Best Aspen entertainment options for a shortened fall offseason

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Best Aspen entertainment options for a shortened fall offseason

‘Deconstructing the Self-Portrait’ (Courtesy Anderson Ranch)

To hear any old-timer tell it, the fall offseason in Aspen used to stretch from the day after Labor Day to the day before Thanksgiving, a nearly three-month stretch when tumbleweeds outnumbered residents or tourists in town.

It shrunk gradually, they say, then all at once amid the pandemic.

In autumn 2021, offseason – or “shoulder” season or “secret” season or whatever we’re calling it these days – now appears to span about 15 minutes in mid-November.

The pandemic movement of events like Food & Wine Classic and Aspen Summer Words to September made for the busiest on record – good for those of us looking for action, culture and stimulation.

It appears we’re finally in the offseason for the arts, as the pop-up galleries have left town, the big concert series are done, restaurants and hotels are closed and both the Aspen Art Museum and the Powers Art Center are shuttered in preparation for their big Andy Warhol shows this winter (the Powers opening Nov. 30; the museum Dec. 3).

Through this quiet stretch, there’s still plenty worth checking out, including some hotly anticpated concerts and community events at the Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW), the return of the Shining Mountains Film Festival to the Wheeler Opera House and the buzzy local debut of Goose at Belly Up.

And we have staples like the Red Brick Center for the Arts’ resident artists group show (opening Nov. 11) and “Small Wonders” at the Aspen Chapel Gallery (opening Nov. 17).

This is my baker’s dozen of reasons to stick around the valley for these quiet couple of weeks before the chairlifts start spinning and the tourists start pouring back in:


‘Deconstructing the Self-Portrait’

Patton-Malott Gallery, Anderson Ranch

Through Nov. 19


A collaboration with young artists from YouthZone, the exhibition showcases work by Anderson Ranch apprentice artists from eighth grade through high school.

Ajax Axe’s robots rove around the floor of the Aspen Space Station Outpost in Aspen on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Ajax Axe, ‘Earthlings Year 4001’

601 E. Hyman Ave.

Through Nov. 30


An all-robot installation by conceptual artist Ajax Axe as an extension of her summer-long Aspen Space Station project. Robots only, running the gallery for about five hours a day.

Doug Graybeal’s “Still Here” (Courtesy photo)

Doug Graybeal, ‘Still Here’

The Art Base

Through Dec. 4


The local painter’s painstaking landscapes capture Roaring Fork Valley vistas across four seasons.


Immigrant Voices


Nov. 11


The return of Alya Howe’s powerful Writ Large live storytelling series, in collaboration with the nonprofit English in Action. Hear stories of locals from Mexico, Argentia, Poland and Taiwan.

Aspen Community Theatre presents ‘Company’ directed by Jeff James-Schlepp alongside music director Dory Light on the Wheeler Opera House stage in Aspen on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

‘Company,’ presented by Aspen Community Theatre

Wheeler Opera House

Nov. 12 & 13, 7 p.m.; Nov. 14, 2 p.m.

Stephen Sondheim’s classic ‘70s musical of bachelorhood, love and marriage, brought to life by your friends and neighbors.


‘Paper & Glue’


Nov. 12, 8 p.m.


A screening of the latest from street artist and former Aspen Ideas Fest artist-in-residence JR.


Steely Dead

Belly Up Aspen

Nov. 12, 8:30 p.m.


A sonic fusion of the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan.


Midnight North


Nov. 18, 8 p.m.


A much-anticipated local debut from the band led by Grahame Lesh (yes, Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s son).


‘Mountain Revelations’

Wheeler Opera House

Nov. 18


Pre-ski season is stoke season. This latest from snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research promises to prime locals for the winter ahead.




Nov. 19, 8 p.m.


A dose of Chilean folk pop from Valparaiso.



Belly Up

Nov. 19, 8 p.m.

Sold Out

The biggest Aspen concert of November 2021, bringing this hot and hip indie rock act to the club before two sold-out nights at the Mission Ballroom in Denver.

Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears (Renee Ramge)

Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears


Nov. 20, 8 p.m.


Among the most talented locally based musicians working today, this duo’s new EP “Just Over the Ridge” has landed them on the national bluegrass and folk charts.


Boy Named Banjo

Belly Up Aspen

Nov. 20, 8 p.m.

Young Nashville pickers playing contemporary bluegrass and folk.


Earl Biss (Louisa Davidson)

Shining Mountains Film Festival

Wheeler Opera House

Nov. 20 & 21

Four programs of films by and about Native Americans with special guests and filmmakers discussing their work. Among them is the locally made gem “Earl Biss: The Spirit Who Walks Among His People” about the late local Crow artist.