Glen Phillips, who achieved big things leading the 90s indie rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket, has his eye on another big thing. Scheduled to debut later this year is the Scrolls, an octet featuring members of Nickel Creek, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Elvis Costello & the Attractions. Meanwhile, Phillips is occupying himself with smaller projects. Secrets of the New Explorers, an EP available for free streaming on http://www.glenphillips.com, was born from a casual conversation with fellow musician John Askew about space tourism. Over a few days, Phillips created a six-song cycle. The funky, spacious Space Elevator, and the futuristic The Spirit of Shackleton, however, are not products of small thinking. Before he gets around to Scroll, Phillips has a solo acoustic tour, which he kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 7, in an appropriately cozy venue tiny Steves Guitars, in Carbondale.
Kids onstage, handling classic theater pieces, can be sooo cute. It can also make for surprisingly strong entertainment, as the young troupe from Jayne Gottlieb Productions showed with awe-inspiring fall productions of Peter Pan and Singin in the Rain. Now Theatre Aspen takes its turn. The students in the organizations two programs, the Teen Company and the Winter Performance Conservatory, will present two ambitious shows over the next month at the Crystal Palace. First up is Andrew Lloyd Webbers poetic Cats, adapted from the writing of T.S. Eliot. Cats debuts Sunday, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m., then gets two performances at 2 and 4 p.m. the following two Sundays. Next up is The Odyssey, based on Homers epic poem, showing Feb. 24 and March 2 and 9. Directing both plays is Marisa Post, Theatre Aspens director of education.
A born New Englander, Sebastian Junger brought an intimate perspective to his breakthrough book, The Perfect Storm, about a fishing boat that launched from Gloucester, Mass., and encountered a horrific noreaster 500 miles from shore. The more recent historical account, 2006s A Death in Belmont, hits even closer to home for Junger. The book recounts the early 60s story of the Boston Strangler, and Junger proposes that his own mother narrowly escaped an attack by the man, Albert DeSalvo, whom Junger suggests may have been the Boston Strangler. The book simultaneously traces the story of another man, Roy Smith, convicted of a murder in the Boston suburb of Belmont blocks from where Junger grew up and widely believed to have been responsible for the brutal strangling murders. Jungers book raises issues of race, communal fear, and Americas system of justice. Hes likely to talk about such subjects as well as his recent travels in Afghanistan when he appears in the Aspen Writers Foundations Winter Words series, on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Given Institute.
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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.