T he International Festival of Arts & Ideas began on Saturday and runs through June 29, with numerous events scheduled each day (except Mondays). That cultural omnipresence is reflected in our rundown of highlights this week. We’ve also made an effort to spotlight the many things happening outside of A&I’s purview. That’s the kind of city this is: even with a big, multi-faceted festival going on, there are so many other thriving scenes that you’re never at a loss for cool stuff to do. Happy Summer Solstice!
Monday, June 17
Getting a jump on this week’s Arts & Ideas events is the String Quartet Truck, a flatbed conveyance which transports live, performing classical musicians, the Haven String Quartet from Music Haven (pictured above), to various New Haven neighborhoods, today through Friday between noon and 2 p.m. You can follow the ensemble’s route here. There will also be Twitter and Facebook updates, with videos.
The monthly Fistful of Jokes comedy show convulses Cafe Nine at 7:30 p.m. $3. 250 State Street, New Haven. (203) 789-8281.
Tuesday, June 18
Yale’s Beinecke Library has a new exhibition, Permanent Markers: Aspects of the History of Printing, and the British scholar David Shaw will be there today to deliver the keynote lecture for that exhibition. His talk is titled “Revived, Kidnapped, Rescued and Rebuilt: Canterbury Cathedral Library in the Seventeenth Century.” 5:15 p.m. 121 Wall Street, New Haven. (203) 432-2977.
The Beinecke, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is also the location for the Arts & Ideas theater event The Quiet Volume by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells. Each one-hour performance is attended by just two audience members. It’s meant to conjure up the conflicted emotions of excitement and solace one feels when reading in a quiet library. Shows are Tuesday through Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $25; reservations required.
Wednesday, June 19
Arts & Ideas is offering a preview of a new chamber opera by Yale profs Martin Bresnick (composer), J.D. McClatchy (librettist) and David Chambers (director), based on a Chekhov short story. It’s called My Friend’s Story and has just two performances, tonight and Thursday at 8 p.m. in Yale’s Iseman Theater (1156 Chapel Street, New Haven). $35 & $45.
Further cerebral sounds emanate from BAR (254 Crown Street, New Haven) tonight. The band A Great Big Pile of Leaves has an EP called The Fiery Works and is working on a full-length album called Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex? The Kansas-based act Hospital Ships writes smart songs shaped by modern sounds and traditional folk. The indie folk band Hanging Hills, from Willimantic, opens the 9 p.m. show. Free.
Thursday, June 20
A definite Latin music vibe at Arts & Ideas today, with Goza Latin Jazz, Ginga Brasileira and Sambeleza all performing for free on New Haven Green at noon, 1:15 and 6 p.m. respectively. Goza and Sambeleza are part of the Noon to Night series, while Ginga Brasileira is on the Family Stage. Prepare to dance and sway all day.
An American performer who’s dabbled repeatedly with world rhythms is David Byrne. He had a big hit record last year with the multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer St. Vincent, which caused the duo’s tour to be extended. They play the Shubert (247 College Street, New Haven) tonight at 7:30 p.m. $58-$78.
Friday, June 21
Plumber/novelist Sarah Pemberton Strong can fix your pipes with a wrench or wrench your heart with her poetry. She is widely published in poetry journals and has published two novels, The Fainting Room and Burning the Sea, as well as a poetry collection, Tour of the Breath Gallery. Strong signs and discusses her work tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell Street, Hamden; 203-288-6400). Free.
Stuck Elevator is a new musical by Aaron Jafferis and Byron Au Yong about an Asian immigrant’s life in the U.S., loosely inspired by the real-life story of a take-out deliveryman who was trapped in an apartment building elevator for a weekend. The show was done by ACT in San Francisco earlier this year, and is now being brought to the Long Wharf Theatre mainstage courtesy of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. It’s performed June 20-29 at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Wednesday and Sunday, and both Saturdays.
Saturday, June 22
A lot of libraries now offer e-books, but borrowing them may require a few tricky clicks. The Mitchell branch of New Haven Free Public Library offers an “e-book downloading demo” today at 3 p.m. to help you stick books into your Kindle or Nook or iPad or whatever electronic device you stick books into. (203) 946-6514.
The Kronos Quartet has been around for 40 years. Based solely on the works they’ve commissioned and the extant compositions they’ve saved from obscurity, they’re one of the most important classical ensembles of the last century. But they can also play! And play anything, it seems. In a real coup for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, the Kronos Quartet plays live tonight for free on the New Haven Green, with special guest pipa player Wu Man. They’ll be playing works by everyone from Bryce Dessner to Richard Wagner to Terry Riley to Liu Xue’an and others. 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 23
You probably know if you live in an old house. But how old? New Haven Museum is partnering with New Haven Preservation Trust and Historic New England for a workshop on “Reading Your Old House.” Joseph Cornish will alert you to tell-tale architectural signs that your domicile dates from a certain era, takes place at 1:30 p.m. in a verified, well-documented, honest-to-goodness historic house, the Pardee-Morris House (325 Lighthouse Rd., New Haven). For details, contact New Haven Museum at (203) 562-4183.
The 5 p.m. Arts & Ideas presentation of composer John Luther Adams’s nature-themed songbirdsongs is site-specific and flight-specific. The chirping, flitting bird-themed piece is played inside Yale’s Marsh Botanical Garden (227 Mansfield Street, New Haven) by Le Train Bleu, featuring flautist Ransom Wilson. 5 p.m. $45 with chair included, $35 to “stand & roam.”
Written by Christopher Arnott. Photographed by Kathleen Cei.