George Stranahan at the Wyly
Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we know George Stranahan as the ultimate renaissance man.
You may know him as the distiller and brewer behind Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey and Flying Dog Beer, or as the philanthropist founder of the Manaus Fund, as the intellectual behind People’s Press or the doctor of physics behind the Aspen Center for Physics, or maybe for the plain-spoken storytelling skills that have made him among the valley’s best-loved locals.
The Wyly Community Art Center is highlighting another side of Stranahan with the photography exhibition “George Stranahan: Looking Back.”
The Aspen Hall of Famer’s life-long pursuit of photography has served as a constant through all of his varied endeavors. This exhibition shows off Stranahan’s most recent work, as the 81-year-old looks back on his incomparable life.
“One constant has been a camera and a commitment to the arts and crafts of photography,” he says. “While my life may have been more of a meandering brook than a straight cut ditch, there is a record; there are the photographs.”
The Wyly hosts an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 11 from 5 - 7 p.m. The exhibition is up through Feb. 28. Learn more at 970-927-4123 or wylyarts.org
Robert Randolph at Belly Up
Nobody plays the pedal steel like Robert Randolph and there’s no show on earth quite like a Robert Randolph and the Family Band show. The crowd-pleasing funk outfit returns to Aspen on Sunday for a don’t-miss set at Belly Up.
Their soulful and energetic performances are freewheeling funk-fests, a high wire act pulled off without the safety net of a set list and propelled by Randolph’s virtuosic skill on the pedal steel.
“Pedal steel has always had a beautiful sound,” he told Time Out on a 2011 tour stop in Aspen. “I tried to play it to make it sound like the great gospel singers, like Aretha and all those great singers we heard growing up.”
Robert Randolph and the Family Band plays Belly Up Aspen, with The Congress, on Sunday Jan. 13 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $28 in advance, $32 on Sunday, and $45 for reserve seats. Get tickets at the Belly Up box office or www.bellyupaspen.com 
AVSC Nordic Bonfire Dinner
Don’t let this incredible evening event pass you by during all the hub-bub of Wintersköl.
A benefit for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, the Saturday night (6-8 p.m.) event invites kids and adults to the Aspen Golf Course for a firelit 1.5 km cross-country ski or snowshoe loop, with stops along the way for food from local restaurants. Bring the family or a group of friends out for this mellow schuss under the moon and partake in a favorite winter Aspen tradition.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids and $50 for a family of four. Ski rentals for the night for $5 at the Aspen Cross Country Center. For tickets call 970-205-5107 or visit www.teamavsc.org