It’s often said that talent needs to leave town to be appreciated. Barry Smith, however, has had it both ways. The Aspenite’s one-man comedy piece, “Jesus In Montana,” was a hometown hit in its debut early last year. Smith took a shortened, retitled version, “Jesus In Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult,” to the New York International Fringe Festival and came back with a prize for best one-person show. Smith’s latest venture is enjoying quite a run in Carbondale. For several weeks, sold-out crowds have packed Steve’s Guitars to witness the Barry Smith Comedy Project Experiment Thing, in which Smith improvises his way toward his next full-blown performance. Smith, whose Irrelativity column appears weekly in The Aspen Times, has focused on his experiences as an A/V guy and as a squatter in London. He concludes the run Saturday, April 15, with a proven quantity, “Jesus In Montana,” a multimedia chronicle of finding the Son of God. Or not.
The Aspen Art Museum’s first true season under director and chief curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson comes to a close this week, and it’s safe to say that, either through inadvertent controversy or by positive design, the museum has never been more in the public eye. Hundreds witnessed the “Mt. 66” project as it rolled (partway) down the Buttermilk halfpipe; tens of thousands caught sight of the “Ski Madonna” image that graced all Aspen Skiing Co. lift tickets this ski season. The first season of exhibitions arranged by Jacobson ends in a fitting manner: Yutaka Sone’s snow- and ski-themed X-Art Show – featuring the “Mt. 66” video – closes the same day that the lifts shut down. And the group show Having New Eyes reminds visitors of the presence of a new leadership at the Aspen Art Museum. Both show runs through Sunday, April 16.
A superb ski season closes on an appropriately rocking note. Make that notes. Yonder Mountain String Band plays a two-night stand at the Wheeler Opera House, Friday and Saturday, April 14-15. The Colorado quartet has made its name by playing forward-leaning acoustic music – driving without drums, they have called it. But on their upcoming, self-titled CD, due out May 9, they actually drive with some drums, as well as the touch of producer Tom Rothrock, who has worked with Beck and the Foo Fighters. Yonder Mountain also has a new drumless release, “Mountain Tracks, Vol. 4,” part of their series of live recordings. On Sunday, April 16, the last day of lift-served skiing, the Belly Up caps its own extraordinary season with a night of music headlined by the Benevento/Russo Duo, an East Coast keyboard-and-drum combo that coaxes the most from its instruments. Additional acts are promised.
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.