B ob Dylan (in a “theatrical biography” at Lyric Hall), Robert Johnson (whose seminal blues style is feted by guitarist Rocky Lawrence), Radu Lupu (the renowned pianist), Opus (the renowned metal rock drummer), Vanil Frappe (the burlesque artist who’s one of four acts on “Band Roulette” night at Café Nine Tuesday) and, last but foremost, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (the celebration of whose birthday and holiday starts on Sunday). These, and other notable names, will amuse and enlighten you this week in New Haven.
Monday, January 14
Delta Blues guitarist Rocky Lawrence keeps the faith, doing live tributes to the formative 20th century blues artists Robert Johnson and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Lawrence has an ongoing residency on Monday nights at Anna Liffey’s. The music begins at 8:30 p.m. 17 Whitney Ave., New Haven. (203) 773-1776.
Tuesday, January 15
Gamble on new sounds! Cafe Nine’s new Band Roulette series picks four bands at random to play at this mid-month Tuesday event. This month’s lucky acts: Rope, Monster Eats Pilot, Andrew Morgan and Vanil Frappe. 8 p.m. 250 State St., New Haven; (203) 789-8281. $5.
Wednesday, January 16
Some people think history is written by the victor. In Ray Bendici’s worldview, it’s defined by boneheads and jackasses. Bendici reads from and discusses his new book Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Connecticut History at 6:30 p.m. at the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave., New Haven; 203-562-4183), as part of the institution’s Heroes & Villains Lecture Series. Free.
January Joiner is a new “weight loss horror comedy” by Laura Jacqmin, set in a fantastic and fraught Florida fitness camp. Opening night of the Long Wharf Theater’s world-premiere production, directed by Eric Ting, is tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the theater’s Stage II space, 222 Sargent Dr., New Haven. (203) 787-4282.
Thursday, January 17
Sports and civil liberties intersect in Yale Anthropology student Josh Rubin’s public talk, “Fractured Frames: The Politics and Legacies of Anti-Apartheid Rugby,” at noon in Room 203 of Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven.
Pianist Radu Lupu plays Franck (Prelude, Chorale & Fugue), Schubert (Four Impromptus) and Debussy (Preludes Deuxieme Livre) at Morse Recital Hall, Sprague Hall, 470 College St., New Haven. (203) 432-4158. $20-30, $10-$15 for students. 8 p.m.
Friday, January 18
Iconic local metal-band drummer Opus has turned his birthday into a major local-band showcase tradition. Tonight’s event at Toad’s Place features Opus himself playing in the bands Alcoholica (a Metallica tribute) and Dead by Wednesday, and welcoming Eyes of the Dead, Lightsbane, Curse the Son, Apostasy and Symphony of Malice. Opus’s birthday also consumes the smaller Lilly’s Pad space at Toad’s, where DJ Connect, Mortal Conquest, Fury, Details and Deuce Bug (with Full Blast) will all play. 7:30 p.m. 300 York St., New Haven. (203) 624-TOAD. $12.
Creative Arts Workshop opens its first two exhibits of 2013, which run concurrently through Feb. 8 and enjoy an opening reception today from 5 to 7 p.m. Deirdre Schiffer: A Retrospective is a selection of paintings and works on paper from the introspective Connecticut-based artist, who died in 2011. CAW instructor Dorothy Powers’ show, titled The Women (a portion of which is pictured above), has an overriding theme of female civil rights worldwide. 80 Audubon St., New Haven. (203) 562-4927.
Saturday, January 19
One of the longest performance runs of any show at the Lyric Hall stage began yesterday with Long Time Gone: Words & Music by Bob Dylan, performed by Peter Landecker (narrating the show in the character of Bob Dylan) and Guy Davis and BettySoo (performing classic Dylan songs). The Jan. 18, 19 & 23 performances are benefit previews: Thursday’s beneficiary is Neighborhood Music School, Friday’s is the Jamie Hulley Arts Fund and next Wednesday’s is Habitat for Humanity. The show’s opening night, Jan. 24, is also a benefit, for Lyric Hall. Regular performances follow on Jan. 25-27 Jan. 31-Feb. 3 and Feb. 7-10. $35, $25 students & seniors. A whole lot better than being stuck inside of Mobile with those Memphis blues again.
Sunday, January 20
The Yale Peabody Museum’s annual “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice” event fills the museum with performances, activities and information booths for two afternoons, today from noon to 4:30 p.m. and the next day, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., linking Dr. King’s lifelong peace and justice concerns with the institutions own socioenviromental work. The program includes breakdancers, storytellers and a drum circle. 170 Whitney Ave., New Haven. (203) 432-5050.
Keep the celebration of Dr. King’s community consciousness going with the annual MLK Day Funkfest at Toad’s Place, with reliable local funk/R&B/soul stars Rearview, Greg Sherrod, Terryl Lee and Funkinachea. 300 York St., New Haven. (203) 624-TOAD. $10.
Violinist Wendy Sharp has been teaching and performing at Yale for decades. She hosts a “Wendy Sharp and Friends” concert tonight at 8 p.m. as part of the Yale School of Music’s Faculty Artist Series. The friends are fellow violinist Marka Gustavsson, cellist Mimi Hwang and pianist Melvin Chen. Morse Recital Hall, Sprague Hall, 470 College St., New Haven. (203) 432-4158. Free.
Written by Christopher Arnott.