This Week in New Haven (February 16 – 22)

N ew Haven’s like an everything bagel this week. There’s buzzy astronomy Monday and charitable hedonism Tuesday; creative theater Wednesday and local history Thursday; live jazz starting Friday and staggering architecture on Saturday; and contemporary film leading up to the Oscars on Sunday.

Monday, February 16 – Presidents Day
Science takes a front seat in BAR’s back room tonight during the latest “Astronomy on Tap.” Starting at 8 p.m., three pro astronomers—Steph LaMassa, Imran Hasan and Grant Tremblay—give talks on “The Violent Universe,” black holes (“Your Neighbors That Want to Eat You”) and “Our Farthest Reach in Space,” respectively, while bartenders serve themed drinks and organizers serve up mysterious “prize giveaways.” Free to attend; 21+. 254 Crown Street, New Haven. (203) 495-8924.

Tuesday, February 17 – Fat Tuesday
Today’s the culmination of Mardi Gras, which means it’s time for “Masquerade Madness,” the New Haven Free Public Library’s big annual fundraiser. Transforming the Ives Main Library into a multifaceted party hall featuring all-you-can-eat food and drink from a dozen local outfits—like 116 Crown, Heirloom, Thimble Island and Zinc, plus upscale New Haven newbies Harvest and Tarry Lodge—organizers say “compelling auction items will tempt you, performers will amaze you and the band will excite you to dance.” Tickets start at $75 per person, with the option to give more if you like. 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 133 Elm Street, New Haven. (203) 946-8835.

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Wednesday, February 18
[Editors’ note: The A Broken Umbrella performance originally scheduled for tonight, and originally listed here under Wednesday, has been changed to a closed rehearsal. The show proceeds as scheduled tomorrow, however, so we’ve moved the listing accordingly.]

Thursday, February 19
Tonight at the New Haven Museum, Revolutionary War hero-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold gets put under a microscope during “From Turncoat to Terrorist,” a free 6 p.m. book talk given by University of Bridgeport prof Eric D. Lehman. Lehman’s work, Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London, focuses on the brutal, Arnold-led redcoat siege of New London’s Fort Griswold in the war’s waning days, and the talk, among other things, “sheds light on the ethics of the dawning nation, and the way colonial America responded to betrayal and terror.” 114 Whitney Avenue, New Haven. (203) 562-4183.

A Broken Umbrella Theatre—known for creatively tackling local history subjects in the venues where those histories actually played out—is staging its latest play in an actual theater, for a change. The play’s called Seen Change!, and the theater’s the Shubert (247 College St, New Haven; 203-562-5666), though the former Taft Hotel next door also sees some action, with the audience following the cast back and forth. Even for ABUT, Seen Change! gets pretty meta, showing us a fictitious theater company getting ready to put on a musical, until “an apprentice inadvertently defies age-old theater superstition” and “everything goes wrong.” Showtimes are 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow and next Wednesday through next Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on the final day. $44.55.

Friday, February 20
“Free jazz” is an amorphous improvisational aesthetic; in the case of the Yale Jazz Festival this weekend, it also means you can still get that swing even if you ain’t got a thing. With all shows free and open to the public, the festival’s first of six (one of which is officially a talk) features the Matthew Clayton Quartet tonight at 8 p.m. in the Underbrook, a coffee house inside Saybrook College (242 Elm St, New Haven; per the Underbrook’s Facebook page, “go to Entryway H, down the stairs, and turn right”). Subsequent shows bring audiences to such varied venues as the on-campus Sudler Recital Hall, the off-campus The 9th Note jazz club and the Yale University Art Gallery.

Saturday, February 21
Happening between noon and 6:30ish today, modernist architectural appreciation organization Docomomo has put together a wide-ranging examination of Yale’s stunning David S. Ingalls Hockey Rink, a.k.a. The Whale (73 Sachem St, New Haven, pictured above). First, at noon, there’s a tour of Hamden’s KRJDA, the successor firm to Eero Saarinen and Associates, which designed The Whale in the first place. Following that is a 1 p.m. tour of the rink itself. Then, at 2:30, the group moves to nearby Wall Street Pizza for pizza and soda, after which it’s back to the ice for a season-capping, 4 p.m. women’s hockey game between Yale and Princeton. Tickets cost $45, or $40 for Docomomo members.

Sunday, February 22
Oscars coverage begins tonight at 7 p.m. on ABC. To prepare, find some time this week to spend at Criterion Cinemas (86 Temple St, New Haven; 203-498-2500), where all the live-action short and animated short nominees are screening back-to-back, daily, for $11 per ticket. Meanwhile, this past Thursday, Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885) gave “Best Picture” favorite Boyhood two intimate screenings, at 7 and 10:15 p.m., for a mere $8 per ticket, or $5 if you’re a senior, student or child under 12.

Written by Dan Mims. Photograph courtesy of Matthew Carbone.

Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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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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