Buon Natale at Knights of Columbus Museum

This Week in New Haven (December 1 - 7)

The holiday season comes alive this week in New Haven, where holiday cheer arrives via clinking glasses and clapping audiences; holiday spirit entails spiritual art forms and vintage spirits; and holiday tradition means communal gatherings formed around spectacle and craft.

Monday, December 1
When conceiving its annual crèche—that is, nativity scene—exhibits, the Knights of Columbus Museum has a penchant for roaming. Two years ago, it took visitors to Canada, offering bird’s-eye views of snowy, conifer-brimmed villages sculpted from a huge variety of materials. Last year, it traveled all around the world, but the medium was narrower, and thinner: paper. This year’s exhibit, opening today, really focuses in, showing us 16th-century Naples, Italy, through high-res views of the central nativity characters, as well as dynamic street scenes replete with hawkers and herders and horn players sculpted from wood and cloth and clay (like the one pictured above). The show, called Buon Natale: Crèches of Italy, is up through February 1, viewable daily between 10 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. 1 State Street, New Haven; (203) 865-0400. Free.

From 8 to 10 tonight in the back room of BAR (254 Crown St, New Haven; 203-495-8924), the next installment of Astronomy on Tap brings beer and science to a head. Yale lecturer (and Leitner Observatory director) Michael Faison discusses “Beer in Space;” Elizabeth Adams, a New Haven-based researcher for the Tuscon-based Planetary Science Institute, delves into NASA’s buzziest space missions; and Yale postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Foster tells us “How Stars Leave Home.” To find out what Foster means by that, you’ll have to leave home yourself. Free to attend; register here.

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Take a Parent Tour at The Foote School
Tuesday, December 2
Long Wharf Theatre’s latest work, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, is one of the legendary actor/comedian Steve Martin’s earliest as a playwright. The 1993-premiered comedy is set in 1904 at a bar in Paris, where twentysomethings Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meet by chance and, “joined by an eccentric cast of characters, spar over art and science” (and more). After opening last Wednesday, LWT’s production, directed by Gordon Edelstein, continues tonight with a 7 p.m. showing, in a run that continues most days through December 21. 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. (203) 787-4282. $59.50-79.50.

Wednesday, December 3
Tonight at 7, the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven) screens a film that won’t be in theaters for another three weeks. Unbroken—which stars Angelina Jolie behind the scenes, in the director’s chair—delves into the true story of Louie Zamperini, an American athlete who competed in Nazi Germany during the 1936 Olympics, and who, some five years later, would find himself held as a prisoner of war by Japan after being stranded at sea for 47 days. Following the screening is a Q&A with the movie’s production designer Jon Hutman, whose long career includes work on Heathers (1988), Quiz Show (1994), the pilot episode of West Wing (1999) and Something’s Gotta Give (2003). Free.

Thursday, December 4
New Haven’s yearly Christmas tree lighting happens today on the green at 5:30 p.m., with surrounding festivities—“live musical performances, carousel rides, holiday crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, hay maze and more”—between 4 and 8. Santa and his pal Rudolph are scheduled to appear, as is mayor Toni Harp, with tomorrow set aside as the rain date. Free to attend.

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Greater New Haven Community Chorus - Fall Concert

Friday, December 5
On this day in 1933, Prohibition was repealed, and on this day in 2014, New Haveners are celebrating. Between 5 and 10 p.m. tonight, there’s a “Repeal Day Party” spanning a dozen New Haven bars, like Stone Hearth, ROÌA, Firehouse 12, 116 Crown and Oak Haven, each offering special $8 “vintage-style cocktails” rife with liqueurs and bitters and themed names. Organizers, meanwhile, invite revelers to “dress like your favorite flapper, bootlegger, gangster or crooked politician.”

Tonight and tomorrow at 7 and 9 p.m., and during a mirrored set of performances next weekend, a curious moonshine-mash of a play takes over Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885). Directed by Sam Plattus, Holler: An Appalachian Tragedy is a tragedy, naturally, but it’s also a “punishing fairy tale,” but it’s also a “ballad play,” with a cast of two actor-musicians and “an old-time band” channeling the “banjo-picking, bass-thumping, mandolin-trilling, guitar-strumming, fiddle-shrieking” music of the titular geography. Tickets go for $20, or $15 for students and seniors.

Saturday, December 6
Newly opened fashion, home and crafting space the Haven Collective (938 State St, New Haven; 860-712-6338) is hosting this year’s “Holiday Haven” pop-up event today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., organized by Haven Events. Anchored by several local artisans and vendors selling holiday gifts, the occasion also promises complimentary drinks, a free crafting session, “performances by the Aloha Hula Company” and, from 11 to 12:30, “free brunch bites.”

Sunday, December 7
Speaking of holiday pop-ups, the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (360 Amity Rd, Woodbridge; 203-387-2522) puts on its big annual “Arts & Crafts Fair” today between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Gathering together “more than 60 local artisans” and their wares, which, in past years, have ranged from jewelry to flatware to clocks to glasswork blown on-site, there’s also a babysitting service available for parents of young children and a “Mediterranean olive oil tasting” at 10:15.

Tonight at 6:30, holiday spirit hits a high note during Trinity Baptist Church’s annual “Carol Service,” which invites the public to come sing carols with the church’s choir and musicians. A reception afterward offers “loads of good food and treats,” we’re told, adding extra enticement. 630 State Street, New Haven. (203) 789-4500.

Written by Dan Mims. Photo provided courtesy of Knights of Columbus Museum. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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