The belly needs some beasts |

The belly needs some beasts

Paul E. Anna

Change is in the air in our little town.Sidewalks are filled with tables for diners. Art galleries are moving and sprouting at a clip that rivals the invasion of ice-cream parlors. There seems to be a war between the clothing stores over whose mannequins have the most pronounced nipples. Jack Johnson – no not the singing surfer, but the well, no one’s sure exactly what to label him – will be taking a seat alongside Torre on the City Council. And SkiCo is rapidly making improvements on the hills for the upcoming winter.But the leader in the clubhouse thus far for the best new thing to happen to Aspen in ’05 is unquestionably the new Belly Up. Yeah, it opened in February, but have you been inside yet? It still qualifies as new until everyone in town has crossed the threshold and beheld Michael Goldberg’s most generous gift to our community.The Belly Up, as you know, is the refurbished music venue located just up from the transportation center, just down the stairs, where the old Double Diamond used to rule. Goldberg, sensing a need for both himself and Aspen, spared no expense in cleaning up the joint. He built new bathrooms, sucked out the smell of decades of Camels and Marlboros, installed a killer sound system and surrealistic lighting, and started booking city-grade talent.The result is a club, that if it were based in LoDo, or South of Market, or in South Beach, or on Congress Street, or just outside the Quarter, or even in the Avenues, would be packing ’em in nightly. Instead, it is here in Aspen, and, particularly now, it needs some local support.You can start tonight when national headliner and noted heartthrob Chris Isaak brings his rock ‘n’ roll show to the 8,000-foot level. Tickets are pricy, a Benjamin will buy a ducat (that’s a $100 dollar bill will get you a ticket), but the show will be one you’ll never forget. As in, “I saw Isaak at the Belly Up back in ’05.”Next week, it’s Dickey Betts, ex of the Allmans, the guy whose duets with Duane Allman are what they play in heaven. Soon Michael will bring you The Radiators, The Gin Blossoms, The Samples, Ramsey Lewis, Maria Muldaur – and that’s just in the next two weeks.The surgeon general recommends that everyone who wants to stay young get at least one dose of live music a week. Start a new habit today.Let’s make sure the new Belly Up will one day become the Ol’ BellyUp.