Arnott’s Arts Happenings Feb. 24-March 2

Black History Month draws to a close, and we get artistic glimpses of Cuba, Iran, Russia, the “Imagi Nation,” and, um, Urinetown on concert and theater stages this week. New Haven holds its own in this multi-cultural mélange, with faculty concerts at Neighborhood Music School and Yale, and numerous wondrous local acts at Café Nine. 

Monday, Feb. 24

History Mix
With just a few days left of Black History Month, Stetson Branch Library (200 Dixwell Ave.) is hosting a talk on how the commemorative month itself came to be. “The History of Black History Month” is described by brothers from the local chapter of the black fraternity Omega Psi Ph. One of the frat’s early members, Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) is the topic of the discussion, since he is known as “the father of black history.” 4 p.m. Free.

In Development
Cuban filmmaker Miguel Coyula is introducing a screening of his acclaimed, award-winning 2010 drama Memories of Overdevelopment, plus scenes from a picture he’s currently working on, Blue Heart.  Sponsored by Yale’s Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies, 7 p.m. at Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Violent, Titanic and Jacksonian
Two Connecticut-based acts—the fast-rising rock duo Violent Mae (namely singer-songwriter Becky Kessler and guitarist Floyd Kellogg) and New Haven’s “garage-folk/stoner-soul” aggregation Elison Jackson—are at Café Nine (250 State St.) along with the Albany, NY-based ambient-pop act Titanics.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Getting Medtner
Pianist Cahill Smith plays works by the early 20th century Russian composer Nikolai Medtner. Medtner wrote primarily for the piano—songs and concertos as well as his well-known sonatas—and developed a following in England after settling there following the Russian Revolution and the First World War. 4:30 p.m. at Yale’s Harkness Hall (inside Sudler Hall, 100 Wall St.). Free.

Once Again, With Feeling
Once is a Tony-winning musical based on the heartbreaking Oscar-winning indie movie about two musically inclined Dublin wanderers who fall in love. A lot of musicals that play the Shubert (247 College St.; 203-562-5666) are booked for just three or four performances. Once is getting six. Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 & 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 27

IGIGI at 1111
Yale Art Gallery (1111 Chapel St.; 203-432-0600) has a special series called Gallery+, where Yale students are invited to use artworks in the gallery as inspirations for new works. Tonight at 5:30 pm. in the museum’s lecture hall (1111 Chapel St.), the undergrad new-music collective IGIGI plays their art-infused compositions, in what has become a regular Gallery+ gig.

Symphony With Sax
New Haven Symphony Orchestra is playing several different pieces by Augusta Read Thomas tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall (500 College St.), including the world premiere of the 50-year-old Chicago-based composer’s Prisms of Light. That’s a saxophone concerto, and the soloist is Frederick Hemke, who mentored David Sanborn. Other Read Thomas works on the bill are “Two e.e. cummings Songs,” “Of Paradise and Light,” “Prayer” and “Absolute Ocean.” The NHSO is also playing the orchestra version of Ravel’s five-part Mother Goose. The concert’s preceded by a talk with Augusta Read Thomas at Yale’s Sudler Hall (100 Wall St.) and a 6:45 p.m. performance by the ECA Student Ensemble in the Woolsey Hall lobby.

Friday, Feb. 28

Art Be Still
There’s a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. for the latest dual-artist exhibit at Fred.Giampietro Gallery (315 Peck St., aka Erector Square). Richard Lytle’s display of fantastical oil paintings is collectively titled “No Still Life,” while Blinn Jacobs simply calls her direct and imposing design/shapes “New Work.”

Dreamy Sounds
Neighborhood Music School (100 Audubon St.; 203-624-5189) has two concerts in its recital hall today: NMS faculty members Naomi Senzer (flute), Gretchen Frazier (violin), Emily Fine (French horn) present Melange a Trois. An Original Lunchtime Concoction with guest guitarist Daniel Corr at 12:10 p.m. for the weekly 40-minute-long “Bach’s Lunch” concert. At 7:45 p.m. there’s “From 2 to 4,” a Faculty Friday Concert of chamber music by Turina and Franck, performed by the married couple Netta Hadari (violin) and Tina Hadari (viola), with Rebecca Patterson on cello and Erika Schroth on piano. Both shows are free.

Don’t Be the Bunny
Southern Connecticut State University’s Crescent Players are dwelling in Urinetown. The musical is a comical political satire about capitalism and governmental control run amok, depicting a culture in which citizens have to pay to go to the bathroom, while wondering what glories lie beyond the high walls of their disgusting city. Tonight through Saturday, as well as March 6-8, at Lyman Hall, on SCSU’s 501 Crescent St. campus. $10, $5 students.

Saturday, March 1

One for the Books
Today’s the opening reception for the first of two exhibits at the Institute Library (847 Chapel St.) drawn from the al-Mutanabbi Street Project. The project was created in 2010 to memorialize the 2007 bombing of Baghdad’s main bookselling district, a center for intellectual activity in the city for over 12 centuries. New Haven art critic and curator Stephen Vincent Kobasa has been given access to the project’s hundreds of book-art objects, letterpress broadsides and literary works. This first display has an opening reception (with readings) today from noon to 2 p.m. These works will be on the Institute Library’s gallery walls for a month, at which time they’ll be switched for Part 2.

Magic to Do, Times Two
Magician/storyteller David London brings two different shows to Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave.) today: a free 2 p.m. performance of the kid’s show The Adventure to the Imagi Nation and the more grown-up Magic Outside the Box Cabaret Show. London is even doing a 7:30 p.m. pre-show close-up display of his prestidigitation in the Lyric Hall lobby ($20 or $30).

Song of the Thin Man
Thin Man Records is a Connecticut-based record label. It’s run by a thin man, Rob DeRosa, who also hosts the Homegrown local-band show on Wesleyan’s WESU radio station and books dozens of area bands annually for the Meriden Daffodil Festival. Three Thin Man-approved bands play tonight at Café Nine (250 State St.): R&B experts The Manchurians (led by Roger C. Reale), exemplary bar band Big Fat Combo (playing the witty songs of Tom Hearn, who’s also the photographer responsible for the portrait of Joey Ramone which hangs on a Café Nine wall), and Boston-based garage rock greats The Downbeat 5 (with Jen D’Angora of Jenny Dee & the Delinquents and J.J. Rassler of ‘70s Boston legends DMZ). 8 p.m. $6.

Sunday, March 2

The Roxy & Elsewhere, Namely Toad’s
Zappa Plays Zappa today at Toad’s. For the unenlightened, that means Dweezil Zappa fronting a band that plays select compositions by Dweezil’s dad Frank. This tour pays special tribute to the live album Roxy & Elsewhere, released 40 years ago. Dweezil’s at Toad’s all day long, holding a guitar masterclass at 3 p.m. ($75) before the 8 p.m. concert ($35, or more if you’re interested in the “Soundcheck Party and Gold Circle Seating”).

Piano and Violin
Despite two Zappas at once being represented at Toad’s, it’s Maurice Ravel who wins the “composer of the week” prize. New Haven Symphony played his 1991 version of Mother Goose on Thursday, and this evening at Morse Recital Hall (inside Yale’s Sprague Hall) at the latest Yale School of Music Faculty Artist Series concert, violinist Sarita Kwok and pianist Wei-Yi Yang play his Sonata for violin and piano, which dates from the 1920s. Kwok and Yang also do Janacek’s sonata for violin and piano, Stravinsky’s Duo Concertante and Prokofiev’s Five Melodies for violin and piano. Admission is free.

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