July 25, 2005
What goes through the mind of a person so convinced he has found the Second Coming that he gives up all else in his life to devote to a latter-day Christ? Barry Smith, writer of The Aspen Times column Irrelativity, has been there and back. His one-man show “Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult,” documents in words and visual aids his early-’90s hitchhiking journey to Missoula, Mont., where he spent a summer communing and playing hacky-sack with a semiretired chiropractor who went by the name Doc. The show, which premiered in Aspen in January, has been accepted for next month’s New York International Fringe Festival. Smith warms up with local presentations: Sunday, July 31, and Aug. 7 at the Theatre Aspen tent; at the Blue Acacia in Glenwood Springs Friday, Aug. 5; and at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale Saturday, Aug. 6.
His baby-smooth face makes Derek Trucks looks younger than his 26 years. Everything else about him speaks of experience and wisdom. A road musician since 16, the Florida-born guitarist has absorbed influences including classic jazz, Pakistani qawwali singing, ’70s fusion, Delta blues, soul and more, and he has put his slide-guitar stamp on them. The core of his band – drummer Yonrico Scott and bassist Todd Smallie – has been intact for nearly a decade, and the other members, keyboardist/flutist Kofi Burbridge and singer Mike Mattison, seem to be in for the long ride. Recently, Trucks expanded his repertoire by making what he considers his first real studio album, the first extended time in the studio that didn’t feel, as he put it, like “just another tour stop.” Trucks closes the music portion of the Massive Music & Movies event in Snowmass Village on Saturday, Aug. 6. Opening is Texas funkman Papa Mali; the night is capped by a screening of “Fantasia.”
No decent ballet company can be encapsulated in one dance. But the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet comes close with “The Same Wall.” The piece, commissioned by the company and premiered in 2002, cemented the relationship between the ASFB and rising choreographer Nicolo Fonte. “The Same Wall” showcases one of the company’s hallmarks, its athleticism, using a take on the locally popular sport of rock climbing. Thematically, the dance is about overcoming obstacles, a notion entwined with the very existence of the company. The ASFB performances, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5-6, at the Aspen District Theatre, include Trey McIntyre’s “Like a Samba,” set to songs by Astrud Gilberto, and David Parsons’ “Wolfgang,” a Mozart tribute which had its world premiere in Aspen in February. The ASFB also performs a children’s show Saturday afternoon, and presents the Trey McIntyre Project on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Latin music usually brings to mind sweaty dancing, drums and horns – not concert halls and string sections. With its Postcards from Latin America mini-festival, the Aspen Music Festival exposes another side of the sound. The mini-fest spotlights a wide variety of styles: chamber music by Mexican Arturo Márquez and jazz saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, orchestral works by Puerto Rican Roberto Sierra and Argentinean Alberto Ginastera. Two musicians at the center of the Latin accent are Thiago de Mello and Sharon Isbin. De Mello, an Amazon-born percussionist and composer, performs with the Aspen Percussion Ensemble on Tuesday, Aug. 2. He then joins guitarist Isbin, his frequent collaborator, for a recital on Saturday, Aug. 6, featuring several of de Mello’s works. For tango fans, An Evening of Tango on Thursday, Aug. 4, with mezzo-soprano Delores Ziegler, has a pair of works by tango king Astor Piazzolla, and the following night brings a screening of Sally Potter’s 1997 film “The Tango Lesson.”