Bird illustrations by Alexander Wilson

This Week in New Haven (March 17 - 23)

Winter hands the baton to spring this Thursday, heralding warmth, color and vitality. St. Patrick’s Day gets those vibes going a little early with music and good cheer, which are also in long supply during the weekend to come. In-between, a trio of book events offer satisfying outlets for readers of various stripes.

Monday, March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
If you missed the big parade yesterday or simply seek additional 21-plus St. Patty’s Day shenanigans, O’Tooles (157 Orange St, New Haven; 203-562-7468) is pouring another round of the good stuff today. “Live entertainment all day and night”—actually, from about 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.—includes The Alehounds performing “Irish rebel songs” and “drinking songs,” plus U2 tribute band Unforgettable Fire, which strives to “recreate the live U2 concert setting.” No cover charge, we think.

Tuesday, March 18
Novelist and Connecticut native Wally Lamb can count Oprah among his legion of fans, which is a big reason why he has that legion, and why his first four novels were New York Times bestsellers. Now Lamb is out with his fifth, We Are Water, and he’s reading excerpts today at 2 p.m. in Room 225 of the Carl Hansen Student Center (275 Mt Carmel Ave, Hamden). The reading, part of the “Yawp!” event series put on by the school’s creative writing program, is free and open to the public.

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Shadow of the Hummingbird at Long Wharf Theatre

Wednesday, March 19
This one’s for the teens, and probably the tweens too. Featuring a teenaged heroine bucking the status quo in a futuristic (and rather-too-cleanly socially ordered) dystopia, the Divergent trilogy, written by Veronica Roth, draws immediate comparisons to The Hunger Games, and is the book and movie businesses’ heir apparent to that franchise. With the first film adaptation of the Divergent series coming out this Friday, the Mitchell Branch of the New Haven Free Public Library (37 Harrison St, New Haven; 203-946-8117) is having a book party from 4 to 5 p.m. today, promising “trivia, games, book discussion, a movie ticket raffle and refreshments.” Free.

Thursday, March 20
The first day of spring is as good a day as any to think about the wintering birds that’ll soon be returning north, and as luck has it, Edward H. Burtt, Jr., professor of zoology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, is at the Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-432-8987) today discussing his co-authored book Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology. Wilson, aside from being a “poet, labor activist and weaver,” “wrote, edited, illustrated and researched nine volumes” chronicling America’s winged and feathered fauna (such as those pictured above), with all of the volumes published, at an astonishingly quick pace, between 1808 and 1814. Free.

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New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Friday, March 21
Firehouse 12 (45 Crown St, New Haven; 203-785-0468) opens its spring jazz series tonight with 8:30 ($18) and 10 p.m. ($12) sets by the Ben Allison Trio. Composed of Ben Allison (bass), Ron Horton (trumpet) and Steve Cardenas (guitar), the trio’ll be playing “the music of Jim Hall, Jimmy Giuffre and more.” This is the first jazz series show at Firehouse 12 since mid-December, so fans are chomping at the bit: the 8:30 show is already sold out, though you can request to be put on a wait list.

Saturday, March 22
Tonight, from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., play with Play with Grace (203-494-3348), an organization that helps those with special needs “discover a new set of interests and talents” and “build skills and self-confidence” through the dramatic arts. The occasion is PwG’s “Carnevale ‘Via della Gioia’ Costume Ball Fundraiser,” and the setting is a dramatic one indeed: Bill Miller’s Castle (834 E Main St, Branford). The estate boasts varied indoor spaces filled with antique furniture, ornate chandeliers, roaring fireplaces, massive wood beams and gargantuan swaths of stonework intended to “magically transport you to a palazzo in Venice,” according to the party flyer. $100 tickets include “wine and non-alcoholic beverages” and “hors d’oeuvres and treats,” amidst jugglers, magicians, psychics, dancers, musicians and a DJ, with “costume and dance contests” offering cash prizes.

Sunday, March 23
Locals Shawn Persinger (guitar/vox) and David Miller (mandolin/vox) are Prester John, and Prester John is at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400) tonight for an 8 p.m. show. Saying the celebrated duo is restless when it comes to describing its own style is an understatement; from putting out “sister albums” in order to explicate divergent instrumental and singer-songwriter impulses to listing influences from King Crimson to James Brown to Leonard Bernstein, the band makes it hard to predict what the audience will get this evening—beyond stirring guitar solos, mandolin licks and vocal harmonies, anyway, which ought to be enough.

Written by Dan Mims. Image depicts illustrations by Alexander Wilson published in his nine-volume work American Ornithology. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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