As far as unknown opening acts go, the Felice Brothers ” who make their local debut warming up for Drive-by Truckers on Thursday, Feb. 21, at Belly Up Aspen ” seem like a solid bet. On the forthcoming “The Adventures of the Felice Brothers, Vol. 1,” due out early next month, the group comes off as a modern-day version of the Band, making timeless, backwoods music out of American mythology. Interestingly, the Felice Brothers ” led by three siblings, plus a teenage fella by the name of Christmas ” hail from the same corner of upstate New York where the Band hooked up with Bob Dylan to make the immortal “Basement Tapes,” the most obvious reference point for “Adventures, Vol. 1.” The Felice Brothers have opened for Bright Eyes and Son Volt, and are set for Florida’s Langerado Music Festival. And if they turn out not to be all that is promised, at least you’ll have a prime spot for the headliners.
“A Long Way Gone,” Ishmael Beah’s best-selling memoir of his time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone’s civil war, reads like a nightmare ” and not for the horrific fact of what Beah and his comrades went through. Instead, the book has a specific nightmarish quality: Beah never gets into the tribal politics of his country, so the rebels, who make him kill or be killed, are mystery figures who seem to emerge ghostlike from the jungle. What is at stake, why anyone should be killing is left unexplained; all we have is the emotional terror. Beah, now 27 and a graduate of Oberlin College, will be interviewed by Kenyan author and journalist Binyavanga Wainaina in an Aspen Writers’ Foundation Winter Words event, Friday, Feb. 22, at the Wheeler Opera House. The talk will be followed by a concert by Run-DMC rapper DMC, who figures into Beah’s story. The concert is a benefit for the Aspen High School club, Action in Africa.
For some viewers, the Adventure Magazine Covers’ series of paintings by Woody Creek artist (and Aspen Times Weekly columnist) Michael Cleverly will be juvenile and misogynist. But by the standards of some of Cleverly’s past work, these images ” “cover” versions of the sexual fantasy illustrations that graced the pages of the 1950s’ Adventure Magazine ” are playful, nostalgic and even innocent. It is also an exercise to display the artist’s considerable technical chops; Cleverly was the equal of most of the original illustrators. An exhibition of the Adventure Magazine paintings opens Tuesday, Feb. 19, with a reception at the Woody Creek Art Studio. The event also will include a book-signing for “The Kitchen Readings,” the new book about the late Hunter S. Thompson, written by Cleverly and Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.
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“It’s going to be a pretty unique experience” Free Range Kitchen and Wine Bar in Basalt is partnering with the historic Dallenbach Ranch to host a four-course, four-wine, al fresco dinner on the banks of the Fryingpan River featuring wines from the recently released 2015 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, which is already being hailed as the best vintage of the current century.