M usic, some of which accompanies lyrical images of pratfalls, abounds this week in New Haven. You’ll find power pop, ballet scores, memorial funk, Dylan and the Dead tributes, and suspenseful zombie horror chords. Dig in.
Monday, May 21
Be grateful on a May Monday for the even-tempered spiritual force of the Grateful Dead, a power which will lull you through any beginning-of-the-work-week turbulence. A host of musicians from such esteemed Grateful Dead tribute acts as Shakedown, Legion of Jerry, Lobsterz of Marz and Marks Brothers combine for Dead On, an hours-long sharing of Dead hits and jams at the trim and comfortable Stella Blues bar downtown. (Two days from now, on Wednesday May 23, Stella Blues ups the ante with a multi-band Rolling Thunder Revival! Tribute to Bob Dylan and The Band.) 204 Crown St., New Haven. (203) 752-9764. Free.
Tuesday, May 22
Nicholas Platt served as U.S. ambassador to Zambia, the Phillipines and Pakistan during the 1980s and ‘90s and went along on President Nixon’s historic diplomatic trip to China in 1972. He’s also the father of actor Oliver Platt and the author of a memoir, China Boys. Nicholas Platt talks about his decades with the Foreign Service, 4:30 p.m. at the Yale-China Association, 55 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven. It’s the final event in the association’s 2011-12 Fireside Chat series. Free.
Wednesday, May 23
Power pop was what intellectual youth bopped to three decades ago—articulate electrified guitar-laden bursts of emotion and longing which energized while they elucidated. (Cheap Trick, The Romantics, Matthew Sweet and Squeeze were all part of the movement.) Two impressive, poised and purposeful power popsmiths take the stage at Café Nine tonight. Paul Collins is a West Coast power pop legend, merging new wave and Mersey beat sounds in the 1970s and 1980s with bands such as The Nerves and Paul Collins Beat. Having worked through a more subdued, bluesy period a decade ago, Collins is back rocking. The headliner tonight, Chuck Prophet (pictured above), is a more recent pop revelation, who wrought the brilliant modern political pop album Let Freedom Ring in 2004 and whose scruffily refined sounds pay tribute to one of the foremost power pop pioneers, Alex Chilton of Big Star. 9 p.m. 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281.
Thursday, May 24
Yale may have held its graduation ceremonies on Monday, but that doesn’t mean the university slumbers all summer. The Yale Center for British Art, for instance, continues to offer tours and discussions relating to its current exhibits. Today at 11 a.m. there’s a free guided tour through the enlightening Making History: Antiquaries in Britain drawn from the Society of Antiquaries of London—an organization which began assembling collections of historic artifacts before the creation of national museums as we know them today. Meet at the entrance to the exhibition. 1080 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 432-2800.
Friday, May 25
Allergies got you down? See the Insomnia Theater screening of George Romero’s 1968 black-and-white masterpiece Night of the Living Dead tonight at 11:30 p.m. Criterion Cinemas. At least you haven’t turned into a flesh-eating zombie. 86 Temple St., New Haven. Bow-Tie is also offering a whole other sort of supernatural attack this week with the premiere of Men in Black III. (203) 498-2500.
Saturday, May 26
New Haven Ballet flits airily through its 27th Anniversary Spring Performances today, with shows at 1 & 3 p.m. in the Shubert Theater (247 College St., New Haven; $20, $12 children; www.shubert.com). The local ballet school/troupe showcases its newer students as well as members of its pre-professional student company with this season-closing event, then moves right on to a new schedule of classes and ballet camps in June and July. (203) 782-9038.
There’s further balletic bliss, of an absurd comic type, later today at Lyric Hall Stage in Westville. The Lyric Hall Theater Orchestra, a punchy live band which soundtracks silent movie screenings, presents three classic Buster Keaton comedies: The High Sign, The Play House and the immortal One Week, in which newlywed Keaton constructs a surrealistic house from sabotaged building plans. Tonight at 7 & 9 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 827 Whalley Ave., New Haven. (203) 562-3946. $10.
Sunday, May 27
There are many ways to honor the fallen and heroic. Toad’s Place’s method is a Memorial Day Funkfest, on the eve of Monday’s Memorial Day holiday, featuring five bands: Terryl Lee Band, Mystic Force, Soul Squad, Mr. Council and Funkinachea. As the greater warrior George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic once decreed, “Ow, we want the funk. Give up the funk.” 8:30 p.m. 300 York St., New Haven. (203) 624-TOAD. $10, $8.50 in advance.
Written by Christopher Arnott.