L ike many a horror flick, this week before Halloween starts out pretty normally. Then strange things start to happen. Talk of witchcraft reaches your ear. Children’s laughter dances across a gust of wind downtown. People you know begin to dress and act as if possessed, and finally, fatalistically, whatever it is that’s got ahold of them grips you too.
Sounds pretty fun, right? Get up and getup this week in New Haven.
Monday. October 21
Woman Demon Human was meta way before it was cool. Released in 1992, the visually striking, Chinese-language movie stars real-life Beijing Opera fixture Pei Yanling as a fictional character based on herself. Tonight at 7 p.m., the film screens with subtitles in the auditorium of Yale’s Luce Hall (34 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven). Free.
Tuesday, October 22
One of the most recognizable figures in jazz today comes to Woolsey Hall (500 College St, New Haven) tonight. Wynton Marsalis, with the indispensable Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and 70-voice gospel choir Chorale le Chateau, performs his Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration! to benefit New Haven organization Christian Community Action, which helps the needy with its food pantry, family-oriented shelter, after-school programs and more. Tickets run from $20-100. 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 23
Seattle-based rock band Minus the Bear (pictured above) manages to sound cheery even when peppering its songs with slightly unorthodox time signatures and guitar riffs that take a while to resolve, if they ever do. But their guitars do sound clearer than a fall sky and warmer than an Indian summer. Minus the Bear comes through Toad’s Place (300 York St, New Haven; 203-624-8623) tonight for an 8:30 p.m. bill, which begins with Slow Bird and INVSN, in that order. $25, $20 in advance.
Thursday, October 24
Witchcraft trials in early America have been chronicled, fictionalized and sensationalized for hundreds of years, with the focus usually on the ones that occurred in Salem, MA. But there were others, including in a small state not very far to the west-southwest. Richard G. Tomlinson, author of Witchcraft Prosecution: Chasing the Devil in Connecticut, poses the question, “What were the Connecticut Witchcraft Trials Really Like?” tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-562-4183).
Friday, October 25
Unlike the accused in those trials, 48 teams of three will be casting spells tonight, and some of them might even be wearing witch’s hats. The teams are competing to win the annual New Haven Reads Spelling Bee, as well as its timely costume contest, from 7 to 9 p.m. inside University of New Haven’s Dodds Hall (300 Boston Post Rd, West Haven). If the idea of participating in a spelling bee is the stuff of childhood nightmares, don’t worry: you can witness the bee’s lighthearted shenanigans as a spectator. Attendance and hors d’oeuvres from Claire’s are free, so tip generously at the cash bar.
Saturday, October 26
When October 31 occurs in the middle of the work/school week, as it does this year, All Hallow’s Eve celebrations tend to spill into the weekend prior. Today at 2 p.m., New Haven Chorale leads a kid-geared “Happy Halloween!” concert at Trinity Church on the Green (corner of Temple St and Chapel St, New Haven; 203-624-3101). Admission is free for children and carries a $10 suggested donation for adults. Following the concert is a sweet-toothed reception offering cookies and cider.
The Russian Lady (144 Temple St, New Haven; 203-691-7276) is also getting into the holiday spirit five days early. The nightclub puts on its “First Annual Halloween Party” tonight starting at 9 p.m., with prizes and drink specials promised and costumes encouraged. The overarching theme of the party is primetime television, with different areas of the bar embracing popular shows like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory and Duck Dynasty.
Sunday, October 27
Produce a puppet and procure some produce today in Edgewood Park. The Westville Village Renaissance Alliance has been holding puppet-making workshops this month in the lead-up to its 2013 “GIANT Puppet Parade.” People will also be decorating themselves for the festivities, which begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. on the grounds of the concurrent Edgewood Farmers’ Market, with a procession around Westville in the middle.
Written by Dan Mims.