A ching remembrances of a hopeful figure, defiant responses in the face of despair and overdue acknowledgment of marginalized people catalyze potent ideas and actions this week in New Haven.
Monday, January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The Peabody’s annual environmental and social justice-oriented celebration of MLK has its second and final day today between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. In the museum’s Great Hall of Dinosaurs, there’s poetry, dancing and live and DJ’ed music, while David Friend Hall’s got two films and an invitational poetry slam. Free. 170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven. (203) 432-8987.
In neighborly coordination with the Peabody, the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-562-4183) is hosting a free day of storytelling and highlighting its Amistad exhibit. The storytellers are Joy Donaldson, who’s performing “Martin Luther King: In Word and Song” at 11:30 a.m., and Waltrina Kirkland Mullins, who’s performing “We’ve Come A Long Way!: Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. King” at 1.
At 2 p.m., Music Haven joins St. Luke’s Steel Band on the latter’s home turf, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (111 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-865-0141), for the organizations’ 7th annual joint concert “honoring the life and work” of MLK. “Select Music Haven students, Harmony In Action and teachers will perform at this inspiring concert.” Free.
Tuesday, January 17
From 7 to 9 p.m., the Institute Library (847 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-562-4045) hosts the next installment of “Listen Here,” a series in which New haven Theater Company actors read themed short fiction curated by the New Haven Review. This time, the theme is “fathers and daughters,” and the fiction includes Meg Wolitzer’s Tea at the House and Grace Paley’s A Conversation with My Father. $5 suggested donation; advance registration requested.
Wednesday, January 18
Tonight from 7 to 9:30, Yale’s Digital Media Center for the Arts (149 York St, New Haven) hosts an “Adobe Creative Jam,” featuring “presentations by graphic artist Orlando Arocena, photographer Janeivy Hilario and illustrator Syd Weiler.” Then there’s a student design competition for students in graphic design, motion design and photography, with winners decided by both judges and the audience. The event, including the “food and inspiration” it’s serving up, is free and open to the public.
Thursday, January 19
Lustre and Rust, a group exhibit featuring mixed media artist Kathryn Frund, fiber artist/sculptor Crystal Gregory, sound artist/sculptor Thessia Machado and photographers Karen Ostrom and Marjorie Wolfe, gets an opening reception today from 5 to 7 p.m. inside the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Crosby Gallery (70 Audubon St, New Haven; 203-772-2788). Free.
Tonight at 8 p.m., and for nine other performances through February 4, Collective Consciousness Theatre presents Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, “a gripping reimagination of events the night before the assassination of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” In the play, which is staging at Erector Square (315 Peck St, New Haven), King delivers what will be his final speech—declaring, among other things, “I’ve been to the mountaintop”—and heads to his motel room. There, he’s met by “a mysterious stranger” who compels him “to confront his destiny and his legacy to his people.” $20, or $10 for students.
Friday, January 20 – Inauguration Day
Donald Trump gets sworn into the highest office in the land today, and local arts organizations are on red alert. Kehler Liddell Gallery (873 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-9555) is inaugurating a new exhibit, Inauguration Nation: Artists Respond to the New Administration—in which “three dozen artists boldly address current issues in a variety of viewpoints and mediums including visual, literary and performance art”—from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those hours are followed by an opening reception tomorrow from 3 to 6 p.m. and an “official after-party” that begins a half-hour after that. Free.
From noon to 12:30, timed to coincide with Trump’s inaugural speech; and from 7 to 8, timed to coincide with the official inaugural balls; Artspace (50 Orange St, New Haven; 203-772-2709) is hosting Strike and Ball, respectively—“two experimental music performances by artist Marc Burns.” Strike is set to involve a livestream of the speech, which “will be partially and intermittently heard” against live music, with “brown-bag” lunches encouraged and hot cider and cookies served. Ball involves more musicians and more music: there will be two sets, the first of which “is intended to leave the audience energized and prepared for collective mobilization,” and the second of which will attempt to inspire feelings of individual agency.
Saturday, January 21
“In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.,” the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven; 203-432-0670) is hosting a very special occasion. At 4 p.m., Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016), is discussing the extraordinary people at the center of her book. That’s followed by a screening of the acclaimed film adaptation, Hidden Figures (2016), which is so new it’s still in theaters, and finally a “talk-back” between Shetterly and Yale scholars.
Sunday, January 22
For almost a decade, Elm City Consort, “a variable group of musicians in the New Haven area who are dedicated to presenting imaginative and entertaining programs of early music,” has been performing music from many, many decades ago. Today at 4 p.m. inside William L. Harkness Hall (100 Wall St, New Haven), ECC presents In a Musical Garden: Songs and Dances of 14th-Century Italy, engaging with instruments like the lute and the organetto. Free.
Written by Dan Mims. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.