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Carbondale-based Thunder River Theatre Company is set to open its new theater Dec. 30, with an original adaptation of Aristophanes’ war-and-women comedy “Lysistrata.”The new theater, designed by Carbondale architect John Baker, is located at 67 Promenade in downtown Carbondale. The company is currently raising funds in an effort to open the theater free of debt. A variety of naming opportunities are available, including naming rights for the building itself, for the Black Box Theatre and more.In addition, TRTC has announced a challenge grant. Local philanthropist Jim Calaway, Alpine Bank CEO Bob Young, TRTC board member Dick Stephenson and the Kruidenier Charitable Foundation have each pledged $50,000. All donations to TRTC will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the grant.The 2005-06 season features “Lysistrata,” showing Dec. 30-31, Jan. 6-8 and Jan. 13-14; “A Force of Nature,” an examination of influential artistic couples through history, written, directed and performed by TRTC artistic director Lon Winston and associate artist Valerie Haugen, showing March 10-12 and 16-18; and Michael Hollinger’s food-oriented comedy “An Empty Plate in the Café du Grande Boeuf,” directed by Haugen and showing June 16-18, June 23-25 and 30, and July 1.For further information on TRTC and its building fund drive, call 309-5398 or go to

Aspen Filmfest is accepting submissions of short films and videos for its 15th annual Aspen Shortsfest International Competition. Shortsfest 2006 is set for April 5-9, with programs in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.Shortsfest accepts live action, documentary and animated shorts in film or video formats. Detailed guidelines for submission and an official entry form are available at The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Dec. 14.A jury of film professionals will award more than $20,000 in cash and other prizes to winners in several categories. Shortsfest is an Academy-qualifying event, meaning award-winners are eligible for Oscar consideration. Past Shortsfest jurors include Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, director and writer, respectively, of “Sideways.” Such Oscar-winning or -nominated films as “God Sleeps in Rwanda,” “Wasp” and “Two Cars, One Night” have earned awards at Shortsfest.Shortsfest includes screening programs, tributes, retrospectives, panel discussions and workshops.

Dennis Basso Freestyle, the annual winter benefit event for the Aspen Art Museum, is set for Dec. 28 at the St. Regis, Aspen. The après-ski party takes place from 4:30-7 p.m.Freestyle features a fashion show of fur designer Dennis Basso’s winter collection and Bulgari jewelry, as well as champagne, caviar, cocktails hors d’oeuvres and more. Silent and live auctions will include art, vacations, fashion accessories, dinners and more.For further information or reservations, call 925-8050.

Theatre Aspen artistic director David McClendon will be the featured guest on Aspen Media Review on Friday, Dec. 15. The locally produced, half-hour program can be heard every Friday at its new time, 6:30 p.m., on KAJX-Aspen Public Radio.McClendon will join Aspen Media Review co-hosts John C. Noonan and Brian O’Neill in discussing Theatre Aspen’s upcoming production of the stage version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The show, directed by McClendon and adapted from Frank Capra’s 1946 film classic, shows at the Wheeler Opera House Dec. 20-24, with evening performances Dec. 20-23, and matinees Dec. 21 and 24. Also joining the discussion are cast members Rick Stear (George Bailey), Tom Cochran (Mr. Gower) and Pat Holloran (Clarence Odbody).KAJX can be heard at 91.5 FM in Aspen.

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