trouble in Tahiti” and Charlie Chaplin’s “A Dog’s Life” at Harris Concert Hall (Aug. 2) … “An American in Paris,” Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra at Benedict Music Tent (Aug. 15) … Seraphic Fire at Benedict Music Tent (Aug. 17) and Harris Concert Hall (Aug. 20 & 22) … Vocalists Tamara Wilson and Ryan McKinny with the Aspen Festival Orchestra at Benedict Music Tent (Aug. 19).

Most Anticipated: DANCE

What: An Evening with Joyce Yang and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Where: Aspen District Theatre

When: Aug. 10 and 11

Why: Pairing one of the world’s great concert pianists with the versatile dancers of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the ingenious choreographer Jorma Elo produced one of the more astounding premieres in the dance company’s history. The collaborative “Half/Cut/Split” blew away a local audience when it premiered here in March. It’s back for a two-night encore during the height of the summer classical season: a night of live piano by Yang accompanying “Half/Cut/Split,” Jiří Kylián’s “Return to a Strange Land” and Nicolo Fonte’s “Where We Left Off.”

AND DON’T FORGET: “Readymade” by ka·nei·see collective at Aspen Fringe Festival, Aspen District Theatre (June 8) … World premiere by Bryan Arias at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Aspen District Theatre (July 7) … Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at Aspen District Theatre (July 21) … Pilobolus at Aspen District Theatre (July 28).

Most Anticipated: FILM

What: “La Cinema, La Musique”

Where: Isis Theater & The Temporary at Willits

When: Aug. 6 to 27

Why: Blockbusters and popcorn fare and superheroes usually take over local cinemas in the summer, as the programming at Aspen Film tapers off between its big spring and fall festivals. Not so this year, as the nonprofit rolls out a beefed-up summer of indie and foreign titles including this four-part series exploring French film and inspired by the Aspen Music Fest’s Paris-themes season: “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (Aug. 6), “Un Coeur en Hiver” (Aug 13), “La Vie en Rose” (Aug. 21) and “Tous Les Matins du Monde” (Aug. 27).

AND DON’T FORGET: “The Rider,” Isis Theater (June 19) … “I’m Not There,” Aspen Art Museum (June 20) … “Far From the Tree,” Spotlight Health (June 22) … “The Tale,” Spotlight Health (June 23) … Ava Duvernay at the Aspen Ideas Festival (June 24-30) … “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” Anderson Ranch (June 27) … “RBG,” Isis (July 3) … “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami,” The Temporary (July 9) … “The End of the Tour,” Aspen Art Museum (July 11) … “Faces Places,” Aspen Art Museum (Aug. 9) … “Nico 1968,” The Temporary (Aug. 6) … “City Lights,” Anderson Ranch (Aug. 29).

Most Anticipated: LITERATURE

Who: Mohsin Hamid

Where: Hotel Jerome, Aspen Summer Words

When: June 19

Why: In April, Hamid won the inaugural Aspen Words Literary Prize for his spellbinding novel “Exit West.” The Pakistani author grapples with the global refugee crisis in this timely, necessary book that mixes current events and tragedy with humor and romance. He’ll address Aspen at the Summer Words Benefit, in conversation with new Aspen Institute President Dan Porterfield.

AND DON’T FORGET: Novelist Anthony Marra at Aspen Summer Words, (June 18 and 21) … “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly at Aspen Summer Words (June 18 and 20) … Memoirist Beth Nguyen at Aspen Summer Words (June 18) … “Guns, Germs & Steel” author Jared Diamond at Aspen Ideas Festival (June 24-30) … Environmentalist and author Paul Hawken at Aspen Ideas Festival (June 26).

Most Anticipated: POP MUSIC

Who: Lionel Richie

Where: Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience in Snowmass Town Park

When: Aug. 31

Why: The timeless crooner behind “All Night Long,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Hello” and “Dancing on the Ceiling” — and distinguished “American Idol” judge — finally makes his Aspen debut in the hottest concert of the summer. With local favorite Michael Franti opening, no less.

AND DON’T FORGET: The Flaming Lips at Belly Up (June 8) … The Drunken Hearts at Snowmass Summer Concert Series, Fanny Hill (June 9) … Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the JAS Café, Cooking School of Aspen (June 15 and 16) … Ziggy Marley at Belly Up (June 18) … Gomez “Bring It On” 20th anniversary tour at Belly Up (June 19) … Brother’s Keeper with Jeff Pevar at American Renewable Energy Day, Fanny Hill (June 21) … Grace Kelly at the JAS Café, Aspen Art Museum (June 21) … A-Trak at Belly Up (June 21) … Leslie Odom at the Jazz Aspen June Experience, Benedict Music Tent (June 22) … Lyle Lovett at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience (June 23) … Mary Chapin Carpenter at Belly Up (June 24) … Kiari “Offset” Cephus at Aspen Ideas Festival (June 28) … Lost Kings and special guests at Belly Up (June 29) … Ray Charles Tribute with Take 6 and special guests at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience (June 30) … Thievery Corporation at Belly Up (July 4 & 5) … Glen David Andrews at Snowmass Summer Concert Series (July 5) … Keller Williams’ PettyGrass at Belly Up (July 6) … moe. at Belly Up (July 11) … ZZ Ward at Belly Up (July 13) … Igor Butman and Fantine at the JAS Café, Aspen Art Museum (July 14) … Ann Wilson at Belly Up (July 15) … Eric Johnson at Belly Up (July 16) … Michael McDonald at Belly Up (July 19) … Django Festival All-Stars at The Temporary (July 21) … The Spin Doctors at the Aspen Deaf Camp Benefit, Fanny Hill (July 21) … Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening at Belly Up (July 23) … Beats Antique at Belly Up (July 25) … Melissa Etheridge at Belly Up (July 26) … Chris Isaak at Belly Up (July 28) … Sammy Miller and the Congregation at The Temporary (Aug. 4) … Nicki Parrot Tribute to Peggy Lee at the JAS Café, Aspen Art Museum (Aug. 10) … Sleigh Bells at Belly Up (Aug. 14) … The Bronx Horns: Tribute to Dizzie’s 100th at the JAS Café, Aspen Art Museum (Aug 16) … The Kills at Belly Up (Aug. 16) … Dianne Reeves at the JAS Café, Aspen Art Museum (Aug. 17) … Matt and Kim at Belly Up (Aug. 18) … The Temporary’s First Birthday Party with Davina & The Vagabonds at The Temporary (Aug. 18) … Christian McBride & the JAS Academy Big Band (Aug. 19) … Rodrigo y Gabriela at Belly Up (Aug 20) … Stephen Marley at Belly Up (Aug. 27) … Lionel Richie at Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, Snowmass Town Park (Aug. 31) … Boz Scaggs at Belly Up (Aug. 31) … Gary Clark, Jr. at Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience (Sept. 2) … Lake Street Dive at Belly Up (Sept. 7).

Most Anticipated: THEATER

What: “Ragtime”

Where: Hurst Theatre in Rio Grande Park

When: June 26 to Aug. 18

Why: An ensemble cast of Broadway vets, regional theater actors and student apprentices will lead the largest summer company in Theatre Aspen’s 35-year history as it stages the American epic “Ragtime.” An acclaimed musical based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, this cultural cross-section of America 100-some years ago speaks passionately to the divisions — and the potential — with the nation still in 2018.

AND DON’T FORGET: “A Doll’s House, Part 2” at Aspen Fringe Festival, Black Box Theatre (June 9 & 10) … “Flight of Fancy” at The Temporary (June 23) … “The Christians” at Aspen Chapel (July 5 & 8) … Consensual Improv at Thunder River Theatre Company (July 13) … “Godspell” at Theatre Aspen (July 14-Aug. 18) … “Our Town” at Theatre Aspen (July 20-Aug. 4).

Most Anticipated: VISUAL ART

Who: Ai Weiwei

Where: Anderson Ranch Arts Center

When: July 18 and 19

Why: This historic visit to the Snowmass Village campus by one of the most acclaimed artists and most influential thinkers alive is, unsurprisingly, already sold out and at capacity. Anderson Ranch has a waiting list going for Ai Weiwei’s free talk July 18 and for his appearance at the Ranch’s Recognition Dinner on July 19. But you can still take part, as the Ranch will livestream the free talk simultaneously on campus (the Ranch is also in discussions to have Ai’s talk broadcast live beyond campus, as well).

AND DON’T FORGET: Larry Bell’s “Aspen Blues” at Aspen Art Museum (through Dec. 16) … Chris Erickson’s “Binary Opposition” at The Art Base, Basalt (June 8-July 6) … Skye Gallery grand opening (June 9) … “Freak Power: Hunter Thompson’s Campaign for Sheriff” at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum (June 20-Sept. 29) … Frank Gehry at Aspen Ideas Festival (June 24-30) … Jay DeFeo’s “The Ripple Effect” at Aspen Art Museum (June 29-Oct. 28) … Cheryl Donegan’s “GRLZ + VEILS” at Aspen Art Museum (June 29-Dec. 16) … Tara Donovan at Anderson Ranch Arts Center (July 12) … Ajax Axe’s “The Palace of the Beast” at Skye Gallery (opening July 13) … Alison Knowles’ “Proposition #2: Make a Salad” at Aspen Art Museum (July 15) … ArtAspen, July 27-29 … “Name Unseen” silent auction at The Art Base, Aug. 10-18.