With last years wonderful combination of music (Del McCoury Band, David Grisman Quintet, Ziggy Marley) and excellent attendance, it became semi-official: the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Fest, June 6-8, is the kick-off to the upper valleys summer season. This years event promises to be a worthy follow-up, with appearances by another Marley Stephen, on the heels of his Grammy-winning solo debut, Mind Control and two icons of New Orleans funk: the colorful, diverse Dr. John, and the Neville Brothers, once regular visitors who have been absent from the Aspen area for more than a decade. Ladle on top of the musical servings nearly 50 chili chefs, competing in various categories (red, salsa, verde), and 60-plus microbrewed beers, all from the great state of Colorado, and youve got as good a reason as any to lop another weekend off the spring offseason.
Hollywood and Aspen are connected by the flock of celebs who leave the former each Christmas time for a week or so in the latter. Then there is the temptation to sell your soul for financial gain, which exists in many places, but seems heightened in both Tinseltown and Glitter Gulch. Which is why Kent Reed, head of the Hudson Reed Ensemble, is so enthused about bringing Speed-the-Plow to Aspen audiences. David Mamets three-person, 1988 play centers on Bobby, a movie studio chief tempted to cash in on a star-driven prison buddy film, but also pondering a project that aims higher in artistic value. Charles Kouri is being imported from Chicago to direct the morality drama, but the cast features all local talent: Lee Sullivan as the bottom-line-obsessed Charlie, Jennica Lundin as the (possibly) high-minded Karen (a role originated by Madonna), and Reed as Bobby, being pulled by the two. Speed-the-Plow plays Friday through Sunday, June 6-8, and June 13-15, at Aspen High Schools Black Box Theatre.
With appearances in films like the provocative drama Dirty Pretty Things, Audrey Tautou already showed shes more than the wide-eyed innocent of her breakout role, in 2001s Amlie. But with Priceless, the 31-year-old French actress completes a 180-degree turn: Where Amlie naively spread hope and justice, Tautous Irne, in director Pierre Salvadoris Priceless, is a calculating gold-digger, trolling the French Riviera in tiny dresses, on the make for wealthy old men. Irnes sharp eye for sugar daddies, though, slips up when she mistakes the inconsequential bartender Jean (Gad Elmaleh) for a millionaire. The chemistry between the two takes a while to ignite, there is a noticeable shortage of comedy, and we know just where this is headed. But watching the sizzling Tautou take us there along with the subtle Elmaleh has definite value.
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Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday expressed support for imposing a tax on cigarettes and tobacco products in the county similar one enacted by the city of Aspen two years ago.