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Current Events

Stewart Oksenhorn/Aspen Times WeeklyMichael Kang sits in as guest mandolinist and singer with Particle at the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Fest.
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The local festival season opens on a most promising note, with the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Fest. True, the event, in its sixth year, has been shortened by a day. Yet this years version packs in imported beers, tequila and vodka tastings, and music on a second stage on the Snowmass Mall all new attractions plus more local chili cooks, microbrews from all over the West (not just Colorado), an expanded homebrew division, and a bigger chili competition. Topping it off, the music lineup is more enticing than ever. Not only are there three top headliners techno-groove group Particle; rock quartet moe.; and Colorados Leftover Salmon but there are bonuses everywhere. Moe. makes its first area appearance since the mid-90s. Leftover Salmon, playing one of a handful of shows this year, welcomes guest saxophonist Karl Denson. And Particle will feature String Cheese Incidents Michael Kang, Tea Leaf Greens Josh Clark, and a horn section. The festival is Friday and Saturday, June 5-6, with an After-Jam Saturday night at the Mountain Dragon featuring players from the mainstage.

Dang, the offseason goes by slowly without the Wheeler Film Series. Thankfully, the spruce-up of the Wheeler Opera House finished ahead of time, and the Film Series is able to squeeze in some titles. Actually, a bunch of them, all promising ones, in a two-week flurry that programmer Jon Busch likens to a festival. The calendar kicks off Sunday and Monday, May 31-June 1, with the smart French romantic comedy Shall We Kiss? Then Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, a documentary about the 1968 football game between the Ivy League rivals, is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, June 2-3. Moscow, Belgium, an offbeat Belgian love story that took three awards at Cannes, hits the screen Thursday through Saturday, June 4-6. Sugar, about a Dominican baseball player making his way up to the major leagues and to the U.S. is scheduled for June 7-8. The calendar closes June 9-10 with the hit Japanese family drama Tokyo Sonata. Then the Wheeler gets taken over by the Aspen Music Festival and becomes a genuine opera house for the rest of the summer though the indie films carry on at the Summerfilms series at Paepcke Auditorium.