Any lover of American music has to have a soft spot for Texas birthplace of Buddy Holly, state where Kinky Friedman ran for governor, and home to Austin, whose official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the World. The weeks ahead see the best of the Lone Star State blowing through town. Country swing band Asleep at the Wheel, still led by singer-guitarist Ray Benson, plays the Wheeler Opera House on Wednesday, Jan. 9. (Yes, Benson formed the band in West Virginia, but he was summoned by none other than Texas icon Willie Nelson to Austin in 1973, and hasnt left.) On Saturday, Jan. 12, singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, whose songs include Gringo Honeymoon and Corpus Christi Bay, returns to the Wheeler for a third straight January. The following night, the scene moves to Belly Up, and the sound shifts to country, with an appearance by Pat Green. Keens former Texas A&M neighbor, Lyle Lovett, follows with a date at the Wheeler on Jan. 22.
Its virtually impossible to categorize what Winterskl has become, in this, its 57th edition. Some events seem to have survived from the original mid-January celebration, in 1952: the Torchlight Descent of Little Nell, the parade through downtown (though this years follows a different route). There are time-honored happenings that seem to fit the original vision perfectly: the Wintersklpt snow-sculpture exhibit, the canine fashion show, and the ingenious Soupskl. And then there are new additions that show how Winterskl is broad enough to encompass all sorts of things: a concert a benefit for the Buddy Program by drug addicted, homosexual pop composer Rufus Wainwright; a show by Grateful Dead tribute band, Shakedown Street; and Rail Jam, a competition featuring skiers and boarders riding tables, benches and rails, to the beat of DJ music. Winterskl runs Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 10-13 with events in Aspen, Snowmass Village and at Aspen Highlands.
Put it in the books: Juno is a classic. You can practically feel the buzz words food baby, shenanigans, He is the cheese to my macaroni entering the lexicon. But dont mistake it for another ultra-quotable teen comedy. Director Jason Reitmans film is as heart-warming as it is funny, and for a movie about a pregnant 16-year-old, that doesnt moralize for a moment, it is a surprisingly non-ironic affirmation of family and community. (Just dont tell your teenager as she heads out to see it for a fourth time.) As memorable as Ellen Page is in the title role, supporting actors like Allison Janney, as an occasionally supportive stepmother, and Rainn Wilson as the smack-talking convenience store clerk, cant be overlooked. Juno has the rare honor of being screened simultaneously in Aspen, El Jebel and Carbondale this week.
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