Your entertainment guide to New Year’s Week in Aspen
If there’s one obligatory cultural experience of this big holiday week it is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room “Where the Lights in My Heart Go,” free and open to the public at the Aspen Art Museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
If you’re visiting Aspen for New Year’s week, you’ve probably seen the “Relax, It’s Aspen” bumper stickers around town. But making sense of the dizzying daily menu of entertainment options can be, well, not relaxing.
So we’re keeping it simple here, with a daily rundown of best bets on the cultural calendar, from family fare to late-night dance parties after the lifts stop spinning and the sun goes down.
THURSDAY, DEC. 26
• After a year as one of the most talked-about contemporary artists in America, Mickalene Thomas will close 2019 by opening the solo exhibition “découverte” at the Baldwin Gallery as it closes its 25th anniversary year. A reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and the show hangs through Feb. 7.
• On the famly front, Acrobats of Cirque-Tacular return to the Wheeler Opera House for shows of winter-themed circus acts.
• And late night, the place to be is Belly Up, where the formerly anonymous superstar DJ and vocalist Zhu headlines.
FRIDAY, DEC. 27
• “Saturday Night Live” castmembers Mikey Day and Alex Moffat (they’re the duo who spoofs Eric and Donald Trump Jr.) headline a sold-out Wheeler Opera House, in what’s becoming an annual tradition of “SNL” stars playing the historic theater during the show’s Chirstmas hiatus (Melissa Villasenor performed last year).
• The 1990s pop titans Third Eye Blind, touring on the well-received new album “Screamer,” play the first of two sold-out nights at Belly Up.
SATURDAY, DEC. 28
• The big après-ski event of the day is The Next at the Aspen Art Museum, the intimate annual cocktail and caviar party — there’s be an ice bar, Champagne, DJ, silent auction and access to the Kusama Infinity Mirror Room.
• Down the street on Thursday evening, the Cha Cha Gallery is debuting a new Salvador Dali exhibition, continuing its yearslong tradition of splashy holiday shows from the likes of Mr. Brainwash and Anthony Hopkins.
• And on the family-friendly front, the magician Adam Trent — the Boulder native-turned magic star from Broadway’s “The Illusionists” and “America’s Got Talent” — does a holiday-themed magic show at the Wheeler with two seatings.
SUNDAY, DEC. 29
• The big one this night is a sold-out, co-headlining club set from the EDM superstars Bob Moses and Nora En Pure at Belly Up.
MONDAY, DEC. 30
• It’s Ajax Cup day on Aspen Mountain, as the annual fundraising celebrity ski race celebrates its 10th anniversary as the premier fundraising event of the holiday week. Raising funds for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard club, the race down Little Nell pairs pros and celebrities such as Bode Miller, Alex Ferreira and Antonio Banderas.
• Flume starts his hotly anticipated two-night New Year’s stand at Belly Up, with the Aussie DJ and producer closing out a huge year that included his “Hi This is Flume” mixtape and a notorious Burning Man set.
TUESDAY. DEC. 31
• This is the night that made Aspen an international nightlife mecca, with parties in seemingly every structure in town for the furry boots and bubbles set and the duct tape and beer bums alike. There’s a $20 cover party at the Red Onion and a $12,000 “Cliquiot Cats” experience on Aspen Mountain and everything in between. The center of the action for the under-21 crowd is the Wagner Park bonfire and, of course, no matter where you end up, everybody’s eyes will be on the fireworks above Aspen Mountain at 8 p.m. and midnight.
• The new entrant into the New Year’s Eve party docket is W Aspen, which is going big with a party DJ’d by Icona Pop, the Swedish duo behind “I Love It.”
• Colorado’s own Yonder Mountain String Band headlines the Wheeler Opera House, in a bluegrass/jam band alternative to the electronica-heavy offerings at the night’s other big shows at Belly Up and W.
• And over in Snowmass, there are two parties in the Viceroy, a torchlight parade down Fanny Hill at 6 p.m., a “Roaring ’20s”-themed party in Snowmass Base Village (21 and older) and fireworks above the mountain at 10 p.m.
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April has been decreed, for the first time, as “Sonoma County Wine Month” by the vintners and it is a righteous idea, one that should have legs long into the future.