It’s no huge surprise that the players from Aspen’s Crystal Palace soldiered on even after the long-running dinner theater shut down two years ago. What is impressive is that, even in their nomadic existence, playing benefits here and corporate gigs there, they are adding new material to their repertoire. On Saturday, March 27, when the Crystal Palace Revue lands at the Wheeler Opera House – where it sold out in December – the 11-member troupe will debut satirical tunes skewering Sarah Palin, Tiger Woods and President Obama. The new material comes from the pen of Rick Crum, the New Yorker who was responsible for the bulk of the songs in the old days. The Palace is dead. Long live the Palace players.
No, Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “The Doors” was not the definitive word on the L.A. band. Stone, as he is known to do, went overboard in style, strayed from the facts, and turned singer Jim Morrison into a caricature of the late ’60s. “When You’re Strange” takes another shot at the short-lived, brightly burning quartet, and brings a different approach. A documentary directed by indie-film icon Tom DiCillo, the film uses nothing but vintage footage and narration by Johnny Depp. With no talking-head interviews to slow down the action, the dynamic visual quality that was the strength of Stone’s movie is present here as well. DiCillo may have invented a new form for telling the story of rock ‘n’ roll. “When You’re Strange” gets an advance screening on Sunday, March 21 at the Wheeler Opera House – a month before its national release – with producer John Beug in attendance to give an intro and answer questions afterward.
Anyone who saw the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics knows that Canada can go to the extremes with their fiddles. Another case in point: Barrage, which makes its Aspen debut on Friday, March 26 at the Wheeler Opera House. The group, based in Alberta, features six violinists – but no one should expect this to resemble an Aspen Music Festival production. More like a Music Fest concert crossed with the X Games. Barrage stirs up a theatrical, athletic mix of song and dance that has been likened to the percussion group STOMP – only with strings instead of drums. Look for cranked-up volume, lots of movement, and tight-fitting jeans and sleeveless tops instead of tuxedoes and gowns.
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Development in Basalt barely skipped a beat in 2020 despite the coronavirus. It’s expected to be busier next year.