This Week in New Haven (June 11-17)

This Week in New Haven (June 11-17)

M any shades of Green color New Haven’s cultural calendar this week. The New Haven Green is the subject of a new documentary, the site of the public library’s Summer Reading Challenge kick-off, and the center of the swirling, multi-venue International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Go Green!

Monday, June 11
A New Haven Park Ranger explores “Sea Life of Long Island Sound” with a one-hour program held twice today, at 1 & 4 p.m. at the Barnard Nature Center at West River Memorial Park, 200 Derby Ave., New Haven. (203) 691-3539, Pre-registration is requested.

Tuesday, June 12
The members of Les Rhinocéros were teenagers when they formed the band four years ago. Now they’re signed to the Tzadik Record Label run by cutting-edge composer John Zorn. Les Rhinocéros have devised a musical form that contains aspects of jazz, fusion, noise, circus music and (as one of the tracks on their new album suggests) “Beeps and Boops.” Expect some expert and intimate experimentation tonight at Café Nine. Opening act is Steve Assetta (leader of the silent movie orchestra at Lyric Hall). 9 p.m. 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281. $5.

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International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Wednesday, June 13
Decades ago, the Institute Library was known not just for its austere bookcases but as a forum for debates and new intellectual outbursts. That tradition is being restored with Amateur Hour, a new monthly series hosted by writer/raconteur Jack Hitt (a contributing editor at The New York Times Magazine and NPR’s This American Life, whose one-man show Making Up the Truth played in New Haven this time last year) and science journalist Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein). The series kicks off tonight with a discussion of Hitt’s own new book Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character. 847 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 562-4045, $10, $5 for library members.

Thursday, June 14
If Jim Dale’s name doesn’t ring a bell, here’s how you know him: as the guy juggling dozens of voices on the audiobook versions of the Harry Potter books; as the co-star of over a dozen entries in the legendary “Carry On…” series of saucy British comedies; as the original star of the Broadway musical Barnum!; as the co-composer of the ‘60s pop hit Georgy Girl; as a serious actor who did The Road to Mecca earlier this year in New York… Oh! That Jim Dale! Or rather, Just Jim Dale—that’s the title of his new one-man (plus piano accompanist) show in which the great comic actor offers anecdotes, songs and insights from his over-60-year career. Just Jim Dale runs June 14-24 at Long Wharf Stage II, 222 Sargent Dr., New Haven. (203) 787-4282. $32.

Friday, June 15
In Hollywood, a “green screen” means a canvas for fantastic special effects. Tonight, the phrase could refer to a screening of a new documentary about the center of that gorgeous grassy expanse downtown. The New Haven Green: Heart of a City was directed and produced by Karyl Evans, and is narrated by Paul Giamatti, who grew up in New Haven. The first public screenings of the film tonight at Lyric Hall are co-sponsored by The Garden Club of New Haven Inc. and the Committee of the Proprietors of the Common and Undivided Lands in New Haven. There are several showings—at 7:30, 8:15, 9:00 & 9:45 p.m. DVDs will be on sale for $15, with proceeds going towards the planting and maintenance of trees on the Green. 827 Whalley Ave., New Haven; 203-389-8885.

Saturday, June 16
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas starts today. There are so many events to mention that we’ll be devoting extra space to the festival in Daily Nutmeg articles this week and next. Today is especially geared to young audiences, with the Dinosaur Petting Zoo on New Haven Green, a “Children’s Sustainable Sushi Class” led by Miya’s Sushi and the return of the fun urban planning project Box City. Go to for a complete Arts & Ideas schedule, and let us now draw your attention to several other kid-friendly happenings Saturday:

The annual Children’s Film Festival at the Yale Center for British Art showcases fun, brisk moving pictures—short animations and wildly imaginative stories by some accomplished filmmakers who never forget to be entertaining. Among the offerings this year are Art, featuring drawings by Patrick McDonnell, who does the Mutts newspaper comic strip. The Children’s Film Festival shows the same 90 minute multi-film program twice, at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. 1080 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 432-2800.

The Dwight Central Management Team has hit a milestone: 20 years of hosting grand community festivals for the Dwight/Edgewood neighborhood. This year’s shindig is bigger than ever, with horse rides, both a live band and a DJ, drill team performances, a climbing wall, swimming at the nearby YMCA pool, a free-book table, face painting, lots of activities for kids, and—because tomorrow is Father’s Day—a special raffle for fathers. Noon to 5 p.m. in the field behind Amistad Academy, on Day Street between Chapel St. and Edgewood Ave., New Haven. For more information, contact

Every year, New Haven Free Public Library kicks off its Summer Reading Challenge with a gathering in the children’s section of the main library at 133 Elm St., New Haven. (203) 946-8130. This year the event will be held outdoors on New Haven Green, and the main attraction will be storyteller Eshu Bumpus (pictured above) spinning “African-American and World folktales.” 2 p.m., (203) 946-8130.

Sunday, June 17
The Yale Institute for Music Theatre provides a golden opportunity for composers, lyricists and musical scriptwriters who are just out of college or graduate school to have their new musical theater pieces professionally workshopped for two weeks, then given a staged reading before real audiences. The two pieces selected for the 2012 YIMT get performed this weekend: the robot dance party romance Mighty Five’s Infinite Funk Odyssey by Zach Abramson, Derek Muro, Phil Aulie and Xaq Webb (June 16 at 1 p.m. and June 17 at 5 p.m.) and Mortality Play, a blend of medieval history and rock star theatrics by Scotty Arnold and Alana Jacoby (June 16 at 5 p.m. and June 17 at 1 p.m.) Each script-in-hand performance lasts a couple of hours and is held at the Off Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway (down the path behind Toad’s Place, off York St.), New Haven. Tickets are arranged through the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. $20.

Written by Christopher Arnott. Photograph by Fran Ferry.

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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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