This Week in New Haven (May 20-26)

This Week in New Haven (May 20-26)

H ere’s all the dirt. Yalies tramp across New Haven Green Monday, kicking up dust in caps and gowns, then vamoose for parts unknown. A couple of Irishmen who were so poor as kids that they had to eat dirt for dinner are portrayed in a play. At talks and workshops this week, you can learn to mediate soil, then move indoors and learn how to insulate your home, or study the historic preservation of home interiors. The Lawn Club has hung paintings of other grassy New Haven places. Earthquake Party plays. There’s an outdoor gospel show, and an early Memorial Day concert for those brave souls who now lie in cemeteries.

The earth is speaking this week in New Haven. Dig it.

Monday, May 20
Brace yourself for traffic—on the streets and on the sidewalks. Thousands will swarm downtown for the 312th Yale Commencement ceremonies, including the traditional march of the graduates across New Haven Green. The main event is held on Old Campus at 10:30 a.m.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Festival of Arts & Ideas

Tuesday, May 21
In conjunction with its ’Toonskin exhibit on “blackness” in animated films and comics, Artspace is sponsoring an Artist Talks event with graphic novelist Mat Johnson 5:30 p.m. at the Institute Library (847 Chapel Street, New Haven). Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 22) at noon, Johnson will appear as part of a panel discussion at Artspace itself, 50 Orange Street, New Haven. (203) 772-2709.

Long Wharf Theatre has the race-themed hit Clybourne Park on its mainstage and now welcomes A Couple of Blaguards to its Stage II space. This feast of stories co-written by the famous memoir-writing brothers Frank and Malachy McCourt has been kicking around for decades. It’ll be performed at Long Wharf by Jarlath Conroy (who played the Gravedigger in the recent production of Hamlet at Yale Repertory Theatre) and Howard Platt (pictured above). The show runs Tuesdays through Sundays from now until June 2. Tickets are $42. 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. (203) 787-4282.

Wednesday, May 22
Energy efficiency is hot stuff in this globally warmed, ecologically aware era. The Connecticut-based non-profit Housing Development Fund is sponsoring a free Home Energy Workshop tonight from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in Building #3 of Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (333 Sherman Avenue). Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge will be leading the workshop. For more info, contact

The unwieldily titled, big-hearted foodie event known as Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation New Haven is nigh. Patrons eat well for hours at “the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.” Regular tickets are $85, which allows you to hang out on the 19th floor of the Omni Hotel (155 Temple Street, New Haven) eating scrumptious food from 6 to 9 p.m. VIP admission ($150) gets you into the event an hour earlier (at 5 p.m.), with some extra perks including “An Evening of Song” from vocalist Tanya Leonard and guitarist Derek Monahan.

Artist Frank Bruckmann has a reception for his “Paintings of Maine and Connecticut” at New Haven Lawn Club (193 Whitney Avenue, New Haven) from 5 to 7 p.m. The Lawn Club’s a cool place to see art, and it doesn’t cost anything to visit.

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NBC Connecticut

Thursday, May 23
When the New Haven Museum and New Haven Preservation Trust co-sponsor a talk by the Historic New England organization’s Preservation Services team on “Historic Interiors: Evolution and Preservation,” you can expect some passionate preservationists in the room. They’ll likely have you thumping the walls in your house trying to figure out what it looked like originally. 5:30 p.m. May 23 at the museum, 114 Whitney Ave., New Haven. (203) 562-4183.

The Zambonis play rock songs about hockey. They’ve been entertaining puck-and-stick enthusiasts longer than any professional athletes in the sport ever could, and play their guitars and drums as fast as hockey players skate. Tonight, the Zambonis skate into the Best Video Performance Space at 8 p.m. At Best, bands are invited to choose a video to screen behind them as they play. We wonder what cool flick the Zambonis might select. $5. 1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. (203) 287-9286.

Friday, May 24
The Don’t Spread Lead campaign alerts New Haven families and homeowners to the dangers of poisoning and other health risks caused by all the lead that can be found in the paint of old houses, not to mention in a lot of city soil. This enormously important and helpful info can be found in workshops today from 8 a.m. to noon at Grand Paint & Floor Covering (451 Grand Avenue, New Haven) and tomorrow (Saturday, May 25) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Harbor Freight Tools (84 Whalley Avenue, New Haven).

Rapper Talib Kweli grew up in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, but later attended Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. His two-decade career in music has included such strong album-length statements as The Beautiful Struggle and the brand new Prisoner of Consciousness. Talib Kweli returns to Toad’s Place tonight. Cory Mo, Jus & Company (with Sotorios of Political Animals) and The Shift are also on the bill. $25, $20 in advance. 300 York Street, New Haven. (203) 624-TOAD.

There’s always space for a few punk-pop trios. The Thermals hail from Portland, Oregon. Chalk Talk is out of Amherst, Massachusetts (with roots along the Mass./Connecticut border). Earthquake Party comes from Boston. All converge on The Space (295 Treadwell Street, Hamden; 203-288-6400) for a 7 p.m. show tonight.

Saturday, May 25
Life Changing Outreach Ministries is declaring “Victory Over Violence” with a Summer Kick-Off Rally today from noon to 4 p.m. at 1435 State Street, New Haven. “Holy hip-hop gospel artists from all over the East Coast” are expected. Food and clothes will be given away, and admission to the event is free.

University of New Haven’s Seton Gallery (in Dodds Hall, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven; 203-931-6065) has hung works by local artists chronicling “the demise of local industry.” There’s an opening reception for the exhibition, titled “Local Industry: Reflections on Nearby,” tonight at 6 p.m. Some of the artists (view the full list here) are well known for their depictions of factories in disarray. Styles range from oil painting to photography to mixed media.

Joker’s Wild Comedy Club has a headliner who was born and raised in New Haven’s Newhallville section. Lue Avent—who has recently returned to comedy following several bouts of open-heart surgery—is concluding a two-night, three-show stand in the club tonight: Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 8 & 10:30 p.m. Greg Stone is also on the bill. 232 Wooster Street, New Haven. (203) 773-0733. $18.

Sunday, May 26
Every year, Orchestra New England—which knows something about memorials, thanks to their patriotic and traditional wintertime Colonial Concerts—holds an annual Memorial Day Concert at the Shubert (247 College Street, New Haven; 203-562-5666). The show is free; tickets can be picked up today at the box office, with a limit of four per person. The concert begins at 5 p.m.

Written by Christopher Arnott.

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Christopher Arnott has written about arts and culture in Connecticut for over 25 years. His journalism has won local, regional and national awards, and he has been honored with an Arts Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. He posts daily at his own sites and New Haven Theater Jerk (

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