Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This Week in New Haven (December 14 - 20)

Serenity or tragedy? Cheer or angst? Cookies or death-duels? The choice is yours this week—or not. Unlike in a certain of-the-moment space saga, New Haveners aren’t forced to choose between light and dark. We can have ’em both.

Monday, December 14
It’s not every Monday—usually a day off for cast and crew—that you get to see a play, let alone a trilogy of them. And yet, last Saturday through this Friday, tonight included, Yale School of Drama is putting on Aeschylus’s The Oresteia, a collection of three tragedies that “chronicles a society’s struggle to break the cycle of sacrifice, revenge, bloodshed and punishment that plagues them.” Written nearly 2,500 years ago and performed here using a translation said to achieve “a burning contemporary relevance,” tickets for the show, held inside Iseman Theater (1156 Chapel St, New Haven), cost $25, or $15 for students.

Tuesday, December 15
The Institute Library’s next “Listen Here” event, in which members of the New Haven Theater Company read—indeed, perform—short works of fiction for free, happens tonight at 7 p.m. Satisfying the evening’s “That Special Place” theme, the works are Justine Dymond’s Cherubs and William Trevor’s The Room. Tomorrow night in the same room, by the way, a “Member in the Spotlight!” event features “bluegrass with a twist” from local band Bait and Switch. 847 Chapel Street, New Haven. (203) 562-4045.

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Holidays in New Haven

Wednesday, December 16
A long time ago, in a galaxy not far away, Hollywood made good Star Wars movies. The Ives Main Library (133 Elm St, New Haven; 203-946-8130) has been screening those movies in order, one film per week, since early December, orienting the occasions toward teens whose parents might’ve just become teens themselves when the original trilogy was coming out. Showing at 2:30 p.m. today is Return of the Jedi, a.k.a. Episode VI, just in time for this week’s release of Episode VII, which fans hope will achieve the greatness widely found lacking in the last three Star Wars movies. Free.

Thursday, December 17
This evening from 6 to 8, CitySeed’s hosting a seasonal cookie-making class in its new teaching kitchen at 817 Grand Avenue, New Haven. Led by Katalina Riegelmann, owner of local bakery Katalina’s, organizers promise “mocktails” (“non-alcoholic cocktails infused with local ingredients and festive spirit”) and, by the time class is dismissed, “an assortment of cookies to share with your friends and family,” in addition to the ability to make those cookies on your own. The session costs $60, with discounts available for those in need. (203) 773-3736.

Starting with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite and ending with Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s wondrous carol mashup Carol Symphony, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra throws a “Holiday Extravaganza” tonight at 7:30 in Woolsey Hall (500 College St, New Haven). Spanning traditional and pops presentations, the program even includes a sing-along. $15-74, or $10 for college students.

Friday, December 18
After hitting ‘snooze’ following several local “premiere” screenings yesterday evening, Star Wars: The Force Awakens awakens for its official release date today. Both Criterion Cinemas (86 Temple St, New Haven; 203-498-2500) and Connecticut Post 14 (1201 Boston Post Rd, Milford; 203-878-8037) have it in 2D and 3D, while CP14 also has an IMAX 3D option for a couple extra bucks. (Check the links for specific prices and showtimes.)

Tonight and tomorrow at Toad’s Place (300 York St, New Haven; 203-624-8623), there won’t be lightsabers, but there will be swishing lights, and epic music. The force is strong with über-skilled “new-funk” quintet Kung Fu, which aims to get audiences dancing and giving during its fifth annual “Toys for Tots Holiday Spectacular.” Along with buying a ticket ($25, or $20 in advance, with a $37 bundle option), attendees are asked to “bring a new, unwrapped toy” for “US Marines’ families, local hospitals and families in need this holiday season.” Each show, featuring different special talented guests, starts at 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 19
Starting its “Holiday Pop-Up Sale” with an open house and reception last night from 5 to 8 p.m.—with complimentary snacks, a cash bar and an open mic (“The stage is yours!”)—Lyric Hall opens its doors from noon to 5 p.m. today to keep the sale going. Featuring copper work, jewelry, cards, pottery, lamps and “dystopian dolls for challenging times” from notable local artists, it’s a particularly fine-artsy entrant in New Haven’s holiday pop-up wars. 827 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. (203) 389-8885.

Both Silverstein and Senses Fail, leading a 7 p.m., four-band bill tonight at College Street Music Hall (238 College St, New Haven; 877-987-6487), caught the emo/screamo wave of the early 2000s and have been riding it ever since. Hardened by crunchy guitars and screaming vocals, but softened by quiet setups and poppy choruses, each embodies a duality millions of young fans have found cathartic. $19-23.

Sunday, December 20
One day early, the Yale Humanist Community is marking the yearly pivot between daylight’s shortening and lengthening with a “Winter Solstice Celebration & Green Light Project Launch” today. After a 4 p.m. ceremony on the western end of the New Haven Green—led by author and noted humanist Mary Johnson, and intended to underscore “our ability, even during the coldest and darkest time of the year, to come together to create light and warmth”—celebrants will move to The Grove (760 Chapel St, New Haven) for a reception. The Green Light Project, by the way, is “an initiative to create an art installation that will serve as a gift to the city of New Haven,” intended to add “a nonreligious expression of human potential, open and accessible to all,” to the Green’s annual holiday symbology. Free.

Written by Dan Mims. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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