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The International Festival of Arts and Ideas

New Haven can be a wonderful place to spend the summer.   The campus quiets down, but that doesn't mean that the activities stop.  In fact, one of New Haven's most famous events, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas takes place in June.  The Festival's main stage on the New Haven Green features days of free performances that turn out the local community.  Performances are also held at theaters throughout New Haven and the concerts come right up to our doorstep here at the Law School, with the courtyard providing an intimate venue for a night of music.   (Check out the pictures below!)

The International Festival of Arts and Ideas just celebrated its fourteenth year, and has become renowned as one of the world's most significant arts festivals.   The Festival is a global event in New Haven.  Each summer, the Festival showcases hundreds of international artists and speakers from over 75 countries in a broad array of genres.   The Festival brings U.S. premieres to New Haven, operas to the Green, internationally recognized names and dynamic, emerging, local artists to a new audience.  And to top it all, much of the Festival programming is free. 

The 2009 Festival, themed Global Identities/Local Heroes, featured performances by artists such as Jason Moran, the Barabbas Theater Company and the Mark Morris Dance Group.  (Check out the NYT review of the Mark Morris Dance Group performance here: www.nytimes.com/2009/06/27/arts/dance/27dido.html?pagewanted=all).

Mavis Staples and They Might be Giants could be seen in free performances on the New Haven Green, along with performances by local and international artists.  The courtyard concert series brought alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, Tania Libertad, whose singing blends the Afro-Peruvian tradition with many other styles, and the international lyrical sound of Rupa & The April Fishes here to the Law School.

The Festival also brings ideas to New Haven.  From conversations about the Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights and Confronting the Global Economic Crisis, to Food: Pleasure, Policy and Public Health, this year's Festival brought together an inspirational group of people from around the world to think about the challenges facing us on a local and global level.  Attendees also had the opportunity to converse about the arts with novelist Frank McCourt, choreographer Mark Morris, and soul singer Mavis Staples, among many others.

Food enthusiasts were able to tour the kitchens of local restaurants and enjoy specialty dinners from the chefs.   I didn't sign up early enough, but the Flavors from Iberia to Latin America tour, featuring Ibiza, Soul de Cuba and Geronimo sounded fantastic!  If you want to attend one of the dinners next year - be sure to sign up early!

To learn more about the Festival or if you plan to be in the New Haven area next summer, keep a watch on the Festival's website (www.artidea.org) for the plans for June, 2010.  Once the schedule is announced, tickets for the more popular events go quickly - so sign up if you see something you like.  Or you can always stop by the New Haven Green to catch one of the many free performances taking place throughout the Festival.


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