November 9, 2007
In the Aspen Chapel Gallerys Small Wonders exhibit, the works are small not more than 12-by-12 inches and the price tags are low nothing topping $300. But the show, aimed at shoppers looking for holiday gifts, has proved to be a big attraction. Last years inaugural exhibit was popular enough that the buy-it-and-take-it policy left the gallery walls bare. So this year, the artists 27 of them, representing numerous media and styles were instructed to provide eight items apiece, so that works could be replaced as they were purchased. The exhibit, curated by Sandra Johnson, who makes abstract paintings, opens with a reception on Wednesday, Nov. 14, and runs through Jan. 6.
It is rather astonishing how many of the great movies are about crime, in its various forms from the murder plot and insurance scam of Double Indemnity to the prison drama of The Shawshank Redemption to the mobs of The Godfather and Pulp Fiction. Last years winner of the Oscar for best picture was The Departed, which mixed up cops and mobsters in modern-day Boston, and perhaps the front-runner for this years top prize is American Gangster. Director Ridley Scotts film takes a slice of real crime life the 1970s Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) and his pursuit by detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe). The film encompasses a broad scale, capturing a specific mood and place, while also tapping into something essential about the American dream. Also earning attention is the way the lead actors flesh out real characters, rather than caricatured criminals. American Gangster shows this week in valley theaters.
Bob Schneider, AM and MoZella are all capable of rocking out. Through the 90s, Schneider fronted the Austin funk-rock bands Joe Rockhead and Ugly Americans. Soul Variations, the recent release by AM, has the New Orleans-bred, Los Angeles-based singers songs fleshed out with full-band arrangements. And the 24-year-old MoZella was raised on the thick soul grooves of her hometown, Detroit, an influence evident on her R&B-kissed 2006 debut, I Will. But on the current tour titled Songs Sung and Played on Guitar with People in the Room 2007 all three will focus on the songs, playing unaccompanied acoustic sets. The tour lands at Belly Up Aspen on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Schneider, the headliner, will have available a double CD of live, acoustic material. This phase wont last; Schneiders next album, due for release next year, will be a rock opera.