Dean Sobel, whose tenure as director of the Aspen Art Museum ends this month, has left a noticeable imprint on the 26-year-old institution. Witness the two exhibitions just opened, “Kendell Geers: Hung, Drawn and Quartered” and Carlos Garaicoa’s “Self-Flagellation, Survival, Insubordination.” Both are edgy, nontraditional and engaged with the present. With words in striking black-and-white, the South African-born Geers takes aim at the Bush administration and the Iraq war. The Cuban Garaicoa, meanwhile, looks at society through the lens of the urban landscape. Both exhibits show through April 10.
Classical music requires dedication, and David Finckel & Wu Han have brought that commitment to dizzying heights. The husband-and-wife, cello-and-piano duo founded the California festival Music@Menlo and the record label ArtistLed, both successful ventures. When not performing as a lauded duo, they have separate projects, including Finckel’s membership in the pre-eminent Emerson String Quartet. Later this year, the two assume the directorship of the highly visible Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. They appear in Aspen, their home away from home, Friday, Feb. 25, at Harris Hall in the Aspen Music Festival’s Winter Music Artist Recital series, with a program of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy and Britten sonatas.
Sam Bush is the man who made it OK for bluegrass to rock. Some 30 years ago, the Kentucky-born mandolinist and fiddler took his love of rock’s rhythm and put it into a string-band format with the founding of New Grass Revival. The quartet, which featured Béla Fleck on banjo, paved the way for pickers who wanted to break out of the confines of bluegrass. Bush has continued to leave his mark all over the music field: He led Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers; became the face and heart of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival; and starred on the “Short Trip Home” album, which fused folk and classical. In his own band, which plays Friday, Feb. 25, at the Wheeler Opera House, Bush continues to rock, fusing reggae, jazz, bluegrass and more.
Thunder River Theatre Company’s days as a traveling troupe are almost over. The company closed on a piece of land in downtown Carbondale earlier this month, and expects to break ground on a fully equipped 99-seat, black-box venue in weeks. The news should give their upcoming production, of Molière’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” a boost. The romantic farce reads like contemporary satire, revolving around hefty doctor’s bills and a distrust of the medical profession. “The Imaginary Invalid” plays at the CRMS Barn Friday through Sunday, Feb. 25-27, and Thursday through Saturday, March 3-5.
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Normalcy will be few and far between this ski season, so Aspen’s Simi Hamilton’s traditional slow start brought a sense of calm to a world that’s mostly in chaos at the moment.