C an you taste it? This week the city has a thoroughly international flavor to it. There’s the ongoing International Festival of Arts & Ideas, of course. There’s also a global sporting event captivating New Haveners, plus annual Italian and Irish festivals to celebrate.
Monday, June 23
If you’re living a terranean lifestyle, you know the World Cup is in full swing, and if you’ve walked down Orange Street just north of Chapel any afternoon since June 12, you’ve probably noticed jersey-wearing crowds locking eyes on three TV screens set up in Pitkin Plaza, outside O’Tooles. Today’s as good a day as any to join them, with several strong teams including Netherlands, Chile and host/perennial contender Brazil hitting the pitch. But our bet for the most exciting game of the day is Croatia versus Mexico at 4 p.m., when the two skilled and scrappy underdogs play to see which of them advances and which goes home. Team USA’s pivotal next game, by the way, is Thursday at noon against favored powerhouse Germany. Long lunch hour, anyone?
Tuesday, June 24
French-Canadian circus troupe Les 7 doigts de la main (“the 7 fingers of the hand,” pictured above) wowed at IFAI last year with unbelievable feats of dexterity and athleticism, earning an encore engagement this year. The group’s 2014 presentation is Traces, “combining traditional acrobatic forms with street elements such as skateboarding and basketball, mixed in with some theatre and contemporary dance,” and tonight’s 8 p.m. performance kicks off a blistering 5-day, 6-show run at the University Theatre (222 York St, New Haven). The very best seats on the orchestra level go for $65 apiece, with the rest (plus all mezzanine spots) going for $35 each; students, seniors and those aged 17 and under might qualify for a discount on the latter ticket type.
Wednesday, June 25
Tonight’s Amateur Hour event at the Institute Library (847 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-562-4045)—part of a long-running series curated by writers Jack Hitt and Joshua Foer, highlighting “the passions and pursuits of America’s most inspiring fanatics, obsessives, tinkerers and collectors”—won’t suck the life out of you, despite the topic. Folklorist Michael Bell is the guest of the evening, and the name of the talk is “Vampire Hunter!” That refers to Bell and his habit of investigating “vampire killings,” which apparently describes incidents where the living dig up buried bodies and do things to make sure they’re really dead. Things get started at 7 p.m. and end around 8:30, just as dusk is settling in and nocturnal creatures are waking up. $15, $10 for Institute Library members.
Thursday, June 26
Tonight through Sunday, the St. Andrew the Apostle Society is hosting its 114th Italian Festa Celebration on the St. Andrew Club Grounds (515 Chapel St, New Haven) in Wooster Square. In Italian, festa means both “festival” and “feast,” so it’s highly appropriate in this case, with an opening parade tonight at 6, “games and carnival rides” for the kids, “musical entertainment nightly” and vendors serving more Italian food than you can shake a stick at. Free to attend.
Friday, June 27
Alas! We come upon the last two days of Arts & Ideas. Highlights over the next 48 hours include a free “water balloon gladiator show”—five of them, actually—on the New Haven Green; two performances of a modern dance program inspired by science (at Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St); a dramatic, musical play that’s incorporating different local choirs for virtually every performance this week (Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel St); and the final free tentpole concert tomorrow night on the green, which continues this year’s trend of featuring female lead vocalists, but with exciting Latin twists. The opener is the percussive, upbeat, Brazil-meets-New-Orleans Nation Beat, guaranteed to get a significant portion of the audience off their blankets and lawn chairs with “Carnival-style drumming and singing.” The headliner is the 2014 Latin Rock Grammy-winning La Santa Cecelia, bilingual purveyors of a wide range of Latin styles from bossa nova to tango in addition to that rock. 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 28
Today and tomorrow, the Connecticut Irish Festival takes over the North Haven Fairgrounds (map) with elements ranging between the expected—beer, bands and Irish dancing—and the unexpected—like a “kickball exhibition,” a darts competition, two children’s scavenger hunts and a club game of Gaelic football, a tradition which dates back to the event’s origins in 1963. This year, daily tickets are $12, or $10 in advance. Those under 16 attend for free. Things seem to get started in earnest at noon on both days, though Sunday also offers an 8:15 a.m. religious mass in the main tent.
The Branford Garden Club tasks itself with helping keep Branford beautiful on an everyday basis, but it also throws special events occasionally. Today from 1 to 5 p.m. and tomorrow from noon to 5, the group cross-pollinates a flower show with a fashion retrospective to produce “A Gardener’s Wedding,” showcasing “antique and vintage bridal gowns” among “floral design and horticulture exhibits.” The 27 or so dresses on display cover every decade of the 20th century and even reach “well back” into the 19th, we’re told. $10; free for the under-12 set. Branford Community House. 46 Church Street, Branford.
Sunday, June 29
There are two good reasons to spend this afternoon at Creative Arts Workshop (80 Audubon St, New Haven; 203-562-4927): the opening reception for the school’s latest biannual Student Show and a tag sale called “The Treasurables,” both running from 2 to 5 p.m. The student show takes place in Hilles Gallery, the two-story glass-windowed space right near the school’s front entrance; the sale, meanwhile, happens nearby on the second floor. Free to attend.
Written by Dan Mims. Photograph of Traces courtesy of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.