Those things began to change in 1977, thanks in part to Jon Busch, the founder of Aspen Gay Ski Week and an early advocate for LGBTQ rights in Aspen. Jon came to Aspen in 1964 to study bassoon at the Aspen Music School. He returned each summer for the next few years; he settled in permanently 1969.
During his first job working at a record store called The Hi-Fi Shop, in the building where Mi Chola now operates, Jon lived in an attic space above the store that was so small that he couldn’t fully stand up. But all that crouching paid off. Thanks to his connections at Hi-Fi, Jon was given the opportunity to help launch a brand new radio station, KSPN, which would be located inside Hotel Jerome.
After establishing KSPN’s groovy airwaves, Jon was offered a position managing film programming at the Wheeler Opera House, his gig for more than four decades, until 2004. Generations of Aspenites and visitors have the same memory etched in their minds: Jon Busch, looking petite under the spotlight on stage, the Wheeler’s resplendent velvet curtain behind him, taking a few minutes to introduce that night’s film. It became such a favorite part of the experience that Jon often received quick rounds of applause.