Offseason is onseason in Aspen, the valley
ASPEN – First, the bad news: The renovation of the Wheeler Opera House limits the number of events at the venue this fall, and eliminates for the time being the Wheeler Film Series, usually a highlight of offseason.The good news is that live theater seems to be stepping into the place of cinema. Between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, there are award-winning musicals and dramas – even one folk opera – filling up the stages. And the presence of Carbondale’s new PAC3, a strong Belly Up Aspen schedule, a handful of notable concerts in unexpected places, as well as autumn arts institutions like Aspen Filmfest and the Roaring Fork Open, should keep valleyites engaged until the lifts open.• Snowmass Balloon Fest, Sept. 16-18, and Snowmass Wine Fest, Sept. 16-17 Snowmass VillageA skyful of colorful balloons over Snowmass Village is a magnificent sight. Launches are early each morning (6:50 a.m. Friday; 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday), but for those who don’t rise as early as the balloons, there is the Night Glow event on Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m.The Snowmass Wine Fest takes flight tonight with a four-course winemakers’ dinner at the Artisan Restaurant. The grand tasting, on Saturday on the Snowmass mall, features more than 300 wines.• Local Visual, through Oct. 15, LivAspenArtThe LivAspenArt gallery continues to liven up downtown Aspen (just as the LivAspenArt studio space has added vitality to Aspen Highlands these last few years). Local Visual, which opened with a reception on Thursday, covers a wide range of local artists: young and old, CMC instructor Michael Raaum and recent Aspen High grad Lena Nicholson, LivAspenArt veterans and people exhibiting their work for the first time.• Anton Uhl, through Sept. 30 with an opening reception at 5 p.m. Sept. 16, Wyly Community Art Center, BasaltAnton Uhl – set designer, art director, chef, TV personality, Aspen native – has a show of his paintings in the main gallery at the Wyly Art Center.• “Unmarried in America: The Trial of Prop 8,” Sept. 16-17, New Space Theatre, CMC Spring ValleyValley resident Kristin Carlson’s play, based on documents from a landmark trial in California concerning gay marriage and the out-of-court battles over the issue, gets a staged reading, with Wendy Moore directing the 16-member cast.• Crooked Still, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m., Hotel Colorado, Glenwood SpringsOddball cellist Rushad Eggleston, a show unto himself, is no longer with Boston-based Crooked Still. But the quintet still makes elegant, advanced string music, with the wonderful singer Aoife O’Donovan and excellent fiddler Brittany Haas.• PAC3 (various dates through offseason)If the PAC3’s first summer was about finding out just how much music Carbondale can handle, the answer seems to be: a lot. After a packed summer, the venue cranks through the fall as well. Newgrass pioneer Sam Bush performs tonight; also on the schedule are former Man at Work Colin Hay (Wednesday, Sept. 21); New Orleans Carnival group the Wild Magnolias (Sept. 30); Anas Mitchell, who stages her folk opera, “Hadestown,” with a group of top Colorado singers (Oct. 14); and a Halloween party with funkers Euforquestra (alas, not on Halloween, but on Oct. 29).• Aspen Saturday Market, Saturdays through Oct. 16, downtown AspenIt’s a bit of a cruel twist for farmers – their biggest harvests come just as the summer tourist season winds down. But for shoppers looking for seasonal produce rather than a scene, this last month at the market is a paradise of peaches, tomatoes, melons, potatoes, peppers and more. (Note on relative prices at the farmers market: Compare the cost of an organic bell pepper from the Borden Farms stand, and from the local supermarkets.)• Belly Up Aspen (various dates through offseason)Summer, winter, spring, fall, other – it doesn’t seem to matter much to Belly Up, a venue for all seasons that doesn’t shy away from booking major acts at slow times. Check out, for instance, a sample weekend lineup: reggae prince Ziggy Marley on Friday, a double bill of acclaimed neo-soul acts Chromeo and Mayer Hawthorne & the County on Saturday, the cowpunk trio Supersuckers on Sunday, and extending the weekend a day, the original horror-punk acts the Misfits on Monday. As a bonus, Marley, Chromeo, Hawthorne and the Misfits will all be making their Belly Up debuts. Not bad for, say, mid-March – but this happens to be the lineup for Oct. 7-10.Also on the calendar: Ben Harper, for Lance Armstrong’s 40th birthday party (Saturday, Sept. 17); a double bill of the Psychedelic Furs and Tom Tom Club (Tuesday, Sept. 20), for a flashback to the ’80s; Fruit Bats and Vetiver (Friday, Sept. 23), folk-rock label-mates on Seattle’s Sub Pop; the Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Oct. 1), the new band from the Black Crowes lead singer; Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass (Oct. 27); and rocker Stephen Stills (Nov. 12), whose opening act, Pegi Young, is the wife of one of Stills’ former bandmates. Guess which one.• Aspen Filmfest, Sept. 21-25, with programs in Aspen and CarbondaleNothing mirrors fall in Aspen like Aspen Filmfest. Thirty-three years in, Filmfest hasn’t lost its small-town, slow-paced essence – one of the few things in Aspen that can make that claim.While the event has stayed out of the bright lights, the programming is the kind that attracts lovers of the cinema experience. Filmfest ’11 features “50/50,” an emotional comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen; Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut “Coriolanus,” an adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy; and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Like Crazy” – plus an assortment of below-the-radar documentaries and foreign films that local audiences might never get to see on the big screen again.Anton Yelchin, star of “Like Crazy,” will receive the Artist to Watch Award, and he and “Like Crazy” co-star Felicity Jones will be in attendance to introduce the film and participate in a post-screening Q&A.In downvalley news, Carbondale’s PAC3 joins the Crystal Theatre as a venue for screenings.• Pato Banton, Sept. 28, Carnahan’s Tavern, CarbondaleCarnahan’s Tavern may be small but, like its next-door neighbor, Steve’s Guitars, it is going big for music (for one night, at least), as British reggae singer Pato Banton performs.• Thunder River Theatre Company, “The House of Blue Leaves,” Sept. 29-Oct. 15, Thunder River Theatre, CarbondaleThunder River artistic director Lon Winston directs John Guare’s black comedy, winner of the 1966 Obie Award for best American play. “The House of Blue Leaves” is set on the day in 1965 when the Pope visited New York, and follows a cast of characters including a nun, a soldier headed for Vietnam, a zookeeper with big artistic aspirations, and a schizophrenic named Bananas. The recent track record for the play isn’t great: Despite a cast led by Ben Stiller, a limited-engagement Broadway revival closed two weeks early.• The Meeting, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Wheeler and Belly UpThe Aspen Skiing Co. pumps up skiers, the ski industry and makers and viewers of ski films by presenting the cutting-edge of downhill action. “The Art of Flight” includes footage from the local mountains; also on the program are “Attack of La Nia” by noted Colorado company Matchstick Productions; “The Ordinary Skier,” which follows the not-so-ordinary Seth Morrison; and “One,” a snowboarding piece by the British Columbia outfit Givin Productions. The Meeting kicks off with the NEPSA Video Awards, for the local talent.• “George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” Oct. 5-6, PBSMartin Scorsese, whose filmography includes the Bob Dylan portrait “No Direction Home” and the Rolling Stones concert film “Shine a Light,” focuses on the late Beatles George Harrison with the four-hour “Living in the Material World.” It shows Oct. 5-6 on PBS.• Solas, Oct. 8, Carbondale Community ChurchCarbondale gets another big-time talent in an unusual spot this fall. Solas, an exceptional Irish-music group, comprising players from both sides of the Atlantic, has headlined at the Wheeler. This fall, they are the big draw at the Carbondale Celtic Fest.• Musical Tribute to John Denver, Oct. 14-15, WheelerSince John Denver’s death in 1997, the singer’s collaborators have been gathering each October at the Wheeler to remember the icon of folk music and of Aspen. This year’s concerts feature the usual collection of talent, but in addition to Denver, they will have another musician in mind – Pete Huttlinger, the guitar wizard who played in Denver’s band the final few years. Huttlinger is suffering from heart problems; proceeds from the concerts will help pay his medical bills.• Aspen Art Museum, opening with a reception on Oct. 20This year’s Roaring Fork Open was created in collaboration with America: Here and Now, a project by artist Eric Fischl that gets participants to engage, through their art, in a dialogue about the United States. Some 125 artists from the Roaring Fork Valley will contribute a single work each to present a point of view or raise a question about America.• CMC Theatre, “Inherit the Wind,” Oct. 21-23 and 27-30, New Space Theatre, CMC Spring Valley campusCMC Theatre takes on the classic courtroom drama “Inherit the Wind,” about the Scopes Monkey trial, the 1925 case of a Tennessee high school teacher tried for teaching evolution.• California Guitar Trio, Oct. 28, Steve’s GuitarsFans of the six-string have a bonus in store. The California Guitar Trio’s date at Steve’s will feature four guitarists, as the threesome is joined by Fareed Haque, best known for his work in Garaj Mahal.Also at Steve’s: Folkie Cheryl Wheeler (Nov. 3), and Dan Navarro, half of the duo Lowen & Navarro.• Bearfoot, Oct. 29, Hotel ColoradoBearfoot resides in Nashville, the land of 1,352 bluegrass bands, but few of them can claim to have been formed in Alaska, where the quintet originated. Their new lineup is led by singer Nora Jane Struthers (Virginia-born, New Jersey-bred).• Aspen Community Theatre, “Evita,” Nov. 3-6 and 10-13, Aspen District TheatreA politically oriented story about an Argentinean First Lady who died at the age of 33 was probably a hard sell when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were pitching Broadway producers more than three decades ago. But “Evita” proved a powerful story of ambition, defiance, sex appeal and populism, earning the Tony for best musical in 1980 – and making Eva Pern a far more enduring figure than she would have been.Aspen Community Theatre’s production features newcomer Stacia Bolitho, a drama teacher in New Castle, as the fiery Eva, with familiar faces Scott MacCracken as president Juan Pern, Franz Alderfer as the narrator Che, and Gerald DeLisser as Eva’s former lover, the singer Magaldi.Behind the scenes, ACT is as steady as ever. Marisa Post, who directed and choreographed ACT’s “Chicago” in 2008, returns in those dual roles for “Evita.” Jody Hecht and Rita Hunter are co-producers; Bob Finnie is music director and conductor; Tom Ward designs the sets; Kathleen Albert handles the costumes.• Loudon Wainwright, Nov. 5, WheelerFolksinger Loudon Wainwright III’s rsum is filled with quirky things: husband of the late Kate McGarrigle; father of singers Rufus, Martha and Lucy; the novelty song “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road”; playing Capt. Calvin Spalding on the TV show “M*A*S*H”; his facial tics onstage. It shouldn’t obscure his musical achievements, many of them recent. Wainwright, 65, earned the 2010 Grammy in the best traditional folk category for “High Wide & Lonesome,” his tribute to singer Charlie Poole. He composed the music for the 2007 comedy, “Knocked Up.”• Defiance Community Players, “Hairspray,” November 11-13 and 18-20, Glenwood Springs High SchoolThe Glenwood-based Defiance Players take on “Hairspray,” the offbeat musical about integration, outcasts, 1960s dance competitions and Baltimore, adapted from John Waters’ 1988 film. The original Broadway production won the 2003 Tony for best musical.• CDs: Among the recorded highlights this fall: “Mockingbird Time” (Sept. 20), the first album from folk-rockers the Jayhawks in eight years, and the first with the original lineup in 16; “All We Are Saying” (Sept. 27), a John Lennon tribute from guitarist Bill Frisell; “The Whole Love” (Sept. 27), the latest by wide-ranging rockers Wilco; “Metals” (Oct. 4), by occasional Wilco collaborator Feist; “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” (Oct. 25), the debut from the quartet of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist and Aspen Music Festival faculty member Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Thile and fiddler Stuart Duncan; “Reverie” (Oct. 11), an acoustic – but not necessarily neat and quiet – work from Joe Henry; and “Lulu” (Nov. 1), from the unlikely team of Lou Reed and Metallica.• Movies: Coming (one hopes) to local theaters this fall: the Sundance Grand Jury prize winner “Happy, Happy” (opening today in limited release), a Norwegian film about a hard-to-fluster young woman; “Moneyball” (Sept. 23), with Brad Pitt starring in an adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book about the business of baseball; “The Ides of March” (Oct. 7), with George Clooney directing and starring as an idealistic candidate on the corrupting campaign trail; “The Rum Diary” (Oct. 28), starring Johnny Depp in an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s debut novel; “Melancholia” (Nov. 11), Lars Von Trier’s sci-fi drama, starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg; “The Descendants” (Nov. 18), George Clooney again, this time in a dramatic comedy that is the first film by Alexander Payne since “Sideways”; and “A Dangerous Method” (Nov. 23), David Cronenberg’s thriller about the birth of email@example.com
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