This Week in New Haven (January 28 – February 3)

E ven on the coldest days of the year, even on quiet weekdays, even on Super Bowl Sunday, the vibrant cultural scene of New Haven gives you good reason to get out of the house. This week, as January turns into February, you can catch lectures on history and science, dissect an owl’s dinner, see a film lensed on the streets of the city, get your blood pressure checked for free and hear tunes from familiar local artists and endearing passers-through. Touchdown!

Monday, January 28
The fifth annual Cassius Marcellus Clay Lecture (named for the 19th-century emancipationist), sponsored by the Yale Department of History, is given by Samuel Schaffer of St. Albans School in Washington D.C. and is titled “A Damnable Cruelty and Folly: Woodrow Wilson, World War I and the Legacies of Reconstruction.” 4 p.m. in Room 211 of the Hall of Graduate Studies, 320 York St., New Haven. (203) 432-3905.

Tuesday, January 29
Fracking—a convenient yet destructive method of extracting oil and gas from rock formations—is the subject of a new Matt Damon film. It’s also the subject of a 6:30 talk tonight at New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm St., New Haven; 203-946-8130), “Fracking: Energy Angel or Environmental Demon?,” presented by the Yale Science Diplomats.

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Stratton Faxon: Stay Connected

Wednesday, January 30
New Haven Park Rangers have a slew of programs today for outdoor types of all ages. From 9:30 to 11 a.m., there’s a Nature Pals Playgroup with “stories, crafts and walks” for children aged 2 through 5 at the Edgewood Park Ranger Station. From 10 to 11:30 a.m., starting at the Trowbridge Environmental Center/Ranger Station (corner of Cold Spring and Orange streets), there’s a Winter Bird Walk. Then, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., there’s an unappetizing-sounding but undoubtedly fascinating “Owl Pellet Program” for the whole family at the Barnard Nature Center (corner of Route 34 and Ella T. Grasso Blvd.), taking apart an owl’s (sterilized) regurgitations and piecing together clues as to what has been eaten and where it came from. The owl pellet demonstration costs $1; the other programs are free to New Haven residents; there’s a suggested $2 donation for out-of-towners. (203) 946-8028.

Thursday, January 31
Take flight while keeping your feet on the ground. The biannual Flights of Fancy is a “shopping and wine tasting” mobile soiree orchestrated by the Town Green Special Services District. Starting at 4 p.m., head to The Study at Yale, where you register for $15 (you can also register in advance). Then, with a map of the participating shops and an exclusive Flights of Fancy wine glass in hand, you wander hither and yon (like the revelers pictured above at last winter’s event), returning to The Study at 8:15 p.m. for a post-stroll dessert and Willoughby’s Coffee. There’s also a prize drawing.

My Brother Jack, the feature film lensed by director Stephen Dest right here in New Haven, has its local premiere—or should we say premieres?—tonight at 7 and 9 p.m. The murder mystery has already had a successful screening at the Bahamas International Film Festival, and the 7 p.m. showing tonight is already sold out. Tickets to the 9 p.m. show are still available, for now. Bow Tie Cinemas, 86 Temple St., New Haven. (203) 498-2500. $10 plus a $1.24 service fee.

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Curse of the Starving Class at Long Wharf Theatre

Friday, February 1
Speaking of sold-out shows, last night was opening night of Stones in His Pockets at Yale Repertory Theatre, but you can catch it tonight (and most nights, and a few days, through Feb. 16) instead. The Irish comedy, which was a big international hit around a decade ago, depicts the effects of Hollywood filmmakers descending on a small Irish village. Directed by Evan Yionoulis, all the dozen-plus roles in the play are performed by the same two actors: Fred Arsenault and Euan Morton. 8 p.m. 1120 Chapel St., New Haven. (203) 432-1234.

Anna Held Audette has been a painter and art teacher in the New Haven area for half a century. Her paintings and drawings range from subtle and human to awe-striking and industrial. A retrospective of her work opens today (and runs through April 3) at the Reynolds Fine Art gallery, 96 Orange St., New Haven. (203) 498-2200. Artist  reception 5 – 8 p.m.

The Acoustic Basement Tour of indie musicians and cult acts comes to The Space in Hamden, a community of creativity featuring Geoff Rickly of the band Thursday, Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife and I Am an Avalanche, Brian Marquis of Therefore I Am, plus Loss for Words and Koji. 295 Treadwell St., Hamden. (203) 288-6400. 6:30 p.m. $13.

At the Space’s sister space, The Outer Space (which, unlike its all-ages forebear, serves alcohol), there are several important local musicians who were a part of the revered New Haven punk/pop scene of the 1970s, plus another group that sounds like they were. The Furors are a felicitous duo of stripped down harmonic pop & roll. Big Fat Combo is a bar band with smarts, led by Tom Hearn. The all-female Stark Raving Lulu, visiting from Hartford, evokes ’70s punk though they’re not that old. 295 Treadwell St., Hamden. (203) 288-6400. 8 p.m. $5.

Saturday, February 2
A Health Fair is being held today at the Elks Lodge, 87 Webster St., New Haven. There are information booths, free blood pressure readings and exercise demonstrations from 10 a.m. until noon, then a “heart-healthy” lunch, a raffle, and giveaway. The  fair is hosted (for the seventh consecutive year) by the New Haven Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and sponsored by Yale-New Haven Hospital. (203) 530-6623.

Their house is a museum, but The Addams Family is calling the Shubert Theater home for this weekend. The latest national tour of the Broadway show based on Charles Addams’ immortal New Yorker magazine cartoon characters (with deference to subsequent TV and film versions) hit New Haven Friday for a 7:30 p.m. performance, has two shows today at 2 & 7:30 p.m., and closes Sunday with a 2 p.m. matinee. 247 College St., New Haven. (203) 562-5666.

Sunday, February 3
As the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers prepare to battle for football supremacy in a New Orleans superdome, the New Haven organization Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) invites you to run—or walk, if you’d rather—through a “challenging, certified” race course mapped out in East Rock Park. The 6th annual Run for Refugees begins at 10 a.m. at Wilbur Cross High School (181 Mitchell Dr., New Haven), raising money “to help refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, regain hope and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities.” You still have time to register.

Now that the Super Bowl is here, Valentine’s Day is less than a fortnight away. New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave., New Haven) starts softening your heart early with an hourlong workshop for children. Besides creating their own valentines, kids will read love poems from the museum’s collection, one of which was penned by the illustrious Eli Whitney. Pre-registration is required. (203) 562-4183. 2 – 3 p.m.

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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