1. Listen in to one of Aspen Words’ virtual sessions. Normally, the Aspen Summer Words Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival helps launch the season. Dozens of writers arrive to hone their craft under the tutelage of well-known authors and panels on literary issues and publishing topics are open to the public. This year … well, we all know why everything is going online. One bonus: all of the public panels are free to watch via Zoom (though donations will be happily accepted). Presenters included best-selling essayist and “Dear Sugars” podcaster Steve Almond, critically acclaimed novelist Christopher Castellani, author and therapist Claire Bidwell Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and memoirist Gregory Pardlo, and former poet laureate of Philadelphia Yolanda Wisher, along with literary agents and editors. Moderators for the discussions include Petra Mayer, an editor at NPR Books, and Jenna Blum, a novelist and cofounder of A Mighty Blaze. Tune in on Thursday, June 11, for People, Places, POV; Tuesday, June 16, for Can I Write About This?; Wednesday, June 17, for The Business of Being a Writer; Thursday, June 18, for Writing About Real People; and Monday, June 22, for The Writer’s Journey: Advice and Inspiration from Summer Words Alumni. Each session runs from 5:30–6:30 p.m. Register here.
2. Watch Thunder River Theatre Company’s production of Pink Unicorn. Funny and heartwarming, the one-woman play features a Christian widow in Texas whose life is turned upside down when her teenaged daughter comes out as “genderqueer.” Actress Missy Moore won a Colorado Theater Guild Henry Award for her performance in the show in Denver last year. Now, Moore will reprise the role at TRTC’s Carbondale theater (but with no audience); it will be broadcast for ticketed viewers on a private YouTube channel and will be viewable anytime from June 12 (starting at 7:30 p.m.) through June 27. Talkbacks on Zoom with Moore, director Susan Lyles, playwright Elise Forier Edie, and TRTC Executive Artistic Director Corey Simpson will take place on June 12 and 13 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10–$20.
3. Hike Marion Gulch with Wilderness Workshop. This summer WW introduces Trail Mixes, a pandemic-friendly alternative to the group hikes into areas that the nonprofit is working to protect. The two-hike series launches Saturday, June 13, with a foray up the Marion Gulch trail outside of Carbondale to the Thompson Divide. (The second hike travels up the Braderich Creek Trail near Redstone on June 27). The twist: you start when you want and go at your own pace; WW’s hike series coordinator, Brandon Jones, will hang out along the trail from 10 a.m.–3 p.m., sharing info about the surrounding landscape and the organization’s conservation efforts.
4. Take in Barbara Conviser’s show at the Art Base. Wondering Around, which opened June 5, showcases a series of evocative charcoal and pastel landscape drawings on heavyweight paper. Conviser has lived and worked in Aspen since the 1970s. View the pieces online through July 23, as well as a conversation between the artist and Art Base curator Lissa Ballinger.
5. Support English in Action at its virtual benefit. In place of its typical summer fundraiser at the Hotel Jerome, the Basalt-based nonprofit, which pairs volunteer tutors with immigrant community members who want to learn or improve their English, hosts this online event, June 18, 6–7 p.m. The featured speaker is Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum and host of the Only in America podcast. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a regular EIA supporter, will also appear. Tickets start at $100.