Kung Fu

This Week in New Haven (December 15 - 21)

Hanukkah starts with a bang—probably several of them—on Tuesday, and the ramp-up to Christmas continues with grand seasonal performances by some of New Haven’s most venerable arts institutions. Meanwhile, a couple of offbeat events should appeal especially well to the city’s public television and radio junkies.

Monday, December 15
Yale-affiliated quintet Brass gets right after it with “Sounds of the Season,” which’ll be swirling all around the airy climes of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (121 Wall Street, New Haven; 203-432-2977) starting at 5:15 p.m. this evening. Described as “a cheerful musical celebration for the whole family featuring timeless holiday favorites,” the concert is the latest in the group’s long-running, though infrequent, “Marble and Brass” series at Beinecke. Free.

Tuesday, December 16 – Hanukkah Begins
Celebrating the first night of Hanukkah, a.k.a. the Festival of Lights, Chabad Jewish Center of Westville gives the usually low-key holiday a Vegas-style makeover with a “fire show” in the heart of the neighborhood. Also on the program are latkes, drinks, gelt (chocolates in the shapes of coins), music and “the tallest menorah in Westville.” The lights go on at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot at the intersection of Whalley Avenue and Blake Street. Free.

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Buon Natale at Knights of Columbus Museum
Wednesday, December 17
True to its name, vintage decor and style shop Barrage Designs (912 Whalley Ave, 518-506-5763) hits its visitors hard from the moment they enter, filling fields of vision with tables, chairs, mirrors, pillows, fabrics, shoes, stuffed animals, jewelry, tea sets, jars and more arranged on nearly every available surface. Tonight at 5:30, the store makes room for Gaye Hyre and her class “What’s It Worth? How to Raid a Flea Market,” a BYOB affair billed as being “like Antiques Roadshow but better.” Perhaps best known for founding local breast cancer charity ArtBra New Haven, Hyre is also, according to organizers, “insanely knowledgeable” when it comes to antiquing and appraisal. Free; donations accepted.

Thursday, December 18
Tonight at 7:30, before taking it to other venues around the state, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra performs a seasonal favorite, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, in its home at Woolsey Hall (500 College St, New Haven). Featuring guest conductor Jeffrey Douma, tickets cost $15-79, with discounts for students and kids. If you can’t make it tonight, or even if you can, a brass quintet formed from the NHSO’s ranks is giving a free holiday-themed show from 3 to 4:15 tomorrow afternoon at the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-432-2800).

Friday, December 19
At 7:30 p.m., the 129-year-old Trinity Choir of Men and Boys, accompanied variously by organ, harp and brass, performs its annual Christmas concert of carols and anthems inside the Trinity Church on the Green (corner of Chapel and Temple). Among less common holiday tunes (including “Still, Still, Still,” a “traditional German carol” arranged by choir alumnus Shelby Miller), the choir intends to perform “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” inviting the audience to sing along. Free; $10 suggested donation.

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Forever at Long Wharf Theatre

Tonight and tomorrow night at 9 p.m., “funk-fusion” group Kung Fu (pictured above) fights the good fight during its yearly “Toys for Tots Holiday Spectacular” at Toad’s Place (300 York St, New Haven; 203-624-8623). Each of the band’s five regular members is a master with his chosen weapon—guitar, sax, drums, bass and keys—and, for tonight, a couple of musicians with incredible pedigrees amp things up even further. One of them is Jon Herington, currently guitar-ing for Steely Dan; the other is Bernard Purdie, who lays claim to being “the world’s most recorded drummer,” spanning over 3,000 sessions with artists like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Tom Jones and, indeed, Steely Dan. Tickets for each night run $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show—or $12.50 day of, for those who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate at the box office.

Saturday, December 20
At 2 and 8 p.m. in Yale’s University Theatre (222 York St, New Haven), This American Life anchor Ira Glass, big-time dancer/choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and Barnes’s protege Anna Bass perform a show they’re calling Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host. “Featuring original This American Life radio interviews restaged as dance pieces as well as personal stories from each of its three performers,” tickets cost $50 apiece, or $25 for students.

Sunday, December 21
Pliés and thank you.

After kicking things off at 7 p.m. on Friday, the New Haven Ballet closes out a three-day, five-show run of The Nutcracker with 1 and 5 p.m. performances today at the Shubert Theater (247 College St, New Haven; 203-562-5666). “Bigger and better than ever this year,” organizers say, this iteration of the annual tradition, guided by NHB artistic director Lisa Sanborn, offers “new choreography, costumes and set pieces” and more than 275 performers, among them New York City Ballet dancers Savannah Lowery and Adrian Danchig-Waring. $19.50-58.

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

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