Community Table: Midsummer/Fall 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 July 1, 2014 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2014 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Image: Matty Newton

Don’t be surprised if Carrie Underwood fans call out for “A Different Drum” when the multiple-Grammy-winner plays the JAS Labor Day Experience (Aug. 31). Why the Linda Ronstadt tune? Because Underwood pretty much stole the show when she performed it at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, blowing the socks off both the crowd and her fellow singers, who included Bonnie Raitt and a particularly impressed Stevie Nicks. 




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Image: Matty Newton

A language degree taught Frank McDonald French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Several months in Portugal in 1999 taught him that the country offered impressive quality and value in wine. The Irishman and now-twenty-year Aspenite soon began importing, and he launched his own label, FVINE, in 2013. His Vinho Verde and Reserva Red, the latter a juicy blend of central Portugal’s best indigenous red grapes, are at the Grog Shop and Local Spirits. 




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Image: Matty Newton

Name check: Barbara Menendez. Any idea who she is? We didn’t think so. Now try this: Babs from the Big Wrap. Yeah, her. For the past nineteen years no one in Aspen has taken care of more locals and visitors with eight bucks in their pocket looking for a filling lunch. Babs serves tacos, salads, and wraps to roughly 500 people per day. And in case you’re second guessing with ten people behind you in line, yes, you do want guac with that.  



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Image: Matty Newton

Public radio listeners know Nick Forster’s voice well. For more than two decades, Forster and his wife, Helen, have hosted eTown, a program broadcast nationwide that’s devoted to music and social consciousness. But Forster’s got an even longer-running gig: for more than thirty-five years he’s been a member of Hot Rize, the progressive bluegrass outfit that performs at the Wheeler on Sept. 25. Also on the bill is Hot Rize’s country-swing alter ego, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. 




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Image: Matty Newton

Michelle Dezember wins the prize for biggest relocation of the year. Before joining the Aspen Art Museum as learning director in January, she was at the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, where she also served as interim director. Dezember’s job at the AAM is a significant one: she oversees all of the museum’s educational outreach, school and family programs, and other public programming.  





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Image: Matty Newton

Maybe it was intended as nothing more than a great PR move, but when founder—and billionaire—Brian Chesky paid a mere $100 to book a room in Aspen through his website while he was in town to speak at the Aspen Ideas Fest in early July, he managed to prove a very local point. All of the City of Aspen’s angst about creating affordable lodging, while no doubt well intentioned, suddenly seemed a bit technologically naïve.

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