Arnott Archive Update: Arts & Ideas Edition

I’m currently chronicling events at the 2013 International Festival of Arts & Ideas for several different publications, so before the fest ends this Saturday (June 29), I thought I’d better get them straight.

I did a preview story on the festival which ran on the cover of the print edition of the New Haven Advocate, and can be found on the website here.

I’ve also been doing a diary of sorts for, covering Arts & Ideas events as they happen. The early entries are here and here and here and here and here.

There’s also a stand-alone review of the Bristol Old Vic/Handspring Puppet Company production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, here.

For the Daily Nutmeg, where I’m called “Lead Writer,” I did a preview story here.

And a mid-fest round-up here.

I’ve also been touting A&I events in the Daily Nutmeg’s Monday calendar columns, here and here and here.

I’ve also been doing a photo-and-caption box of a different Arts & Ideas image nearly every day during the festival, which runs at the bottom of the e-mail edition of the Daily Nutmeg sent to subscribers. (To sign up for the free email subscription, go to

This past weekend, I attended two Arts & Ideas events which I ended up writing about for the New Haven Independent. I may do more stories for that august online periodical this week. Coverage of the Kronos Quartet on New Haven Green (including the last-minute crisis when U.S. Airways smashed Wu  Man’s pipa) is here.  A review of Le Train Bleu’s performance of John Luther Adams’ songbirdsongs in Yale’s Marsh Botanical Garden is here.

Last week, I appeared on an episode of the Colin McEnroe show expressly devoted to the festival. That show, featuring numerous festival artists and A&I Exec. Dir. Mary Lou Aleskie, is archived here.

Finally, there’s been some blogging at my own sites, with over half a dozen recent items at New Haven Theater Jerk. Of the last ten or so posts, at least half a dozen pertain to the festival, including full reviews of My Friend’s Story and The Quiet Volume.

If my A&I coverage ends up anywhere else, you’ll be the first to know.

I Think They Think We’ve Gone to War

Just finished watching Duck Soup.

It’s a tragicomic ritual I’ve observed for decades now. Whenever our country gets into a new war-like situation, I get incensed and sorrowful and sullen. So I screen this Marx Brothers war parody from 1933 and while it doesn’t change anything it reminds me that war is crazy and that humankind is mad and bent on self-destruction. That ridiculousness and lunacy helps me maintain balance and a modicum of sanity in a society whose bloodthirstiness I cannot fathom.

Last night’s announcement that the U.S. will be arming Syrian rebels against their ignoble dictator is not, I realize, any sort of declaration of war. It’s not even necessarily an altogether bad thing, though my own absolutist pacifist nature does not really allow for such gradations and generalizations.

But the door has just been opened for further justifications and threats and power plays. It’s disheartening that even before President Obama announced that the Syrian government had crossed the “red line” and that U.S. intervention was now inevitable, some Republican senators had already leaked the plan and were saying it hadn’t gone far enough.

This is scary talk, on a subject that should be discussed much more carefully. The situation is also full of a lot of bad signals. A lot of international conflicts have conveniently served as distractions from domestic scandals in a presidential administration. The timing is too right for that right now.

Upstarts! Fredonia’s gone to war.

Arnott Archive Update: Three Months Worth

Getting my house in order before the International Festival of Arts & Ideas starts taking up most of my time for the next fortnight.

Here, for the first time in months, is a list of where you could find my writings. It’s been a pretty busy time, which may explain why my blogging has been so sparse here and at New Haven Theater Jerk.

I’ll be working on that blogging discipline, as I hope to start a new page shortly, to promote my first-Monday-of-every-month storytelling series Get to the Point! at Cafe Nine here in New Haven.

So here’s where the other words are:

• Last fall and winter I was helping Hashim A’Allah of Hallah Edutainment with a broadcast journalism project he set up at Metropolitan Business Academy, the business-oriented magnet high school in New Haven. I did some teaching and some blogging with the students. The MBA program ended a few months back, but Hashim has other similar projects thriving at other schools in other states, and it’s possible I may return to the fold sometime. The Hallah Edutainment site, with some of my work, is at

• In March my dear friend and fellow theater critic Lou Harry and I were the advance team for a new-media experiment supported by the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. The idea was an extension of Engine 28, where a group of arts journalists covered the heck of several arts conferences and festivals in Los Angeles in the summer of 2011. This time, we hit the 2013 Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky. Lou and I filled the site with all kinds of stuff, some of which has since been removed, but most of which remains, at

• While I was in Indianapolis visiting Lou Harry prior to hitting Kentucky, I got a surprise phone call from Paul Bass at the New Haven Independent asking if I’d review a film for that wondrous hyperlocal news site’s new arts section. I have been quoted in the Independent a number of times, but until now had not written for it. Paul and I worked at adjacent desks for a decade at the New Haven Advocate, and it was nice having him for an editor again, if only for a day. The review is here:

• I have a story in the current (summer) issue of the New England visual arts magazine Artscope. It’s a feature about the Create.Here.Now project which unites civic leaders, property owners and artists to stimulate underused or blighted areas of Connecticut cities with creative and potentially sustainable arts enterprises. Since the article was published, there’s been good news about the program. It received a major national grant and will expand from its pilot program in Bridgeport to several dozens towns and cities statewide.

• I write two regular features for New Haven Living, a slick new culture magazine covering the city in which I’ve lived for half my life now. I do a calendar-highlights thing called Best Bets and another column where I describe a different New Haven neighborhood each issue. I’ve also down a Spring Arts preview feature, a story on New Haven theater history and a couple of other things for them. Best thing about it is that my old friend Frank Cohen is the local editor of the thing.

• For New Haven Living’s sister publication Hartford Magazine, I did something on the new children’s theater program at Hartford Stage. That story also ran in a new magazine from the same publishers, CT Family Fun.

• I write for another Connecticut-based magazine as well. Hoffman Decades is a quarterly general-interest publication sponsored by the Hoffman auto dealerships in Hartford. I’ve done two or more stories for each of the last three issues, including the cover stories for each of those: a history of the Hartford Civic Center/XL Center, a top 40 of signature events in the history of Hartford and a history of Lincoln Continental automobiles (for which I came up with a list of songs about that car spanning most of the 20th century). Good fun.

• I continue to write regularly for the New Haven Advocate, which I served in a number of different editorial positions for 17 years before quitting the desk job to go freelance in 2007. My online work for the paper, which gets posted directly to, is too voluminous to recount here, but I was especially proud to be asked to write an obituary for the great local pop-rocker Steven Deal, and to plug a host of worthy plays and concerts. In the print edition of the Advocate, I continue to be the main theater critic and the go-to guy for features on the Meriden Daffodil Festival, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and other great local arts traditions. The site’s search engine can be frustratingly spotty, but if you Google may name and the name of any play at the Long Wharf or Yale Rep (and in some cases Westport Country Playhouse and Goodspeed Opera House) you’ll likely pull up a review of it. Recent New Haven Advocate features I’ve done include an interview with jazz pianist Donn Trenner and a cover story on the Arts & Ideas festival.

• For the Hartford Advocate, I write the Roundabout theater-preview column bi-weekly. My favorite recent one connected the demise of the TV show Smash to the Hartford-bound national tour of Catch Me If You Can, featuring the same composers.

• Then there’s the Daily Nutmeg. I do three articles a week for this online magazine, which has a website at but is best accessed through a free subscription which lets you receive one story every day by email. One of those articles every week is “This Week in New Haven,” which highlights upcoming cultural events in the city.

• I won’t bother to include all the links—the Nutmeg site has a fine search function—but here are the feature stories I’ve done over the last few months:

A bus trip down Route 34 from New Haven to Derby. (The story ran March 1).

Coverage of the Edwardian Opulence exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art. (Ran March 6.)

A joint review of Michael Bolton’s autobiography and Tony Consiglio’s memoirs of his years as Frank Sinatra’s confidante. (Ran March 8.)

A comic concept about all the blue-colored or blue-themed things in New Haven. (Ran March 13.)

A Saint Patrick’s Day piece about New Haven’s Irish mayor Frank Murphy, the years before there was a big parade, and other things. (Ran March 15.)

A litany of Paul Giamatti’s theatrical accomplishments at Yale, prior to his grand return in Hamlet this year at the Yale Rep. (Ran March 20.)
DelMonico’s hat shop! DelMonico’s hat shop! (Ran March 22.)

A musing on slogans and messages posted on New Haven streets. (Ran March 27.)
A local baseball story. (Ran March 29)

Coverage of the Arts & Ideas 2013 festival announcement. (Ran April 3.)
A profile of Merwin’s art framing shop on Chapel Street. (Ran April 5.)

A piece on the collaboration betwen Long Wharf Theatre and New Haven Free Public Library, which created a bookcase in the theater lobby stocked with titles relating to the current production. (Ran April 10.)
A preview of the Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival. (Ran April 12)

Praise for Artspace. (Ran April 18)
A pleasnat walk down Chapel Street, from one end of New Haven to the other. (Ran April 19.)

A brief history of New Haven, to mark its 375th birthday. (Ran April 24.)
A comment on how many New Haven musicians were performing at the Meriden Daffodil Festival. (Ran April 26.)

May Day coverage, including labor history and the annual festivities on New Haven Green. (Ran May 1.)
Robert Greenberg’s extraordinary private museum of New Haven history. (Ran May 3.)

An interview with Long Wharf Theatre Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting regarding his directing of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park. (Ran May 8.)

A preview of the annual ArtWalk in Westville Village. (Ran May 10.)

Another “walk down…” piece, this time along Howard Avenue to the waterfront. (Ran May 15.)
Something about Sleeping Giant State Park, after I’d been on a field trip there with my daughter Sally’s third grade class. (Ran May 17.)

A concept piece on outdoor seating at downtown eateries. (Ran May 22.)
A Memorial Day feature, with a strong pacifist theme. (Ran May 24.)

A profile of guitarist Shawn Persinger, focusing on his new book The 50 Greatest Guitar Books. (Ran May 29.)
A thought piece on “change,” as when shops close downtown while students are on summer break. (May 31.)

A preview of summer concerts on New Haven Green and elsewhere. (Ran June 5)

A fun interview with the acting ensemble and Artistic Director of the 2013 Yale Summer Cabaret season. (Ran June 7.)
The three churches on New Haven Green, as they celebrate the 200th anniversary of their respective buildings. (Ran June 12.)

An Arts & Ideas preview, on the eve of the 2013 festival. (Ran June 14.)

That’s enough for now. Don’t feel like I’m expecting you to read it all, or even any of it.

Nice to be able to recap all that work from recent months. Am kind of amazed I got all that done. Accomplishment is cool.