Fantasy of Lights

This Week in New Haven (December 21 - 27)

Come Friday it’s Christmas, which is so big it really needs Thursday, too. But there are still worthy things to do every day this week, thanks to the area’s penchant for inclusive, non-traditional traditions.

Monday, December 21
Christmastime is Easter Seals Goodwill’s time to shine. The nonprofit’s annual “Fantasy of Lights,” offering a winding drive through a series of holiday light displays at Lighthouse Point Park (2 Lighthouse Rd, New Haven), has been brightening the season for vehicle-fuls of families and friends since November 20, before the season even began. It’ll keep doing so until Wednesday, January 6, after the season’s over. But this week’s the peak. Open 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and an extra hour on Fridays and Saturdays—and taking no breaks for Christmas and New Year’s Eves and Days—admission costs $10 per car, $25 per mini-bus and $50 per full-size bus, if that’s how you roll.

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The Lion at Long Wharf Theatre

Tuesday, December 22
Kids and parents can have some less wholly wholesome fun starting at 5 o’clock this evening at the Wilson Branch of the New Haven Free Public Library (303 Washington Ave, New Haven; 203-946-2228), where a character about as appealing as “a bad banana with a greasy black peel”—with spiders in his brain, garlic in his soul and a disposition that compares unfavorably to that of a seasick crocodile—stars in a “Grinch Christmas Party.” After a screening of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!—either the 26-minute, 1966-released television special or the 104-minute, 2000-released movie; it’s hard to say, with organizers using the word “movie” in the description but listing the entire event as just an hour long—there’ll be a “Grinch craft” session, plus snacks themed after Whoville, the fictional town whose Christmas the Grinch steals.

Wednesday, December 23
In an airy, spacious gallery often soothingly quiet this time of year, a new exhibit promises lots of oldies-but-goodies. Opened last Friday, Meant to Be Shared: Selections from the Arthur Ross Collection of European Prints at the Yale University Art Gallery boasts “works by Francisco Goya,” “Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s views of 18th-century and ancient Rome” and “Édouard Manet’s illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem The Raven.” The YUAG, located at 1111 Chapel Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, before closing tomorrow and Friday for the holidays. Free. (203) 432-0600.

Thursday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
If you’re not one of the many who’ll be staying home or heading to a church tonight, The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400) is ready to be your place of lounging and/or worship. Like at home, there’s stuff to eat and drink, and like at church, there’s live music, the latter coming courtesy of dobroist/fiddler Stacy Phillips & His Bluegrass Characters, who kindly do this every year on Christmas Eve. Free.

Friday, December 25 – Christmas
Congregation Mishkan Israel (785 Ridge Rd, Hamden; 203-288-3877) also has an annual Christmas tradition: giving non-Christians something festive to do. It’s the yearly Christmas show by klezmer band Nu Haven Kepelye, featuring “Cantor Giglio and an ensemble of CMI and community musicians,” and free-spiritedness is encouraged. “Listen, dance, sing and be joyful,” organizers say. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors, or $20 for families of four or more.

Saturday, December 26
“Just got back from space,” the New Haven-based Cosmic Dust Bunnies say on their driving booty-shaker “Mission: Possible.” Tonight the band heads back—to The Outer Space, that is, bringing infectious, party-starting “New Wave-tronica,” which achieves narrative feeling despite skimpy lyrics. Maybe that’s because, along with cosmic instrumental sojourns, a lot of it sounds like it’d be at home in an ’80s movie or a ’90s video game. Sharing the 8:30 p.m., all-Connecticut bill are The Mushroom Cloud, looking to set off a funky fusion explosion; the SETI Project, an instrumental jam band with a fondness for space-age sound FX; and Buff’s Truck, whose first demo, released just last month, is funky in more good ways than one. $10, or $8 in advance.

Sunday, December 27
There are at least two free community Kwanzaa celebrations this weekend. The first was yesterday afternoon, 2:30 to 6:30, at the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale (211 Park St, New Haven; 203-432-4131), featuring a long list of presentations from speech to music to “ancient African artifacts.” The other happens from 3 to 6 p.m. today at Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885), “celebrating love, respect and community” with “music, dance, poetry and storytelling,” plus a “candle-lighting ceremony.”

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

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