E very good story has a beginning, a middle and an end, it’s said. In that case, this week in New Haven tells a tale of music and food, with events explicitly marrying the two happening Monday, Thursday and Sunday. Important plot points along the way include a Tuesday offering camaraderie and competition, a Wednesday and a Friday promising thought-provoking artistic experiences and a Saturday taking a short community-wide trip down memory lane.
Monday, July 21
At 6:30 p.m., it’s the first of five weekly events in this year’s Beecher Park Summer Concert Series & Hi-Fi Pie Fest outside Mitchell Library (37 Harrison St, New Haven). The auditory entertainment this evening comes courtesy of Wry Bred, a “contra dance/barn dance band” starring Julie Sorcek on flute, Mickey Koth on fiddle and Robert Messore on guitar. This is a kind of country music we northerners can love—traditional folk that’s wistful and nostalgic but also festive and spirited. The gustatory entertainment comes from berry pies—the category changes each week—and you can add your own to the mix, since it’s an open-entry pie baking contest. If baking isn’t your thing, you can still buy slices to enjoy during the show. Free to attend.
Tuesday, July 22
Anna Liffey’s (17 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-773-1776) says its Tuesday trivia night is “New Haven’s longest-running”—it’s been well over 15 years at this point—and “most challenging,” which makes sense considering participation can top out at around 50 teams. The entry fee is $10, pooling into cash prizes for the winners and runners-up, plus a refund of the entry fee for the team that comes in second-to-last, adding extra sting for those who finish at the very back of the pack. Signup starts at 8:15 p.m.
Wednesday, July 23
True to the spirit of the long-running Uncertainty Music Series, it’s hard to know what to expect from New Haven-based trio Broadcloth and New York-based Jen Shyu at tonight’s 8:30 show in The Big Room (Erector Square, 319 Peck St, New Haven). In Broadcloth’s case, the vocals/cello/accordion outfit’s self-described “avant-garde chamber music” is largely improvisational, so even its own members can’t quite know what’s coming. Past live appearances give us some clues, though, revealing a band that delights in discord and moodiness, achieving new heights of mind-opening strangeness when operatic singing and lilting spoken-word narration enter the fray. Meanwhile, whatever the line is between performer and performance artist, New York-based Jen Shyu seems to cross it, presenting a hypnotic marriage of multilingual vocal and instrumental stylings with theatrical body movements. Known in part for her improvisational singing in established ensembles, you can only imagine where she’ll go in an unfettered solo show like this one. $10.
Thursday, July 24
West Haven’s four-day Savin Rock Festival, in its 33rd year, gets going tonight with some old-school rock and roll as tribute band Fools on the Hill does its best impression of The Beatles from 7 to 9 p.m. Tribute bands headline every other night of the festival as well, featuring Changes in Latitude (Jimmy Buffett) tomorrow at 7, Magic of Motown (a “Motown tribute” act) Saturday at 8 and The Navels (Stevie Nicks) Sunday at 8. Over the course of the four days, lots of other bands and a couple of dance groups keep the party going, along with a craft fair from noon to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday and nine vendors serving food from savory Malaysian (courtesy of Bentara) to sweet Italian ice (courtesy of Rita’s). Naturally, the festival takes place at Savin Rock Park, at the northernmost end.
Friday, July 25
Tonight from 5 to 8 p.m., Artspace (50 Orange St, New Haven; 203-772-2709) is hosting an opening reception for Vagaries of the Commons, a new exhibition curated by gallery manager Sarah Fritchey. Featuring items contributed by 11 named artists and four group-type entities like the Elm City Dance Collective and Occupy New Haven—all of whom, as Artspace puts it, “make works that operate within the penumbras and cracks of the legal systems that oversee [New Haven’s] ‘commons’”—the show hopes to make sense of the “increasingly complex” but vital notion at its core.
Saturday, July 26
Last Saturday, Music on the Green gathered a massive crowd (partially pictured above) in downtown New Haven, giving Baby Boomers a nostalgic lift with The Temptations Review. Tonight, Gen X and Y get their own exciting throwback with Salt-N-Pepa, whose libidinous hit songs—“Push It,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “Shoop,” “Whatta Man”—are probably a little more awkward for families to share a picnic to. Then again, somehow we all managed it back in the 80s and 90s, when those songs were on the radio. 7 p.m. Free.
Sunday, July 27
At the Harugari Singing Society German-American Club (66 Highland St, West Haven; 203-933-9930), beer is spelled “bier” and it’s flowing beneath the club’s wood-beamed pavilion from 1 to 6 p.m. today. The occasion is Bierfest I—there’s a sequel in August—and the entry fee is a mere $3 for adults and free for the kids (under 18), who are not to be confused with the “brats”—bratwurst—accompanying the brew. Austrian Boys, a self-described “traditional Austrian-German” and “alpine-American rock” band based in Norwalk, and a house dance troupe called the Harugari Schuhplattlers round out the occasion.
Written and photographed by Dan Mims.