Photographed by Michael Marsland at the 2015 New Haven Reads Spelling Bee

This Week in New Haven (October 21 - 27)

It’s the normal extraordinary mix of cultural depths and delights—until the weekend, when, with Halloween less than a week away, the delights become paranormal.

Monday, October 21
400 years after the first known African slaves arrived in America, Southern Connecticut State University is devoting this week to commemorating the long era of slavery and periods of disenfranchisement that followed. It begins with an opening ceremony from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom (501 Crescent St, New Haven), where Temple University professor and BET News host Marc Lamont Hill gives a keynote speech. Remarks from mayor Toni Harp and SCSU president Joe Bertolino are also on the agenda, as are an awards ceremony and a short film screening. Free; registration requested.

Tuesday, October 22
The Akropolis Reed Quintet, whose Youtube videos (like this one) might have you marveling at the breadth of sound—also the precision—that can be achieved by five reed instrumentalists, performs in Morse Recital Hall (470 College St, New Haven; 203-432-4158) at 7:30 p.m. Regular tickets start at $28, while student tickets start at $13.

Wednesday, October 23
At 5 p.m. in the common room of Yale’s Branford College (74 High St, New Haven), four notable journalists—ProPublica tech reporter Ava Kofman, New York Times critic Wesley Morris, NPR national correspondent Yuki Noguchi and New Yorker staff writer Sarah Stillman—come together for “How I Learned to Write: A Panel on the Craft of Nonfiction.” Free.

Partnering with this year’s City-Wide Open Studios, the next PechaKucha, in which local speakers present on topics of their choosing, takes on the festival’s theme: “Older but Younger.” The location this time is Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II (222 Sargent Drive, New Haven) and promises a “multigenerational range of perspectives… that relate to memory, inheritance, longevity, front-line care, gerontology and evolution.” 7 to 9 p.m.; doors open at 6.

Thursday, October 24
Black box dinner theater Yale Cabaret (217 Park St, New Haven; 203-432-1566) presents playwright Lucas Hnath’s Obie-winning Red Speedo, a play about competitive swimming as a metaphor for zero-sum capitalism. Swimmer Ray “and those he holds closest will do anything to win. Anything. The question for them—and for all of us striving for greatness within the American machine—is, at what cost?” As always at the Cab, showtimes are 8 p.m. today and 8 and 11 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, with tickets going for $25 a pop and discounts available for Yale students, faculty and staff.

Friday, October 25
Somewhere else, the operative word is “boo.” At the Yale School of Management (165 Whitney Ave, New Haven), it’s “bee,” for the 8th Annual New Haven Reads Spelling Bee, when teams of three—often in costumes that relate to a clever team name they’ve concocted—compete while raising funds for local literacy organization New Haven Reads. While there’s no more room for spelling teams, there’s certainly room for crowd members, who can enjoy “an audience participation mini-Bee, live music, a cash bar and some delicious food.” The main action happens from 7 to 9 p.m., though doors open at 6. $10 suggested donation.

And now for the “boo”: At the Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-432-8987), it’s a “Haunted Hall and Costume Ball: ’80s Edition,” whose theming also appears to carry a high school twist. “High school can be a nightmare! Get lost in the horror of a haunted house, dance the night away at the wicked prom, enjoy blood-curdling beverages (21+ only), and dress in your ’80s horror best to win fabulous prizes in the costume contest. Don’t miss out on the gnarly creatures and bad-to-the-bone scavenger hunt.” Regular tickets—there are several discount tiers as well—cost $30 and include two drink tickets and “light grub.” (Also, tomorrow, the Peabody is hosting a kid-friendly Halloween party from 5:30 to 8 p.m.)

Saturday, October 26
As it’s been known to do, the Henry Whitfield State Museum (248 Old Whitfield St, Guilford), which is one and the same with the state’s oldest house, is getting into the Halloween spirit. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., organizers say, “the lights will be off… so bring a flashlight to explore—even the basement, which may have surprises for visitors brave enough to venture there.” Attendees can also fashion “gravestones and gargoyles out of clay”; learn about the “Guilford green graveyards and the Whitfield connection to the Salem witch trials”; and, of course, indulge in candy. Recommended for ages 6 and up, entry is free for kids 12 and under, with regular admission priced at $6 and seniors (60 and older) getting in for $5.

Back in New Haven, from 1 to 4 p.m., Amistad Academy’s gymnasium, at the corner of Day Street and Edgewood Avenue, plays host to the Dwight Fall Festival. “There will be free children’s costumes (ages 0-12), books, face painting, healthy snacks, a pumpkin patch, interactive STEM activities, and MORE!” Free to attend; children must be accompanied by parents.

Sunday, October 27
Westville’s Giant Puppet and People Making Mayhem Parade returns for another year. Mustering at 11 a.m. outside Manjares (838 Whalley Ave, New Haven), “costumed friends, neighbors and other giant puppets from around New Haven” take a walk through the neighborhood, “wind up at the Edgewood Park Farmers Market for one gigantic outdoor Halloween Party.” Free to attend.

Written by Dan Mims. Image, captured during the 2015 New Haven Reads Spelling Bee, photographed by Michael Marsland. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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