Arts and culture

Peter Yoon

Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her M.F.A. at Emerson College. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us(Dzanc Books, 2009), was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. van den Berg's latest story collection is called The Isle of Youth. Her stories have appeared in Conjunctions, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, One Story, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best New American Voices, and the Pushcart Prize XXIV.

What does it take to become a Master Sommelier?

Nov 4, 2013
The Little Nell Hotel - Aspen

To become a sommelier it takes a lot of training, a good nose and an eye for detail. The new documentary “SOMM” follows several students working toward becoming a certified Master Sommelier – one of less than 200 worldwide. The film shows the intensity of the preparation, the drive of the candidates and challenges they face to become one of less than 200 Master Sommeliers in the world. 

“SOMM” features Sabato Sagaria the Food & Beverage Director of the Little Nell in Aspen. Aspen Public Radio’s Rob St. Mary spoke with Sagaria about the film, the effort to become a Master Sommelier and the perfect glass of wine.

Interview: Paula and Jim Crown

Oct 31, 2013

  In October, The Aspen Skiing Company was one of ten companies to receive an award from American for the Arts.  The awards went to the 10 "Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America."  Among them were Bacardi, Turner Broadcasting and Microsoft.  The inspiration behind this commitment to art comes in large part from Paula and Jim Crown, Managing Partners of the Aspen Skiing Company.  Paula Crown also is an artist.  They spoke with APR’s Roger Adams. 

Mark Helprin was published in The New Yorker for almost a quarter of a century.  His stories and essays on politics and aesthetics appear in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The New York Times, The National Review, American Heritage, Forbes ASAP, and more. Helprin has published three short story collections: A Dove of the East and Other Stories, Ellis Island and Other Stories, and The Pacific and Other Stories. He is also the author of six novels: Refiner's Fire, Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir From Antproof Case, Freddy and Fredericka and, In Sunlight and In Shadows. Helprin has also penned three children's books: Swan Lake, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows, all illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. Helprin has been awarded the National Jewish Book Award, the Prix de Rome, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, 2006, and the 2010 Salvatori Prize in the American Founding, among other prizes.

Emma Norman

Howard Norman is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His 1987 novel, The Northern Lights, was nominated for a National Book Award, as was his 1994 novel The Bird Artist. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, and Devotion. His books have been translated into twelve languages. Norman teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Tom Elder is the author of It’s All About Timing. He lived in Aspen for decades but now lives in New Castle, Colorado. In addition to fiction, Elder also writes poetry and he works as a substitute teacher when he is not writing.

Jessica Soffer earned her MFA in Fiction at Hunter College. Her work has appeared in Granta, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Vogue among other publications. She teaches fiction at Connecticut College and lives on Long Island. Her first novel is Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots.

Dina Rossi

Mary Doria Russell is author of five novels including The Sparrow, Children of God, A Thread of Grace, Dreamers of the Day and Doc.  A Thread of Grace and Doc were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  She began her career as an academic and turned to writing when she lost her job.  She has a BA in Cultural Anthropology, an MA in Social Anthropology and a PhD in Biological Anthropology.  Her novel Doc was a One Book, One Community selection for Glenwood Springs.

Today on CrossCurrents - the Aspen Film Fest's Artistic Director Laura Thielen and Program Director George Eldred with a rundown of this year's event, today through September 29th.

More at

Aspen Film Opens 35th Festival Tonight

Sep 24, 2013

The Aspen Film Festival opens its 35th year this evening at the Isis Theater in Aspen. 21 films are scheduled through Sunday evening at the Isis and Paepcke Auditorium. Those are new locations because the festival’s long-time home… the Wheeler Opera House… is under renovation. George Eldred is Program Director for Aspen Film. He spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Rob St. Mary about this year’s event.

Adam Haslett is the author of the short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here and the novel Union Atlantic. His story collection was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. His journalism and fiction have appeared in The Financial Times, Esquire, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope All-Story, Best American Short Stories, and The O'Henry Prize Stories. A graduate of Swarthmore College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Yale Law School, he has been a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Columbia University.

Crystal Theatre says "Good Bye" to Film Tonight

Sep 17, 2013
Rob St. Mary

Tonight is the end of an era at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale. The theater will go digital before the end of the month. But, before it does owners Bob and Kathy Ezra have one last show planned – a highlight reel of previews for films shown at the cinema. They spoke to Aspen Public Radio’s Rob St. Mary.

David Schulze

Marisha Pessl is the author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film. Special Topics in Calamity Physics was a New York Times bestseller, published in 30 countries, and a New York Times book of the year. Pessl attended Northwestern University and studied Film and Television, then transferred to Barnard College in New York and majored in Contemporary Literature with a minor in Playwriting. Her novel Night Film is being made into a movie. Marisha Pessl lives in New York City.

The History of KAJX - Part 1

Interviews with Sy Coleman, Michael Stranahan and Andrea Young

Elise Thatcher

World renowned artist Christo still hopes to do an ambitious art installation in Central Colorado. Well known for The Gates, a New York City Central Park installation in 2005, he’s now proposing a project called Over the River. In it, fabric panels would be suspended over sections six miles of the Arkansas River. Christo’s work is often controversial, so it’s no surprise the proposal has met stiff opposition here.

Note: Want to hear Christo's entire talk at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center? Scroll the bottom of this post for full unedited audio.

Paul Harding is the author of the novel Tinkers, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers. He was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Grinnell College.

"The Drowning Guard" by Linda Lafferty

Sep 1, 2013
Roger Adams

On Tuesday (9-3-2013,) local teacher and equestrian turned author Linda Lafferty will publish the second book in a three-book deal with Amazon Publishing: The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire.  The official book launch will be held at the Pitkin County Library at 6pm (click for details.)

Festival Showcase - August 27th, 2013

Aug 27, 2013

In this rebroadcast program, hear interviews with pianist Joseph Kalichstein and luthier Joan Balter.  Kalichstein discusses teaching, the value of competitions and Aspen’s allure. And Balter recounts stories of teaching legend Dorothy DeLay and violinists Joshua Bell, Midori and Sarah Chang as child prodigies.

Festival Showcase - August 20th, 2013

Aug 20, 2013

We look back at some of the highlights of the 2013 Aspen Music Festival and School, including the convocation address by Aspen Music Festival and School President Alan Fletcher, discussing the challenges confronting classical music. The program finishes with a sampling of voices from the 2013 festival and a musical performance.

Charles Paterson was born Karl Schanzer in Vienna, Austria in 1929 and now lives in Aspen, Colorado. An architectural designer, Paterson was one of the last apprentices to train under Frank Lloyd Wright. His coauthor and daughter Carrie Paterson is an artist, writer, and editor for Artillery: Killer Text on Art. She lives in Los Angeles.