The Belly Up’s Christmas-to-New Year’s lineup is geared for the older crowd, with one exception. Sort of. Set to perform Tuesday, Dec. 26, is Rose Hill Drive, a trio of Boulder 20-somethings whose hard-rocking sounds recall Mountain and, dare we say, Led Zeppelin. On this year’s self-titled debut CD, Rose Hill Drive makes some effort to update ’70s-era, guitar-driven rock. But the Belly Up show (and the two-show New Year’s run in Boulder) features a full-body dive into the past; the band will begin the night by covering Jimi Hendrix’s 1970 classic “Band of Gypsies” (which was recorded New Year’s Eve, 1969), including the 13-minute workout “Machine Gun.” Rose Hill Drive, which spent much of the fall opening shows for the Who, will follow with a set of originals. The rest of the Belly Up lineup features two-night stands by British soul singer Seal (Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 27-28) and singer Chris Isaak (Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 30-31), both of whom have played single dates at the Belly Up in the past. Squeezed in between is long-running soul group the O’Jays (Friday, Dec. 29).
Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings – 26 films, most with legitimate Oscar aspirations, in 15 days – is an undeniable treat. But rarely does the series work better than it does with this week’s presentation of “Letters From Iwo Jima,” Tuesday, Dec. 26, at the Wheeler Opera House. The Clint Eastwood-directed film, offering a Japanese perspective on World War II, has already begun garnering awards; the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association have tabbed it best picture. The Japanese-language film got a limited release this past week to make it Oscar-eligible, but it won’t get a general release until February, allowing Aspen filmgoers to get in on the advance buzz. There is another dimension to the drama: Eastwood’s companion WWII film, “Flags of Our Fathers,” earned mixed reviews and mediocre box office. Does Eastwood give more insight on the war from the Japanese side? Does he continue the artistic streak that started with “Mystic River” (2003 best picture Oscar nominee) and continued with “Million Dollar Baby” (2005 best picture Oscar winner)? Also in Academy Screenings this week: “Little Children,” “Volver” and “Notes on a Scandal,” all currently up for multiple Golden Globe awards.
Philip Guston began his career as part of New York City’s post-WWII abstract expressionist school. In the ’60s, Guston made a sharp turn toward cartoonish figurative work. Both of these sides seem to have been instilled in his student, Gary Komarin, who learned from Guston at Boston University. The 50-something Komarin’s work begins in abstract expressionism; the backgrounds of his paintings are akin to Mark Rothko’s color fields. But in the Egyptian Hat Trick, a new series of multimedia paintings, the New Jersey-based Komarin places objects of ambiguous identity on the work, creating a fuzzy combination of the abstract and the figurative. Adding to the mystery are titles – “Now that I have your Face by Heart,” “The Egyptian Hat Trick” – which he plucks from literary sources, saves up, and eventually matches with a painting. Komarin was featured in a group show last year at David Floria Gallery; he returns with a solo exhibit that opens with a reception Tuesday, Dec. 26, from 6-8 p.m. Art viewers can add the Baldwin Gallery to their itinerary for the night; it will have a reception for two new exhibits, by New Yorkers Joseph Stashkevetch and Marilyn Minter, also from 6-8 p.m.
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