Explosions in the Sky

This Week in New Haven (August 5 - 11)

New Haven’s calendar this time of year seems pretty open at first blush. Many Elm Citizens are using up accrued vacation days with reckless abandon, and Yale is still quiet.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you realize this week is both active and open. There are open-air shows, plus an indoor one that still manages to conjure the heavens. There’s a mind-opening film screening, a pie contest open to (almost) everyone and an eye-opening art exhibition in its final week.

Open up and let it all in this week in New Haven.

Monday, August 5
The dualistic Afro-Semitic Experience melds various international and intercultural stylings into a singular listening experience tonight during the latest installment of the free Beecher Park Summer Concert Series. At some point, turn your gaze pie-ward—the series’s recurring “Hi-Fi Pie Fest” contest and tasting progresses to the stone fruit category (“cherries, peaches, plums, pluots & more!”) this time around. Sorry, no professional bakers allowed. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. in Beecher Park behind Westville’s Mitchell Library (37 Harrison St, New Haven).

Tuesday, August 6
One week from today, Un/bound: New Work by Mette Rishøj finishes its run at the Reynolds Fine Art gallery (96 Orange St, New Haven; 203-498-2200). Sharp, intricate geometry inhabits surreal painted scenes in this intense exhibition. Inhabit it while you still can.

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Wednesday, August 7
The yearly Wednesday-afternoons-in-late-summer outdoor concert series Blues, Berries & Jam! continues on New Haven Green this week with perennial performer The Travis Moody Band playing some bluesy rock and country, both of which feel like apt words to associate with being outside. Equally appropriate are the fruits, vegetables and other locally produced goodies on sale at the CitySeed Downtown Farmers’ Market nearby. The show lasts from 12 to 1:30 p.m., while the market sets up shop from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thursday, August 8
The main branch of the New Haven Public Library (133 Elm St, New Haven; 203-946-8130) screens not one but two stirring documentaries this evening during its Latin American Movie Night. Presented by local educational organization Spanish on the Green, the free double feature begins at 5 p.m. with Ernesto Cardenal, which captures a poetry reading the Nicaraguan priest and poet gave in Los Angeles in 1991. That hourlong film is followed at 6:15 by the full-length, critically acclaimed Harvest of Empire, which counts the surprising causes and contributions of Latino immigration to America. Released in 2012, it’s even more relevant today given this summer’s fierce immigration battles on Capitol Hill. Bring your own snacks.

Friday, August 9
Explosions in the Sky is one of those rare bands whose name actually echoes its sound. Atmospheric melodies bounce around for a while at the beginnings of songs, then take off on the back of a timely drum groove, then build longwise to bombastic crests. There really are no words for Explosions in the Sky—by which we mean there are literally no words. It’s an instruments-only outfit. Wave hello to the quartet at Toad’s Place tonight, but not before José Oyola & the Astronauts blast off in the opening spot at 9pm. $20, $18 in advance. 300 York St, New Haven; (203) 624-8623.

Saturday, August 10
Yale may be quiet, but the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History are still hanging in there. Today each is offering 1:30 p.m. guided tours with different merits. The YUAG tour, which takes you through various elements of the expansive gallery’s permanent and temporary collections, is free, but it’s also happening for the next few Saturdays and Sundays to come. The Peabody tour, which walks you through “the most diverse collection of ancient Egyptian-inspired objects ever assembled” in the museum’s Echoes of Egypt exhibit, requires the initial cost of admission (unless you’re a Peabody member or a Yalie) but isn’t scheduled again after today. Will your tour be wide-ranging or focused? Will it be plentiful or rare? The choice is yours.

Sunday, August 11
Wednesday isn’t the only day this week with blues on a green. The annual Shoreline Jewish Festival brings Lazer Lloyd Blumen, “one of Israel’s top blues guitarists,” to the Guilford Town Green today in the midst of a lineup spanning klezmer music, Israeli folk songs and even rap. But music is just the shamash (come on, you know this—it’s the central candle holder on a menorah) to the festival’s other delights. Myriad diversions abound for the kids, from cotton candy to craft projects to bounce houses, and parents can bounce around stands selling artwork, jewelry, and books. Among the many onsite food options, the falafel (an Israeli mainstay) and knishes seem like strong bets for those looking to get into the spirit of things. The free-to-attend festival lasts from noon to 5 p.m.

Written by Dan Mims.

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