Summer events make Aspen great; locals make it all work
July 12, 2005
Between all the hoopla and crowds filling tents at the Food & Wine Magazine’s annual weekend-long bash, the Aspen Institute campus at the Aspen Ideas Festival and the streets on the Fourth of July, we managed to find a story about Aspenites being refreshingly lowbrow.For three years, Shooters Night Club has been hosting Karaoke Night each week. It’s become a popular Wednesday-night destination for at least one set of locals looking for respite from the relentless pace of life in Aspen at the height of tourist season. It’s a place to decompress, replace the fake smile with a real one, down a few beers, shoot a game or two of pool and share our derailed ambitions to become rock stars. We published the story “It’s the singer, not the song” on Sunday, the same day Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a speech at the Institute and the talented Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, D.C., was finishing a five-day run of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Amid all that makes Aspen exceptional, the story was a nice reminder that the people who live here really are more than cogs in the giant hospitality machine that Aspen becomes every summer.Shooters doesn’t have a monopoly on being local, by the way. Little Annie’s Eating House at lunch, no matter the time of year, is a big draw for the people who live and work here. The Cooper Street Pier is resiliently local no matter how many visitors are waiting for a table down the street at Boogie’s. Kids drawing with chalk on the sidewalk at the Red Brick Arts Center has roots back to Sidewalk Sundays in the 1960s or ’70s in front of the old Aspen Drug.The gigantic, staged events that cram the town full of people every weekend between mid-June and mid-September help make Aspen interesting. But it’s things like summer day camp, swimming at the Aspen Recreation Center, a burger at Little Annie’s, early morning hockey practice at the Ice Garden, the scene at Jimmy’s, a bike ride up Independence Pass or a few moderately painful minutes of “Every Breath You Take” by one of our drinking buddies at Shooters that remind us of what makes living in Aspen great.