Saturday, June 14, 2008

And the masses descend upon us

I swear, the population of Aspen has quadrupled in the past week. What were once quaint streets now teem with cars, bikes, and plenty of hazardous pedestrians. The Food and Wine Classic has brought fireworks, mouth-watering smells, and thousands of foodies from the pros such as Bobby Flay to the amateur upper-class connoisseur (I say upper-class because, well, let's just say the cheapest ticket for a few morsels of high-end deliciousness runs somewhere around $300.). In addition, the music festival's 750+ students have all mostly arrived in the past three days, not to mention the beginning of the summer tourist season - this is probably the first of many times I will mention this summer how much I utterly despise driving.

Oh, to be young again...

But at least I got a new car! Yes, it's a shiny 2008 Chevy Trailblazer, quite a nice contrast to the pre-1997 Previa that I had. That said, I still prefer biking and walking. The festival owns about 300 bikes that they dole out on a first-come first-serve basis, and I've been dallying my way around town and the trails. A few days ago, I hiked around Maroon Lake and saw the famous Maroon Bells; two days ago I hiked my way up Aspen Mountain, and just a few hours ago, I made my way up the rocky cliffs surface of Red Butte.

The Maroon Bells as seen from Maroon Lake

A panoramic view of Aspen from the top of Aspen Mountain

The sunset from Aspen Mountain

Another view of Maroon Bells from the top of Red Butte

Red Butte

The physical activity is a nice therapy for all of the menial office work that I've been doing thus far. Perhaps I've just never really been exposed to the amount of compiling/photocopying/collating/stapling that goes on in the real world - I mean, I have been shut away in labs and classrooms (and the occasional fancy wedding or party violin gig) for most of my improperly short money-making career. We've so far been taking rehearsal and performance information entered into ArtsVision, our nifty database, and been formatting the information into an itinerary on a Word document. After a few rounds of proofing, we print the itineraries and distribute them to about 15 different people. It's times like these where I wonder why the festival didn't just hire a compsci nerd who could create a button that would automatically format the information that's already in ArtsVision into an itinerary. That way, they could totally cut down on the number of summer staff that they needed, and save a whole ton of money every year providing housing and compensation for everyone. Oy.

All in all, though, it's been great. I love being paid to be out here, and once the artists get here, it'll be like we're getting paid to attend all these world-class concerts and rehearsals of some of the world's most famous musicians (for all you fans, Joshua Bell arrived this afternoon). We actually had our first airport pickup yesterday - Anders Hillborg (more like Ahnduhz Heelbourg - gotta put on that thick Swedish accent!) arrived yesterday on his heavily delayed flight with his wife and son. Jessica, another Artist Liaison, and I met them at the airport, helped them file a missing bag report when one of their suitcases didn't show up, helped them get a rental car, and took them to their condo. It was cute - they asked about breakfast places, tennis courts, and all those other semi-random necessities of life.

Finally, a quick word about the weather: Wednesday morning it snowed. Not just a few flakes falling on your jacket, but full-service flurries. Midday, with the sun shining, it was probably 80 degrees. This morning they opened up the ski slopes on Aspen mountain. My roommate went snowboarding in her swimsuit. And we all thought Cambridge was quirky.