2014 IRIS Run for Refugees. Photographed by Uma Ramiah.

This Week in New Haven (February 1 - 7)

A minor American holiday and a major American non-holiday put people in front of their TVs; a major non-American holiday pushes them out into the streets; and a fulfilling remainder of arts, letters, numbers and athletics moves them to places both intimate and cavernous.

Monday, February 1
Philip Kennicott, a Pulitzer prize-winning art and and architecture critic for the Washington Post, makes a stop inside Yale’s artfully architected Branford College today for a free public talk. Part of the Poynter Fellowship series, which “ symposia and conferences on issues of broad public concern and to the university some of the most outstanding journalists from the United States and abroad,” it’s fair to expect Kennicott to speak about his profession and his work, which includes contributions to publications as diverse as The New Republic and Gramophone. 4:30 p.m. 74 High Street, New Haven.

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Tuesday, February 2 – Groundhog Day
“That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers—it’s… Groundhog Day!” If you still do the whole cable television thing, or if your local bar does, set aside a couple of hours and punch in the number for Comedy Central, where the brilliant, hilarious Bill Murray flick Groundhog Day (1993) is airing “over, and over, and over”—four times, to be exact, with opening credits rolling and re-rolling at 11:21 a.m., 2:07 p.m., 4:46 p.m. and 7:24 p.m.

Wednesday, February 3
Prolific touring act Umphrey’s McGee is jammy but tight, with a warm funky underbelly, hard-rocking breakdowns and—based on photos at the group’s website and various press gushings—an amazing light show. It should all add up to a great use of the impressive sound and lighting rig tonight at College Street Music Hall (238 College St, New Haven; 877-987-6487), where the band headlines an early 6:45 bill. Opening the show is Tauk, a copacetic musical vision offering a fatter, more experimental, more futuristic sound and an instrumental-only lineup.

Thursday, February 4
For decades, Chicago’s Second City improv troupe has mustered an astounding roll of future comedy stars, from Alan Arkin to Joan Rivers to Dan Ackroyd to Gilda Radner to Stephen Colbert to Tina Fey. Tonight at the Shubert (247 College St, New Haven; 203-562-5666), a tour stocked with a new class of young Second City-ers comes to what many would argue is Connecticut’s first city, presenting millennial-, romance-oriented sketches under the banner Hooking Up with The Second City. $37-47.

Friday, February 5
Three artsy parties happen between today and tomorrow. Tonight from 5 to 7 at the Orchard House (421 Shore Dr, Branford), the Branford Arts & Cultural Alliance throws a reception for its “Short Beach Winter Show,” featuring diverse work by roughly 20 local artists. Tomorrow from 2 to 5 p.m., City Gallery (994 State St, New Haven; 203-782-2489) celebrates the opening of Flux, showcasing “abstract, acrylic and mixed-media paintings” by Judy Atlas. And right after that, from 5:30 to 8, DaSilva Gallery (899 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-387-2539) hosts a party on behalf of Filtering Noise, which highlights new sculpture by Susan Clinard.

Saturday, February 6
At 10 a.m. on Whitney Avenue (between Grove and Trumbull Streets), a parade of colorful dancing lions ushers in Lunarfest, New Haven’s annual, daylong, family-friendly celebration of the impending Chinese/Lunar New Year. Among a raft of overlapping events, the entirely free and open-to-the-public schedule includes a “Mandarin crash course” (noon) and a lantern-making workshop (2 p.m.) at the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave, New Haven); a Chinese food tasting featuring local restaurants (noon) and a dumpling-making class (2 p.m.) inside Luce Hall (34 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven); and a “fireside chat” from New Asia College prof Jimmy Lee (1 p.m.) at the Yale-China Association (442 Temple St, New Haven), which also functions as Lunarfest’s “Information Central” throughout the day.

Sunday, February 7
Benefitting local non-profit Integrated Refugee & Immigration Services (IRIS), the annual 5K Run for Refugees—which begins and ends today at Wilbur Cross High (181 Mitchell Dr, New Haven)—has special significance in New Haven, where even illegal immigrants can get an official city ID, allowing them to open bank accounts and the like. But the Run for Refugees is even more relevant this time around, as our state and city have responded to the world’s ongoing refugee crises with more courage and poise than places like, say, Indiana. After the race, which starts at 10 a.m., a party in the Wilbur Cross gym offers “international food, live entertainment and an awards ceremony,” as “people from all over the world gather together… to celebrate the American tradition of welcoming refugees.” Registration costs $32 for adult runners and $22 for those aged 18 and under.

A few hours before the Super Bowl at 6:30, you can see some much bigger stars in a much bigger game—and on a much bigger screen, too. It’s Leitner Observatory’s Sunday planetarium show and, starting at 3 p.m., it features the film Dynamic Earth, whose makers say it “follows a trail of energy that flows from the Sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate,” giving audiences the chance to “ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks… and fly into roiling volcanoes.” 355 Prospect Street, New Haven. (203) 432-3000.

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

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