Its a Singin in the Rain kind of season in Aspen. On the heels of the knock-out stage production by the youngsters from Basalts Jayne Gottlieb Productions, now comes the genuine article: Gene Kellys 1952 classic about a group of silent film actors, stumbling their way into the talkie era. Aspen musical maven Bob Klineman, who will introduce the film and engage in a Q&A session afterward, says this represents Kelly at the height of his career. As an actor, Kelly gives a charming performance as matinee idol Don Lockwood; as co-director (with Stanley Donen), Kelly gives himself an abundance of room to dance across the screen. Klineman notes that the title number with the bubble scene demands to be seen on a big screen. While the era of splashy, romantic musicals may have passed, this one still sings: in 1998, the American Film Institute named Singin in the Rain the 10th best American movie ever. Screened from a newly restored print, it shows Sunday, Jan. 13, at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., at the Wheeler Opera House.
The 80s rock revival, evidenced in the popularity of such bands as Franz Ferdinand and the Killers, carries on. The Bravery, a New York City quintet, released their second CD, The Sun and the Moon, in May, and it is filled with the synthesizers and echoing effects that marked 80s New Wave. But the album, produced by Brendan OBrien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine), uses the drive and density of 70s punk, a touch of 80s ska, and the guitar hooks of 90s indie rock to invent something that feels more like a mash-up than a rip-off. And on songs like Time Wont Let Me Go, its undeniably catchy, no matter what decade it comes from. The Bravery makes its Aspen debut Friday, Jan. 18, with Switches, a Britpop band that borrows from 70s glam rock.
The title of Israeli director/co-writer Eytan Foxs The Bubble refers to Tel Aviv, a relatively secular, liberal and secure part of Israel. Thats how it feels to three 30-ish roommates Noam (Ohad Knoller), a gay indie music freak and aspiring playwright; Yali (Alon Friedmann), also gay, and the manager of a hip caf; and Lulu (Daniela Wircer), a sexy, straight graphic designer who are unrestrained in their pursuits of romance and art. Its inevitable that the bubble will begin to burst when Noam starts a relationship with Ashraf (Yousef Sweid), the peace-loving, homosexual outsider son of a prominent Palestinian family. Fox provides not only a balanced measure of the personal and political, hope and hopelessness, but also weaves in aspects of memory and history, making The Bubble which showed at the Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals a vivid portrait of contemporary Tel Aviv. The film shows Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Wheeler Opera House. Also showing during Gay Ski Week: The Walker (Monday, Jan. 14), a crime drama starring Woody Harrelson as a flamboyant, gay escort to elite Washington, D.C. housewives.
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There is a lot of pent up energy among hikers and bikers to get into the high country, but snow fields, avalanche debris and high stream crossings are presenting challenges later than usual. Forest rangers with the Aspen-Sopris District provide trail condition reports that are updated each week so hikers and backpackers aren’t caught unaware.