November 3, 2006
Contemporary photography comes into focus in Part II of the Aspen Art Museum’s Colorado Biennial. The final phase of the exhibition features three photographers among its six artists, and each points his camera in a distinctive way. Woody Creeker George Stranahan’s black-and-white images meditate on still, timeless everyday scenes. Basaltine Karl Wolfgang examines closely the concept of film; his exhibit includes a series of images taken from the usually discarded ends of rolls of film. Denver’s Kevin O’Connell’s “Chord” series of black-and-white photos juxtapose the man-made and the natural, the abstract and the figurative. Also in the show are urban-inspired works by graphic designer Evan Hecox, landscapelike installations by Senga Nengudi, and science-related prints and installations by Jenna Wilson, a psychology postgrad student. The exhibit opens with a reception Thursday, Nov. 9, and runs through Nov. 26.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo has seen enormous changes in its career fortunes over its four decades. Before Paul Simon’s 1986 album “Graceland,” the South African vocal group was a local phenomenon, winning so many singing contests they were eventually barred from competing. Following “Graceland,” the a cappella group became worldwide ambassadors for peace and music, singing in Hollywood films and for Nobel Prize ceremonies, earning Grammy Awards. But Ladysmith Black Mambazo has witnessed even greater changes in their world, watching as apartheid was dismantled, and Nelson Mandela rose from political prisoner to South Africa’s president. The group’s new CD “Long Walk to Freedom,” featuring collaborations with Emmylou Harris, Sarah McLachlan, Taj Mahal and others, is timed for the 20th anniversary of “Graceland.” But the title, and the music itself, reveal a celebration of greater progress. Ladysmith Black Mambazo returns to Aspen with a concert Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Wheeler Opera House.
In “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye struggles with a changing world, the slipping away of his and his community’s precious traditions. Watching Aspen Community Theatre’s current production of the musical, you can get a sense of how Tevye feels. Aspen is a place that feels the march of progress more keenly than most, and consequently needs institutions like ACT to maintain its balance, its notion of community. And this “Fiddler” provides not just a warm, neighborly feeling, bit a sensational dose of entertainment. “Tevye’s Dream,” in which the ghost of Fruma Sarah swoops in to warn what will happen if young Tzeitel marries her widower husband, is top-flight. The chorus shines, the sets are a wonder. Certainly worthy of a big mazel tov. “Fiddler on the Roof” continues with matinees Sunday, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, and evening performances Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 8-11.