Hidden gems in the Aspen-area arts scene
ASPEN – Sunday afternoons at the Music Tent? Been on the schedule for months. Thursday evenings on Fanny Hill? You, me and everyone we know and don’t know. Michael Franti at Belly Up? You’re quick, ace – but one night of the two-night stand is already sold out.Ideas Fest, Fourth of July parade, Carbondale Mountain Fair, Anderson Ranch Art Auction, lunch al fresco at Peach’s, Wilco at the Labor Day Festival? Well, duh! I’m looking for the under-the-radar stuff, the – please excuse the phrase – hidden gems of the valley’s arts scene, the events you tell your friends about the next day, beginning with, “I saw the coolest thing … .” Except I’m going to go one better. I’m going to tell you about them before they happen.The Halle Collection, through Aug. 24, Aspen Institute’s Doerr-Hosier CenterThe Halle Collection is an engaging and cutting-edge exhibition of Latin American art. The location helps add to the surprising quality of the work; the gallery is tucked downstairs at the Doerr-Hosier Center. Fred Tomaselli, Wednesday, July 7, Anderson Ranch Arts Center L.A.-born, Brooklyn-based artist Fred Tomaselli talks about his art at Anderson Ranch. Tomaselli’s exhibition last year, a mid-career survey that filled the Aspen Art Museum, was a high point for the museum, a show that mixed high concept with visual splendor. “Hair,” July 16-17, Basalt Middle School; July 18, Arbaney Park, Basalt The kids (ages 12-18) in Jayne Gottlieb’s troupe take on the ’60s with a production of “Hair.” Presumably some numbers (“Hashish,” “Sodomy”) and the nudity will be axed, but Gottlieb says that leaves plenty of opportunity for the hippie vibe (“Good Morning Starshine,” “Aquarius”) and Vietnam-era politics to come through. “The real message is peace and love, not drugs and sex,” Gottlieb said. Starring as Claude Bukowski is local musician (and genuinely hairy guy) Obadiah Jones, who leads his band, Slightly White, in a concert following the Arbaney Park show. It should be noted that several summers ago, Gottlieb’s young performers handled the adult issues in “A Chorus Line” with intelligence and taste. “What’s Your Story? The Sequel”; July 18; Theatre Aspen A simple concept: A microphone, a bunch of locals, and their stories. (Simplifying the concept even further for Aspen humorist Barry Smith, who puts together the show – he stole the idea from the New York event, The Moth.) Simple turned out to be a winner in last summer’s debut of “What’s Your Story?” as people raved about the stories told. The sequel features an all-new cast, including Aspen Times columnist Su Lum, Aspen Choral Society director Ray Adams and letter-to-the-editor writer Lo Semple. “Waste Land,” July 26, Paepcke Auditorium New Views: Premiere Documentaries, a new film series presented by Aspen Film and the Aspen Institute, opens this week at the Ideas Festival, and continues into August. A highlight should be “Waste Land,” Lucy Walker’s film about Brazilian artist Vic Muniz and his project to take refuse from the world’s largest landfill, in Rio de Janeiro, and recycle it as art. Walker will be in attendance. Another film by Walker – “Countdown to Zero,” about the history and current state of atomic weaponry – will be screened Saturday, July 10 during the Ideas Festival. Brett Dennen, July 29-30, Belly Up Aspen Carrot-topped California singer-songwriter Brett Dennen may no longer qualify as a little-known quantity, especially after his dynamic, charismatic performance last month at the Chili Pepper & Brew Fest. But he is the opening act (for headliner Michael Franti) at this two-night stand, and I feel compelled to give a warning: Don’t show up late and blow off Dennen. Aspen Jewish Film Festival It’s a tiny festival – two presentations – but the quality is high. In its fourth year, the Aspen Jewish Film Festival opens Aug. 2 with “For My Father,” a tense, multi-layered thriller that takes place on one block of Tel Aviv. It won the Audience Award at the Moscow Film Festival, and was screened at the Aspen Film Festival. Also showing, on Aug. 9: “Waves of Freedom,” a documentary about American sailors defying the post-World War II British blockade that closed off Palestine to Jewish refugees. Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival, Aug. 14-15 The inaugural Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival arrives with a splash for food enthusiasts. Among the chefs in attendance are Alfred Portale of New York’s Gotham Bar & Grill; Laurent Tourandel of New York’s BLT chain; Frank Bonanno of Denver’s Mizuna, Luca d’Italia and Bones; and local hero Ryan Hardy, of Montagna at The Little Nell. Starwood, Aug. 14, Basalt Assuming Basalt River Days happens – a recent newspaper report said the event was in question because of finances – a highlight will be the reunion of Starwood, a ’70s band that went from Aspen to a record contract with Columbia and national touring. The gig should reunite original members, including Haden Gregg, Bobby Mason, Bryan Savage and Bernie Mysior. A String Showcase, Aug. 18, Harris Hall Violinists Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell, Robert McDuffie – everyone’s going to see them. The question is, Who saw them when they were learning their chops as Aspen Music School students? String Showcase handpicks the most promising current students and gives them a prominent stage to play on, at Harris Hall. firstname.lastname@example.org
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