Jay Cowan had more access to the late Hunter S. Thompson than virtually any other writer. Cowan lived in a cabin on Thompson’s Woody Creek property for several years, allowing him to peek in on, and participate in, the strange happenings at Owl Farm. Editor-in-chief of Aspen Sojourner magazine, Cowan puts his privileged vantage point to excellent use in “Hunter S. Thompson: An Insider’s View of Deranged, Depraved, Drugged Out Brilliance.” The book doesn’t merely disclose the derangement and depravity, but offers insight into Thompson’s unique way of life and an even more singular approach to writing. In a crowded field of books on the late Woody Creek icon, this stands out. Cowan appears for a signing and reading event at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27 at the Aspen Book Store, at the Little Nell. The official publication date is March 3.
The subject of “One Thing Never Changed,” the final song on the Pretenders’ recent CD “Break Up the Concrete,” is a train whistle. But it’s hard to hear the song’s ruminative tone and not think of the singer herself, Chrissie Hynde. Everything in the music world has been altered, including the fact that the Pretenders are no longer throwing out hits like “Brass in Pocket” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” But Hynde hasn’t changed course: On “Break Up the Concrete,” she can be vicious, funny, cool, and, most of all, insistent. If she gets contemplative on the final song, it’s only for the moment; for the most part, the 57-year-old ” still thin and looking good in jeans, black T-shirt and high boots ” is doing more rocking than aging. She and the latest version of the Pretenders perform Wednesday, Feb. 25 at Belly Up.
There are a couple of sure things at this year’s Academy Awards (which will be broadcast Sunday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m.): the late Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor; “Wall-E” for Best Animated Feature. Both are being offered at the Wheeler Film Series this week. “The Dark Knight,” with Ledger as the demented Joker, shows Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 23-24, with “Wall-E” on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28. The more deserving of the Oscar accolade is “Wall-E,” a funny, futuristic and socially provocative film that joins “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille” in raising the bar for animated features. Andrew Stanton’s story is set way in the future, when Earth is patrolled by a lone ‘bot, a solar-powered garbageman cleaning up the waste left behind. Meanwhile, mankind floats endlessly in space ” fat, content, useless, and mostly indifferent to the idea of returning to their fouled home.
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The rebuild of the Paepcke Transit Hub on Main Street in Aspen this summer will cause traffic delays.