October 13, 2006
Bobby Bare is best known as a country singer, having scored hits with songs written by Kris Kristofferson and dueting with Rosanne Cash on her breakthrough song, “No Memories Hangin’ Round.” But Bare did more than just country; he recorded a series of comic novelty songs, did the concept album “Bird Named Yesterday,” and acted in movies and TV. This versatile streak is evident not only in Bare’s body of work, but also in his progeny, Bobby Bare Jr. On “The Longest Meow,” the younger Bare’s new CD, one can hear strains of country – but doing so requires wading through layers of punk attitude, grungy guitar, falsetto singing and offbeat humor. It’s reminiscent of Neil Young’s mellow and thrashing sides, but all mashed together. Bare and his band – the Young Criminals Starvation League – play Monday, Oct. 16, at Belly Up.
Richard Feynman once declared that no one understands quantum mechanics. Feynman knew the ignorance of which he spoke. He won the 1965 Nobel Prize for physics for bringing humanity a tad closer to recognizing the nature of subatomic particles; he also worked on the Manhattan Project, the U.S.’s development of the atom bomb. Feynman doesn’t appear in “Copenhagen,” but the history-altering moment he was a part of is at the center of Michael Frayn’s 2000 Tony Award-winning drama. The play ponders the 1941 meeting, in Denmark’s capital, between Danish physicist Neils Bohr and his one-time protege, German Werner Heisenberg. That there was a meeting is historically accurate; what the two exchanged remains unknown. Feynman’s observation about things beyond the reach of human knowledge rings throughout the play, which ponders not only the content of the Bohrs-Heisenberg visit, but what might have been had the Nazis won the nuclear race. This much is certain: CMC Theatre presents “Copenhagen” at the New Space Theatre on the Spring Valley campus. The production, directed by Lynn Aliya, opens Friday, Oct. 20, and runs through Oct. 28.
Some insist that art and politics should never mingle. And some artists shy away from concrete political statements by obscuring their views in fuzzy language. But the presidency of George W. Bush has seemed to make it perfectly OK for singer-songwriters to take direct aim; Steve Earle, Michael Franti, Rickie Lee Jones and, of course, the Dixie Chicks, are among those who haven’t minced words. Two folky singers appearing in the valley this week have also voiced their dissent. Eliza Gilkyson’s “Man of God,” from her 2005 album “Paradise Hotel,” doesn’t mention name, but the description – a “cowboy from the West,” a “fortunate son” with “a gang of goons” – leaves no doubts. It is a powerful song, with the Cracker Choir giving it the authority of gospel. Dan Bern is even less shy; his 2004 EP “My Country II” closes with the somber and unambiguous “Bush Must Be Defeated.” Gilkyson plays Saturday, Oct. 14, at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale; Bern makes his first Aspen appearance in nine years Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Wheeler Opera House.