An Autumn of Arts
With the shuttering of the Double Diamond, cries that Aspen’s nightlife is dead or seriously close to being so are echoing across the valley. But you certainly wouldn’t know it by the arts offerings this fall. Off-season opened with a big bang with a show by G. Love & Special Sauce at the St. Regis Aspen ballroom, a space that hasn’t seen a rock show in years. The Wheeler Opera House will not be quite as rocking but will be filled with the sounds of folk, jazz, Cajun and South African styles. Smaller venues will also host some big names this fall.In the visual arts, the focus is on local talent. But some of those are prominent names, including late photographers Nicholas DeVore III and Ferenc Berko. And the Aspen Art Museum’s Roaring Fork Open, another show of local artists, is always a treasure chest of the imagination.There will be movies galore, headed by Aspen Filmfest’s 25th anniversary festival and a full schedule of Wheeler Films. There’s theater up and down the valley.We can only hope that the winter arts schedule shapes up so well. Here’s a look at what’s coming in the so-called off-season.Wheeler Films, numerous presentations through off-season, Wheeler Opera HouseWith mainstream Hollywood movies getting bigger and worse, and the quality fare reserved for the last two months of the year, the Wheeler Film Series’ selections are more and more of a relief.Through the rest of September, the Wheeler has “Camp” (Friday through Sunday, Sept. 19-21), a musical comedy set in a summer camp for Sondheim-worshipping geeks; “And Now Ladies and Gentlemen” (Monday through Wednesday, Sept. 22-24), starring Jeremy Irons as a thief on the run from one memorable location to another; “Owning Mahowny” (Thursday and Friday, Sept. 25-26), starring the amazing Philip Seymour Hoffman as a gambling addict trying to reverse his luck with a trip to Atlantic City; and “Respiro” (Sept. 27-29), the Grand Prize winner at the Cannes Critics’ Week, set on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.Look for additional titles to be announced throughout the fall.Road trips, tripper’s choiceDamn the rock slides and step on the pedal. There are some good reasons to hit the road.If you act fast, you can catch the Allman Brothers Band on Friday, Sept. 19, at Red Rocks, with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe opening. The Allmans, impressively, placed four members on the list of 100 best rock guitarists in a recent issue of Rolling Stone: Duane Allman, who was No. 2, Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Bruce Springsteen, whose lengthy tour with the E Street Band is winding up, plays Thursday, Sept. 25, at Mile High. Lyle Lovett, who has his first album of new songs in ages due this fall, plays with his Large Band Oct. 16 at the Buell Theatre. And Phil Lesh & Friends, who apparently have not called it quits in the face of the Dead’s ambitious touring, is at the Fillmore Auditorium Nov. 14-16. Phil is making it hard to pass on these shows: It is a Friday-through-Sunday run, and Gov’t Mule, led by Phil & Friends’ Warren Haynes, opens.Others worth considering: Aerosmith with KISS (Sept. 30, Fiddler’s Green); Michael Brecker Quartet (Oct. 1, Boulder Theater); Steve Winwood (Oct. 2, Fillmore); Spearhead with Garage a Trois (Oct. 4, Fillmore); Emmylou Harris with Buddy Miller (Oct. 11, Paramount Theatre); Fleetwood Mac (Oct. 11, Pepsi Center); Ani DiFranco (Oct. 16, Paramount Theatre); Primus (Oct. 21, Fillmore); Galactic (Oct. 28-29, Fox Theatre); Leftover Salmon with the Del McCoury Band (Oct. 31, Fillmore).Main Street Bakery Listening Room, every WednesdayLocal picker Sandy Munro’s idea to create a listening room in Aspen, at the Main Street Bakery, seems like a good one. An audience is being cultivated; musicians are lining up to play. And at the moment, it ranks as the best venue in town for local players.The Celtic/Old-Time Music open jam, held the first Wednesday of every month, is becoming a little happening, with all levels of players joining in. Two more big dates on the schedule: the Flying Dog Bluegrass Band plays Wednesday, Sept. 24, and Jimmy Ibbotson does his thing Oct. 8.Jill Cohn, Sept. 19, Steve’s Guitars, and Sept. 20, Centennial Park, Glenwood Springs Seattle singer-songwriter Jill Cohn has become a frequent downvalley visitor. This time, through, she’ll have copies of her new CD, “Seven Year Surrender” (though the CD isn’t officially released until next month). Cohn describes the new recording as “a little bit of a Nashville thing” and the “happy epilogue” to her “Window to the Wise” CD. Cohn will donate half the proceeds from the Carbondale gig to Steve’s Guitars. Jim Paussa, “Faces and Places of Basalt,” Friday, Sept. 26, Keating Fine ArtFor five years, local photographer Jim Paussa has been looking at Basalt’s people and landmarks. For the past year, he has been documenting the town extensively. Paussa calls this one-night exhibit “a snapshot of Basalt, Basalt today.” Afterward, it’s a townwide party along Midland Avenue.Nicholas DeVore III, through Oct. 1, with a reception Sept. 27, David Floria GalleryAn Aspen product, Nicholas DeVore III became a National Geographic photographer, noted for treading the line between fine art and photojournalism. This exhibit is made up of 12 early “greatest hits” of DeVore’s, taken in India, Chile, Japan, Iceland and Africa.A memorial for DeVore, who committed suicide in May, will be held at Paepcke Auditorium on Sept. 27. The Floria Gallery reception coincides with the memorial.Roaring Fork Jazz Party, Sept. 27-28, Silvertree HotelFor 28 years, local pianist Walt Smith has been throwing old-school jazz bashes in various valley venues. This year, the Roaring Fork Jazz Party lands in the Silvertree Hotel’s Cabaret Room, an ideal spot for acoustic jazz. Joining Smith are Bert Dahlander, Mark Gray, Ed Stephens, Al Herman, Walter Scott, Tom Kirk and Kathy Morrow-Gabriel. Aspen Filmfest, Sept. 30 through Oct. 5, various locations in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood SpringsFilmfest celebrates its silver anniversary with a look back to its roots in the ’70s. Filmfest ’03 will feature a panel discussion, with Richard Dreyfuss, Sydney Pollack, cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs and more, on filmmaking in the 1970s and will screen “Shampoo” and “The French Connection” in its Retrospective segment.Other highlights include new films by independent-film icons John Sayles (“Casa de Los Babys,” with a female ensemble cast of Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Steenburgen, Daryl Hannah, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lili Taylor) and Robert Altman (“The Company,” a narrative, behind-the-curtains look at the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, starring Neve Campbell); a screening of “Stander,” director Bronwen Hughes’ police drama set in early 1980s South Africa; and the presentation of the inaugural Emerging Artist Award to Peter Dinklage, as well as a screening of “The Station Agent,” starring Dinklage as a depressed man seeking solitude in a rural New Jersey train depot.For a full Filmfest program, go to http://www.aspenfilm.org.”Ferenc Berko: Seen, and Seen Again” and Roaring Fork Open, opening reception Oct. 9, Aspen Art MuseumFrom his arrival in Aspen to document the 1949 Goethe celebration, Ferenc Berko was a vital part of Aspen’s rebirth. The Hungarian-born photographer, who died in 2000, traveled the world and made significant innovations in color photography. For the Aspen Art Museum exhibit, Berko’s granddaughter, Mirte Mallory, selected some 30 works. Mallory will give a gallery talk on Oct. 9 at the opening reception.The Roaring Fork Open will provide more local color. The biennial, nonjuried show will feature the usual assortment of art by both established valley artists and newcomers. The exhibit will be supplemented by weekly Artists’ Chats on Thursday evenings.Sixth Annual Musical Tribute to John Denver, Oct. 10-12, and John Adams & Friends Do It Again, Oct. 13, Wheeler Opera HouseThe second week of October has taken on a distinctive character, as John Denver fans gather from around the world to remember the late Aspen singer. And there’s plenty for them to do here, as Denver’s bandmates and songwriting partners have been staging annual concerts to celebrate Denver’s music and spirit. All proceeds from the concerts go to Challenge Aspen, a local organization that gives people with mental and physical disadvantages recreational opportunities in Aspen.Also, local singer John Adams, who has made a career of playing Denver’s music, will assemble a group of the valley’s finest to pay tribute in song.BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Oct. 18, Wheeler Opera HouseLouisiana’s contributions to the musical world don’t end with the jazz and funk of New Orleans. Farther west is Cajun fiddle country, and for 30 years BeauSoleil has been leading the pack in playing the up-tempo dance music. Led by fiddler and singer Michael Doucet, the sextet is a regular winner of the Best Cajun Band award from New Orleans’ Offbeat magazine.Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Oct. 21, Wheeler Opera HouseSouth African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo earned a huge boost in profile when it appeared on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album. It was a well-deserved spotlight; the 10-piece vocal band makes music that is unique, spiritual and captivating.Warren Miller’s “Journey,” Oct. 24-25, Wheeler Opera HouseAnother winter coming, another ski film from Warren Miller, as has been the case for 54 years. Miller’s latest epic features footage that should be familiar to local downhillers: The crew shot on Aspen’s slopes for “Journey.” There’s also heli-skiing from Alaska, Austrian snowboard action and scenes from Chamonix, Valbruna, Chile and Morocco.Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Oct. 26, Wheeler Opera HouseWynton Marsalis is a statesman of jazz, renowned for his ambition, his fashion sense, even the occasional controversial statement. But above all, Marsalis can play. And while the big band he leads, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, seems his primary vehicle, Marsalis shines even brighter in small combos, like the quintet he will lead into the Wheeler. Expect brilliance.Aspen Community Theatre, “Mame,” Nov. 6-9 and 12-15, Aspen District TheatreIn Jerry Herman’s “Mame,” which debuted on Broadway in 1966, young, parentless Patrick is sent to live with his Aunt Mame. Mame turns out to be a life-embracing party animal, and Patrick is along for the up-and-down ride that is her life. Memorable songs include the title track and “We Need a Little Christmas.”Pat Holloran, who directed ACT’s production of “My Fair Lady,” returns to direct a cast that includes Nina Gabianelli as Mame, Jeannie Walla as Vera, Becky Dillon as Agnes Gooch, Tim Beirne as young Patrick and Travis Lane as the older Patrick. Also participating are music director and conductor David Dyer, set designer Tom Ward, choreographer John Goss, costume designer Kathleen Albert and props manager Beth Oden. Rita Hunter and Jody Hecht co-produce.Mollie O’Brien, Rich Moore and Dan Sadowsky, Nov. 14, Steve’s GuitarsColorado singer Mollie O’Brien made a lasting impression in two recent appearances at the Wheeler Opera House – this past spring in a duo with her brother Tim O’Brien and before that with her own band. Moving to cozy Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale, she will be joined by her husband, Rich Moore, and local picker Dan Sadowsky.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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An inspirational piece of 20th century artist Herbert Bayer is being installed on the staircase next to Aspen City Hall by his granddaughter, Koko.