This Week in New Haven (March 26-April 1)

B ingo, Beckett, ballet and belly dancing, capped off with a health fair. It’s a great week to stimulate both mind and body. Here’s the Daily Nutmeg guide to what’s grabbing our spring fancy this week.

Monday, March 26
Robin Banks, vivacious hostess and recent recipient of a Dorothy Award from the New Haven Pride Center, brings “Bingo-a-Go-Go” to Cafe Nine, featuring prizes and sassiness. 7-10 p.m., 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281. No cover charge.

Tuesday, March 27
A bunch of “Yale Student Science Diplomats” come to the Community Program Room of New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm St., New Haven; 203-946-8130) at 6 p.m. to turn others into “Disease Detectives: Stopping Outbreaks Before They Stop You.” The talk, part of the Science in the News series, is meant for “non-scientists,” whether students or adults.

sponsored by

Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven

Wednesday, March 28
James Velvet has been a central figure in the New Haven music scene for decades. He co-hosts the Local Bands program Sunday nights on WPLR radio, plays regularly at the CitySeed farmers’ markets, led the hallowed house band The Mocking Birds at Café Nine throughout the ‘90s and has recorded dozens of awe-inspiring original folk/rock/R&B tunes. Tonight, Velvet and his band The Lonesome Sparrows are the featured act at the weekly Open Mic at The Outer Space. 7 p.m., 295 Treadwell St., Hamden; (203) 288-6400. $3.

Thursday, March 29
Pioneering poet and visual artist Sandra Maria Esteves, a major force behind the multi-cultural expressions of the Nuyorican Poets Café in the 1970s and ‘80s, delivers “New and Selected Poems from the Nuyorican Experience” 7:30 p.m. at the Yale Hall of Graduate Studies, 320 York St., New Haven. (203) 432-5116. Sponsored by the Ethnicity, Race and Migration Program at Yale.

Friday, March 30
An intriguing array of Yale dancers tonight, plus a guy standing in a room.

At 8 p.m. March 30 & 31 at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School (117 College St., New Haven), the Yale Undergraduate Ballet Company performs Mendelssohn’s musical setting for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (source of the world famous Wedding March). The performance, featuring new choreography by Amymarie Bartholomew, is free.

At the same times (Friday & Saturday, 8 p.m.) in Yale’s Harkness Auditorium (within Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., New Haven) the Yale Belly Dance Society is holding a “Hips Against Hunger” Belly Dance Show to benefit the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. The belly-shaking ranges from traditional Turkish and Egyptian dances to a “Tribal Fusion sword piece” and even Hip-Hop. Tickets are $5.50.

If you prefer your performance movement more static and declamatory, Samuel Beckett’s late-career political meditation Catastrophe is being uttered 8 p.m. March 30 & 31 at the Institute Library (upstairs at 847 Chapel St., New Haven; 203-562-4045; $5 suggested donation). The immortal author of Waiting for Godot and Krapp’s Last Tape dedicated Catastrophe to Vaclav Havel, the future leader of the Czech Republic (and a playwright himself), who was then being held as political prisoner due to “subversive activities.” The play concerns a “Director” and “Assistant” preparing an unmoving “Protagonist” for some sort of carefully composed presentation. Catastrophe marks the debut of The Young Mechanics Theatre Ensemble, which operates out of the increasingly lively Institute Library space. A discussion follows the short performance.

Saturday, March 31
The Yale School of Nursing is holding its Healthy Neighbors 2012 Spring Community Health Fair this afternoon, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Church Street South Community Center, 34 Cinque Green, New Haven. The fair features activity, health screenings, information booths and a pleasant time outdoors.

Sunday, April 1
April Fools’!

Unwind from this alternately mirthful and annoying holiday for pranksters with some powerful, mystical rock instrumentalists at Toad’s Place’s Lilly’s Pad (upstairs at 300 York St., New Haven; 203-624-TOAD, $12). The French band Alcest, led by songwriter Neige of Forgotten Woods, creates nightmarish dreamscapes punctuated by yowls and reassuring guitar riffs from Neige’s Peste Noire bandmate Famine. Also on the well-balanced dark-mood bill are the literate psychedelic Vaura from New York and Bridgeport-based polyrhythmicists De Omega.

Written by Christopher Arnott.

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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 and New Haven Theater Jerk (

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