"Rising Air, Rising Moon" by Ava Orphanoudakis

This Week in New Haven (February 15 - 21)

As an awkward dance plays out to see who’ll be joining the ranks of those we celebrate next Presidents’ Day, this year’s holiday leads our attention to a much more graceful sort of dance, with a series of well-timed steps to follow.

Monday, February 15 – Presidents’ Day
Renowned choreographer Yvonne Rainer comes to Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center for a 5 p.m. lecture on a topic she knows a little something about. Also a filmmaker and author, who probably needs a walk-in closet to store all the awards and honors she’s received, her talk is titled “Innovation in Dance: Back and Forth with Yvonne Rainer.” Free. 53 Wall Street, New Haven.

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Beethoven and Brahms - New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday, February 16
The New Haven Theater Company’s once-a-month “Listen Here” series at the Institute Library (847 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-562-4045) stages its February occasion this evening with a performed reading of curated works. Themed around “Open Minds,” the source material this time includes Manuel Munoz’s Tell Him About Brother John and Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, involving a man with a talent for catalyzing mental change in others. 7 p.m. Free.

Wednesday, February 17
The name “Kurt Vile and the Violators” evokes punk-level aggression and thus seems a heavy mismatch for the band’s mostly gentle rootsy touch, folk-lilted singer-songwriter vibes and genuinely poetic lyrics. The irony’s not lost on fans, who’ve managed to find Vile and his Violators anyway. Local ones can literally find the band at College Street Music Hall (238 College St, New Haven; 877-987-6487) tonight, where it’s topping an 8 p.m. show opened by Xylouris White, “a collaboration between legendary Cretan lute player George Xylouris and Jim White, icon of underground music.” $22.

Thursday, February 18
“The reader is here presented with an account, not of a renowned politician or warrior, but of an untutored African slave,” says the preface to Venture Smith’s autobiography A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa (1798). By the time of its publication, Smith, born the eldest son of a tribal prince in Guinea, Africa, was a merchant based in Haddam, Connecticut, with more than his fair share of trials and triumphs in between. You can learn about them tonight at the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-562-4183), where historians Chandler B. Saint and Robert Pierce Forbes, who the museum says have “led the charge in bringing Smith’s story to light,” present “From Prisoner to Prosperity: New Evidence in the Venture Smith Saga.” 6 p.m. Free.

Friday, February 19

A couple of midwinter nights at the opera—plus an afternoon—can be had at the Shubert Theater this weekend, where Yale Opera is performing Benjamin Britten’s version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With some characters wearing newsboy caps and dressy headbands, for starters, it looks like this production might be putting a 1920s spin on things. Showtimes are tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday. 247 College Street, New Haven. (203) 562-5666. $15-46.

Saturday, February 20
Kehler Liddell Gallery (873 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-9555) has two new exhibits to see: photographer Roy Money’s Matter and Time, featuring work that “examines the unpredictable expressions of form in mineral structures,” and Ava Orphanoudakis’s Many Voices, One Song, featuring abstract mixed media expressing “the elements of earth, fire, water and air” (for example, Rising Air, Rising Moon, pictured above). The cumulative result, the gallery says, provokes in viewers “a wider perception that includes humans within nature, as well as nature within humans.” Visiting hours today last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., though it’s understandable if you want to wait for the opening reception tomorrow, which starts at 3 p.m. and finishes at 6.

Sunday, February 21
Comedian Jim Norton, whom you might recognize from TV (Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, late night) or radio (Opie with Jim Norton), comes to Southern Connecticut State’s Lyman Center for a standup gig tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets cost either $25 or $35, depending on how close to the stage your seats are, with discounts available for SCSU students and staff. 501 Crescent Street, New Haven. (203) 392-6154.

Written by Dan Mims. Photo provided courtesy of Kehler Liddell Gallery. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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