Monday, April 14, 2014

Yale Cellos delights midweek crowd in annual concert

With master cello teacher and conductor Aldo Parisot's paintings showing overhead and a packed house eating up the performances of 2014 grad students, Yale Cellos produced another moving night of music last week at Morse Recital Hall on College Street.
The night saw the debut of Ezra Laderman's challenging work “Second Partita” for unaccompanied cello played by faculty cellist Ole Akahoshi -- without a music stand or sheet music!
During the intermission (above), a thrilled Laderman, 89, said he was amazed that Akahoshi could play such a new piece from memory.
A sublime "Vivaldi" piece with the full ensemble after intermission was a crowd-pleaser, as was an encore showcasing the world-class talent of current players, not to mention the showmanship of 92-year-old Parisot.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Scenes from Yale School of Music, Institute of Sacred Music press event Tuesday touting Brentano Quartet and other news


Top: Director of Bands Thomas Duffy talks about the big may trip to Ghana. See story here.
Above: bass Andrew Padgett and Robert Bennesh on organ.

 Professor of Organ and Director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music Martin Jean.
 Institute Professor Liturgical Studies Teresa Berger in Marquand Chapel, Sterling Quadrangle.
Below: James Taylor, associated professor of voice, ISM and YSM.
Bottom: The Brentano Quartet plays a number in Sprague Hall for visitors.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys in Fairfield Friday and Saturday

Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys will be playing Fairfield's FTC StageOne this weekend  (4/11 and 4/12).
Alejandro's been described as “is in his own genre" by Rolling Stone. He's had quite the rock & roll career, says a publicist, starting with first-wave punk rock band The Nuns in San Francisco and later transitioning to a more roots rock/alt country style with the group Rank and File in Austin before teaming up with the True Believers. His solo career took off in 1992 and cemented his songwriting abilities and longevity as an artist.
The theater is a 70 Sanford St. Tickets are $38 (members save $5) and can be found here.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Arts and Ideas festival previewed for June (more on Ideas portion to come)

New Haven Arts and Ideas Festival to include play about trauma/forgiveness

Mary Lou Aleskie, executive director of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, announces the schedule for the festival during a gathering Thursday at The Study in New Haven. Peter Hvizdak — New Haven Register

Humberto Howard photo La Santa Cecilia will perform June 28 on the Green.
NEW HAVEN >> “Great performances, big ideas and serious fun” is the capsule description of June’s lineup for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas from Mary Lou Aleskie, its executive director.

The typically diverse lineup includes an “American Idol” winner, a female country singer raised in the shadow of Mount St. Helens, four top female African-American singer/musicians with several musical styles, a European theater piece about surviving trauma, an Irish and American folk group and a returning Montreal acrobatic troupe.

Details of the schedule were announced at a press conference Thursday evening at The Study on Chapel Street; more than 120,000 people are expected to attend events from June 14-28.

“It’s a time for people to come together with neighbors and friends, and neighbors and friends from around the world, and it gives you a chance to not leave your home (area) and journey across the world and engage with artists and thinkers ... (pause) and have some fun!” said Aleskie in an interview.

For the 19th year of the early summer festival, Aleskie said, “Our theme is transformation and tradition,” which plays out in performances and the context-lending activities before and afterward. For example: After one of the performances of a topical new play about surviving trauma, called “The Events” at Yale Rep, composer John Brown will join other artists to discuss the role of art in conflict.

Another potentially special extra? For June 21’s Dianne Reeves performance on the New Haven Green with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, there will be a Music Haven-led all-musicians play-in with NHSO musicians about an hour before the show at the fountain on the Green.

The Green events are free, as are about 85 percent of festival events and activities that last year involved 800 performers and added $34 million to the city’s economy, according to the yearly Quinnipiac University economic impact study.

Aleskie said the process of choosing and booking acts can take years. She said officials identify and sign up certain “cornerstones” and then build out the body of the festival.

“We’re really proud to have the U.S. premiere of a very important international play called ‘The Events,’ and it’s by a Scottish playwright by the name of David Greig,” Aleskie said, noting that Greig’s earlier play, “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” was part of an earlier festival.

The play about trauma and forgiveness will tour the U.S. after New Haven.

Another cornerstone for sheer enjoyment, said Aleskie, is Montreal-based circus/acrobatic company 7 Fingers (Les 7 doights de la main), returning after performing a different show last year, with “Traces.”

“This piece is a larger, more theatrical piece ... that’s toured all over the globe,” Aleskie said.

Opening the festival will be a concert by vocalist/pianist Lalah Hathaway (daughter of the late Donny Hathaway) with “Idol” winner Ruben Studdard on the Green June 14 at an event that will also include presentation of the Governor’s Arts Awards.

Another much-anticipated night on the Green, said Aleskie, is the somewhat-rare collaboration with the New Haven Symphony and returning jazz vocalist Reeves on June 21.

Other headline concerts on the Green:

Martha Redbone Roots Project on June 15; Redbone’s heritage is Appalachian, Native American and African American, and her music is a fusion of roots music.

• Country songwriter Brandy Clark with the group Bronze Radio Return on June 22.

La Santa Cecilia (recent Grammy winner) with Nation Beat (Brazlian/New Orleans) on June 28 at 7 p.m.

Ticketed events include the “Traces” circus show at University Theatre June 24-28; and Greig’s “The Events” June 24-28 at Yale Rep. Also:

• “Arguendo” at Yale Rep. June 18-22, the witty and dramatic staging of Supreme Court oral arguments in a nude-dancing 1st Amendment case (directed by Yale alum John Collins).

• The one man journey of self-discovery “County of Kings” with Lemon Anderson, at Yale Rep June 14-15.

• Jazz violinist Regina Carter’s “Southern Comfort,” at Morse Recital Hall at Sprague Hall June 17.

The Gloaming, an Irish and American folk group, at Morse Hall June 19.

Adele Meyers & Dancers with “Einstein’s Happiest Thought” contemporary dance show June 24-28 at Iseman Theatre.

Ile O, Compagnie Barolsolo, which involves two clowns, a pool of water and a pole on the green (free standing room).

• Cellist Erik Friedlander’s “Block Ice & Propane” June 15 at Iseman Theatre.

• Echoes: Early Music Reimagined with Yale Chorale Artists June 20 at St. Mary’s Church.

Ideas events include:
• “Jack Hitt: From Electric Car to Obsolete Highways” June 15; “On the Waterfront: Responses to Our Embattled Waterways” June 17; “Down Home: The Musical Heritage of the American South” June 17; and “Thinking About Sports” with Frank Deford, Slate’s Mike Pesca and New Haven author Nicholas Dawidoff on June 19.

As in past years, Mondays during the festival are dark; there will be a PizzaFest on the Green other weekdays at noontime; and family events will be held June 14-15. A&I folks will also assist with three “pop-up” neighborhood festivals in Fair Haven, Dixwell and the Hill.

And local artists are involved in many aspects of the festival but especially the noon and 6 p.m. outdoor stage performances, officials said.

For more details, see

Joe has been the TV editor, features writer, columnist, general assignment reporter and copy editor for some 35 years in New Haven, first with the Journal-Courier and then the New Haven Register. Follow Joe on Twitter: @joeammo.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Nick Cannon jokes around in the Shine360 photo booth, tossing fake money in the air, at Mohegan Sun Saturday.

Mohegan Sun photo
Nick Cannon of "America's Got Talent," who made a DJ appearance at Mohegan Sun’s nightclub, Avalon afterward, at Shine 360 video booth.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

April Movies on Demand titles (Anchorman 2, August: Osage County, Walter Mitty)

47 Ronin (3D) (Universal) (PG-13)
·         Genre: Action
·         Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues / Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Unedited) (Paramount) (PG-13/TV-MA)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Jim Carrey, Christina Applegate, David Koechner

Hamlet & Hutch (Vision) – (TV-G)
·         Genre: Family
·         Starring: Burt Reynolds, Emma Rayne Lyle
·         6 Weeks Pre-DVD

Stage Fright (Magnolia) – (R)
·         Genre: Horror/Musical
·         Starring: Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf
·         Pre-Theatrical

Afflicted (CBS Films) – (R)
·         Genre: Horror/Thriller
·         Starring: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
·         Same Day As Theatrical

Goodbye World (Phase 4) – (TV-14)
·         Genre: Comedy/Drama
·         Starring: Adrian Grenier, Gaby Hoffman, Ben McKenzie, Mark Webber, Kerry Bishé
·         Same Day As Theatrical

August: Osage County (Starz/Weinstein) – (R)
·         Genre: Comedy/Drama
·         Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shephard, Misty Upham

Grudge Match (WB) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (3D) (WB) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
·         Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones / Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Unedited) (Paramount) – (R/TV-MA)
·         Genre: Horror
·         Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Molly Ephraim, Katie Featherston

Walking With Dinosaurs (3D) (Fox) – (PG)
·         Genre: Animated/Family
·         Starring: Karl Urban, Charlie Rowe
·         Voices: John Leguizamo, Justin Long

Justin Bieber's Believe (Universal) – (PG)
·         Genre: Documentary/Music
·         Starring: Justin Bieber

Hateship Loveship (IFC) – (R)
·         Genre: Romance
·         Starring: Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Jason Leigh
·         Same Day As Theatrical

Joe (Lionsgate) – (R)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan
·         Same Day As Theatrical

The Nut Job (3D) (Universal) – (PG)
·         Genre: Animated/Comedy
·         Voices: Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph

Philomena (Starz/Weinstein) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan

Ride Along / Ride Along with Gag Reel (Universal) – (PG-13/TV-14)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, John Leguizamo, Laurence Fishburne

The Bachelor Weekend (Tribeca) – (TV-MA)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Andrew Scott, Amy Huberman
·         Same Day As Tribeca Film Festival Movie Premiere Date; Pre-Theatrical Release Date

Beneath the Harvest Sky (Tribeca) – (TV-MA)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Emory Cohen, Callan McAuliffe
·         Same Day As Tribeca Film Festival Movie Premiere Date; Pre-Theatrical Release Date

Bright Days Ahead (Tribeca) – (TV-MA)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Fanny Ardant, Patrick Chesnais
·         Same Day As Tribeca Film Festival Movie Premiere Date; Pre-Theatrical Release Date

The Invisible Woman (Sony) – (R)
·         Genre: Drama/Romance
·         Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas

Wolf Creek 2 (Lionsgate) – (TV-MA)
·         Genre: Horror
·         Starring: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr
·         Pre-Theatrical

Kid Cannabis (Tribeca) – (TV-MA)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Ron Perlman
·         Same Day As Tribeca Film Festival Movie Premiere Date; Pre-Theatrical Release Date

A Promise (IFC) – (TV-MA)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman, Richard Madden
·         Same Day As Theatrical

Small Time (Starz) – (R)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Christopher Meloni, Dean Norris, Devon Bostick, Bridget Moynahan
·         Same Day As Theatrical

Filth (Magnolia) – (R)
·         Genre: Comedy/Crime
·         Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots, Joanne Froggatt
·         Pre-Theatrical

Blue Ruin (Weinstein) – (R)
·         Genre: Thriller
·         Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray
·         Same Day As Theatrical

Gambit (CBS Films) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz
·         Same Day As Theatrical

Labor Day (Paramount) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin

The Legend of Hercules (3D) (Lionsgate) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Action/Adventure
·         Starring: Kellan Lutz, Liam McIntyre

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Fox) – (PG)
·         Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Drama
·         Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly, Kathryn Hahn

Black Nativity (Fox) – (PG)
·         Genre: Drama/Musical
·         Starring: Forest Whitaker, Angela Basset, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige

Gimme Shelter (Lionsgate) – (PG-13)
·         Genre: Drama
·         Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson

Gloria (Lionsgate) – (R)
·         Genre: Comedy
·         Starring: Paulina García, Sergio Hernández

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"These Paper Bullets!" opens tonight; here's a first look

Yale Rep’s world premiere of THESE PAPER BULLETS!, a modish ripoff of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, adapted by Rolin Jones, with new songs by Billie Joe Armstrong, and directed by Jackson Gay, opens tonight.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New season of "Mad Men" arrives April 13

Photos from the new season of "Mad Men," which you can catch up on here.

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Donald Draper (Jon Hamm)