| PostIndependent.com

Downtown Aspen’s jazz center ready to rock it

When Jim Horowitz got the go-ahead earlier this month from Aspen’s elected officials to create a jazz performance center in the heart of downtown, he looked over his shoulder in City Council chambers wondering what just happened.

“I thought, ‘Did a mosquito just bite me?’” the president and CEO of Jazz Aspen Snowmass said this week. “It happened so quickly … it was one of the funnier moments.”

In a town where land-use approvals are hard to come by without a lot of controversy and public opinion, Horowitz and developer Mark Hunt’s plans sailed through the city approval process.

Under the purview of the city’s all-citizen, seven-member historic preservation commission, which gave unanimous approval in August, the project was subject to “call up” by City Council if it chose to question certain elements of the plan.

But council members Sept. 9 chose not to do that, effectively granting JAS and Hunt a clear path to develop a performing arts center next to and above the historic Red Onion on the Cooper Avenue Mall.

“I tried to have no expectations but was prepared” for questioning from the council and the public at the Sept. 9 meeting, Horowitz said. “You think of what could have happened because there is always uncertainty when you develop in the downtown core.”

The approval came within a year of JAS announcing that it was under contract to purchase the space, located at 416, 420 and 422 E. Cooper Ave. from Hunt for $15 million.

As part of the contract, Hunt will build out the spaces to suit JAS’ needs. The deal closes when the space is complete.

Development next to the Red Onion could have looked much different. Hunt bought the property with the rights to build second and third stories to accommodate a free-market penthouse at a maximum height of 38 feet.

That approval came in before the city banned free-market residential in the core and limited building heights to 28 feet.

With those development rights in hand, Hunt was in a position to make tens of millions of dollars.

But he had a different vision: a live music venue, rehearsal space and educational programming, as well as a gathering area for community organizations and nonprofits.

Hunt has said in the past his “ultimate goal is to connect the town with the people who live here.”

Horowitz said finding a permanent home for JAS has been part of the strategic plan for years but only until recently has the nonprofit organization started to look at downtown properties.

“The Crystal Palace was the original object for our dream,” he said, adding that then the recession hit in 2008 and the building subsequently was sold to Hunt, who is now developing it into a boutique hotel. “We thought there would never be anything like this again.”

In the past couple of years, Horowitz had been shopping different properties in the commercial core but hadn’t found the ideal location.

“We had luck in Mark Hunt calling us,” Horowitz said. “We fell into the right property.”

Hunt, who also owns the Bidwell Building at 434 E. Cooper Ave., which is located next to the property that will serve as the JAS Center’s entrance and photo gallery, envisions connecting the two to support the performance space’s food service.

Home furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware, the future anchor tenant for the redeveloped Bidwell Building, introduced restaurants to its operations four years ago.

Horowitz said the future eatery in Aspen’s Restoration Hardware will offer the food and catering for the JAS Center menu.

This past spring, Horowitz and Hunt’s team worked on the floor plan of the new JAS Center with the Bidwell building in mind.

There will be a shared corridor between 434 and 422 E. Cooper, the latter of which is a former vintage poster shop and will be occupied this winter by Gwyneth Paltrow’s pop-up store, goop.

That building will serve as the entrance to the JAS Center, which will lead to a second-floor lobby and photo gallery.

That space will connect to the second floor of the Red Onion, which will have a lounge and bar that has sightlines to the stage in the adjoining building.

The JAS Center’s main venue area and stage will be in the building located 416 E. Cooper Ave., which currently houses a retail store on the mall level and office on the second floor.

The center will utilize the building’s second floor outdoor terrace that will be open so that people on the mall can enjoy the sounds from above.

Hunt will deliver a shell in the building and it will be up to JAS to finish the interior.

Also in the 9,000-square-foot space is a green room, wine locker, catering kitchen and hangout areas.

The plan is to break ground in April and be open in June 2021.

Horowitz said there are many exciting aspects of the new JAS Center, not the least of which is the photo gallery on the second floor of the entrance.

With more than 45,000 photographs in the JAS archive, plus more from other photographers over the nonprofit’s 29 years, Horowitz said there will be rotating exhibitions focusing on different genres and artists who have performed here, whether it’s blues, funk or rock ’n’ roll, to name a few.

And by digitizing video from some of the more recent stage productions with high-tech light shows, there will be a video wall displaying different concerts.

“It’s an interactive opportunity just like you’d go to a museum and put on headphones,” Horowitz said. “When this gets legs we can really get this off the ground.”

csackariason@aspentimes.com

Live music on tap this weekend in valley

Nothing beats warm autumn afternoons and cool evenings in the Roaring Fork Valley, unless you can enjoy them while also listening to some great live music. If that is what you’re looking for, you’ll find several good options this weekend.

On Friday evening, you can take a short drive upvalley to Market Street in Willits Town Center to catch the Drunken Poets led by former Jes Grew frontman Randolph Turner.

The Drunken Poets always put on a great show with their mix of classic rock hits, deep cuts and originals that elevate the party atmosphere.

Market Street closes to traffic for the show, so you can bring chairs and have a picnic, or claim a table at one of the nearby restaurants like Capitol Creek Brewery, Wienerstube or Mezzaluna.

On Saturday, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. hosts its third annual Oktoberfest, featuring live polka music from noon to 5 p.m. with Alpine Echo, and country music with A Band Called Alexis from 6–8 p.m.

Alpine Echo consists of Gerhard Rill and Bill Rill who are originally from Bavaria, Germany, John Pataky from Hungary and Joe Pologar from Leadville. They are guaranteed to ramp up the Oktoberfest vibe with Bavarian pub songs and, of course, “Edelweiss” from the “The Sound of Music.”

A Band Called Alexis, which is Julie Manuscalcci on vocals and percussion; David Reynolds on acoustic guitar and vocals; Mark Chenoweth on lead guitar and vocals; Corey Spagnolo on drums; and Billy Conn on bass and vocals, covers a variety of neo and traditional country artists, along with some R&B, blues, soul and gospel.

The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park wraps up its Music on the Mountain summer series Saturday at 6 p.m. with The Missing Link Band, featuring Holly Guerin on lead and harmony vocals, Nick Kuhlmann on drums, Paul Barker on bass, Erik McPherson on guitar and lead vocals, and Bob Stepniewski on percussion and mandolin.

They have gained a reputation as one of the best party bands in western Colorado and play a wide variety of music including classic rock, blues, pop and R&B. Their music appeals to all age groups and tastes.

The gondola ride up to the Adventure Park is free with a donation of a canned food item after 4 p.m., otherwise gondola tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for kids 3-12.

Later Saturday night, the Red Dirt River Band inhabits the Glenwood Springs Brew Garden beginning at 9 p.m.

The band includes members of various other Roaring Fork Valley bands, and each member has an extensive background in a variety of musical genre, including Americana, bluegrass, alt-country, blues and good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. Red Dirt River Band has gained a large following while playing on numerous stages across the Roaring Fork Valley.

On Sunday afternoon, the band Oran Mor will bring its brand of Scottish and Irish music to the Glenwood Springs Brew Garden starting at 2 p.m.

Tom and Karen Cochran founded Oran Mor over 12 years ago. Their repertoire includes traditional music, some dating back to the late 1700s, as well as current Celtic music and Americana tunes, with a few originals sprinkled into their set.

jbear@postindependent.com

Glenwood Ghost Walk looking for cast members

After taking last year off, the Glenwood Springs Historical Society Historic Ghost Walk through Linwood Cemetery is back.

Pitching in to help this year, Chip Winn Wells, co-president of Defiance Community Players, has offered to help find people to play ghost characters in the more than century-old Roaring Fork Valley cemetery.

“I volunteered to help Clara, who is really passionate about bringing back the ghost walk,” Wells said.

Wells is working with Historical Society board member Clara Miller, who is leading the event this year.

The Ghost Walk will be condensed from its usual three-weekend run to two weekends, the last two weekends in October.

Wells said she is not auditioning, but she would like to meet people to talk about the requirements for being a ghost and let them decide if they want to do it.

“It’s a small time commitment, but if people think you can just become a ghost and wear a white sheet, that’s not what this is about. This is about a historical tour of the cemetery,” Wells said.

“What I’m asking is for people who are interested in playing a role. We have four male and four female roles still available. We also need some children,” she said.

Tours are scheduled for 6:30, 7:15 and 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26.

“People have to understand it is a time commitment for the entire evening,” Wells said.

“One of the things Clara really wants is some non-scripted ghost people who kind of walk around the cemetery.”

They are also looking for improv gravediggers.

“A true improver takes whatever is thrown their way, and runs with it,” Wells said.

People interested in being a part of the Ghost Walk can call Wells at 970-379-5940.

Tickets will be $20 for adults; $18 for seniors 65 and older and students ages 5-18 years; and $15 for Glenwood Springs Historical Society members.

Tickets will be available at http://www.glewoodhistory.com starting Oct. 1.

kmills@postindependent.com

Weekend Planner, Sept. 20-22

Fall Festival Fundraiser

5 p.m. Friday — The Glenwood Springs Middle School annual fundraiser is an evening filled with carnival games and family fun, including a cake walk, dodgeball, a sponge toss and many more. Game tickets are $5 per punchcard. There will also be a barbecue for $5 per person.

Glenwood Springs Middle School, 120 Soccerfield Road | $5

LP Herd

7 p.m. Friday — LP Herd is the guitar duo of Larry and Patty Herd, whose sound is defined by Patty’s bluesy, sultry voice and Larry’s jazz/blues inspired guitar style. Their song list includes jazz standards to rock, blues and country.

Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave., Basalt | 970-927-0151 | free

Low End

8:30–11:30 p.m. Friday — Low End plays rock, blues and reggae with a twist.

Rivers Restaurant, 2525 S. Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | Free

Tacos on Plates CCC Annual Fundraiser

5–8 p.m. Saturday — Handmade plates, tacos, silent auction, local libations, dance performances from Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico and music from DJ Luis Yllanes. Plates made by 30 local artists. Tacos made by local chefs, including Slow Groovin, Field 2 Fork, Axkawa (Senor Taco Show) and Gerbs Grub.

Carbondale Clay Center, 135 Main St., Carbondale | 970-963-2529, www.carbondaleclay.org/tacos-on-plates | $65 for one plate and dinner

Bryan Savage Show

7 p.m. Saturday — Recording artist saxophonist/flutist Bryan Savage will be performing on the patio. Jazziz Magazine says, “Bryan Savage blows with an attractive combination of fire and seductive ice!”

Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave., Basalt | 970-927-0151 | free

Carbondale Salon

7:30 p.m. Saturday — Eight artists present comedy, percussion, ballet and bachata, film and theater. Curated by Alya Howe.

The Launchpad, 76 S. Fourth St., Carbondale | 970-309-2582 | $25

Autumn Equinox Celebration at True Nature Healing Arts

11 a.m. Sunday — True Nature Healing Arts’ Autumn Equinox Community Celebration includes a full day of community offerings: 11 a.m. — Honoring Ceremony with Eaden and Deva Shantay in the Peace Garden; 11 a.m. to noon — Children’s Musical Story Time with Ms. Holly; noon to 3 p.m. — family friendly crafts and community mandala installation; 3–4:30 p.m. — Cultivating Calm with Kerrie Schur ($45); 6–7:30 p.m. — Sacred Sound in the Kiva with Deva & Eaden Shantay; 7:30–8 p.m.: community fire ceremony.

True Nature Healing Arts, 100 Third St., Carbondale | Free

David Harding

7 p.m. Sunday — David Blair Harding sings and plays electric and acoustic guitars, banjo and Dobro.

Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave., Basalt | 970-927-0151 | free

Mountain biking future is bright in Rifle

This weekend as part of Rifle’s Western Adventure Weekend, Rifle Area Mountain Bike Organization will host the Roan Cliff Chaos mountain bike race 8 a.m. Saturday on Hubbard Mesa.

This weekend as part of Rifle’s Western Adventure Weekend, Rifle Area Mountain Bike Organization will host the Roan Cliff Chaos mountain bike race 8 a.m. Saturday on Hubbard Mesa.

Organizers said the race goes back several years, with RAMBO taking over a few years ago.

“Three years ago the city approached RAMBO with the idea of having a mountain bike race during Western Adventure Weekend,” RAMBO President Erik Villasenor said.

“We were really excited about doing that.”

Villasenor said locals and the recreation department had run the race before and they approached them and asked if they could use the name.

With the help of race organizer MAD Racing the last two years the Roan Cliff Chaos was revived.

“This is the first year RAMBO is running the race on its own, without a professional event organizer,” Villasenor said. “We are learning as we go.”

Western Adventure Weekend

It’s our fourth year celebrating everything great about outdoor adventures in Rifle. Spend the weekend in downtown Rifle with kid-sized adventures, vendors, live music, and visiting our great local businesses.

Parts of 3rd Street and East Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic for the entire day. Entrance to the block party is free and open to all.

SCHEDULE:

Friday, Noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30 p.m., – John Wayne Film Festival: The Cowboys at the Brenden Rifle

Friday, 6 p.m. – Kick-off Concert: Bucksteinat The Ute Theater

Saturday, 8 a.m. – Roan Cliff Chaos, Hubbard Mesa

Saturday, 10 a.m. – Downtown Block Party starts – Local vendors and Avid4 Adventures (kids rock climbing wall, paddle pool, bike course)

Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m – Live Music (line up TBA)

Saturday, Noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30 p.m., – John Wayne Film Festival: The Searchers at the Brenden Rifle

Saturday, 2:30 p.m.-4.pm – A Band Called Alexis

Saturday, noon-4 p.m. – Beer and wine sales tent

Saturday 6 p.m. – 5Point Film Festival at The Ute Theater

Sunday, Noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30 p.m., – John Wayne Film Festival: Rio Bravo at the Brenden Rifle

Villasenor said this year is going to be a standard cross-country mountain bike race with a fixed course.

“We will provide food, swag and prizes. We’ve had some local sponsors which have been awesome,” RAMBO vice president Alison Birkenfeld said.

“We are really grateful that the city of Rifle have donated money to put the race on.”

Racers will have options: 9.5 mile/one lap for beginners, 19 miles/two laps for intermediates, and a 28.5/3 laps advanced course.

“The course is going to be set out on Hubbard Mesa, those are the local trails we ride right now,” Villasenor said.

“The mesa is an open HOV area, the only one in the state. It’s kind of like our backyard jewel,” he added.

Villasenor said last year they had 32 racers, and are hoping for that and more. “Between 40 and 50 would be really nice,” Villasenor said.

“We are trying to make it on fleek. I want everyone to come out and get a T-shirt, get stickers and have a donut,” Birkenfeld said.

Birkenfeld said people can register online at roancliffchaos2019.itsyourrace.com or at 7 a.m. Saturday before the race begins.

“While the race is happening out there (Hubbard Mesa), we want people to enjoy the festivities that are going on downtown,” Villasenor said.

FUTURE IS NOW

This is also the first year proceeds from the event will go directly to building new trails in the Rifle area.

“The hottest news right now is we are working with Mike Pritchard, executive director of Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, the Economic Development Corporation, the city of Rifle, and the BLM to get a nonmotorized trail system put in at Rifle Arch,” Villasenor said.

The system would incorporate mountain biking and hiking on BLM land north of Rifle.

“Right now Rifle doesn’t have a legit nonmotorized trail system. The plan is in the works, and very close to being finalized,” Villasenor said.

Birkenfeld believes there will be a tag-along syndrome if you bring people to a small town like Rifle and give them something fun to do.

“In my opinion I think it just drives commerce. As soon as you get people out here wanting to camp or bike, they’re going to want and need more than we have right now,” Birkenfeld said.

“It will bring more businesses like coffee, outdoor clothing and bike shops. It opens up opportunities.”

Birkenfeld moved to Rifle 25 years ago, then moved upvalley to Glenwood for several years, and moved back to Rifle because it’s more affordable.

Through a friend she was introduced to the Rifle mountain bike scene.

“The environment lends itself to so many other alternatives. When you look at the landscape and wonder why aren’t we hiking this and why aren’t we biking this in a safer environment,” Birkenfeld said.

She thinks this could become a stop for all the people that pass through on their way to Fruita to ride.

“The cool thing is we are about to become a little vein of the main artery, that goes all the way from the Front Range to Moab,” Birkenfeld said.

“You won’t have to go all the way to Fruita anymore — stop in Rifle and ride.”

Rifle Economic Development Corp. Assistant Director Katie Mackley fully supports of the project as a great economical development.

“We know that a big part of attracting business, attracting people to this area is place-making and community-building, and we know that trails are a way to do that,” Mackley said.

“We love RAMBO, we love the concept of building this world class trail system. We know it’s going to bring not only tourism to the area, but also people are going to identify the area as a great place to start a business.”

Villasenor said they’re hoping to have shovels in the dirt by late spring or early summer, and shooting for phase one to include anywhere from 5 to 10 miles.

Officials don’t have an exact number because it will be mostly be volunteer working with a professional trail builder on the new trails.

“It’s hard to say exactly when, but they have 30 miles laid out that will go in over a course of time,” Villasenor said. “The way we are looking at it is a 10-year project; it’s a huge project. I did not realize the amount of work that goes into building trails until going through this process.”

RAMBO has been working with the city of Rifle and BLM for two years so far on the project.

“It’s a big and exciting project for us right now, not only for RAMBO, but the city in general, because it is kind of lacking in nonmotorized recreation, honestly,” Villasenor said.

“It fits everyone’s goals of some healthy alternatives to recreating, hiking and mountain biking, that’s another reason I’m excited about it, being part of that process to help everybody.”

HOW RAMBO BEGAN

Villasenor said that the organization began in 2012 as a Facebook group created by Aaron Mattix and roughly 10 local riders who had been riding in the area for a while.

“They mostly rode in Rifle, but they kind of rode everywhere in Western Colorado,” Villasenor said.

“Since then it has progressed into a formal group; we’ve organized ourselves with a board and we have partnered with Katie (Mackley) and the Rifle Economic Development Corporation, who are acting as our fiscal agent so we can start taking in money and making it more official,” Villasenor said.

With 500 members on the Facebook group and 50 active members, RAMBO is growing.

“Each month brings something new. It’s an all volunteer group so we kind of just chip away at it,” Villasenor said.

kmills@postindependent.com

#Postsnaps September 15

New picks every Sunday!

Weekend Dish column: The golden goodness of hash browns

Potatoes are a beloved food staple across the world. They come in many different varieties, including julienne, mashed, scalloped, diced, sliced, boiled, steamed, and so many more. I have even devoted previous columns to those beguiling French fries that we all love.

Potatoes are more interesting than most of us realize. They are tuber roots found on the potato plant and are part of the nightshade family. Some nightshades are toxic, but we still eat or smoke them. Tomatoes and tobacco are also in this family.

Potatoes with skin contain potassium, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6. They are mostly carbs but also have fibers and some protein. They are a good source of lutein, which is excellent for eye health.

They thrive in many placed including here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Woody Creek ranchers have raised them for over 100 years. The famous Woody Creek Distillers vodka uses these local potatoes today.

Potatoes can be simple to cook. The most basic recipe calls for boiling, baking or even microwaving them while they are still in their skins. More elaborate methods involve mixing or mashing them while adding additional ingredients.

Hash browns are one such dish and are an American favorite. The name refers to the fried small pieces of potatoes that are golden brown. They can be mixed with onions, peppers, garlic and cooked in shortening, vegetable or olive oil.

Like so many recipes that I profile, the origins of hash browns are slightly unclear. The Idaho Potato Commission, surely a reputable source, provides some vague information about their history. 

Pressing the soaked and pat-dried potatoes into an even layer in the frying pan.
Jordan Callier

Hash browns first appeared on breakfast menus in New York City either in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. They closely resemble Swiss Rösti, which is a potato fritter that dates back to the Middle Ages. Chefs would use the odd ends and scraps from French fries in their hash brown preparation.

The idea of “hashing” leftovers has been around for centuries. Potatoes keep well in a cool or dark place, but they will eventually spoil. Hashing them up, adding some salt and frying them in oil makes a lot of sense.

Hash browns began to rise in popularity in the United States during the 1950s. Coincidentally, they rose to fame as many fast-food chains took off. It makes sense that such burger joints would have extra fries lying around to use.

Processed hash browns also appeared around this time for mass-production. They can be kept frozen for months, and they are incredibly simple to make. They are a popular staple at American diners and fast food joints.

Depending on which part of the country you are in, hash browns are called country fried potatoes or home fries. They can even contain more exotic ingredients like hot peppers, ham or green chile.

Hash Browns

Serves four to six people

Ingredients

6 Russet potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

Directions

  1. Rinse potatoes and dry them. Grate them into a large bowl.
  2. Add water to bowl until potatoes are submerged. Soak for about five minutes.
  3. Microwave potatoes for about six minutes or until water starts to boil.
  4. Gently rinse potatoes until water turns clear. Carefully drain and place on a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Roll up towel and firmly squeeze out water over sink. Continue to ring towel until most of the water and starch have been squeezed out.
  6. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, carefully add potatoes, garlic and any other ingredients, and salt or other seasonings to taste.
  7. Smooth potatoes into an even layer with a spatula. Cook for about 10 minutes until the bottom side turns golden.
  8. Either flip or stir the potatoes to cook the other side. Continue to fry until potatoes are cooked as desired. Serve immediately.

Preparing hash browns can be very simple, but a little extra care makes the difference between crisp and golden versus chewy and soggy textures. There are a few tricks to achieve optimal results. Choosing the right potato makes a difference, too.

The higher the starch content of a potato, the crispier it gets when fried. Russet potatoes are best, but Yukon Golds and White potatoes work, too. Avoid waxy, low-starch potatoes like Red, New or Fingerling varieties.

Excess starch and moisture can also interfere with the final results. Most hash brown recipes suggest rinsing then soaking potatoes in water to remove excess starch. If you rinse them, it can be difficult to contain all of the tiny pieces.

Once you soak and rinse the potatoes, you should also squeeze out extra moisture. Place them in a clean towel and then ring them out over a sink.

Placing the sliced and soaked potatoes in a towel for ringing.
Jordan Callier

If you have extra time and ambition, you can also parboil or cook them in the microwave. Parboiling works best for larger chunks of potatoes, as it helps prepare them so that they will fry more quickly in the pan.

If you do not have the time nor patience for these preps, then it is OK to grate them and fry in oil. Results may vary, but they should still be delicious.

The type of frying oil can also make a difference. Since these are cooked at high heat, make sure to choose an oil with a high smoke point such as canola or extra virgin olive oil, and even clarified butter or vegetable shortening (at lower heats).

Season them with salt and pepper, or add more flavor with onions, garlic, peppers or a splash of hot sauce. The trick to frying them is cooking them thoroughly on one side for at least five minutes or until golden brown. From there, stir or flip them like a pancake or omelet.

Try any or all of these approaches above. Serve these with eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast. I used Morningstar Farms vegetarian bacon with mine. Don’t forget the coffee and orange juice, too, for the quintessential American breakfast.

This a forgiving breakfast to make, and hash browns go well with so many other foods. While potatoes are widespread across the world, hash browns are indeed an American creation. Their unique varieties reflect the fabric of this country.

The golden goodness of hash browns are part of a complete breakfast.

Jordan Callier is an avid foodie and business owner in Glenwood Springs.

Garfield County weekend Planner Sept. 13-15

Second Friday Reception

5 p.m. Friday — Celebrate the fourth anniversary of Cooper Corner Gallery in downtown Glenwood. All 24 artists are featured this month with a big welcome to new artists. In appreciation of local customers’ support, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Cooper Corner Gallery, 513 Eighth St., Glenwood Springs | Free

Glenwood Art Guild Opening Reception

5-8 p.m. Friday — Opening reception featuring works by members of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild. This show is part of the second Friday art walk, and displays the quality, creativity and expertise of each artist. Refreshments will be served. Installation will be on display through Oct. 5.

The Artists Mercantile, 720 Cooper Ave., Glenwood Springs | 970-947-0947, www.artistsmg.com | Free

All Creatures Great and Small Artists Reception for Nicolette Toussaint

6-8 p.m. Friday — The reception will be held during Cooper Corner Gallery’s second Friday celebration. Light refreshments will be served. The exhibit will remain on display through Oct. 7.

CMC ArtShare Gallery at Morgridge Commons, 815 Cooper Ave. 2nd floor, Glenwood Springs | coloradomtn.edu/foundation/events | Free

Chris Bank

7 p.m. Friday — Chris has performed in the Aspen area for 21 years and has also taught band and choir in the Roaring Fork Valley schools the past 15 years, and is the director of school programs for JAS Aspen as well as a current board member.

Heathers Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave, Basalt | 970-927-0151 | Free

Local Stand-up Comics

8:30 p.m. Friday —An All-Star lineup of local funny folks.

Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. Fourth, Carbondale

Louie & the Lizards

9 p.m. to midnight Friday — Louie & the Lizards play resort rock.

Rivers Restaurant, 2525 S. Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | Free

Callin’ Old Souls and Mugsy Fay

9 p.m. Friday — Callin’ Old Souls and Mugsy Fay come together for a spooky, full moon night of live music on Friday the 13th.

Native Son, 813 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | Free

Book Signing: Nighthawk Rising

1 p.m. Saturday — Author Diana Allen Kouris she presents her new book, “Nighthawk Rising: A Biography of Accused Cattle Rustler Queen Ann Bassett of Brown’s Park,” a true story of the American West in the dangerous era of range wars and outlaws

Silt Historical Park, 707 Orchard, Silt | Free

Redstone Castle Oktoberfest

3-7 p.m. Saturday — Tap into your German side at the first annual Redstone Castle Oktoberfest for craft beer, traditional cuisine and live music provided by Alpine Echo.

The Redstone Castle, 58 Redstone Castle Lane, Carbondale | $25

Music on the Mountain: Painters Stage Variety Show

6 p.m. Saturday — The gypsy sound and reggae rhythm is the heartbeat of the local trio Painters Stage. Tonight they will be joined by a variety of entertainers including Jammin Jim Pomey and dancers from the Legacy Dance Company.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs | Free with canned food donation after 4 p.m.; otherwise gondola tickets are $19/adults & $14/kids 3-12

Totally Tubular ’80s Party

8 p.m. Saturday — Come Back to the Future and dress in your best ’80s retro costumes and be ready to dance party USA. Prizes will be given for most bodacious costume and gnarliest dancer.

Glenwood Springs Brew Garden, 115 Sixth St., Glenwood Springs | Free

Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld

8:30 p.m. Saturday — Martha has a spectacular voice and a beautiful spirit that she brings to all her shows. Jon is Portland-based guitar player, producer and longtime musical collaborator.

Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. Fourth, Carbondale

National Sheepdog Finals

8 a.m. Sunday — The 2019 USBCHA National Sheepdog Finals is a first rate herding competition that will showcase land conservation, stewardship and the region’s ranching heritage.

Strang Ranch, 0393 County Road 102, Carbondale | adults: $15/day, kids 8-16/seniors 65+: $5, carload (3 or more): $40; event pass: $60

Ken Burns on making his new ‘Country Music’ documentary series

In Ken Burns’ editing room hangs a neon sign that reads “It’s Complicated.”

The motto has held true across the wide swath of American history the documentarian has covered and certainly does on his latest series for PBS, “Country Music,” which begins airing Sunday night.

The eight-part, 16-hour series details a surprisingly complicated history of the genre with Burns’ signature depth of archival research, rarely seen photos and original interviews.

Burns himself was blown away by revelations big and small, from how some of country’s most iconic songs came into being to the central roles that women and African-Americans played in the story of country music.

“That’s why this isn’t just a K-tel record offer, it’s not the TimeLife country music series — this is a story,” Burns said backstage at Harris Concert Hall last month, before a preview of the film hosted by the Aspen Music Festival and School.

The documentary tracks the history of country from the early 20th century and the days of the Carter Family through the 1990s and the superstardom of Garth Brooks, who defines country music as “three chords and the truth.”

Along the way it traces the music’s role in American culture and counterculture, the evolutions of its sound as well as its place in gender equality and race relations.

Country music has been intertwined with Burns’ work seemingly from the beginning of his career and his 1988 documentary on the painter Thomas Hart Benton, so it’s a surprise it took him until nearly four decades into his filmmaking career to tackle it.

“It couldn’t have happened a moment sooner and I’m happy we didn’t start it a moment later,” Burns said.

A self-proclaimed “child of R&B and rock’n’roll,” Burns was not a country music fan before this undertaking, which spanned eight years of production. Making the film, however, converted him.

“I was completely unprepared,” Burns said. “It shattered every preconception I had.”

The film is arriving into a moment of cultural debate about country and its preconceptions as a regressive artform for and by straight white men. Sunday’s premiere comes on the heels of “Old Town Road” — a country song by the black, gay rapper Lil Nas X — breaking the record as the longest reigning No. 1 charting song in history. The song’s success and its unorthodox approach to the country sound underscore the film’s thesis that country is — and always has been — more complex and inclusive than it might seem.

“Thanks to Lil Nas X for walking onto the stage and preparing our audience for us,” Burns said. “We don’t have to prepare anybody or worry about, ‘Oh, here’s Burns again with his race thing.’”

Every episode of the series touches on issues of race in country music. It includes sections focused on the banjo, which descended from African instruments that were brought to the U.S. by slaves, on how early country was built from a foundation of spirituals and field songs, and on the fascinating evolution of the melody in Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” back to the Carter Family’s “Little Darling, Pal of Mine” to its original source material as a black church hymn.

Kris Kristofferson calls country “the white man’s soul music” in the film, but Burns seems to make an argument against that definition. His film highlights the contributions of African-American artists who have been written out of history, the integration of country music recording sessions as early as the 1920s and it devotes an extended segment to the mid-1960s stardom of Charley Pride.

“Nobody ever believes it, but every time I finish a film it seems to be exactly what the culture wants at that moment,” he said.

Each episode also highlights the centrality of women to the country music form, from Maybelle Carter through the trailblazing proto-feminist songs of Loretta Lynn. Burns said he was personally most moved by the story behind Dolly Parton’s “I will Always Love You,” which she wrote to get out from under the thumb of her manipulative and controlling creative partner Porter Wagoner.

“Women will look at this film and not believe it was editorially done before the #MeToo movement,” Burns said.

Aspenites will take particular interest in the sixth part of the series, which digs into the early days of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The segment focuses on the making of the band’s watershed 1972 triple album, “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” and how it brought together an older and more conservative generation of country music fans with the hippie kids of the day.

The section includes dozens of photos of the band’s historic six-day Nashville recording session, showing a baby-faced Jimmy Ibbotson alongside country-western legends like Maybell Carter, Earl Scruggs and Roy Acuff, and includes interviews with Dirt Band members John McEuen and Jeff Hanna.

“For us, it was like going back to 1928 and making an old record,” John McEuen says in the film. “We wanted to make an old record.”

“Country Music” is built on seemingly comprehensive research, including 101 interviews, 1,000 hours of film and some 100,000 photographs, culled down to the 3,300 featured in the final product.

Twenty of the interview subjects in the film have since died, including some of the final on-camera interviews with Merle Haggard, Ralph Stanley, and the series standout Hazel Smith — a folksy and blunt-spoken woman who served as an office manager to Willie Nelson and The Outlaws during their mid-1970s heyday.

Burns’ research for “Country Music” overlapped with his 2017 documentary on the Vietnam War, and with forthcoming films on Ernest Hemingway and Muhammad Ali.

“They talk to each other all the time,” he said of his always-full slate of projects.

Burns has four production teams that work on films simultaneously, so he is constantly hopping between seemingly disparate topics for films in various stages of development. For example, Burns was leaving the editing room of “The Vietnam War” to shoot interviews for “Country Music,” and he’s now early in editing the Hemingway film and finalizing his voiceover scripts for the Ali project while he’s out promoting “Country Music,” all while he’s early stages of films on Benjamin Franklin and the Revolutionary War.

“It’s a tapestry,” he said. “It’s all woven together.”

Every project informs the other and deepens his understanding of American culture. He’s made 15 films that cover the U.S. in the 1920s, he noted, and as he put it, “It’s always a different ’20s. The flappers show up, the gangsters show up, but the other stuff underneath — whether it’s ‘Jazz’ or ‘Baseball’ or ‘Country Music’ or ‘The Roosevelts’ — it’s a different ’20s. It’s wonderful. I didn’t think you could wring that much information out of something.”

atravers@aspentimes.com

PHOTOS: Rally the Valley 2019

Saturday’s annual Rally the Valley event in Glenwood brought together roughly 600-700 people to rally behind cancer patients past and present. The yearly fundraising event typically raises roughly $100,000 toward the $300,000 annual fundraising goal to in support of the integrated therapy services — massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, yoga classes, etc. — a service provided for cancer patients and their caregivers at the Calaway Young Cancer Center at no extra cost. This year’s event was different in that the participants had the choice of a walk or a float down the Colorado River.

Groups of people walk together around Two Rivers Park for the annual Rally the Valley on Saturday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Rally the Valley walkers cheer on participating rafters as they make their way to Two Rivers Park during Saturday’s annual event. This was the first year participants could pick between a walk or a float done the river.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Kids participate in the annual Rally the Valley walk around Two Rivers park on Saturday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
A woman cheers on walkers during the annual Rally the Valley event that took place on Saturday at Two Rivers Park.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Local artist Noemi Kosmowski blows bubbles and spreads cheer during the annual Rally the Valley event at Two Rivers Park on Saturday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Rally the Valley rafters make their way back to Two Rivers Park after floating the Colorado River on Saturday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
A group of women stand together for the start of the Rally the Valley walk that took place at Two Rivers Park on Saturday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent