A bonanza literary fest and a retro dress-up party, with two big Bens between, bookend a wild week in the Elm City.
Monday, September 19
Each year, the Windham-Campbell Prizes, administered by Yale, reward fine writers from around the globe with “unrestricted grants” of $150,000. They also reward the keen-minded residents of New Haven with a free, public literary festival. That begins in earnest today inside Sprague Hall (470 College St, New Haven), where the “legendary” musician and songwriter Patti Smith—whose literary credentials, including a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids (2010), are gaining on her musical ones—keynotes the main prize ceremony at 5 p.m. It continues tomorrow and Wednesday with a whirlwind schedule of intimate, illuminating “talks, readings, conversations and cultural events.”
Tuesday, September 20
Three generations of indie music royalty come through College Street Music Hall this week. The king, appearing Thursday night (8:00; $39-49), is Ben Folds, who skyrocketed to fame in 1997 with his Ben Folds Five. The princes, performing tonight (7:30; $20-22), are Peter Bjorn and John, whose breakout hit “Young Folks,” released in 2006, still pops up on local radio stations. The duke, arriving Friday (8:00; $20-22), is St. Lucia, a.k.a. Jean-Philip Grobler, who’s racked up more than 100 million Spotify plays since debuting his first LP in 2013. 238 College Street, New Haven. (203) 867-2000.
Wednesday, September 21
Brilliant, colorful and principled—at least politically—Anthony Weiner was once the Democratic Party’s great progressive hope in the House of Representatives. Then, in 2011, he was caught sending sexually charged photos of his nether region to women who weren’t his wife, forcing him to resign from Congress. Today at the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven), a free screening gives us a critically acclaimed, award-winning insider’s view of his tragicomic comeback attempt: a promising but ultimately doomed campaign for mayor of New York City in 2013. Weiner (2016), the documentary is called, because of course it is. 7 p.m.
Thursday, September 22
Yale Cabaret’s second show in as many weeks opens tonight at 8 p.m., and it’s “not a well-behaved play.” It’s Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., whose title’s red pen-defying grammar offers just a whiff of the play’s rebellions. Involving “a broad assembly of actors who move in and out of disjointed episodes and fragmented femininities, variously broody/silly/distraught/listless/hysterical,” reviews of its U.S. debut last April highlight, as one writer put it, the “anarchic furor” with which the play reexamines language, culture and civilization itself in light of the harm all three have done/still do to women. $20, or $15 for faculty/staff and $12 for college students. 217 Park Street, New Haven. (203) 432-1566.
Friday, September 23
New Haveners have a special interest in the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold, who, as a local merchant and revolutionary firebrand, singlehandedly compelled New Haven to join the earliest war efforts against the British in 1775. Six years later, after switching sides, he led a battalion of redcoats to New London, Connecticut, where they burned the town and—incensed by a vigorous defense that did more damage than it should have—massacred a fort full of rebels. Today in New London, you can… celebrate?… that occasion during the fourth annual Burning of Benedict Arnold Festival, a free venue-hopping affair involving “theatre, a parade, puppets, dancing, live music, food/beer and, of course, THE BURNING!” The itinerary begins at 4:30 p.m. at the historic Hempsted House (11 Hempsted St, New London), where a play about the torching of the city is to be staged. Eventually things make their way to Waterfront Park (S. Water St, New London), where, among other things, there’ll be a good old-fashioned burning-in-effigy of Mr. Arnold at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 24
The New Haven Land Trust’s Beer & Oysters in the Garden fundraiser, happening today from 4 to 7 p.m., is mostly what it sounds like. Its beer comes from a mix of home brewers and 10 established breweries, most of them local or regional; its oysters come from three oystering outfits, also local or regional; and its garden is the Fred Cervin Bioregional Garden, right next to the First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven (608 Whitney Ave). Also involving live music, regular adult tickets cost $30 in advance or $40 at the door, with discount tiers for teens, kids and bulk buyers. On the other end of things is a premium option, costing $150 for one or $250 for two, which offers extra oysters, a veranda setting and the company of “renowned oyster expert” Richard Rush, among other perks.
Sunday, September 25
WAX, the monthly “all-45 record and retro outfit dance party” at Firehouse 12 (45 Crown St, New Haven; 203-785-0468), returns at 9 p.m. tonight. Guesting alongside the party’s resident DJs—Dooley-O and Neb—is DJ Lord Lewis, who’s set to spin “the deepest and [rarest] groove records.” Adding interest is a “retro outfit contest,” whose winner gets a free haircut from Milford’s Smoke and Mirrors Parlor plus a $50 gift certificate to East Rock vintage shop Vintanthromodern.
Written by Dan Mims. Image depicts a partial screencap from the film Weiner. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.