Music: Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps to play “The Music of Twin Peaks” Fri., Jan. 9—shows at 7 and 8:30 PM; advance tix available at Best Video

Eclectic world music/folk band Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps will play the music of Twin Peaks on Friday, Jan. 9, at the Best Video Performance Space. Due to high demand, the group is performing two shows that evening to accommodate everyone who may wish to attend—an early (7 PM) and a late (8:30 PM) show.

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Tickets are $5 and are available at Best Video or by phone with a credit or debit card. (Best Video’s phone number is 203-287-9286.) All tickets are general admission. There is no reserved seating so arrive early to claim your spot!

Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps is declaring war on winter with a very special presentation of the music of Twin Peaks. Composed by Angelo Badalamenti, the music featured in the series and film combines elements of film-noir style cool jazz, dream pop, and shimmering ambient in a tapestry that is a significant part of the show’s style.

For this appearance, Dr. Caterwaul’s is:
Nathan Bontrager – Cello
Chris Cretella – Guitar
Adam Matlock – Accordion, Clarinet, Voice
Michael Paolucci – Percussion
Brian Slattery – Trombone, Banjo, Fiddle, Voice
Mike Tepper – Bass

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Jan. 2. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES, HAPPY ENDING DUO (BEST VIDEO’S OWN HANK HOFFMAN & RICHARD BROWN)

• Sunday, Jan. 4. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NOTORIOUS”

• Wednesday, Jan. 7. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: CRISTINA HARRIS, PATRICK DALTON

• Thursday, Jan. 8. BLUEGRASS: RAGWEED

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Sunday, Jan. 11. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Thursday, Jan. 15. SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Jan. 16: INDIE ROCK: MERCY CHOIR

• Sunday, Jan. 18. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “REAR WINDOW”

• Wednesday, Jan. 21. SONGWRITERS’ CIRCLE: MARK MIRANDO, DICK NEAL, REX FOWLER

• Thursday, Jan. 22. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Sunday, Jan. 25. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NORTH BY NORTHWEST”

• Friday., Jan. 30. JAZZ: URI SHAHAM

• Friday, Feb. 6. AVANT-GARDE: RIVENER, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 6. JAZZ: NICK DiMARIA WiRED

• Friday, April 3. AVANT-GARDE: ZERO DOLLAR

• Friday, April 17. WPKN BENEFIT

• Friday, May 1. FILM FEST: “A DARK ROOM”

Music: Bluegrass from Ragweed Thurs., Jan. 8, at 8 PM

Ragweed_BV_091814_WebRagweed plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Jan. 8. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

One Yale grad student, and four contractors with high school diplomas sounds like an unpredictable mix. Experienced pickers all, their shared love of bluegrass and wide ranging musical tastes make for an entertaining live show.

Ragweed is a bluegrass band loosely based in New Haven county. Band members are Amanda Gregg (mandolin), Bob Boettger (bass), Chris Wuerth (guitar), Jon Wuerth (guitar) and Paul Neri (banjo). All six members sing, but usually not all at the same time. They began in 2007 as a barn band. Not happy being stuck in barns, they began performing live at venues around the state, and quickly realized they loved performing. Among their many influences are Tim O’Brien, John Hartford, Tony Rice, and Bill Monroe. Traditional bluegrass, old country, fiddle tunes, and attempts at humor, are all part of their repertoire.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Jan. 2. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES, HAPPY ENDING DUO (BEST VIDEO’S OWN HANK HOFFMAN & RICHARD BROWN)

• Sunday, Jan. 4. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NOTORIOUS”

• Wednesday, Jan. 7. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: CRISTINA HARRIS, PATRICK DALTON

• Thursday, Jan. 8. BLUEGRASS: RAGWEED

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Sunday, Jan. 11. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Thursday, Jan. 15. SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Jan. 16: INDIE ROCK: MERCY CHOIR

• Sunday, Jan. 18. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “REAR WINDOW”

• Wednesday, Jan. 21. SONGWRITERS’ CIRCLE: MARK MIRANDO, DICK NEAL, REX FOWLER

• Thursday, Jan. 22. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Sunday, Jan. 25. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NORTH BY NORTHWEST”

• Friday., Jan. 30. JAZZ: URI SHAHAM

• Friday, Feb. 6. AVANT-GARDE: RIVENER, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 6. JAZZ: NICK DiMARIA WiRED

• Friday, April 3. AVANT-GARDE: ZERO DOLLAR

• Friday, April 17. WPKN BENEFIT

• Friday, May 1. FILM FEST: “A DARK ROOM”

Music: Singer-songwriters Cristina Harris, Patrick Dalton on Wed., Jan. 7, at 8 PM

Singer-songwriters Cristina Harris and Patrick Dalton perform solo sets on Wednesday, Jan. 7. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

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Cristina Harris

Cristina Harris is a singer, musician and songwriter who mixes her haunting vocals with intelligent song writing. Her music will resonate with listeners who are fans of artists like Cat Power, Tori Amos, and Kate Bush.

This spring (April 2014) Cristina released her first album ‘Safer in the Dark’. With the release of the album and her first music video, ‘Chemical Feeling’, Cristina is building her fanbase and realizing her dream of making intelligent and original pop music for people to enjoy. Cristina is truly an artist just on the verge of breaking out into the mainstream.

A founding member of The Proud Flesh, Patrick culls from the murky corners of American popular song to amalgamate a sound all his own. Dalton’s own music, while strikingly original and nuanced, has a familiarity to it—there’s Delta blues in his studied finger picking, folk and hip hop in his storied lyrics and powerful, breathy voice, big band in his trumpet playing, and classic American songwriting in his melodies. His songs come to terms with everything from death to macro-politics to economics, and while his subject matter may be heavy at times, Dalton’s songs leave you pensive rather than downtrodden, interested rather than pessimistic.

Patrick Dalton

Patrick Dalton

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Jan. 2. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES, HAPPY ENDING DUO (BEST VIDEO’S OWN HANK HOFFMAN & RICHARD BROWN)

• Sunday, Jan. 4. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NOTORIOUS”

• Wednesday, Jan. 7. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: CRISTINA HARRIS, PATRICK DALTON

• Thursday, Jan. 8. BLUEGRASS: RAGWEED

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Sunday, Jan. 11. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Thursday, Jan. 15. SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Jan. 16: INDIE ROCK: MERCY CHOIR

• Sunday, Jan. 18. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “REAR WINDOW”

• Wednesday, Jan. 21. SONGWRITERS’ CIRCLE: MARK MIRANDO, DICK NEAL, REX FOWLER

• Thursday, Jan. 22. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Sunday, Jan. 25. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NORTH BY NORTHWEST”

• Friday., Jan. 30. JAZZ: URI SHAHAM

• Friday, Feb. 6. AVANT-GARDE: RIVENER, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 6. JAZZ: NICK DiMARIA WiRED

• Friday, April 3. AVANT-GARDE: ZERO DOLLAR

• Friday, April 17. WPKN BENEFIT

• Friday, May 1. FILM FEST: “A DARK ROOM”

Hank’s Recommendations 12/30/14

hank_paperIDA

This is an eloquent film whose spare dialogue is as brief and succinct as its title, IDA, a Polish film where a picture (a scene, even a frame) is worth a thousand scripted words.

On the cusp of her ordination, Anna, an eighteen-year old novice, is sent by her prioress on a final journey into the “real” world to visit an aunt, her only known family. The aunt, it turns out, is a cynical, cigarette-smoking, alcoholic former judge who reveals “Anna” is Jewish and that her real name is Ida.

Partly out of curiosity and partly out of whim, the aunt takes Ida on a further journey to their old family home to locate the circumstances of Ida’s parents’ death during the Nazi era. The ensuing revelations, along with the collision of innocence and newly found experience, lead to the suspense of whether or not Ida will take her vows. Stunningly filmed in black and white (another kind of brevity), the film portrays a world where things are not simply black and white — certainly not the black and white of a nun’s habit. Or are they?

VISION

Two weeks ago in our Performance Space we had a screening, along with a lively discussion led by Fairfield University professor Elizabeth Dreyer, of a staggeringly beautiful film — VISION, by famed German director Margarethe von Trotta. The movie portrays the life of early twelfth century Benedictine nun, Hildegard von Bingen, a Christian mystic, composer, playwright, poet, painter, physician, herbalist and ecological activist, who iconoclastically was determined to expand the role of women in the religious order she led. Touching on feminism, power, sexuality and art, this unexpectedly modern film about a medieval subject envelops the audience not only in the light of Hildegard’s visions but in the lushly exquisite lighting of a movie that brings us back to a woman whose thinking was centuries ahead of it time.

THE DEAD

His final movie, which he directed on a respirator from a wheelchair while half blind, THE DEAD is one of John Huston’s most beautiful films, and certainly his most intimate. This largely interior and poetic yet unsentimental drama, a long way from the scope and adventure of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE and THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, portrays a turn-of-the century Christmas dinner in Dublin where the snow falls ceaselessly and the conversation ranges widely. The dinner, in the end, leads to a ravishing revelation in an upper middle-class couple (Anjelica Huston and Frank Patterson) about the difference between existing and living. This film, a paean to his Irish homeland, is Huston’s valedictory to his enduring theme of the fickleness of time and fate and, above all, the difference between existing and living.

New Releases 12/30/14

Top Hits
The Equalizer (action, Denzel Washington. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 57. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times revew: “Perhaps the best thing about ‘The Equalizer’ is how long it takes to reveal what everyone watching it knows from the start. Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, the movie was inspired by a 1980s television series about an elite C.I.A. assassin [played by Edward Woodward] who found a second career as a freelance vigilante, specializing in payback and in pre-emptive violence in defense of the innocent. Each bit of information in the previous sentence — to say nothing of the trailers and advertisements — is a clue that Mr. Washington’s character, Robert McCall, is not the bookish, solitary Boston guy he at first seems to be.” Read more…)

The Good Lie (drama, Reese Witherspoon. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “[Actress Reese] Witherspoon is the nominal star of this warmhearted fictionalized account of the humanitarian program that brought 3,600 South Sudanese refugees to the United States shortly before the events of Sept. 11 forced an end to the program. But she doesn’t appear until nearly 40 minutes have passed. Directed by the Canadian filmmaker Philippe Falardeau [‘Monsieur Lazhar’] from a screenplay by Margaret Nagle [‘Boardwalk Empire’], ‘The Good Lie’ may be a little too soft. But it largely avoids mawkish sentimentality and casts a glow that is increasingly absent nowadays from films depicting international strife.” Read more…)

The Truth About Emanuel (Gothic suspense, Kaya Scodelario. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 41. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A tedious wallow in female damage and the indulgence of same, Francesca Gregorini’s ‘The Truth About Emanuel’ relies on a premise that even the finest actors would struggle to sell. That said, preposterousness is far from the only problem in a film that portrays womanhood as womb obsession — a fixation that begins with Emanuel herself [Kaya Scodelario], an utter pill who long since should have been in therapy.” Read more…)

The Trip to Italy (comedy/culinary pursuits/travelogue, Steve Coogan. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 75. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Ah, to be famous or just funny enough for someone to pay for your freewheeling jaunt along the Amalfi Coast! You wouldn’t always know it from his compendium of lip twitches and often comic and sour asides, but Steve Coogan is one lucky man, as is Rob Brydon, his returning partner in clowning and mileage. As in ‘The Trip,’ their 2010 excursion into British cuisine, the two have teamed up for a journey, ostensibly so that now they can review six Italian restaurants for The Observer of London. In other words, this is ‘The Trip’ with pasta.” Read more…)

Reclaim (drama, John Cusack. Rotten Tomatoes: 0%. Metacritic: 26. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “The elements are familiar in Alan White’s thriller ‘Reclaim’: white, affluent Americans stuck in a lower-income tropical city with police officers of ambiguous morals [one played here by Luis Guzmán]; foot pursuits through slums; and car chases with gunplay on winding country roads. There’s even an auto teetering on a cliff as the driver tries to yank the passengers out just in time. Fortunately, there are seasoned actors in villainous roles, in this case a persuasively sleazy John Cusack and the formidable Australian Jacki Weaver [who received Oscar nominations for ‘Animal Kingdom’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’].” Read more…)

Stephen King’s A Good Marriage (drama, Anthony LaPaglia. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 43. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Stephen King hasn’t personally adapted one of his stories for a feature screenplay since ‘Pet Sematary,’ in 1989. But you’d never guess it from watching the low-key, assured thriller ‘A Good Marriage,’ from his novella of the same title.” Read more…)

Tusk (comedy, Justin Long. Rotten Tomatoes: 39%. Metacritic: 55. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘Tusk’ is a Kevin Smith film, which is to say that it’s savvy enough to confirm that it was made by an adult, yet goofy enough to assure its audience that the adult in question remains unlikely to be caught wearing long pants.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Equalizer
The Good Lie

New Foreign
Burning Bush (Czech Republic, drama, Tatiana Pauhofova. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “On Aug. 20, 1968, Warsaw Pact troops led by the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, putting a violent end to the reformist socialist experiment known as the Prague Spring. The following winter, a student named Jan Palach set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square, an act of protest that is the starting point of ‘Burning Bush,’ Agnieszka Holland’s thoughtful, gripping, crisply acted new film.” Read more…)

New British
Blandings: Season 2

New Releases 12/23/14

Top Hits
Pride (drama/comedy, Bill Nighy. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Sterphen Holden’s Times review: “The classic union anthem ‘Solidarity Forever,’ sung by Pete Seeger, introduces ‘Pride,’ a stirring film about the uneasy coalition of British mineworkers and gay and lesbian activists during a labor strike in the mid-1980s. Directed by Matthew Warchus [‘Matilda the Musical’], it is the kind of hearty, blunt-force drama with softened edges that leaves audiences applauding and teary-eyed.” Read more…)

1,000 Times Good Night (drama, Juliette Binoche. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 57. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times revew: “Heroic messenger or adrenaline addict? Truth teller or vulture? In ‘1.000 Times Good Night,’ Rebecca [Juliette Binoche], a celebrated, morally self-righteous war photographer hooked on risk-taking, leads two lives that are in continual conflict. Between grueling assignments in which she faces death by venturing into the heart of the fray, camera in hand, Rebecca returns to a picture-perfect existence at her home on the Irish seacoast.” Read more…)

New British
Pride (drama/comedy, Bill Nighy, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Sterphen Holden’s Times review: “The classic union anthem ‘Solidarity Forever,’ sung by Pete Seeger, introduces ‘Pride,’ a stirring film about the uneasy coalition of British mineworkers and gay and lesbian activists during a labor strike in the mid-1980s. Directed by Matthew Warchus [‘Matilda the Musical’], it is the kind of hearty, blunt-force drama with softened edges that leaves audiences applauding and teary-eyed.” Read more…)

New Television
Intruders: Season 1 (paranormal thriller series, Mira Sorvino. Rotten Tomatoes: 39%. Metacritic: 47.)

New Documentaries
Richard Pryor: Icon (comedy, bio, Richard Pryor)
Wagner’s Jews (history, classical music, anti-Semitism, Richard Wagner)

How to Read a Film: Four lectures by Mark Schenker on classic films by Alfred Hitchcock

Mark Schenker discussing the historical context for the "Downton Abbey" series at a lecture in the Best Video Performance Space in August, 2014.

Mark Schenker discussing the historical context for the “Downton Abbey” series at a lecture in the Best Video Performance Space in August, 2014.

Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs in Yale College and frequent lecturer on film and literature topics at venues throughout Connecticut, presents four lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock on successive Sunday afternoons in January. The series starts on Sunday, Jan. 4, and concludes on Sunday, Jan. 25. Each lecture begins at 2 PM. The cost is $7 per lecture or $25 for the entire series.

Dean Schenker’s talks are both informative and fun, as attendees of his August lecture at Best Video on the historical context of the “Downton Abbey” TV series can attest.

Dean Schenker will discuss the four movies in chronological order of their release:

Sun., Jan. 4: “Notorious” (1946), with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in what is perhaps the director’s most fully realized love story.

Sun., Jan. 11: “Strangers on a Train” (1951), with Robert Walker as one of Hitchcock’s most impressive villains.

Sun., Jan. 18: “Rear Window” (1954), with James Stewart and Grace Kelly in a voyeuristic thriller.

Sun., Jan. 25: “North by Northwest” (1959), with Cary Grant as another of Hitchcock’s innocent men on the run in a movie that is a sophisticated blend of thriller, romance, and comedy.

The lectures will address aspects of the individual works, characteristics of Hitchcock’s art, and ways that participants can be better “readers” of film—more adept at what to look for and see in considering movies as work of art at no cost to their ability to entertain and enthrall us. Clips from each of the films will accompany the lectures.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Jan. 2. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES, HAPPY ENDING DUO (BEST VIDEO’S OWN HANK HOFFMAN & RICHARD BROWN)

• Sunday, Jan. 4. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NOTORIOUS”

• Wednesday, Jan. 7. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: CRISTINA HARRIS, PATRICK DALTON

• Thursday, Jan. 8. BLUEGRASS: RAGWEED

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Sunday, Jan. 11. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Thursday, Jan. 15. SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Jan. 16: INDIE ROCK: MERCY CHOIR

• Sunday, Jan. 18. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “REAR WINDOW”

• Wednesday, Jan. 21. SONGWRITERS’ CIRCLE: MARK MIRANDO, DICK NEAL, REX FOWLER

• Thursday, Jan. 22. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Sunday, Jan. 25. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NORTH BY NORTHWEST”

• Friday., Jan. 30. JAZZ: URI SHAHAM

• Friday, Feb. 6. AVANT-GARDE: RIVENER, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 6. JAZZ: NICK DiMARIA WiRED

• Friday, April 3. AVANT-GARDE: ZERO DOLLAR

• Friday, April 17. WPKN BENEFIT

• Friday, May 1. FILM FEST: “A DARK ROOM”

New Best Video t-shirts now on sale at the store—a great gift idea!

The new Best Video t-shirts are in stock and they look great. Check out Best Video manager Richard Brown in the black t-shirt. This design—which is taking the Paris fashion houses by storm (or should be)—is also available on a red shirt with the design in black.

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It is the perfect gift for the movie fan and Best Video supporter in your household or among your circle of friends. Best Video staffer Rob Harmon came up with the idea for the front upper left design—a simple statement, “I saw it at Best Video.”

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Design for the front of the t-shirt

The t-shirts are only $15 and are still available in medium, large and extra-large sizes. There may well be a re-order if these sell out so if you need a different size, call the store and let us know and we will see if we can accommodate you.

Music: The Sawtelles, Happy Ending Duo (Best Video’s Richard Brown and Hank Hoffman) on Fri., Jan. 2, at 8 PM

Best Video Performance Space kicks off its 2015 programming on Friday, Jan. 2, with a show featuring husband and wife duo The Sawtelles and the Happy Ending Duo, comprised of Best Video’s own Richard Brown and Hank Hoffman. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

The music of husband and wife duo the Sawtelles is a balance of four elements: alternate-tuned guitar, stand-up drum kit (ala Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker) and two voices. Sparse but intricately arranged pop that is as lush as it is threadbare makes what is played as important as what isn’t. Peter plays guitar and Julie plays drums; they both sing. Their sparse but intricately arranged pop is as lush as it is captivatingly unique.

The Sawtelles

The Sawtelles

Their self-produced DYI philosophy aligns them more with the hand painted Sun Ra LP’s of 1950’s and 60’s then it does with those striving for mainstream commercial success. They have released 6 CDs.

Happy Ending usually plays electric rock ‘n’ roll, mixing original compositions influenced by garage rock, folk rock and psychedelia—oftentimes with a political slant—with cover songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s. But for this show, band members Hank Hoffman and Richard Brown will play in a more stripped down, semi-acoustic mode.

Happy Ending Duo: Richard Brown, left, and Hank Hoffman, right

Happy Ending Duo: Richard Brown, left, and Hank Hoffman, right

Happy Ending has released three albums. The most recent, “Electricity for the Youth of Today,” was recorded live at Best Video Performance Space in December of 2013. The vinyl LP and 45 “Have A Nice Day” came out in 1984 and the compact disc “Smile for the Camera” in 1996. John Foster, editor of Op Magazine, described “Have A Nice Day” as a “future cult item for the collectors.” Hank Hoffman sings and plays guitar; Richard Brown plays guitar and alto saxophone. Tom Smith is on drums and Randy Stone plays bass. Happy Ending also has a Facebook page.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 2. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES, HANK HOFFMAN & RICHARD BROWN

• Sunday, Jan. 4. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NOTORIOUS”

• Wednesday, Jan. 7. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: CRISTINA HARRIS, PATRICK DALTON

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Sunday, Jan. 11. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Thursday, Jan. 15. SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Jan. 16. INDIE ROCK: MERCY CHOIR

• Sunday, Jan. 18. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “REAR WINDOW”

• Sunday, Jan. 25. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY HITCHCOCK: “NORTH BY NORTHWEST”

• Friday, Jan. 30. JAZZ: URI SHAHAM

• Friday, Feb. 6. EXPERIMENTAL: RIVENER, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 6. ELECTRIC JAZZ: NICK DiMARIA’S WiRED

New Releases 12/16/14

Top Hits
Magic in the Moonlight (Woody Allen-directed romance/comedy, Colin Firth. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 51. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ Woody Allen’s new film, stages a debate that will be familiar to anyone who has seen more than a couple of the previous 43. There are various ways to characterize the argument: between reason and superstition; between doubt and faith; between realism and magic. On one side is the belief in some kind of unseen, metaphysical force governing the universe; on the other is the certainty, shared by the director, that no such thing exists. Not incidentally — and not for the first time in Mr. Allen’s oeuvre — the opposed positions are advanced by a dyspeptic middle-aged intellectual and a much younger, relatively untutored woman.” Read more…)

This Is Where I Leave You (drama, Jason Bateman. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 44. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Shortly after Judd Altman discovers his wife in bed with his boss, he learns that his father has died. The old man’s dying wish was that the Altman family — his widow and their four children — observe the Jewish custom of sitting shiva, even though he was never especially religious. That means spending seven days together in a big suburban house, accepting condolences amid platters of food. For Judd, embodied by Jason Bateman with his usual air of beleaguered responsibility, a family reunion following a marital calamity is a nightmare. For ‘This Is Where I Leave You,’ Shawn Levy’s adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s comic best seller, it’s a promising start.” Read more…)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (comic Book action, Megan Fox. Rotten Tomatoes: 22%. Metacritic: 31. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “The shelled foursome of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ was commodified so early in its infancy, during the toy fads of the 1980s, that it’s difficult to get riled up over the latest piece of cinematic merchandising. Produced by the ‘Transformers’ impresario Michael Bay and directed by the dutiful Jonathan Liebesman, this new adventure is executed so ordinarily, and with such tunnel vision, that it feels homogenized.” Read more…)

The Skeleton Twins (comedy/drama, Bill Hader. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The movie, directed by Craig Johnson [the tiny indie ‘True Adolescents’] from a screenplay he wrote with Mark Heyman (a writer on “Black Swan”), is keenly attuned to the bonds of siblings, especially twins. If countless movies about brothers and sisters reveal common family traits, ‘The Skeleton Twins’ is subtler than most in evoking a mutual sympathy that might be called a cellular understanding.” Read more…)

The Maze Runner (action, Dylan O’Brien. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 56. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘The Maze Runner,’ adapted from James Dashner’s novel, is a perfectly serviceable entry in the young-adult dystopian sweepstakes. It combines elements of ‘Lord of the Flies’ with the Minotaur and Orpheus myths, but it plays as something closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ experienced through a dissociative fog. Much suspense comes from wondering which favored Hollywood twist the movie will employ. Is this actually the present day? Has someone blown up the planet?” Read more…)

The Skeleton Twins (comedy/drama, Bill Hader. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The movie, directed by Craig Johnson [the tiny indie ‘True Adolescents’] from a screenplay he wrote with Mark Heyman (a writer on “Black Swan”), is keenly attuned to the bonds of siblings, especially twins. If countless movies about brothers and sisters reveal common family traits, ‘The Skeleton Twins’ is subtler than most in evoking a mutual sympathy that might be called a cellular understanding.” Read more…)

New Blu-Rays
The Maze Runner
This Is Where I Leave You

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Edge of the City (1957, social drama, Sidney Poitier. From Bosley Crowther’s 1957 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “There may be a half-dozen moments in the ambitious little film ‘Edge of the City,’ which made it to Broadway and Loew’s State yesterday, when you feel that the author and the director (not to mention the actors) are coming close to some sort of fair articulation of the complexities of racial brotherhood. One is when John Cassavetes, as a hobo just come to town and going to work as a hustler of freight in a West Side terminal, sits down at lunch hour with Sidney Poitier, as a Negro experienced at the work, and goes through a terse and guarded routine of getting acquainted with him.” Read more…)

New Television
Arrested Development: Season 4
The Americans: Season 2
Broad City: Season 1

New Documentaries
20,000 Days on Earth (music bio, Nick Cave. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘Memory is what we are. Your very soul and your very reason to be alive are tied up in memory.’ So observes the dour songwriter Nick Cave during an interview with the noted British psychoanalyst Darian Leader, in ‘20,000 Days on Earth.’ The film, a fusion of documentary and drama directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, is a fictional re-creation of the 20,000th day of Mr. Cave’s life, when he started recording his 2013 album, ‘Push the Sky Away.’ It is as intimate and honest a portrait of a rock artist’s creative roots as any film has attempted.” Read more…)

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (pop music, Alex Chilton. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 69. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Forty years ago a mob of rock critics gathered for a convention cooked up by a promoter for the Memphis band Big Star, which played a praised set. That image of a cherished, practically mythic concert for an adoring and grateful few helps lay down the mood for ‘Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.’ A well-sourced account of a perfect, broken dream, Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori’s slightly shaggy documentary captures what it’s like to discover music so good it seems as if it were made just for you.” Read more…)

Monsenor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero (Latin American history, war, religion, Oscar Romero)

New Music DVDs
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (pop music, Alex Chilton. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 69. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Forty years ago a mob of rock critics gathered for a convention cooked up by a promoter for the Memphis band Big Star, which played a praised set. That image of a cherished, practically mythic concert for an adoring and grateful few helps lay down the mood for ‘Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.’ A well-sourced account of a perfect, broken dream, Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori’s slightly shaggy documentary captures what it’s like to discover music so good it seems as if it were made just for you.” Read more…)

20,000 Days on Earth (music bio, Nick Cave. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘Memory is what we are. Your very soul and your very reason to be alive are tied up in memory.’ So observes the dour songwriter Nick Cave during an interview with the noted British psychoanalyst Darian Leader, in ‘20,000 Days on Earth.’ The film, a fusion of documentary and drama directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, is a fictional re-creation of the 20,000th day of Mr. Cave’s life, when he started recording his 2013 album, ‘Push the Sky Away.’ It is as intimate and honest a portrait of a rock artist’s creative roots as any film has attempted.” Read more…)