Community Table: Midsummer/Fall Issue 2016

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

By Cindy Hirschfeld August 11, 2016 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2016 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Image: Matty Newton

Michelle Holder wants you to be informed and involved. The City of Aspen management analyst moved here in 2015 to coordinate the new Citizens Academy, set to launch this fall. The ten-session program will give attendees an up-close view of local government, with the goal of increasing community engagement. The personable Holder recently graduated from Roaring Fork Leadership and calls her coordinating role a perfect fit with her interest in city management.


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Image: Matty Newton


As we currently celebrate the national parks system’s centennial, who better to chat with about these protected places than prolific filmmaker Ken Burns, who co-produced the PBS series on the parks in 2009? Of course, Burns, who’s been making headlines recently for his blistering condemnations of Donald Trump, may be more apt to talk about the upcoming presidential race. He’ll be in town August 25 for a forum on elections with the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows.


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Image: Matty Newton


In the 1980s, neo-expressionist painter Julian Schnabel became synonymous with art-world excess. He comes to the Aspen Art Museum July 31 for a talk in advance of his November exhibit there. With one of his paintings acquired by the Museum of Modern Art last year and new gallery representation—in May he returned to Pace after 20 years with Gagosian—the 64-year-old Schnabel is due for a mini-revival.


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Image: Matty Newton


Born in Côte d’Ivoire, raised in Paris, and a local since 2002, Mawa McQueen is Aspen’s premier culinary multitasker. With her husband, Daniel Liesener, McQueen shifted her company, Mawa’s Kitchen, into high gear two years ago; now she and her team cater multiple events, offer cooking classes, and run a popular restaurant at the ABC. Not content to sit still, McQueen opened the Market Street Kitchen in Willits this summer, offering tasty crepes and salads. Salut!


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Image: Matty Newton


Aspen native Maile Spung has mastered the challenge of succeeding as a young professional in her hometown, working her way up in her parents’ shop, the Ute Mountaineer, from salesperson to manager to softgoods buyer and part-owner. Her current challenge: staying one step ahead in today’s quickly evolving retail world. An avid climber, runner, and skier, Spung also volunteers for the Basalt Fire Department and sits on the board of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.


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Image: Matty Newton

It’s no small feat for an Aspen restaurant to make it to 20 years, but owner/chef Tiziano GortAn has figured out the recipe for longevity at his popular Italian spot L’Hostaria. The secret ingredients? Passion, consistency, and the ability to connect with guests from around the world. The Italy native has worked in kitchens since he was 13, once serving as the pastry chef for a Dublin restaurant run by U2. Stop in this season and raise a glass of Prosecco to Gortan’s admirable anniversary.

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