This Week in New Haven (May 14-20)

This Week in New Haven (May 14-20)

Y ale calls it a year, and there are smart things to do and say in all corners of New Haven this week, from an opera by Cocteau & Poulenc to new ideas for how local farms can partner with health organizations. As always, there’s also plenty of good music.

Monday, May 14
For a soundtrack to solemn introspection, there’s a special concert by the dreamy, articulate West Coast band Races (pictured above) at The Space in Hamden (295 Treadwell St., Hamden; 203-288-6100). The considerably jumpier, brass-stoked sextet Great Caesar opens the 7 p.m., $8 show, which also features local surf band The Hiya Dunes.

The monthly Evening Book Club meets at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell branch of New Haven Free  Public Library (37 Harrison St., New Haven; 203-946-8117). To find out the month’s literary selection, contact organizer Sharon Lovett-Graff at

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New Haven Shops

Tuesday, May 15
Caroline McCracken-Flesher of the University of Wyoming, who wrote the introduction to the 2006 Barnes and Noble edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s boisterous boys’ adventure novel Kidnapped and has edited a new edition of the same book for the Edinburgh University Press, discusses her literary derring-do in a talk, “All Over the Map: Editing Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped,” 1:30 p.m. at Yale’s Beinecke Library (where McCracken-Flesher is a visiting fellow). Room 38, 121 Wall St., New Haven. (203) 432-2977.

Robert Louis Stevenson was Scottish. So kick up your heels following the Kidnapped talk with the New Haven Scottish Country Dancers, who meet every Tuesday from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Whitney Arts Center (591 Whitney Ave., New Haven).

Wednesday, May 16
This month’s New Haven Green Drinks social-awareness event is at the Sitar restaurant, featuring happy hour drink specials, sampling plates and guest speaker Marydale DeBor of the New England Farmers Union discussing her “Plow to Plate” mission which uses hospitals and community organizations to “promote local foods and agriculture as a critical means to well-being and disease prevention.” 7 p.m. 45 Grove St., New Haven.

For another brand of social interaction, bestselling author and comedy-Tweet icon Justin Halpern (Sh*t my Dad Says) holds forth at the Long Wharf Theatre, discussing and signing his new book I Suck at Girls. 7 p.m., 222 Sargent Dr., New Haven. The $10 admission includes $5 off the purchase price of the book. (203) 245-3959.

Thursday, May 17
La Voix Humaine, the one-act one-woman 1959 opera by French theater/film experimenter Jean Cocteau and composer Francis Poulenc, gets a rare staging at Yale thanks to Yale School of Drama and the Yale Opera program. The short, intense show, directed here by Louisa Proske and starring soprano Jamilyn Manning-White, is based on Cocteau’s 1930 play about ex-lovers whose phone conversation is continually interrupted due to the lousy service in France at the time. At the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 432-1234. Reserve tickets here.

The other historically minded theatrical event this evening is the annual Gala Celebration at the Shubert Theater (247 College St., New Haven, 5:30 p.m.), marking the legendary performance venue’s 97th anniversary with cocktails, refreshments, live entertainment, auctions (both live and silent) and more. Call the theater’s development department at (203) 624-1825 for details.

Friday, May 18
If you’re wondering what all that hustle-bustle is downtown, Yale Commencement Weekend has snuck up on us again. Tonight is the annual free Yale Symphony Orchestra Commencement Concert at Battell Chapel (6pm, corner of Elm and College Streets; no tickets required) and the first performance of the Yale Drama production of the musical Hair at Yale University Theatre (Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m.; 222 York St., New Haven; 203-432-1210; $15-$35). That’s just the beginning of a slew of concerts and convocations which conclude with the graduation ceremony in Yale’s Old Campus Monday morning. Sunday’s Class Day speaker is Barbara Walters; full weekend schedule here.

Saturday, May 19
It’s National Preservation Month, and the New Haven Preservation Trust, the Historic Wooster Square Association and New Haven Museum are preserving that noble idea with a walking tour and “architectural scavenger hunt” designed to make younger generations think deeply about our past.  The free activity explores Wooster Square Park and some of the buildings around it. Meet 11 a.m. at the statue of Christopher Columbus on the park’s Chapel Street side. Registration required. (203) 562-4183 x11,

There’s other attractive, mysterious local history to be had this afternoon, on the upstairs gallery walls of the Institute Library (847 Chapel St., New Haven). There’s an opening reception from noon to 2 p.m. for the exhibit Family Haunts: Lineage in Art, which “considers the beckoning of ancestry and perceptions of present day relations through the paintings, prints, photographs, drawings and assemblages of artists.” The eight-artist show was curated by Joy M. Pepe.

Sunday, May 20
The New Christy Minstrels was a moveable feast of folk-pop and traditional American songs in the 1960s. There have been nearly 300 members of the New Christy Minstrels. One of them, William Florian, entertains tonight at the Outer Space. 295 Treadwell St., Hamden; 203-288-6100; $10.

A more modern aggregation of musical talent is at Toad’s Place (300 York St., New Haven; 203-624-TOAD), where the Arizona-based pop band The Maine makes a stop on its world tour. The group recently recorded a cover of The Beatles song “With a Little Help From My Friends” with tourmates Lydia and Arkells. $20, $17 in advance.

Written by Christopher Arnott.

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Christopher Arnott has written about arts and culture in Connecticut for over 25 years. His journalism has won local, regional and national awards, and he has been honored with an Arts Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. He posts daily at his own sites and New Haven Theater Jerk (

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