T he subject matters of some major events happening in New Haven this week might, at first glance, seem less than positive—the Irish Famine, a trying professional/romantic relationship, a sibling serving in Afghanistan and judges on the run for supporting regicide. But the atmosphere is one of optimism, helpfully articulated expressions of tough emotions and the prospect of learning from these adversities. And there’s a buoyant soundtrack to the whole week, from smooth jazz to Indonesian dance music.
Monday, September 24
Chris Pagliuco has written a crisp, clear account of a complicated yet crucial chapter in New Haven history—the flight of the Three Judges up West Rock, after they had called for the death of the King of England. What’s complicated is that they split up, and the adventure is best told if you focus on two-thirds of the trio. Pagliuco’s book is wisely titled The Great Escape of Edward Whalley and William Goffe: Smuggled Through Connecticut.
Pagliuco is smuggling the book into a couple of historic locations this week. Today, he’s at the Mitchell Branch Library (37 Harrison Street, New Haven; 203-946-8117) for a lecture sponsored by New Haven Review and the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance. On Thursday, he’ll be signing and discussing it in the New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Ave., New Haven. (203) 562-4183. Free; donations welcome.
Tuesday, September 25
Twenty years ago, it was commonplace for touring Broadway musicals to play two-week runs at the Shubert. Now, four or five performances over a single weekend is the norm. A two-week engagement, September 25 through October 7, is not the only thing distinctive about the national tour of Jersey Boys coming to the Shubert. Two years ago, the touring version of the hit Broadway show about the Four Seasons pop group was built and rehearsed right here at the Shubert. The current version of the tour also marks the kick-off of the Shubert’s 2012-13 Broadway season. It runs Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 & 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 & 7 p.m. 247 College St., New Haven. (203) 562-5666.
Quinnipiac University is opening its new Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (or “Museam An Ghorta Mór”) this week with some major guest speakers. Tonight, it’s Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, speaking on “Irish America and the Struggle for Freedom in Ireland,” 8 p.m. at the university’s Burt Kahn Court. Thursday, September 27, at 7 p.m., historian Christine Kinealy more directly discusses the main thrust of the museum with a lecture on “Fifty Years of the Great Hunger: The Remarkable Legacy of Cecil Woodham-Smith.” Woodham-Smith, who died in 1977 at the age 81, was herself an historian who wrote a couple of influential books on the Irish Famine of the 1840s. Kinealy, who has expanded her own exhaustive studies of the Irish Famine to relate to poverty and famine issues in other countries, will speak in Room 225 of the Carl Hansen Student Center, on the Quinnipiac University campus, 275 Mt. Carmel Drive, Hamden. Both lectures are free. (203) 582-8652.
Wednesday, September 26
Francoise N. Hamlin, who got her PhD from Yale and is now an Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies at Brown University, has a new book out, Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta After World War II. It describes 50 years of struggle and empowerment in the South, intersecting issues of poverty, segregation, violence and civil rights. Hamlin signs and talks about the book at 3 p.m. at the Yale Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 77 Broadway, New Haven. Free.
Thursday, September 27
Poet Lisa Siedlarz has a brother in the National Guard. When he was sent to Afghanistan in 2005, it inspired her to write an entire book of poems, What We Sign Up For. Siedlarz gained a special understanding of what soldiers and their families go through in times of war via the writing workshop she holds at the New Haven Veterans Center. She reads from What We Sign Up For at 7 p.m. at The Institute Library, 847 Chapel Street, New Haven. (203) 562-4045.
Friday, September 28
There’s a full moon out tonight, and the Barnard Nature Center is celebrating with kayaking at Lighthouse Point Park. Contact Ranger Harry Coyle for details, and to register. (203) 691-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
George Lesiw has been developing his particular brand of smooth yet angular guitar jazz for over a decade now. The title of his new album, Clarity, suggests that he’s reached a new level. It’s a warm and enveloping sound, yet not the background music so much modern jazz inevitably becomes. Get the full effect of Clarity when Lesiw—who grew up in the area and plays regularly at The Owl Shop—holds his CD release party tonight at Café Nine (250 State St., New Haven; 203-789-8281). Opening for George is the Matt Oestreicher Band, whose multi-instrumentalist leader is the energetic keyboardist/guitarist for the house band on Amateur Nights at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater. $10.
Saturday, September 29
Iris Gusner’s on hand to discuss her 1981 film Were the Earth Not Round, which screens this afternoon at 2 p.m. in the main branch of the New Haven Public Library, 133 Elm Street, New Haven. The tale of a couple whose relationship and impending parenthood affects their professional relationship as geologists has autobiographical elements, so Gusner’s presence at the screening (for an introduction beforehand and a Q&A session afterward) may have a profound effect on how you view it. (203) 946-8130 x211.
The all-star Fall Jazz Series at Southern Connecticut State University commences tonight with a smooth-jazz double bill of tenor saxophonist Richard Elliot and the trio led by pianist/composer David Benoit. 8 p.m. at Lyman Center, on the SCSU campus (501 Crescent St., New Haven; 203-392-6154).
Sunday, September 30
Indonesian performer Didik Nini Thowok uses traditional masks, costumes and a variety of dances and performance styles to present An Evening of Cross-Gender Enchantment, sponsored by the Insitute of Sacred Music. It’s an historical and sociological exploration of how, for centuries, men have taken on female roles in highly formalized dance and theater pieces. Dances include the classical Tari Golek Lambang Sari (showing a young girl applying make-up and dressing up to look more mature), the eclectic style blend Lenger Banyumas and the multiple-mask dance Dwimuka Jali. 8 p.m. at Battell Chapel, on the corner of Elm and Chapel Streets, New Haven. Free.
Written by Christopher Arnott.