The actual practice of law is grindingly slow and tedious ” as Scott Turow, a partner in a prominent Chicago law firm, certainly knows. But in his other job, as a novelist, Turow has done a commendable job of finding the thrills ” social justice meted out, the human drama behind the documents ” in the legal realm, while also presenting a reasonably accurate portrait of the courtroom. Turow entered with a bang, as his 1987 first novel, “Presumed Innocent,” became a bestseller and a hit movie. He has stayed on the original path, setting his stories in and around courthouses in fictional Kindle County, and even re-visiting past characters. But the formula still works; his latest novel, 2006’s “Limitations,” spins layers of intrigue around Judge George Mason as he works on a rape case. Turow kicks off the Aspen Writers’ Foundation’s Winter Words series, Thursday, Jan. 29 at Paepcke Auditorium.
The mere spectacle of seeing Mickey Rourke’s comeback is the big lure of “The Wrestler.” But there are other excellent reasons to see the film, now showing in Aspen ” not the least of which is Rourke’s work, which has been honored with a Golden Globe award for best actor. The film includes a new Bruce Springsteen song (which took a Golden Globe of its own), the under-used and usually great Marisa Tomei in the role of a stripper, and a script by Robert D. Siegel, former editor in chief of the Onion. But perhaps the biggest attraction is director Darren Aronofsky, who emerged a decade ago with the stunning “Pi,” followed with the brilliant “Requiem for a Dream,” then went into a career stall. When he returned six years later, it was with the commercially disappointing “The Fountain.” “The Wrestler,” which earned the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, marks the return of prominence of one of America’s finest filmmakers and, at 39, Aronofsky should still have plenty more to show us.
It’s one of those weeks in the Aspen music scene when every taste can be satisfied. For folk freaks, the trio of Chris Hillman (of the Byrds), John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and Herb Pedersen is at the Wheeler Opera House on Saturday, Jan. 3; while John Denver sideman Pete Huttlinger plays Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale on Sunday, Jan. 25. And Belly Up, from Sunday, Jan. 25 through Saturday, Jan. 31, cycles through hip-hop (Guru), funk (the Brian Jordan Trio), Eastern European-inspired rock (DeVotchKa), blues-rock (North Mississippi Allstars), reggae (Barrington Levy), a metal-pop tribute band (Tragedy, which plays a metal take on the Bee Gees), and singer-songwriters (Marc Broussard, with opening acts Jesse Baylin and Josh Hoge). Nobody should be feeling left out.
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: The Colorado Department of Transportation gives Aspen’s roundabout a poor grade in terms of level of service so it’s thinking about making changes. But first, a study or two must be done.