September 10, 2005
For many in the Aspen area, the biggest connection to New Orleans and the rest of the devastated South is music. New Orleans is hailed as jazz’s hometown, the Mississippi Delta gave birth to the blues, and Aspenites have embraced such Southern favorites as Georgia’s Widespread Panic, the Radiators and Galactic from New Orleans, and the North Mississippi Allstars. Now come some more sons of the South. from northern Florida, celebrates its Southernness with drawled vocals, slide guitars and, most notably, thick, greasy rhythms that are in no hurry to get where they’re going. The title track from the band’s 2004 CD “Lochloosa” takes its name from the lake that dominated the region where songwriter and frontman JJ Grey lives; the songs speak of swamps, alligators and heat, signatures of the South. Mofro makes its Belly Up debut Friday, Sept. 16.
With Aspen Highlands Village desperately in need of some distinguishing characteristic, local visual artists are sniffing opportunity in its vast, echoing spaces. The Aspen Artists’ Cooperative, run by artist West Townsend, has been the village’s success story; last month, ceramists Sam Harvey and Alleghany Meadows reinforced the idea of an artists’ community by opening the splendid Harvey/Meadows Gallery. To turn the public on to the concept, Highlands is hosting the second annual Saturday, Sept. 17. Townsend hopes to have nearly 100 artists not just present, but creating something. The studio that houses painters Dave Notor and Olivia Daane will be open and bustling. There will also be a kids’ area with a huge canvas, a wine-tasting and music by the Lone Pine Bluegrass Band. The event is a fund-raiser for Aspen Youth Experience; donations will be accepted, and the Artists’ Cooperative will give 10 percent of its proceeds to the organization.
The first half of the family drama is a fairly predictable clash of cultures, as Madeleine, the sophisticated owner of a Chicago outsider-art gallery, visits her in-laws in Pfafftown, N.C. There, she is most enthusiastically greeted by Ashley, the naive sister-in-law who finds everything about Madeleine exotic and amazing. The film’s opening deals mostly in stereotypes, but Amy Adams plays Ashley with undeniable glee, and director Phil Morrison and screenwriter Angus MacLachlan make the cliches palatable (both are from North Carolina). But “Junebug” distinguishes itself in its final third, when it pulls away from stereotypes of the South and allows each character to become an individual, making choices and displaying genuine emotions. The film concludes its three-night run at the Wheeler Opera House Sunday, Sept. 11.