This Week in New Haven (August 24 - 30)

As college students return to the city for another school year this week, other forces draw New Haveners outward—to North Haven, Madison, Hamden and so on. But there’s always a good reason to come back, culminating with a finale performance by a legendary New Haven party band risen, for a glorious few moments, from a decade-long slumber.

Monday, August 24
The Connecticut Open WTA tennis tournament continues today with sessions 2 and 3 (starting at noon and 7 p.m., respectively; $32) inside the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale (45 Yale Ave, New Haven). The tourney’s remaining nine sessions play out this week, with the twelfth signaling finals play on Saturday. Before then, a couple of three-set “Men’s Legends” exhibition matches spice things up during sessions 9 (Thursday evening; $58) and 11 (Friday evening; $65), the former pitting hard hitter Andy Roddick against Fairfield High alum James Blake, and the latter featuring legendarily hotheaded John McEnroe versus cucumber-cool Jim Courier.

Tuesday, August 25
Tonight at 7, the North Haven Town Green hosts one of the area’s last free, public, outdoor concerts of the summer. Part of North Haven’s “Music Under the Stars” series, the main act is the cover band Primetime, whose repertoire spans Barry White, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi and Bruno Mars—and that’s just the Bs. By the by, there’s at least one remaining outdoor show of the summer: the finale of the Walnut Beach Summer Concert Series, featuring blues rock band Five Below Zero this Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. “under the Devon Rotary Pavilion,” located hereabouts in Milford.

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Hopkins School - Open House on October 18, 2015

Wednesday, August 26
Journalist and Ridgefield resident Todd Brewster has edited, written and/or produced for a who’s who of media outlets—Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Life, ABC News. He’s also written or co-written acclaimed books, the latest of which is Lincoln’s Gamble, about “The Tumultuous Six Months that Gave America the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War,” as the subtitle puts it. Meet the author tonight at R.J. Julia Booksellers (768 Boston Post Rd, Madison; 203-245-3959), where he’s leading a free 7 p.m. talk.

Thursday, August 27
This evening at 5:30, Diesel Lounge (944 State St, New Haven; 203-776-9899) is hosting a 21+ event to benefit 16-year-old Jared Northern, whose muscular dystrophy has him in a wheelchair, and whose family is raising funds to buy a wheelchair-accessible van. According to the flyer, it’s a happy hour event, with “free appetizers ’til 8 p.m.,” drink specials, live music and “raffles and great prizes.”

Friday, August 28
Eddie Izzard’s “Force Majeure World Tour” compels the British funnyman and his refreshingly literate brand of stand-up comedy to SCSU’s Lyman Center for the Performing Arts (501 Crescent St, New Haven; 203-392-6167) tonight for an 8 o’clock show. Tickets cost $55, with discounts for faculty, students and a limited number of student guests.

Starting at the same time is a screening of HEADa “Connecticut-produced all-puppet horror movie”—at Best Video (1842 Whitney Ave, Hamden; 203-287-9286). A very indie “throwback to the slasher films of the ’70s and ’80s,” the plot follows a group of young adults who “go for a nice fall weekend camping trip and end up in the middle of a nightmare they may never escape from…” $5.

Saturday, August 29
“Bringing UNH and West Haven together” reads the tagline on the flyer for the inaugural WestFest, referring to the University of New Haven, which is indeed located in West Haven. But anyone is welcome at the free event today on the West Haven Green, where, according to a press release put out by the city, “restaurants such as Andy’s Pizza, Louise’s Bakery and several food trucks” will be present, as will “other businesses… from hair salons to auto shops.” Bands and dancers from UNH, West Haven High and the local populace are providing live entertainment, as is a pie-eating contest sponsored by Louise’s and a dunk tank featuring targets like city mayor Edward O’Brien and UNH dean Lourdes Alvarez. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday, August 30
Wrote the writer of local party band Pencilgrass’s SonicBids bio circa 2004, “‘Punk-Funk?’ ‘Prog-R&B?’ ‘Glam-Soul?’ Pencilgrass just calls what they do ‘Dance Music.’” Indeed. Where Pencilgrass went, a powerful, soul-baring dance party was only moments away, vitalized by the group’s fired-up yet loosey-goosey stage antics and its music school-honed technical prowess. Then, in 2005, the band broke up. Its members scattered sooner or later to local projects of note like Kings, Goodnight Blue Moon and The Mountain Movers, maintaining a geographic closeness that left the door open, if only a crack, to a reunion show. This weekend, Pencilgrass is flinging that door wide open. A slate of three back-to-back reunion shows began Friday night at The Ballroom at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; $20 suggested donation), during one of several “Save The Space” fundraisers. The second happened last night in Bridgeport, where Pencilgrass headlined a 9 p.m. bill at The Acoustic (2926 Fairfield Ave; $15). And the third proceeds tonight, when the band tops a 9 p.m. bill at one of its former stomping grounds, Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; $10).

Written by Dan Mims. Image, depicting Pencilgrass back in the day, provided courtesy of band member Erik Elligers. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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