Dalai Lama’s Aspen appearance sells out | VailDaily.com
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Dalai Lama’s Aspen appearance sells out

Charles Agar
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” Aspen Buddhists had a taste of suffering Tuesday morning at the Wheeler Opera House while waiting hours to buy tickets to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Aspen Institute in July.

Some brought stools, cushions and mats to camp out as early as 6:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. start to ticket sales.

Aspen resident Ashley Reynolds played hooky from work Tuesday morning to secure her two seats.

“He’s just a great model for how everyone should view the world,” Reynolds said, adding that she was surprised to see so many people out during the offseason. “I didn’t think there were even this many people in town.”

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, will speak at the Benedict Music Tent on Saturday, July 26, as part of a three-day summer symposium celebrating Tibetan and Himalayan culture from June 24 to June 26. The event is sponsored by the Aspen Institute and the Conservancy for Tibetan Art and Culture.

Wheeler ticket manager Heather Gibson said there were 2,050 tickets available in the tent (though a portion were reserved specially for the Aspen Institute), and some 2,000 slots available on the lawn and in two simulcast areas.

Dalai Lama fans were limited to two tickets ” either two $80 seats in the music tent or two free tickets on the lawn or in one of two nearby simulcast areas.

Tickets were also on sale by phone all morning and online for 30 minutes from the 10 a.m. start time.

The music tent sold out in just over an hour.

“We have two kids that really want to go,” said Peggy Adams of Basalt, who waited with her husband Tripp for about 90 minutes.

The couple made use of two cell phones, a small laptop and an iPhone with Internet connection to ensure they’d be competitive with ticket buyers from far afield.

The ticket website, however, was frozen just minutes after 10 a.m., they said.

But the couple landed two tickets by phone while waiting in line, and two tickets at the window later.

“The Dalai Lama has been good to us,” quipped Tripp Adams as he and his wife walked out the door, armed with four tickets.

Denison Levy of Aspen said the $80 ticket price was not a problem for her.

“I study Buddhism, and he’s an amazing person,” she said.

She added: “People pay this much to go and listen to some rock band I’ve never heard of.”

Asked if she might scalp her tickets, Levy frowned: “It’s bad karma to do that.”

Jinny Ditzler, who worked the door at the Wheeler on Tuesday morning, said the crowd was well behaved. She estimated there were some 300 to 400 people in line before doors opened, and not one conflict among them.

“The Buddhists aren’t angry,” Ditzler said.

Bill Stirling, former Aspen mayor, said he was happy to see so many old friends waiting in line on Tuesday, and though not a Buddhist, he said he appreciates the Dalai Lama’s ideas about equality among all religions.

Even Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis was in line for tickets Tuesday.

Braudis said he will dispatch deputies to the event, but said that it would be improper for an elected official such as himself to accept free tickets.

“I’m only going to scalp ’em and sell ’em to a real Buddhist,” Braudis quipped of the tickets he earned after nearly two hours in line. “I’m hoping to double my money.”

“I guess I’m a lucky girl,” said Karen Nye, who bought one of the last tickets to the music tent on Tuesday. “I am blessed.”

That’s what life is about, Nye said: Staying positive and helping other people ” principles she said the Dalai Lama lives.

And the last time Nye waited in a long line for tickets?

An Alice Cooper concert when she was a teenager.

“Tickets are tickets,” said Megan Talarico, of Aspen, who chose free tickets on the lawn over the last few “obstructed view” tickets on sale in the music tent.

“I’ll watch him on GrassRoots [TV],” said David Melton, of Aspen, who showed up just as the tickets to the tent sold out.

Doors open at 9 a.m. July 26 and the event will kick off at 10 a.m. with live performances of Tibetan flute and monks chanting, followed by a talk from His Holiness titled “Values Based Leadership and Universal Responsibility.”

Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive early.

Those whose karma it was to go ticketless can see the Dalai Lama via webcast live on The Aspen Institute’s website (www.aspeninstitute.org) or hear him live on Aspen Public Radio.


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