Hidden agenda: Arts events you might not know about … but should | AspenTimes.com
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Hidden agenda: Arts events you might not know about … but should

Stewart OksenhornAspen Times Weekly
Stewart Oksenhorn/Aspen Times WeeklyLouisiana bluesman Tab Benoit performs Friday, July 3, at the Crystal Club in Redstone.
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It was impossible to be in Aspen last weekend and not know the Food & Wine Classic was going down. Jazz Aspen Snowmass moved its June Festival to the Aspen Music Festival’s West End campus, but still it was hard to miss that brass band marching across the downtown malls, announcing last weekend’s jazz happenings.The string and brass ensembles are already getting cranked up on the sidewalks and plazas, trumpeting this week’s arrival of the Aspen Music Festival & School. And I assume you know the Hogwarts gang returns to the big screen July 17 in “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.” (If not, my daughter will be happy to tell you all about it.)Other events going on this summer are not so readily visible. A top-shelf bluesman (the top-shelf bluesman?) is playing … in Redstone. One of the best-reviewed movies of the summer will get an early screening here … with the director present to talk about it. The Roaring Fork Valley’s most prominent visual; artist is curating a show of Colorado sculptors … at the Red Brick Center for the Arts. One of the most influential photographers … ever … will be honored at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and have an exhibit of her work there. The greatest jazz bassist of this era is playing in Aspen … Sunday night. The band I have been begging every promoter to bring to town is finally coming … in September.So here’s some info you may not get elsewhere (especially given the size and quality of newspapers these days): – the out of the way, under the radar, betcha didn’t know stuff. And please, no need to keep it under your hat. Let everyone know.”Food, Inc.,” Tuesday, June 30, Paepcke AuditoriumIn very limited release for two weeks, director Robert Kenner’s documentary about Big Food has been called both revolting and essential. It has also been almost unanimously praised. Kenner will be present in this Aspen Ideas Festival event to discuss the machine, from factory farms to our industry-beholden regulatory agencies, that produces the stuff we eat. The event is at 8 p.m., and the suggestion here is to eat beforehand.Ashton Taufer Quartet, Wednesday, July 1, Glenwood Summer of JazzAshton Taufer did much of his learning on the bass at the Berklee College of Music, in Boston. But he got turned onto jazz attending the Summer of Jazz series in Glenwood Springs, his hometown. Taufer has put together a grooving combo from Berklee for this special return to his old stomping grounds.A James Surls Juried & Invitational Exhibit, opening Thursday, July 2, Red Brick Center for the ArtsJames Surls has an international reputation – he recently had a one-man exhibition of his sculptures along Manhattan’s Park Ave. But he also has a Missouri Heights address, and a deep interest in the art being produced nearby. (Among the projects most meaningful to him was jurying a show, of all Roaring Fork Valley artists, in Houston, and creating a book around it.) Here, Surls celebrates Colorado sculptors in what is bound to be a dynamic, intriguing show. It opens with a reception on July, and runs through the month.The News Has No Clothes, Thursday, July 2, Aspen District TheatreLewis Black, D.L. Hughley and other comedic commentators look at current events with their skewed eyes in this Aspen Ideas Festival show. Looking deeper into this, the event is presented by Comedy Arts Studio, a group that includes Stu Smiley and Craig Minassian – two bigwigs of the defunct U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. Do I hear the early rumblings of a comeback? Let us hope, pray and beg.Glenwood Vaudeville RevueRemember the days when Vaudeville reigned? Of course not, that was 100 years ago. But the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, which debuted last month and runs Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, revisits those days, with a family-friendly song-and-dance show, a deli-style menu and a full bar.Tab Benoit, Friday, July 3, Crystal Club, RedstoneThe Louisiana singer-guitarist is as good a blues player I’ve seen in the last decade. Benoit puts out an album a year, always interesting and excellent. Onstage, he’s on fire. Two years ago, he won the Best Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year honor at the Blues Music Awards. It’s hard to say just what sets him apart, but the fact that he is a vocal, involved advocate for protecting the Mississippi Delta environment may provide a clue: The guy has passion.”Almost, Maine,” July 5, Theatre Aspen Sunday SeriesYou probably missed the stage comedy “Almost, Maine,” which played at the Aspen High School Black Box Theatre earlier this month as part of the first annual Aspen Fringe Festival. Chances are good you didn’t hear that both performances sold out, and that people raved. It’s probably news to you that there was an Aspen Fringe Festival. No worries: “Almost, Maine,” set in rural northern Maine, returns for one night in Theatre Aspen’s Sunday Series. Did you know Theatre Aspen had a Sunday Series?Cindy Sherman, July 7-8, Anderson Ranch Arts CenterCindy Sherman failed her introductory photography course – then went on to turn self-portraiture on its ear over the next few decades. She is the subject of a talk, The Face That Launched a Thousand Theories, given by art critic Jerry Saltz on July 7, at Anderson Ranch; the following night she will be the recipient of Anderson Ranch’s National Artist Award at the Recognition Dinner at the Aspen Meadows. Also, an exhibition of her early work will be presented at the Ranch July 2-24.Scott Lasser, July 9, Explore BooksellersAspenite Scott Lasser appears for a reading and talk with his new novel, “The Year That Follows.” The story is a moving, multi-layered look at how families get destroyed, and how they can be put back together.Osvaldo Golijov, Alan Fletcher, George Tsontakis, John Harbison and Christopher Rouse, various dates, Aspen Music FestivalBach, Beethoven and Brahms? Of course they’ll be heard from at the Aspen Music Festival. But their music will be predictable, and what do they care? They’ve all been dead several hundred years. Golijov, Fletcher, et al? All alive, and all in Aspen this summer to see their music performed. Fletcher, the Music Festival president, gives up his day job on July 10 to see his Clarinet Concerto performed by soloist Michael Rusinek, conductor Andrey Boreyko and the Aspen Chamber Symphony. Tsontakis, an Aspen regular, has his “Mirror Image” on the program for the recital by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han on July 11. Harbison’s Symphony No. 5 is scheduled for the Aspen Festival Orchestra concert, July 12. And Rouse’s Oboe Concerto is played by the Festival Orchestra on July 17. The Argentinean Golijov is one of the most significant composers alive – the Aspen performance last year of his “Azul” cemented that notion – and has an evening of his songs performed by soprano Dawn Upshaw on July 27.Jayne Gottlieb ProductionsCan’t wait for autumn for Aspen Community Theatre to give you a big, old-fashioned musical? Don’t have to. Jayne Gottlieb’s troupe of child actors does grand work with familiar musical theater. “Evita” is set for July 17-19 at the Basalt Middle School, and the hills will really come alive when “The Sound of Music” is staged in Basalt’s Arbaney Park, July 31-Aug. 2. (And here’s some valuable info: ACT’s fall production is “The Music Man.”) Mountainsummit, Aug. 27-30, Wheeler Opera HouseThe Wheeler Opera House brings in a new festival. Partnering with the 31-year-old Mountainfilm in Telluride, Mountainsummit will feature films and lectures with an emphasis on the outdoors, and an afternoon-long symposium about food.Railroad Earth, Sept. 6, Belly UpThree years ago, New Jersey acoustic band Railroad Earth played the Wheeler Opera House for a crowd of perhaps 150, and turned it into a memorable night. The band, led by stellar songwriter Todd Sheaffer, has turned it up since then, with one great album after another. When they close the summer season with this Labor Day weekend gig at Belly Up, chances are a lot more hoboes – as their fans call themselves – will be onboard.stewart@aspentimes.com


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