2015 International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Any Way You Slice It

Given the scope of the task, the website for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas is surprisingly good at telling us what’s going on over the next 16 days.

In addition to a long but easily navigated list format forming its catch-all calendar, the festival organizes this year’s massive 239-event itinerary by tags, slicing up offerings into a “film” vertical, for example, or a “free” cross-section, highlighting events for their $0 price point. It also uses a separate “event type” filter on the calendar page, which gives you quick access to certain segments of the schedule—just the walking tours, for instance, or just the eating events, or just the headlining concerts on the green.

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But maybe your personal preferences are a little more idiosyncratic, pulling together clusters of events not so obviously connected. Here are bundles we’ve come up with, catering to some of New Haven’s more prominent lifestyle/personality types:

Self-Improvers and DIYers
You like to know how to do things, and then you like to do them. So find out how to give your garden a running start each spring. Learn some fundamentals of hip hop dance and “ground-based circus work.” Learn techniques for cooking oysters and pasta. Help construct a cardboard city. Then take a hardhat tour of the Q-Bridge construction project.

Bon Vivants
IFAI pulls in opulent foods and unique amusements. A well-regarded local chef hosts a “12-course seafood-lover’s dinner at his family farm in Woodbridge,” including “original wild plant-based cocktails, local beers, superb wines, lovely music, fine conversation and other wonderful surprises.” A circus troupe from Quebec delivers thrills and laughs via “gravity-defying stunts, jugglers and hilarious antics.” A traveling photo exhibit chronicles scenes from the life of one of the 20th century’s leading pleasure-seekers.

Outdoorsy Types
You don’t have to have a resting heart rate below 50 to enjoy some of IFAI’s more active outdoor events, though you do need “sturdy footwear that can get wet” to kayak off the coast of Lighthouse Point or canoe around East Rock Park. Among a bunch of bicycling events, a ride to Cheshire and back examines the old Farmington Canal, and a route between Lighthouse Point and Bradley Point (in West Haven) traces the paths of two British raiding parties during the Revolutionary War.

Broader Perspective-Seekers
Two Hong Kong-based artists, currently stationed in New Haven thanks to a fellowship from the Yale-China Association, offer their take on what it’s like to live and work in the Elm City. An Indian dance company presents choreography, music and design traditions from halfway around the world. A Grammy-winning singer and songwriter from Benin, Africa, brings energetic afropop to the New Haven Green. A “portal” opens up between New Haven and Tehran, Iran.

“International Festival” though it is, IFAI offers plenty of ways to snuggle up with local New Haven. Unearth centuries-old city history in the crypt beneath Center Church. Attend a panel about legendary dancer, educator, activist and New Havener Angela Bowen. Explore the reasons for eating locally sourced ingredients. Sample a cross-section of New Haven’s pizza scene. Catch the New Haven Symphony Orchestra backing up a multicultural song-singer during one of the festival’s big tentpole concerts. Follow the New Haven Preservation Trust around on any of its IFAI-partnered local history tours around town—at City Point, along the Farmington Canal Greenway, in Morris Cove and around College Woods.

Did we miss your type? Not to worry. Just start with that catch-all calendar, then carve out your own slice.

International Festival of Arts & Ideas
Various locations around New Haven
June 12 – 27, 2015

Written by Dan Mims. Photographs courtesy of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

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