Award-winning author Pam Houston, a popular draw at past Aspen Writers’ Foundation programs, returns Tuesday, March 1, for an appearance in the Winter Words series. The event is set for Paepcke Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. Houston’s latest work is “Sight Hound,” the story of a woman and her wolfhound, Dante, who teaches “his human” that love is stronger than fear. “With the wit and dead-on candor we’ve come to expect from Pam Houston, ‘Sight Hound’ unfolds a complex story that illuminates the intangible covenant between loved ones,” says publisher W.W. Norton & Co. Houston calls Creede, located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, her part-time home. Her bibliography includes two collections of linked short stories, “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “Waltzing the Cat.”
The Spanish-language cinema has been explosive in recent years, providing some of the most adventurous and absorbing filmmaking. Leading the way has been Pedro Almodovar. The Spanish writer-director’s last two films, “All About My Mother” and “Talk to Her,” placed Almodovar squarely in the critics’ darling seat. With his latest, “Bad Education,” Almodovar teams with another leading light of the Spanish-language cinema, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, whose credits include “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “The Motorcycle Diaries.” In “Bad Education,” Almodovar uses a multilayered structure to explore his usual issues of sexuality, religion and art. The film is at the Wheeler Opera House Sunday through Tuesday, Feb. 27-March 1.
Among Jazz Aspen’s noteworthy contributions has been its commitment to Latin jazz. Witness last winter’s memorable concert by Cuban pianist Chuchito Valdes, and appearances by his father, Chucho Valdes, ÁCubanisimo! and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. This week’s Winter Jazz performance, Sunday, Feb. 27, at Harris Hall, brings back two excellent examples of the genre. American percussionist Poncho Sanchez, who has become a leading light in Latin jazz by bringing funk and groove into the mix, headlines the show. Opening is the up-and-coming New England combo Insight Latin Jazz, which thrilled the crowd at last summer’s JASummerNights Swing event.
Like the abstract expressionists, Bill Jensen is interested in eliciting a strong emotional response with his paintings. But while Jensen was influenced by abstract expressionists such as Pollock and Rothko and has much in common stylistically with that movement, there is a far stronger connection in his work to China – Chinese calligraphy, philosophy and even poetry. Jensen has found a kinship with Chinese art and thinking that dates as far back as the early Taoists and as recent as the Fei Fei poets who grew out of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Selections from several of Jensen’s recent series – all inspired by China, though all made in his part-time Italian home – are at the David Floria Gallery.
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.