A lot of visitors to Aspen are lured by the snowcapped mountains, ripe for skiing, that surround the town. Others flock to the hills to gaze upon the city's namesake trees as they change from green to brilliant gold in a celebration of autumn's arrival. And once a year, obsessed humor fans descend on the place for a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of jokes.
Comedy revelers, rejoice! It's that time of year again.
Beginning today and continuing through February 13, the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival will shower Aspen with a smorgasbord of talented performers poised to make you laugh. Budding comics will handle the vulgarity at numerous standup nights, while more seasoned artists will discuss their craft during workshops, seminars and other special events. Highlights of the 2005 festival include a reunion of the cast of the 1996 mockumentary Waiting for Guffman, who will relive the making of the film, as well as appearances by cast members of the critically lauded television hit Arrested Development. Also in the lineup is author and editor Dave Eggers, who will moderate a panel of graphic novelists and artists in a discussion titled "The Rise of the Graphic Novel." And finally, the kings of stoner humor, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, will appear on stage together for the first time in twenty years.
Comedy buffs can also look forward to tributes to Jim Carrey, Diane Keaton and Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. And if that's not enough, you can catch comics like Patton Oswalt, Dane Cook, Colin Quinn and Demetri Martin performing at the top of their game.
Ticket packages, which range in price from $95 to $600, are available at 1-800-778-4633 or www.hbocomedyfestival.com. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Focus on the Family
Diversity takes center stage at the Dairy Center.
Fifty years ago, the typical picture of a family included a mother, a father and two kids in front of a white picket fence. These days it's more like two fathers and a kid in their studio apartment. The social norm for families has changed, and with that in mind, the non-profit Art as Action, whose mission is to "use the power of collaborative art to create social change," presents Family: re-eVALUated, an evening of music, dance and spoken word exploring various definitions of the familial unit.
The production comprises seventeen smaller works, including a suite of vignettes on the subject of marriage. Art as Action founder Sarah Leversee notes that while most of the pieces are very straightforward, "some are pretty abstract." The performers range from filmmakers to musicians and represent a wide range of backgrounds. Such diversity, says Leversee, ensures that the program "reaches out to all kinds of people."
Family begins at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Tickets, $10 to $20, can be purchased at www.artasaction.org or at the door. -- Corey Helland