This Week in New Haven (December 11 – 17)

This Week in New Haven (December 11 – 17)

L it by Chanukah lights; set to a score of Christmas music and venerable local indie pop; and entertaining for both adults and kids, this week in New Haven is a crowd-pleaser. 

Monday, December 11
The free Wednesday shows local booker Manic Presents used to throw at BAR have morphed into Manic Mondays, a weekly affair at Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; 203-789-8281). Tonight’s headliner is Okey Dokey, featuring a pair of former ex-bandmates who’ve put at least a few twists on their shared love of Motown music. The second act on the 8 p.m. bill is Zac Clark, a multi-instrumentalist who writes “literate rock and roll with a purpose” and, it seems, is performing tonight with “a full band including members of Jack’s Mannequin, John Legend and Ben Folds.” Rounding out the show are local trio The Grand Par and its “big driving rock songs with catchy hooks and melodies,” in the opening slot. Free with RSVP (by 2 p.m.), or $5 at the door.

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G Cafe Bakery

Tuesday, December 12 – First day of Chanukah
Westville celebrates the beginning of the Jewish “Festival of Lights” a little before twilight—so, at 4 p.m. That’s when, at Mitchell Branch Library (37 Harrison St, New Haven; 203-946-8117), children’s author Renee Londner “read[s] from her new book, The Missing Letters: A Dreidel Story, followed by games, arts and crafts.” Then, at 5 p.m., there’s a parade—“a magical walk through Beecher Park, with glow sticks and solar lights”—from the library to the parking lot at Blake Street and Whalley Avenue, where, accompanied by singing and refreshments, a “giant menorah” will be lit. Free.

Wednesday, December 13
From 6 to 7:30 p.m., Ives Main Library (133 Elm St, New Haven; 203-946-8130) hosts an opening party for Hollow Earth, a new exhibit by multidisciplinary New Haven artist John O’Donnell. Inspired by the arcane but also contemporarily indulged “hollow earth hypothesis,” which supposes that the interior of the planet is a stage for unseen scenes, characters and actions—from the Catholic notion of hell, instilled in the artist at an early age, to “amazing and ridiculous images” like “a race of subterranean aliens, UFO docking stations, reptilian humanoids and many other bizarre manifestations of life”—O’Donnell seems to approach the topic both seriously and winkingly, resulting in a series of “prints and drawings depicting invented realms underneath the earth’s surface.” Free to attend.

Thursday, December 14
Today from 5 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4, a portion of the Ely Center of Contemporary Art (51 Trumbull St, New Haven) is being converted into “a special lounge of holiday music—complete with framed vintage Christmas albums, an old-school record player playing Christmas music and comfortable lounge seats to help you relax and listen to your favorite melodies.” The converted space is being called “Sam’s Christmas Vinyl Lounge,” with tunes from popular American and world artists and some kiddish delights in the mix. Free.

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Holiday Extravaganza - New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Friday, December 15
With an 8 p.m. release show, “joyful, quirky three-minute pop” duo The Furors, having made New Haveners hop around for 30-plus years, is releasing Psychozoic, its first new album in a long while, at Best Video Film and Cultural Center (1842 Whitney Ave, Hamden; 203-287-9286). Opening the evening is prolific local performer Frank Critelli. $5.

Saturday, December 16
At 1 and 5 p.m. today and tomorrow in the Shubert Theatre (247 College St, New Haven; 203-562-5666), New Haven Ballet presents its annual Christmastime rendition of The Nutcracker. Entering the dream of protagonist Clara, audiences will witness “Clara and the Nutcracker Prince travel through the Land of Snow and journey to the enchanting Kingdom of Sweets, where they are entertained by various dancers—including the mysterious Arabian Coffee, the comical Mother Ginger, the dynamic Russian Trepak and many more.” $27.50-68.

Sunday, December 17
Indie bookstore RJ Julia (768 Boston Post Rd, Madison; 203-245-3959) hosts 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. sessions of “The Grinch Story Time.” An annual holiday tradition, this year’s events involve a reading of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957), a photo opportunity with the Grinch himself and a drive to collect “gently used children’s books for local nonprofit Read to Grow,” which “promotes language-building and literacy for children, beginning at birth, and supports parents as their babies’ first teachers.” Free.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Image depicts a spread from Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957). 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 very much by a small team of dedicated contributors.

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