Keith Johnson at Kehler Liddell Gallery during CWOS 2015

This Week in New Haven (October 3 - 9)

October in New Haven means discussing insightful, earnest political notions in depth, even if our presidential candidates won’t; welcoming heralded performers with charmingly oddball sensibilities; and kicking off an annual monthlong arts bonanza that has appreciators of fine things dizzy with possibility.

Monday, October 3
Today at 4:30 p.m., Keith Wailoo, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, visits Yale’s Sterling Hall of Medicine (333 Cedar St, New Haven) to talk about “The Politics of Pain: Medicine, Social Difference and the Gatekeepers of Relief in America.” Along the way he plans to examine how divergent responses to various kinds of sufferings and sufferers—“from disabling pain to end-of-life pain to fetal pain,” as well as beliefs about “whose pain is real and who deserves relief”—has helped “ the line between liberals and conservatives.” Free.

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Tuesday, October 4
Part of Yale’s “Celebrate Sustainability” week—a “series of events that recognizes the sustainable actions of individuals, departments and groups” at the university—writer Michael McCarthy discusses “Nature and Joy: A New Defense of the Natural World” at 5:30 p.m. inside Yale’s Kroon Hall (195 Prospect St, New Haven). An award-winning columnist for the Independent newspaper and, as his bio there puts it, “one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment,” he’ll explain his view that our detached sort of thinking about the environment will have to change if we’re going to save it from ourselves—and that, in the doing, we’ll receive the gift of realizing that a “bond with nature… is at the heart of what it means to be human.” Free.

Wednesday, October 5
The hyperactive minimalism of the Violent Femmes, exemplified by the band’s best-known song, “Blister in the Sun”—and many others—is the result of a single odd decision: to be an acoustic punk band. So they can blow your hair back without blowing out your eardrums tonight at College Street Music Hall (238 College St, New Haven; 203-867-2000), where they’re topping a two-act, 8 p.m. bill. The opener, Ava Mendoza, is definitely worth catching as an experimental guitarist who wows with weird and wonderful compositions. $27-35.

Thursday, October 6
The Shubert Theater (247 College St, New Haven; 800-745-3000) hosts “An Evening with David Sedaris” tonight at 7:30. A mild-mannered humorist known for his “sardonic wit and incisive social critiques,” who’s been actively publishing and performing for more than two decades—and who’s currently in the midst of a national tour—Sedaris has conquered both print and record, with eight bestselling books and three Grammy nominations between his audio versions and live recordings. Tonight, he’s “offering a selection of all-new readings and recollections, as well as a Q&A session and post-show book signing.” $53.50-$63.50.

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Friday, October 7
This year’s City-Wide Open Studios—a massive, multi-weekend, inter-neighborhood art show staged each October—gets a big opening party tonight from 5 to 8. Located in and around the headquarters of CWOS’s organizer, Artspace (50 Orange St, New Haven; 203-772-2709), a customary gallery show previewing the weekends to come—featuring one piece of work from each of more than 300 participating artists, whose disciplines run the gamut—is the anchor of an itinerary that’s otherwise in motion, including an outdoor dance party and an obstacle course pinging this year’s “Game On!” theme. Meanwhile, Noodles On9, a “noodle festival” engaging with nearby restaurants that traffic in the soft, satisfying strands, happens from 6 to 8.

Saturday, October 8
Today marks the start of CWOS’s official weekend showcases, which number four this year instead of the usual three. That’s because the arts-heavy Westville neighborhood is, for the first time, getting a Saturday-and-Sunday all to itself. Westville Weekend, in which visitors can rove through many of the ’ville’s public-facing galleries—like Kehler Liddell Gallery, shown above during CWOS 2015—and normally private studios, happens today and tomorrow from noon to 6 p.m.

Outside city limits, two local farms are in a mood to celebrate autumn. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hindinger Farm (835 Dunbar Hill Rd, Hamden; 203-288-0700) hosts a Harvest Festival with family-friendly diversions like pumpkin bowling and an obstacle course; balloon-making and live bluegrass music; and an apple- and pumpkin-themed menu of sandwiches and desserts, plus pizza. From 1 to 5 p.m., Massaro Community Farm (41 Ford Rd, Woodbridge; 203-736-8618) hosts a Family Fun Day featuring “sack races, a tug-of-war, face painting, hay rides, pumpkin painting, a bake sale, music and more!” Free to attend.

Sunday, October 9
Inside Wesleyan University’s Beckham Hall (55 Wyllys Ave, Middletown), WESU 88.1 FM hosts its annual Fall Record Fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Dozens of vendors from across the northeast selling new and used records and music in all formats,” organizers say, plus “concert T-shirts and music memorabilia.” Meanwhile, the radio station’s DJs are spinning “vinyl all day,” with “the WESU booth… selling thousands of albums and CDs for $1 each!” The sale is free to attend unless you want to pay a $5 early bird fee, which gets you up to an hour of less competitive browsing starting at 10 a.m.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Image depicts Keith Johnson and some of his photography at Westville’s Kehler Liddell Gallery during CWOS 2015. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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