The family rallies around Barry Smith’s new performance
Aspen, CO Colorado
Although my daughter Hillery lives just over the hill in Leadville and my daughter Skye lives just down the road in Carbondale, we have a hard time getting together in pieces, much less all at once.
Last Friday, we were missing Hillery’s husband Bruce, but an unprecedented six of us ” Skye, Steve, Riley, Hillery, Hillery’s friend Caryn and I ” got it together and met in Carbondale for dinner at Ella’s, the opening of Barry Smith’s new show “Baby Book” at Steve’s Guitars and then an overnight at Skye’s.
I brought my dachshund puppies, who were none too pleased to be left alone for four hours with the Skinner’s dog, Scout. Their elderly cat, Blossom, was none too pleased to have those badger hounds in her house at all. The humans, on the other hand, enjoyed a great evening.
Ella’s serves delicious haute cuisine at downvalley prices, and this alone could have been the highlight of our evening, but Barry Smith was the icing on the cake that brought about this reunion. The whole family loves Barry.
I’ve been a fan of Barry Smith ever since I heard “Flicker Noise,” a kind of Monty Python radio show that Barry and his friends put together years ago. I stopped right in the middle of a column to say WHOA! You have GOT to listen to THIS! I still listen to those tapes.
Since then, I’ve followed the incarnations of “Jesus in Montana” and “Squatter,” convinced that the guy is a genius, and his latest, “Baby Book,” is destined to be yet another prizewinner on the Canadian Fringe Festival route.
Think Spalding Gray and David Sedaris with a whole lot of audio and visual aids because Barry has saved every last scrap of memorabilia from his past and uses these photos, tapes and movies to take us with him on his hilarious, sometimes wrenching journey through life.
In this production, he takes us through the actual pages of his almost-empty Baby Book, filling in the blanks with the real story.
Steve’s Guitars, with sweet Steve at the door coming and going, is like a homey living room packed with people you’ve missed for a long time. Everyone was into the show, which got a standing O at the end, even though it was so hot off the press Barry was still script-reading. Usually this means some tinkering will follow, but he shouldn’t change a word. This cookie is baked.
When we left, it was pouring rain. There are leaves and flowering trees in Carbondale! As I’ve mentioned before, my puppies refuse to wee-wee in the rain, so we spent a fitful night, returning to Aspen snow the next morning.
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“My first home was on the Elkhorn Ranch in Woody Creek. My dad was 26, my mom 20 when I was born (the same year Lifts 1 and 2 were built on Aspen Mountain). It’s difficult to imagine what my parents were thinking when they put it all together,“ writes Tony Vagneur.