T here are festive fantasies of pageantry and a concert honoring a star of the screen and stage. There’s even a costume ball and gala in a castle, a way of dressing up an otherwise dreary and chilly time of year. And it’s not even Mardi Gras yet!
Monday, February 4
The Wilson Branch of New Haven Free Public Library is offering “Free Tax Help” every day from now through April 13, from 1 to 4 p.m. 303 Washington Ave., New Haven. (203) 946-2228.
The third volume of the new storytelling/reading/spoken word series Get to the Point! (hosted by this writer) starts 8 p.m. at Cafe Nine (250 State St., New Haven; 203-789-8281). Performers include Terri Klein (with a musical exploration of the life of Catherine the Great), former New Haven Register entertainment editor Fran Fried, globetrotting journalist Daniel Smith (whose piece is entitled “Telling Jokes in Iraq”), British-born monologist Steve Bellwood, Drew Gray and surprise readings from classical literature.
Tuesday, February 5
Zoe Weil of the Institute for Humane Education speaks about “The Interconnectedness of All Life: Animal Welfare, Environmental Preservation and Human Rights” 7 p.m. in the Clarice Buckman Theater on Quinnipiac University’s main campus (275 Mt. Carmel Ave., Hamden). Weil is a member of the Animal Rights Hall of Fame and recently staged her one-woman show My Ongoing Problems With Kindness: Confessions of MOGO Girl. The talk is free.
Wednesday, February 6
Jack Vees runs the Center for Studies in Music Technology at Yale, and lives his work as an innovative, tech-minded bass guitarist who literally wrote The Book on Bass Harmonics. He plugs in both his bass and his laptop for an ear-opening concert of progressive sounds 8 p.m. at Best Video Coffee & Wine Bar, 1842 Whitney Ave., New Haven. (203) 287-9286.
Thursday, February 7
The annual Rock to Rock bike ride from East Rock to West Rock doesn’t happen until Earth Day, April 20. But tonight there’s a “launch party” to “promote the ride, start forming teams and learn about participating non-profits.” It’s from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Ave., New Haven, 203-432-5050), which coincidentally is hosting an exhibit (Seasons of Change) regarding one of the main themes of the ride—awareness of the environment and global warming.
Friday, February 8
Actress Cynthia Nixon and the Yale Whiffenpoofs are among the attractions at a special concert co-sponsored by several Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender groups at Yale (Yale GALA, LGBT Coop and the school’s LGBT Studies department, plus the Association of Yale Alumni). Nixon—Miranda on Sex in the City and the star of Wit on Broadway, whose recent work includes the miniseries World Without End—will receive the first-ever Artists for Equality Award in honor of her “strong commitment to the LGBT community.” The Whiffenpoofs, according to Yale GALA, “will join Yale’s choral community to present an evening of music and song in Ms. Nixon’s honor.” The event coincides with Yale’s second LGBT Reunion and the undergraduate IvyQ conference of LGBT student leaders. 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Woolsey Hall, 500 College St., New Haven. $10-$50.
Saturday, February 9
Happy Year of the Snake! Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a day-long Chinese Arts Festival. It starts with an outdoor “lion dance” (a tradition which bestows blessings on a community and its merchants) presented on Whitney Avenue between Grove and Trumbull streets by an ensemble from the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute. There are performances and activities—Chinese musical instrument demonstrations, a snake petting zoo and a calligraphy workshop, to name a few—from 1 to 4 p.m. at Yale’s Henry Luce Hall (34 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven), the Yale-China Association (442 Temple St., New Haven) and New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave.). Some of the workshops require pre-registration, and several are already full. Visit the Yale-China Association website for a complete schedule.
New Haven Free Public Library is holding its own Chinese New Year event, a talk by acclaimed young adult novelist Amy Kwei, who discusses her first book for an adult readership, A Concubine for the Family. 11 a.m. in the main Ives branch of the library, 133 Elm St., New Haven. (203) 946-8835.
The library hasn’t forgotten that there’s another celebrated day fast approaching. The selfsame Ives branch is hosting a “Charlie Brown Extravaganza” with a strong Valentine’s Day emphasis this afternoon from 2-4 p.m. There are screenings of love-themed Peanuts TV specials and a “Make Your Own Valentine” craft table in the children’s area of the library—where you can also find Peanuts comic strip collections on the shelves year-round.
Carnevale 2013 takes over the imposing and elegant Bill Miller’s Castle for a festive night of wine-tasting, magic shows and other performances, costume and dance competitions, raffles and art sales—all to raise funds for the “expressive drama” therapy program Play With Grace. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. $75, $65 in advance. 834 East Main St., Branford. (203) 488-4583.
Sunday, February 10
Creative Arts Workshop has a two-part “Weaving on the Weekend” workshop, today and next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The description sounds like science fiction—“prepare a warp and complete a project on a rigid heddle loom”—but no doubt the results are lovely and warm. $130, $117 for CAW members. You can bring your own rigid heddle loom, or rent one for $30 with the option to buy it outright at the end of the workshop. 80 Audubon St., New Haven. (203) 562-4927.
The Heritage Chorale of New Haven holds its annual “The Black Church Sings” concert of “African American songs, hymns and anthems” 5 p.m. at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 255 Goffe St., New Haven. (203) 288-9819.
Written by Christopher Arnott.