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Current Events

Pierre Milon/Sony Pictures ClassicsFrancois Begaudeau stars in the Oscar-nominated French film "The Class," showing at the Wheeler Opera House.
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Audiences who saw the small-scale production last week of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” should not be alarmed that the local treasure Jayne Gottlieb Productions has permanently downsized its vision. The children’s theater troupe has returned with “Oliver!” ” featuring some 60 kids, and sets and costumes that recreate the low-rent atmosphere of mid-19th century England. In addition to the children, the production brings a new member to Gottlieb’s crew: co-director David Ledingham, an Aspen product who has been seen at the Crystal Palace and Theatre Aspen. “Oliver!” with the signature tunes “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food,” opened this past week in Basalt, and shows Friday and Saturday, April 17-18, at the Wheeler Opera House

What does a flock of kids from working- class families in an ethnically mixed Paris neighborhood have to do with adults in, say, the privileged enclave of Aspen? Something fundamental: We’ve all been through the crucible known as junior high. Actually, in “The Class,” those Parisian teenagers are still going through the ritual, with all its shame, daily mini-dramas, alliances and fragility. And most of all in director Laurent Cantet’s oddly fascinating film, the unique show- down of student versus teacher. Real life teacher and novelist François Begaudeau plays a version of himself in a movie that looks, feels and breathes like cinema verite, but with the emotional wallop of great story-telling. Begaudeau, as the French- language teacher Mr. Marin, jousts with his students over their surliness, their unwillingness to participate, their writing skills. Mr. Marin is poised and committed but also apt to collapse in frustration, raising the question: What leads a bright, capable person to go into teaching? “The Class,” a nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, shows Sunday and Monday, April 12-13, at the Wheeler Opera House.

Here comes one of those shows that people are probably going to buzz about for weeks afterward ” and you don’t want to be one of those left saying, “Dang, I wish I’d been there.” Thievery Corporation is a Washington, D.C. DJ duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. Not enticed yet? OK. The group, a twosome in the studio, expands to a 14-piece ensemble onstage, complete with a horn section and a percussion section. And since its beginnings in the mid-’90s, Thievery Corporation has aimed for a vastly multi-cultural take on electronic music ” so their performances include singers from Iran, Guyana, Jamaica and Buenos Aires. “Radio Retaliation,” the group’s 2008 album, is a dynamic and fiercely political rant that also does the job of getting the dance floor shaking. Thievery Corporation makes its local debut Wednesday, April 15, at Belly Up Aspen. It’s a rare small-venue show; three nights later, they’re in the California desert for the cutting-edge Coachella Festival, where they are among the top-billed acts.


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