Princess: Tortoises and horses, oh my |

Princess: Tortoises and horses, oh my

Alison Berkley Margo

So the turtles have gone home to roost, the lodging ordinance was ix-nayed by the people, and all is well with our little world.

I’m happy for the turtles. I went and saw the exhibit, and they were all huddled together under their little house, hidden in their shells, looking very pissed off and miserable. I know I’m anthropomorphizing, but trust me: It was pathetic.

And it confirmed my hunch that modern art is a bunch or pretentious hoo-ha when people with too much time on their hands and too few problems want to intellectualize the absurd. Like D-Bach said yesterday on the radio, “It’s stupid, and it’s OK to say that.” You go, D-Bach.

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the abstract, and I think I have a pretty good aesthetic. The first time I saw a Pollack at MOMA in New York City I felt as if I had been blasted by a strong wind and then had a bucket of ice water dumped over my head — chances are, you probably know exactly what I mean.

But using live animals as art is just asking for trouble. It’s like Joan Rivers said on a recent episode of Fashion Police: “People tell me not to wear dead animals, but have you ever tried wearing a live one?”

After watching the YouTube video of journalist James Foley’s beheading, it put things into perspective. There are small-town problems; there are first-world problems; and then there are Aspen problems. I mean, here we are bitching over hotels and art museums when there are people being murdered for letting us know about the atrocities going on in the world. And we’re freaking out over turtles held captive in the name of modern art? Really?

Speaking of over-the-top Aspen crapola: On a more positive note, I got to attend the finals of the Rocky Mountain Open at the brand new Aspen Valley Polo Club. It was one of those days that reminded me why I love this place so much. It was an only-in-Aspen moment but in a really good way.

Only in Aspen (actually, Carbondale) would they let a couple of idiots like my husband and I attend a polo match at a prestigious polo club with world-renowned polo players where we would be fed lamb chops and fingerling potato bites with caviar and crème fraiche and smoked-salmon tacos. We got to sit on wicker furniture under pretty blue umbrellas and sip lemonade and ice tea and Pellegrino. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, they busted out the Champagne. No booze allowed until the last chukker (that’s polo speak for the seven-minute intervals of playing time, and there are six total, just so you know) because it’s so civilized and all.

The good news is I got to live out all my “Pretty Woman” fantasies, including dressing up in a dainty flimsy dress and a wide brim hat (which I ended up leaving in the car on account of a good hair day). I even got to participate in the stomping of the divots, just holding my breath, waiting for someone to find out I’m actually a hooker, even though everyone knows I get Richard Gere in the end. Dressed in a crisp white collared shirt, Ryan played his part perfectly. The only thing missing was the red Ferrari and the fact that he’s supposed to be a millionaire, but a landscaper in a 10-year-old Audi wagon with 150,000 miles on it will have to do.

The match was truly exciting and the horses captivating even though, truth be told, I’m not a horse person. When I was 8 years old, my friend Deeni asked me to hold the reins of her horse while she went to the bathroom. The horse had flies on its face and was trying to shake them away, so I took this as a sign that horse wanted me to let go. The horse took off running, and it took Deeni’s parents three days to chase it down and bring it home, and everyone was pretty mad at me about that for a while. Much like seeing those poor turtles trapped on a rooftop patio overlooking Aspen Mountain, it was very traumatic.

But these horses amazed me. They seemed to know how beautiful they are. They trotted around with their insane musculature and pretty manes and groomed tails in a way that made no mistake about their pedigree. They reminded me of all the wealthy, beautiful women I’ve known in my life, leaving no doubt about their place in the world. You resent the hell out of them for it, but you can’t take your eyes off them despite yourself.

So it was all very fancy and upscale and sort of otherworldly. Ryan, my hockey-playin’, elk shootin’, Bud-drinkin’ Minnesota man, was totally fascinated. He grilled the announcer guy and learned all kinds of crazy stuff about the sport, like that polo players will travel all over the world with over a dozen horses. I’m not even kidding when I tell you they send them to Europe on a FedEx cargo plane. Can you imagine? I wonder if they were on the same flight as the damned turtles.

The other thing that blew my mind about the polo match, aside from letting a couple of yahoos like us into the club, was that it was totally free. I had so much fun I couldn’t wait to gloat about it on Facebook, uploading my photos right there on the spot to make sure everyone knew where I was and how much fun I was having and how great I looked doing it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Forget this Desperate Housewife of Basalt racket — the Princess is back.

The Princess wants to give a shout-out to Mayor Steve Skadron for being the only guy in this town who doesn’t work for Garfield & Hecht. Email your love to