This Week in New Haven (July 20 – 26)

S ummer in New Haven means heat. This week it comes from baking, and smoking, and sun, and sand, and tropics-conjuring steel drums.

Monday, July 20
For the next five Mondays starting tonight, the Beecher Park Summer Concert Series and its sister HiFi Pie Fest series rule the grassy slope behind Mitchell Branch Library (37 Harrison St, New Haven). The pie side of each occasion is a contest, wherein potential entrants are invited to deliver “two pies of [their] best take on the week’s pie theme,” which are then sold by the slice and judged. As the kind of pies involved changes from week to week—tonight’s is “berry pies”—so too does the music genre. This evening it’s jazz courtesy of Mokijam, followed on subsequent Mondays by the likes of Latin-rock fusion and “acoustic country” music. 6 to 8 p.m. Free to attend.

Tuesday, July 21
Anti-marijuana propaganda film Reefer Madness (1936) is a reflection of a simpler (more simplistic) and more innocent (more naive) time. During 7:30 and 9:15 screenings at Lyric Hall tonight, the film is certain to elicit many more laughs than its originally intended gasps, as rather adult-looking teenagers smoke their way to what the movie poster called “drug-crazed abandon”—or what the trailer called “debauchery, violence, murder, suicide and the ultimate end of the marijuana addict—hopeless insanity.” And you can catch it all for what feels like a 1936 price, with tickets running just a buck apiece. 827 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. (203) 389-8885.

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The Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies

Wednesday, July 22
Tonight is live jazz night at New Haven’s own cigar bar, the Owl Shop (268 College St, New Haven), where the six-member Hawkins Jazz Collective, specializing in straight-ahead and fusion, is the resident entertainer every Wednesday. The music lasts from about 9 p.m. to about midnight. No cover.

Thursday, July 23
West Haven’s 34th annual Savin Rock Festival opens today at 5 p.m. in waterside Savin Rock Park, when remarks from Mayor Ed O’Brien lead into sets by Beatles tribute act Fools on the Hill and rock ’n’ roll cover band The American Longboards. Tunes accompany the whole four-day affair, branded as “a festival with something for everyone—music, food, crafts, rides and more,” including from Saturday night headliner “A Temptations Review” featuring former Temptations lead singer Barrington “Bo” Henderson. It’s distinct from the Temptations Review act that appeared on the New Haven Green last summer, which featured Dennis Edwards, another former frontman for the official Temptations.

Friday, July 24
It’s Yale Summer Cabaret’s not-so-solemn duty to keep the school’s theater scene interesting during summer months. That charge continues today at 8 p.m. with the debut of The Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, its third production of the season. Calling it a “radical new adaptation” of the Christopher Marlowe classic, showrunners promise an “epic, fantastical, constantly shifting stage-space” featuring “both actors and puppets.” Regular tickets cost $25, with discounts available for Yale faculty and staff plus college students. 217 Park Street, New Haven. (203) 432-1566.

Saturday, July 25
The Milford Arts Council’s 38th annual Sand Sculpture Competition today invites all comers to play in the sand for trophies and ribbons. Happening in Walnut Beach, near the point where Viscount Drive meets the Long Island Sound, registration runs from 9:30 to 10 a.m., followed by sculpting until 1:30 p.m., when the judging begins. The event is free, either to compete or to watch, though beach parking costs $5 for non-Milford residents.

As the late-’80s-to-mid-’90s R&B group Tony Toni Toné slows things down tonight on the New Haven Green, 2005-formed Neon Trees’ll be keeping a higher average BPM less than a block away at College Street Music Hall (238 College St, New Haven; 877-987-6487). Straight-edge Mormons by day and pop stars by night, the quartet’s made its latter side clear via anthemic sing-alongs like “Animal,” “Everybody Talks” and “Sleeping with a Friend.” Leading in is the more wayward but sufficiently poppy Fictionist, which hails from Provo, Utah, just like Trees. Opening the 8:30 bill is New Haven singer-songwriter Ian Biggs, who’s also got a heavy pop streak. Tickets run $25 or $40 for a special VIP package, which includes a pre-concert meet-and-greet with the headliner and a signed poster.

Sunday, July 26
Channeling the sounds of the Caribbean, Edgerton Park (75 Cliff St, New Haven) plays host to a musical “picnic-style event” from 2 to 4 this afternoon. The star of the occasion is the St. Luke’s Steel Band (pictured above during last April’s Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival), which pulls its large and diverse membership from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Whalley Avenue—and more ultimately from places like Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. Free.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories, helped in no small part by a small team of dedicated contributors.

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