Racing Extinction screen cap

This Week in New Haven (March 28 - April 3)

Two deep, extended festivals kick off this week. Meantime, a third fest teases us with an advance engagement, and a festive time for New Haven’s food explorers gets underway.

Monday, March 28
In its second year, Africa Salon, “Yale’s contemporary African arts and culture festival,” commences today with the opening of a gold-painted “shared_portal”—connecting New Haveners with counterparts in Nairobi, in real time—on Yale’s Cross Campus. That’s the first domino, setting off a weeklong cascade of discussions, presentations, film screenings, parties and concerts including a finale bill this Sunday at College Street Music Hall. For all the many-splendored details, visit Africa Salon’s website.

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Concerts at the Yale School of Music

Tuesday, March 29
Tonight at 7, movie stars Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow go live with Love Letters at Long Wharf Theatre (222 Sargent Dr, New Haven; 203-787-4282), a “limited engagement” lasting through April 10. Dennehy and Farrow play Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, two extraordinarily committed pen pals who, across “fifty years of joys and disappointments large and small,” “forge an intimacy that transcends distance and time.” 7:30 p.m. $30.50-74.50.

Wednesday, March 30
It’s customary for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas to throw a few neighborhood parties in the weeks leading up to the main affair each June. But IFAI is stretching its legs much earlier this year with a five-day, six-performance run of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, starting tonight at 8 p.m. inside GPSCY (204 York St, New Haven). Inspired by the English-Scottish border ballad tradition, and treating the audience area as an extension of the stage, the play features “an uptight academic” traveling “to a conference in Kelso in the Scottish Borders,” along the way finding herself in “a riotous romp of rhyming couplets, devilish encounters and wild karaoke.” $45.

Thursday, March 31
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra honors old and new generations of classical artists tonight in historic Woolsey Hall (500 College St, New Haven). Performing Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, the NHSO is joined by 26-year-old violin prodigy Tessa Lark. Among her many impressive honors and recognitions is an International Violin Award from the Walter W. Naumberg Foundation, whose awards a writer for the New York Times once described as “the most prestigious of them all.” $15-74.

Friday, April 1
Friday night—a good time to see a movie. And while the two films screening at 7 tonight in the Whitney Humanities Center aren’t exactly popcorn flicks, they do aim to entertain. One of them, Atlantis Real Estate, does special justice to the term “short film.” Just a minute long, it’s a pithy statement on climate change, the worst effects of which there’s precious little time to prevent. The feature film of the night, Racing Extinction (screen-capped above), follows “a team of artists and activists” using “state-of-the-art equipment” to highlight the sixth great extinction event to occur in the 4.1-billion-year history of life on Earth—and the only such event perpetrated by a subset of life on Earth. The showing is the first of the 2016 Environmental Film Festival at Yale, which, over the next eight days, is holding nine other screening events across campus. There are a number of non-screening events as well, including a refreshment-filled opening night reception today at 5 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven). Free.

Saturday, April 2
The Mountain Goats climb College Street Music Hall (238 College St, New Haven; 203-867-2000) tonight with a knapsack of raw stories cooked over a campfire of stripped-down indie rock. Opening the show is guitarist William Tyler, a captivating storyteller in his own right even though his original music never involves words. Perhaps best known for rounding out other acts as a touring musician, tonight he’ll presumably be pulling from a set of hypnotic solo albums he’s put out since 2010. 8 p.m. $25.

Sunday, April 3
“Master Shakespearean actor and director” Tina Packer is directing the Elm Shakespeare Company’s annual summer production later this year. Today, with the help of “ace actor” Nigel Gore, she’s starring in Women of Will, the keystone to ESC’s 2016 Spring Benefit. Described as “the bonus content to Shakespeare’s plays that you have been searching for,” Women of Will is an original exploration of Shakespeare’s “most famous female characters” that’s “part masterclass, part performance.” Happening at 4 p.m. inside SCSU’s John Lyman Center (501 Crescent St, New Haven; 203-392-6154), where ESC has taken up residency, deeper-pocketed supporters can also attend a buffet dinner and reception after the show, where they’ll leave with a signed copy of Packer’s same-titled book. A ticket to the performance alone costs $47, while the show-plus-dinner-reception package costs $150 a pop.

You can also get your food fix at one of the 28 dining spots—like 116 Crown, Caseus, Elm City Social, L’Orcio, Taste of China, Union League Cafe and Zinc—offering specially priced, three-course prix fixe menus for the latest New Haven Restaurant Week. Starting today and ending next Friday, NHRW lunches run $20.16 and dinners $34 (sans taxes, gratuities and beverage costs).

Written by Dan Mims. Image provided courtesy of the Environmental Film Festival at Yale. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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