Community Table: Holiday Issue 2014

The mixed bag of the community table was once an Aspen hallmark. Here’s our fantasy guest list to restart the trend.

By Michael Miracle November 1, 2014 Published in the Holiday 2014 issue of Aspen Sojourner


1114 community table bria skonberg fvinar

As orchestra observers may have noted, and as research studies have proved, brass instruments attract more male players than female. If women trumpeters are already a minority, Bria Skonberg is surely close to one-of-a-kind. The jazz press has lauded the singer and charismatic bandleader with various up-and-comer awards; Aspenites will get a chance to see Skonberg interpret jazz standards and reimagine classic rock songs when she plays the JAS Café Downstairs at the Nell (Jan. 16–17).  



1114 community table joe disalvo digsus

Pitkin County sheriff Joe DiSalvo still has a ways to go before he catches his predecessor Bob Braudis’s run of twenty-four consecutive years holding the office, but the fact that he ran for reelection unopposed in November bodes well. Though DiSalvo would be the first to admit he’ll never rise to Braudis’s mythic status, he has stayed true to a law-enforcement philosophy that Braudis inherited from his own former boss, Dick Kienast: if your citizens feel safe, you’re doing a good job. And above all, be kind. 




1114 community table sarah helsley bfeedf

Comfort food, by definition, must be tasty. At HOPS Culture, executive chef Sarah Helsley manages to make it interesting, too. As any comfort menu should, Helsley’s features mac ’n’ cheese, but her five types include a crispy leek variety and, flirting with sacrilege, a miso mac that’s both vegan and gluten-free. (Don’t worry—it’s also delicious.) Helsley’s ability to elevate the ordinary comes honestly: she studied at the Culinary Institute of America and did time at the Little Nell.   





1114 community table charles cunniffe zxdg6e

His thirty-plus-year tenure as a successful Aspen architect suggests that Charles Cunniffe has the professional side of life here dialed. Lucky for his employees, he still appreciates town’s playtime, too. His firm landed the no. 63 spot on Outside magazine’s “Best Places to Work 2014” list thanks to Cunniffe’s belief in trading flex time for powder days, finding random excuses to drink beer, and doing everything possible to accommodate team members with families. 




1114 community table natasha trethewey ir0s83

Aspen is on a free verse roll. Just one season after Billy Collins, the eleventh U.S. poet laureate, appeared as part of the Aspen Writers’ Foundation’s 2014 Summer Words, AWF brings Natasha Trethewey (Jan. 6, Paepcke Auditorium), the nineteenth U.S. laureate and a 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner. Trethewey’s work explores many ideas, but most often race: she is the daughter of a white father and black mother who had to leave her home state of Mississippi to marry legally in 1965. 



1114 community table andrew sandler gf8w71

As Aspen nightlife impresarios go, Andrew Sandler is developing a reputation as a ringer. After becoming a co-owner of Bootsy Bellows last spring, Sandler helped make an L.A. club experience appropriate for Aspen. For his next act, he opens Whiskey Rush, a country music bar, in the subterranean space that housed the Regal. A downhome décor will set the mood, but it’s swapping Skrillex for Little Big Town that will most fundamentally alter Aspen’s nighttime mix.

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