This Week in New Haven (June 10 – 16)

C ollege-based events are fewer and further between between the end of the academic year and the beginning of summer classes. Public schools, meanwhile, don’t get out until the end of the month. Still, you can totally feel the wave of summertime arriving with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, plus Los Straitjackets (pictured above) surfing into Cafe Nine, Finnish folk dancers warming up Yale’s Luce Hall and a family-friendly Father’s Day magic show at Lyric Hall in Westville.

Monday, June 10
Los Straitjackets are a dynamic multi-guitar attack unit ornamented with Mexican wrestling masks. They have a new album out, Jet Set, and have welcomed back a former member, Danny Amis, who was sidelined with illness for a while. Some New Haveners will know Los Straitjackets as “the band on the beach” in the film spoof Psycho Beach Party, starring New Haven-born starlet Lauren Ambrose and released in 2000. Yes, Los Straitjackets aren’t just brilliant garage-rock instrumentalists; they’re also thuggishly photogenic. Connecticut’s own ultimate original rock & roll bar band, Big Fat Combo, opens the 8 p.m. show at Cafe Nine, 250 State Street, New Haven. $15. (203) 789-8281.

Tuesday, June 11
Make your midweek entertainment an open mic. Stella Blues (204 Crown Street, New Haven; 203-752-9764) offers an open mic music show every Tuesday, hosted by Mike Knobloch. Signup is at 8 p.m., and Stella Blues is a very comfortable place to just hang out and watch others play until it’s your turn.

sponsored by

Creative Arts Workshop

Wednesday, June 12
Those mics are still open. Wednesday is Open Mic Night at Joker’s Wild, the comedy club at 232 Wooster Street, New Haven. The show, hosted by Daniel Kalwhite, now starts earlier, at 8 p.m. Doors open 6:30 p.m. for brave young comics to sign up for their five minutes in the spotlight, and the $5 cover charge is waived if you have a student ID. (203) 773-0733.

Thursday, June 13
In a couple of weeks, on June 26, New Haven Museum will host a presentation of “Crossing the BLVD,” Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan’s multi-media program about immigrants in the New York City borough of Queens. In preparation for that event, the museum is hosting a panel discussion on immigration here in New Haven as well as in Connecticut at large. Titled “Together or Torn: A Community Conversation on Immigration and Families,” the discussion features IRIS director Chris George; Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission director Mui Mui Hin-McCormick; Kica Matos, director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change; and revered Yale/New Haven archivist/historian Judith Schiff. 7 p.m. 114 Whitney Avenue, New Haven. (203) 562-4183.

Dan Greene’s everywhere these days. The painter and musician was a featured act at “Arts On9” last weekend, he has his artwork on display at Cafe Nine all month and his main band The Mountain Movers is playing tonight at 8 p.m. in the Best Video Performance Space (1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden; 203-287-9286). $5.

Friday, June 14
Two Finnish folk dance teachers, Jari Haavisto and Mari Solja of Helsinki, discuss and demonstrate their distinctive art form, replete with live music, in a special “History of Finnish Folk Dancing” presentation from 4 to 7 p.m. in room 203 of Yale’s Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which has its main kick-off event tomorrow on New Haven Green, gets off to an early start at 7 p.m. tonight at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall Street, New Haven) with a screening of 4 Little Girls, Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary about the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama. The film’s producer Sam Pollard will be around for a Q&A session following the screening, while Lee himself will speak following an advance showing of his new Michael Jackson doc Bad 25 at the WHC at noon on Sunday, June 16. And that’s not all: a panel discussion has been convened for a 4:15 p.m. Saturday, June 15, screening of Lee’s post-Katrina doc If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise. Pollard will again do the Q&A honors when a documentary he directed, Slavery by Another Name, is shown Sunday at 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 15
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas begins in earnest today. The splashy first-night concert features Aaron Neville, preceded by Connecticut-based jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene. It’s the first time Greene will have played live since the death of his daughter in the Newtown tragedy on December 14. Greene is also the recipient of a Governor’s Arts Award for 2013. He and the other honorees will be recognized in an awards ceremony at the start of the 6:30 p.m. concert, and will also speak at a festival symposium this afternoon at 1 p.m. in the Yale University Art Gallery (1111 Chapel Street, New Haven).

The three churches on New Haven Green—from left to right, Trinity, Center and United—are joining together for a divine cause today: giving out cookies! The free refreshments acknowledge the opening day of Arts & Ideas in the churches’ shared front yard (i.e. the New Haven Green), as well as celebrate the fact that all three of these church buildings were constructed around 200 years ago. There’ll be lots of folks on the Green for the festivities outlined above, but we assume it’ll be hard to miss ministers passing out cookies.

An Arts & Ideas-related event happening indoors is the annual Children’s Film Festival at the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel Street, New Haven). An hourlong program of short, artistic, family-friendly films is screened twice, at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The museum, which says the films are good for kids aged 3-10, also promises post-screening refreshments and live entertainment.

Sunday, June 16
Today also belongs to the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, whose jam-packed schedule we’ll be elaborating upon later this week in a full Daily Nutmeg article. There are numerous acts playing on New Haven Green: Little Ugly at 2:30 p.m., The Coombs Quintet at 3 p.m., Tusuykusun at 3:30 p.m., Sound Proof at 4:30 p.m. and Like Violet at 5:30 p.m. A Broken Umbrella theatre company’s new show Freewheelers, about the history of bicycling in New Haven, has two performances at 3 & 7 p.m. The two-man circus troupe The Red Trouser Show is live on the Green at 2, 4 & 6 p.m., and a grander, tent-bound (and ticketed; $35) circus event on the Green, L’homme Cirque, occurs at 1 & 5 p.m.

New Haven Green’s not the only multi-act venue today. Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Avenue, New Haven; 203-389-8885) has two performances of Cyril the Sorcerer’s climate-change-themed magic show Magitricity at noon and 5 p.m., as well as the Lyric Hall Theater Orchestra providing a live soundtrack to the Josef Von Sternberg silent drama The Docks of New York at 4 p.m. ($10).

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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