This Week in New Haven (September 14 – 20)

G ear up for an intense week of leisure, where celebrity appearances and back-to-back gatherings celebrate courage, creativity, competition and cuisine.

Monday, September 14
The zags to Elm City Wellness’s zigs—passive experiences involving massage, acupuncture and meditation—are its more active yoga, tai chi and self-defense classes. One of the latter, titled “Be Well. Be SAFE,” happens tonight from 7 to 8, when an experienced martial arts practitioner offers a beginner-level crash course on deploying the “SAFE Protocol.” Comfortable clothing recommended. Free. 774 Orange St, New Haven. (203) 691-7653.

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New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday, September 15
Liberal lion Barney Frank, the former congressman from Massachusetts who didn’t let a speech impediment keep him from being one of Washington’s sharpest rhetoricians—or a long-taboo sexual orientation keep him from becoming one of the nation’s most powerful legislators—brings his legendary wit to R.J. Julia today, along with copies of his recent memoir. Billed as “the story of an extraordinary political life, an original argument for how to rebuild trust in government and a guide to how political change really happens,” the book is called Frank, and the discussion around it should be erudite and enlightening—so, not politics as usual. 7:30 p.m.; free. 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. (203) 245-3959.

Wednesday, September 16
The Jerk… Planes, Trains and Automobiles… Dirty Rotten Scoundrels… Father of the Bride… By now a vision of Steve Martin’s white helmet and expressive mug should have formed inside your head. Tonight at 7 at Long Wharf Theatre (222 Sargent Dr, New Haven; 203-787-4282), the vision becomes a reality as the famous comedian has a “creative conversation” with award-winning fictionist, essayist and critic Adam Gopnik, best known for his nearly 30 years of work for The New Yorker. All the better that Martin has considerable literary chops of his own, proven by a steady stream of published books, plays, films and TV episodes throughout his 40-plus-year career, adding bluegrass albums to the mix in 2009. Unsurprisingly, tickets for tonight’s event, which cost $104.50 apiece, are nearly sold out, with only 10 out of 408 seats remaining at the time of this writing.

Thursday, September 17
Tonight, the experimental black-box dinner theater Yale Cabaret (217 Park St, New Haven; 203-432-1566) opens its 2015-16 season with We Are All Here, “a remix of Charles L. Mee’s Wintertime.” (Mee gleefully endorses others playing with his work, maintaining a website dedicated to helping others “pillage [my] plays.”) Like Mee’s original, Yale Cab’s version follows three sets of lovers occupying a similar space, all desperately wanting the others to scram. “Caught in a rush of desire and jealousy, each person must choose whether to stay or go, kiss or kill,” the showrunners say about their “unconventional romantic comedy.” Speaking of rushes, as is the custom at Yale Cabaret during the school year, the play gets only three nights and five shows total, starting tonight at 8. Tickets go for $20, with discounts available for students and Yale faculty/staff.

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Windham Campbell Literary Festival

Friday, September 18
“Something for everyone” approaches literality today thanks to the New Haven Grand Prix, “a twilight bicycle race and street festival” uniting several clusters of activity around the New Haven Green from 4 to 10 p.m. On the festival side of things, there’s Taste of New Haven’s “Apizza Feast,” which brings the appropriate dinner (and dessert) trucks to the lower half of College Street between Chapel and Elm; a “Crossroads Festival,” featuring a Sierra Nevada-sponsored beer garden, live music stage, old-school Mario Kart 64 tournament and “freestyle bicycle stunt show” along College just below Chapel; and a family-oriented “Kids Zone” on the southern edge of the green, with an obstacle course, climbing wall and cornhole setup. On the cycling side, there’s an “Urban Mountain Bike Race,” featuring “a hay bale maze, a hay wagon, ramps, tire fields” and more on College south of Elm; a demo by professional stunt rider Mike Stiedley, “one of the most accomplished and prolific Stunt Riders in North America;” and the main event, a road contest that has three waves of competitive cyclists racing up Chapel, up High, down Elm, down Temple and back up Chapel over and over again until they’ve gone 20, 27 and 30 miles, respectively.

Saturday, September 19
But wait, there’s more—two more, both free to attend. First, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, it’s the sixth annual East Rock Festival, filling Orange Street between Cottage and Willow with lots of local food vendors, businesses, stage acts and street performers. Then, from 4 to 7 p.m., “NHV Block Party” takes over the northwest corner of the New Haven Green, supplying a stage full of bands, a food lineup full of carts and a DJ booth full of jams.

Sunday, September 20
And we’re not through yet. Today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Edgerton Park (75 Cliff St, New Haven) hosts its 28th annual “Sunday in the Park,” also free to attend. Modeled after a “traditional English country fair”—there’ll be farm animals and a “ploughman’s lunch” option, plus a white elephant sale and live music involving bagpipes, folksongs and “family dancing”—you’ll still feel like you’re in the 21st century, thanks in part to a bungee jump for the kids.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. 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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