Music: Robert Messore solo guitar Wed., July 30, at 8 PM

IMG_4770Robert Messore brings his take on acoustic music to the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, July 30. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5. This is Messore’s only scheduled solo show for the summer.

Robert Messore (meh-sor’-ee) has been called “Connecticut’s finest fingerstyle guitarist.” He plays beautiful instrumental guitar music and he is noted for composing tuneful pieces that work well as music, and not simply as fancy guitar playing. Robert has been called “the Heart of the New Haven Folk Scene” for his vital and many-faceted contributions as solo performer, side man, recording artist, teacher and concert presenter (working on several concert series and the Connecticut Folk Festival). Robert has passionately devoted himself to the guitar for 30+ years and was voted Best Instrumentalist in a New Haven Advocate readers’ poll.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, July 23. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR); LEILA CROCKETT (BABY G)

• Thursday, July 24. PROGRESSIVE FOLK ROCK: KINDRED QUEER

• Friday, July 25. EXPERIMENTAL GHOST POP: SIRENS

• Tuesday, July 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS AND HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Wednesday, JULY 30, SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Thursday, July 31. ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Aug. 1. ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC: DAVID ELKIN-GINNETTI

• Monday, Aug. 4. LECTURE: MARK SCHENCKER DISCSUSSES “THE REAL WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY”

• Friday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS (PONYBIRD); SAM PERDUTA

• Monday, Aug. 11. FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: WITNESS

• Wednesday, Aug. 13. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Thursday, Aug. 14. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Aug. 15. POP/ART/PUPPETRY: POCKET VINYL, GLUMPUPPET

• Monday, Aug. 18. FILM SCREENING: DANNY SAYS (ROUGH CUT)

• Thursday, Aug. 21. ROCK: ROPE

• Friday, Aug. 22. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Sept. 19. INDIE ROCK: EURISKO

• Wednesday, Oct. 1. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

 

Music: Stacy Phillips hosts bluegrass jam Tues., July 29, at 7:30 PM

Bluegrass Characters Trio_WebGrammy Award-winning dobro/violin player Stacy Phillips brings his recurring last Tuesday-of-the-month bluegrass show to the Best Video Performance Space on Tuesday, July 29. The music will start at 7:30 PM—rather than our usual 8 PM start—and the cover is $5.

Stacy Phillips and His Bluegrass Characters features a rotating pool of the best acoustic musicians and singers in the Northeast.  The band features traditional bluegrass repertoire, good natured insults and a fun approach to this quintessential American music.

This month with Phil Zimmerman (mandolin), Andy Bromage (guitar), Pete Kelly (bass) and Red Kaufman (banjo). As usual, The Characters are led by Grammy award winning dobro/violin player Stacy Phillips. These guys have played all over the world with the likes of Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor, Pete Rowan, Dave Bromberg, Michael Cleveland, etc. etc.  Expect other fine musicians drop by for a tune or two.

Three chords and the truth, sung from the heart and through the nose. This is a recurring last-Tuesday-of-the-month show.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, July 18. SURF MUSIC/ROCKABILLY: THE SIX PACK DUTCHMEN, TOM HEARN

• Wednesday, July 23. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR); LEILA CROCKETT (BABY G)

• Thursday, July 24. PROGRESSIVE FOLK ROCK: KINDRED QUEER

• Friday, July 25. EXPERIMENTAL GHOST POP: SIRENS

• Tuesday, July 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS AND HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Wednesday, JULY 30, SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Thursday, July 31. ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Aug. 1. ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC: DAVID ELKIN-GINNETTI

• Monday, Aug. 4. LECTURE: MARK SCHENCKER DISCSUSSES “THE REAL WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY”

• Friday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS (PONYBIRD); SAM PERDUTA

• Monday, Aug. 11. FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: WITNESS

• Wednesday, Aug. 13. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Thursday, Aug. 14. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Aug. 15. POP/ART/PUPPETRY: POCKET VINYL, GLUMPUPPET

• Monday, Aug. 18. FILM SCREENING: DANNY SAYS (ROUGH CUT)

• Thursday, Aug. 21. ROCK: ROPE

• Friday, Aug. 22. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Sept. 19. INDIE ROCK: EURISKO

• Wednesday, Oct. 1. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

 

For fans of “Downton Abbey”: Prof. Mark Schenker lectures on “The Real World of Downton Abbey” Aug. 4 at 7:30 PM

Can’t get enough of the popular British series “Downton Abbey?”

DowntonAbbey_Mark_Schenker_Web

Then come on down to the Best Video Performance Space on Monday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 PM. Mark Schenker, the Dean of Academic Affairs in Yale College, will give a lecture on the social, political and literary contexts of the late 19th and early 20th century in England that helped shaped the world depicted in the extraordinarily popular PBS series. There will be a $5 admission charge for this event.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, July 23. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR); LEILA CROCKETT (BABY G)

• Thursday, July 24. PROGRESSIVE FOLK ROCK: KINDRED QUEER

• Friday, July 25. EXPERIMENTAL GHOST POP: SIRENS

• Tuesday, July 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS AND HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Wednesday, JULY 30, SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Thursday, July 31. ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Aug. 1. ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC: DAVID ELKIN-GINNETTI

• Monday, Aug. 4. LECTURE: MARK SCHENCKER DISCSUSSES “THE REAL WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY”

• Friday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS (PONYBIRD); SAM PERDUTA

• Monday, Aug. 11. FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: WITNESS

• Wednesday, Aug. 13. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Thursday, Aug. 14. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Aug. 15. POP/ART/PUPPETRY: POCKET VINYL, GLUMPUPPET

• Monday, Aug. 18. FILM SCREENING: DANNY SAYS (ROUGH CUT)

• Thursday, Aug. 21. ROCK: ROPE

• Friday, Aug. 22. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Sept. 19. INDIE ROCK: EURISKO

• Wednesday, Oct. 1. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

• Friday, Oct. 3. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: DAPHNE MARTIN, HANNAH FAIR

Music: SIRENS offer experimental ghost pop on Fri., July 25, at 8 PM

SIRENS performs at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, July 25. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Sirens_promo_1_Web

SIRENS was started by chance in 2009 in New York City by Paris Mancini. The project immediately caught fire and traveled to Berlin, across the US, and more recently, Latin America. SIRENS has existed so far as a 3 piece, a one-woman power choir, a wall of noise in the back of a shady bar in Staten Island, the front of a symphony recording in middle America, a secret show in a mirror room underground in Chelsea, recording amongst millions in Mexico City, etc.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, July 18. SURF MUSIC/ROCKABILLY: THE SIX PACK DUTCHMEN, TOM HEARN

• Wednesday, July 23. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR); LEILA CROCKETT (BABY G)

• Thursday, July 24. PROGRESSIVE FOLK ROCK: KINDRED QUEER

• Friday, July 25. EXPERIMENTAL GHOST POP: SIRENS

• Tuesday, July 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS AND HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Wednesday, JULY 30, SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Thursday, July 31. ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Aug. 1. ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC: DAVID ELKIN-GINNETTI

• Monday, Aug. 4. LECTURE: MARK SCHENCKER DISCSUSSES “THE REAL WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY”

• Friday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS (PONYBIRD); SAM PERDUTA

• Monday, Aug. 11. FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: WITNESS

• Wednesday, Aug. 13. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Thursday, Aug. 14. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Aug. 15. POP/ART/PUPPETRY: POCKET VINYL, GLUMPUPPET

• Monday, Aug. 18. FILM SCREENING: DANNY SAYS (ROUGH CUT)

• Thursday, Aug. 21. ROCK: ROPE

• Friday, Aug. 22. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Sept. 19. INDIE ROCK: EURISKO

• Wednesday, Oct. 1. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

 

Music: Paul Belbusti, Leila Crockett on Wed., July 23, at 8 PM

JUST ANNOUNCED! Singer-songwriters Paul Belbusti (aka Mercy Choir) and Leila Crockett (aka Baby G) will perform solo sets at the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, July 23. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Paul Belbusti at Best Video in January, 2014

Paul Belbusti at Best Video in January, 2014

Mercy Choir is the songwriting/recording/performing project of Paul Belbusti. The music has been described using any and all of the following terms: acoustic, folk, noise, psychedelic, rock, electroacoustic, outsider, indie, freak folk, bad, good, weird, beautiful, ugly, impressive, depressing, disappointing, metal, quiet, loud, authentic, fake, electronic, digital, analog, pretentious, hifi, lofi, etc. In a review on CT.com in 2012, Chip McCabe referred to Mercy Choir as “one of the best one-man projects to come out of CT in recent memory.”

Leila aka “Baby G(guitar)” Crockett is a native of New Haven, CT. Her influences vary greatly from genre to time period. Leila’s writing style relies on blues, jazz, americana to the occasional march or waltz. Her voice has been described as angelic while her lyrics can be whip smart while attempting social consciousness or self disclosure.

Leila "Baby G" Crockett

Leila “Baby G” Crockett

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, July 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOY IKE

• Thursday, June 17. ROCK ‘N’ SOUL: BRONSON ROCK

• Friday, July 18. SURF MUSIC/ROCKABILLY: THE SIX PACK DUTCHMEN, TOM HEARN

• Wednesday, July 23. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR); LEILA CROCKETT (BABY G)

• Thursday, July 24. PROGRESSIVE FOLK ROCK: KINDRED QUEER

• Friday, July 25. EXPERIMENTAL GHOST POP: SIRENS

• Tuesday, July 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS AND HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Wednesday, JULY 30, SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Thursday, July 31. ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Aug. 1. ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC: DAVID ELKIN-GINNETTI

• Monday, Aug. 4. LECTURE: MARK SCHENCKER DISCSUSSES “THE REAL WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY”

• Friday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS (PONYBIRD); SAM PERDUTA

• Monday, Aug. 11. FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: WITNESS

• Wednesday, Aug. 13. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Thursday, Aug. 14. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Aug. 15. POP/ART/PUPPETRY: POCKET VINYL, GLUMPUPPET

• Monday, Aug. 18. FILM SCREENING: DANNY SAYS (ROUGH CUT)

• Thursday, Aug. 21. ROCK: ROPE

• Friday, Aug. 22. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Sept. 19. INDIE ROCK: EURISKO

• Wednesday, Oct. 1. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

 

Music: Kindred Queer on Thurs., July 24, at 8 PM

Kindred_Queer_photo_WebKindred Queer plays their brand of progressive folk rock at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, July 24. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Vocal harmony, progressive acoustic guitar, cello, and drums characterize this New Haven-based band. The group features Xavier Serrano (vocals, guitar), Shannon Kiley (cello, vocals), Quinn Pirie (percussion) and Evan Cook (6-string bass).
Kindred n.- a body of persons as a family, tribe or clan associated by origins, nature and qualities of character; those related by similar beliefs, attitudes or feeling.
Queer adj.- strange or odd from conventional viewpoint; usually indifferent; singular; deviating from the expected or socially excepted norm.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, July 16. FOLK/POP/SOUL: JOY IKE• Thursday, July 17. ROCK ‘N’ SOUL: BRONSON ROCK

• Friday, July 18. SURF MUSIC/ROCKABILLY: THE SIX PACK DUTCHMEN, TOM HEARN

• Wednesday, July 23. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR); LEILA CROCKETT (BABY G)

• Thursday, July 24. PROGRESSIVE FOLK ROCK: KINDRED QUEER

• Friday, July 25. EXPERIMENTAL GHOST POP: SIRENS

• Tuesday, July 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS AND HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Wednesday, JULY 30, SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Thursday, July 31. ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Aug. 1. ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC: DAVID ELKIN-GINNETTI

• Monday, Aug. 4. LECTURE: MARK SCHENCKER DISCSUSSES “THE REAL WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY”

• Friday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS (PONYBIRD); SAM PERDUTA

• Monday, Aug. 11. FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: WITNESS

• Wednesday, Aug. 13. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Thursday, Aug. 14. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Aug. 15. POP/ART/PUPPETRY: POCKET VINYL, GLUMPUPPET

• Monday, Aug. 18. FILM SCREENING: DANNY SAYS (ROUGH CUT)

• Thursday, Aug. 21. ROCK: ROPE

• Friday, Aug. 22. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Sept. 19. INDIE ROCK: EURISKO

• Wednesday, Oct. 1. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

Rob Harmon’s Picks 7/8/14

Rob_Harmon_image_for_picksThe Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson, 2014)

Recently I was at a tag sale when I spotted a children’s book which looked familiar to me. Picking it up I realized that it was a decommissioned library book with Dewey Decimal sticker still intact on the spine and that it was, in fact, a book which I remembered checking out of the library a dozen times or more as a child. I ran my hand over its buckram cover, frayed corners, and weather-beaten, heavily broken-in pages, seemingly softened by the oil from a thousand children’s fingertips as they feverishly thumbed through it over the years. The title, pictures, captions, and the font all seemed vaguely familiar to me and even comforting; the book’s pleasantly sweet, slightly musty smell brought back memories. Sure enough, as I turned to the endpaper, I discovered a library card in its familiar Manila sleeve. As I slid it out I scanned through the names to see if… could it possibly be the same one from my youth?

No, I did not find my name, but that did not alter the essential nature of the experience for me: communing, so to speak, with something from my past; something which, like myself, was once young and new.

A similar quality—the interaction with a shabby-yet-redolent past which yields unexpected and unforeseen insights—could be said to be sprinkled liberally throughout the work of director Wes Anderson, who is not only the cinema’s foremost purveyor of fantastically-tinged comedies about lost youth and the perspectives brought on by aging but, at this point, almost an institution unto himself, much like the title subject of his latest, extraordinary effort, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.

The story—introduced through a series of ingenious framing devices—concerns an older man (F. Murray Abraham) in the 1960’s looking back on his youthful adventures in the fictional central European country of Zubrowka, in a time roughly around the 1930’s. Zero Moustafa (played by newcomer Tony Revolori) is an orphan and the newly inducted, wide-eyed lobby boy of the revered Grand Budapest Hotel, a bustling top-tier mountain retreat for Europe’s elite, and Monsieur Gustave (the nonpareil Ralph Fiennes) is the head concierge and his boss.

Gustave, as Zero soon discovers, is a whirling dervish of activity, and the epicenter of the hotel’s daily life, the very glue which holds everything together. Gustave, it turns out, is also popular with the ladies—those of the geriatric set that is, such as Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis, or “Madame D” (a heavily made-up Tilda Swinton), who clings to him in her old age for his charm, looks, and impeccable sense of taste. Zero and Gustave become fast friends and when news of Madame D.’s death abroad reaches them it trumps even the forecast of imminent war in Europe. In her will she leaves to Gustave a priceless painting—”Boy with Apple”—which is coveted by her jealous children, especially Dmitri (Adrien Brody). Gustave and Zero return to the hotel with painting in hand and later, on trumped-up testimony, Gustave is imprisoned for the murder of Madame D.

The remainder of the story concerns Zero’s first love—an apprentice cake maker named Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), Gustave’s escape from prison, and Gustave and Zero’s attempts to stay one step ahead of the rise of fascism in Europe, Dmitri, and Dmitri’s bloodthirsty henchman Jopling (Willem Dafoe), as well as their efforts to finally prove Gustave’s innocence and establish once and for all who the real owner of the Grand Budapest really is.

Wes Anderson burst upon the scene with the impishly exciting BOTTLE ROCKET in 1996 before making career-defining works in RUSHMORE (1998) and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001). Thereafter began a period of deep introspection for Anderson where he made the strangely discordant THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (2004)—a bit of rock star-like navel-gazing—and the oddly affecting but not totally satisfying THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007). Adapting Roald Dahl’s FANTASTIC MR. FOX in 2009 as an animated film may have at least freed Anderson to seek new paradigms for storytelling—instead of making films about characters grounded in any sense of reality he seemed to finally embrace pure, unalloyed fantasy… yet fantasy grounded in the real and with a sense of the achingly familiar about it. 2012 brought the wondrous surprise MOONRISE KINGDOM—a sort of comeback picture for Anderson though he had not really gone anywhere—a film of hilarious invention and deep meaning.

The Grand Budapest Hotel—a rollicking, old-school buddy picture—continues this fascinating trajectory for Anderson and his focus on storybook settings. The film’s framing device specifically reflects his obsessions with the transformative aspects of literature on young readers and the film itself was specifically influenced by the work of Austrian author Stefan Zweig.

Anderson—much like Monsieur Gustave—remains a bottomless source of invention and a tireless perfectionist, changing décor, for example, as effortlessly as the film’s ratio to fit the tenor of the time, from earth-tones, wood paneling, and CinemaScope to represent the 60’s, to bright wool carpets, pencil moustaches, and the postage stamp-shaped Academy ratio (think of films like GONE WITH THE WIND or CASABLANCA, made before the advent of “widescreen”) to represent the 30’s.

The film itself is a paean to mainly pre-World War II European films, such as, but not limited to, Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR, Carol Reed’s NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH, and just about anything directed by German great Max Ophüls. The score—by French composer Alexandre Desplat—is filled with the ringing sounds of the Russian balalaika which helps to accentuate the film’s undercurrent of insistent yearning and even pining for the past.

The bravura camera work (courtesy of frequent Anderson collaborator Robert Yeoman) features hair-pin 90- and 180-degree turns, lightning-fast dolly-in, -out, and lateral tracking shots, as well as Anderson’s trademark tableaux—shots composed in flattened perspective but with such surprising stores of depth and density of meaning that they seem more like a beautiful, ornate cake (like those made in the film’s fictional bakery, Mendl’s). From every angle it may appear a little different but slice into it and one is presented with endless layers—alternating cake, frosting, cake, etc… delicate, petite, and impossibly sweet.