Your nightly entertainment guide to New Year’s week in Aspen
December 21, 2017
Your daytime agenda is likely already set if you're on vacation in Aspen for the wild week between Christmas and New Year's Day: ski all day, après, hot tub, dinner. There are variations on that template, of course, but that's most likely what you're here to do.
From there, your choices get a little bit harder to make as you peruse the nightly menu of entertainment options. You can dance as the biggest DJs in the world spin onstage, or see classic rock and jazz shows, or you can catch up on Oscar-contending movies or hit art gallery openings. Or you can try to do it all.
These are your best bets for entertainment or getting a cultural fix after the lifts stop spinning.
TUESDAY, DEC 26
The proudly famous and infamous pop artist Mr. Brainwash is roaring into Aspen for an exhibition of his work showing at the Cha Cha Gallery in the evening and hosting a concert by his fellow Frenchman, the DJ Cedric Gervais, at Belly Up at 10 p.m. The mysterious and flamboyant videographer-turned-artist was made world famous in the Banksy documentary "Exit Through Gift Shop."
On the more low-key side of things, Aspen Film's Academy Screenings is hosting an evening Ben Stiller double-bill featuring the actor's acclaimed performance in "Brad's Status" (5 p.m.) and "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)" (8 p.m.).
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And for families, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies hosts its annual winter open house, with free snowshoe tours, crafts and bird-watching (3:30 to 6 p.m.)
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 27
Academy Screenings is hosting a rare opportunity to see Dee Rees' epic "Mudbound" (8 p.m. Wheeler Opera House) on the big screen. The film, about a black family and a white family living on a farm in rural Mississippi during and after World War II, has been hailed as a classic. But its distribution by Netflix has left it with an extremely limited release in theaters, where it was made to be seen.
Late night, the place to be is Belly Up for a headlining set by the superstar DJ Dillon Francis (10 p.m.)
THURSDAY, DEC. 28
Two big concerts share top billing in Aspen: for the younger set, Diplo, the DJ and producer whose fingerprints were on just about every hit hip-hop and pop song in 2017, plays a sold-out show at Belly Up (10 p.m.); for classic rock fans, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas takes the stage at the Wheeler with hits from the "White Rabbit" era of Jefferson Airplane to the '80s earworm "We Built This City" (7:30 p.m.).
FRIDAY, DEC. 29
The Tony-winning actress and three-time Grammy winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater begins a two-day, four-show run at the JAS Café at the Aspen Cooking School, playing a mix of jazz standards and R&B songs from her widely acclaimed new album "Memphis…Yes, I'm Ready" (7 and 9:15 p.m.)
Across town, electronic music duo (and ski movie soundtrack regulars) Odesza continues the stellar run of DJs at Belly Up (10 p.m.). It's sold out, but tickets are selling on the secondary market (and if price isn't an issue you can also see Odesza headline the Aspen Art Museum's "The Now" benefit on Thursday, Dec. 28).
SATURDAY, DEC. 30
Magician and "curator of impossible magic" Jason Latimer promises to wow with two family-friendly shows of uncanny feats at the Wheeler Opera House (4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.). And over in the West End at Paepcke Auditorium, Academy Screenings closes its festival with a double-bill of likely-to-be-nominated films about women seeking revenge and justice with Diane Kruger in "In the Fade" (5 p.m.) and Frances McDormand in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (8 p.m.).
SUNDAY, DEC. 31
Every place with a roof and four walls is throwing a party for New Year's Eve in Aspen, of course, and the annual bonfire party in Wagner Park, too, will be packed for the fireworks at 8 p.m. and midnight. There's a new option to ring in the new year with a dose of culture, as the Aspen Art Museum hosts its first New Year's Eve party and midnight rooftop toast (ticket options include full bar and dinner). For the big concerts this New Year's, we've got the legendary Jane's Addiction back at Belly Up (the second show of a two-night run) and the bluegrass jam-band the Infamous Stringdusters playing the Wheeler Opera House (which also boasts one of the best fireworks-watching spots in town from its lobby bar).
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