H appy Presidents’ Day! Check out what’s going on in New Haven this week, including a Mardi Gras gala fundraiser at the New Haven Free Public Library and Little Ugly (pictured here) at Stella Blues.
Monday, Feb. 20:
The Amity Teen Center, which brings young bands out to entertain rock-starved suburbanites (along with numerous other worthwhile community programs) has been holding benefits for itself at Toad’s Place for 16 years now. That means the event is now as old as its target audience—and a full five years older than the oldest member of one of the bands at this year’s event: The Foresters, a punk-pop trio of brothers aged 8, 10 and 11. A dozen bands are booked, making the $12 admission ($10 in advance) a bargain. To fit in full sets from all 12 acts, the show starts at 4 p.m. Here’s the line-up: Blacklines (playing at 4:20 p.m.), Marques Christopher (5 p.m.), The Foresters (5:40 p.m.), Mortal Conquest (6:20 p.m.), She Eats Planets (7 p.m.), blackthorns (7:40 p.m.), Anchors Away (8:20 p.m.), Novelty Effect (9 p.m.), Those Guys (9:40 p.m.), Three Doses (10:20 p.m.), Hypnosis (11 p.m.) and Set Sail at Sunrise (11:40 p.m.). 300 York St., New Haven; (203) 624-TOAD, www.toadsplace.com
Tuesday, Feb. 21:
It’s Fat Tuesday! The New Haven Free Public Library has thrown a big fundraising shindig regularly at Mardi Gras time. This one falls on the actual 125th anniversary of the library’s opening in 1887. It’s not often that you can browse the stacks while munching catered cuisine from local restaurants, bidding on silent auction items (breakfast with Sen. Blumenthal! A photo safari in South Africa!) and shakin’ your hips to the Louisiana-lively sounds of the Funky Butt Jazz Band. Tickets range from $75 to $500; all proceeds benefit the library. 133 Elm St., New Haven. http://www.nhfplfoundation.org
Wednesday, Feb. 22:
Today’s an excellent day to visit the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel St., New Haven; 877-BRIT-ART, www.britishart.yale.edu). Not only did a new exhibit debut this month but there’s also a lunchtime concert in the Library Court. The new display, Making History, is an overview of the Society of Antiquaries of London, which for more than three centuries has celebrated “ingenious and curious” explorations into British history. Divided into eight parts and comprising 100 artworks collected by the Society (which has been around longer than England’s national museums), Making History is on the YCBA’s second floor gallery space through May 27. If you’re there at 12:30 p.m. today, you can also hear a chamber concert by students from the Yale School of Music.
Thursday, Feb. 23:
Fold Crumple Crush is a new documentary by Susan Vogel about the environmentally friendly African artist El Anatsui, who creates stunning (and huge) works of art out of found objects such as bottle caps. Following the afternoon screening, Noelle King of the Southern Connecticut State University Art Department leads a discussion on both “the usage of recycled materials and the creation of authentic African art.” 1:50 p.m. at the Adanti Student Theater, on the SCSU campus, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. 1-888-500-SCSU, http://www.southernct.edu
Friday, Feb. 24:
The eclectic modern folk/rock quartet Little Ugly headlines tonight at Stella Blues (204 Crown St., New Haven; 203-752-9764, www.stellabluesbar.com) with Tumbleweed Company and Echo & Drake.
If you like your musical ensemble somewhat larger (you mean Little Ugly has only one stand-up bass?!) and your string arrangements even sweeter, the Yale Philharmonia has a free concert tonight at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College St., New Haven; 203-432-4158, www.music.yale.edu).
Saturday, Feb. 25:
Two local legends at Café Nine: At 4:30 p.m., blues guitarist George Baker, who was Marvin Gaye’s music director and served as sideman to everyone from Sammy Davis Jr. to The Shirelles, leads the Nine’s Afternoon Jazz Jam from 4:30-7 p.m. Mere hours later, at 9 p.m., Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez will serve up their singular Southern-tinged R&B/blues/rock. Crowned “The Beehive Queen” for her upswept hairstyle, the soul-stirring Ohlman has sung with the Saturday Night Live TV house band at studio warm-ups for decades, so that means tonight’s SNL episode must be a rerun. No cover charge for the jam, $8 for the evening show. 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281, www.cafenine.com
Sunday, Feb. 26
The community-minded Audubon Street arts institution Creative Arts Workshop hosts an art opening today, showing off works by teaching staff from the Design, Drawing & Painting, Fiber, Photography and Sculpture departments. But you can browse well beyond the exhibition area, since CAW is also holding an Open House with studio tours and demonstrations by some of the very same artists whose works are on display. Oh yes, and admission is free. Can it get more inspirational and accessible than this? 2-5 p.m. at 80 Audubon St., New Haven. (203) 562-4927, www.creativeartsworkshop.org