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Vaudeville Revue brings humor to ‘Covid themes’

If it’s humor you’re seeking to help brighten the dark days of coronavirus isolation, the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue has just what you’re looking for. John Goss and his talented cast of performers are back with a new Summer Show starting this Friday and Saturday that promises “hilarious covid themes” to lighten your mood.

“There’s definitely a theme to this one and that’s why we’re calling it the ‘Covid Revue,’” Goss said. “We’re bringing back a couple of classic numbers but basically it’s just our classic Vaudeville Revue format where we’ve got everything from songs and skits and bits, dances and raps, and you never know what’s coming next.”

The theater was halfway through its run of the big Broadway production “Into the Woods” when the governor’s order shut night clubs and restaurants down in March. But Goss decided to retain the three-dimensional, wall-to-wall, pop-up book style set that was built for “Into the Woods” and use it in the new show.

“We’ve got this beautiful forest to do this whole show in front of,” he said. “There’s a song from that show called “Agony” that’s about two princes who argue over who has the worst agony — the loss of the princess or whatever — so we changed the whole thing to the agony of who had the worst Covid case.”

Obviously, people getting sick isn’t a humorous subject, and Goss said he is sensitive to the subject and plans to express that to the audience before each show.

“I’ll say something like, ‘We understand that people are directly connected and have loved ones that are ill, and no way do we want to diminish that, but we just want to lighten up and have fun with this and hopefully everybody will get a good laugh.’

“What we’re doing is touching base on a lot of the ridiculous aspects of it, like being stuck in your house, topics like Zoom, and the dog’s looking at you like, ‘why are you still here.’”

Goss said that another reason he is leaving the “Into the Woods” set intact is the possibility of bringing that production back later this year.

“We only do one of these big production shows a year, mainly because of the cost,” he said. “We had 15 cast members and a five piece orchestra, we took out seats and added an extra stage and did all kinds of things to the theater to make it fit the show … so it was very expensive to produce this show, but we were getting really great houses.

“I’m hoping that if by the end of the year we get this thing under control with a vaccine, or get people comfortable with being able to test and know that they’re healthy, that we can reset it and finish out the run,” he said.

Like so many businesses that were shut down for weeks this year, the Vaudeville Revue has taken a big hit to its only source of revenue. So on July 9, the theater will produce a live-streamed fundraiser show that people can watch for free from the comfort of their homes.

The show will have a live, invited audience in the theater consisting of the Vaudeville’s family, friends and biggest fans, (because the theater is limited to 50 people).

“I’m hoping that by live streaming it and spreading the word to enough people, that people might come and see the show (on Friday or Saturday), or a show in the future, or they might be inclined to donate, “ Goss said.

The event will start at 7 p.m. Thursday on the theater’s website, gvrshow.com, on the fundraiser page. Click on the link that takes you to the live-streaming show.

jbear@postindependent.com

July First Friday to feature restaurants, music, artwork

While it won’t be a full-blown, Main Street crawl-style First Friday celebration this month, the town of Carbondale’s downtown restaurants will be open for business, Steve’s Guitars will present a socially-distanced version of the Mt. Sopris Music Fest and Carbondale Arts will open its R2 Gallery to a new exhibition.

Carbondale is not technically advertising a First Friday like the ones they’ve produced in pre-coronavirus times, said Carbondale Arts Director Amy Kimberly.

“We won’t be closing the streets down like people are used to,” she said. “But we have amazing restaurants, the R2 Gallery will be open with a new show, and there will be some live music.

“People will be able to find their own adventure.”

Carbondale’s LET THEM ROAR will headline the 20th annual Mt. Sopris Music Fest, which will be played in the fenced, grassy lot on the northwest corner of Sixth and Main Streets.

“They’re going to let us set up some music within the fenced area, so it’s basically just for people walking down the sidewalk on First Friday,” said Steve Standiford of Steve’s Guitars. “They’ll be able to hear some live music outside for the first time in a while.”

The music will begin at 6 p.m. with local singer-songwriter Wes Engstrom, who will be followed by Glenwood country/rock band Feeding Giants before LET THEM ROAR takes the stage.

Grassroots TV will livestream the concert (www.grassrootstv.org) as it has for all the Streamin’ Steve’s broadcasts over the past few weeks.

Now in its 20th year, the Mt. Sopris Music Fest has stayed with its original formula of featuring only local artists, Standiford said.

“It kind of started off as a pendulum swing for Mountain Fair because the original Mountain Fairs had only local acts and then it evolved to only touring acts,” Standiford said. “So I said ‘let’s have a Mountain Music Fair,’ so we called it that for a few years, and we kept true to that goal of just only having local players.”

Carbondale Arts’ R2 Gallery inside the Launchpad will be open until 7 p.m. Friday with it newest show, called: “The Flashcard Project.”

The show’s curator, local artist Wewer Keohane, sent randomly chosen flash cards to 75 artists as a prompt to examine their time of isolation during the pandemic. More than 50 artists accepted the challenge, and their artwork comprises the exhibition.

All the artwork will be up for auction online at www.carbondalearts.com for the duration of the show, which will run through July 31.

On the website, viewers will be able to see an image of the original flash cards that inspired the artists’ works and are invited to enjoy the creativity that evolved from the process.

jbear@postindependent.com

Pam and Dan to perform CD release show at Steve’s Guitars

Local folk/country duo Pam and Dan will perform a CD release show at Steve’s Guitars to support their new album, “Common Ground” beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The show can be live-streamed at www.grassrootstv.org under “Streamin’ Steves.”

Pam and Dan Rosenthal have been staples on the valley’s music scene for the past decade and a half, performing mostly as the ryhthm section for various local bands including Tjaar and the Rolling Stones tribute band Emotional Rescue.

The couple has performed as a duo for the past “4 or 5 years” with Dan on acoustic guitar and Pam on standup bass, Dan Rosenthal said, but Common Ground is their first CD together.

“I had a pile of songs in the folk/country vein and I decided that it was time to put them together and make it an album,” Dan Rosenthal said. “A lot of it’s from personal experiences about my life growing up on the East Coast, and sort of the awakening of coming out West when I was 19 years old, and realizing that you could actually be really happy.”

The performance at Steve’s will be the duo’s first in a while as coronavirus restrictions took them from performing “two or three” gigs a week to none. They have, however, been performing weekly Facebook Live shows from their house that they call “Thursday Night Live!”, and those shows have prepared them for playing to no audience at Steve’s on Friday.

“I guess it’s like being on television where the cameras are on you, but there’s nobody out in the audience,” Rosenthal said. “It’s pretty weird. It’s hard to replace that interaction that you normally get from a crowd.”

The loosening of coronavirus restrictions will, however, put the duo in front of live audiences soon enough, as they have gigs lined up at Beer Works in Carbondale during First Friday on July 3, and at the Pine Creek Cookhouse near Ashcroft on July 4.

Rosenthal said there’s no extensive tour planned like the one they did in the winter of 2018-19 when the two, who are avid skiers, took their Ikon passes on a 12,000-mile, 32 gig tour of ski resorts from the East Coast to the West.

“Everything is up in the air (because of coronavirus)” he said. “What we’d like to do is just do little bits like last year we did a Utah trip. I think we’re going to keep to shorter distances.”

jbear@postindependent.com

Glenwood Vaudeville reopening July 3

The Glenwood Vaudeville Revue is reopening July 3 with a summer show featuring “hilarious COVID themes.”

In an announcement sent via email Friday, the Vaudeville Revue said the venue plans for social distancing and other safety measures undertaken by both patrons and staff. Guests will be required to wear face coverings unless they are eating or drinking.

“Let’s face it, we have lots of great material to play with and our Vaudeville cast will knock this show out of the park with COVID related parodies, bits and original numbers,” the announcement reads.

People will be able to watch shows either in person or via a livesteam. Doors open at 6 p.m. followed by performances at 7 p.m., according to the announcement.

Because current health orders capped capacity at 25% of normal, the Vaudeville will host a July 9 “Live and Virtual Fundraiser.”

“This show will be our all New Live Summer Show but it will also be live-streamed out to the world for everyone to see free of charge,” the announcement states. “During the performance, we will be connecting with those who join us online and giving shout-outs to those who donate online. We also have several amazing guest artists who will be joining us remotely or via previously recorded performances.”

Reservations are encouraged and can be made by phone at 970-945-9699 or online at www.gvrshow.com.

Farmers Market Radio Series begins Friday

The Rifle Farmer’s Market is bringing live radio broadcasts back with its Farmer’s Market Radio Series beginning Friday, and running seven consecutive Fridays through July 31. The shows will be recorded at Rifle’s Ute Theatre and broadcast on KMTS radio and Facebook beginning at 7 p.m. with a pre-show on KMTS starting at 6 p.m.

The Rifle Farmers Market is partnering with The Ute Theater, KMTS radio, the City of Rifle, Rifle Community TV and the New Ute Theater Society on the venture. The shows will feature seven popular local music acts over the seven Fridays, including ZINZIN, Oran Mor, Stone Kitchen, Dwight and his Guitar, The Colorado Curry’s Band, Joey Ball, and Callin’ Old Souls.

ZINZIN – Friday, June 19

ZINZIN’s sound is eclectic, acoustic, and is influenced primarily by the music of Southwest Louisiana. The band plays Cajun, Creole, zydeco and blues, and the resulting gumbo is “simply irresistible dance music.” Band members have extensive backgrounds in folk, country, jazz, classical and blues.

ZINZIN has been entertaining Colorado’s Western Slope in various incarnations for over a quarter of a century.

Oran Mor – Friday, June 26

Oran Mor plays Scottish and Irish music, as well as current Celtic music and Americana tunes, with a few originals tossed into the mix. Their instrumentation includes recorders, Irish whistles, guitars, bass, hand drums, percussion instruments and vocal harmonies.

Tom and Karen Cochran formed Oran Mor after playing music together in various configurations for over 12 years. They added their son Brendan on percussion and vocals and Jonathan Satz on bass and vocals and now play most often as a quartet.

Stone Kitchen – Friday, July 3

The Stone Kitchen Band plays Americana roots music, which blends traditional styles of bluegrass, blues, and outlaw country with their individual styles of songwriting. The band’s instrumentation includes the fiddle, mandolin, slide guitar, guitar and three part vocal harmonies. They play unique arrangements of popular songs as well as original music.

Dwight and His Guitar – Friday, July 10

Dwight Ferren has enjoyed a long and varied musical career with various bands have opened for many national acts. More recently, Ferren has recorded all his own original songs, playing all the instruments including vocals. Ferren plays original solo instrumental arrangements of many classic tunes from the ’50s through the ’90s. He provides a relaxing musical experience, but can also turn up the volume and play some electric classic rock.

The Colorado Curry’s Band – Friday, July 17

Joey Ball – Friday, July 24

Rifle native Joey Ball and her two children have been performing f folk, country and gospel music in and around their community since 2010.  They describe their music as a “cultural fusion” of bluegrass, indie, folk and gospel. The band combines fiddle, ukulele and guitar to create good time, sing along music for all.

Callin’ Old Souls – Friday, July 31

Callin’ Old Souls plays raw underground country, and sad songs you can dance to.

jbear@postindependent.com

Drive-in and outdoor movie season begins with Rolling Stones film at Crown Mountain Park

The drive-in summer starts this weekend in the Roaring Fork Valley.

On Friday night the Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) and Crown Mountain Park on will host the first drive-in movie event at the temporary Crown Mountain exhibition venue, organized and approved as the novel coronavirus pandemic shut down most mass gatherings and entertainment venues.

This weekend’s sold-out midvalley event is the first in the series there and the opening of a summer where outdoor cinema experiences will be a cornerstone of the extremely limited number of in-person collective cultural experience available in the Roaring Fork Valley. A growing slate of presenters are taking movies outdoors in the summer of COVID-19.

In Snowmass Base Village, the second annual “Movies Under the Stars” series opens July 11 and runs through the end of August. Additonally, on Wednesday, the Aspen Skiing Co. won approval for its drive-in venue at the Buttermilk Ski Area parking lot won approval to host movies and performances. An additional outdoor film series, organized by a consortium of nonprofits, is in the works for another venue in Aspen and remains under review by public health officials.

It all starts Friday with “The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon” at Crown Mountain, where TACAW has carved out space for 160 cars parked in eight rows in a checkerboard pattern, viewing the film on a 40-by-22-foot screen.

TACAW will host two more drive-in nights this summer, on July 24 and Aug.1. Films haven’t yet been selected for those.

“Havana Moon” documents the Stones’ historic 2016 concert in Cuba, which drew an audience of 500,000 and – along with President Obama’s visit to Cuba the same week — signaled what seemed to be a new era for U.S.-Cuba relations. The two-hour film captures the band’s roaring 18-song performance of its greatest hits. The Stones themselves have described it as among their best shows in their five-plus decades as rock’n’roll royalty.

The familiar Stones songs and celebratory spirit of the film is what drew the TACAW and Crown Mountain teams to it as the first drive-in movie amid the crisis of the pandemic.

“We wanted to do something feel-good and upbeat and this fit the bill,” said TACAW executive director Ryan Honey.

In the dark and uncertain days of March, soon after stay-home orders went into effect and as the cascade of canceled summer events began, TACAW began exploring the drive-in concept.

“Like every arts organization, we started asking right away, ‘How do we do what we do?’” Honey recalled.

The TACAW team has experience planning non-traditional concerts and events, as it has had no physical venue of its own to host them since spring 2019, when the popular pop-up The Temporary closed. TACAW is breaking ground on its permanent space, in Willits Town Center, next week.

Drive-in movie theaters, a relic of pop culture past, had been drawing crowds at the remaining locations nationally. After researching the equipment they’d need to acquire and safety precautions they’d need to take, the TACAW team asked the Crown Mountain Park leadership about renting the space, then went to Eagle County for approvals.

Local audiences were clearly hungry for it. The “Havana Moon” event sold out almost immediately when tickets went on sale in May.

“We expected it to sell out,” said Honey. ”We didn’t expect it to sell out in an hour. … It was extraordinary and it speaks to people’s desire to come together as a community in a safe way.”

The relatively few drive-in movie theaters remaining in the U.S. have seen a boom in business since COVID-19 shut down public life and enclosed movie theaters in March. The socially distanced presentations allow people to gather without the close contact that health officials warn may spread the virus.

At the Crown Mountain screenings, there will be no concession stands or gathering outside of cars. But the event producers will be giving out a free bag of popcorn to everyone when they arrive and TACAW has teamed with midvalley restaurants to create drive-in takeout specials. New York Pizza, Capital Creek Brewery and Sure Thing Burger in Basalt are takeout partners for the “Havana Moon” event.

TACAW is also launching its “Wednesday Night Live” series next week, bringing buskers and street performers to Basalt for a pedestrian-friendly, social distancing-adapted concert event. They’re teaming with the Town of Basalt and the Basalt Chamber for that series, running for 10 weeks from June 24 to Aug. 19.

These events, inspired by the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic, could potentially become a permanent thread in the fabric of events TACAW is plotting for its future.

“It’s forcing us to be creative,” Honey said. “The drive-in and busker events came out of this crisis, and may be part of our programming even after the pandemic. We don’t know. They could be ongoing.”

atravers@aspentimes.com

LET THEM ROAR presents six-week virtual songwriting workshop

Carbondale-based band LET THEM ROAR is joining forces with Garfield County Libraries to present six-week songwriting series. The workshop-style series begins Thursday, June 18 and continues each Thursday through July 23. All the sessions will run from 6-7:30 p.m. and are hosted virtually via Zoom.

The workshops will “explore musical concepts, songwriting tools and immersive activities designed to build confidence as a songwriter and as a performer,” according to a statement from the band.

Participants are encouraged to attend all six sessions (although it’s not required) as they follow the natural progression of growing ideas into a song.

The first session on Thursday, June 18 is called “Playing with Words with Olivia Pevec & LTR.” The session will give the prospective songwriter the tools, inspiration, and support to begin writing lyrics. The focus will be on techniques such as freewriting and word-mining, and will be geared toward opening creative lyric flow.

The second session on Thursday, June 25, called “Emotion in Music with Mateo Sandate & LTR,” will be about exploring creative ways the songwriter may express themselves when music is used as a language. Sandate and the band will talk about the three basic ways feelings can be expressed to create motion in music.

The third session, on Thursday, July 2, called “Harmony Workshop with Sophia Clark & LTR” will cover the basics of vocal harmony. In it, Clark and the band will cover some basic tools and theory for finding harmonies, and then practice learning harmonies together.

The fourth session on Thursday, July 9, called “Song Production with Ashton Taufer & LTR” will explore techniques that a songwriter can use to guide a song from its beginnings to creating a recording that can be shared.

In the Thursday, July 16 “Master Class,” participants will prepare for the final week’s virtual showcase by sharing their original songs with LET THEM ROAR, receiving feedback, and exploring the possibilities of crafting the song further.

The “Virtual Songwriter Showcase” will be the final session on Thursday, July 23. It will be an opportunity for workshop participants to share their stories through song. There will be a question and answer session so that each performer may share their perspective on composing their song and what they learned from the series. Performance of the song is encouraged, but it is not required.

jbear@postindependent.com

Jazz Aspen to live-stream virtual June Experience concerts

Jazz Aspen Snowmass will host free nightly live-streamed events June 26 to 28 in lieu of its JAS June Experience, which was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lineup includes a capella group Take 6, Colorado funk band The Motet, jazz pianist Monty Alexander, piano virtuoso Emmet Cohen, drummer and vocalist Sammy Miller, JAS Academy alum Ulysses Owens Jr., Tel Aviv-born clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen with Trio Brasileiro and percussionist Badi Assad.

Broadcasts will start nightly at 7 p.m. and will include artist interviews and performances. All of the participating artists had been slated to perform at the festival before cancelation and have committed to perform in-person next year.

“It’s a fun way for listeners and viewers to get to know them each so much better,” Jazz Aspen president and CEO Jim Horowitz said of the interviews.

“In addition to their stellar musicianship, they are all natural story-tellers who have lived colorful lives and have so much to share,” Jazz Aspen president and CEO Jim Horowitz said of the interviews. “The icing on the cake is all the great performance footage. Every artist’s genre of music is so different and so brilliant, one can imagine the joy of hearing all of them in such close, walkable proximity at multiple venues all in downtown Aspen in June 2021. Our 30th anniversary season next summer will be worth the wait!”

The virtual festival also is expected to showcase local students who have been in JAS instruction through the stay-at-home and safer-at-home periods.

To watch the broadcasts people need to pre-register at jazzaspensnowmass.org. Viewing is free, while a suggested donation of $10 to JAS mission-based programming is encouraged. JAS will send a link on the day of each performance to all those registered.

Chef Martin Oswald, of Pyramid Bistro, also is preparing a special takeout menu for participants which will include some of his top dishes from past Jazz Aspen events.

“We hope that our loyal donors and friends will join us in supporting Pyramid Bistro and Chef Oswald as they reopen to guests this summer,” Horowitz said.

More information on menus and ways to purchase will be released soon.

Thunder River presents final play of season virtually

Thunder River Theatre Company’s final production of its 2019-20 theater season is a timely story about a mother in a conservative Texas town struggling with her teenage daughter’s sudden announcement that she is genderqueer.

“The Pink Unicorn,” a one-person play written by Elise Forier Edie, will be filmed without an audience in the Carbondale company’s theater, and then streamed online starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12.

Carbondale native Missy Moore plays the mother — working-class widow, Trisha — in a reprise of the role that won her the Henry Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for Denver’s And Toto Too production of “The Pink Unicorn.”

“There really is a timeliness to this production because the piece is such a beautiful and funny and poetic way really speaks to how important it is that we all embrace each other for our shared humanity,” said TRTC Executive Director Corey Simpson. “We really see a mother struggle with loving her child for who her child is rather than what she envisions what she wants her child to be.

“It’s the perfect piece for anyone who has ever felt different. And it’s also the perfect piece for any of us who have struggled to love and appreciate people who are different from ourselves.”

The theater company had originally planned to close the season with the eight-actor play “Into the Breeches,” but soon after coronavirus restrictions were put in place, TRTC decided it would need to find some sort of alternative.

“Like many theaters in the country, I started looking at one and two actor productions, as that would allow us to do something that was safe and socially-distanced,” Simpson said.

A conversation with theater veterans Wendy and Bob Moore led Simpson to call their daughter, Missy, who told him she’d “love to do that production,” as all her other jobs in Los Angeles, where she lives, had been canceled.

Missy Moore recommended that Simpson contact director Susan Lyles — the founder of And Toto Too — to direct the TRTC production.

“We got Susan into a virtual meeting and started talking about ideas and soon enough we had decided that Susan would be able to virtually direct the piece from home in Denver with Missy doing rehearsals at a dance studio in LA,” Simpson said. “It became a completely virtual rehearsal process.”

The logistics of virtually performing a theater production moved TRTC away from their original plan of live-streaming the play to instead creating a high-definition recording of it.

“We really have high standards for the quality of what we want to produce for people who are paying to see theater,” Simpson said. “It’s still a live performance in our theater that we’re recording, but we want to be certain of the quality of the piece.”

Some of the changes TRTC has made for “The Pink Unicorn” include filming it as a proscenium production, meaning the audience is only on one side, as opposed to past TRTC plays that were three-quarters thrust productions where the audience is on three sides or in-the-round productions where the audience is on all four sides.

Another change is in how the stage is lit, with TRTC production designer Sean Jeffries using only about 20% of the light levels he would normally use.

“We’re trying to present an experience that is live theater on camera as opposed to creating something that feels like film,” Simpson said. “With film, you’re constantly shifting between your shots and your cameras, you’re doing close-ups and you’re pulling back. Here it’s much more similar to a theater-going experience where there’s not a lot of shifting happening.

“We have tried to stay true to the theater experience with this, even though it’s an on-camera experience.”

Tickets can be purchased at thunderrivertheatre.com, click on “tickets.” You will then be sent a password-protected link on which to watch the show.

jbear@postindependent.com

Carbondale’s First Friday goes virtual again for June

Carbondale’s First Friday celebration will once again be of the “virtual” variety this month, the third such offering of the monthly celebration since the start of Covid-19 social distancing.

Thunder River Theatre Company will stream the festivities on its “Thundersteam,” (https://thunderrivertheatre.com/) starting at 7 p.m. Friday.

The collaboration between Carbondale Arts and Thunder River Theatre Company on the First Friday broadcasts began out of necessity, but Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly said it was something the two entities had always talked about doing.

“We’ve been looking for something to collaborate on for a long time and this spontaneously happened and it’s great because their platform is a really fun platform to work with,” Kimberly said. “We’re lucky to have TRTC production manager Sean Jeffries who does all the technical work.”

Friday’s broadcast will begin with an introduction from Kimberly and TRTC’s Executive Artistic Director Corey Simpson.

Artists Andrew Roberts-Gray and Reina Katzenberger will then be featured in short segment from Studio For Arts + Works in Carbondale. The pair were chosen in April from among fifteen entries after a Call for Submissions by Carbondale Arts and the Kroger Co. to create a 16×5 foot mural that will grace the entryway to Carbondale’s new City Market.

After that, the stream will take a tour of the FirstBank art exhibit, which is currently featuring the artwork of Andrew Taylor and Andrew Roberts-Gray.

David Friedheim and Trisha Kyner, who were the People’s Choice award winners for their public artwork in Carbondale, will also be featured.

“This year, because of Covid-19, we are keeping the current sculptures up (in Carbondale) for another year, so it seemed like a good opportunity to delve a little deeper into some of the creators of the sculpture,” Kimberly said.

Segments featuring Brad Reed Nelson of Board by Design — a furniture design and build company in Carbondale — and Carbondale Clay Center will precede an introduction into Streamin’ Steves, which this week will feature The Milemarkers and opening act Natalie Spears.

The Launchpad relaunches

Also this Friday, Carbondale Arts will reopen the R2 Gallery inside the Launchpad, which has been closed due to Covid since mid-March.

The Launchpad will open with social distancing measures in place for up to 8 visitors at a time from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and will extend its Friday evening hours until 7 p.m. starting June 12.

Current artists exhibiting their work in the gallery include Carbondale ceramic artist, Matthew Eames with his show “Forever Until Tomorrow” and Boulder artist Alissa Davies showing “Angel Places.”

A virtual 360 degree tour of the exhibit can be found at CarbonaleArts.com.

jbear@postindependent.com