Midterms, shmidterms. It’s Parents’ Weekend, and to commemorate the 300th coming of free meals and wanted wallets to Yale, the administration has planned a veritable circus of commemorative events.
Why not pack up the gang and head down to the Yale Bowl where mom and pop Yalie can get themselves gourmet box dinners and listen to roving a cappella? Then take them inside to wave at the jumbotrons and watch Paul Simon (Remember him from when you were in college, Dad?) and William F. Buckley Jr. (Remember him from when you voted for Reagan, Dad?) and scores of other illustrious real and honorary Yale alumni reenacting the history of this great University.
Oh wait, that was last weekend. Never mind.
Well, there has to at least be some a cappella somewhere, right?
Yes, that is right. There will be a cappella for parents, who are right now packing into caravans, trains and airplanes, on the way to see their industrious little ivy leaguers in their natural habitat. So lift up those Yale chins boys and girls, there’s no time to recover from “YaleMania 2001.” Hordes of Yale moms and dads — with sweatshirts to prove it — are rapidly descending upon Connecticut. Here at the News, we say it’s better to be prepared than caught with someone else’s underwear on your doorknob, so we’ve compiled a handy-dandy guide to dealing with your parents for the next three days.
Eating Out: Where Aramark-literate Yalies should take their parents for expensive food — a Pan Geos-ified guide.
Roomba: It is Latin American Pan Geos with wicker menus. If they have the “Viagra Special,” order it, but avoid eye contact with your father while doing so. You moved away from home so you don’t have to think about those things any more, remember? Roomba’s hip. It’s expensive. And if this is the first time you’re reading about it, it’s way beyond your reservation-making capabilities.
Scoozzi and Hot Tomatoes: Pierson pasta bar with candlelight and angry waiters. Each has a stuffy atmosphere and tall food that Pierson might not be able to provide for Parents’ Weekend, but neither is getting $40 million renovations in the next two years. So ha.
Union League Cafe: There’s no French Pan Geos yet. Thankfully. But this is still a good option. It’s another expensive to very expensive option in the Yale and New Haven dining guide, which is always nice when the ‘rents are paying. And if you ask nicely, they might make a special batch of pain perdu.
Samurai: Asian Pan Geos without the mysterious “Asian sauce.” Try the sushi boat if you’re ambitious or to make your parents feel comfortable if one of them is a Viking. There are roughly 10,000 other Asian restaurants in New Haven. You know most of them. Take your pick. They’re also pretty much your only hope at this point if you didn’t have the foresight to make reservations.
Claire’s Corner Copia: The Granary of quiche and cake spots. It won’t be the best meal of your life unless you love salad without dressing, but it is one of the few vegetarian restaurants in the city, and they make a good cup of cocoa and some lovely desserts. Keep an eye out for Claire. She sometimes makes a cameo.
Patronizing New Haven: What to do between eating and a cappella.
East Rock: It’s one of the things they say you must do before you graduate, but if you’re not in shape enough for a 40-minute run, then Parents’ Weekend might be the ideal time to see all of New Haven from the top of a cliff. The views are beautiful, even more so from the back seat of the family sedan when you’re not winded from the run. Unless you have an active family, in which case you should leave the Range Rover at Pierson-Sage and make the hike Brady-style.
Yale University Art Gallery and the Center for British Art: Art-viewing is a perfect parent activity because it lets you marvel together at the impressive collections amassed by Yale, have superficially or genuinely intellectual conversations, or have hours of complete silence. And it tuckers them out from all the walking — we won’t tell them about the elevators if you don’t. It’s even a fun activity for upperclassmen whose parents probably haven’t seen the new American art wing.
Chapel Street and Broadway: The world-vision of Bruce Alexander is infinitely more enjoyable with a parent’s credit card. If that plastic elf lawn ornament has been calling to you all semester, go get it. If you want some classic painted ceramics or some lingerie from Lulu’s, take a detour down Chapel Street when walking between your dorm and the Omni. And if all else fails, there are always more Yale souvenirs to be purchased from the bookstore.
Clinton Crossing and the All-American mall: If you find the shopping options on Broadway unfulfilling, can’t wait for J.Crew, or find yourself completely unprepared for the amount of rain that falls in New Haven on a weekly basis, the Connecticut mall scene is an ideal place to find duckboots or an Abercrombie and Fitch.
Friendly entertainment: a guide to PG-13 evening activities that’ll give you enough time to put your parents to bed, go out, pass out, wake up, consume quarts of cranberry juice and seem well-rested and sunny for brunch in the morning.
Hey a cappella community — yes you — you have a community of parents to entertain on Saturday night with your own definition of wit and Indigo Girls joy. Oh wait, before you go, remember to store that Rolling Stone laying out in your common room if need be. Okay, now out with you:
The Alley Cats and Proof of the Pudding will be performing together at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Branford. The Duke’s Men will be with Mixed Company at 8:30 and again at 10:00 in Berkeley. The Exit Players will do improv comedy with the SOBs, who will do what seems like improv singing at 8:30 in Morse. Something Extra, the Baker’s Dozen, Red Hot and Blue and the rest of Yale a cappella will also be giving concerts that night in other residential colleges around campus.
The shows are overcrowded but generally fun, good for parents of the performers and for parents of friends of the performers who are performing nothing themselves.
For evening fun with instruments and vocals, there is the Yale Symphony Orchestra show featuring the Yale Glee Club and Freshman Chorus. Otherwise, especially for those without dinner reservations, there is the Yale Cabaret, a weekly production performed by second-year students in the Yale School of Drama Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30.
In the end, your parents will come and go with little disturbance to your night life. You’ll get a full belly, a new pair of pants, as good an excuse as any to clean your room, and perhaps a little excessive parental loving and pride. And dinero. In the shadow of the Tercentennial, this year’s Parent’s Weekend should pass like most, with minimal trauma and a brand new case of Diet Dr. Pepper bought from your local grocer and absolutely flat after riding in the trunk of a car for nine hours.