Medusa by Jennifer Davies, photographed by Christopher Gardner

This Week in New Haven (December 29 - January 4)

It’s a new year when the clock strikes 12 on Thursday morning. But it’s not a new New Haven, which is why it’s not quite surprising how varied the city’s arts and cultural scene is this week, promising two kinds of old-timey theatrics; fine food and drink; live music; charitable spectacle; fiber art; and a film legend put under a microscope.

Monday, December 29
“Ask and you shall receive” might be TV show host and author Leon Logothetis’s motto following a journey in which he managed “to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers,” though he also managed “to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways.” One of the many other results of that trip is The Kindness Diaries, the book that chronicles it, and one of the results of that book, which officially comes out tomorrow, is Logothetis’s 7 p.m. visit to R.J. Julia Booksellers (768 Boston Post Rd, Madison; 203-245-3959) tonight. Attendance is free; register here.

Tuesday, December 30
Prone to dreaming of white Christmases? General Waverly, the fictional Vermont innkeeper in the Bing Crosby vehicle White Christmas (1954), is right there with you, because if you had an inn in Vermont in the 1950s, snow on the ground at Christmas could apparently make the difference between a full house and financial ruin. And that’s just the tip of the charming suspension-of-disbelief iceberg the story requires, and usually gets, from audiences like the ones that’ll be filling the Shubert Theater this week. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a stage adaptation of the film, begins an eight-show run there tonight at 7:30, with the last show starting Sunday afternoon at 2. Regular tickets range between $18.40 and $126.25 (fees included), with special discounts available between tonight’s and Friday’s performances.

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See Cold Spring School in action. Schedule a tour.

Wednesday, December 31
New Haven offers many different bells for ringing in the new year, including Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; 203-789-8281). Channeling the Roaring Twenties, it’s throwing a $15-a-ticket The Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve” party, where burlesque and cabaret performers and “complementary Champagne and hors d’oeuvres” entertain guests encouraged to dress in 1920s outfits.

Also expect snappily-dressed celebrants at 116 Crown (116 Crown St, New Haven; 203-777-3116), where a $75, reservation-only, food-and-drink-filled “New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party” starts at 7 p.m., and at ROÌA (261 College St, New Haven; 203-200-7045), where a $100 “New Year’s Eve Gala” features a special 5-course prix fixe menu plus a $55 wine pairings option.

The Ballroom at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400), meanwhile, hosts a more casual $5 “New Year’s Eve Soiree” starting at 7 p.m., preceded by a free buffet offered “for as long as it lasts” starting at 5:30. At least five musical acts are on the docket, as are party favors, raffle prizes, complimentary pint glasses (to the first 24 attendees), $1 draft specials (between 7 and 8 p.m.) and a “Champagne toast” at midnight.

Thursday, January 1
Give your 2015 a super-fresh start with the 2014 Polar Plunge, a pleasantly unhinged New Year’s Day tradition where people take a dip into the drink off the coast of Lighthouse Point Park, then dip and drink and do whatever else people do while eating brunch. The main idea is to raise funds for the Elm City Parks Conservancy, which is why plungers pay $20 for the pleasure of the swim and the meal. (If icy water immersion isn’t your thing, you can still join the meal for $10, and you can also pledge money to support other plungers.) The event begins receiving attendees at 11 a.m., but it starts in earnest at noon, when kids take the first leap, followed by adults at 12:30. 2 Lighthouse Road, New Haven.

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Yale Center for British Art

Friday, January 2
The latest exhibition at City Gallery (994 State St, New Haven; 203-782-2489), featuring art that could pass for abstract New Year’s Eve fireworks (like Medusa, pictured above), opens today. Passiones, the exhibit’s called, and it shows new pieces by local fiber artist Jennifer Davies, who often makes the very fibers, including full-blown sheets of paper, that form the material foundations of the work. Also incorporating inks, pigments and found objects, Passiones gets an official opening reception this coming Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., overlapping with the gallery’s regular hours from noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

Saturday, January 3
Today, Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter and the North Shore Animal League are making it possible to give someone else a fresh start in the new year. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., they’re co-sponsoring an adoption event at the North Haven Petco (390 Universal Dr; 203-234-6743) featuring cats and dogs looking for stable, permanent homes.

Sunday, January 4
At 2 p.m., Best Video (1842 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-287-9286) kicks off a four-week speaker series featuring the talking talents of Mark Schenker, Yale’s dean of academic affairs, who also happens to be a pretty big movie buff. Schenker’s chosen four Alfred Hitchcock films—Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window and North by Northwest—to dissect one Sunday at a time, focusing on “aspects of the individual works, characteristics of Hitchcock’s art and ways that participants can be better ‘readers’ of film.” Pay $7 to attend any given talk, or $25 to attend all four.

Written by Dan Mims. Photographed by Christopher Gardner.

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