Aspen Times Weekly cover story: This fall, try a little bit of everything
A couple of new festival-like events. An arena-scale rock concert. Belly Up cramming every calendar slot with music (much of it played in tribute to the people who originally made it). A top-notch singer in an intimate space. Esteemed regional writers toting their new books to town. Loads of movies. One of TV’s greatest comedy writers. Poetry, dance, visual arts and stage classics old and new.Yep – “You can’t do it all” now applies to the off-season.Here’s what’s happening in the arts and culture this fall in the Roaring Fork Valley.• Group exhibition, showing through Sept. 28, Harvey/Meadows GalleryDoug Casebeer, director of the ceramic and sculpture programs at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, is part of a group exhibition that opens today at the Harvey/Meadows Gallery with a reception at 5 p.m. and a talk at 6 p.m. Also showing are fellow ceramists Chris Gustin and Tara Wilson, and sculptor/wood-block printer John Buck.• Anderson Ranch Staff Exhibition, showing through Oct. 26, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass VillageThe creative atmosphere at Anderson Ranch might be even thicker than you know. Even staff members on the administrative side tend to be artists: Nancy Wilhelms, the director of marketing, is a photographer with a deep collection of rodeo images; David Stassi, the chef at the Ranch’s caf, has exhibited his satirical work at LivAspenArt.• Wheeler Films, various dates throughout the fallAs usual, the Wheeler Film series comes to life in the fall, filling in with the smaller, independent movies that passed over Aspen during the summer. Highlights include “Robot and Frank” (Thursday, Sept. 20), a father-and-son-and-robot comedy starring Frank Langella as an elderly man who may be losing touch with reality, and co-starring Peter Sarsgaard and Susan Sarandon; and “Samsara” (Sept. 21-23), a visual poem filmed over a period of five years on 70mm film, from the creators of “Baraka” and “Chronos.”Stay tuned for more films in October and November.Other films set for release this fall: “Hello I Must Be Going” (currently in limited release), which was the opening night film at Sundance, about a recent divorcee living with her parents and hooking up with a 19-year-old; “The Master” (opening nationally on Sept. 21), the first film by Paul Thomas Anderson since 2007’s “There Will be Blood,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a returning World War II veteran searching for faith; “Looper” (Sept. 28), a futuristic action-gangster film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt; “This Must Be the Place” (Nov. 2), starring Sean Penn as a 50-something Irish rock star who returns to the U.S. to seek revenge on his father’s behalf; Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (Nov. 16), starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the president during the Civil War;
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• Laugh in Lions, Saturday, Sept. 22, Lions Park, BasaltA flock of local comedians get 10-minute slots in this new event, which raises funds for the Basalt Chamber of Commerce. The funny people should be pulling out their ‘A’ material: there’s a $350 jury prize and a $100 audience prize at stake. A beer garden should make the laughs roll a little easier; there’s also food prepared by the Lions Club and music by local band Poser.• The Meeting, Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 27-29, various locationsFor the eighth year, the Aspen Skiing Co. gathers filmmakers, athletes, gear manufacturers and more to strategize, party and contemplate the winter to come. The main event are a couple handfuls of new works by the top names in outdoor-sports film, including Teton Gravity Research and Matchstick Productions.• Plates & Palates, Sept. 28, Red Brick Center for the ArtsFoodies and arties unite. The Red Brick, sensing the community was overstuffed on auction events, canceled its usual summer auction in favor of a food-oriented arts feast. Forty local ceramists and painters, including Marcia Fusaro, Peggy Mink, Doug Casebeer, Tammie Lane and Diane Kenney, were invited to create a piece based on food. Yes, those works will be auctioned off, with bidding starting at $100, but there’s much more. Restaurants and caterers, including Sabra’s Deli, Bangkok Happy Bowl, Creperie du Village, Takah Sushi and Conundrum Catering, will contribute the dinner. Demonstrations will be tied to the theme: food sculpting, cake decorating, knife skills. Topping it off, the Red Brick staff has been hard at work on an original cocktail recipe: the Bricktini.• “Ghost-Writer,” Sept. 28 through Oct. 13, Thunder River Theatre, CarbondaleCarbondale’s Thunder River Theatre Company opens its season with “Ghost-Writer,” Michael Hollinger’s award-winning play about a playwright’s secretary who continues to write a script in progress after her employer dies. The production stars Valerie Haugen and Thunder River artistic director Lon Winston, and features Eileen Seeley.• Dick Carter, Sept. 29-30, Willits Town CenterDick Carter, a prominent local artist and one of the founders of the Aspen Art Museum, cleans out the inventory for a good cause. Carter will put hundreds of paintings, including his geometric works dating back to the ’70s, on sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Wyly Community Art Center. The last time he did this, five years ago, some 600 viewers showed up to have a look or make a purchase.• Belly Up, various dates through off-seasonLot of tribute being paid at Belly Up this off-season, but for the most part, these are tribute bands at a higher level of ambition and expertise.Topping the list has got to be Brit Floyd (Sept. 29), an offshoot of the immensely popular Australian Pink Floyd Show. The Aussie Floyd was known for staging Floyd tributes in arenas and at major festivals, complete with light show and inflatables. But Damian Darlington, who served as Aussie Floyd’s guitarist and music director for 17 years, told The Aspen Times he wanted to take things up a few notches. The new show, “A Foot in the Door,” inspired by the latest Pink Floyd greatest hits album, will feature the 23-minute “Echoes,” from the 1971 album “Meddle.” The show is at Red Rocks on Sept. 28; somehow they will squeeze it into the confines of Belly Up the following night.Also raising the bar on the tribute thing: Denver’s MTHDS playing the music of the Beastie Boys (Oct. 19); Colorado funk band Euforquestra performing the songs of Beck (Oct. 25); rock group Kinetix playing the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Oct. 26); and another Colorado funk group, the Motet, taking on Parliament-Funkadelic (Oct. 29). And of course, on Halloween, Danger Kitty plays the Highway to Hell Party. I’ll assume plenty of AC/DC.Those sticking to the Bob Dylan ideal that singers should write their own music: Big Freedia, the Queen of New Orleans bounce music, in her local debut (Thursday, Sept. 20); a different face of New Orleans, with the Stooges Brass Band (Sept. 21); singer-songwriter Ben Taylor (Sept. 25); reggae scion Stephen Marley (Sept. 28); guitaro bizarro Buckethead (Oct. 1); ’80s British New Wavers the Psychedelic Furs (Oct. 9); and electronic trio Beats Antique (Oct. 28).• Live Poetry Night, Sept. 30, Victoria’s Wine and Espresso BarCarbondale’s Karen Glenn is the featured reader at this Aspen Poets Society event; she’ll be reading from her new collection, “Night Shift.” The evening also features guitarist John Harrison and some open-mike poetry.• Aspen Filmfest, Oct. 2-7, in Aspen and CarbondaleThirty-four years in, Filmfest remains Aspen’s august autumn attraction. Filmfest seems right in synch with the season: low-key, a bit serious-minded, wonderful. Highlights of Filmfest 2012 include “Quartet,” the directorial debut of 75-year-old Dustin Hoffman; “Besa: The Promise,” a documentary about Albanian Muslims rescuing Jews during World War II, by former Basalt resident Norman Gershman; the Australian musical comedy “The Sapphires”; “Una Noche,” a Cuban film that earned three major awards at the Tribeca Film Festival; and a live event, Secrets of “The Simpsons,” featuring longtime “Simpsons” writer Mike Reiss. The program even includes two genuine thrillers: “Argo,” directed by and starring Ben Affleck, centered around the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis; and “Shadow Dancer,” starring Clive Owen and set in the last days of the Irish political troubles. “I don’t remember ever having two thrillers in the festival,” Laura Thielen, Aspen Film’s artistic director, said.• M. John Fayhee, Oct. 4, Explore BooksellersThe beer-soaked editor of Mountain Gazette (and former short-term reporter for The Aspen Times) returns to town to show off two new books: “The Colorado Mountain Companion,” a well-researched potpourri specifically designed to settle barstool arguments (e.g.: Aspen instituted the nation’s first smoking ban, in 1985, which applied only to restaurants; Fayhee fans probably regard this as the beginning of the end of impolite society); and “Smoke Signals,” a collection of his factually unreliable Mountain Gazette columns.• Bill Gruenberg: Art is Easy, with an opening reception on Friday, Oct. 12, Wyly Community Art CenterA solo exhibition of sculpture and paintings by Aspenite Bill Gruenberg.• Musical Tribute to John Denver, Oct. 12-13, Wheeler Opera HouseFor what is said to be the finale in the 15-year series, John Denver’s musical associates will gather to remember the late Aspen icon in song. Also added this year is Stories & Songs, on Oct. 11, with Mack Bailey, Pete Huttlinger, Steve Weisberg, Bill Danoff and others adding personal stories to the mix.• “Wood,” Oct. 16The two-CD set “Wood” documents the first-ever fully acoustic tour, this past winter, by Georgia jam-band Widespread Panic. You might remember that among the four cities the tour played in was Aspen, which caused a mad scramble for $350 tickets to the three Belly Up shows. “Wood” features four tracks from Aspen: “St. Louis,” “Time Waits,” “Tail Dragger,” and “Sell Sell,” a tune by the Animals’ Alan Price, which Panic played for the first time in Aspen.Some other albums scheduled for release: Aimee Mann’s “Charmer,” Dwight Yoakam’s “3 Pears,” Ryan Bingham’s “Tomorrowland” and Rickie Lee Jones’ “The Devil You Know” (all on Tuesday, Sept. 18); Django Django’s “Django Django,” Green Day’s “Uno,” Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “St. Peter & 57th” and Rumer’s “Boys Don’t Cry” (Sept. 25); Diana Krall’s “Glad Rag Doll” and Van Morrison’s “Born to Sing: No Plan B” (Oct. 2); Fitz & the Tantrums (title to be announced) and John Fogerty’s “Wrote a Song for Everyone” (Oct. 9); Donald Fagen, “Sunken Condos,” Trey Anastasio’s “Traveler” and Taylor Swift’s “Red” (Oct. 16); and Andrew Bird’s “Hands of Glory” and Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s “Psychedelic Pill” (Oct. 30).• Inaround, opening with a reception on Oct. 17, Aspen Chapel GalleryThis group exhibition of contemporary work leans heavily toward artists who are new to the Aspen Chapel Gallery. Among the newbies is Katie Ammons, who contributes work and also curated the show.• Steve Kimock, Oct. 17, PAC3, CarbondaleKimock might still be known best as the guitarist in some post-Grateful Dead projects, but that has hardly stopped him from pushing into other musical fields. Kimock’s current band promises to be funky, jazzy and exploratory. His mates are keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who has been a significant part of P-Funk and Talking Heads; bassist Andy Hess, formerly of Gov’t Mule; and drummer Wally Ingram, whose close association with Sheryl Crow shouldn’t obscure the fact that he’s also played with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon and Bruce Hornsby.Other PAC3 dates to jot down: Boulder-based songwriter-actor-comedian-director Stuart Davis (Friday, Sept. 21); downbeat singer Leon Redbone (Oct. 10); a night of punk with Atlanta’s Bastard Suns, plus Knock-Out and No Bueno (Oct. 12); The April Clark Show, featuring the ‘Bonedale journalist/comic (Oct. 13); and the return of Texas boogie-woogie piano queen Marcia Ball (Nov. 16).• Continental Drift, with an opening reception on Oct. 18, Aspen Art MuseumColorado, as seen by its artists – but don’t expect a Maroon Bells landscapes. The Aspen Art Museum partners with MCA Denver to present works by seven Colorado-based artists (none from the Aspen area, alas; they all come from the Front Range) who explore a sense of place through Colorado’s history, character and landscape. The exhibition, curated by the Aspen Art Museum’s Jacob Proctor and Nora Burnett Abrams from the Denver side, features film, sculpture, installation and painting, with an emphasis on the experimental.• Abigail Washburn, Oct. 22, Steve’s Guitars, CarbondaleBanjoist-singer Abigail Washburn has sold out the Wheeler Opera House with her Sparrow Quartet, been featured on the mainstage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Bonnaroo Festival and at the Beijing Olympics. Bringing her mix of American gospel, Chinese folk songs and bluegrass, and her exceptional voice, into tiny Steve’s Guitars could make for the event of the off-season.Other dates of note at Steve’s: the Saakumu Dance Troupe from Ghana settles in for a two-night stand, Sept. 27-28; Austin singer-songwriter Rebecca Loebe, a former contestant on “The Voice,” brings songs from her new album, “Circus Heart,” on Sept. 29; and guitarist-songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps, known for his mix of folk, jazz and acoustic blues, plays Oct. 3, on the heels of the release of his new album of spiritual songs and bottleneck guitar, “Brother Sinner and the Whale.”• Walking with the Dead, Oct. 27-28 and 31, Ute CemeteryA Halloween celebration centered around the genuine dead. Dean Weiler leads a walking, talking tour that is meant to educate more that spook. But the nearly abandoned Ute Cemetery is guaranteed to add a slight chill to the proceedings as Weiler tells the true tales of the Aspen pioneers buried there.• “Crazy For You,” Nov. 8-11 and 15-18, Aspen District TheatreAspen Community Theatre does its annual feat of significantly raising the bar on the concept of community theater. In its 37th year, ACT takes on Gershwin – or more specifically, “Crazy For You,” the 1992 musical comedy built around the songs of George and Ira Gerswhin: “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and other contributions to the Great American Songbook.Helping to bringing the Tony Award winner for Best Musical to life are a handful of ACT newcomers, including director and choreographer Jacqui Edelmann, a former professional dancer and a teacher at the Garden School in New Castle. Also new to the ACT stage are Lauren Koveleski, an Aspen Valley Hospital nurse who plays the spunky young Polly Baker, and Corey Simpson, as the theater impresario Bela Zangler. ACT veteran John Goss, director of the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, stars as the playboy Bobby Child, whose dream is to dance. Other familiar faces include Nina Gabianelli, Bob Moore and Lynnette Schlepp.• “Urinetown: The Musical,” Nov. 9-11 and 16-18, Glenwood Springs High SchoolGlenwood Springs-based Defiance Community Players perform “Urinetown: The Musical,” the 2001 Tony winner that satirizes the legal system, capitalism, bureaucracy and the Broadway musical itself. The production is designed and directed by Tom Cochran, former head of CMC Theatre; music direction is by Brad Vierheller, who handles music for the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue; choreographing is Jennetta Howell.• “The Dust Bowl,” Nov. 18-19Ken Burns’ two-part, four-hour documentary, which had its second-ever public screening in Aspen, at the Wheeler Opera House’s MountainSummit, gets a wide public screening on PBS. “The Dust Bowl” has familiar Ken Burns touches – a focus on the personal, magnificently researched – but this one also has a surprise element. If you think the title refers to simply an uncommonly dry, difficult stretch on the Great Plains, you’re overlooking the man-made nature of the disaster, and the horrific dust storms that were almost daily events. People didn’t think of it as “catastrophic and apocalyptic. But that’s what it is,” Burns told The Aspen Times. “It’s like a chapter out of the bible. Could you really have locusts and dust storms like that, that actually kill children?”email@example.com
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