The Aspen Food & Wine Classic is over and without even a moment to pause and breathe the Aspen Ideas Festival is upon us.
Boasting an even pricier ticket than F&W, Ideas Fest is a celebration of big new ideas. I like to think of it as 250 TED Talks over a week, but there’s quite a bit more nuance to it. Celebrity guests include Taj Mahal, Booker T. Jones, Patti Austin, Chris Christie, Alex Honnold, Kevin Love and Paul Ryan.
Ideas Fest kicked off Wednesday with the health section and it continues through next Saturday, with two festival tracks splitting up next week.
Although an all-access pass to the entire event would cost $9,400, the Aspen Institute offers a “Young Adult Pass.” Attendees may purchase a pass for Aspen Ideas: Health, Thursday through Sunday, at $49, or the Aspen Ideas Festival, Sunday through June 29, at $149. Passholders may attend an unlimited number of more than 80 publicly-ticketed events including breakfast presentations, salons, evening sessions and nightly film screenings. The publicly ticketed events can be attended separately and prices range from $12 to $100. The average is $30 or so.
With all that in mind, here are my top 10 picks for Ideas Fest events worth looking forward to:
The Pros and Cons of E-Cigarettes
When: 12: p.m. - 12:50 p.m. Friday
Who: Elizabeth Cohen, Matthew Myers and Deborah Arnott
What: A frank discussion on the latest trend in tobacco consumption and how it affects our kids. Worth a big look at, especially considering our recent flavored tobacco ban
The Roaring Fork Valley’s Affordable Housing Crisis: What Does it Mean for Health?
When: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Who: Daniel Porterfield, Shirley Franklin, Nita Mosby Tyler and Nan Sundeen
What: The valley is not meeting the demand for affordable housing and we all know it. So who’s going to do what about it?
In Conversation with Paul Ryan
When: 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Sunday
Who: Paul Ryan and Judy Woodruff
What: Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will be talking about his life after Congress. Hopefully some hard questions with good answers.
Hyperloop One: The Intersection of Engineering and Design
When: 12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.
Who: Alexis Madrigal, Josh Giegel and Jakob Lange
What: A discussion about the future of transportation. Considering that Colorado has been presented as a possible location of future hyperloop technology, this event is interesting for anyone who has driven the I-70 corridor as much as I have.
The Republican Party in the Age of Trump
When: 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Monday
Who: Chris Christie and Jeffrey Goldberg
What: Former New Jersey Gov. Christie will be talking about his perspectives on the GOP in today’s age, as well as his views on the current president. Should be an interesting talk.
Alex Honnold: A Soul Freed
When: 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Monday
Who: Bret Stephens and Alex Honnold
What: Legendary rock climber Alex Honnold will be talking about the success of “Free Solo” and the connection between freedom and happiness. I love Honnold, so this is a must-see for me.
Into the Canyon (Film Screening and Discussion)
When: 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Tuesday
Who: Pete McBride
What: Pete McBride is a local filmmaker and his story of a 750-mile journey through the Grand Canyon with Kevin Fedarko is sure to be a blast.
In Conversation With Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg
When: 9:10 a.m. - 10 a.m. Wednesday
Who: Mike Allen and Dennis Muilenburg
What: I’ve got a special interest in aviation and given the recent drama involving Boeing, I’d love to hear Muilenburg talk technology.
Info Wars: The Global Fight for Truth
When: 12 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. Wednesday
Who: Richard Stengel, John Carlin, Nathaniel Persily, Alex Stamos and Katie Harbath
What: How do we deal with bots and trolls? As a digital journalist, I’d love to know.
Afternoon of Conversation
When: 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday
Who: Pop-Up Magazine, Arthur Brooks, Common
What: Award-winning musician Common will kick off the afternoon with a discussion of his recent book and newcomer Pop-Up magazine will bring a variety of storytelling accompanied by illustration, animation, photography, and an original score.