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Courtesy Magnolia PicturesRobert De Niro and Moon Bloodgood star in director Barry Levinsons Hollywood satire, What Just Happened, showing Sunday and Monday, Nov. 23-24, at the Wheeler Opera House.
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A snarky, intensely insider look at Hollywood. An insecure producer wading into a troubled project. Hints of violence. Loads of faces recognizable from the big screen. Robert Altmans satire The Player, right? No, that was the 1992 version. This is What Just Happened, Barry Levinsons contribution to the Hollywood-does-Hollywood genre, and apparently not much has changed in 16 years. The L.A. film industry remains paranoid, money-obsessed and morally empty. So is there any reason for this update? Definitely. This is career rehab for Robert De Niro, whose nuanced turn as a successful but threatened producer ends a decade of lame comedies and limp thrillers. And while far from original, What Just Happened has other merits: an energized pace, funny jokes, and scene-stealing work by John Turturro as a neurotic, New Age agent. It shows Sunday and Monday, Nov. 23-24, at the Wheeler Opera House.

With Opening Day approaching and little snow on the ground, hopeful skiers no doubt have on their minds last winter when a thoroughly dry November led into the epic-est of snow years. But instead of the glorious 2007-08 season, maybe we should be thinking back to 1984-85 the season that followed the old benchmark for epic winters, 83-84. After that legendary year, which dumped 279 inches in town, the follow-up winter brought 209 inches not staggering, but well above the 25-year average of 172 inches. While we pray for that trend to hold, the 08-09 season brings other things to look forward to: the new Sheer Bliss quad on Snowmass, 18 additional skiable acres at Aspen Highlands Deep Temerity, the redesigned Gondola Plaza in Aspen. And, for better and worse, fewer visitors crowding the slopes. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass open Thursday, Nov. 27; Highlands and Buttermilk follow on Dec. 13.

If hip-hop is a stagnant art form, someone forgot to get the word to Lyrics Born. The Japanese-born, California-based rapper takes a multitude of approaches on the appropriately titled Everywhere At Once, released in April. Theres ancient-school raps, live instrumentation, humor sketches, guest stars like Chali 2Na and his wife and steady stage partner, Joyo Velarde, and loads of 70s soul. Some of the lines Im at the top of my game would be boastful if they were just words on paper, but Lyrics Born turns them into a broader message of confidence in oneself, and wraps it in the sounds of fun. He is also one of the fairly small number of hip-hoppers who sees performing as an essential part of his art, as he proved at his last local appearance, this past summer at the Chili Pepper & Brew Fest. Lyrics Born returns to play Belly Up on Friday, Nov. 28, with Somalian-born KNaan opening.

If hip-hop is a stagnant art form, someone forgot to get the word to Lyrics Born. The Japanese-born, California-based rapper takes a multitude of approaches on the appropriately titled Everywhere At Once, released in April. Theres ancient-school raps, live instrumentation, humor sketches, guest stars like Chali 2Na and his wife and steady stage partner, Joyo Velarde, and loads of 70s soul. Some of the lines Im at the top of my game would be boastful if they were just words on paper, but Lyrics Born turns them into a broader message of confidence in oneself, and wraps it in the sounds of fun. He is also one of the fairly small number of hip-hoppers who sees performing as an essential part of his art, as he proved at his last local appearance, this past summer at the Chili Pepper & Brew Fest. Lyrics Born returns to play Belly Up on Friday, Nov. 28, with Somalian-born KNaan opening.


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