"General George Washington Resigning his Commission" by John Trumbull

This Week in New Haven (February 17 - 23)

Wet snow in various stages of falling and sticking and melting turned New Haven into a persistent concrete marshland over the past several days. Just a touch of snow is forecast this week, though, so get your fill of getting out of the house. Cabin fever’s no match for interesting talks, dramatic shows and intriguing social opportunities.

Monday, February 17 – Presidents’ Day
Actually, “Presidents’ Day” is just a popular nickname. The holiday is officially called “Washington’s Birthday,” honoring America’s first president, George (depicted near-center, above)—though, just as officially, it doesn’t fall on Washington’s birthday, which was February 22.

With Washington in mind today, it’s an appropriate occasion for firsts. Tonight at Best Video (1842 Whitney Ave, Hamden; 203-287-9286), The Big Sleep—presumably the version starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall—is the first in a six-Monday film series dubbed “Complex and Compelling: Fun Movies That Make You Think.” Each film, including in coming weeks the ode to post-conventional morality American Beauty and the tense puzzler Memento, is intended to “not only make you think but change the way you think,” with discussions to follow each 7 p.m. screening. $5 admission.

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New Haven Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday, February 18
Topsy-turvy weather this winter has put climate change on our minds. Tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Yale’s Kroon Hall (195 Prospect St, New Haven), journalist Todd Wilkinson discusses global warming and other urgent environmental topics, as well as his new book, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet. The talk is titled, “Can Capitalism Really Save the Planet?” Free.

Wednesday, February 19
Wilkinson’s talk yesterday will give you something to discuss tonight at New Haven Green Drinks, a free networking mixer for the eco set. The venue is Next Step Living (26 Mill St, New Haven) and the timing is 6 to 8 p.m.

Mardi Gras is March 4 this year, but the parades in New Orleans have already begun. Tonight at Stella Blues (204 Crown Street, New Haven; 203-752-9764), zydeco/funk/blues/roots group The Crawdaddies conjures the French Quarter starting at two quarters past 9. Call ahead for cover charge details.

Thursday, February 20
“Death cafes,” where “people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death,” have been popping up around the world. Such a gathering isn’t necessarily a grave affair, though; there’s “no agenda,” and it’s not meant to be a “grief support or counseling session.” But there is a discussion leader tasked with keeping order and guiding things along. For tonight’s open-to-all death cafe at the Jewish Family Service of New Haven, that leader is the Rabbi Dana Bogatz. Email her at dzbogatz@cs.com to register. 6:30 p.m. Free.

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CitySeed Winter Farmers' Markets

Friday, February 21
Poland-based acting troupe Theatre of the Eighth Day has been around for 50 years. The first 25 occurred under Communist rule, during which time the secret police monitored and recorded the group’s members and activities. Now, Eighth Day has created something useful out of the files that were kept on it: The Files, a “docudrama” depicting “life under a communist regime” and “the courageous artistry that thrived in spite of that oppression.” Part of the “No Boundaries” performance series presented by the Yale Repertory Theatre (203-432-1234), The Files is only getting three performances in New Haven—one yesterday, another today and a last hurrah tomorrow, all at 8 p.m. at the Iseman Theater (1156 Chapel Street). $30, or $25 for Yale employees and $10 for Yale students.

Saturday, February 22
The annual gathering of the New Haven Food Policy Council happens today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hill High School (140 Legion Ave, New Haven). The idea is to get up to speed and contribute your own thoughts on a wide variety of food topics relevant to the city, including hunger, school food and community gardens. Register here. Refreshments, lunch and daycare are provided. Free.

Over at Yale’s campus, “Guitar Extravaganza 2014: Tradition and Innovation” offers a callus-forming day of guitar-centric panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations and, of course, concerts, featuring Elina Chekan, René Izquierdo, Van Stiefel and David Tanenbaum. The first event starts at 10 a.m., and the last gets going at 8 tonight. An all-day pass offering access to everything on the itinerary costs $42 ($26 for students); a three-concert pass costs $30 ($20 for students); and individual concerts cost $12 a pop.

Sunday, February 23
This past Wednesday, Long Wharf Theatre (222 Sargent Dr, New Haven; 203-787-4282) debuted its production of 4000 Miles, the critically acclaimed, Obie Award-winning play about a 21-year-old man whose existential confusion leads him to an eye-opening stay with his 91-year-old grandmother in her New York City apartment. Following evening performances Wednesday through yesterday, the Eric Ting-directed effort has showings today at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. $59.50-79.50.

Written by Dan Mims. Image: General George Washington Resigning His Commission by John Trumbull (1817). Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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