Aspen’s offseason: Off we go… | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen’s offseason: Off we go…

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Festivals! Rock stars! New theaters! Award-winning movies! Blue-chip artists! More pot than a reggae band can smoke in an entire set-break!That’s offseason in Aspen, baby!OK, that may be a tad overblown. It’s more like a festival, a musician or two you’ve probably heard of, and one new theater. And the awards those films won? Well, they’re more along the lines of the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury from the Cannes Film Festival than the Oscar. But hey, it’s a more attention-grabbing opening than, “A bunch of kids presentations and some musical acts you’ve never heard of,” right?Now that’s off-season in Aspen. Here’s what we’ve got to keep us amused as we pray for sunshine, a stimulating NBA playoffs, and Warren Haynes to change his mind and switch his Belly Up date back to a full-band show from a solo performance.•5Point Film Festival through Sunday, May 1, CarbondaleSometimes an event just fits right in there, and so it is with the 5Point Film Festival. In three short years, the fest, which emphasizes action sports, environmentalism and cultural exchange, has become a Carbondale institution, packing the spacious Carbondale Rec Center for four days each spring. This year’s 5Point opened Thursday; still to come are films about speed-climbing in the Alps and mountain biking culture; a presentation by comedian-climber Timmy O’Neill; and the debut of a piece about backcountry skiing in South America. And an ice cream social on Saturday afternoon.• Cannabis Crown Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, various sites in AspenThe second annual Cannabis Crown turns late April into high season. Organizers told The Aspen Times recently that the town shouldn’t expect a stoner fest, that this would be a sober (not that kind of sober) event, focused on the evolving legal landscape of marijuana, medicinal qualities of THC and competitions amongst different strains of pot. Still, the Cannabis Crown is not without a sense of Cheech & Chong-inspired humor. The calendar of events includes “The Marijuana-Logues” (tonight and Saturday, Wheeler Opera House), which embraces fully the genre of stoner comedy.•Giving and Receiving, through July 22, CU Boulder Art MuseumFor those hitting the Front Range this spring, a stop at the CU campus is in order. The new CU Boulder Art Museum has an excellent exhibition, Giving and Receiving, that spotlights a handful of Roaring Fork Valley artists (Rob Brinker, Linda Girvin, Jody Guralnick, Pamela Joseph, Charmaine Locke, Tai Pomara, James Surls) along with a group of Chinese artists.• Belly Up Aspen, various datesWarren Haynes? Lucinda Williams? You call that an off-season? In fact, Belly Up does downshift for the spring – a handful of free shows, some local bands, empty calendar slots. But the fact is, towns 10 times the size of Aspen would kill for an on-season like Belly Up’s off-season.The big shows are Williams and Haynes, both of whom arrive with new albums and new guises. For Williams (May 14), it’s a new emotional tone. Her album is titled “Blessed,” and right there that says a lot about how Williams has made it through the tortured love documented on past releases.Haynes’ “Man in Motion” (due May 10) marks the debut of his new Warren Haynes Band. The guitar great was going to bring the soul-oriented outfit, but instead decided to use the small-venue opportunity of Belly Up to play one of his rare solo gigs (May 26). Either way, we win.Other notable dates: rapper Chali 2Na (tonight), formerly of Jurassic 5; Argentinean singer-guitarist Federico Aubele (Thursday, May 5); a hip-hop package headed by Devin the Dude and the CunninLynguists (May 10); the local debut of the rising Colorado rock band, the Congress (May 12); the Aspen debut of the Colombian electronica group Bomba Estreo (May 19); folkie Greg Brown (May 20), who has a new album, “Freak Flag,” due next month; and the local debut of the experimental rockers Yeasayer (May 31).Early June at Belly Up features a neat run of bands new to Aspen: noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells (June 3); the long-running Springsteen tribute act the B Street Band (June 4); soul band Fitz & the Tantrums, with rising Mexican star Ximena opening (June 5); and Jenny and Johnny, a duo that includes Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis (June 6). The streak of newbies comes to an end June 7, when familiar face Brett Dennen headlines. No reason to cry over that.• Aspen Community School, “Troy,” Thursday and Friday, May 5-6, Wheeler Opera HouseIt’s one of the longest-standing traditions in Aspen: When the Aspen Community School presents “Troy,” about Helen horses, Achilles and Greek gods, it will be the 41st year in a row of an all-school musical. Director Randi Kelly hasn’t been there for all of them, but she does have an impressive run of her own: She’s retiring after 25 years as the school’s music teacher.• Rocky Mountain Student Filmfest, May 6, Glenwood Springs High SchoolWith the emergence of Youtube, film is becoming more and more a dominant, wide-open medium, particularly for young creative minds. For 12 years, the Rocky Mountain Student Filmfest, affiliated with high schools in Basalt, Glenwood Springs and New Castle, has given students a chance to sharpen and showcase their movie-making skills. This year’s festival includes 20 films – comedies, action sports, documentaries, animation – selected from 47 entries.• Symphony in the Valley’s Mothers Day Concerts May 8, Rifle High School, May 9, Glenwood Springs High SchoolThe annual Mother’s Day Concerts, as customary, spotlight young musicians, the winners of Symphony in the Valley’s Concerto Competition. Honors this year in the senior division go to Elena Smirnova, a New Yorker who will perform Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1; in the junior division it’s a marimbist, Miri Kurohara, who splits her time between Aspen and Japan. She will play Monti’s “Czardas.”Also on the program: the overture to Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio,” and Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2.• Wheeler Film Series, various dates, Wheeler Opera HouseCold and bored and tired of the multi-plex schlock? The Wheeler Film Series has the antidote, with a full slate for the weeks ahead.The calendar opens May 8-9 with “Blue Valentine,” the emotionally wrenching anti-romance featuring extraordinary performances by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. Not an easy movie to take, but also not to be forgotten. The film marks the arrival of writer-director Derek Cianfrance, a Colorado native and graduate of CU’s film program.”Inside Job,” the Academy Award-winning documentary about the 2008 financial collapse, returns May 10-11. “The Music Never Stopped,” about a father (J.K. Simmons) connecting with his son through classic rock songs, is set for May 14-15. “Of Gods and Men,” about a group of Christian monks in North Africa threatened by the encroachment of Islamic fundamentalism, shows May 18-20.”Heartbeats,” 22-year-old French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s drama of a complex, intense romantic triangle, is scheduled for May 21-22. “Queen of the Sun,” a documentary about the colony collapse disorder that has been decimating the bee population, will be screened May 25-26. Director Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” a heavy drama about of a group of World War II prisoners (Colin Farrell, Ed Harris) escaping Siberia, shows May 27-29.”Certified Copy,” an imaginative French romance starring Juliette Binoche as a woman striking up a fast relationship with a stranger, is set for June 7-9. The calendar concludes June 10-12 with the 1948 ballet classic “The Red Shoes,” screened from a restored 35mm print.Other films that might or might not make it to Aspen this spring (but keep your fingers crossed): “Miral” (in limited release), Julian Schnabel’s drama of a Palestinian orphan drawn into the Arab-Israeli conflict; “In a Better World” (in limited release), Danish director Suzanne Bier’s Oscar winner about a European doctor in an African refugee camp; “Meek’s Cutoff” (in limited release), a Western by “Wendy and Lucy” director Kelly Reichardt; and “The Tree of Life,” (May 27) Terence Malick’s story of a family with three sons witnessing the loss of innocence in the Midwest of the 1950s.• Rock and Roll Academy, May 12, Wheeler Opera HouseRussell Cattaneo leads his hordes of miniature Jimis, Jerrys and Janises into the Wheeler for the Rock and Roll Academy Aspen’s Spring Rock Concert. The free event features eight all-kid bands – and numerous guitar-hero moments.Carrie Rodriguez, May 15, Steve’s Guitars, C’daleCaptivating Texas-born and -bred singer, fiddler and songwriter Carrie Rodriguez continues her ascent. Her latest recording, an EP with Midwestern singer Ben Kyle, is “We Still Love Our Country,” featuring covers of songs by Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and Rodriguez’s mentor, Chip Taylor.• Roaring Fork Open Kick-Off Party, May 25, Aspen Art MuseumThe Aspen Art Museum rallies the local community of art-makers to gather, drink a beer, listen to some live music – and start thinking about Roaring Fork Open 2011. The Open, which opens in autumn, is being coordinated with the America: Now and Here project, designed to create a dialogue about America. Artist Eric Fischl, who conceived the project, will be in attendance to speak with prospective participants.Also, the Art Museum has a reception for its Young Curators of the Roaring Fork exhibition on May 6, and on May 11, the artists in the Young Curators participate in a Story Swap event, co-presented by the Art Museum and the Aspen Writers’ Foundation.• Bruce Cockburn, with Jenny Scheinman opening, May 29, PAC3, CarbondaleCanadian singer-guitarist Bruce Cockburn coming to Carbondale in the off-season is good news in itself. Having the splendid singer-violinist Jenny Scheinman open for him is a nice bonus. But all that pales in comparison to the fact that the show marks the opening of a major new venue – the PAC3 (for Performing Arts Center at Third Street), a flexible, 540-capacity theater in Carbondale’s Third Street Center.Cockburn, who will be accompanied by a band, comes armed with a new album, “Small Source of Comfort.” PAC3 doesn’t rest there. The following night, the venue lights up with the horn-heavy, circus-like March Fourth Marching Band.Other acts scheduled at PAC3 for the upcoming months include Hayes Carll, Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones, and Robert Earl Keen.• Eco-Art, opening reception on June 2, Red Brick Center for the Arts, AspenThe Red Brick Center for the Arts, as part of the Aspen Eco Fest, is staging Eco-Art, an exhibition that spotlights student art with environmental overtones. In just its second year, Eco-Art has attracted over 40 participating schools from around Colorado; their works will be shown in the Red Brick and other spaces around town. Cash prizes will be given for most ecological, most artistic and best community involvement. Eco-Art also includes a juried show of works by professional artists, to be exhibited in the Red Brick’s West Wing gallery.The Aspen Eco Fest (June 3-5), which moves into downtown Aspen in its second year with a fashion show, film screening, sustainable buffet dinner, marketplace and more.For May, the Red Brick has the Women Celebrating Nature exhibition, with landscape-oriented works by Lyn Hemley, Tammie Lane, Marianne Breed Wilson, Mary Ballou and Lisa Grace. It opens with a reception on Thursday, May 5.stewart@aspentimes.com


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