Thumbscrew photographed by Peter Gannushkin

This Week in New Haven (April 7 - 13)

Kids get a literary degree of love this week during the nationally organized Week of the Young Child, but, like the best children’s stories, there’s more than enough here to keep the grownups entertained. Tomorrow and Tuesday, home state heroes go big or go home; Thursday, an expert’s talk clues us in to conservation dynamics in central Africa; and Saturday, an intergalactic pop culture event delights young and old alike.

Monday, April 7
U! C! O! N! N! UConn! UConn! UConn!

Tonight, find the nearest sports bar and pray that you can also find a seat with a decent view of the action as the men’s basketball team, coached by former UConn utility man and head-coaching newbie Kevin Ollie, finishes an improbable run to the championship game against Kentucky at 9:10 (CBS). The women’s basketball team, coached by the venerable Geno Auriemma, caps off a rather less improbable run to its own championship game tomorrow night, facing Notre Dame at 8:30 (ESPN). If both sets of Huskies emerge victorious, UConn will be the only school to win both the men’s and women’s titles in the same season twice—indeed, they’re the only school to do it even once, in 2004.

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Tuesday, April 8
The New Haven Early Childhood Council’s celebration of the Week of the Young Child began yesterday morning with a pancake breakfast at City Hall (165 Church St, New Haven) from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Yesterday also kickstarted a week’s worth of “storyteller” events, which offer readings and complimentary children’s books to kids at venues around the city, including the New Haven Free Public Library’s various branches. The events, which include a couple of special project-oriented sessions over the weekend, are too numerous to list here, so check out the NHECC calendar for details. Book titles to be read and handed out are often wonderfully whimsical, including Mice Squeak, We Speak and Charlie Needs a Cloak, but perhaps the most wonderful moments of all are set to occur between 5 and 6:30 p.m. tonight at Leitner Planetarium (355 Prospect St, New Haven; 203-285-8840), where attendees can gaze skyward while listening to a reading of The Cloud Book.

Wednesday, April 9
The New Haven Paint & Clay Club’s 113th Annual Juried Art Exhibition is inhabiting the gorgeous innards of the John Slade Ely House (51 Trumbull St, New Haven; 203-624-8055) for just five more days, with limited visiting hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Friday, and 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). The show features, by our count, 80 diverse paintings and sculptures, from still life to abstract. See them before 5 p.m. Sunday, after which they’ll get packed up and shipped out. Free.

Thursday, April 10
At the Peabody Museum of Natural History (170 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-432-8987), visiting Yale researcher Dr. Bill Weber takes on unnatural phenomena—“parks, tourism and international trade in conservation success and failure, as well as the critical but elusive factor of local community engagement”—to make hay of “rising” mountain gorilla and “crashing” elephant populations in central Africa. The talk is called “Gorillas, Elephants, People and Parks: Conservation and Conflict in Central Africa,” and the co-authored book he’ll be signing after the talk is called In the Kingdom of Gorillas: The Quest to Save Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas. 5:30 p.m. Free.

The Last Five Years at Long Wharf Theatre

Friday, April 11
According to the bio for jazz-trio-named-like-a-metal-band Thumbscrew, guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara met bassist Michael Formanek “by accident,” when Formanek joined them for a short-term engagement with a different group. Actually, the metal hint isn’t so inappropriate; listening to the trio’s recently released eponymous album, it’s easy to imagine the band’s mind-melding time signatures and hard-charging riffs translated to that seemingly opposite end of the spectrum (even if it’s harder to do the same for the musicians themselves, pictured above). Headbang along during 8:30 and 10 p.m. shows tonight at Firehouse 12 (45 Crown St, New Haven; 203-785-0468). As is customary, tickets to the early and late sets cost $18 and $12 respectively.

Saturday, April 12
The force is strong with this one. From noon to 2 p.m. at R.J. Julia Booksellers (768 Boston Post Rd, Madison; 203-245-3959), members of the 501st Legion—an international, internet-bred group organized around donning “screen-accurate” costumes of Star Wars imperials, from officers to stormtroopers to Darth Vader himself—strut their stuff during a Star Wars Character Meet & Greet.” The event is free, though donations of “new or gently used children’s books” are being accepted on behalf of the area youth literacy org Read to Grow.

Sunday, April 13
The baton gets passed to another Julia and another local literacy-minded youth organization today with the annual Julia’s Run for Children, which benefits LEAP (Leadership, Education, Athletics and Partnerships). The run is named for Julia Rusinek, a beloved high school track star and Yale undergrad who died of an undetected heart condition at age 21, and who spent much of her spare time working with kids. Pre-race registration and bib pickup at Woolsey Hall (500 College St, New Haven) open at 7:45 a.m.; the “fun run” portion of the day, sporting a 0.7-mile course tailored to children, starts at 9:30 a.m., and the main run, following a 4-mile course, starts at 10 a.m. Same-day registration is $25 for the main run ($20 for students) and $10 for the fun run, with discounts for advance registration available until the day before.

Written by Dan Mims. Photograph, of Thumbscrew, taken by Peter Gannushkin. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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