October 7, 2005
For all of its history, the Roaring Fork Open has been a virtual free-for-all. Within certain limits of size, the Aspen Art Museum accepted whatever the artists of the Roaring Fork Valley had to offer. But Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, the museum’s new director and chief curator, arrived with curating in her blood, and she’s not going to let an opportunity – to curate a show, or to get acquainted with the local contingent of artists – pass her by. For three days last week, Jacobson met with scores of artists, each of whom brought three recent works for assessment and selection. The result is that the show remains truly open – no one has been turned down for inclusion. At the same time, there is less repetition of subject matter than in past Opens, and Jacobson is confident her curatorial imprint will be left on the exhibition. Also, opening a dialogue between Jaconson and the artists can only bode well for what is in the future. A reception for the Roaring Fork Open is Friday, Oct. 14 – moved from its original date of Thursday, Oct. 14, in consideration of the Yom Kippur observance – from 6-8 p.m. The show, featuring some 150 works, hangs through Nov. 26.
“Melange – A New Vaudeville Revue” won’t be a flop for lack of planning. Kent Reed, the director and producer of the show, has been thinking about a vaudeville-type presentation ever since he founded Theatre Under the Jerome – 22 years ago. Through years of Aspen theater and a long stretch in Chicago, Reed never gave up the idea, but he also never found the time or opportunity to stage it. Upon his return to Aspen last year, Reed saw the Wheeler Opera House – first built in the 1880s, the start of the vaudeville era – and saw his chance. For two months, Reed has been putting the word out that he’s seeking top-rate singers, dancers, jugglers, comics and more, and he is pleased with the results. Look for indoor kite-flying, tango dancing and an imaginative take on Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” as the highlights, when “Melange” makes its debut at the Wheeler Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 14-15, with an additional matinee on Saturday.
There was a time when the job of singer-songwriter didn’t require being an outstanding guitarist as well. But as the genre has evolved, multitasking has becoming the norm, and now there are numerous singer-songwriter types – Bruce Cockburn, Ani Difranco, David Wilcox – who dazzle on guitar. Also in that group is Willy Porter. On his most recent recording, 2003’s “High Wire Live,” the Milwaukee product fits in comfortably with the contemporary folk crowd, playing solo and spinning expressive songs like “Breathe” and “Paper Airplane.” But there are also passages, on six- and 12-string guitars, which show that guitar great Leo Kottke is one of Porter’s biggest influences; check out the “High Wire Live” closer – “Road Bone,” for instance. Known as a most personable live act, Porter should make an impression playing the intimate Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale Thursday, Oct. 13.