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Current events

Singer and activist Michael Franti will appear in Aspen with his documentary film, "I Know I Am Not Alone." Along with the screening, Franti will talk with the audience and perform a solo set. (Courtesy Guerrilla Management)
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On his post-9/11 CD “Everyone Deserves Music,” Michael Franti – the singer and poet also known as Spearhead – skewered the Bush administration, particularly for its bellicosity. One quote has made its way into bumper-stickerdom: “We can bomb the world to pieces / But we can’t bomb it into peace.” Not content to base his criticism on secondhand information, Franti traveled in 2004 to Iraq, Israel and the West Bank to see for himself the impact of armed conflict. “I Know I Am Not Alone,” the documentary film of his interactions with soldiers, injured children and musicians, conveys first-person insight, and pushes the idea that common people on all sides are united in their desire for peace. Franti’s recent appearances in the Roaring Fork Valley, including an outdoor concert in Snowmass Village last summer, have been joyous musical celebrations; his latest should have a different tenor. At the Wheeler Opera House, on Friday, March 25, Franti will present a screening of the film, followed by a Q & A session, and a solo performance.

Among the things the Grateful Dead did very well was to mark the passage of time and seasons in their songs. “Wake of the Flood,” from 1973, one of their better studio albums, closed with a pair of tunes – “Weather Report Suite” and “Eyes of the World” – devoted to the changing of seasons: “Winter rain, now tell me why / Summers fade and roses die?” wondered Bob Weir in the former. “The night comes so quiet, it’s close on the heels of the day,” observed Jerry Garcia in the latter. The Dead’s late-era hit “Touch of Grey” opened with a twisted take on time: “Must be getting early / Clocks are running late.” In their time, the Dead often pulled out something special for shows that landed on the solstice; somewhere out there are bootleg tapes with a particularly hot instrumental segment labeled “Solstice Jam.” So it is fortuitous that Dark Star Orchestra, the ultimate Dead tribute band, opens its two-night stand at the Belly Up the first day of spring, Monday, March 20. Dark Star can pull out almost anything; recently, they have been making up their own set lists as often as re-creating actual Dead shows from the past. But don’t expect to hear “Equinox”: The song was never played live, and only was released as an outtake from the 1977 “Terrapin Station” sessions.

Japanese-born, Los Angeles-based artist Yutaka Sone swears by the principles of collaboration and the hand of fate in his process. Those artistic guides are evident in X-Art, Sone’s current exhibit in the downstairs gallery of the Aspen Art Museum. The twin centerpieces of X-Art are the “Mt. 66” video, and the pair of 8-foot dice that star in the video. “Mt. 66,” made by Sone’s frequent collaborator Damon McCarthy, is a document of Sone’s recent time in Aspen, centered around the snow and mountains. Warren Miller this isn’t: The video is a refreshing breath of whimsy, mixing cactus-themed snow sculptures and cheeseburger-grilling with a dancing bunny and, of course, powder shots. The video concludes with scenes from the performance piece, also “Mt. 66,” which involved last month’s rolling the dice down the Buttermilk halfpipe; there’s even a surprise happy ending. The exhibit, which runs through April 16, also features snow-related drawings and paintings, skis and more.


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