Where the idea came from that enjoying wine should be a stuffy pursuit is anybody’s guess. But Richard Betts is devoting his professional life to combating the notion. Betts, a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the director of The Little Nell’s outstanding wine program, puts the emphasis on fun (perhaps his favorite word, applied to drinking wine or other activities). And Betts knows the truth of the saying that the more you know about something, the more enjoyment you can get from it. In that spirit, the Aspenite offers a series of wine tastings at The Nell, a chance to sip, learn and have fun. The next tasting, Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m., focuses on wines of Italy’s Piedmont region – Barolos, Barbarescos, Dolcettos – paired with Piedmont cheeses. The course closes with a guided blind tasting, which will foreshadow the final tasting of the season, March 8. And for some serious fun with wine, add on an extracurricular activity, by trying one of the wines Betts makes for his Betts & Scholl label.
Condensing 30 years of community theater into one show sounds like the impossible dream. But wouldn’t it be loverly to gather the guys and dolls who have populated the Aspen Community Theatre stage over these last three decades? Thanks to several hundred phone calls and countless hours of effort, these hills are going to be alive with the sound of musicals: the anniversary bash “The Best of ACT” will feature tunes from every show – from “… and yet another version of ‘The Wizard of Oz'” (1978) to “Fiddler on the Roof” (1977 and 2006) – produced by the local organization. Our fair lady of the event is Wendy Larson, who spearheaded the logistical end; the main music man is David Dyer. The two share the titles of artistic director and conductor. The shows – featuring 60 cast members, including at least two from every show, and the 65-piece Symphony in the Valley orchestra – are at the Aspen District Theatre Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24-25, with curtains at 2 p.m. each day.
Even with the Big Easy still hurting badly from Hurricane Katrina, Snowmass Village’s Fat Tuesday celebration pales in comparison with the party they throw in New Orleans. But Mardi Gras in the Mountains is catching up slightly, borrowing an idea from New Orleans: Why limit Fat Tuesday to just Tuesday? This year’s bash in Snowmass, coinciding with the long weekend encompassing Presidents Day, features the Snowmass Poker Run on Sunday, Feb. 18, with participants scouring the mountain to win the $1,000 top prize. That night, the Hi-Fi Concert Series brings long-running Colorado rockers the Samples onto the Snowmass Village mall. Tuesday, Feb. 20, begins with the Mother of All Ascensions race (let’s see them try that on St. Charles Street) and follows with crawdads, King Cake, beads, masks, a parade and late-night music in the bars.
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