The Aspen Art Museum’s annual summer benefit, artCRUSH, set for Friday, Aug. 3, will be topped by a late-night party at Belly Up featuring funk band Kool & the Gang. The event opens at the Art Museum with a wine tasting, live and silent auctions, dining, contemporary art and more. The after-party at Belly Up begins at 10:30 p.m. with music by Kool & the Gang, who had hits in the late ’70s and early ’80s with “Ladies Night,” “Celebration” and “Get Down On It.” Last month the band, still led by brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Khalis Brown, released “Steppin’ Into Love,” its first album in a decade.In addition, two exhibitions organized by the museum open at the Art Museum this week: Avner Ben-Gal, featuring darkly emotional works by the Israeli painter, and Sculptors Drawing, a group show featuring works on paper by nine artists whose usual medium is sculpture. Both shows open Thursday, Aug. 2, and have opening receptions Aug. 9. The opening of Ben-Gal’s show will feature music inspired by horror films, played by an Aspen Music Festival and School chamber combo. The two shows run through Oct. 14.Also upcoming at the museumare a pair of October exhibits: To the Wall, featuring humorous and conceptual work by two artists, Lily Van der Stokker and David Shrigley; and the Roaring Fork Open, with works by local artists. Both shows run Oct. 25-Nov. 25, with an opening reception Oct. 25.For further information, go to http://www.aspenartmuseum.org.
New Orleans groove quintet Galactic has been added to the lineup for Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Festival, completing the schedule of main-stage acts. Galactic will perform in the opening slot on Saturday, Sept. 1, on a bill with British soul singer Joss Stone, and R&B singer John Legend.The Labor Day Festival runs Aug. 31-Sept. 3 in Snowmass Town Park, an open-air venue in Snowmass Village.Galactic blends New Orleans funk and avant-garde jazz. The band’s forthcoming CD, “From the Corner to the Block,” a hip-hop-oriented recording featuring rappers Chali 2Na, Boots Riley, Gift of Gab and Juvenile, is set for release Aug. 21.Previously announced headliners are Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals (Aug. 31), the Allman Brothers Band (Sept. 2), and Gov’t Mule (Sept. 3). Additional main-stage acts include Nickel Creek, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Leftover Salmon, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi’s Soul Stew Revival and Jackie Greene.Appearing on side stages are Southern rock band Tishamingo; New York, gospel-rock band Ollabelle; soul singer Ryan Shaw; and Colorado roots band Great American Taxi, with additional acts to be announced.The four-day pass at the discounted price of $150 is available through Wednesday, Aug. 1. For tickets or further information, call 1-866-JAS-TIXX (527-8499), or go to http://www.jazzaspen.org. Tickets are also available at the Wheeler Opera House box office.
While new restaurants enter the Aspen scene, there are several spaces that will remain empty this winter. Meanwhile, the retail market remains extremely hot.