Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Brick, screening Wednesday at the Whitney Humanities Center

This Week in New Haven (May 11 - 17)

Legacies loom large this week. A New York Yankee looks to preserve his. An employee of the Smithsonian discusses protecting others’. An arts enclave celebrates a small but impactful movie released 10 years ago. A comic writer known for exploring his family legacy worries about the trajectory of his art form. A memoirist deals with the fallout of abandonment as a child. All the while, local college students on the precipice of graduation are considering the future, the past and the outcomes of their decisions.

Monday, May 11
With help from writer Gary Brozek, longtime New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has a book out. The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes is what it’s called, and Posada’ll be at indie bookseller R.J. Julia (768 Boston Post Rd, Madison; 203-245-3959) tonight at 7 signing copies. The fan stipulations are a little tough—“No personalization. Signature only,” says one of them—but at least they’ll keep the line moving. Call the store to secure a ticket, or, in the case of a sell-out, a spot in a standby line, which Posada may or may not get to.

Tuesday, May 12
Tonight, coinciding with its exhibit An Artist at War: Deane Keller, New Haven’s Monuments Man, the New Haven Museum hosts “monuments woman” Corine Wegener for a free talk titled “From Berlin to Baghdad: When Art Historians Go to War.” Wegener, a cultural heritage preservation officer with the Smithsonian Institution who did a similar kind of work during 21 years in the U.S. Army, “has worked on cultural emergency projects in the U.S., Iraq, Haiti, Mali, Egypt, and Syria.” 114 Whitney Ave, New Haven. (203) 562-4183.

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Answering the Call - Knights of Columbus Museum

Wednesday, May 13
In 2005, a former child actor starred in a small-budget indie flick helmed by a director working his first feature film. The actor was Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the film was innovative noir title Brick and the director was Rian Johnson. Now Gordon-Levitt’s a full-fledged movie star, and if Johnson’s wasn’t yet a household name after the release of his excellent dystopian sci-fi thriller Looper in 2012, it will be sometime in 2017, when his next effort, surefire blockbuster Star Wars: Episode VIII, hits screens across America. But subsequent successes are just footnotes tonight at the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St, New Haven; 203-432-0670), where, with a free 7 p.m. screening presented by the resident Film Study Center, the focus is squarely on celebrating a great little film 10 years on.

Thursday, May 14
Serialized throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a ground- and heartbreaking graphic novel, relates his father’s tales from The Holocaust while depicting Jews as mice, German Nazis as cats and Polish Nazi-enablers as pigs. As unfair as that was to cats and pigs, it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer, and it once got me through part of a long family road trip across the American southwest. Tonight at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (360 Amity Rd, Woodbridge; 203-387-2522), Spiegelman is on hand to discuss a pointed question: “What the %@&*! happened to comics?” A Q&A is set to follow the 7:30 talk, which is sweetened by dessert and enlivened by coffee. $15, or $12 for JCC members.

Friday, May 15
Tonight from 5 to 8, Artspace gives a free opening reception to a provocative new exhibit. Gollum: Monsters of Ruin and the Techno-Sublime sees the increasing influence of digital effects on our perceptions of the real, then imagines how that kind of phenomenon applies to more traditional visual arts, then tasks various artists with revealing “the plastic and digital underbellies of their mediums.” This, in turn, strips away certain “illusions of the ‘real’” and leaves us with “monstrous depictions of Technicolor beings.” With the reception, Artspace is also celebrating the opening of a concurrent exhibition, The Answer is Dark: Selections from the Artspace Flatfile Collection. 50 Orange St, New Haven. (203) 772-2709.

Saturday, May 16
Two festivals today tempt New Haveners past city limits. To the north-northwest, Locapalooza, “a one-day, family-friendly festival” (that’s also BYOB) showcasing Connecticut bands, crafts and businesses, takes over Three Saints Park (112 Miller Rd, Bethany; $20, or $15 in advance) as of 10:30 in the morning. To the east, the sixth annual Shoreline Spring Festival turns the Madison town green into a 120-vendor bazaar, featuring “fine art, photography, jewelry, glass, woodworking, pottery, weaving, food, farm and much more” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From there, it’s a short encore trip to R.J. Julia, where Melissa Cistaro discusses her memoir Pieces of My Mother starting at 5 p.m. Decades ago, Cistaro’s mom “drove off one summer without explanation,” leaving her kids “devastated” and “tormented” by unanswerable questions—until 35 years later, anyway, when Cistaro “stumbled across a cache of letters her mother wrote to her but never sent.” Free.

Sunday, May 17
Final exams ended last Wednesday, and Yale’s seniors officially graduate tomorrow, but some of them have a little more work to do. This afternoon from 4 to 5:30 inside Morse Recital Hall (470 College St, New Haven), Yale’s School of Music puts on a free and public commencement concert, “featuring a variety of performers selected from the class of 2015.” Later, from 7 to 7:45 on Old Campus—the quadrangle between High, Elm, College and Chapel Streets—the Yale Concert Band offers up another free and public concert, previewing the “ceremonial music” that’ll be featured during tomorrow’s graduation events.

Written by Dan Mims. Image, depicting a scene from Brick (2005), provided courtesy of the Whitney Humanities Center. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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