T he arts, history and world culture collide this week, from an underground adaptation of 88-year-old Russian satire to a freewheeling dreamplay about forgotten episodes in American history to the first area concert by an internationally acclaimed 15-year-old Chinese pianist and a lecture about the mid-20th century visionary who designed the Yale Center for British Art. It’s a marvelous mash-up of an autumnal week in New Haven.
Monday, September 17
Robert Wilson, the innovative theater director and artist who created the epic performance piece CIVIL warS and directed Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach, among other triumphs, speaks tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Room 204 of 36 Edgewood Avenue, New Haven. Besides his busy directing schedule, Wilson’s on an international tour with his “Video Portraits” and “Lecture on Nothing:” programs. It’s not clear exactly what he’ll be doing at Yale, but even stripped-down, basic and off-the-cuff, Wilson is brilliant. The talk is sponsored by the Yale School of Art (203-432-2600). Free.
Tuesday, September 18
Photographer Robert Adams is being honored at the Yale University Art Gallery with a new exhibit, The Place We Live. The artist has also been offered the chance to program his own film series at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall Street, New Haven; 203-432-6090). The Robert Adams Film Series screens movies which “have been particularly important” to Adams work. Many, like Adams’ photography, are driven more by environment as by character. Tonight, for instance, is Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu’s 1953 classic Tokyo Story. A second film in the series, A New Leaf, directed by and starring Elaine May and co-starring Walter Matthau, screens this Thursday, September 19. After that, the Robert Adams Film Series continues just on Thursdays through October 11. A discussion follows each screening. Free.
Wednesday, September 19
You can sit inside the Yale Center for British Art this afternoon and listen to a lecture on “Kahn’s Vision for the Yale Center for British Art.” Then you can wander outside the lecture hall and see YCBA architect Louis Kahn’s vision for yourself. The lecturer is Peter Inskip of the London firm of Peter Inskip + Peter Jenkins Architects. 5:30 p.m. 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven. (203) 432-2800.
The weekly Open Mic Night at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell Street, Hamden; 203-288-6400) features Hudson Valley, NY-based singer/songwriter Scott Barkan, an eclectic acoustic performer who plunks a variety of sounds from bluegrass to “skronky avant/country improvisations.” Should fit the traditional-meets-cutting-edge Outer Space vibe very well.
Thursday, September 20
The Yale Cabaret opens its 45th season with an adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s short story The Fatal Eggs, a frantic end-of-the-world scenario involving scientists and frogs. Tonight at 8 p.m., then Friday and Saturday at both 8 & 11 p.m. 217 Park Street, New Haven. (203) 432-1566. $15, $10 students, and you can also buy food and drink there.
Friday, September 21
Another Yale theater begins its 2012-13 seasons tonight, with a clattering of antique revolvers and flashy 19th-century fashions. The Yale Repertory Theatre presents American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose, a farcical history-based odyssey scripted by Richard Montoya and developed with the California-based satire troupe Culture Clash. (Rep audiences will remember Culture Clash from their signature show Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, which played here in 2003 with original material that deftly mocked Yale and New Haven.) Promoted as a “provocative, irreverent and hilarious mix of past and present, stereotype and truth,” American Night is directed by Jo Bonney, and features playwright Montoya among its nine-person cast. Preview performances begin tonight. Opening night is September 27, and the show continues through October 13.
A different New Haven-based university, Southern Connecticut State University, has a concert tonight by hitmaking hip-hop popsters New Boyz. $15; discounts for SCSU staff & students. 8 p.m. at Lyman Center, on the SCSU campus, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. (203) 392-6154.
Saturday, September 22
The Institute Library (847 Chapel Street, New Haven; 203-562-4045) has been offering a feast of ephemera this week. On Monday, September 17, the private lending library/literary salon features Davy and Peter Rothbart, part of a nationwide tour to celebrate the first decade of their extraordinary Found Magazine, which collects and prints intriguing bits of paper found on sidewalks and elsewhere. (Davy is also promoting his new book My Heart is an Idiot and Peter has a new album out.) Today, the theme of found art continues, with a local focus. Mailing the City: New Haven Postcards from the Collection of Joseph Taylor is on view starting today and continuing through November 10. Institute Library hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Membership begins at $25/year.
Sunday, September 23
15-year-old Chinese piano prodigy Niu Niu visits New Haven this afternoon for a free performance of works by Domenico Scarlatti (two sonatas: in E major, K. 380, and in A minor, K. 54), Beethoven (the “Appassionata”) and Liszt (“Isoldens Liebestod,” adapted from the opera Tristan and Isolde, plus “Liebestraum” and the Mephisto waltz). Niu Niu (whose real name is Zhang Shengllang) has been playing concerts since he was six, and by 12 had recorded all of Chopin’s Etudes, but this tour marks his North American debut. The concert is free. (By contrast, tickets for Niu Niu’s Boston debut a couple of days ago cost $36.) Brought to you by the Yale School of Music, 5 p.m. at Morse Recital Hall. 470 College Street, New Haven; (203) 432-4158.
Niu Niu is young; the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, which also holds a concert this afternoon, honors age and tradition. At 3 p.m., the trio of Wieland Kuijken (on viola da gamba), Eva Legene (on recorder) and Arthur Haas (on harpsichord) offer a musical exploration of “Crossing the Rhine: 18th century Music from France and Germany.” 15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven. $20, $15 seniors, $10 students. (203) 432-4158.
From on the concert stage to off the gallery walls: It’s the annual Somewhat Off the Wall fundraising event for the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. The crowdpleasing, artloving klatsch is held this year at the headquarters of the Odonnell Company, one of the event’s many sponsors. Fifty artists donate works. Attendees purchase numbered “premium tickets” for $100, entitling them to choose an artwork to take home once their number is called. There’s also a raffle, refreshments, and the cultured conversation you expect at a gallery opening. 5 to 9 p.m. at 760 Chapel Street, New Haven. (203) 772-2788.
Written by Christopher Arnott.