Blumenthal: The circus has come to town
It’s the beginning of silly season in Snowmass Village leading up to the election of a new mayor and Town Council in November, the middle of Related’s ongoing quest for trust and three quarters of the way through the frenetic and exciting Toronto International Film Festival, all of which I have a strong interest in.
After a year of almost constant conflict and dysfunctional behavior by the elected representatives centered mainly around the selection of a permanent full-time town manager, it’s time to decide who among the lot is best to retain and lead us forward or whether it’s time to make a few changes by adding to the mix one or more of the new candidates who’ve decided to throw their hats in the ring.
I don’t intend to endorse any of the candidates, at least at this early point in the race, but I strongly suggest that you take a close look at what each candidate has to say and how they plan to deal with the myriad critical issues facing the village in the near and long term, not least of which is the completion of Base Village, the entryway and the ongoing efforts to improve Snowmass’ resort vibrancy and economy, particularly in the summer. Make no mistake, both Aspen Skiing Co. and Related have a strong vested interest in the outcome of this election and have already begun working to encourage and support their favored candidates, who not surprisingly are likely to favor all Skico and Related have proposed and are likely to propose in the future. If you’re not always in lockstep with Skico and Related, now is the time to let your voice and interests be heard at the ballot box. All the key issues facing this community for the next few years likely will be decided by the new mayor and Town Council members.
Just as soon as I vow not to pay attention to Base Village, Related pulls another rabbit out of its magic hat, and what a pretty rabbit it is, at least at first glance. Assuming there’s no hidden sleight of hand maneuvers that could turn the magic rabbit into a skunk, Related just might have hit upon the right formula to move Base Village to completion in a way that satisfies most of us who’ve been complaining about its unfulfilled promises. Its renewed commitment to complete the Viceroy hotel complex along with financial security to make sure it happens starting next spring along with rekindling its faded romance with Skico, its new romance with a legitimate developer, financier and the possibility of the Timbers Resorts brand for the currently fake-fronted buildings 7 and 8 and another new residential building are good signs that an improving economy is taking hold in the village and that Base Village will be up and running as originally intended, with some updated and necessary modifications to the 10-year-old plans.
All signs are positive, but we’ve been there before with Related and it has let us down numerous times. Just to be sure, let’s hold it on the shortest leash possible, without strangling it, and to a stricter standard this time around. No more trust without security to back up its promises and commitments.
As to the Toronto Film Festival, it’s a Blumenthal family affair this year. Both my sons have films they’re connected with premiering this year. Toronto, along with the Telluride Film Festival, which concluded a week ago, are the two most important and prestigious North American film festivals.
During a crazy and hectic period of three to four weeks each year, these two festivals screen well over 300 of the best of what the international film industry has produced in narrative and documentary film.
Some of the films screened at these festivals don’t have studios or distributors attached at the time of screening, but the best of the lot become the subject of heated auctions following their screenings.
Luckily the films my sons are involved with already have their lifelines tethered to major studios and distributors and now eagerly await their openings. We’re in Toronto to cheer them on and to have a good time in a fabulous city just above the U.S. border that goes crazy every year over movies.
In case you’re curious our family is supporting “The Equalizer,” starring Denzel Washington, which opens nationally on Sept. 26, as well as “Whiplash” and “The Riot Club,” both of which will premiere nationally in the next few months in time for the upcoming awards season. Please forgive our paternal/maternal gloating, but we’re very proud of all their good work and the perks derived from being their parents.
By the time this week’s column goes to press I’ll be back in Santa Monica eagerly awaiting a return to the Roaring Fork Valley in time for the 35th edition of Aspen Filmfest at the end of this month. Until then, you can find me at email@example.com.
Written arguments between the town of Snowmass Village and the Krabloonik dog-sledding operation were filed last week in a ramp-up to a key hearing in the coming months.