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The Arty Party

Big news from the Coast.   Carolyn's story is posted on AspenSpin unedited.

There will be a fabulous artists’ showcase, The Arty Party, at the home of Carolyn Rogers, my adored colleague from grad school days at Wharton, this April in Portola Valley, California, right next to Stanford.  She and her husband, Tom Stepien, CEO of Primus Power, a high-tech big battery start-up, will host four artists in their home, including two Colorado artists: watercolorist Susan Montague of Denver and constructivist Kris Cox, who resides in a stunning home in Basalt; and one former Colorado artist, painter Kalani Engles.  On hand for live entertainment is Bundy Browne with Rick Sigman,  Bay Area guitar players who blend Rhythm, Blues, and Country with a little Reggae.

Kris Cox, originally from Los Angeles, studied at Claremont and received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.  He has been featured in Galleries across the U.S and in Santa Fe at the renowned LewAllen Galleries.  He has been celebrated at more than 50 solo exhibitions.  His work is included in the collections of LA County Museum of Art, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Oakland Art Museum, General Mills, and Prudential Insurance Art Collections.  From his bio: “Operating at the nexus of Modernist composition and venerable craftsmanship, the art of Kris Cox deftly balances the mechanics of industry with the poetics of the handmade.”  His background in ceramics and an impressive technical knowledge allows the creation of complex modern panels that are both minimal and offer intriguing nuances under close inspection.

Susan Montague creates watercolor portraits capturing the human experience in expressive faces of the common man. Using layer upon layer of transparent paint, she creates the mood and character of her subjects. Susan, a native of Colorado with a BFA from CSU, is an award-winning member of the American Watercolor, the National Watercolor, the Western Federation of Watercolor, the Colorado Watercolor and the Texas Watercolor Societies. She has been published in Southwest Art and Watercolor Artist Magazines, including cover images.  Susan was featured in an exhibition at the Grants Pass Museum of Art in Oregon and is represented by gallery Elements 5280 in Greenwood Village, Colorado.  She won top prize at the NY based American Watercolor Society Exhibition taking the Bronze Medal of Honor.

Also on hand will be three California based artists: Painter Kalani Engles and Graphic Artist, Scott J. Cooper. Kalani Engles studied at Stanford; her organic impressionistic and abstract paintings and sculptures are shown in galleries in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Notably, she lived in Colorado for years with museum shows in Fort Collins and Casper, Wyoming with representation at Inkfish Gallery in Denver. Scott J. Cooper is an artist and entrepreneur living in Copenhagen.  With influence from his days as a printmaker, his watercolor paintings carry a theme of the human figure with a penchant for dark comedy, including shadowy characters, lyrical dancers, plant life, and ladders to nowhere.












Wiley Maple wins Nor Am Downhill in Aspen.

Aspen local, AVSC Alum and current member of the U.S. Ski Team won the Nor Am Downhill on Ajax for the second year in a row.  Wiley is well known in Aspen as the fastest skier on Aspen Mountain.  He proved it again topping the podium in his home town...just like last year.  

Wiley had a good year on the World Cup circuit.  You can help him compete.

Click: WILEY


Jews Gone Wild. Total Mishegas in Aspen.

Shira Gunsburg performed Bubby's Kitchen in Aspen.It was total mishegas in Aspen and a BIG night for the Aspen Jewish Congregation.  

Cantor Shira Ginsburg performed her one-woman show BUBBY's KITCHEN at the Aspen District Theatre.  

Bubby's Kitchen  (click 4 info) explores Ginsburg's relationship with her Bubby (grand-mother) who fought the Nazi's in WW II and survive the holocaust.  It's a happy story of love, terror, survival, family and food set to music and delivered straight from her Bubby's Kitchen.  

Members of the Aspen Jewish Congregation (AJC) sat mezmorized (no shpilkes) as Ms. Ginsburg spun the tale of her family during the time of the Nazi occupation and their eventual triumph. Bubby was the only member of her immediate family to survive the terror, and she fought for freedom as a 16 year old girl.  She eventually made it to America to become a family matriarch, a grand mother of 10 and an incredible cook. It was as if you could smell the matzo ball soup simmering on-stage as Ms. Ginsburg brought her Bubby to life.  Actually Bubby is still alive and cooking at 91 in Boca Raton, Florida,  the land of our people...and she loves the show.

Almost everyone in the jammed packed audience could relate to Bubby's stories of perseverance, dedication to life  and her deep love for her family.   True in many families...Bubby was always there with a sweet hug, a heavy dose of encouragement and a cinnamon rugelach to ease the pain.  Ms. Ginsburg, a trained actress and professional Cantor portrayed her Bubby, her Zayde (grampa), her parents her aunts and cousins (even the skinny one) on the stage.  It was a festival of family, food and music.

Click 4 pix:  JEWS GONE WILD in ASPEN

Jewsih Soul Food from Katz's Deli in NYC.While the show was fantastic, the after-party was unbelievable. It was a HUGE nosh.  Rabbi David Segal and AJC Executive Director Jason Schnissel brought in an amazing array of taste treats from KATZ's 2nd Avenue Deli in NYC.  It was the best meal of the year (in my opinion).  Corned Beef, pastrami, brisket, matzoh ball soup, 3 types of knishes and the best-ever kosher hot dogs.  All authentic and flown in from New York.  I've  never seen a more beautiful buffet line.  It was like manna from heaven.  With a line-up of Jewish soul food set out deliciously at the brand new Cooking School of Aspen, I started kvelling.  Some people thought I was meshuganah when I went back for third's and fourth's and then fifth's.   According to Ms. Ginsburg's Bubby...who faced true hunger in Eastern Europe...an empty plate was a sin.  The AJC and I made Bubby proud...everybody ate like chazers.  There was plenty to go around...not a kvetch was heard...the leftovers were bubkes.

It was a beautiful night of community for AJC...filled with history, mishpochah, friendship, laughter, a few tears and the best corned beef this side of 2nd Avenue.  I am looking forward to Pesach.

Mazel Tov AJC.

Click 4 Pix:  JEWS GONE WILD in Aspen.

The families of Aspen Jewish Congregation came out for Bubby's Kitchen.Alan Feldman's Mom and Dad and The Gordon's made the cover of AspenSpin.Get me a Larry David type.Shira Ginsburg, Cantor Rollin Segal and the gang. Michael Sailor (knees dont grow on trees) is always camera ready.



Bubby is Coming

Everybody has a Bubby (grandma).   Bubby's Kitchen is the story of one woman's struggle to live up to the expectations and the legacy created by her grandparents, who fought the Nazi's in Germany during WWII.

The ASPEN JEWISH CONGREGATION is bringing Bubby into Aspen. For one night only.  If you're Jewish...attendance is mandatory.  If you're not...attendence is highly suggested. It will be a night to remember, and wear a nice shirt.    

MARCH 16 at 6pm at the Aspen District Theatre. 

Click 4 Info and tix:  BUBBY'S KITCHEN   

You dont want to let your Bubby down.


Drunk Fest in Aspen: Apres Ski Cocktail Classic

The Ninja.Aspen was recently named the drunkest city in Colorado by a website called Roadsnacks.  Fat City lived up to that moniker this past weekend during the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic.

I really like the local people who produce the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic (ASCC).  They are hard working professional event producers.  I've witnessed the impressive growth of ASCC over the past 3 years. Click ASCC for all the info.   It's a fun event.  I do not mean to disprespect their efforts, but I was astonished by the level of inebreation at their event. It seemed unhealthy.

Click 4 Pix:   DRUNK FEST in ASPEN

I get it...people love to drink. They love to party.  Aspen is a party town.  In fact some would say AspenSpin has glorified that image. Well then...now I feel guilty. I don't drink anymore.  It's been about 15 months since any alcohol has passed my lips.  I never drank much to begin with...but now I've completely cut out booze. No beer, no wine, nothing.   

I've been in Aspen a while.  I've seen plenty of fresh-faced young adults, the freshman class,  come to Aspen and drink their heads off...and eventualy drink themselves right out of town.  Some people can't handle it. I know plenty of guys...my age... who drank themselves out of their career...or their marriage.  I know a few people in town who drink heavily almost every night.  Some are still ripping skiers...even after a massive bender...but they are rarely on the first gondola.  Their faces often as red as beets under their goggles.  I lived on the Aspen Mall for 5 years and saw the aftermath of many a "big night".  My beloved dog Carmelo used to sniff out piles of vomit in the snow almost every morning.  Broken bottles and glasses, cigarettes butts, gloves, pieces of clothing, underwear, i-phones, car keys...you name it we've found it on the Mall after a huge night.

Call me skeptical...but skiing while drunk is not a good situation.  From what I recall, alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on your balance, your reflexes and your reaction time.  All three are critical when skiing.   On Saturday...Hendrick's was passing out free gin drinks at the top of Aspen Mountain. Patron Tequila was passing out free shots at Buckhorn Cabin and the ubiqutious Oasis, a mobile on-mountain champagne bar was open for business (not free). Beer and wine and hard liquor are offered for purchase at the on-mountain restaurants.  

Yeah...it was fun. ASCC.It was a sunny bluebird Colorado day.  The Ajax Tavern at the base was going off. It was not part of the ASCC.   100's of white people with very little rhythm dancing in ski boots to black music that came out 20 years ago.  O.P.P.--- yeah you know me.  Spraying bottles of bubbly is now de rigueur in Aspen.  Everyone does it.  It used to be just for when you won the World Series. The ASCC set up tents on either side of Ajax Tavern with about 30 big-time liquor brands offering samples and some sweet swag.   If was a fun scene...no dobut.  Super-star bartenders (a.k.a. life-style ambassadors) from across the country were pouring craft cocktails.   Craft distilleries were sharing their award winning products via unlimited tastings. I got word that in the private tasting room at the Little Nell, a $5000 bottle of scotch was downed by the always thirsty VIP guests.

Yeah...it was fun. Everybody had fun. There were a lot of extremely drunk people cruising Aspen this weekend.  Both on-mountain and off.  They were not just buzzed, bro... these folks were wasted.  Over served?  Maybe so. I can only hope and pray that none of them were driving.  Sunday brought out the official ASCC pub crawl.  From 2pm to 6pm, 14 stops in the Aspen core.  Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Vodka, Gin, Tequilla, Brandy...all your best friends were invited.  After 3 days of boozing...several pub crawlers were literally drooling and stumbling their way through the streets of Aspen to the next cocktail venue.

My conclusion:  Everyone loves to have fun.  ASCC is fun.  It's good for some of the local businesses. The big liquor brands need to spend their marketing dollars some where, it might as well be in Aspen.  But there is nothing glorious about over-drinking.  The "cocktail life-style" is not that cool, despite it's glorification by Ski Co. and The Aspen Times. Next year I'll be ready with a man-bun and a waxed mustache.  How do the ASCC guests feel after 3 days of heavy imbibing?  Not good...I assume.  Do they make it to work on Monday?  Aspen Mountain was like a ghost town on Monday morning despite 5 inches of fresh Pow Pow. Personally I do not enjoy watching people drink so much that they can't function. Especially in a town known to have a wee bit of a substance abuse problem.   One local...wet his khakis, right in front of me... because he was too drunk to get to the men's bathroom.  His face revealed a devilish grin as he tied his hoodie around his waste to hide the wet spot and he laughed as he sloshed off for another hand-crafted cocktail.  

So what's my point?  Don't ski drunk. Another suggestion, don't day drink and night drink three days in a row.   Also, if your partying takes you to a level where you cannot control your body and it's functions...take a break.  Have a water.

Hey...it's Aspen.  People are going to party...and in many cases over-party. We're used to it.  

Click 4 Pix:   DRUNK FEST in ASPEN

Free gin drinks at the top of Aspen Mountain.Drink gangstas.Stoli Super HerosA good time for all at ASCC.