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Snapshots

Producers of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival announced last week that the festival, which has been staged annually in Aspen since 1995, would not be held here in 2008. They kept open the possibility that the USCAF would return in the future. In a brief e-mail statement, Bob Crestani, CEO of the festival, wrote, “We hope that circumstances will allow us to return to Aspen in the future.”A primary purpose of the USCAF was to serve as a showcase for emerging comedic talent; Sarah Silverman, Ray Romano, Eddie Izzard and Tenacious D all received early career boosts from having appeared in Aspen. The festival, usually held in early March, also presented programs featuring headlining talent, including George Carlin, Diane Keaton, Jim Carrey, Larry David and Mike Myers. In addition, the USCAF staged such special events as live presentations of “The Simpsons” and “American Dad,” and reunions of the casts of “Saturday Night Live,” “Animal House,” “Cheers” and the Monty Python troupe.HBO, which produces the USCAF, did not indicate if a festival would be held at all in 2008, or the reasons for curtailing the festival in Aspen.

Snowmass Village has announced nearly the entire schedule for its summer music program, including the Summer of Free Music Series and two Massive Music & Movie weekends. The town also announced that it has spent some $200,000 on improvements to the Fanny Hill outdoors concert venue.Snowmass’ musical summer opens June 8-10 with the fourth annual Chili Pepper & Brew Fest. The lineup, as previously announced, features acoustic groups the Del McCoury Band and the David Grisman Quintet, June 8; reggae singer Ziggy Marley and roots rocker Papa Mali, June 9; and local band Smokin’ Joe & the Gypsies, June 10. The festival also includes chili and homebrewed beer competitions and tastings.The Parrot Head Block Party, a free event June 23, features performances by Hawaiian-born ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro, and the acoustic trio the Greencards.The Summer of Free Music Series runs June 28 through Aug. 23 with concerts every Thursday evening. The series opens with Los Angeles soul-rock band WAR, whose hits include “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and “Slippin Into Darkness.”Banjoist-guitarist Tony Furtado, whose music spans bluegrass, blues and rock, appears July 5. Boogie-woogie pianist and singer Marcia Ball is set for July 12, with soul-rockers the Average White Band on July 19. R&b singer Bettye Lavette makes her local debut July 26.The series continues Aug. 2 with San Diego Latin groove band the B-Side Players. Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, which formed in a West African refugee camp, is set for Aug. 9. The Ditty Bops, the theatrical folk-swing duo of Abby DeWald and Amanda Barrett, makes its local debut Aug. 16.The series concludes Aug. 23 with keyboardist Salvador Santana, the son of guitar legend Carlos Santana.Also scheduled are two free Massive Music & Movies weekends. Americana band Son Volt, led by singer Jay Farrar, and the one-man band Keller Williams are on the bill for June 30. The weekend is rounded out by a short-film program June 29.On Aug. 4, singer-songwriters John Hiatt and Shawn Colvin perform solo sets in the series. The weekend also features an Aug. 3 screening of “Everyone Stares,” a documentary of rock trio the Police, directed by the Police drummer, Stewart Copeland.Also in Snowmass this summer is the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival. Previously announced highlights of the festival include the Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, Ben Harper, Nickel Creek and Joss Stone.The music ends with soul singer Ruthie Foster, who headlines Oktoberfest, Sept. 9.For further information, including a full schedule of Snowmass Village events this summer, go to http://www.snowmasspress.com.


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