In the wake of the X Games, hip-hop keeps flowing through Aspen at Belly Up ” and that acts that are coming bring a pronounced flavor of artistry, rather than the same-old rap . The gusher begins Sunday, Jan. 27 with old-school heroes De La Soul, a Long Island, N.Y. trio that stood the nascent hip-hop world on edge with its 1989 classic, “3 Feet High and Rising.” Wyclef Jean, who, with the Fugees and as a solo act, added traditional musicality and Caribbean rhythms to rap, returns for a show (already sold out) on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Talib Kweli, who injects funk, soul and rock into his albums ” including last year’s “Ear Drum,” featuring appearances by Kanye West, Norah Jones and Justin Timberlake ” is set for Saturday, Feb. 2. That ends this week’s burst, but further ahead are shows by the New York production duo the Beatnuts (Feb. 6), and Galactic (Feb. 14), a New Orleans funk band whose upcoming hip-hop-oriented tour features rapper Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5, and MC/producer Ohmega Watts.
Some years ago, the Aspen Writers’ Foundation altered its mission, making it clear that it was aiming to reach readers as well as writers. With this year’s Winter Words series, they seem to be broadening their reach again; they’re going for everyone. The lineup opens this week with Ann Patchett, Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Given Institute. The PEN/Faulkner Award winner (and AWF favorite) will read from her riveting new novel, “Run,” which had its first public reading in Aspen. Additional highlights of the series include Sebastian Junger (Feb. 7, Given Institute), author of the adventure history “A Perfect Storm” and the recent “A Death in Belmont”; Ishmael Beah (Feb. 22, Wheeler Opera House), whose years as a child soldier in Sierra Leone were the subject of the 2007 memoir “A Long Way Gone”; and Richard Russo (March 6), the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist of “Empire Falls” and last year’s “Bridge of Sighs.”
The long opening sequence of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is seen through the eye of Jean-Dominqiue Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), a fashion magazine editor paralyzed by a stroke at the height of a most vigorous life. The scene is difficult emotionally; the perspective, from Bauby’s one functioning part, his left eye, captures the frustration and terror of his situation. And it is visually rough on the viewer: How long will director Julian Schnabel subject us to this constrained point of view? But the rest of the French-language film, based on a true story, is largely about relief ” how Bauby uses his intact memory and imagination to cope with severe physical limitation. For the moviegoer, too, there is relief, in the sense of humor, beauty and spiritual connectedness Schnabel brings to Bauby’s story. Nominated for four Oscars ” including for best director, best cinematography and adapted screenplay, but strangely not for best picture ” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” shows this week in Aspen.
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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.