The power trio has a special place in rock ‘n’ roll ” nothing fancy, just three guys making as much volume as possible. This week’s lineup at Belly Up Aspen offers three different takes on the genre. On New Year’s Eve, ZZ Top ” still the same old threesome of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard ” demonstrates the Texas blues spin it has been putting on rock, offering up such hits as “Fandango,” “Tush” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago” (as well as its later, slicker tunes, “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man”). On Wednesday, Jan. 2, Colorado’s young hard rock band Rose Hill Drive returns with their New Year’s tradition of covering a classic album in its entirety. Up this time: Aerosmith’s 1975 breakthrough, “Toys in the Attic,” featuring “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way” and “Big Ten Inch.” On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5, the Rev. Horton Heat brings its distinctive take on the trio: ’50s rockabilly, as filtered through punk and hard rock.
Dinner theater doesn’t necessarily have the greatest reputation for either dinner or theater. For a half-century, Aspen’s Crystal Palace has been raising the bar on both sides. The entertainment has always taken chances, with hilarious satiric sketches about current politics, religion and culture; the current season includes a jab at the Pope, for his comments about bombing in the Middle East, and the need for more gays in the military. In comparison, the menu is more risk-averse, but dishes like onion soup gratinee and loin of elk are bound to please even the most skeptical. (And the dessert menu makes for a fabulous finale.) Alas, diners/theatergoers better get their eats and laughs now. The building has been sold, and even if this isn’t curtains for the Palace, it is for Mead Metcalf, who founded the institution in 1957. Metcalf has announced that, whatever the future of Aspen’s renowned dinner theater, this is his last season at the piano.
Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings this week features a pair of adaptations of the most beloved novels of recent years. “Atonement” (Monday, Dec. 31, at 6:15 p.m.), adapted from Ian McEwan’s 2001 story of the consequences of a teenage girl’s false accusation, leads the Golden Globe pack with seven nominations. Reviews seem split between which of the lead actors, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, is most deserving of attention. “The Kite Runner” (Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m.), from Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 book about a man who returns to his native Afghanistan to help a friend, uses mostly non-actors, and is largely told in languages other than English. It is up for two Golden Globe nominations, including best foreign language film. Also showing in Academy Screenings: Woody Allen’s “Cassandra’s Dream” (Sunday, Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m.); the Spanish horror film “The Orphanage” (Sunday, Dec. 30, 8:15 p.m.); and the Romanian drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days” (Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 5:30 p.m.). All the above films are at Harris Hall.
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Andrew Huntsman and Ralph Smalley were chosen by the seniors to give the class address during Basalt High School’s graduation ceremony on Saturday. This had the two BHS teachers questioning the legitimacy of those diplomas they were about to hand out.