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Current events

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It’s offseason, and time for a break from skiing, partying, working, music, traffic ” everything but theater. Mostly because of school schedules, theater comes alive in the spring. Heading the list of upcoming stage activity is a non-student production: CMC Theatre’s version of Brian Friel’s award-winning drama of family, religion and changing times, set in 1930s rural Ireland. Directed by Tom Cochran, it concludes with performances Thursday through Saturday, May 4-6, at CMC’s Spring Valley campus. Aspen Community School puts on its at the Wheeler Opera House Thursday and Friday, May 4-5. The original production attempts to separate the myths of the Old West from the realities.

The Aspen Art Museum’s offseason video series, continues with “S10,” by Chinese artist Yang Fudong. Fudong seems to be commenting on the constraints and awkwardness of corporate life, and perhaps China’s emerging brand of corporate culture. Shot in a typical big-office setting in Shanghai, Fudong’s workers wear clothing, modified with zippers and stitches, that bind them to their fellow employees and make individual actions either difficult or impossible. The office drones are cheerfully free of emotion and speech, and the droning background music heightens the atmosphere of sensuous deprivation. “S10” premieres at the museum Thursday evening, May 4; during the preceding days, the museum will screen “Jump,” the first video in the series, which debuted last week.

Paul Weitz directed the teen sex comedy “American Pie,” and was an executive producer of the sequel, “American Pie 2,” which might be confusing as “American Dreamz” is the new film written, produced and directed by Weitz. is a satire of contemporary American politics and culture, and it has little connection with the previous “American”-titled films. Hugh Grant plays the host of an “American Idol”-type televised singing contest; Dennis Quaid is a Bush II-style president, who wakes after being re-elected and says, “I’m gonna read the newspaper.” The two stories collide when the White House staffers decide to book the president on “American Dreamz” alongside a Jewish rapper, an Iraqi terrorist and a Midwestern, all-American blonde, played by Mandy Moore. Also appearing are Marcia Gay Harden, Willem Dafoe and Chris Klein. Critics agree that the film is vicious and over-the-top, but vastly disagree whether those are good things or bad.


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