ODYSSEY: A Greek Festival

This Week in New Haven (August 26 - September 1)

If you’re going by a cultural calendar and not the official one, Labor Day next Monday means this week is summer’s last hurrah. Free shows at Cafe Nine and BAR offer chances to catch some exceptional touring acts before they skip town. A benefit at Claire’s helps give shelter dogs and cats a chance at a loving home. Meanwhile, Sunday marks your last chance to see Elm Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar before the company’s annual summer run ends.

Take some chances this week in New Haven.

Monday, August 26
The New Haven Road Race happens next Monday, September 2. We’re telling you about it today because a week gives you just enough time to tune yourself up for the event’s 5K run. If you’re running the sister 20K race, then you’ve probably been training for some time.

Tuesday, August 27
You might imagine a band calling itself Tall Tall Trees would call forth nature and its pleasures. The song “Nothingless” makes you feel like walking gently through sunlit forest. “Highwire” makes you feel like running through tall-grass fields with nary a thought given to ticks or gopher holes. (That’s before the 3:27 mark, anyway, when a progressive reggae-rock twist puts beach sand under your feet.) Other evocations are more literal, with song names like “Men and Mountains” and “Elk.” You can enjoy Tall Tall Trees’s innovative banjo riffs, velvety bass lines and smooth croonings tonight at Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; 203-789-8281). The free show starts off at 8 p.m. with raspy guitar whisperer Kev King. Energetic more-rock-than-indie outfit Canvas picks up from there until TTT hits the stage.

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Wednesday, August 28
With the Democratic mayoral primary election less than two weeks away, the remaining candidates engage each other in a public debate tonight from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Long Wharf Theatre (222 Sargent Dr, New Haven). Co-sponsored by NBC Connecticut and the New Haven Independent, a panel of state and local media figures including NBC’s Gerry Brooks and the Independent’s Paul Bass will be asking questions.

New Jersey-formed duo Brick + Mortar is built on a foundation of big, front-of-mix drums performed by John Tacon and the golden voice and grungy bass-ing of Brandon Asraf. Sampling sends songs soaring and produces an incongruous amount of sound for the two guys you can see on stage. Experience that sound tonight at BAR (254 Crown St, New Haven; 203-495-1111). Guilford natives Coax Rhino open the free show, which starts at 9 p.m.

Thursday, August 29
The Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee doesn’t need an excuse to party. But it’ll actually have one tonight at Christopher Martins (860 State St, New Haven) when it premieres the 2014 parade button design and ceremonially introduces key figureheads in next year’s procession. Live music from blues act DynaMojo and prizes for attendees with the best parade button collections round out the occasion. 5:30 p.m.

Friday, August 30
Claire’s Corner Copia (1000 Chapel St, New Haven) has been one of New Haven’s vegetarian havens for almost 40 years, but it also serves the community in other ways. This evening from 6 to 8 p.m., Claire’s hosts a special Yappy Hour to benefit the Robin I. Kroogman New Haven Animal Shelter. “$25 per person/dog” (the latter of whom must be leashed) entitles you to a martini or smoothie, a “plateful” of menu appetizers and more. The pooch gets a spare water bowl, organic treats and a bandanna that might attract some howls on the street. Call Elaine Spinato at (203) 287-0055 for more info.

Saturday, August 31
This year’s “ODYSSEY: A Greek Festival” kicked off in perfect traditional-dance form yesterday outside the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange (480 Racebrook Rd; 203-795-1347). Joining a circle dance—such as the one pictured above from last year’s festival—near the live music stage will help you burn off the impressive range of Greek foods available on-site, from gyros to loukoumades (fried dough balls usually dipped in sugar syrup or honey). The four-day, rain-or-shine, free-to-attend event runs from noon to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday.

Sunday, September 1
We mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, and we ran a feature story about it last week. But if you still haven’t seen Elm Shakespeare Company’s outdoor production of Julius Caesar, tonight’s your last chance. Grab some friends and provisions and head to Edgerton Park (75 Cliff St, New Haven) for the free 8 p.m. performance. You’ll witness the final bow sometime before 10 p.m., and you’ll have been a part of this once-a-year touchstone of New Haven’s strong arts scene.

Written by Dan Mims. Photographed by Patric Marchitto.

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