This week marks several rebirths. There’s the return of the old monthly arts community networking bash ArtSpot!, after six years of dormancy. There a new New Haven film festival, nearly a decade after Film Fest folded. A Yale student speaks about a book project that took her to Africa. Stomp brings its boots back to the Shubert. We’ve said it before, but it feels like spring.
Monday, March 24
Pittsburgh-based Nigerian performer Joy Ike heads an inspired bill of solo female singer-songwriters at Café Nine (250 State St.). Besides Ike, Connecticut-raised Elle Sera and Tina Colon (who’s from Florida, but has attended Yale and UConn) are on the bill.
Tuesday, March 25
Out of Darkness
Dayo Olopade signs and discusses her book The Bright Continent—Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa 6 p.m. at the Yale Bookstore (77 Broadway; 203-777-8440). The international journalist, who has Yale degrees in Literature and African Studies and worked as an intern at the New Haven Advocate in 2005, wrote the book after receiving a fellowship which allowed her to live to Nairobi.
Hair and Make-Up
The Whitney Humanities Center screens the short film The Haircut and the Oscar-winning feature Little Miss Sunshine, with Haircut director Tamar Hoffs and LMS art director Alan Muraoka leading a discussion afterwards. 7 p.m. 53 Wall St. Free.
Wednesday, March 26
DTCV features Guylaine Vivarat (formerly of Useless Keys and Tennis System), James Greer (the former Guided by Voices bassist and early-‘90s Spin Magazine editor) and drummer Chris Dunn. Their “new” album The Early Year, released in January, consists of their two EPs and a cassette-only album from 2012. Their even newer album, Hilarious Heaven, released in February with cover art provided by Greer’s Guided by Voices bandmate Robert Pollard, contains a diverse genre mix of new material. There’s an appealing ironic distancing in the band’s skillful pop arrangements. DTCV’s the latest cool free Wednesday live indie rock offering at BAR (254 Crown St.). Spaceships (a Los Angeles duo that’s endured a few style comparisons with Guided by Voices) and Oughts (from Waterbury) also play.
Thursday, March 27
In the early ‘00s, Artspot! was a well-promoted, well-attended, upbeat and amiable bellwether for what was catching the attention of the city’s arts elite. The gatherings, which were held at various galleries, theaters and events around the city, drew the arts community together for cocktails, chat, and a shared cultural experience. ArtSpot! got erased in 2008, but is back tonight with “a night of art, live jazz, drinks and mingling” at Fred.Giampietro Gallery in Erector Square (315 Peck St.). $10 for members of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, $15 for non-members. (203) 772-2788.
Theater Works, Social Change
The latest social drama brought to you by JCC Theater Works, the theater group operating out of the Jewish Community Center of New Haven, is I’m Not Like You by Itta-Chana Englander. This “play about stigma, family and friendship is described thus: “Orthodox Jews aren’t gay. Or HIV-positive. Or alcoholic. Except when they are.” The staged reading, directed by DeDe Jacobs-Komisar, is followed by a discussion. 8 p.m. March 27 at Yale University’s Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale (80 Wall St.) $5 suggested donation.
Orchestrating the Hunt
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s latest burst of bombast involves Wagner’s “Siegfrid Idyll,” Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major and Beethoven’s “Pastorale” symphony. The NHSO is collectively titling the concert “The Huntsmen,” since all three pieces involve men running around in woods or fields. William Boughton conducts, naturally. The horn solo on the Strauss work is Leelanee Sterrett of the New York Philharmonic. 7:30 p.m. at Woolsey Hall (500 College St.; 203-865-0831). $15-$69; $10 students. The NHSO always offers several pre-show activities, including a “symphony supper” (this month at Carmen Anthony’s on State Street) a pre-show talk (6:30 p.m. in Room 114 of Yale’s SSS Hall, 1 Prospect St.) and a student musician showcase in the Woolsey Hall Rotunda at 6:45 p.m.
Friday, March 28
Lights! Camera! Elm City!
Ever since the old Film Fest New Haven screened its last indie short in 2005, there’s been interest in reviving the festival. It had built a reputation on how it encouraged filmmakers to come to town for the screenings, encouraging community and camaraderie and not the competitiveness you may find at other such gatherings. The organizers of the CT Film Festival have made the revival of a New Haven-based fest a reality. The New Haven International Film Festival runs from noon today until late Saturday night, with screenings at two schools downtown: Gateway Community College and Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. You can attend films individually or buy a “day pass” which lets you see any screenings you want plus gets you into some after-parties. Film categories include International, Connecticut Grown, Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film, Student-made (high school and college), “Green” and Animated. Besides the dozens of screenings, there are panels, clinics, talks and other events. The films themselves range from social justice documentaries to the locally lensed horror flick House of Dust.
When Blue Man Group appeared at the Shubert, a few weeks back, it was suggested that since the group is silent, you don’t even need to speak English to appreciate them. In reality, a BMG show is intensely text-heavy, with long sprawling passages projected on screens. The international and illiterate demographic should head to the Shubert instead for Stomp!, with is all rhythm and movement. The worldwide hit, devised in France a few decades ago, has visited New Haven numerous times. This three-night stand encompasses five performances. That’s a lot of crumpled newspapers, jostled matchbooks and broken broomsticks. Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 & 6:30 p.m. $15-$85. 247 College St. (203) 562-5666.
Saturday, March 29
The annual TEDxYale conference takes over the Yale Repertory Theatre building (1120 Chapel St.) from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Speakers include public health specialists Betsy Bradley and Lauren Taylor, filmmaker Casey Neistat, global health researcher Kristina Talbert-Slagle, author and actress Felicia Ricci, David McCullough, Jr., scientist Mark Saltzman; science writer Sam Kean, dance-savvy physicists Emily Coates and Sarah Demers, diplomat Cynthia Schneider of the Brookings Institution, Nobel-winning economist Robert Shiller, writer Richard Deming and psychologist Marvin Chun. TEDx conferences are local offshoots of the well-known national TED events, which provide bursts of insight on a range of contemporary issues in an informal lecture-based format. Tickets are $35, $10 for Yale students.
The 1996 movie August is adapted from the Chekhov classic Uncle Vanya. It’s directed by Anthony Hopkins, who also stars as “Ieuan Davies”—the setting’s been changed, you see, to contemporary Wales. 2 p.m. at the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel St.; 203-432-2800).
Sunday, March 30
The Philadelphian psychedelic rock outfit Sandcastle, which exists on a particularly peppy plane of contemporary prog, should be a sight to see in comfy Stella Blues (204 Crown St.; 203-752-9764) with their synthesizers and saxophones.
What Happens With Vegas
Jamaican dancehall star Mr. Vegas reportedly gained his distinctive vocal style by refusing to let his jaw heal properly after someone smashed him in the face with a crowbar. Born in 1974 and an international star since he was in his mid-20s, Mr. Vegas claimed he was retiring in 2008, but he’s regularly released albums since then, and is said to be collaborating actively with Beyonce. Mr. Vegas is at Toad’s Place (300 York St.; 203-624-TOAD) tonight at 9 p.m. with his Party Tun Up tour. $25, $20 in advance.