Music: James Velvet & the Lonesome Sparrows on Thurs., July 11, at 8 PM

the_lonesome_sparrows_WebJames Velvet brings his band the Lonesome Sparrows back to the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, July 11. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5. (Because of the July 4 holiday, there will be no events on July 3 and 4.)

Original acoustic rootsy rock ‘n’ roll. Songwriter extraordinaire James Velvet fronts the Lonesome Sparrows. The band includes Johnny Memphis on guitar, fiddle and harmony vocals. Memphis and Velvet have been playing together since 1985. He’s also a long-standing member of Washboard Slim and The Blue Lights. Velvet and Memphis are joined on dobro, mandolin and banjo by DickNeal, well-known in Southern CT for his bluegrass band, Hoe. Johnny Java plays electric bass and percussion.

Johnny Java and James Velvet played original roots R&R in The MockingBirds for a dozen years (buttressed for many of those years by DickNeal’s guitar playing). The Sparrows are happiest at Coffee House/Gallery concerts (Never Ending Bookstore, John Slade Ely House, The Buttonwood Tree) or, in the warm weather, at  CT’s  many tasty Farm Markets. In April, 2010, the group released their 13-track CD “Black Velvet Royalty.”

The Lonesome Sparrows at the Huntington Street Cafe in Shelton in 2010, videotaped by Dave Kelsey:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday & Thursday, July 3 & 4. NO EVENT: HAPPY JULY 4th!

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Wednesday, July 17. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, July 18. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Thursday, July 25. AVANT-GARDE_IMPROVISATION: FUCHSPRELLEN, COLORGUARD

• Thursday, Aug. 1. IMPROVISATION/WORLD MUSIC: SUPER TRANCE

• Wednesday, Aug. 7. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Aug. 14. GARAGE ROCK/PUNK: THE ESTROGEN HIGHS

• Thursday, Aug. 15. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

Music: Sheldon Campbell to play acoustic folk music, originals Wed., July 10, at 8 PM

Sheldon_Campbell_Best_Video_promo_WebSheldon Campbell will perform in the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, July 10. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5. (Because of the July 4 holiday, there will be no events on July 3 and 4.)

Sheldon Campbell performs a mix of traditional and original folk music.  A student of Robert Messore for guitar and Martha King for voice for over 10 years, Sheldon has performed at St. John’s coffee house in New Haven, on WSHU’s Profiles in Folk, in classes at the Yale School of Medicine (where he’s an award-winning teacher) and at national scientific meetings.

He writes original songs about history, fatherhood, and microbial disease—but he’ll keep the latter to a minimum for this venue. Look forward to an infectious evening of song from the silly to the dramatic, with plenty of opportunities to sing along.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday & Thursday, July 3 & 4. NO EVENT: HAPPY JULY 4th!

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Wednesday, July 17. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, July 18. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Thursday, July 25. AVANT-GARDE_IMPROVISATION: FUCHSPRELLEN, COLORGUARD

• Thursday, Aug. 1. IMPROVISATION/WORLD MUSIC: SUPER TRANCE

• Wednesday, Aug. 7. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Aug. 14. GARAGE ROCK/PUNK: THE ESTROGEN HIGHS

• Thursday, Aug. 15. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

New Releases 06/25/13

Top Hits
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (comedy, Steve Carell. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 44. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Is that Steve Carell or Will Ferrell? While watching The Incredible Burt Wonderstone you may be forgiven for confusing the two, since Mr. Carell’s title character, a vainglorious Las Vegas magician, is drawn straight from the Will Ferrell playbook. With his stage partner and childhood friend, Anton Marvelton [Steve Buscemi], Burt is the leader of a tacky, swashbuckling magic act that is about to hit the skids after 10 years at the top. Through their spangled jumpsuits, sprayed coifs and preening choreography, they suggest the Siegfried and Roy of illusionists. But after years of going through the motions, they have let their act become stale and passionless.” Read more…)

No (Chile, political drama, Gael Garcia Bernal. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Marshall McLuhan called advertising the greatest art form of the 20th century. In No, Pablo Larraín’s sly, smart, fictionalized tale about the art of the sell during a fraught period in Chilean history, advertising isn’t only an art; it’s also a way of life. That’s certainly true for the young adman, Rene Saavedra [Gael García Bernal], who skateboards through the movie, pausing now and again to care for his son or dash off another ad campaign. When approached to help create one to oust Gen. Augusto Pinochet, he signs on. Rene may be vaguely interested in selling the country on life without Pinochet, but what reels him in is the challenge of pitching a superior product.” Read more…)

Last Exorcism 2 (horror, Ashley Bell. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 35. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “The Last Exorcism Part II belongs to a flourishing genre you could call terror tease. Devoid of nudity, gore and obscene dialogue, PG-13 films like the Paranormal Activity series and the first Last Exorcism eschew graphic violence for mood and minor scares — perfect for Friday-night mall outings without Mom and Dad. If only they gave you more to think about. At least this movie, like its predecessor, has Ashley Bell as Nell. An actress who suggests religious piety, carnal fire and satanic aggression with equal dexterity, Ms. Bell provides a pulse an audience can connect with amid the standard-issue atmospheric accouterments.” Read more…)

The Call (thriller, Halle Berry. Rotten Tomatoes: 41%. Metacritic: 51. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “An effectively creepy thriller about a 911 operator and a young miss in peril, The Call is a model of low-budget filmmaking. Well, as low as anything starring Halle Berry goes. It’s probable that Ms. Berry was the priciest item in the budget, followed by the movie’s one other conspicuous expenditure, a sprawling 911 dispatch center called the hive. Buzzing with the trills of incoming calls and the hum of reassuring voices, the hive is where every rote greeting — ‘911, what is your emergency?’ — becomes the opening line in a never-ending procession of melodramas, comedies, dramas, tragedies and horror stories like the one that puts the chill in this no-frills diversion.” Read more…)

Barbershop Punk (documentary, Internet freedom, corporate power, technology. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 57. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Andy Webster’s Times review: “Net neutrality — the idea that Internet service providers should not play favorites with Web sites and applications, and keep Web traffic equally open to all — is the focus of Barbershop Punk, an engaging, provocative documentary using one man’s crusade against Comcast [now merged with NBC Universal] to explore issues of Web freedom. Robb Topolski, a former policeman, was a grandfather, software tester and barbershop-quartet baritone in Hillsboro, Ore., who found that Comcast, his Internet service provider, was interfering with his peer-to-peer sharing of public-domain material. The Associated Press picked up his story, and the Federal Communications Commission eventually issued a ruling against Comcast, since shot down by an appeals court.” Read more…)

It’s A Disaster (dark comedy, Julia Stiles. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 57. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It may be the end of the world, but they feel fine, even oblivious. That, at any rate, appears to be the principal, really the only point of the impishly, unfortunately titled It’s a Disaster, an underbaked comedy about eight people facing their mortality. Set in the present, it mostly unfolds in a Los Angeles house within gasping distance of a large-scale catastrophe of the kind usually let loose by masters of disaster, like Roland Emmerich. The writer and director, Todd Berger, is working on a far smaller scale than his blockbuster brethren do, and that may explain why he keeps calamitous details fuzzy, using two corpses, a Hazmat suit and a murder of crows to suggest the apocalyptic big picture.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
The Call

New Foreign
No (Chile, political drama, Gael Garcia Bernal, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Marshall McLuhan called advertising the greatest art form of the 20th century. In No, Pablo Larraín’s sly, smart, fictionalized tale about the art of the sell during a fraught period in Chilean history, advertising isn’t only an art; it’s also a way of life. That’s certainly true for the young adman, Rene Saavedra [Gael García Bernal], who skateboards through the movie, pausing now and again to care for his son or dash off another ad campaign. When approached to help create one to oust Gen. Augusto Pinochet, he signs on. Rene may be vaguely interested in selling the country on life without Pinochet, but what reels him in is the challenge of pitching a superior product.” Read more…)

Borgen: Season 2 (Denmark, political drama TV series, Sidse Babett Knudsen)

New Brit
Inspector Lewis: Series 6

New Docs
Barbershop Punk (documentary, Internet freedom, corporate power, technology, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 57. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Andy Webster’s Times review: “Net neutrality — the idea that Internet service providers should not play favorites with Web sites and applications, and keep Web traffic equally open to all — is the focus of Barbershop Punk, an engaging, provocative documentary using one man’s crusade against Comcast [now merged with NBC Universal] to explore issues of Web freedom. Robb Topolski, a former policeman, was a grandfather, software tester and barbershop-quartet baritone in Hillsboro, Ore., who found that Comcast, his Internet service provider, was interfering with his peer-to-peer sharing of public-domain material. The Associated Press picked up his story, and the Federal Communications Commission eventually issued a ruling against Comcast, since shot down by an appeals court.” Read more…)

A Place at the Table (social policy, hunger, food issues, economics. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 68. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Stepping lightly and carrying a very small stick, A Place at the Table documents hunger in America with studied politeness. Revealing little that a moderately informed viewer will not already know, the film shies away from the outrage and bare-knuckle journalism that this shameful topic deserves.” Read more…)

Art of the Erotic: The Outsiders (art, sexuality, censorship, Barbara Nitke)

New Children’s DVDs
Green Lantern: The Animated Series

New Audiobooks
Blood Line (James Rollins, fiction)
And When She Was Good (Laura Lippman, crime fiction)
Flight Behavior (Barbara Kingsolver, novel)
Telegraph Avenue (Michael Chabon, novel)
Who I Am (Pete Townshend, autobiography)
Live By Night (Dennis Lehane, mystery)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky, classic novel)
Mayflower (Nathaniel Philbrick, history)
Beautiful Ruins (Jess Walter, novel)

Rob Harmon’s Recommendation 06/25/13

Rob_Harmon_image_for_picks

Rob Harmon

A fascinating trend in the history of American filmmaking is that many excellent filmmakers (and some not so much) have come here from other countries in order to make movies. While Hollywood exercises enormous influence on the world cinema scene just think of how much the outsider-perspectives of F.W. Murnau’s SUNRISE or Alex Cox’s REPO MAN or the bodies of works by Lubitsch and Wilder have affected our film culture.

STOKER should be regarded in this light: It is the first English-language film of South Korean director Park Chan-wook, who came into prominence in the early 2000’s with his gritty “Revenge” trilogy (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE), as well as the taut military thriller JSA: JOINT SECURITY AREA. Park developed a reputation for infusing lofty, almost Shakespearean themes with a violent genre sensibility. He was embraced by critics as well as by fans of “extreme” cinema for his bloody, baroque meditations on violence and revenge and their effects on the human psyche.

Like many of Park’s previous efforts Stoker is a thriller, and an effective, gruesome one at that. India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) has just turned 18 and is a friendless outcast in high school. To make matters worse her father and best friend in the world (Dermot Mulroney) has just died in a mysterious car accident on her birthday, while her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode, the character’s name a clever nod to Hitchcock’s SHADOW OF A DOUBT), whom she never even knew existed, shows up at the palatial Stoker home announcing that he will stay, to the delight of India’s unstable, sexually-frustrated mother Evie (Nicole Kidman). India is more skeptical about Charlie, though, and his urbane, world-traveling exploits. When a number of people—the housekeeper, an aunt—begin to disappear, it may be that Charlie is behind it, as well as a number of other dark family secrets.  The Stokers are an unusual bunch, each of them more-than-capable of stoking this story along: India in her virginal white outfits but with an unusual taste for bird hunting; Evie with her pent-up sexuality and mid-life crisis; and Charlie, almost too-perfectly handsome, just couldn’t be a murderer… or could he?

During its 99 lean minutes, Stoker conjures up a kind of Grimm’s fairy tale-like atmosphere, one where blood-and-guts and hints of eroticism are the engines of grandiose storytelling. There is a great deal of psycho-sexual tension at work in this family and Park and his screenwriter (first-timer Wentworth Miller, better known as an actor until now) are wise enough to never reveal too much of their hand, subtle enough to leave a lot to the imagination. Stoker proves that—similarly to CARRIE—in a story about a young girl’s pubescent awakening to the cruel realities of the world, blood-letting can be a remarkably effective metaphor. Though highly stylized, this film never loses it grounding and its heart: the family unit, grotesque though it may be.

Many of Park Chan-wook’s films are available for rental in our Korean section, including Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, JSA: Joint Security Area and Thirst.

Music: Frank Critelli and Mark Mirando on Thurs., June 27, at 8 PM

Frank Critelli and Mark Mirando are solo performers, occasional songwriting partners, and drinking-buddies from the great state of Connecticut. On June 27, at Best Video, they will each perform a solo set of songs from their extensive catalogues of original music. Then, they’ll perform a duo set of a few of the songs they’ve written together. Expect to hear everything from ragged harmonica-accompanied folk songs to pristine piano pop. Stop down and have a beer.

The music starts at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover.

Left to right: Frank Critelli, Mark Mirando

Left to right: Frank Critelli, Mark Mirando

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Wednesday, July 17. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, July 18. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Wednesday, Aug. 7. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Thursday, Aug. 15. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

New Releases 06/18/13

Top Hits
Quartet (drama/comedy, Maggie Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 64. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review; “In a charming, only somewhat condescending scene in Quartet, Reginald Paget [Tom Courtenay], a retired opera singer, lectures a room full of hip-hop-loving teenagers about the similarities and differences between his favorite music and theirs. Opera, he explains, is about the expression of intense emotion through song. Rap, he surmises, sort of does the same thing. There is more to it than that, of course, but Reginald is distracted before he can finish the lesson. Perhaps he might have pointed out that singing opera (and rapping, for that matter) also demands a great deal of discipline and attention to technique.” Read more…)

Movie 43 (comedy, Richard Gere. Rotten Tomatoes: 4%. Metacritic: 19. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The kindest thing to be said of Movie 43, a star-saturated collection of crude one-joke vignettes made with big-time directors, is that most of the participants seem to relish being naughty. What binds these skits in a format that leads from one to the next with no connective tissue is the occasional presence of Dennis Quaid as a crazy, down-on-his-luck filmmaker who has wangled his way into the office of a timid midlevel studio executive [Greg Kinnear] to sell the project.” Read more…)

21 & Over (comedy, Miles Teller. Rotten Tomatoes: 27%. Metacritic: 34. From Nicole Herrington’s New York Times review: “There’s a line early on in 21 & Over about your “oldest friends always being your strangest ones.” That may be true, but there is a bigger theme here: After four years of college lifelong friendships can become forced, resulting in awkward attempts to reconnect and relive the good old days.” Read more…)

Stoker (thriller, Nicole Kidman. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The first half of Stoker passes in a rapture of dread, as the viewer anticipates terrible things to come. This is partly because the director, Park Chan-wook, here making his English-language debut, is an internationally renowned master of bloodshed. His ‘vengeance’ trilogy — in particular the middle chapter, Oldboy, currently being remade by Spike Lee — is cherished by many cinephiles, in South Korea and beyond, for its blend of visual elegance, melodrama and extreme violence.” Read more…)

Jack the Giant Slayer (fantasy/adventure, Nicholas Hoult. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Recently filmmakers have been dusting off fairy tales and giving them a revisionist feminist spin. As movies like Red Riding Hood and Mirror Mirror suggest, striking a balance between the old [and often sexist] and the new [and vaguely progressive] is trickier than it might seem. The makers of Snow White and the Huntsman tried to reconcile two potentially irreconcilable ideas— a thoroughly modern miss and an old-fashioned happily ever after — by putting a sword in Snow White’s hands so she could ride alongside her heroic hunk. The results weren’t half bad, even if this butched-up Snow White didn’t magically transform into a genuinely liberated princess. The makers of Jack the Giant Slayer, by contrast, have generally opted to stick to the original boy meets beans, boy loses beans, boy meets giants, and so on, embellishing the familiar bedtime story with 3-D and other effects, noisy battles and an occasional wink at the material.” Read more…)

American Mary (horror, Katharine Isabelle. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 46. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Andy Webster’s Times review:”‘I don’t think it’s really fair that God gets to choose what we look like on the outside, do you?’ says Beatress Johnson [Tristan Risk] in American Mary, a new horror movie from the twins Jen and Sylvia Soska. So Beatress has had work done. Lots of work: ’14 different surgeries to get me to look like this’ — a nightmare Betty Boop, with a synthetic, cartoonish face to supplement her ’50s homemaker dresses and a Kewpie-doll voice uttering the occasional obscene epithet. Beatress is just one fascinating player in this compelling film about appearances and their manipulation.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Quartet
Stoker
Jack the Giant Slayer
Jack the Giant Slayer 3D
Al Pacino Double Feature: Scent of a Woman/Sea of Love

New Foreign
Neighboring Sounds (Brazil, drama/thriller, Sebastião Formiga. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “The characters in this densely populated movie can be roughly divided into masters and servants, and you notice just how much labor — ironing clothes, refilling water coolers, delivering packages, opening doors, selling drugs — goes into maintaining the leisure class in its life of ease. But [director Kleber Mendonça Filho], a former film critic whose command of the medium is both formidable and subtle, is up to something more than the usual upstairs-downstairs comedy of colliding destinies in a small place. The scope of his movie is narrow, but its ambitions are enormous, and it accomplishes nothing less than the illumination of the peculiar state of Brazilian [and not only Brazilian] society.” Read more…)

Marketa Lazarová (Czechoslovakia, 1967, drama/history, Magda Vásáryová)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Safety Last (1923, silent comedy masterpiece, Harold Lloyd. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. From Dave Kehr’s New York Times DVD review: “Even people who don’t know [Harold] Lloyd’s name will probably recognize the ubiquitous image of the young man in horn-rimmed glasses, hanging from the hands of a clock high above a city street. The scene is from Lloyd’s 1923 feature Safety Last!, which is being reissued this week by the Criterion Collection in a newly restored and breathtakingly sharp Blu-ray edition. The encounter with the clock is only one gag in the film’s meticulously constructed 20-minute climactic sequence, in which Lloyd, as a lowly department store clerk, finds himself forced to take the place of a professional human fly, whom Lloyd has hired to climb the store’s skyscraper headquarters as a publicity stunt. But even [or perhaps, particularly] when it is removed from its carefully motivated context, the image maintains its force and piquancy as a metaphor of urban anxiety: modern man uncertainly suspended over the chasm of an uncaring, impersonal metropolis, struggling to hold on to something, anything, as his feet churn the void and the minutes of his life click away.” Read more…)

New Brit
Call the Midwife: Season 2

New Docs
Brooklyn Castle (inner city teen chess champions. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 77. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The child chess champions in the irresistible documentary Brooklyn Castle don’t take long, as one of these sweetpeas likes to say, to crush you. Year after year, these big brains and little bodies at Intermediate School 318 in Williamsburg win chess tournaments, and their winning streak continues on screen. They are a remarkable, funny, inspiring, at times devastating group. Through the eyes of the director Katie Dellamaggiore, you come to know these children, their teachers and parents as you witness their pulse-quickening matches and tears splashed on the family dining-room table. There’s smiling uplift here, but the road is seldom easy and sometimes brutal.” Read more…)

Shakespeare Uncovered (literary history/analysis, Derek Jacobi)

Music: Jellyshirts in the Performance Space on Wed., June 26, at 8 PM

Jellyshirts_Bret_Scott_Lou_Reed_BVJellyshirts play the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, June 26. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Looking for a frame of reference for Jellyshirts’ music? Try the Velvet Underground and the Byrds. But the band—led by guitarist/vocalist Bret Logan for over 20 years, ably joined by drummer Scott McDonald and bass player Nick Appleby—has a sound determinedly their own.

From the band’s press packet:
Letting the wash of live sound influence each song, without anybody thinking “jazz” or “improvisation.” Never doing covers of our songs. Trying to get you to levitate about one-and-a-half feet off your chair (willingly, of course).

The short version: we’re loud and we play bars with a mystical need to reach you.

From a 2009 Shoreline Times article by musician and WPLR Local Bands radio show host James Velvet:

The band has been held in awe by its fans over the years for its sometimes soaring, sometimes droning sound, always played with intensity and skill. A good example is the current lead tune on their MySpace page, a recent live recording of a song they first performed 15 years ago, “Disinclined.” Ten minutes of dynamic live jamming. “Pick and Soar” is how their longtime champion Gary Vollono of IndepenDisc.com describes the sound. To which I would add, “…and feedback sometimes.”

Check out Jellyshirts video for their song “Julia Child”:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Wednesday, July 17. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, July 18. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Wednesday, Aug. 7. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

Music: The Furors, Al Howard on Thurs., June 20, at 8 PM

Furors_live_at_Best_Vid_electricNew Haven rock ‘n’ roll legends The Furors will perform on Thursday, June 20, with musician Al Howard opening the show. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5.

Comprised of guitarist Derek Holcomb and drummer Tom Dans—Holcomb sings lead and Dans harmonizes—The Furors have been playing together for over three decades. They have self-released numerous vinyl 45s, a vinyl LP and several compact discs. Their catalog is so beloved among local musicians that a tribute album, “Let’s Get Furious,” was released in 2003 featuring 38 Furors songs covered by 38 local musicians and groups.

The Furors’ music is joyful, quirky three-minute pop, like a cross between They Might Be Giants and early British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll.

Al Howard will open with a short set of his original music. Many years ago, in the Hartford Advocate, Dan Barry wrote, “His songs were stuffed with wit so dry that a stray ember might have lit a forest fire: ‘I made a peace sign for the President / He was dead / He had to find the top of his head.’ His songs were a feast for the eyes. Howard’s patterned, deliberate delivery gave listeners time to envision each of his lyrical paintings. ‘Al’s, like, this Zen songwriter,’ Peter Riccio [of The Sawtelles] whispered in my ear during Howard’s first set. And like the Zen painters who try to wring the most meaning from the fewest possible strokes, Howard left the bulk of his work to his listeners.”

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Wednesday, July 17. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, July 18. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Wednesday, Aug. 7. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

Music: Rich Moran sings selections from the Great American Songbook Wed., June 19, at 8 PM

Rich_Moran_portrait_061913_72dpiVocalist Rich Moran returns to the Best Video Performing Space on Wednesday, June 19, to continue his tour through the Great American Songbook. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Backed once again by Judy Webber on piano and Jeff Webber on woodwinds, this will be Rich’s fourth appearance in the Space. Drummer Noah Golden will also join him in this set. Besides his solo gig here last October, Rich had previously appeared with soprano Christine Gill in a program of movie songs from the Great American Songbook and in a review of the compositions of Oscar Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim titled “Oscar and Steve.”

This time, he’ll, once again, bring his neo-traditional approach to iconic standards that have remained popular through the generations. He’s prepared an all new set of eclectic material from lyricists and composers such as Rodgers and Hart, Henry Mancini, Cole Porter, Burton Lane and others, including lesser known songwriters such as Rube Bloom.

As he’s done in his previous shows, Rich will intersperse informative commentary about the music between many of the selections. He’s found this to be popular with his audiences as they learn the story behind many of the songs that they have heard on the radio or in concert or at the movies through the years. Rich, himself, enjoys learning tidbits about the songs while he and Judy research and sort through potential new material to play, Listening to American Songbook themed radio programs such as Jonathan Schwartz’s “High Standards” on Sirius FM and Will Duchon’s locally broadcast “The Night Café” on WMNR FM inspires him and turns him on to hidden gems within the repertoire and interesting arrangements of more classic tunes. In addition to being a listener, Rich occasionally sits in for Will Duchon as a guest host of “The Night Café” on Friday nights. That gives him the opportunity to showcase many of the great new recordings of the American Songbook made over the last few years by contemporary artists.

Rich is a Hamden resident and Orange native. In addition to his concert work, he is a seasoned musical theater actor having appeared on stages from Orange to Suffield. Judy is the well respected music director of numerous productions throughout the New Haven area. She is currently in rehearsal in Hamden for the Whitney Players’ August production of Shrek. She is often joined by Jeff in the orchestra pit for her programs. Both Judy and Jeff are retired area teachers and longtime Guilford residents. Noah is a writer, actor, and musician who recently graduated from Quinnipiac University.

Rich, Judy and Jeff are excited to kick off a series of appearances in the New Haven area this summer with their show in the Performing Space on the 19th.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Wednesday, July 17. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, July 18. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Wednesday, Aug. 7. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA featuring JEFF FULLER & ISABELLA MENDES

• Thursday, Aug. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

New Releases 06/11/13

Top Hits
Oz the Great and Powerful (fantasy/adventure, James Franco. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 44. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Can the major studios still make magic? From the looks of Oz the Great and Powerful, a dispiriting, infuriating jumble of big money, small ideas and ugly visuals, the answer seems to be no — unless, perhaps, the man behind the curtain is Martin Scorsese or James Cameron. The Walt Disney Company is the studio lurking behind Oz, and, as usual, it is banking that it can leverage this 3-D prehistory of the Wizard of Oz [James Franco] for its wonderful world of cross-promotional marketing and ancillary revenue streams.” Read more…)

Snitch (action, Dwayne Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 52. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “With his booming superhero voice and hulking physique, Dwayne Johnson, a k a the Rock, is an outsize cartoon figure, whether he likes it or not. And in Snitch — a grimy, realistic thriller with an agenda — he is simply too large for the role of John Matthews, the owner of a construction company somewhere in the heartland.” Read more…)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (horror/action, Jeremy Renner. Rotten Tomatoes: 14%. Metacritic: 21. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Between the vampire fad and the zombie fad, we haven’t been giving nearly enough attention lately to this planet’s witch problem, so it’s good to see the Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola put the issue back in the public eye with Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. It may not stay in the public eye long because this movie is probably not going to put up Twilight-like numbers, but, hey, you have to admire the against-the-grain effort.” Read more…)

House of Cards (political drama mini-series, Kevin Spacey. Metacritic: 76. From Alessandra Staney’s New York Times television review: “House of Cards, however, is probably seen best one episode at a time. It’s a delicious immorality play with an excellent cast, but the tempo is slow and oddly ponderous — a romp slowed down to a dirge. [Kevin] Spacey is always compelling and perhaps to his credit he doesn’t ham it up the way he did in ‘Richard III’ [on the stage] or the way Mr. Richardson did in the [original] BBC version [of this series]. There is nothing playful or campy in his villainy. Francis stares into the camera with a deep, depressed anger that fuels his sneering cynicism.” Read more…)

Killing Lincoln (historical drama, Regen Wilson. Metacritic: 57. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times television review: “Steven Spielberg’s frequent collaborator, snags himself a seat on Mr. Spielberg’s bandwagon on Sunday when he turns up as the narrator of Killing Lincoln, a docudrama on the National Geographic Channel. If Mr. Spielberg’s Lincoln achieves greatness largely through the detailed performances of Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and others, Killing Lincoln also has details to recommend it — historical details, the kind of tidbits that (along with Mr. Hanks’s assured narration) can hold your attention, even though the tale is familiar.” Read more…)

Fred Won’t Move Out (drama, Elliott Gould. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 60. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “In this semi-autobiographical film, written and directed by Richard Ledes, the obvious father-son similarity is one of many pluses. Except for a subplot about a missing cat that suggests that Fred may be considerably dottier than he appears, the movie gets almost everything right about the uncomfortable moment when grown children are forced to be their parents’ parents.” Read more…)

The Newsroom: Season 1 (TV journalism drama, Jeff Daniels. Metacritic: 57. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “It’s not enough to be right; everyone else must be wrong. That’s what distinguishes the self-righteous from the righteous, and that’s what fuels The Newsroom, a new HBO series by Aaron Sorkin that starts on Sunday. Railing against the shallow, ratings-driven discourse on cable news shows, Mr. Sorkin has created his own newsroom — a Brigadoon version — where high-minded journalists pursue accuracy and excellence by, as one character puts it, ‘speaking truth to stupid.'” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Oz the Great and Powerful
Snitch
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

New Foreign
Clip (Serbia, wayward youth drama, Isidora Simijonovic. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 54. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Sex is the ultimate refuge from death in Clip, a graphic and often disturbing story of Serbian teenagers in heat, on drugs and at odds with the world. Set in a grim Belgrade suburb, this potent feature debut from Maja Milos is most concerned about Jasna (an astonishing Isidora Simijonovic, just 14 at the time of filming), a sullen high schooler. To escape her dismal home — dominated by a desperately ill father and a frazzled mother — Jasna cultivates a social life as numbing as it is degrading.” Read more…)

New TV
House of Cards (political drama mini-series, Kevin Spacey, in Top Hits. Metacritic: 76. From Alessandra Staney’s New York Times television review: “House of Cards, however, is probably seen best one episode at a time. It’s a delicious immorality play with an excellent cast, but the tempo is slow and oddly ponderous — a romp slowed down to a dirge. [Kevin] Spacey is always compelling and perhaps to his credit he doesn’t ham it up the way he did in ‘Richard III’ [on the stage] or the way Mr. Richardson did in the [original] BBC version [of this series]. There is nothing playful or campy in his villainy. Francis stares into the camera with a deep, depressed anger that fuels his sneering cynicism.” Read more…)

The Newsroom: Season 1 (TV journalism drama, Jeff Daniels, in Top Hits. Metacritic: 57. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “It’s not enough to be right; everyone else must be wrong. That’s what distinguishes the self-righteous from the righteous, and that’s what fuels The Newsroom, a new HBO series by Aaron Sorkin that starts on Sunday. Railing against the shallow, ratings-driven discourse on cable news shows, Mr. Sorkin has created his own newsroom — a Brigadoon version — where high-minded journalists pursue accuracy and excellence by, as one character puts it, ‘speaking truth to stupid.'” Read more…)