This Week in New Haven (December 24 – 30)

T he week of Christmas and Kwanzaa is a time of celebration, a time to be with one’s families, a time for students to put down the homework and take a breather with public schools letting out for winter break this past Friday. Christmas falls on Tuesday this year, which seriously reduces the number of community events (outside of church, that is) scheduled for this week. But rest assured, ye merry gentlefolk. Let nothing you dismay. There’s always something to do in New Haven.

Monday, December 24
Schools are closed. New Haven senior centers are closed. It’s Monday, so most galleries and museums are closed anyway. Even Cafe Nine, The Space, The Outer Space and Toad’s Place are closed, so most of the musical events tonight are at churches. Trinity Lutheran Church (292 Orange St., New Haven. 203-787-6521), for instance, has its Candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7:30 p.m. featuring the Trinity Brass quintet directed by Robert Ford.

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Tuesday, December 25
Hey, go behold that Christmas tree on New Haven Green. Beautiful, isn’t it? Merry Christmas. Have a day of peace, calm and wonderment.

Wednesday, December 26
The old American tradition of toy trains at Christmas time continues with the annual recreation of the American Flyer train set at the Eli Whitney Museum (915 Whitney Ave., Hamden). Besides viewing the trains, children can purchase little wooden kits with which to build their own toy trains. “Holiday Trains” runs through Jan. 13 on weekends with special exhibit hours today through Sunday this week, noon to 5 p.m.

Thursday, December 27
Conjurer Daniel Greenwolf packages his “astonishing illusions” in theatrical spectacle, cocky “Irish wit” and green clothing and makeup. The magician, who maintains a heavy schedule of Renaissance Fairs in the warmer months, moves indoors to Lyric Hall for a four-night stand of his show Celtic Magic today through Sunday, with performances all four days at 4 & 8 p.m.  It’s unlikely he’ll be allowed to eat fire at the Lyric, as he does in his outdoor venues, but Greenwolf has plenty of tricks up his puffy sleeves. 827 Whalley Ave., New Haven. (203) 389-8885.

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Friday, December 28
The national tour of Shrek the Musical makes believers out of those who thought the beloved animated odyssey could never be staged (not to mention that the classic William Steig children’s book could never become a beloved animated odyssey). Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 & 6 p.m. at the Shubert. 247 College St., New Haven. (203) 562-5666.

Saturday, December 29
There’s a big Kwanzaa Celebration at Wilson Library (303 Washington Ave., New Haven; 203-901-4765, [email protected]) from 1-5 p.m. Each day of Kwanzaa, which lasts from December 26 to January 1, has a different spiritual theme. Today’s is “community.”

Sunday, December 30
In the late 1980s an extraordinary California ska-punk band formed, calling themselves Sublime. The band was a decade old, and achieving international fame with hits such as “What I Got,” when vocalist/guitarist Bradley Nowell died in 1996. The surviving members reunited a few years ago, but what is truly sublime lies in the amazing staying power of Badfish, a Sublime tribute band which has been around since 2001 and is extremely popular on the New England club and college circuit. Named for a song on Sublime’s album 40 oz. to Freedom, Badfish has built upon Sublime’s legacy by creating their own original music and blending it with their respectfully raucous renditions of Sublime classics. A frequent visitor to Toad’s Place (300 York St., New Haven; 203-624-TOAD), Badfish rings out the old and rings in the new at the club tonight, with Carbonated Insight, Coax Rhino and Something Simple also on the bill. 9 p.m. $20, $15 in advance.

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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