Little Miss Sunshine

This Week in New Haven (March 24 - 30)

Good things come in twos this week in New Haven. A movie double-feature with behind-the-scenes star power whets appetites for a two-day film festival later in the week. A first themed party with a charitable upshot brings out your inner child, while a second makes you feel like an adult in the best way. And a pair of about-to-close gallery exhibitions remind us to seize the day.

Monday, March 24
Mondays are drum days at Soul de Cuba Cafe (283 Crown St, New Haven; 203-498-2822): each week from 8:30 to 10 p.m., an open-and-free-to-attend drum circle forms up inside. Tonight, Brian Jarawa Gray leads the group in pursuit of West African grooves. “All are welcome to participate, learn and share,” we hear.

Tuesday, March 25
Tamar Simon Hoffs directed the twenty-minute film The Haircut (1982), in which a man in a rush steps into a barbershop for a quick trim and gets more than he bargained for. The short is screening tonight at the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven; 203-432-0670) at 7 p.m. before a showing of Little Miss Sunshine (screencapped above), the introspective 2006 instant classic starring Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette and a show-stealing Abigail Breslin. Hoffs will be on hand for a discussion after the screenings, as will Sunshine’s art director Alan Muraoka. Free.

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New Haven Symphony Orchestra
Wednesday, March 26
From 1919 to 1933, when area architect Alice Washburn was designing homes, female architects were an extremely rare breed, and Washburn was rarer still for starting her career at age 59. The New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-562-4183) and New Haven Preservation Trust illuminate her peculiar tale with two co-sponsored events this week. The first is a free 5:30 talk tonight at the museum given by architect Charlotte Hitchcock, discussing the homes Washburn designed “in the close-in suburban subdivisions of the 1920s, an easy trolley ride from jobs in New Haven.” The second occasion gets up close and personal with pieces of Washburn’s legacy, inviting the public to meet at the intersection of Chapel Street and Alston Avenue on Sunday at 3 p.m. Led by historian Christopher Wigren, that’s the starting point for a free walking tour of several Washburn designs that still stand in the Westville section of town.

Thursday, March 27
Tonight from 6 to 9:30, Solar Youth, the local, forward-looking “youth development and environmental education organization,” is putting on its annual Solar Jam fundraising party in a venue swathed in prehistory: the Great Hall of Dinosaurs at Yale’s Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Ave, New Haven). The menu, which includes a “brontosaurus brunch” station, passed hors d’oeuvres, a mashed potato bar and desserts, embraces the dinosaur theme in various ways, from “dino deviled eggs” to “lava shooters” (swigs of roasted pepper and tomato soup) to spicy “pterodactyl” wings. There’s also a DJ’ed “dino dance party,” with themed songs and decorations. $50 per ticket, or $250 for six.

Friday, March 28
The reborn New Haven International Film Festival’s screening schedule and its ticketing ins and outs are tough to divine from the nearly inscrutable festival website. But we do know this: today and tomorrow, there are a bunch of films playing at Gateway Community College (20 Church Street, New Haven), with a handful of showings at the Educational Center for the Arts (55 Audubon St, New Haven) and the Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School (177 College St, New Haven). There are also non-screening events, including what looks like an official after-party. If you’re an appreciator of film and can figure out the logistics, you’re no doubt in for an exciting couple of days.

Over in Westville, the last of the lovely Lyric Hall’s three “Cavaliere’s Cabarets,” named for John Cavaliere, the hall’s owner, and starring Anne Tofflemire, a voice teacher at Neighborhood Music School who’s performed in revues around the world, happens tonight at 8 p.m. The hourlong variety show, with Dave Bell accompanying on piano, gives way to an hour of open mic time. $15. BYOB. 827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885.

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New Haven Restaurant Week - April 6-11, 2014
Saturday, March 29
Tonight, The Group With No Name, a collective of “dreamers and doers” that comes together every so often to throw thoughtful parties and events, implores us to “shake off the last bits of cold” and celebrate the “deep, mysterious rumble” of this transitional moment during “Dark Spring,” a classy masquerade soiree at ROÌA (261 College St, New Haven). The dress code calls for masks, and we wouldn’t be surprised if most partygoers take that quite seriously. Doors open at 8:30, hors d’oeuvres start passing at 9:30 and dancing, guided by DJ Lokash, gets going whenever you like. Tickets are $30 apiece at the door and $26 in advance, with proceeds benefitting the charitable efforts of the Loaves & Fishes program at St. Paul & St. James Episcopal.

Sunday, March 30
Today presents a couple of last chances at the Yale University Art Gallery (1111 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-432-0600). Closing are A Great Crowd Had Gathered: JFK in the 1960s, which “examines John F. Kennedy by way of his public,” largely through photographs, and Red Grooms: Larger than Life, which is psychologically lighter viewing material, featuring active, sometimes cartoonish paintings and drawings by Mr. Grooms. Get in to see both before the closing bell at 5 p.m., for tomorrow, they’ll be gone. Free.

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

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