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Writing and volunteering

One of the treats of early Aspen summertime is the Summer Words Festival presented by the Aspen Writers’ Foundation.Writers attend in order to work on manuscripts during retreats with nationally known authors, and townspeople attend to hear famous writers talk about their work. Most of the classes, talks and receptions are held in the gardens and theater in the Given Institute; evening lectures are held in Paepcke Auditorium. It is the perfect time of year as the Given gardens and the walk through the West End offer spectacular blooming flowers like poppies, irises and lilacs. Teachers of the retreats included writers Amy Bloom, Ron Carlson, Laura Fraser, James Houston, Pam Houston, Christopher Merrill and David Petersen. They all gave talks about the process of writing. Former Congresswoman and author Patricia Schroeder, who is now president of the Association of American Publishers, talked about the problems of present-day publishing. Authors Ann Patchett and Thomas Dyja also talked about writing.On Saturday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m. in Paepcke Auditorium, the Writers’ Foundation will present a free lecture by Walter Isaacson, the new president and CEO of The Aspen Institute. Walter has been the chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. His books include the forthcoming “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,” “Kissinger: A Biography” and “The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.” Aspenites also eagerly await the Volunteer Sunday free performance in the tent by the Aspen Music Festival. Although all local volunteers are honored, this year environmentalist Bob Lewis was singled out to receive the coveted Greg Mace Award which always goes to an outstanding dedicated valley volunteer. Bob is known for founding the Independence Pass Foundation, founding the Wildwood School, and helping to nurture the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. He has lived in Aspen since 1951. The Greg Mace Award honors the late Greg Mace, a director and president of Mountain Rescue who was killed during a climbing accident in 1986. The Mace family created the award to recognize those who share his community spirit.Jan and Bob Blaich celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea on the cruise ship Silver Cloud. They started in Rome on May 10 and visited Sorrento, Sardinia, Portofino, Monte Carlo, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. A highlight was repeating their vows; they were remarried by the captain at sea. The celebration continued with a family reunion in Aspen over the Fourth of July weekend. Attending were Jed, Nancy and Shelly from Austin, Texas; David, Sue and Cameron from Denver; and Jamie, Carlene and Kyle from Portland, Ore.Jan and Bob met as students at Syracuse University in New York. Jan has a degree in journalism and Bob has a degree in architecture and an honorary doctorate in fine arts. He currently serves on the board of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse. They lived for 12 years in the Netherlands, where Bob was the executive vice president for Design at Royal Philips Electronics and Jan was speechwriter for three successive presidents. They returned to Aspen in 1992, where Bob served for eight years on the P&Z and Jan was president of the Aspen Writers’ Foundation for four years.Former longtime Aspenites Maria and Fernando Allende moved last year to Puerto Rico, and Fernando recently held a show of his artwork titled “Fernando Allende en San Juan” at the Galeria San Juan Bautista in San Juan. For many years Fernando was a prominent Latin singer and movie star, and Maria was his manager.The Aspen Music Festival’s summer gala will be a benefit performance called “Tosca at the Tent” on July 19. The evening begins with a reception and silent auction in the Festival Hospitality Tent, followed by the performance of “Tosca” in the Benedict Music Tent. For ticket information, call the Aspen Music Festival at (970) 925-3254.The paintings created by Aspen artist Tammie Lane for the children’s books about the “Adventures of Fraser the Yellow Dog,” written and published by Jill Sheeley, are on display during July at Cafe Bernard in Basalt. In conjunction with the show, Jill has created a contest for the children to identify the book in which the paintings appear. She has also produced Fraser’s favorite dog bones, which are being sold in local stores.Fran Page, director of the Aspen Dance Connection, tells me that her group is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the presentation of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 11, in the Aspen District Theatre.Architect Sam Caudill had back surgery two weeks ago and is staying at Heritage Park in Carbondale to have physical therapy. He would love to see friends who might come down that way.It is party time in Aspen. Just a few include the annual Catfish Fry given by Martha and Dr. David Yocum, a birthday party for Christine Aubale Gerschel given by Christy and Bill Pope, a Fourth of July party given by Audrey and Ted Spiegel, and a birthday garden party for Marian Davis and her son-in-law Ron Baar at Marian’s home on Pitkin Green. The physicists at the Aspen Center for Physics gave their annual cocktail party on July 8 on their campus.And don’t forget the big gala party that will celebrate the opening of HeritageAspen’s Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum on Friday, July 11. An old-fashioned baseball game will start the festivities at 1 p.m., and there will be a hoedown dance and dinner. Admission is $3 per person because that is what a miner was paid for a day’s work in 1891. So … the gala is called “A Miner’s Day for Miner’s Pay.” Shuttles will be provided continuously between Paepcke Park and the Marolt property.On Saturday, July 12, at 2 p.m. a memorial service for the late Pitkin County Commissioner Bob Child will be held at the Child Ranch in Old Snowmass. Child, a longtime local rancher and environmental activist, died earlier this year. All family members and friends are invited to the service. For more information or directions to the ranch, call 927-1014 or 927-3008. Food and refreshments will be served.Undercurrent … Jim Ward tells me that everyone should dig out their serviceberry recipes because he has never seen the berries so thick.


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