After seven years, its hard to imagine the Winter X Games ever calling any place home other than Aspen. But that wasnt the case in 2002, when ESPNs burgeoning winter sports spectacle first arrived at Buttermilk. In a resort known for fur coats and mega-mansions, the X Games in Aspen had the feel of a keg party while the parents were away for the weekend. As the games have grown in popularity, Aspens image has undergone a face-lift, with more extreme terrain opened and snowboarders (finally!) embraced on Aspen Mountain. Last years X Games broke an attendance record, with 76,000 spectators adding up to 100 percent occupancy. Aspen retains its Aspen-ness A-list celebs and $16 burger and fries are still in long supply. But at least for a few days in late January, it is no longer your parents ski resort and if there is a lingering youthful effect the rest of the year, then X Games can take some credit. X Games return Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 24-27.
The public gaze has been taken off of Lyle Lovett. The fascination with his hair and looks has faded. Hes no longer married to a movie star. He even seems to have retreated from his acting career unfortunate, considering his appearances in The Player and The Opposite of Sex. That leaves the focus on his music, which has not faded at all. On last years Its Not Big Its Large, Lovett turns on all the faucets. All Downhill has the trademark wry humor, with a twist of gratefulness, as he voices his greatest fear that hes been so lucky so far, it could be all downhill from here. Lovett gets uncommonly solemn on the chilling, gospel-tinged I Will Rise Up. South Texas Girl is a love song on a grand scale, with religion, social commentary and guest vocalist Guy Clark making appearances. The album features a big cast Lovetts large, not big band but when he plays the Wheeler Opera House on Tuesday, Jan. 22, it will be in a small acoustic ensemble.
Daniel Day-Lewis has earned raves and a Golden Globe for best actor for his work in There Will Be Blood. The film, despite its epic scope, has been referred to as a character study, so indelible is Day-Lewis turn as Daniel Planview, a simple miner transformed into a ruthless businessman in early-20th-century California. Whats interesting is that director and screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson has never really worked with an actor of such skills, at least not in the manner that he worked with Day-Lewis. Boogie Nights, Andersons breakthrough, had a wonderful ensemble cast led by Burt Reynolds. His magnificent Magnolia featured an even more memorable ensemble cast, and for Punch-Drunk Love, Anderson coaxed magic from an actor Adam Sandler who came in with even less of a reputation than Reynolds. So consider this the first time Anderson has focused his attention on one supreme actor. It seems to have worked; There Will Be Blood, showing in Aspen this week, is being hailed as a classic.
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