Aspen Times Weekly: Current Events |

Aspen Times Weekly: Current Events

Aspen Cares will blends fashion and dance theater to raise funds for mental and sexual health on Saturday, March 21.
Aspen Times file |


It’s a fashion show. It’s dance theater. It’s for a good cause. And now it’s called Aspen Cares.

The annual theatrical fashion show formerly known as the Aspen AIDS Benefit returns to Belly Up on Saturday, March 21.

The event, a spinoff of the long-running Telluride AIDS Benefit, features choreographed movement from volunteer models on a catwalk with less of the typical strutting and turning, and more high-energy dancing. Models show off donated fashions from dozens of designers, but also entertain the less fashion-conscious in the crowd.

Telluride’s AIDS Benefit was founded 1994 to raise funds for a local fashion designer with AIDS. It transformed into an annual event, raising money for AIDS and sexual health-related causes. It expanded to Aspen in 2012.

Aspen’s version has expanded its beneficiaries to include the mental health services of the Aspen Hope Center for the 2015 rendition, dubbed Aspen Cares. Specifically, Saturday’s show will support the Hope Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program, which offers 24-hour service to locals with high-risk mental health issues. Remaining funds this year will go to local resources for HIV testing and education, as well as the Telluride AIDS Benefit.

Along with the theatrical fashion show, Aspen Cares includes a live auction boasting items like trips to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and Art Basel Miami Beach, and a silent auction at Casa Tua, on Sunday, March 22, hosts a trunk sale of the clothing and accessories featured on-stage the night before.

Reserved seating is sold out, but at press time, reserved tables ($2,000), runway ($85), and general admission ($35) tickets were still available at the Belly Up box office and


His accent is British but his soulful vocals and swampy piano licks are pure New Orleans. Jon Cleary, the current king of the Crescent City’s piano funk scene, will play the JAS Café at the Little Nell on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21.

“He’s one of the greatest and we love him,” says Jazz Aspen Snowmass director Jim Horowitz, who is bringing Cleary back for his second run at the JAS Café.

Cleary is playing four shows at the club – in 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. sets – with his trio. Tickets are $35 to $45 and available at


Two plays open on stage in Aspen this weekend that blend comedy and drama with outstanding local casts.

The Hudson Reed Ensemble, kicking off its 10th anniversary season, brings Christopher Durang’s award-winning “Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike” to the Black Box Theatre, opening Friday, March 20 and running through Sunday, March 29 (Tickets are $25, available at the door and in advance at

And the Aspen Fringe Festival is bringing back last year’s “Venus in Fur” for a one-night stand March 22 at the Wheeler Opera House, with David Ledingham and Nikki Boxer returning in the leads. If you missed it last summer, don’t make that mistake again this weekend. Tickets are $35, available at the Wheeler box office and

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