Festival Aims To Broaden Minds and Blur Lines

Artists, performers and experts will again converge on New Haven, as the city presents its 15th International Festival of Arts & Ideas, June 12-26.

“This year we highlight creative collaborations that open our hearts and minds to new ways to dream, think and enjoy the world around us,” says the festival’s executive director, Mary Lou Aleskie. “Many of these works broaden the definition of performance by blurring the lines between distinct genres of music, theater, dance and film.”

Yale University is once again a major sponsor of the festival, and many of the events — both free and ticketed — are being held on campus. Yale employees receive a 10% discount on all ticketed events.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.artidea.org/tickets; at the Shubert Theater box office, 247 College St.; and by phone at 203-562-5666 or 888-736-2663.

The following is a look at some of the festival’s highlights — both at Yale and elsewhere. For more information about these and other events, visit www.artidea.org.


“Dance”: A collaboration bringing to­gether dancing and choreography by Lucinda Childs, a soundtrack by composer Philip Glass and a film of the dancers created by the late artist Sol LeWitt. June 12, 8 p.m. Shubert Theater, 247 College St. Admission: $50, $36, $25, $15. All seats reserved.

“Khmeropédies I & II” (world premiere): Amrita Performing Arts’ fusion of classical Khmer court dance with contemporary Western movement techniques. June 16-18, 8 p.m.; June 19, 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. Frederick Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St. Admission: $25.

“Comme Toujours Here I Stand”: The Big Dance Theater’s reinvention of Agnes Varda’s 1962 French New Wave film “Cleo From 5 To 7.” June 23-25, 8 p.m.; June 26, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Frederick Iseman Theater. Admission: $25.


“Susurrus” (U.S. premiere): Scottish playwright David Leddy’s work, in which the audience listens to “Susurrus” through the headset of an iPod while following a charted path through Edgerton Park. June 12-26, every 30 minutes noon-6 p.m. Starting at Sarah T. Crosby Conservatory (enter on Cliff Street). Admission: $30. Rain or shine. Sturdy shoes encouraged.

“Moby Dick” (East Coast premiere): An adaptation by Ireland’s Gare St. Lazare Players featuring a one-man performance by Conor Lovett and original music by Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh on fiddle, viola and uileann pipes. June 16-19, 8 p.m. Long Wharf Theatre’s Mainstage, 222 Sargent Dr. Admission: $40, $25, $15. All seats reserved.

“Chautauqua!”: The National Theater of the United States of America’s mad-cap re-envisioning of the lecture and variety circuit that swept the nation from the 1870s to the Great Depression. June 23-25, 8 p.m.; June 26, at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. Long Wharf Theatre’s Mainstage, 222 Sargent Dr. Admission: $40, $25, $15. All seats reserved.

“Space Panorama”: Andrew Dawson’s recreation of the Apollo 11 moon landing using just his hands, accompanied by a narrator and music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. June 22, 6 p.m.; June 23-26, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II. Admission: $15. All seats reserved.


“Philip Glass: Works for Solo Piano”: A performance by one of the 20th-century’s most influential composers. June 13, 7 p.m. Sprague Memorial Hall, 470 College St. Admission: $25.

“Christopher Rouse: Transfiguration”: A celebration of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, featuring the world premiere of his String Quartet No. 3 by the Calder Quartet, and a performance by the Yale Percussion Group. June 18, 8 p.m. Sprague Memorial Hall. Admission: $25.

“The Rouse Effect: The Next Generation”: A concert celebrating the influence of Christopher Rouse on the work of composers: Kevin Puts, Marc Mellits and Michael Torke. June 19, 8 p.m.; Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II. Admission: $25. Limited seating.

“The Four Nations Ensemble: Seductions & Confessions”: Featuring mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel and the ensemble performing the arias and songs of Barbara Strozzi, Antonio Caldara and George Frideric Handel, and sonatas by Caldara, Antonio Vivaldi and Francesco Turini. Presented in association with the Yale University Art Gallery exhibit “Italian Paintings from the Richard L. Feigen Collection.” June 20, 7 p.m. Sprague Memorial Hall. Admission: $25. All seats general admission.

“The Palestrina Choir”: A performance by the century-old 40-voice boys choir. June 22, 8 p.m. Battell Chapel, 300 College St. Admission: $15. All seats general admission.

“Courtyard Concerts”: Audiences can enjoy international music under the stars on three consecutive nights. 8 p.m. nightly. Yale Law School courtyard, 127 Wall St. Admission: $30 per concert. The schedule follows:

Amir ElSaffar & Two Rivers Ensemble: Starring the Iraqi-American ElSaffar, a jazz trumpeter and composer, as well as a santour (hammered dulcimer) player and singer, and his Two Rivers sextet, performing on both Middle Eastern (Arabic lutes oud, buzuq, percussion) and Western instruments (saxophone, bass and drumset). June 15.

Joyce Moreno: Featuring Brazil’s Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and guitarist who combines samba rhythms and jazz harmonies with poetic lyrics. June 16.

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Mali musician Kouyate and his group performing music on four ngoni (West African lutes) - the key instrument of the griot culture of Mali - as well as percussion (shekere and calabash). June 17.

The Blind Boys of Alabama: The multiple Grammy Award-winning group presenting their distinctive brand of gospel music. June 19, 7 p.m. Elm Street Stage, New Haven Green. Free admission.

La Excelencia: A 12-piece salsa orchestra performing a style of salsa, known as “salsa dura.” June 20, 6 p.m. Elm Street Stage. Free admission.

“Festival Grand Finale: Dan Zanes & Friends”: Featuring the group’s latest project, “76 Trombones,” which aims to introduce a new generation of youngsters to classic Broadway songs, and some of the group’s most popular tunes. Also including a youth chorus, African drumming and dancers, and a parade of dozens of local trombone players from across the state of Connecticut. June 26, 7 p.m. Elm Street Stage. Free admission.

“Readings and Conversations”

“Meet the Composer: Jin Hi Kim”: A talk and performance with the composer-in-residence for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. June 18, 5:30 p.m. Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St. Admission: $15.

“Stuck Elevator”: A workshop reading of a musical about an illegal immigrant Chinese food delivery man, who is terrified to call for help when he gets trapped in an ­elevator. Presented in association with the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. June 25, 7 p.m.; June 26, 1 p.m. Off Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway. Admission: $15.

“The Daughters”: A workshop reading of a coming-of-age story about three daughters of Zeus featuring soul, jazz and pop music. June 25 & 26, 4 p.m.; Off Broadway Theater. Admission: $15. All seats general admission.

Ideas events

All “Ideas” events are open to the public free of charge. Seating is limited at most venues. Purchasing an “Ideas Insider Pass” for $36 guarantees you a seat up to 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the event. The schedule follows:

Sol LeWitt Celebration: A series of events paying tribute to LeWitt (1928-2007), a contemporary artist born in Connecticut, including:

Two talks: “Sol LeWitt: Transforming Art with Conceptual Ideas,” with Jock Reynolds, director of the Yale Art Gallery. June 12, 3 p.m.; and “Collaboration and Invention,” featuring choreographer Lucinda Childs and composer Philip Glass. June 13, 3 p.m. Yale Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St.

“Healing & the Arts,” a tour and discussion about the selection of a LeWitt work at the Smilow Cancer Center. June 12, 1 p.m. 25 Park St.

The celebration also includes discount admission to the LeWitt exhibition at the Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts; a for-fee talk and concert at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Synagogue in Chester; and a self-guided tour of the artist’s works in four Connecticut museums, including the Yale Art Gallery.

“A Conversation with Bill T. Jones & Elizabeth Alexander”: A look at the cultural landscape for artists featuring Tony Award-winning choreographer Jones and Yale professor and poet Alexander. June 15, 5:30 p.m. Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel St.

“Rebuilding Culture in Iraq & Cambodia: From Crisis to Recovery”: A talk about the artistic and cultural treasures destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. Speakers include Professor Joseph Roach of Yale. June 16, 5:30 p.m. Yale Center for British Art.

“The Changing Roles of Private Collections and Public Museums”: A look at the nature of art collecting today. Speakers include Yale’s Jock Reynolds. June 17, 5:30 p.m. Yale Art Gallery.

“Environmentally Speaking with Elizabeth Kolbert & Roger Cohn”: About making sustainable choices, with Kolbert, a New Yorker staff writer, and Cohn, editor of Yale Environment 360. June 19, 3 p.m. Yale Art Gallery.

“Livability, Localism & Urban Utopias: What Does It Mean & What Does It Take?”: An exploration of the ideas and trends shaping cities today. June 20, 3 p.m. Yale Art Gallery.

“Return from the War Zone: Reintegrating Soldiers, Sharing Experiences”: About the most pressing issues facing soldiers today. Speakers include Professor Steven Southwick of Yale. June 22, 5:30 p.m. Yale Center for British Art.

“Memory Games: Visual Experience & the Unwritten History of 19th-Century Art”: Looking at the works in the Yale exhibition “Seeing Double: Portraits, Copies and Exhibitions in 1820s London” (see story, page 5). June 23, 5:30 p.m. Yale Center for British Art.

“Paul Goldberger: Why Architecture Matters”: An exploration of the lessons architecture can teach us by the Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker critic and writer. June 24, 5:30 p.m. Yale Art Gallery.

“Marvin Chun’s Visual Illusions What You See Is Not What You Get”: The Yale scientist explores how we perceive and remember visual information. June 26, 3 p.m. Yale Art Gallery.


“A Weekend with Errol Morris & His Films”: A celebration of the renowned documentary filmmaker. Events will be held in the auditorium at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. Free admission. They include:

Screening of “The Thin Blue Line”: A documentary credited with overturning Randall Adam’s conviction for the murder of Dallas Police officer Robert Wood. June 18, 7 p.m.

“Virtual Binaries: The Documentaries of Errol Morris”: A talk by Professor Charles Musser of Yale. June 19, 11 a.m.

Screening of “A Brief History of Time”: A film adaptation of Stephen Hawking’s book. June 19, 1 p.m.

Screening of “Fog of War”: An Academy Award-winning documentary about former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. June 19, 2:30 p.m.

“A Conversation with Errol Morris”: Featuring the renowned documentary filmmaker discussing his craft. June 19, 4:30 p.m.

Screening of “Standard Operating Procedure”: A non-fiction horror film set in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Followed by a Q&A with Errol Morris. June 20, 1 p.m.

“Errol Morris & Documentary”: A panel discussion including, among others, Professor John MacKay of Yale. June 20, 4:15 p.m.

“Children’s Film Festival”: Two 90-minute screenings of independent short films for young audiences. June 12, 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. Yale Center for British Art. Free admission.

Walking tours

Campus tours: All starting at the Yale Visitor Center, 149 Elm St. They include: Sprague Memorial Hall, School of Music, June 15, noon; Ingalls Rink, a.k.a the “Yale Whale,” June 16, noon; Marsh Botanical Gardens, June 17, 5:30 p.m.; Kroon Hall, Yale’s “greenest” building, June 18, 3 p.m.; the Yale Farm, part of the Yale Sustainable Food Project, June 20, 2 p.m.; Yale Campus Tour, June 22, 2 p.m.; “Invented Bodies, Shapely Constructs of the Early Modern,” exhibit and lecture at the Whitney Humanities Center, June 23, 2 p.m.; and Leitner Family Observatory & Planetarium, June 25, 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. Free.

“Extreme Conservation: A Walking Tour of Yale Outdoor Sculpture”: Begins at the Yale Art Gallery. June 15, 4 p.m. Free.

Yale School of Music Collection of Musical Instruments: Curator-led tours of the home of nearly 1,000 musical instruments from around the world. June 18, 2 p.m.; June 20, 2 p.m. 15 Hillhouse Ave. Admission: $10.

For information on other tours of New Haven and environs, visit www.artidea.org.

And more …

This year’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas also includes events ranging from “Box City,” a chance to construct the ideal city, to the American Mural Project, an opportunity to decorate a link in the national effort to build a 120-foot-long, five-stories-high creation, as well as free performances on the green, artist’s discussions, book signings, master classes & workshops, “Foodie Tours,” bike tours and more.

For information on these events, visit www.artidea.org.

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