M ay Day, Cinco de Mayo and other harbingers of spring heat up the events calendar this week.
Monday, April 30
The “psycho-folk” band Milksop:Unsung’s alternative country & bluegrass music series at Café Nine gets a special Monday berth, in lieu of midweek, with the band cutting loose and bringing up special guests. 9 p.m. 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281.
Tuesday, May 1
May Day—a.k.a. International Worker’s Day—always means a big community celebration from noon to 6 p.m. on New Haven Green. Serious information about workers’ struggles and social injustice, local and international, can be found at information booths, or through speeches and statements of solidarity from the Answer Coalition, the Socialist Party of Connecticut, Rev. Gage of United Church on the Green and others. There’s also free food, lots of activities for kids, a graffiti wall, a host of musicians including Bill Collins, Ray Neal, Elaine Kolb, Joseph Fire Crow, Balkan instrumentalists Laine Harris & Friends and the reggae band I Anabassa, and poets such as Ngoma and members of the Bread is Rising Poetry Collective. At 4 p.m. everyone dances around the Maypole. See the complete schedule here.
Wednesday, May 2
Guitar virtuoso Benjamin Verdery has arranged another of his extraordinary nights of Guitar Chamber Music at 8pm at Morse Recital Hall (in Sprague Hall, 4780 College St., New Haven; 203-432-4158, featuring ensembles from the Yale School of Music. Composers include Karl Pilss, Louis Andriessen, Ravi Shankar, Benjamin Britten, and two Yale-based musician/composers, Jack Vees (whose piece Baby Boomers is written for four electric guitars) and Daniel Schlosberg, a School of Music student who’s penned a guitar duo. If you can’t be in the recital hall, you can stream the live concert instead.
Thursday, May 3
The final show of the regular season at Long Wharf Theatre—before they shut the Mainstage for an extensive summer-long renovation project—is a stage version of Chaim Potok’s potent novel My Name is Asher Lev, about a young Hassidic man who must choose between his faith and his artistic talents. Playwright Aaron Posner has adapted the book for a three-person cast. Long Wharf Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein directs the show, which is in previews May 2-8, has its opening night May 9, and runs through May 27. 222 Sargent Dr., New Haven. (203) 787-4282.
Friday, May 4
This week is infused with poetry (see our Tuesday and Saturday entries) and religious drama (see Wednesday). Those subjects coalesce tonight at an event celebrating the publication of Peter Cole’s The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition. Cole will read from his book and Rabbi Jim Ponet will lead a discussion. 4:30 p.m. at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, 80 Wall St., New Haven. (203) 432-1136.
Saturday, May 5
If you commute by bus every weekday, you might be thinking about giving mass transit a pass today. But on the bus is where all the action is, for the fifth annual Exact Change performance series co-produced by CT Transit and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. Artists this year, who perform right on regularly scheduled city buses, include the spoken-word collective Verbal Slap, mime Sharece M. Sellem, the Elm City Dance Collective, Salt and Pepper Gospel Choir, and the exuberant Kings Band of Harmony Brass Shout Band. The performances—on routes J, O, D, and B between 12:15 and 1:30 p.m., are free with bus fare, and if you take the buses to New Haven Green around 1:15 you can hang out with the artists and listen to an additional set by Kings Band of Harmony. See the schedule here.
May 5 is also Cinco de Mayo, of course, and expect many of the dance clubs and bars downtown (including the alliterative Brown Bear and Wicked Wolf saloons) to have parties and drink specials.
Sunday, May 6
The Carlotta Festival of New Plays—full productions of scripts by playwriting students at the Yale School of Drama—kicked off Friday with Jake Jeppson’s Fox Play and continued Saturday with the opening of Martyna Majok’s Petty Harbour. Tonight at 8 p.m. brings the first performance of Caroline V. McGraw’s The Bachelors. The shows are directed and performed by other soon-to-graduate YSD students. Some Carlotta shows from previous years have gone on to be staged in New York and elsewhere. This year’s three plays each get three more Carlotta performances before the festival ends May 12. At the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 432-1234.