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Milwaukee rock band the BoDeans play the Belly Up. Todd V. Wolfson photo.
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There may not be an identifiable Milwaukee sound. But if there was, it would sound a whole lot like the BoDeans. The three-piece band is indeed from Milwaukee. But beyond the hometown, there is something about their music that mirrors that sense of place in the middle of somewhere. The BoDeans are not edgy, nor are they retro. The music isn’t heavy, but it isn’t lightweight either. On last year’s “Resolution,” the band’s first album since 1996’s “Blend,” the BoDeans are tuneful and optimistic as they sing about romance and finding a place in the world. When the band plays the Belly Up on Tuesday, April 12, they will be joined by top-shelf drummer Kenny Aronoff, who is also involved in the band’s current recording project.

Aspen Shortsfest 2005 comes to a close Sunday, April 10, with a smattering of programs for various kinds of film fans. For those who appreciate the way Shortsfest allows an exploration of other cultures, there’s “Australian Cool: The Best of Tropfest,” with select films from the wacky, one-of-a-kind Tropfest short film festival. “ScreenPlay!” introduces kids 10 and older to the world of shorts, from weighty animated fare to tales of current politics to fairly traditional folk tales. And for those who have followed closely the previous four days of Shortsfest, the awards ceremony will unveil the best of the festival. April 10 also features evening screening programs in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

With films like “Secrets and Lies” and “All or Nothing,” English filmmaker Mike Leigh has shown a knack for finding compelling stories in the lives of the most ordinary people. “Vera Drake” is a bit different: The title character is a plain, cheery cleaning woman in 1950s London who is still recovering from the Nazi bombings. But her side job as an abortionist makes Drake a criminal. In Leigh’s vision, the story is not one of the morality or politics of abortion, but of the paradox between a woman who sees herself as helping young girls “in trouble” and the state that views her as afoul of the law. Cementing the film’s excellence is Imelda Staunton, whose performance as Vera earned her an Academy Award nomination. “Vera Drake” shows at the Wheeler Opera House Wednesday and Thursday, April 13-14.


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