The Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven

This Week in New Haven (December 28 - January 3)

Consider the simple, mind-clearing image above a palate cleanser—which its subject will indeed become this Friday after a night of especially hard partying.

Monday, December 28
Thanks to the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop (915 Whitney Ave, Hamden; 203-777-1833), winter break doesn’t have to grind kids’ learning to a halt. Today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., four distinct programs invite children to engage with engineering, history, computer science and other topics—from building basic electrical devices of the sort renowned inventors once contrived to getting a Star Wars-themed introduction to coding. Ranging between 6 and 12, recommended ages vary across the programs, with each daylong session costing $65 per child, or $60 for EWMW members. Free to experience is the ongoing Mr. Gilbert’s Railroad exhibit, which enjoys special visiting hours today through Wednesday.

sponsored by

The New Haven Free Public Library

Tuesday, December 29
Stella Blues’s weekly open mic is made for open minds, who don’t need to know exactly what they’re going to see and hear before they see and hear it. “Signups start at 8 p.m. and fill up quickly,” organizers say, and the music ought to start not long after. 204 Crown Street, New Haven. (203) 752-9764.

Wednesday, December 30
Decidedly not “striving for mainstream commercial success,” the married members of local drum-and-guitar duo The Sawtelles just seem to do whatever they like, and that accomplishes a neat trick: it makes you feel like you can, too. Preceding The Sawtelles tonight at Best Video, during its last music bill of 2015, is singer/guitarist Pat Luciano, stage name Solin, whose billing says he starred for years as John Lennon in the “legendary off-Broadway” play Beatlemania. 1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. (203) 287-9286. 8 p.m. $5.

sponsored by

The Lion at Long Wharf Theatre

Thursday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve
What’s your New Year’s Eve pleasure? Focus on food and drink with:

116 Crown (116 Crown St, New Haven; 203-777-3116; call to reserve), where a 7 p.m. cocktail party includes “rotating edibles” from caviar blinis to beef tenderloin, with an oyster bar at 7:30 and cheese and charcuterie at 9, followed by desserts and midnight bubbly, along with a DJ set from 10:45 “’til 2016” and a breakfast sandwich at the end ($75); or

Three Sheets (372 Elm St, New Haven; 475-202-6909), whose 8 p.m. “New Year’s Eve Sock Hop” conjures the 1950s with “swinging songs,” “special themed drinks” and a “fun food menu” (free to attend); or

Ordinary (990 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-907-0238), where “Coquette Demura,” “an exclusive masked affair” starting at 8 p.m., promises prizes for the best-dressed and a complimentary “black mass of noshes throughout the night” ($60 per person, or $110 per couple; price includes first cocktail and midnight champagne); or

Tavern New Haven (124 Temple St; 475-227-0780), where there’s a three-hour open bar starting at 9 p.m., plus a free champagne toast and “pizza buffet” at midnight ($60 at the door, $50 in advance).

Or, focus on the arts with:

Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885), where the Chrissy Gardner Band headlines a 9:30 concert in the back room and a “collaborative art show” fills the front room, with dessert and midnight champagne included ($35 for total access; $15 for just the art show side of the party); or

Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; 203-789-8281), who’s keeping its New Year’s Eve customs alive with a 10 p.m. burlesque show, with hors d’oeuvres and, at midnight, a champagne toast included ($15).

Or, focus on family with:

• the Ives Main Library (133 Elm St, New Haven; 203-946-8130), which is celebrating “a little early”—as the clock strikes 12 noon—with an hourlong performance by “the rockin’ duo of Mr. Joe and Mr. Ronnie,” starting at 11:30 a.m. (free); or

• the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (360 Amity Rd, Woodbridge; 203-387-2522), whose “First Night Woodbridge” party lasts from 6 to 10 p.m., with dancing thanks to a DJ and a 9:30 p.m. “sparkling cider toast and ball drop.” The idea is to give families “a fun and safe place to spend their evening together, without breaking the bank, or having to be on the roads late at night” ($10, or $5 for kids 12 and under, with a $30 family-wide maximum).

Friday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
Brunch and a hot tub sounds like a pretty good itinerary for the day after. You can have those things today at Lighthouse Point Park (2 Lighthouse Rd, New Haven), along with a different sort of hangover therapy: a dip in the frigid waters of the Long Island Sound, to support the Elm City Parks Conservancy’s annual Polar Plunge fundraiser. Always scheduled for New Year’s Day, this time it’s been placed under an umbrella: the “First Day New Haven Winter Festival,” which includes special “activities for kids” and tours of the park’s historic lighthouse (pictured in part above). Brunch alone costs $10 while the plunge (including post-plunge hot tubs and the brunch) costs $25, or a little extra if you register online. 2 Lighthouse Road, New Haven.

Saturday, January 2
Cafe Nine never seems to take a break, and the Saturday after New Year’s is no exception. The hosts of today’s free 4:30 p.m. “Jazz Jam Session” are 9-string guitarist Michael Coppola “and friends,” with any musicians in the crowd welcome to “sit in for a few songs.” Then, starting at 9:30, it’s an extra-special Saturday show: the fourth annual “Beehive Holiday Blowout,” featuring “queen of blue-eyed rock and soul” (and beehive-haired Saturday Night Live vocalist) Christine Ohlman. Backed up by the band Rebel Montez, with jazz/R&B opener the George Baker Band, tickets cost $10. 250 State Street, New Haven. (203) 789-8281.

Sunday, January 3
If you didn’t know any better—and I don’t—Jason Stoneking’s bio would reek of a man desperate to check off boxes. To “follow in the footsteps of his vagabond literary heroes,” he “spent the latter half of “his teen years bumming around the United States;” sold LSD until he was sent to prison for a few months; became a poet; fronted a punk band for one album; made a couple of short films; worked on public art installations; sold a screenplay he co-wrote; and became an internet chess commentator—along the way settling in Paris, France, and securing some name-droppable acquaintances while jet-setting his way across 25 years. But even if that aforementioned aroma whiffs true, you have to admire the commitment behind the attempt. This evening Stoneking’s at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400), reading from his book Audience of None, in which “a collection of candid, provocative and unconventional essays… churn the stories of his life into an intimate blend of memoir and polemic.” Free.

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

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