This Week in New Haven (January 18 – 24)

F or New Haven, MLK Day today isn’t just a day of rest but a day of new experiences. Actually, so’s the rest of the week, where art openings, a first gardening class and a many-splendored theatrical event create a fragrant stew of leisurely action.

Monday, January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Inspired by King’s messages of openness and inclusiveness, Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop (915 Whitney Ave, Hamden; 203-777-1833) presents “Haven,” a 9 a.m.-to-3 p.m. chance for 6- to 14-year-olds to creatively “explore the art and history of Islam.” $65, or $60 for members.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven; 203-432-8987) holds the second and final day of its annual celebration of MLK’s “Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice.” In the Hall of Dinosaurs, a “World Stage” hosts West African, Punjabi, Celtic and other styles of music, while the museum’s auditorium hosts an open mic poetry session from 11 to noon followed by an invitational poetry slam from 12:30 to 4. Free.

About a block south, from noon to 4 p.m., the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-562-4183) hosts “the storytelling portion” of the Peabody’s event, featuring “engaging tales by three professional storytellers” at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30, respectively. Free.

At 2 p.m., Christ Church (84 Broadway, New Haven; 203-865-6354) hosts Music Haven and St. Luke’s Steel Band for an “uplifting concert” honoring Dr. King. Also on the program is a speech by Enola Aird, founder and president of the Community Healing Network, which, according to its website, aims to “end racism by dismantling its foundations.” Free; donations welcome.

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The Lion at Long Wharf Theatre

Tuesday, January 19
Announced by a gorgeous high-res poster (pictured very partially above), the latest exhibit at 32 Edgewood Gallery (32 Edgewood Ave, New Haven) is Black Pulp!, whose 65 objects, spanning 90 years, highlight “the creative use of printed media and artwork to challenge racist narratives and change limited notions of black experience in America.” The show technically opens today, visitable between noon and 6 p.m., but if opening parties are more your speed, you might want to wait until Thursday, when there’s a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, January 20
Tonight, try a “wintry bliss edition” of New Haven’s PechaKucha series—a whirlwind of sub-seven-minute, slide-driven talks from what tends to be an eclectic range of local speakers. The sliding and speaking begins at 7 p.m. inside The Ballroom at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400). Free.

Thursday, January 21
Yesterday through April 17, the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (3011 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-582-6500) is devoting an exhibit to “one of the most talented, audacious and experimental artists of his time:” 19th-century painter Daniel Macdonald, an Irishman who lived through the British-imposed Great Hunger only to die a year later in his early 30s. Mostly forgotten by history, In the Lion’s Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire resuscitates the artist’s memory in what organizers say is the “first exhibition of its kind.” Viewable today during the museum’s normal Thursday visiting hours (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), you can also register for a special 5:30 p.m. talk by curator Niamh O’Sullivan. Free.

Friday, January 22
“Escapade: An Unusual Experience,” billed as “an adventure into the world of the spectacular, the bizarre and the curious”—or, more specifically, a “vaudeville-style theatrical experience featuring dance, circus aerials and drag performance art”—takes over Lyric Hall with an 8 p.m. show tonight and 6 and 9 p.m. shows tomorrow. Tickets to the event, which also features a visual arts installation, cost $25, with “wine and specialty cocktails available for purchase.” Speaking of which, each performance has a “drinks and pre-show” portion beginning one hour before the official start time, featuring members of the cast presenting “individual and semi-interactive” acts. 827 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. (203) 389-8885.

Saturday, January 23
We’re officially over a month into winter, which means it’s a smart time to start a two-month, six-session course on outdoor gardening. Organized by Common Ground High School with host Neighborhood Housing Services, and with the first session happening today from 10 a.m. to noon, “advanced master gardener” Rachel Ziesk is set to “cover everything you need to be a successful gardener come Spring 2016,” from cool- and warm-weather plants to “edible landscaping.” Tuition is $100 for all six classes or $20 for a single, though “no one will be turned away for lack of funds.” 333 Sherman Avenue, Building 3, New Haven. (203) 562-0598.

Sunday, January 24
Today from 3 to 6 p.m., spacious Westville gallery Kehler Liddell (873 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-9555) hosts a joint opening reception for its two current exhibits. One of them is New Year/New Work, “featuring 20 of Connecticut’s highest-achieving mid-career and emerging artists in a full range of media,” including painting and photography. The other is Couples, a solo exhibit featuring dualism-happy “drawings, prints and sculpture” by Kathleen Zimmerman. Bringing even more art to the table, it appears the reception is also set to feature a Couples-inspired performance by actor Casey McDougal.

Written 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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