Coming up in Aspen, Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Coming up in Aspen, Basalt

Stewart OksenhornAspen Times WeeklyAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Ann Patchett will be reading from “State of Wonder,” her novel-in-progress, on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the Basalt Regional Library. This is notable for two reasons.First, it’s a chance to get an early glimpse at new work by one of America’s finest writers. Patchett came to prominence with “Bel Canto,” her 2002, prize-winning novel about politics, romance and music set in the midst of a hostage situation in South America. Patchett followed with two books that were the rough equal of “Bel Canto”: “Truth & Beauty,” a harrowing, tender memoir about her relationship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy; and “Run,” a marvelously constructed novel of politics and family set in a Boston snowstorm.The second reason to attend? Patchett is as good in person as she is on the page. The event is free.

ASPEN – How did “Freakonomics,” a book about the so-called “dismal science” of economics, become a pop-culture hit, selling 4 million copies? By taking a different approach to the subject – examining cheating in the context of sumo wrestlers, for instance, or exploring the socioeconomics of naming children.The film version, too, looks for ways to spice up the subject. The producers rounded up a handful of distinguished documentary directors – Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”), Eugene Jarecki (“Why We Fight”) and Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (“Jesus Camp”) – each of whom takes on a slice of the economic world from an odd angle.”Freakonomics” has a pre-release screening Monday, Aug. 9 at Aspen’s Paepcke Auditorium in the New Views: Premiere Documentaries series. Producer Chad Troutwine will participate in a post-screening conversation.

ASPEN – No question about Robert Randolph’s ability to play his instrument, the steel guitar; the guy flat-out rips. No arguing with his onstage presence. And with “Colorblind,” from 2006, Randolph put out a satisfying studio album that included contributions from Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews.The larger question – Could Randolph have a breakthrough as a visionary musical artist? – seems to have been answered with “We Walk This Road.” Released in June and produced with T-Bone Burnett, the album begins with a gospel base, layers on funk, rock and blues, and comes out as the 32-year-old Randolph’s most accomplished recording.He brings his Family Band to play Belly Up Aspen on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

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