Getting an alternative perspective on one’s regular surroundings is often a good thing, even when it doesn’t seem so at first. Lately, I’ve had a different view of Aspen—from the sidelines. After tearing the ACL in my right knee while skiing this winter, I had reconstructive surgery in April. If physical therapy continues to go well, I’ll be getting back to some semblance of my normally active lifestyle around mid-July.
It’s a funny thing, being injured in a place that puts such a high premium on physical fitness and outdoor pursuits. A lot of what drew me here almost 20 years ago was that mindset, along with the numerous trails and peaks I could hike, bike, climb, and ski. So now what?
Thank goodness for Aspen’s cultural richness. It sets this fairly remote mountain town apart from others of its ilk, and was another big draw when I decided to move here. Though both locals and visitors are able to enjoy concerts, plays, readings, ballet, film, and other performances year-round, summer is when Aspen’s arts and culture scene really shines. Just take a look at contributing writer Andrew Travers’s feature in this issue and you’ll see what I mean. As the arts editor for the Aspen Times, Andrew has his finger on the town’s elevated entertainment pulse, so he was a natural choice to put together our annual roadmap to the season’s can’t-miss performances, as well as those below-the-radar ones that can be even more satisfying for the unexpected pleasure they bring. Want to see opera great Renée Fleming sing in the lovely confines of the Benedict Music Tent? The Aspen Music Festival and School has got that covered on July 30. Young Grammy-winning musical phenom Jacob Collier? Jazz Aspen Snowmass brings him to town August 20 for the JAS Café. A sharp satire of our controversial president? Check out Trump Card at the Aspen Fringe Fest June 10 and 11. Celebrated Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu discussing her provocative multimedia pieces? She’ll be at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center July 20.
As for me, the silver lining to my sidelined status is that I’ll be able to delve into Aspen’s summer arts scene more completely than ever. Drawing on another of this issue’s features, “Where to Eat When …”—Tom Passavant and Amanda Rae’s information-packed response to a range of dining scenarios—I’ve come up with a situation of my own: what’s the perfect meal to lift your spirits when you’re recovering from knee surgery? For me, it will be the Vietnamese chicken noodle salad from Meat and Cheese, paired with a glass of albariño, which I’ll enjoy while sitting on the lawn outside the music tent during a Sunday afternoon concert. To top it off, a black and white cookie from Peach’s, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. It’s a pretty sweet perspective, after all.