T he end of the year serves as a time for reflection and hopefulness. Everything from sung Latin Vespers to jazz to folk to rockabilly to ska to jam bands—a veritable history of music—helps to lighten the mood this week. There’s even the jingle-jangle off in the distance of horse drawn carriage rides. Not precisely like riding in a one-horse open sleigh but nonetheless a welcome reminder of the good memories this season can bring.
Monday, December 17
The Morgan Brothers’ monthly Fistful of Jokes stand-up comedy revue at Cafe Nine will help get you through the week. 7:30 p.m. $3. 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281.
Tuesday, December 18
Latin Vespers are sung by Yale Voxtet 7 p.m. free at Dwight Hall, 67 High St., New Haven. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluia. (203) 432-5062.
For the fifth monthly edition of the Amateur Hour cool-people interview series at the Institute Library, host Jack Hitt chats up Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, who studies very bad television shows. Yes, the Northeastern University Professor of English and author of The Gender of Freedom: Fictions of Liberalism and the Literary Public Sphere is conversant in such disturbing programs as I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and Extreme Couponing. 7 p.m. $10, $5 for Institute Library members. 847 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 562-4045.
Wednesday, December 19
The famous local ska band of the 1990s, Spring Heeled Jack, reunited last month for a big reunion show at Toad’s Place. Members of the band convene tonight for an acoustic(!) set at BAR (254 Crown St., New Haven; 203-495-1111), with King Django and Vic Ruggiero (from The Slackers) also on the bill. Free. 9 p.m.
Thursday, December 20
Sebastian Bäverstam plays solo cello music by Bach and Kodály in the library court of the Yale Center for British Art. The music wafts through the entire museum starting at 5:30 p.m. 1080 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 432-2800.
Tom Hearn has palled around with the Ramones and the creators of Punk Magazine. But his heart is in an older form of rock & roll, the type of roots/rockabilly he has promoted for years through his awe-inspiring band Big Fat Combo, which sings raucous ditties about being banned from the dive bar Sam the Clams and hailing the coming of the comet Hale Bopp. The combo plays a special show 8 p.m. at Best Video, 1842 Whitney Ave., Hamden. (203) 287-9286.
Friday, December 21
Billy Winn, who’s been playing Connecticut comedy clubs for nearly a quarter century, and has also gained a following for his radio exploits on KC101 and WPLR, begins a two-night, three-show stand tonight at Joker’s Wild (232 Wooster St., New Haven; 203-773-0733). Daniel Kalwhite is also on the bill. $18.
Saturday, December 22
The City of New Haven is offering free horse-drawn carriage rides around New Haven Green today from 1-5 p.m. Automobile drivers need not be jealous; the parking lot at Broadway Center (the shopping district between Broadway and Elm streets between Park and York) is offering up to six hours of free parking with a same-day shopping receipt of $15 or more from a downtown business.
Three big holiday music shows on this final Saturday before Christmas:
Start out in the afternoon with the Westville Jazz Holiday Celebration, 4 p.m. at Lyric Hall. Performers include bassist Emmanuel Johnson, saxophonist Miguel Johnson, The Johnson Brothers, Neighborhood Music School students, and more. 827 Whalley Ave., New Haven. (203) 389-8885, $15, $25 for VIP tickets.
Connecticut music and hairstyle legend Christine Ohlman, the Beehive Queen (pictured above), who’s sung with the Saturday Night Live studio band for decades, is “Rockin’ Around the Beehive Christmas Tree” with her trio Rebel Montez 8 p.m. at Cafe Nine. The Mighty Soul Drivers open. $15. 250 State St., New Haven (203) 789-8281.
At Toad’s Place, the ever-charitable jam/funk outfit Kung Fu holds its annual Christmas Spectacular, which collects money and toys for needy children. Last year’s event raised over $5000. Admission is $20, or $15 in advance, or $10 if you bring a “new, unwrapped toy” to brighten some child’s holiday. Joining the versatile Kung Fu are Break Science, Viral Sound and Conneticon. 8:45 p.m. 300 York St., New Haven. (203) 624-TOAD.
Sunday, December 23
Overwhelmed by the end of the year? Feeling the winter blues? Just need a nice night out for no pressure and next to no money? The Outer Space has a calm, sweet double-bill for its Songwriter Series: Lauren Farrell and Lara Hoffman. 8:15 p.m. $3. 295 Treadwell St., Hamden. (203) 288-6400.