Coming up in Aspen |

Coming up in Aspen

Stewart Oksenhorn
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The explosive response to last week’s U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’ violin concerto can be taken as a strong indication that Aspen listeners crave new music presented in a fresh manner. Which bodes well for the Aspen Percussion Ensemble’s appearance, Monday, Aug. 2 at Harris Hall.

Led by Aspen Music Festival’s percussion director Jonathan Haas (who in 2000 debuted Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists), the ensemble’s program is typically close to the edge, including John Cage’s “First Construction (in Metal)” and Haas’ arrangement of Frank Zappa’s “The Black Page.” Topping it off is an arrangement of Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat,” for 10 percussionists, with Kurt Vonnegut’s libretto about Eddie Slovick, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.

ASPEN – The upper Roaring Fork Valley has gotten a good look at artists Betty and George Woodman. The couple has a rare duo exhibition showing at the Harvey/Meadows Gallery, and earlier this month received Anderson Ranch’s National Artist Award.

“The Woodmans” adds another layer to the profile. Scott Willis’ documentary focuses not on the groundbreaking ceramist Betty, nor on the somewhat less acclaimed George, but on their daughter. A photographer, Francesca Woodman specialized in edgy self-portraits that exposed her, flesh and soul. She committed suicide at the age of 22, and the film raises the questions of what it means to devote oneself to making art.

“The Woodmans” shows Monday, Aug. 2 at Paepcke Auditorium in the New Views: Premiere Documentaries series.

ASPEN – In 1998, Keb’ Mo’ played the seminal bluesman Robert Johnson in the bio-documentary, “Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl?” It seemed as if Keb’ Mo’ didn’t need to do any acting for the part.

On his 1994 debut album, Keb’ Mo’ had covered a pair of Johnson tunes, “Come On in My Kitchen” and “Kindhearted Woman Blues,” to perfection, and his next album, “Just Like You,” featured a cover photo in which Mo’ looked eerily like the iconic photograph of Johnson from the 1930s. But Keb’ Mo’ is no Johnson knock-off. The former Kevin Moore is a Los Angeles product, and over several more albums, including three Grammy winners, has shown himself to be as much folkie singer-songwriter as bluesman.

He makes his Belly Up Aspen debut, a solo acoustic show, Wednesday, Aug. 4.

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