US Comedy Arts Fest in Aspen Report - Part 1
by Alex Billington
March 1, 2007
After driving nearly 5 hours through blowing snow and almost white out conditions, I finally made it to beautiful Aspen, Colorado to check out the US Comedy Arts Festival. The first day has been interesting, given that the snow is falling, hardly any planes were landing at the Aspen airport and the town was not as buzzing as it should've been. But just like Sundance in Park City, I love these independent film festivals locked up in the mountains with snow all around. Not only is Aspen a great town, but the atmosphere and enthusiasm for the films and comedy is wonderful. More on my part 1 or 2 report on the US Comedy Fests and a few more photos ahead.
If you love comedy in any way, then this festival is definitely for you. There are just as many live acts and comedians performing as there are films (if not even more). Walking around the streets you can look around and see comedians of all types, filmmakers, and a few celebrities all bundled up in their fur coats in the cold weather. It's no Sundance, but it is pretty fun, and Aspen definitely lives up to Park City as well (in prices, too). In a couple blocks span I saw a Louis Vuitton store, a Versace store, and a McDonalds (for those frugal eaters). All the films are screened in one local theater, the Isis (seen to the left), and run pretty well. Unfortunately the filmmakers are not always there, but a few actors or directors can be found depending on the movie showing.
Today I saw three new comedies: Hariton's Choir, Cook-Off!, and Ira and Abby. I had a good time screening all of them. The theater wasn't even full at any of them. Longer capsule reviews are coming soon, but here are some quick thoughts on them.
Hariton's Choir - A rare Greek comedy about a small Greek town and an annual choir competition. The film was good, but not great, and is more than anything interesting to see a Greek independent creation. The lead actor gives a phenomenal performance, but nothing too memorable.
Cook-Off! - A horrid, terrible movie that was unfortunately even painful to watch. Felt like a 10-minute MADtv sketch that went 80 minutes too long. I even considering joining a few walk-outs, but didn't.
Ira and Abby - A special treat and gem of a find! I loved this movie quite a bit. It's a romantic comedy about this quirky and odd couple and their parents and psychiatrists. I definitely suggest it when it ever comes out.
Coming tomorrow is four more screening reports and my report part 2. And on more photo to make all of you living in sunny California jealous of the fluffy white stuff.
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