ATW Agenda: Oscar Season in Aspen

Our picks for the best events in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, Dec. 9-15


The annual feast of the awards season’s best is back this winter. Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings run Dec. 12-16 at the Wheeler Opera House and Isis Theatre (yes, earlier than the usual Christmas-New Year’s week run and the 2019 January experiment). It includes the most highly touted films of the Oscar campaign season, including Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza,” Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter” and Adam Mackay’s “Don’t Look Up” along with the mountaineering must-see “Torn” (Dec. 13) and critical darlings like “Drive My Car” (Dec. 16).


Longtime Old Snowmass-based painter Michael Kinsley is exhibiting 20 paintings of Western Colorado and Southern Utah in the new solo exhibition “Synthesis” at the Art Base in Basalt (opening reception Dec. 10, exhibition runs through Jan. 8). It spans the prolific painter’s more traditional landscape work to his Thomas Hart Benton-inspired and more abstracted “fluid landscapes.”


A local holiday tradition running 45 years, the Aspen Choral Society’s production of Handel’s “Messiah” is back after a one-year pandemic break, with performance Dec. 10-12 in Aspen, Basalt and Glenwood Springs. Along with the world-class performance the valley has come to expect under director Paul Dankers, this year’s “Messiah” includes several new choral movements by composer Gerald Cohen to be incorporated in the performances.


A sleeper candidate for one of the best concerts of the early winter season, Belly Up is hosting The Dead South for a headlining set on Saturday, Dec. 11. The four-piece acoustic ensemble brings a rock energy to bluegrass and folk traditions, trying to chart new territory in with four-part harmony, mandolin, banjo.