Perfect Party

Community Table: Midwinter/Spring Issue 2017

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 February 15, 2017 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Image: Matty Newton

MTV icon and ’80s rocker Pat Benatar will put another notch in her lipstick case when she makes her Wheeler Opera House debut (March 22), playing an acoustic show with husband and guitarist Neil Giraldo. At 64, Benatar is still kicking some female empowerment butt; she released her first new song in 10 years, “Shine,” in late January. The country-twinged ballad is a rallying cry for women’s rights in the wake of the post-inauguration Women’s March.


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Image: Matty Newton


Basalt Middle and High School band director Nick Lenio hit a high note last fall as one of 25 semifinalists nationwide nominated for a Grammy Music Educator Award (out of 3,300 nominees, although he’s sadly not among the 10 finalists). Since he started four years ago, the high school band has jumped from 18 members to more than 50 and has a new alter ego, the Basalt Streethorns, that plays at local events. Lenio also coordinates a valleywide classical guitar program. His next aspiration? A mariachi program.


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Image: Matty Newton


Raised within the Southern tradition of storytelling (“bullshitters who took their BSing really seriously,” he quips), journalist M. John Fayhee has been enlivening the pages of the Aspen Daily News since December. Known for helming the revered Mountain Gazette for 14 years, Fayhee produces smart, readable pieces on subjects from Basalt politics to land use, but due to the valley’s inflated rents will likely return to New Mexico this spring. If anyone can offer local affordable housing, give this man a call.


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Image: Matty Newton


One of New York’s premier gallerists for emerging and midcareer contemporary artists, Marianne Boesky opens a much-anticipated Aspen space this March. The first exhibit features the iconic Frank Stella and renowned sculptor Larry Bell. No stranger to the local art scene, Boesky is on the board of Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She was never a stranger to art, either—the daughter of financier Ivan Boesky, she grew up with a museum-worthy collection at home.


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Image: Matty Newton


Serve up a bowl of kibble for Kip, an Australian shepherd who lives with local Courtney Sheeley Wyckoff. Courtney’s mom, Jill, wrote the popular series of children’s books about Fraser “the yellow dog” and his escapades around Aspen and Snowmass with a young Courtney. Now in her 30s, Courtney adopted Kip three years ago, providing her mom with new story fodder. With Adventures of Kip, the Aussie is set to win over the next generation of canine lit fans.


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Image: Matty Newton

What began as a hobby has turned into a potential income generator for Aspen High senior Ethan Rafelson. An avid practitioner of gloving—an electronic dance music craze that involves performing intricate hand movements while wearing LED-illuminated gloves—Rafelson devised a way to program each fingertip light simultaneously instead of individually, saving hours in the process. And now he’s received a provisional patent for his innovation. A bright idea, you might say.

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