Arts and culture

First Draft - Patrick Ryan

Nov 11, 2016
Denver Butson

Patrick Ryan is the author of The Dream Life of Astronauts and Send Me, as well as three novels for young adults: Saints of Augustine, In Mike We Trust, and Gemini Bites. His fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Tin House, One Story, Catapult, Crazyhorse, The Iowa Review, The Yale Review and elsewhere. His nonfiction has been published by Granta and has appeared in Tales of Two Cities and other anthologies.

This weekend, the curtains will rise on the Aspen Community Theatre (ACT) stage for the 40th year. The production is a retrospective of the many songs performed by valley amateurs, and their stories of how the organization allowed them to become - at least for a weekend - a star.

Wheeler executive director Gena Buhler said the Aspen community has enjoyed the Laff Festival over the last 6 years, but they’ve been itching for more. So she appealed to Aspen City Council to increase the budget for the winter event.

Alycin Bektesh / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Noise meets at the Aspen Chapel each week. They sing lots of songs you know, and probably some others you don’t. And for two years, each meeting of Aspen Noise starts with a quick bit of meditation.

Patrick Fort / Aspen Public Radio

Seasonal beers have been all the rage in the craft beer world. One fall variation is the pumpkin beer. But that flavor seems to be on the decline.

Dan Scesnewicz is the general manager of HOPS Culture in Aspen. Right now, some of the biggest sellers are fall seasonal beers. That’s stuff like Oktoberfests and Marzens.

Courtesy Photo

Aspen Words’ Winter Words series starts in January, and the lineup was released yesterday.


Azar Nafisi begins the annual festival on Jan. 17. She’s the author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran”. The lineup also includes novelist Kevin Fedarko, Aspen native Pete McBride and Aspen Summer Words alum Anna Noyes.


It’s the 20th year of Winter Words. Executive director Adrienne Brodeur said the lineup focused on bringing in diverse perspectives.  

Courtesy photo

Nick Lenio is one of 25 semifinalists for the National Grammy in the Schools Music Educator Award. To reach this point he had to make several videos showing the work he does at the school.


Nick Lenio, the band director at Basalt middle and high schools, is one of 290 teachers nationwide being considered for the Music Educator Award, presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. He is one of two teachers in Colorado in that group.

First Draft - Nicole Dennis-Benn

Oct 24, 2016

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the highly acclaimed debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, a New York Times Editors' Choice, which has received a starred Kirkus Review and is deemed one of the best books to read this summer and beyond by New York Times, NPR, BBC, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, Bookish, Miami Herald, Elle, O Magazine, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, After Ellen, BookPage, Cosmopolitan, Brooklyn Magazine, among others. Dennis-Benn has also been shortlisted for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

Glenwood Vaudeville Revue

The Glenwood Vaudeville Revue typically performs sketch comedy and small songs. This fall, they are trying something a little darker. On Friday, they opened up their production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. Aspen Public Radio’s Patrick Fort spoke with director John Goss about how his theatre company is changing what they do.

A polish food tasting event at Dancing Bear General Store in Glenwood Springs is on Monday.

Aspen Noise meets at the Aspen Chapel on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, The Basalt Regional Library is screening the documentary, “Sreenagers”.

Make halloween-themed crafts at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village on Wednesday.

The seventh annual Rock n roast halloween Bash is on Friday at The Orchard in Carbondale.

The Arts Campus at Willits in Basalt had a summer full of ups and downs. The group hired its first managing director, Ryan Honey, but also faced lots of drama surrounding its budget and future funding.

Patrick Fort / Aspen Public Radio

An increased budget for programming allowed the venue to bring in bigger names, and right now, it looks like that may have been achieved. The Beach Boys and comedian Kevin Smith both perform in December.

This year’s ski passes are decorated again in collaboration between the Aspen Art Museum and the Aspen Skiing Company.

Patrick Fort / Aspen Public Radio

About an hour north of Telluride is the town of Ridgway, Colo. — population 932. On one of the main streets is a shop called Billings Artworks.

Courtesy, The Aspen Art Museum.

According to a Conde Nast Traveler reader poll, Aspen is the second best small city in the United States. Charleston, South Carolina, took the top spot.

Courtesy, The Aspen Art Museum.

According to a Conde Nast Traveler reader poll, Aspen is the second best small city in the United States. Charleston, South Carolina, took the top spot.

Three information kiosks will be stationed at the Launchpad, The Third Street Center, and later at The Village Smithy today. More will be installed next year.


The stations will provide information about creative businesses and hotels, as well as local events. It’s part of an effort to promote Carbondale’s Creative District. It’s a state designation that helps fund and support creative economies.

Courtesy Photo

Celia Gregory is an artist and fan of all things oceanic. She’s known for her underwater installations used to rehabilitate coral reefs. Gregory did her work from Indonesia, and England, but now she lives in Aspen. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Patrick Fort about a life-changing event on an airplane that helped her combine her two passions. Art and the ocean.

Sarah McKenzie and Laurie Doctor’s exhibitions at the Art Base continue this week.  

On Tuesday, Lesly Nneka Arimah finishes Aspen Words’ Writers in Residence series. She speaks at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen.


The Helio Sequence plays at the Belly Up in Aspen on Wednesday.


Friday in Glenwood Springs is a ghost walk in Linwood Cemetery.


Friday and Saturday is a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue Theatre.