Narwhals breaching

This Week in New Haven (March 16 - 22)

New Haven finishes its annual thaw this week, just in time for spring. Between author talks, museum exhibits, primo jazz, a dance party and the beginning of Restaurant Week, hibernation’s out, and so are you.

Monday, March 16
Josh Cook is living a bibliophilic dream. By day, he works as a bookseller at Porter Square Books in Massachusetts; also by day (now that he’s published), Cook is a bonafide novelist. Today he gets to wear his author’s cap during a visit to R.J. Julia Booksellers (768 Boston Post Rd, Madison; 203-245-3959), where his debut book, An Exaggerated Murder, is the subject of interest. Deploying the promo hook, “How can you solve a murder when the clues are so dumb?”, Cook has flipped the script on Sherlock Holmes-style whodunits, conjuring as his main character a master sleuth who nevertheless lacks the information he needs to crack the case. 7 p.m. Free.

Tuesday, March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Two days after New Haven’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it’s the actual holiday. If you have some free time this afternoon, hightail it up to Hamden, where Quinnipiac University’s impressive Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (3011 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-582-6500) invites visitors to “celebrate the day by learning more about Irish history, art and culture.” Usually closed on Tuesdays, public visiting hours today last from 1 to 5 p.m. Free.

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Brownsville Song - Long Wharf Theatre
Wednesday, March 18
Last week we thought critically about The Critique of Reason: Romantic Art, 1760-1860, the new joint exhibition between the Yale University Art Gallery (where it’s hosted) and the temporarily closed Yale Center for British Art. This week go straight to the source with a free lunchtime tour led by Paola D’Agostino and Izabel Gass, two of the exhibit’s five curators. 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 19
Google “unicorn of the sea” and you’ll find information on the very real but very endangered narwhal, whose most distinguishing feature is a narrow, front-facing, corkscrewing tusk that can grow upwards of seven feet long. Today at the Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-432-8987), naturalist writer Todd McLeish “recounts his adventures studying the elusive” creatures (pictured above)—adventures which undergird his book, Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World. He’ll also discuss “the many other unique animals living in the narwhal’s frozen world, from walruses and polar bears to bowhead and beluga whales.” 5:30 p.m. Free.

Friday, March 20 – First Day of Spring
When the Ben Wolfe Quartet counts off its first song this evening, it’ll be counting off Firehouse 12’s spring jazz series, which, beginning tonight, features 13 acts across as many consecutive Fridays. Mr. Wolfe, an elite upright bassist, makes a fitting head of the spear: a career that’s included performing and recording with some of the most recognizable figures in jazz, like Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall and Wynton Marsalis, has also earned him a longtime faculty appointment at Juilliard. Tonight at 8:30 ($20) and 10 ($15), Wolfe’s playing with his permanent and highly capable bandmates Anthony Wonsey (piano), Donald Edwards (drums) and Stacy Dillard (saxophone).

Celebrating the change of season, the local party-throwers at Stash & Ariston have organized a “Spring Equinox” bash in “The Cellar” at Briq tonight. Lasting from 10:30 ’til 2, DJ Billy Jones and $5 “springtime cocktails” make it a dance party. No cover. 266 College St, New Haven.

Saturday, March 21
Responding to the Knights of Columbus Museum’s new exhibit, Answering the Call: Service & Charity in the Civil War, Central Connecticut State history professor Matthew Warshauer answers today with a free 2 p.m. talk titled “Religion, Service, and the Meaning of the American Civil War.” Warshauer is well-qualified to answer questions about more local Civil War concerns as well, having previously authored the book Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival. 1 State St, New Haven. (203) 865-0400.

Sunday, March 22
Today through next Friday, it’s New Haven Restaurant Week, when city eateries offer diners prix fixe, three-course lunches ($18) and dinners ($32). Click here for the most up-to-date run-down of participating restaurants and special menus.

Maybe have lunch and then catch a free flick. At 2 p.m., the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven; 203-432-0670) screens director Kenneth Branagh’s “delightful adaptation” of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing (1993). Featuring 20-years-younger versions of celebrated actors from both sides of the pond—Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson, Michael Keaton, Kate Beckinsale and Mr. Branagh himself, to give a partial list—it’s a star-powered, perhaps nostalgic way to laugh off a few calories. Affordable, too.

Written by Dan Mims. Photographed by Glenn Williams.

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