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Current events

Seventeen-year-old singer Sonya Kitchell performs this week at the Belly Up. (Adriano Fagundes)
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It might be worth checking out Sonya Kitchell in her Aspen debut, Friday, April 28, at the Belly Up, just to be able to say, a decade from now, “I saw her back when … .” Then again, seeing Kitchell now probably comes with immediate bragging rights. Last week, the 17-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman”; next month, she appears as a special guest with Herbie Hancock at Sonoma Jazz+ in California, a festival produced by Jazz Aspen. (Also on Hancock’s guest list are Bela Fleck and Trey Anastasio.) The high-profile activity is built on Kitchell’s sophomore album, “Words Came Back to Me,” released earlier this month. Written entirely by Kitchell, the album recalls the accessible, arty pop-jazz of Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones.

This week, we begin to find out if the Aspen Art Museum’s termination of the Valley Kids show was worth it. Four Thursday Nights, a series of art videos grouped under the theme Group Dynamics, begins Thursday, April 27, with “Jump,” by Los Angeles artists Diana Thater and T. Kelly Mason. The enjoyable piece features a group of young professional jump-ropers doing their thing to various live interpretations of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Also, Venezuelan-born artist Javier Tellez becomes the museum’s first artist-in-residence; beginning Monday, April 24, he will begin collaborating with Colorado mental patients on a Western film, to be shown at the museum in August. Wait, there’s more. The inaugural Young Curators of the Roaring Fork exhibit, titled “Unspoken ______,” opens with a reception Friday, April 28, at the Aspen Meadows’ Kresge Building. Valley who?

Nicole Holofcener must have been paying attention when she worked on the sets of Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.” Holofcener, who scored with 2002’s “Lovely & Amazing,” works in an Allenesque vein of dark, ensemble comedy with “Friends with Money.” Jennifer Aniston stars as a dope-smoking, unambitious slacker, who inexplicably has fallen in with a group of older, monied friends. Aniston is fine in a variation of the slacker she portrayed in “The Good Girl,” but it is the friends – played by Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack – who make the film shine. McDormand, in particular, as a suburban L.A. mom raging at just about everything, from neighbors to strangers to her metrosexual – possibly homosexual – husband. Money is only a sidelight here, but for obvious reasons the film couldn’t be called “Friends.” Holofcener’s real focus is friendship and marriage, and she takes on both with delicious black wit. “Friends with Money” earned Best Film honors at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen last month.


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