This Week in New Haven (April 29 – May 5)

Y outh has its fling in New Haven this week. The Kidstock benefit for United Community Nursery School on Saturday features a dozen acts, some of them children themselves. Green Day’s youth-in-revolt musical American Idiot is at the Shubert this weekend. The Guru (pictured above), a band which stuck together even after its members graduated high school, plays for bike riders outside the clothing hang-out Urban Outfitters on Thursday. There’s also the family-friendly May Day celebration on New Haven Green, with its dance around the May Pole.

Feel a spring in your step? New Haven keeps you young.

Monday, April 29
There’s a Spring Poetry Reading this evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Branch of New Haven Free Public Library (37 Harrison Street, New Haven; 203-946-8117). Poets include James Berger, Susan Holahan and Katie Yates.

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NBC Connecticut

Tuesday, April 30
This month’s audacious New Music New Haven concert, 8 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church (292 Orange Street, New Haven; 203-432-4158), features works by Aaron Jay Kernis, including the recent work da L’Arte della Danssar for flute, viola, harp and percussion. Kernis teaches at Yale (where he also studied), and has been in the pantheon of major American neo-classical composers for 30 years now. Tonight’s concert is free.

Wednesday, May 1
Rub your wings together! “Bug Music” is performed by David Rothenberg of the New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Peabody Museum of Natural History (70 Whitney Avenue, New Haven) at 5:15 p.m. The concert is preceded by a 4:00 lecture on “Marvelous Magicicada: The World of Our Most Enigmatic Insect” by John Cooley of the University of Connecticut. (203) 432-5050.

May Day always brings a gathering of folks on New Haven Green, promoting peace and social justice on a day which has become synonymous with political activism, labor issues and civil rights. This year, the celebratory and ongoing informational aspects of the event have been moved from May 1 to the nearest Saturday; see May 4 item below for details. But there’s still something to do consciousness-wise on the Green this evening: the May Day Action, Rally and March for Immigrant Rights and Peace, meeting at 5 p.m. on the Green and continuing (with a march and speeches) until 7 p.m. or so.

Thursday, May 2
Fresh from last week’s Meriden Daffodil Festival, young local psychedelic jam-pop band The Guru headlines a special “Pedal to Party” outdoor, bike-friendly gig. The event starts at 2 p.m. at The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop (151 Orange Street, New Haven) and then pedals over to Urban Outfitters (43 Broadway, New Haven) at 4 p.m. where The Guru, as well as High Pop and furnsss, are playing. Free beer, free bike tune-ups and discounts on Urban Outfitters merchandise are promised.

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Clybourne Park

Friday, May 3
Another first Friday of the month, another On9 multi-venue event in the Ninth Square. Tomorrow is National Homebrew Day (followed by National Craft Beer Week); fittingly, the theme this time is Brew On9. Thirteen businesses, ranging from art galleries to a yoga studio to a creperie, will be serving samples of craft beers. It begins at The Grove on Orange Street, where tasting glasses are doled out (for $10, which covers the cost of the whole beer crawl). Some twenty different craft beers will be up for sampling. Meanwhile, an actual saloon, Olde School (418 State Street, New Haven) is offering a special price on Two Roads IPA, brewed in Stratford. Further brew-haha comes courtesy of English Building Market (839 Chapel Street, New Haven), which is discounting “all glassware and bar related stuff,” and artist/historian Robert Greenberg, who  will display art prints from “New Haven’s brewing and tobacco history” at  ACME Furniture  (33 Crown Street, New Haven). And those are just a few of the activities found in the neighborhood between 6 and 8 p.m.; some start even earlier, and some don’t even involve beer.

Tchaikovsky’s one-act lyric opera Iolanta—a fairy tale about a blind princess who doesn’t know that she’s blind or that she’s a princess—premiered in 1892 on a double bill with the same composer’s ballet The Nutcracker. Somehow the one fell by the wayside while the other became one of the most performed classical compositions ever. Yale Opera students revive Iolanta (which, by the way, has nothing in common with the similarly named Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Iolanthe) for performances tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Morse Recital Hall of Yale’s Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven; 203-432-4158). Tickets cost $10-$15, $5 for students.

Saturday, May 4
The May Day World Concert for Peace starts at noon on the Green and features four-and-a-half hours of music, magic (from the Amazing Andy), amusing nutrition awareness routines (from Eric Triffin, “The Carrot Man”), face painting, a graffiti wall you can doodle on, information tables from a slew of local “labor, peace, social service and social justice groups,” free vegetarian food, circus tricks for kids (led by New Haven Community Circus) and a display of May Day history.

That same afternoon, just a few yards from the May Day festivities, indoors at the historic United Church on the Green, is a five-hour family-friendly musical extravaganza called Kidstock: A United Family Music Festival. Over a dozen local music acts (performers listed here) have banded together to benefit the United Community Nursery School, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. After each act does a short set, the show ends in a communal jam on a classic children’s tune. The event also includes a full-length Roxi Fox puppet show performed by Betty Baisden. A $5 ticket allows you to come and go freely during the fest, which lasts from noon to 5 p.m. A $5 ticket allows you to come and go freely during the fest, which lasts from noon to 5 p.m. United Church on the Green is at the corner of Elm and Temple.

At 8pm, The Big Room at Erector Square (319 Peck Street, New Haven) offers the latest episode of its avant-garde “Take Your Time” performance series, offering new works by trumpeter/composer Liz Allbee and the dance/art collaborations “Stack” and “Bound” by Rachel Bernsen and Megan Craig. $10.

Sunday, May 5
The national tour of the musical American Idiot, based on the hit Green Day album and directed by Michael Mayer (whose tour of the play Angels in America was at the Shubert two decades ago), opened at the Shubert Friday night at 8 p.m., had two performances Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m. and ends its local run with two final shows today at 1 & 6:30 p.m. The show has particular local relevance, since it was recently announced that Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong will be writing songs for These Paper Bullets, a modern version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, which will world-premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre next March. $15-$100. 247 College Street, New Haven: (203) 562-5666.

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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