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Current events

Mark Fox/The Aspen Times
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For most of a year now, local actors Peggy Mundinger and Wendy Perkins have been living not just with one character apiece, but a couple of dozen. The two began rehearsing their version of “Parallel Lives,” Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney’s off-Broadway sketch comedy, last spring, and debuted it in August. So for three seasons, Mundinger and Perkins have been slipping into such characters – characters! – as the Catholic girls Terry and Tina, and Mad and Sylvia, two elderly women coping in the contemporary world, and quoting signature lines, “Yew look ver’, ver’ purty t’naht” and “Just thiiink about it!” The two, and director Brad Moore, bring “Parallel Lives,” with its themes of religion, sexuality and aging, back to Aspen High School’s Black Box Theatre Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4, and Friday-Sunday, 10-12. They also hit the road, playing a Valentine’s Day show in Crested Butte.

With its mellow rhythms and patois English, reggae music is unmistakably Caribbean in sound. But it is also spiritual music, in its themes of overcoming oppression and giving thanks to the maker, and that has made reggae a universal sound, as popular in Japan, England and the United States as it is in Jamaica. So it is no mere novelty when Matisyahu puts an Orthodox Jewish twist on the music. The former Matthew Miller adopted reggae before religion, rejecting Hebrew school in favor of dreadlocks and Grateful Dead tours. But a teenage unhappiness led to a search for something more; in Colorado, Miller had his spiritual revelation. After a trip to Israel, a Phish tour and another round of spiritual malaise, he studied reggae and hip-hop at an Oregon wilderness school. Back in New York, Miller finally emerged as Matisyahu, a cross of Bob Marley and Mendel Mintz. Last year’s breakthrough CD “Live at Stubb’s” is more roots reggae, with a touch of rap, than rabbinical studies. Matisyahu makes his Aspen debut Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Belly Up, a month before the release of the studio CD, “Youth.”

Just how influential Doug Casebeer has been in the thriving local ceramics scene can be witnessed in an upcoming exhibit. The show, titled Doug Casebeer, is the first one-person exhibit at the Harvey/Meadows Gallery. The new gallery, becoming a hot spot for art at Aspen Highlands Village, happens to be run by two former residents – Sam Harvey and Alleghany Meadows – of the ceramics program Casebeer has run at Snowmass Village’s Anderson Ranch Arts Center since 1985. Casebeer’s mark extends beyond pottery; his input has been critical to the design of Anderson Ranch. The exhibit, featuring new pieces of functional and sculptural ceramics, opens with a reception Saturday, Feb. 4. Casebeer will give a talk at the gallery Feb. 25.

Andreas Haefliger is the latest example of a musician being trained at the Aspen Music School, going on to a significant career, then being embraced back in Aspen. The Swiss-born pianist, who divides his time between Vienna and the States, helped open last summer’s festival, appearing with the Takacs Quartet in performances of quintets by Dvorak, Mozart and Schumann. He returns for his first winter appearance, opening the Music Festival’s Winter Music Artist Recital Series at Harris Hall Tuesday, Jan. 31. The program is all Mozart and Beethoven, composers who have gotten most of Haefliger’s attention of late. He is in the midst of a seven-year Perspective of Beethoven project, which includes performances of all the composer’s solo piano work. This year’s theme is The Spirit of Mozart, in which Haefliger explores the connections and separations between the two composers. Aspen audiences should be prepared for more Haefliger, and lots more Mozart. The 2006 summer festival bears the theme Celebrations! with a weeklong mini-fest, Mozart: Prodigy or Prophet? honoring the 250th anniversary of his birth.


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