N ew Haven’s Christmas season starts in earnest this week with several light-hearted holiday traditions. Thursday’s lights up the Green. Friday’s might make you light-headed. Sunday’s is relatively light on your wallet.
And the championship roller derby match on Saturday in Woodbridge? That’s just the star atop the tree.
Monday, December 2
Historian of photography and Yale professor Laura Wexler is a photographer in her own right, and for just 12 more viewing hours, spread over a few weeks, she has an exhibition up in the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven; 203-432-0670). The Tenderness of Men in Suburbs is on view Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m. through December 18, featuring images she captured in 1968 near Boston, MA.
Tuesday, December 3
Two events beckon from Hamden tonight. The first occurs at 7:30 p.m. at the Whitney Center (200 Leeder Hill Dr, Hamden; 203-281-6745), where England-born author Simon Van Booy reads from and signs copies of his acclaimed, bestselling novel The Illusion of Separateness. Adding extra intrigue to the evening, Anita Knapp—whose life experiences inspired the novel, and who’s Van Booy’s mother-in-law and a Whitney Center resident—is going to be there.
The second also involves a British man at a microphone, but that’s about where the similarities end. Singer/guitarist Archy Marshall, stage name King Krule, growls and snarls and basically harshes the reverberating trip hop mellow of his first full-length album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. Moon’s often melancholy songs don’t give us much in the way of structure, and Marshall’s low-register voice might be odd and abrasive enough to make you wonder why he thought he could have a career in music performance in the first place. And then it clicks: maybe he just doesn’t care what you think, which is about as rock ’n’ roll as it gets. King Krule headlines tonight at The Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400), with Ratking starting things off. Doors open at 8 p.m. $15.
Wednesday, December 4
Interactive art installation Through the Trees, which opens today and runs through December 30 in Artspace’s open-air The Lot (812 Chapel St, New Haven), has a mission as reflective as its title—and as its “silver-chrome, large-scale, fabricated trees,” to be decorated with ornaments made by city public school students and the general public. The artists behind it, Nick Pfaff and Hannah Plotke, conceived the project to provide “a public space for New Haven residents to reflect on the heavy toll that violence takes on our community” and “an unconventional memorial for those we have lost to violence in our community.” Free.
Thursday, December 5
The city’s annual tree lighting festivities (see a close-up of last year’s lights above) on the New Haven Green start this afternoon at 4 p.m. and go ’til 8. Santa, who really seems to get around this time of year, is attending, as are “mechanical animals” for riding. The teachers and students of Neighborhood Music School provide the soundtrack, and crafters will be there with gifts for sale. Free.
Friday, December 6
In Puerto Rico and elsewhere in Latin America, Parranda is a holiday-season affair replete with singing, eating, drinking and dancing, with revelers traveling from house to house and adding to their numbers along the way. In New Haven, you just have to go to one destination: Kelly’s Restaurant & Bar (196 Crown St, New Haven). Organized by and benefitting local Latino-serving groups Arte Inc., Casa Otoñal and Progreso Latino Fund, the party tonight, starting at 7 p.m., features a Coquito (think alcoholic eggnog) tasting contest, as well as Asopao de Pollo (a traditional chicken stew), raffle prizes and even an invitation to “bring your own musical instruments.” Tickets are $30. Cash bar.
Saturday, December 7
Diehard fans, casual followers and curiosity-seekers converge on the Connecticut Sports Center (21 S. Bradley Rd, Woodbridge) tonight for CT Roller Derby’s post-season “2013 Championship Bout” between the Widowmakers and Iron Angels. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, with discounts for kids. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the rolling and jostling begins at 6.
Sunday, December 8
The annual holiday-timed “GIVE ART” event at City Gallery (994 State St, New Haven; 203-782-2489) offers works by the collective’s talented artists—paintings, sculpture, photography and more—for just $100 a pop. The gallery’s had this year’s crop on display since last Friday, but the official opening reception, where many of the artists are likely to be hanging out, is today from 2 to 6 p.m. Free to attend.
The Ninth Square is likely to be in a celebratory mood today with the grand opening of the New Haven Pride Center’s new location at 84 Orange St. The LGBT-friendly space is “fully renovated” and “all bells-and-whistles” compared to the old address. We’re also told there are going to be hors d’oeuvres and refreshments for the occasion. 3 to 6 p.m. Free.
Written and photographed by Dan Mims.