How far has come. It’s assumed that Aspen’s first midwinter celebration, 55 years ago, didn’t include the Men’s Health Village, featuring samples of fragrance and grooming products, as this year’s does (“Dude, you smell nice. ‘Skol!”). But complaints about tawdry commercialism shouldn’t be made too loud, as the bustling Wintersköl of the past couple of years is preferable to the version that had been on life support through the late ’90s. New events like Soupsköl, with numerous restaurants giving out free samples of their finest stocks and stews, and the Snowmass Swissbob have added enough critical mass so that the traditional parade and Canine Fashion Show don’t seem like isolated efforts at celebration. Soupsköl is Friday, Jan. 13, in downtown Aspen; the Swissbob races are Sunday, Jan. 15, on Snowmass Mountain. Other highlights include the Wintersköl Parade (Saturday, Jan. 14, through downtown Aspen); the Torchlight Descent and Fireworks (Saturday evening over Aspen Mountain); and, of course, the Men’s Health Village (daily, Thursday through Sunday, at the Gondola Plaza). Music events are the jazz show “Stardust” (Friday, Wheeler Opera House); roots-rockers Cross Canadian Ragweed (Saturday, Wheeler); and Colorado funk band Little Hercules (Sunday, Snowmass Village mall).
The Belly Up is gobbling up most of the attention in the upper-valley live-music-club scene. But over in Snowmass Village, the continues to chug along at its modest pace. And that means that now and again, the club will have a run of shows to remind listeners that the Blue Door takes its role as Snowmass’ music venue seriously. This is one of those weeks: Thursday, Jan. 12, features Seventh Hour, a fine example of jam-rock, local style. Friday, Jan. 13, brings singer-guitarist-funnyman Vince Herman; and Herman, in his post-Leftover Salmon re-emergence, brings a trio featuring Cliff Starbuck, bassist of Ekoostik Hookah, and Randy Crouch, fiddler from the Red Dirt Rangers. Denver emo band Silence the Satellites makes its local debut Saturday, Jan. 14. Also ahead: Denver fun sextet 8traC (Jan. 19); local rockers Jes’ Grew (Jan. 26); Fort Collins reggae group Peace Officer (Jan. 27); Arizona ska band Warsaw (Jan. 28); and Memphis electronica trio Pnuma (Jan. 29).
Sometimes, Aspen can seem like a great movie town, given the eight commercial screens, Aspen Filmfest and the Wheeler Film Series. Then again, Aspen sometimes gets short shrift cinemawise: A good number of well-reviewed films never get here, some get here months late, and others come and go in the blink of an eye. is an example of this duality. Aspen audiences got a preview of Noah Baumbach’s darkly comic tale of a family in the process of separation in 1980s Brooklyn when Filmfest screened it in September. The film was released generally by November, but didn’t return to Aspen until December, when Filmfest brought it back for a one-night stand at the Academy Screenings series. It finally got a proper run ” of four nights ” at the Wheeler, ending Sunday, Jan. 8. “The Squid and the Whale” has earned more respect from critics, landing on numerous best of 2005 lists. Jeff Daniels, playing out-of-usual character as a self-absorbed, bilious intellectual father of two boys, is a virtual shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. Aspen audiences have just one more night to catch it, but “The Squid and the Whale” is scheduled to reappear in the valley, at Carbondale’s Crystal Theatre, in the next week or two.
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In the 1960s The Red Onion as the Aspen Ski Club would host an annual ski fashion preview, which in addition to clothing also included live music and a strip auction.