This Week in New Haven (February 25 – March 3)

I t’s an inventive week in New Haven, a city which is constantly reinventing itself. There’s a talk about important contraptions created in this city over the past couple of centuries. There’s a public discussion with a local inventor who’s barely into his teen years. There’s the return of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, which has redrawn the boundaries of art salons and figure-drawing classes. There’s even a performance by an instrument which replicates the sounds of a full band.

Monday, February 25
New Haven historian Colin Caplan boasts, on behalf of the city, that “We Made It First!,” lecturing on the numerous important inventions which began in New Haven. 6 p.m. at the main (Ives) branch of New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm St., New Haven; 203-946-8130).

The latest event in the ongoing celebration of the 100th anniversary of Cole Porter’s graduation from Yale is a concert by the Yale Jazz Ensemble, which will play band arrangements of the great composer’s songs (including “Night and Day,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “(You’ll Be So) Easy to Love”), with guest student vocalists Emma Akrawi, Paige Weber, Ruthie Prillaman and Rebecca Brudner. 7:30 p.m. at Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College Street, New Haven; 203-432-4113).

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Yale School of Music

Tuesday, February 26
The band Hinder hails from the hinterlands of Oklahoma. The five-piece rock act lists “Lips of an Angel,” “How Long” and “Use Me” among its hits. (Their most recent album is Welcome to the Freakshow.) Hinder hits Toad’s Place (300 York Street, New Haven; 203-624-TOAD) tonight for an 8 p.m. show with Nonpoint and Acidic opening. $28, $25 in advance.

Wednesday, February 27
13-year-old inventor Gabriel Mesa is the latest subject of the Amateur Hour series at the Institute Library (847 Chapel Street, New Haven; 203-562-4045). Mesa, a finalist at the 2012 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, has created a special collar to help those with sleep apnea. He’s also invented a wrist device for dementia patients and an alert system for when an IV drip becomes disconnected. Jack Hitt moderates the 7 p.m. discussion. $10, $5 for Institute Library members.

Thursday, February 28
Jonny Rodgers grew up in a succession of local music scenes: the commercial pop/rock scene as a teen guitarist in the popular band Mighty Purple, a bluesy introspective folk/blues musician as he reached adulthood, a trusted sideman for touring and studio projects, and—easily his longest and most fertile phase—a mild-mannered, nature-loving neo-classical multi-instrumentalist who dazzles with his tape loops and tuned wine glasses. Having spent most of his life in Hamden and New Haven, Jonny Rodgers now lives clear across the country in Oregon, so opportunities to see him are fewer and further between. Luckily, you can hear his gorgeous upbeat pop style tonight at Best Video (1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden; 203-287-9286). 8 p.m. $5.

Friday, March 1
Becky Yazdan and Christopher Joy are the latest artists to exhibit at the Giampietro Gallery (315 Peck St., New Haven; 203-777-7760). The opening reception is tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s an interesting pairing: Joy’s wiry and wooden mixed-media wall hangings and Yazdan’s splashy, colorful, thick and stripey oil paintings. Should be an eye-opening combo.

For tonight’s 5 p.m. Conducting Fellows concert at Yale’s Morse Recital Hall, the baton is handed to Paolo Bortolameolli and Jonathan Brandani, who have been studying orchestral conducting with Shinik Hahm at the Yale School of Music. They wave the stick at no less an ensemble than the Yale Philharmonia. As if that weren’t enough, world-renowned pianist (and Yale music prof) Peter Frankl is the featured soloist.  Free. (203) 432-4158.

Saturday, March 2
We’re safely into the Year of the Snake now, but the recently snowed-out Chinese Arts Festival activities have been rescheduled starting today with an outdoor Lion Dance Parade at 10 a.m. on Whitney Avenue between Grove and Trumbull. From 1 to 4 p.m. at New Haven Museum there’s a Snake Petting Zoo, Tai Chi & dance workshops and craft activities followed with a 4 p.m. performance by the EastRiver Ensemble. The Festival continues  Sunday with calligraphy workshops, a “fireside chat” with former AP Beijing correspondent Audra Ang, papercutting crafts and a Peacock Dance demonstration, all between 1 and 3:30 p.m. at Yale’s Luce Hall (34 Hillhouse Avenue). Events are free, but registration is required.

Alliteration rules at the Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville. The current exhibit is “Nudes & Nudibranchs” (Frank Bruckmann’s paintings and Gar Waterman’s sculptures) and today from 2-4 p.m. there’s a klatsch of “Conspicuous Cocktails”—drinks mixed by John Ginnetti of the 116 Crown bar. $35. 873 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. (203) 389-9555.

First, Abraham Gomez-Delgado (pictured above) constructed the Eje (pronounce “eh’heh”), which gathers pieces of musical instruments from around the world onto a “moving kinetic sculpture stage,” allowing a single player to approximate the complex group rhythms of salsa music. Then Gomez-Delgado created a show about how he created the Eje. Unlike the Eje, the show—titled Isla de la Mona (Part 1)—requires a seven-person ensemble of musicians and dancers. His intent is to explore the difference between solo and collaborative music. Isla de la Mona comes to New Haven courtesy of the Take Your Time Performance Series at The Big Room. 8 p.m. 319 Peck Street (Erector Square), New Haven. $10.

Sunday, March 3
The Givers is a new play by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff which “follows the intersecting stories of a doctor and her hairdresser as they each immerse themselves in local abortion politics.” The four-actor drama gets a public reading 4 p.m. at Yale’s Off Broadway Theater (41 Broadway, New Haven, down the path behind Toad’s Place on York Street).

The latest draft of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, a vivacious blend of art class (with live models), entertainment and a fun evening at a bar, marks up Cafe Nine (250 State Street, New Haven; 203-789-8281) from 3 to 7 p.m. Stick around afterwards for the weekly Sunday After Supper Jam, hosted by Dom Zullo; sign-up at 7 p.m., jam begins at 8 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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