Coming up in Aspen
July 3, 2010
ASPEN – The age of the rock star may be over, but Grace Potter isn’t letting the rock era disappear without a fight. Reaching back to figures like Janis Joplin, the 27-year-old Vermonter aims for an unrestrained, flamboyant musical expression.There are moments on her new album – titled “Grace Potter & the Nocturnals,” though it’s the band’s fourth studio album – like the primal screams that end “Tiny Light,” that indicate a desire to party like it was 1969. But as a March performance at Snowmass’ Base Village showed, it is on the stage that Potter and her band, with hair and outfits and attitude, bring the full-on energy of rock to life. She returns with a show at Belly Up Aspen on Monday, July 5.
ASPEN – The film series at the Aspen Ideas Festival opens Monday, July 5 with the animated family film, “Shrek Forever After,” giving the Aspen Institute the chance to show off the new 3-D capabilities of Paepcke Auditorium.Don’t expect the rest of the series to be so easy on the brain. The films, in keeping with the theme of Ideas Fest, get into deeper dimensions of the world; to add weight to the screenings, guest directors and producers will attend for discussions of the work. “Waiting for Superman,” from “An Inconvenient Truth” director Davis Guggenheim, explores the seemingly intractable problems of America’s public schools. “The Furious Force of Rhymes,” presented as a work-in-progress, looks at hip-hop as a global expression of social discontent.The war in Afghanistan, as seen through the eyes of journalist Sebastian Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington, is documented in “Restrepo.” And “Countdown to Zero” traces the explosive history of nuclear weaponry, up to the precarious point where we now find ourselves.
ASPEN – Yes, Nicholas McGegan is known best as a conductor and performer of Baroque music. Yes, the performances he led last summer of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos were killer. And yes, of course, you should see McGegan handle more Baroque material (Vivaldi, Telemann, Corelli) in a special event set for July 13.But that does not mean there’s an excuse for skipping this week’s appearance, Friday, July 9, when he leads the Aspen Chamber Symphony in a program of Mendelssohn, including, with violinist Joshua Bell, the Violin Concerto in E minor. The British-born, 60-year-old McGegan is, in appearance and demeanor, like a musical elf, sprinkling magic dust on the music that make the notes come to life. He is a pleasure to watch, whatever is on the program.