This Week in New Haven (October 6 – 12)

I t’s only the first full week of October, and already Halloween beckons with a delightfully gnarled finger. The arts also make a strong play for attention this week, with a local indie theatre reaching a major milestone, a historic exhibition event happening in a historic building and an orchestra playing a composition that’s gone unperformed for a century and a half.

Monday, October 6
Starting at 6:30 this evening at the Mitchell Branch Library (37 Harrison St, New Haven; 203-946-8117) and meeting every other Monday through November 17, sociology academics Evan Stark and Rachel Ranis are hosting a free pop-up book club digging into selected works by Philip Roth, for whom “beloved” is an apt description and “award-winning,” though perfectly true, seems an understatement. The book that’s in the hot seat for tonight’s session is The Ghost Writer (1979), which apparently came within a hair’s breadth of winning a Pulitzer. Set to be discussed on October 20, the next Roth book on the club’s docket, American Pastoral (1997), actually won.

Tuesday, October 7
If you aren’t looking for it, Yale’s 32 Edgewood Avenue Gallery is easy to miss, or rather, it’s easy to assume it isn’t open to the public. But it is, from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and today its big long, high-ceilinged room welcomes a new installation, Perception Unfolds: Looking at Deborah Hay’s Dance. Billed as an “innovative union of art, dance and technology,” the exhibit comprises four translucent screens rising 8 or 9 feet from the floor, each one showing different performances of the same dance choreographed by Ms. Hay, who’s been theorizing about and experimenting with dance performance for decades. Free.

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Picture Talking at Yale Center for British Art

Wednesday, October 8
Even setting aside the playwright Thornton Wilder’s local ties, Our Town seems a particularly fitting way for the Long Wharf Theatre to open its 50th season in New Haven tonight at 7 p.m. There’s the play’s name, of course, which feels like it expresses an appropriate affirmation for the occasion, and then there’s the nostalgia the play’s story tends to provoke, which parallels the way Long Wharf’s longtime fans and minders must be feeling as they look back on its eventful history. Indeed, Our Town was nostalgic even in its own time, debuting in 1938 but depicting a slice of small-town New Hampshire between 1901 and 1913, before the world knew world war. Directed by Gordon Edelstein, Long Wharf’s telling runs through November 2, skipping Mondays. $59.50-79.50.

Thursday, October 9
A brand-new project called New Haven Cinematheque gets reel tonight at the intimate Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885) during the first in a four-part, weekly series of classic horror film screenings leading up to Halloween. With each of the films starring genre legend (and Yale graduate) Vincent Price and sporting the word “house” in its title, tonight’s flick is House of Wax (1953), which was originally released in both standard and 3D formats, and might sound especially familiar for having been remade in 2005. Tickets are $10 for the 7 p.m. show and $8 for the 9:30.

Friday, October 10
Artspace’s 2014 City-Wide Open Studios proceeds from an opening reception double-header last week to a two-day opening exhibition this weekend amid the gorgeous, cavernous industrial climes of the Goffe Street Armory (290 Goffe St, New Haven). Kicking off the free exhibit there tomorrow and Sunday, open each day between noon and 6 p.m., is a ticketed keynote address—the first in CWOS history—tonight in the same space. Starting at 6 p.m. with a “festive indoor picnic” featuring a collection of local food trucks, 7 p.m. sees the spotlight shift to headliner Tom Eccles, whose long curatorial resume includes his current gig as the executive director of Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies in NYC. Then, at 8, experts lead tours of some of the work on display, followed by coffee and dessert from 9 to 10. Regular tickets cost $70 for younger adults (35 and under) and $100 otherwise, with a $250 VIP option offering the seats nearest Mr. Eccles.

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New Haven Symphony Orchestra presents American Rhapsody

Saturday, October 11
“Biology, Culture and Our Futures,” a daylong symposium held today at the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven), has “wake-up call” written all over it, so it’s only right that it gets going at 10:30 a.m. with coffee and tea. The entire program, featuring formal remarks, panels of experts and, of all things, a concert, is free and open to the public. That concert, by the way, is the North American premiere of The Columbiad, or Migration of American Wild Passenger Pigeons, a 157-year-old piece performed for the public only once before, in Prague, circa 1864. Here it’s performed in Woolsey Hall (500 College St, New Haven) at 7:30 p.m. by the Yale Symphony Orchestra.

Nature is given less heady but more hands-on attention today at the organic Massaro Community Farm (41 Ford Rd, Woodbridge; 203-736-8618). As it reaps another bounteous autumn harvest, the farm hosts its annual “Family Fun Day” from 1 to 5 p.m. Hay rides, sack races and a bake sale make it feel like a true country affair, while scarecrow-building, a magic show and pumpkin-painting portend All Hallow’s Eve in a few weeks’ time.

Sunday, October 12
Yesterday and today, Branford’s Blackstone Library (758 Main St, Branford; 203-488-1441) makes dreams come true during “A Hogwarts Halloween,” when it transforms itself into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series. Each of four two-hour sessions, starting at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. yesterday and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today, invites kids ages 6 and up to enjoy an immersive experience pulled from the books. Of course, witching and wizarding costumes are encouraged, just as they are for adults during a 7 p.m. soiree on Saturday, which promises “a night of wizardly potions, sumptuous provisions and magical surprises.” Tickets for the kids’ events are $25; for the adults-only event, $50 is the magic number.

Written by Dan Mims. Image #1 depicts a frame from the colorized version of House of Wax (1953). Image #2, provided courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art, depicts Perception Unfolds.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories.

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