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Aspenite Barry Smith earned honors at last month’s New York International Fringe Festival for his one-man comedy, “Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult.” Smith won an Overall Excellence Awards in the category of Outstanding Solo Show, one of three performers so honored. The Fringe Festival, which ran from Aug. 12-28 in various New York venues, featured some 200 presentations.Smith, who writes the Irrelativity column for The Aspen Times, premiered “Jesus in Montana” in January at Aspen High School’s Black Box Theatre. In New York, he had five performances at the Village Theater in Greenwich Village. The show, directed by Roaring Fork Valley resident Lynn Aliya, is a multimedia reflection on Smith’s real-life, mid-’90s escapade of living with a man he believed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ in Missoula, Mont.”Jesus in Montana” also earned favorable reviews in The New York Times and New York magazine.

Producers of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival have announced that the 12th annual festival will be held in Aspen, March 8-12.The USCAF is accepting submissions for live performances and comedic films through Nov. 7. Full application information is available at program information has been released for the 2006 USCAF. The festival, produced by HBO, is devoted to fostering new talent in all areas of comedy. Among the up-and-coming performers to have been featured at past festivals are Eddie Izzard, Jack Black, Ray Romano, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross.Other features of the USCAF are presentations of the AFI Star Award and the Freedom of Speech Award, and reunion shows that have brought together the casts and creators of “Animal House,” Monty Python and “Waiting for Guffman.” The festival also presents theater, stand-up, sketch and alternative performances, as well as the Film Discovery Showcase. Past performers and honorees at the USCAF include George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Robert Schimmel, Joe Rogan and Jim Carrey.For further information, go to

The Aspen Art Museum has announced that its annual winter benefit event, Dennis Basso Freestyle, is set for Dec. 28. The après-ski event will be held at the St. Regis, Aspen from 4:30-7 p.m.Freestyle includes a fashion show, featuring designs i n fur by Dennis Basso and a new line of Bulgari jewelry, and champagne and caviar. Items to be sold in the live and silent auctions include fine art, wine, fashion designs, trips and passes to Aspen cultural events.For further information, contact the Aspen Art Museum at 925-8050.

Novelist Mark Spragg will be the featured guest on Aspen Media Review on Friday, Sept. 23. The locally produced, half-hour program can be heard every Friday at 11:30 a.m. on KAJX-Aspen Public Radio.Spragg, a Wyoming-based writer, will discuss his latest novel, “An Unfinished Life,” with Aspen Media Review co-hosts John C. Noonan and Brian O’Neil. Spragg and his wife, Virginia, worked on the screenplay for the film simultaneously with the writing of the novel. The movie version of “An Unfinished Life,” directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Lopez, opened earlier this month. The story, set in Iowa, revolves around an unfortunate woman forced to live with her estranged father-in-law.KAJX can be heard at 91.5 FM in Aspen.

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