Aspen’s pioneering Gay Ski Week (Sunday, Jan. 14-Sunday, Jan. 21) turns 30 this year, and organizers have lined up entertainment to mark the special occasion. The myPartnerPerfect Dating Game, hosted by Carson Kressley of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” makes its debut this year (Tuesday, Jan. 16, Wheeler Opera House). “20 Centimeters,” a European musical comedy, is said to tip its hat to Pedro Almodovar, Fellini and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” Comedy Night (Thursday, Jan. 18, Wheeler) features Ski Week fixture Paul J. Williams presenting his latest show, A Fag, A Drag and A Dyke. For those who want to do more than watch drag, there is the dark-themed Wrath Masquerade Ball (Thursday, Jan. 18, Sky Hotel), and the Sloth Downhill Costume Competition and Parade (Friday, Jan. 19, at the lower slopes of Aspen Mountain). On the more cerebral end is a panel discussion presented by the National Minority AIDS council (Monday, Jan. 15, Wheeler). For the full lineup of dinners, dance parties and more, check out http://www.gayskiweek.com.
“Children of Men” isn’t showing up on the prominent “best of 2006” lists, and isn’t nominated for any of the major awards. (It has earned several honors for its cinematography.) Still, there is the feeling that the sci-fi, poli-sci thriller is bound to be a favorite with discriminating audiences; released a few months ago in Europe, and last week in the States, it has already cracked the top 250 at imdb.com. The film imagines a battle-filled world where humans can no longer procreate. One woman (Claire-Hope Ashitey) has turned up, miraculously pregnant; Clive Owen plays the disillusioned former bureaucrat trying to transport her to a sanctuary where she can give birth and save the future of mankind. It may sound more like “cult favorite” than box-office champ, but Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron demonstrated an ability to capture a mass audience with “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” The cast includes Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Caine.
The family act is a time-honored tradition in string music: the Stanley Brothers, the Carter Family, Charlie and Ira Louvin. Now comes E=mc3, a trio featuring two generations of the McEuen Family of California. The group is led by John McEuen, well-known to Aspen audiences as the string wizard of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The gift hasn’t skipped a generation: Jonathan McEuen started performing at 7, joining Dad’s annual Rocky Mountain Opry show at Red Rocks. He has since formed a duo, Hanna-McEuen, with fellow Dirt Band offspring Jamie Hanna; the pair opened for Robert Earl Keen at the Wheeler Opera House last year. Jonathan McEuen’s “A Tribute to Jerry Garcia” was both surprising – he wasn’t much of a Deadhead – and one of the finest interpretations of the Grateful Dead catalog. The other McEuen son, Nathan, recently released “Grand Design,” and ushered in the era of “future-retro-folk-rock.” When the trio plays the Wheeler, Saturday, Jan. 20, expect a mix of Dirt Band songs, string showmanship, comedy and family fun.
This wasn’t my best work. I still stand by my original picks to win each of the snowboard contests at X Games Aspen 2023, but fate chose poorly. The main lesson? Don’t pick against Mark McMorris, Marcus Kleveland or Scotty James, unless you have a very good reason.