Leap Day, Hopeful Laughs, and Uncensored Talkies

L ots to do in New Haven this week! Here are some of our picks:

Monday, February 27
The Knights of Columbus extended the run of its Christmas Across Africa exhibit well past the Christmas season so that it could also be up for Black History Month. Now February’s almost over, and the display of hard-carved wood and stone Nativity Scenes, augmented with paintings and other “religious aspects of African culture,” is scheduled to close March 4. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with admission and parking both free. 1 State St., New Haven, (203)865-0400, kofcmuseum.org

Tuesday, February 28
Julia Nunes blends social networking prowess and presence—over 49 million views for her YouTube music videos—with a straight-ahead folk-pop simplicity and her powerful vocal chops. Known for both quirky cover-song choices (Weezer’s “Keep Fishin’,” Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” The Foundation’s “Build Me Up Buttercup”) and her confident originals, Nunes’ fanbase raised nearly $80,000 on Kickstarter to fund her third full-length album, Settle Down. The disk’s release date is today, adding to the luster of her live show at The Space tonight (8 p.m., $10, 295 Treadwell St., Hamden). Eclectic local songwriter Mike Falzone opens. www.thespace.tk

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New Haven Shops


Wednesday, February 29
Today is the once-in-four-years calendar novelty of Leap Day. In fiction, Feb. 29 has been chosen as the birthday of Superman, Little Orphan Annie and Frederick the swashbuckling apprentice from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

To start, there’s a free 3 p.m. family Leap Day event at the Wilson branch of New Haven Free Public Library (303 Washington Ave., New Haven).

In the evening, the decades-old New Haven organization known as LEAP is making the most of the cosmic coincidence by holding its annual LEAP gala on an actual Leap Day. Activities include a 5 p.m. cocktail reception at The Hopkins School (986 Forest Rd. New Haven) followed at 7:30 p.m. by over two dozen separate dinner parties hosted by LEAP supporters. Guests of honor, who’ll be at Hopkins then fan out to the private gatherings, include pet therapist David Frei, political historian Beverly Gage, climate scientist Kerry Emmanuel, environmentally conscious natural-foods cook Alicia Ghio, Bill Brown and Sally Hill of the Eli Whitney Museum, Civil War enthusiast Matthew Warshauer, poet Franz Douskey, online media expert Jay Miles, New Haven-based New York Times columnist Mark Oppenheimer, new Hartford Stage artistic director Darko Tresnjak and Joanna Clapps Herman, author of The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America. More detailed descriptions, including a printable invitation, contact info and a list of LEAP’s many wonderful urban youth programs, can be found at www.leapforkids.org

Thursday, March 1
The Cosmic Dust Bunnies are going places. Most of the eclectic electronic jam band’s February gigs were around Connecticut, but March finds the electronic funk ensemble in New Jersey, Northampton, Philadelphia and at the “Rock N Roll Resort” in Monticello, NY. Catch them while it’s still convenient when Cosmic Dust Bunnies plays Toad’s tonight, opening for Conspirator (the burgeoning side project-made-good of the Disco Biscuits’ keyboardist and bassist) at Toad’s. Jeff Bujak is also on that bill. 9:30 p.m. $10. 300 York St., New Haven, www.toadsplace.com

Friday, March 2
The college spring musical of choice this year is the incendiary teen-turmoil frolic of Spring Awakening. Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater’s rocking adaptation of a bleak late-19th century drama by Frank Wedekind ended its Broadway run in Spring of 2010 and its national tour stopped in Spring of 2011, so 2012 is when the college and community theater productions start blooming. Southern Connecticut State University’s Crescent Players opens its production tonight, directed and choreographed by Larry Nye and featuring a wound-up student cast. 8 p.m. on March 2, 3 and 8-10, with 2 p.m. matinees on March 4, 10 & 11 at Lyman Auditorium on the SCSU campus, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. $10, $5 students. (203) 392-6154, www.tickets.southernct.edu

Saturday, March 3
Comedian Kenny Zimlinghaus insists on his website that his surname is “German for fat kid.” His bio states that he was “born and raised as a fat kid on Long Island.” Now he’s a comparatively svelte stand-up, as well as the composer of (what else) “The Fat Kid Song.” Zimlinghaus headlines an Evening of Comedy and Hope at the Shubert to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 247 College St., New Haven, 1-800-228-6622. 8 p.m. $28 & $43. $75 VIP  tickets include a 6 p.m. reception with refreshments and a silent auction. http://www.shubert.com

Sunday, March 4
For the month of March, the Movies and Mimosas series at Criterion Cinemas is offering a history lesson in “Pre-Code Films,” movies made before a jittery Hollywood initiated its own self-censoring Production Code of moral and aesthetic standards following a series of scandals in the late 1920s and early ‘30s.  Compared to today’s NC-17 licentiousness, some of these uncoded, unrated cinematic curios seem positively quaint—intimations of unmarried couples sleeping together was considered shocking—but there’s undeniable sex appeal and sultriness in a roster that includes Joan Blondell (in Busby Berkley’s Footlight Parade, March 3 & 4), Greta Garbo (Mata Hari, March 10 & 11), Jean Harlow (the Kaufman/Hart classic Dinner at Eight, March 17 & 18), Mae West (She Done Him Wrong, March 24 & 25) and Ginger Rogers (The Gay Divorcee, March 31 & April 1). 86 Temple St., New Haven. (203) 498-2500, http://bowtiecinemas.com

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Christopher Arnott has written about arts and culture in Connecticut for over 25 years. His journalism has won local, regional and national awards, and he has been honored with an Arts Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. He posts daily at his own sites www.scribblers.us and New Haven Theater Jerk (www.scribblers.us/nhtj).

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