T heater in a department store. Brazilian dance music in a library. A Prairie Home companion at Southern Connecticut State University. The great outdoors, up against a wall, at the Yale Environmental Film Festival. When you look for entertainment options in New Haven this week, you’ll find them in unexpected places. Enjoy the variety and the thrill of discovery. Keep an open mind, be willing to challenge your perspective, and you’ll do just fine.
Monday, April 8
The 2013 Environmental Film Festival at Yale begins today with a 6:30 p.m. screening of Musicwood, a documentary in which esteemed builders of stringed instruments (the hallowed Bob Taylor and Chris Martin, plus Gibson craftsman Dave Berryman) visit a rain forest (see image above) to convince loggers to change their methods so that there’s still wood for guitars. The film’s director, Maxine Trump, joins Nick Colesanti and Kathryn Dudley for a discussion after the screening, which is preceded by the salmon-fishing sustainability allegorical short Yukon Kings, at the Yale University Art Gallery Auditorium at 1111 Chapel Street (High Street entrance), New Haven. The Environmental Film Festival at Yale continues through April 14, with 17 separate screenings at half a dozen different locations, plus a week-long photography exhibition.
Tuesday, April 9
Theatre 4’s annual Acting Out series finds intriguing real-life locations, then develops new scripts around these environs. This year the troupe invades the IKEA showroom (450 Sargent Drive, New Haven) for three performances, tonight through Thursday, of new one-acts by M.J. Kaufman, Jake Jeppson, Jacques Lamarre and Andra Vebell. Capacity is limited, and the performances are sold out except for a handful of walk-up tickets available for the first to arrive, starting at 6 p.m., for the 7 p.m. performances.
Wednesday, April 10
It’s been a good year for Richard III. His bodily remains were found under a British parking lot (the modern equivalent of trading his kingdom for a horse) and his reputation as a bitter, hunchbacked despot has been challenged. As part of the Paul Mellon Lecture Series, Robin Simon of the British Art Journal describes various depictions of Richard III “on stage, screen and canvas,” 5:30 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel Street, New Haven; 203-432-2800).
Thursday, April 11
Novelist Charlotte Rogan (The Lifeboat) signs and discusses her books at 7 p.m. in the main (Ives) building of New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm Street, New Haven; 203-946-8835). The talk is free, but if you want to support the good works of the NHFPL, you can attend a 6 p.m. pre-talk wine and cheese reception for $25.
It’s a big week for the classical music boosters at Music Haven. On Wednesday, Matt Beckmann of Music Haven’s Haven String Quartet hosts a student recital at the group’s 117 Whalley Avenue headquarters. (Free; bring food for a potluck meal). Tonight, the Haven String Quartet combines with Sambeleza for a night of more “Beautiful Brazilian Dances” 7 p.m. at the Institute Library (847 Chapel Street, New Haven; 203-745-9030, $10). On the 12th, back at 117 Whalley, Haitian hip-hop violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, a.k.a. DBR (currently an artist in residence at the New Haven Symphony), leads a free workshop for Music Haven students and other children aged 5-13.
Friday, April 12
Yale bands band together for a live-music “Boolapalooza” sponsored by the campus radio station WYBC at Toad’s Place (9 p.m., 300 York Street, New Haven; 203-624-TOAD). The acts include Oberhofer, Mykki Blanco, Pictureplane and Beat Culture. Yalies get in free. Others pay $10.
Brian Culbertson, the multi-instrumentalist, multi-styled jazz virtuoso, brings his Dreams (that’s his new album) to the Lyman Center on the Southern Connecticut State University campus (501 Crescent Street, New Haven; 203-392-6154). 8 p.m. $34, discounts for SCSU students and staff.
Conference Call is a vibrant modern jazz conversation among Gebhard Ullmann (sax), George Schuller (drums), Joe Fonda (bass) and Michael Jefry Stevens (piano). Despite their name, they never phone in a performance. Two sets tonight, 8:30 p.m. ($18) and 10 p.m. ($12) at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street, New Haven. (203) 785-0468.
Saturday, April 13
The Peabody Museum of Natural History (170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven) opens a new exhibit, Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs, today. This overview of two millennia of “fascination with ancient Egypt” is at the museum through January 4, and is augmented by dozens of special talks and events. Dr. Fathi Saleh, who teaches Computer Engineering at Cairo University and founded the archaeological database project CULTNAT, kicks off the “Echoes of Egypt” lecture series with a 5:30 p.m. discussion of “The Egyptian Heritage in the Digital Age.”
Goth is not dead. The doom-laden genre was all the rage in the netherworld of the 1990s. Bella Morte brings the deceased spirit of songs about decay back to Cafe Nine (250 State Street, New Haven; 203-789-8281) tonight at 9 p.m., with opening acts Inertia and November Party. $12, $10 in advance.
Sunday, April 14
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Wooster Square Park may not in fact feature blossoming cherry trees (though organizers have their fingers crossed), but it does have over a dozen food vendors, at least as many exhibit/activity booths, a few live bands, and joyous community spirit. Noon to 5 p.m. in Wooster Square Park (at Chapel and Greene Streets, New Haven). It’s the fest’s 40th anniversary. There’s a detailed schedule at historicwoostersquare.org.
The annual Lenten Season Concert of the Heritage Chorale of New Haven makes a joyous sound 5 p.m. at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 255 Goffe Street, New Haven. (203) 677-6779. $15, $6 children.
Garrison Keillor forsakes Lake Wobegon for Long Island Sound. A regular visitor to Connecticut, this time Keillor offers “A Brand New Perspective,” an exercise in nostalgia that features stories, sketches and live music, like on his NPR show A Prairie Home Companion. At the Lyman Center (SCSU campus, 501 Crescent Street, New Haven; 203-392-6154), Keillor’s guests include Richard Dworsky, Rob Fisher and Christine DiGiallonardo. 8 p.m. $45, $35 for SCSU staff and students.
Written by Christopher Arnott.