Sunday, June 8, 2008

"The rest of the economy doesn't really affect Aspen."

Such were the words of wisdom spoken to me by Asadour, the Artistic Administrator at the music festival, on one of my first days here. We were driving through the town and he pointed out some of the houses along the streets, citing how much each of them cost. It was ridiculous. I'm currently living in a two-bedroom duplex that I'm sharing with one other person. It's a really nice, quaint little place in a quiet part of town. The thing is, though, when it comes down to it, the place nowadays would sell for at least $1.2 million. That's, umm, about 4x as much as my own house in the Chicagoland suburbia would cost, and it's also about 4x the size of this place. Eeks. Next to the Hamptons, Aspen is the most popular vacation destination of the rich and famous. Many of them own giant houses here that they only occupy for 2 weeks out of the entire year. The streets downtown are lined with stores such as Burberry, Prada, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren. And the cars - loads of BMWs, Ferraris, and the like.

Which brings me to my own car. The festival has provided me a car for the summer, and the car I'm currently driving is a hulking Toyota Previa. They stopped selling Previas in the US in 1997, if that gives you an idea of how ancient it is. I had my first minor panic attack on Friday when the key woudln't turn in the ignition. All you experience drivers are probably rolling your eyes going, well, duh, your wheel's locked - just jiggle it while trying to turn the key. But I went to a boarding school, extra-long summer camps, and then got sent straight to college. At any rate, this is my summer to get acquainted with all those life skills that I never really had a chance to use: driving, cooking, not working in a bio lab...

This is probably my only real weekend, since once the festival starts we'll be working round the clock. It's been quite enjoyable - yesterday Manasseh and I explored Glenwood Springs, a town about 40 miles away that actually has a decently-sized and not-as-overpriced grocery store, and today a few of the other interns and I are heading over to Snowmass for the Chili Pepper and Brew Fest. (Well, actually, I'm the only intern who's not actually old enough to legally drink. But the chili should be good!) Afterwards, if it stops snowing (oy), we'll head over to Glenwood Springs again for a soak in the famed hot springs. And then tomorrow, it's back to the glorified secretary-ness of copying and pasting and making itineraries. But the students start arriving on Wednesday, and our first guest artist arrives on Friday! Yep, next week we've got composers Anders Hillborg and John Harbison (a Harvard alum and former BachSoc conductor), pianist Richard Goode, violinist Joshua Bell, to name a few :-).

P.S. We got our business cards and name badges!