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Current events

Snowmass Village's Mardi Gras celebration on Tuesday will feature music, a parade, beads and cries of "Throw me something, mister." (Mark Fox/Aspen Times Weekly)
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Though 1,500 miles from New Orleans – and several times that from Rio – Snowmass Village’s Mardi Gras bash has always been one to look forward to. With New Orleans still devastated, there’s even more reason to chug a Hurricane, suck a crawfish head, and show some flesh. Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28, will feature mask-making for kids, drinks for adults, and a parade, beads and Cajun food for everyone. Snowmass even has an event New Orleans couldn’t dream of: the annual Mother of All Ascensions uphill race, which kicks off the day. Capping the party is local band Take the Wheel, playing at the Cirque. The party gets extended into the late night in Aspen, with Slightly Stoopid playing the Belly Up. And so what if they’re a reggae-tinged SoCal band? If Mardi Gras is about anything, it’s about breaking the rules.

To see how transgenders are typically depicted in the media one need travel back only as far as last year’s “Breakfast on Pluto,” the story of the flamboyant, devil-may-care Patrick “Kitten” Braden. “Transamerica” offers the flip-side view. Duncan Tucker’s film stars Aspen product (and Oscar nominee) Felicity Huffman as Bree, a transsexual so focused on the operation that will finally release her from the body and identity of Stanley that she has no energy to get wild. “Transamerica” is also an unexpected kind of film. When Bree discovers she fathered a son years earlier, she tries to wrap up that last little remnant from her previous life by embarking on a cross-country road trip. The journey turns into a lighthearted, humorous, sometimes even silly exploration not so much of sexuality, but of family and self. It might even be a trifle if Huffman didn’t flesh out Bree, physically and emotionally, so well. “Transamerica” shows Thursday through Saturday, March 2-4, at the Wheeler Opera House.

Ailey II, the smaller, younger associate of the long-running Alvin Ailey dance company, performed in Aspen just last year. But it was an easy call for Aspen Santa Fe ballet to present an encore appearance, and not only because Ailey II sold out its previous engagement. ASFB co-director Tom Mossbrucker says he sees little similarity between the local company and Ailey II: Ailey II, unlike the ASFB, builds on modern dance, stemming back to its founding by the late Ailey, a pioneering African-American choreographer. But when Mossbrucker praises the youthfulness of Ailey II, their infectious energy, and “that incredible push to their performance,” one hears the echo of the ASFB company. Ailey II performs at the Aspen District Theatre Wednesday and Thursday, March 1-2, with only one piece – “Revelation,” a signature Ailey creation set to gospel music – repeated from last year.


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