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Aspen Times writer

Aspen Filmfest will celebrate writer-director Jason Reitman at the upcoming Aspen Shortsfest. The 15th annual Shortsfest, set for April 5-9 with programs in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, will feature Reitman in the Director Spotlight program, and will close with a screening of Reitman’s feature debut, “Thank You for Smoking.”Reitman, the son of producer and director Ivan Reitman (“Ghost Busters,” “Stripes”), has appeared at Shortsfest previously with the short films “In God We Trust,” which earned a prize for best comedy, and “Consent.””Thank You for Smoking,” a satirical comedy about the tobacco industry, stars Aaron Eckhart, and features William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Sam Elliott and Robert Duvall. Also appearing in Aspen will be Daniel Dubiecki, Reitman’s regular producer and co-producer of “Thank You for Smoking.”Aspen Shortsfest features film screenings, the Local Filmmaker Showcase, workshops, filmmaker discussions, special events and more. The complete program for Shortsfest 2006 will be available in early March.For further information, go to

The Conductors Guild has presented David Zinman, music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, with the Thomas Theodore Award. Zinman was given the award in a ceremony Jan. 8 at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel.The Theodore Award is given biannually to a conductor in recognition of outstanding achievement and extraordinary service to one’s colleagues in advancing the art of conducting. Past recipients include Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, James Levine and Michael Tilson Thomas.The presentation to Zinman coincides with the completion of the Beethoven Cycle with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, which he also directs. Zinman will start recording the Mahler symphony cycle next month with the Tonhalle Orchestra, and celebrates his 70th birthday with the season benefit Music for the Maestro, featuring violinist Gil Shaham, pianist Leon Fleisher and members of the Emerson String Quartet in Aspen on July 8.For further information on the Aspen Music Festival and School, go to

Theatre Aspen will present its annual spring benefit March 18 at the Hotel Jerome. This year’s benefit is titled Shakespeare in Love, and attendees are requested to wear Renaissance attire.In addition, Theatre Aspen has set the main presentations for the 2006 summer season. Theatre Aspen will present the comedy “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time,” the debut play by Aspenite Andrew Kole and directed by Theatre Aspen artistic director David McClendon; the musical “Love, Janis,” based on the letters of late rock ‘n’ roll singer Janis Joplin; and Donald Marguiles’ drama “Dinner with Friends,” which won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. The children’s presentation is the world premiere of an adaptation of “Jonny Appleseed.” All plays are presented in the Theatre Aspen tent in Rio Grande Park.For further information, go to

Journalist James Ridgeway will be the featured guest on Aspen Media Review Friday, Jan. 27. The locally produced, half-hour program can be heard every Friday at 6:30 p.m. on KAJX-Aspen Public Radio.Ridgeway, the Washington correspondent for the Village Voice, will join Aspen Media Review host John C. Noonan in discussing his book, “The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11.” Ridgeway will outline the breakdown in U.S. intelligence and the gutting of airline security by corporate lobbyists, and detail the arming and funding of al-Qaida by the Carter administration and Middle East allies.KAJX can be heard at 91.5 FM in Aspen.

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