At home in Aspen: Live from Main Street, it’s Carbondale First Friday
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ll be here on Main Street,” Carbondale Arts director Amy Kimberly said at the outset of the first virtual version of Carbondale’s First Friday celebration on April 3, doing a virtual toast with co-host Cory Simpson of Thunder River Theatre.
What happened was something special, with familiar faces of locals in live Zoom performances and recorded segments.
There was a show by Consensual Improv, live music by Jackson Emmer and Pam and Dan, a walk through Alissa Davies’ art studio, cocktail recipes from Mable Distillery and music trivia from Carbondale Beer Works, a chocolate-making demo by Mark Burrows, a sculpting demo from Carbondale Clay Center, a cat video by Sue Drinker, locally made stop-motion videos from Voices and 5Point Film’s #StopMotionDuringStopTime challenge; there were madcap interludes with Kimberly and Simpson and, yes, a few tears.
With a live chat from viewers running alongside the stream, Kimberly shouted out friends, mimicked the experience of running into them on Main Street and said, “First Fridays was always about us coming together as a community, right?”
It wasn’t the same, of course, but it was a dose of comfort in the form of the always creative, sometimes goofy, anything-goes spirit of Carbondale First Friday.
The May edition promises another evening of virtual local uplift-oriented programming from lockdown. May’s First Friday was supposed to be the annual family block party and pride parade. It has been reimagined as a virtual “Pride & Family” celebration starting at 6 p.m.
Carbondale Arts is also staging a distancing-friendly outdoor First Friday event they’ve dubbed a “Yard Art Walk” from 4 to 6 p.m. The nonprofit is providing free chalk kits and yard signs, encouraging locals to decorate their homes to share and celebrate with friends and neighbors at a distance.
And with an eye on the day that we can all actually return to Main Street, the group Bonedale Flashmob is at work on a live flashmob dance at Carbondale First Friday to be performed “once the ban on social gatherings has been lifted.” The group is doing choreography sessions remotely during the stay-home period.
For now, First Friday is staying in the virtual realm, broadcasting on Thunder River Theatre Co.’s free ThunderStream, one of the earliest virtual public platforms to emerge for locals in the days after the stay-home period began. Over the past five weeks, it has hosted performances for kids and adults, along with the two-hour First Friday parties.
It’ll be the site of another first on May 7, when ThunderStream hosts “ExtravaGala,” a virtual variety show and fundraiser for Thunder River. It’ll mark the first virtual Roaring Fork Valley gala event since the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings went into place, but many valley nonprofits are likely follow in its path during the summer benefit season, as the social and fundraising calendar goes virtual and more organizations launch home-based fundraising events.
Snowmass Village’s Anderson Ranch Arts Center last week announced its “Un-Gala,” to take place virtually July 16 in place of its annual Recognition Dinner at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen.
The way locals embraced ThunderStream has given Simpson hope that fundraisers, too, might work in the virtual space.
“The quick and enthusiastic reception was such strong evidence that uplifting our community and helping people feel connected is vitally important right now,” Simpson said in the Extravagala announcement. “We realize that these are difficult financial times for so many, and we really hope that those who still have the means right now will rally to support an organization with a 24-year history through this very challenging period.”
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