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Your Choice: The Secular, The Profane, Or In Between

by Chris Arnott | Dec 6, 2013 10:15 am

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Posted to: Arts & Culture

It’s a week of fantasy figures: The Nutcracker, Phaedra, Peter Pan, zombies, a cute little dinosaur… It’s New Haven in mid-December, and despite a few notable exceptions such as Marion Meadows and that aforementioned Tchaikovsky walnut-crusher, it’s not really beginning to look a lot like Christmas at all. The bible story of choice is from the Old Testament, namely Abraham & Isaac, and there’s no end of secular modern rock music.

Monday, Dec. 9
Deep Space Nine

Some acts you might expect to find more commonly at the invaluable youth hotspot The Space in Hamden are located within New Haven city limits this evening, as local promoter Drink Deeply presents Dan Greene of the Mountain Movers, The Space’s own founder Steve Rodgers plus Brooklyn-based electronic pop minimalists If Jesus Had Machine Guns. The venue is Café Nine, 250 State Str. (203) 789-8281. $5.

Tuesday, Dec. 10
Cretaceous Christmas

Every day between Dec. 2 and 19, the Peabody Museum of Natural History is hiding “Tinsel” the stuffed toy Torosaurus in a new location somewhere around the museum. Tell the folks at the front desk where Tinsel’s hiding and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a “Peabody Prize Basket worth $300.” That drawing will be held on Friday, Dec. 20. But the real fun is in finding a fuzzy dinosaur amid all those dioramas, meteorites and mummies.

Atypical Townsfolk
Hip New Haven historian Colin Caplan has a new book out, Legendary Locals of New Haven (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99), and he’s signing and discussing it at—where else?—the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave). 6 p.m. Free. Copies of the book will be there for you to buy. So who might some of these storied locals be? Everyone from Roger Sherman to Benedict Arnold to Noah Webster to restaurateurs Frank Pepe and Bun Lai.

Wednesday, Dec. 11
Zombi Jamboree

In a gig which sounds better suited to Halloween than Christmastime, the Italian horror-film soundtrack composers Goblin (they scored Dario Argento’s Suspiria) and the Pittsburgh psychedelia duo Zombi (which took their name from the Italian title of the flick Dawn of the Dead) play their creepy strains of prog rock at 7 p.m. in the evocative environment of Center Church on the Green. $28-$65. Brough to you by Manic Productions.

Thursday, Dec. 12

Green Legs
The 20-something singer/songwriter Anthony Green, from Pennsylvania, fronts the band Circa Survive. His previous acts have included Saosin and Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer. Green’s also put out five solo albums, and it’s in that capacity that he plays Toad’s Place (300 York Street, 203-624-TOAD) tonight with indie post-pop pals Dave Davison (of Maps & Atlases) and Psychic Babble. Your ticket ($18, $15 in advance) lets you get a copy of the latest Anthony Green album, Young Legs, for a mere six bucks.

Friday, Dec. 13

Drosselmeyer Lives!

In recent weeks, the Shubert (247 College St.) has already hosted a national tour of A Christmas Carol and a local production of Annie (which ends on Christmas Day). Could The Nutcracker be far behind? New Haven Ballet’s annual presentation of the Tchaikovsky classic features a horde of ballet students plus featured dancers from the New York City Ballet and elsewhere, not to mention a full orchestra. You have four chances to see the sugarplum fairies leap: tonight at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 & 5:30 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.

“To die would be an awfully big adventure”

Clara isn’t the only nightgowned girl taking an enchanted journey this weekend. The Yale School of Drama is debuting student director Dustin Wills’ new stage adaptation of Peter Pan, based on Wills’ own scholarly explorations of the J.M. Barrie archives at Yale’s Beinecke Library. This version is deliberately dark—its premise is that the Peter Pan story is being performed by a group of orphans, whose real-life anxieties underscore their playacting. Performances are Dec. 13, 14 and 15-19 at 8 p.m. in the Yale University Theatre (222 York St., New Haven; 203-432-1234).


Last week featured a jazz stand-off between the New Haven Improvisers Collective at Firehouse 12 and Najee & Alex Bugnon at SCSU’s Lyman Hall. Tonight, there’s a similar choice between smooth jazz sounds and post-modern surprises. Firehouse 12 (45 Crown Street, 203-785-0468) has double-bass virtuoso Mark Dresser and his quintet (pianist Denman Maroney, trombonist Michael Dessen, drummer Michael Sarin and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa) for two sets at 8:30 ($18) and 10 p.m. ($12)

Toad’s Place (300 York Street), meanwhile, hosts homegrown R&B/soul saxophonist Marion Meadows’ annual Jazz Christmas Show, with special guests Vincent Ingala and Elan Trotman at 9 p.m. ($25, $20 in advance).


At Westville’s Lyric Hall, there’s the last of three autumnal “Cavaliere’s Cabaret” shows, named for Lyric Hall impresario John Cavaliere and starring accomplished cabaret singer/raconteurette Anne Tofflemire. 7:30 p.m. $15. 827 Whalley Ave.

Saturday, Dec. 14
Abraham Ramifications
Ian Cohen’s play He Who Laughs is a contemporary update of the biblical tale of Abraham & Isaac, set in present-day New York City. Performed by the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven’s JCC theaterworks troupe, the play is performed tonight at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 & 7 p.m., and Monday (Dec. 16) at 7:30 p.m. in Yale’s Off-Broadway Theater (41 Broadway, 203-387-2522).  Interfaith panel discussions follow two of the performances: “God Has Spoken: The Legacy of the Binding of Isaac/Ishmael in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam,” moderated by Rabbi Josh Ratner, at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, and “What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk About God: The Challenges of Discussing Faith in Our Families,” moderated by Mark Oppenheimer, at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets to He Who Laughs are $25, $12 for seniors and students.

Sunday, Dec. 15
Airborne Guillorn
Singer/songwriter Lys Guillorn’s new album Winged Victory is a triumphant blend of melodic pop and naturalistic Americana. Her songs are emotional and heartfelt without sacrificing exquisite production and a sense of professionalism. Guillorn holds the album’s New Haven release party 6:30 p.m. at Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave.). Steve and the Sazeracs, a smokin’ old-school jazz ensemble whom you’ll recognize as some of the guys (including leader Steve Asetta) who provide live soundtracks to silent film screenings at the venue (as the Lyric Hall Theater Orchestra) are also on the bill. $10.

Phaedra’s Love Songs

Yale’s versatile Cantata Profana classical ensemble has a late-night concert of works by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Susan Kander, Johann Sebastian Bach and Benjamin Britten—all inspired by the Greek myth of Phaedra, who was magically forced (by the pissed-off goddess Aphrodite) to fall in love with her stepson Hippolytus. Admission is free, though a donation of $5 or $10 is requested. 10 p.m. at Dwight Chapel (67 High St., New Haven).

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posted by: Bill Saunders on December 9, 2013  5:04pm

Nice Coverage, Chris.

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