Hartford Courant prints feature article on Best Video Film & Cultural Center

Thanks to Hartford Courant and reporter Alan Bisbort for a fine feature article this past Sunday, May 29, on Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

From Bisbort’s article:

Paper’s ride, like that of all video shop proprietors, has slowed considerably over the past two decades with the ascendancy of the internet, with businesses like Netflix and Amazon cornering the market and putting most shops out of business. Paper’s is one of the few survivors, largely because he and his loyal staff always offered something far less quantifiable than profits: a sense of community and a deep love of film culture.

Read more here.

Mark Schenker returns for new lecture series starting Sun., June 12; “How to Read a Film” subject is films of Billy Wilder

In this third installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker of Yale College presents four lectures on “The Films of Billy Wilder.” All four lectures will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 12.  The lectures will run on consecutive Sundays with the exception of the final one, which skips the July 4th weekend and takes place on Sunday, July 10. Admission to each lecture is $7.

Reservations are highly recommended.

Billy_Wilder_Web

Born in Austria, Wilder moved to Berlin in the late 1920s. He became a newspaperman but was drawn to film, collaborating on the feature “People on Sunday” in 1929 with Fred Zinneman and Robert Siodmak. With Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Wilder—who was Jewish— left first for Paris and then to Hollywood. Although he spoke only 100 words of English when he arrived in the United States, he broke into the business initially as a screenwriter with a deft feel for plot and character. His first film as a director was “The Major and the Minor” (1942). The groundbreaking film noir “Double Indemnity” (1944)—co-written with iconic mystery novelist Raymond Chandler—was a career-maker for Wilder and established many of the conventions of the genre.

Wilder was nominated for 21 Oscars and won six. Film critic Roger Ebert called him “one of a handful of indisputably great directors.” In his obituary for Wilder, Ebert wrote:

His films are timeless because they rarely stooped to easy sentimentality. He anticipated and helped invent the modern age of irony. There was a jaundiced view of human nature, a dubiousness about too much sincerity.

Mark will be discussing four Wilder films: “Double Indemnity” (1944), “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), “Stalag 17” (1953), and “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957).

June 12: “Double Indemnity”

June 19:   “Sunset Boulevard”

June 26: “Stalag 17”

July 10: “Witness for the Prosecution”

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Saturday, July 9. FILM SCREENING: A DARK ROOM FILM FEST WITH TONY JULIANO

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Wednesday, July 13. ROCK: HOLIDAY PING

• Thursday, July 14. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Wednesday, July 20. BLUEGRASS: DUDLEY FARMS STRING BAND

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. DIY/EXPERIMENTAL: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

New releases 5/31/16

Top Hits
RaceRace (sports drama, Stephan James. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 56. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The ingredients of ‘Race,’ a studiously uplifting biopic of Jesse Owens, the phenomenal star of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, remain as volatile as they were 80 years ago, although nowadays they are camouflaged. This true story of an impoverished black youth from the streets of Depression-era Cleveland who ascends to greatness by shattering track-and-field records and undercutting Adolf Hitler’s racist agenda is a safe, by-the-numbers tribute.” Read more…)

Triple 9 (action thriller, Casey Affleck. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “With its lurid red and brooding villains, the thriller ‘Triple 9’ comes dressed to kill. Directed by John Hillcoat, it purrs to a start with men plotting in near dark, a hook-y start that establishes the look and mood. Within minutes, the men are robbing an Atlanta bank in a scene filled with gunfire and rattling, visceral specifics, like the wet stains spreading under the weeping, prostrate employees. The men’s camaraderie and choreography announce their professionalism while the guns and money telegraph the stakes. And all of this is gone with the wind the moment Kate Winslet swaggers in, wearing a doo-wop bouffant and flashing a blingy Star of David as big as a bagel.” Read more…)

The Driftless Area (indie drama, Zooey Deschanel)

New Foreign
Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy
Alice in the Cities (Germany, 1974, drama, Rüdiger Vogler. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Lawrence Van Gelder’s 1974 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If you are searching for a fine, tightly controlled, intelligent and ultimately touching film, one will be shown tonight at 9:30 P.M. at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center as part of the 12th New York Film Festival. Its title is ‘Alice in the Cities’ [‘Alice in den Stadten’], and it is a West German film directed and, in part, written by Wim Wenders, a young German who received praise here two years ago when his second feature, ‘The Anxiety of the Goalie at the Penalty Kick,’ was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in the New Directors/New Films series.” Read more…)

Wrong Move (Germany, 1975, drama, Rüdiger Vogler)
Kings of the Road (Germany, 1976, drama, Rüdiger Vogler)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944, period drama, Irene Dunne. From Bosley Crowther’s 1944 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer extends its hand across the seas to our gentle English cousins it always does so with a fine fraternal grip. But in its much-advertised screen version of Alice Duer Miller’s popular poem, ‘The White Cliffs’—now called ‘The White Cliffs of Dover,’ to be more specific, no doubt—it has supplemented the handshake with a tug on its forelock and a bow. As a matter of fact, it has virtually gotten down on its knees and kissed the ground—the ground, that is, of England and all that it represents. For this sterling-silver picture, which came to the Music Hall yesterday, is such a tribute to English gentility as only an American studio would dare to make.” Read more…)

New British
Peaky Blinders: Season 2 (period crime drama, Cillian Murphy. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%.)

New Television
The Last Panthers (heist drama, Samantha Morton. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 73. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Given that ‘The Last Panthers’ involves the pursuit of criminals through back alleys and anonymous-looking apartment complexes all over Europe, the most striking thing about it initially is the word that it rarely, if ever, uses: terrorism. Recent headlines might make it seem, at least from the American perspective, as if terror were the only crime Europe deals with. But this intricate six-part mini-series, which starts Wednesday on SundanceTV, is grounded in old-school illegalities.” Read more…)

Grace and Frankie: Season 1 (comedy/romance series, Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 58. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “People who complain about aging sound old. But “Grace and Frankie” is a senior angst comedy that somehow doesn’t seem fusty and out of date. Actually, ‘Grace and Frankie,’ a series that will be available Friday on [some online service] and stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, is funny and even touching.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Tongues Untied (homophobia, racism, Marlon Riggs. From Walter Goodman’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Tongues are wagging about ‘Tongues Untied.’ New Yorkers can see the hourlong documentary about black homosexuals tomorrow night at 10 on Channel 13, but about a third of the biggest public stations are not running it. And the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, a conservative watchdog group, has denounced it as another misuse of money from the National Endowment for the Arts. What seems to be bothering Mr. Wildmon and others about the work by Marlon Riggs is its street lingo, nudity and scenes of men making love. If ever there was a program where such elements are justified, this is it.” Read more…)

New Children’s DVDs
Tower of Terror (1997 Disney spooky mystery, Steve Guttenberg)

Music: Free Sunday afternoon bluegrass jam 2-5 PM June 5

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions—takes place this Sunday afternoon, May 1, from 2—5 PM in Best Video Performance Space. There is no cover so come on down—have a coffee, beer or glass of wine and enjoy the music. It’s all acoustic and mostly traditional. Any and all bluegrass players are welcome.

Bluegrass_jam_Web

Bring your instrument or just bring your ears. Come to pick or just to listen.

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Saturday, July 9. FILM SCREENING: A DARK ROOM FILM FEST WITH TONY JULIANO

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Wednesday, July 13. ROCK: HOLIDAY PING

• Thursday, July 14. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Wednesday, July 20. BLUEGRASS: DUDLEY FARMS STRING BAND

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. DIY/EXPERIMENTAL: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: Shawn Taylor plays rootsy songs Fri., June 3

Shawn_Taylor_WebSinger-songwriter Shawn Taylor plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 3. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

With a thumping thumb, dancing fingers, wailing harp, deep, gritty, soul stirring vocals and poetic blue collar lyrics, Taylor’s songs ooze American roots; wandering roots. He’s drawn comparisons from Tom Waites to Ray Lamontagne, Bruce Springsteen to Chris Smither, but his original songs are colored by the experiences of his own working class, wandering roots. He’s been an oysterman, carpenter, hitchhiker, homeowner, familly man, Appalachian Trail ‘thru-hiker’ and a performing musician and song writer, for over twenty years.

He plays venues from New England to Nashville and has shared the stage with artists such as, Maria Muldaur, Peter Mulvey, Vance Gilbert, Garnet Rodgers and Caravan of Thieves. He is currently working on his fourth CD and maintaining a busy performance schedule.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Saturday, July 9. FILM SCREENING: A DARK ROOM FILM FEST WITH TONY JULIANO

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Wednesday, July 13. ROCK: HOLIDAY PING

• Thursday, July 14. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Wednesday, July 20. BLUEGRASS: DUDLEY FARMS STRING BAND

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. DIY/EXPERIMENTAL: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: Halfway to Guitar Night with Shawn Persinger, Norman Plankey, Nancy Tucker and Robert Messore play Thurs., June 2

Robert Messore hosts an annual “Fabulous Guitar Night” every December 1st. But some things are so fabulous that they are worth doing more than once. So it is that Messore hosts “Halfway to Fabulous Guitar Night” at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, June 2. Along with Messore, guitarists Nancy Tucker, Norman Plankey and Shawn Persinger will play. The show starts a half-hour early at 7:30 PM and the cover is $5.

Genre-Benders: Early each December, Robert Messore’s Annual Fabulous Guitar Night in New Haven gathers several of the state’s best guitarists from a number of styles of music. The event is well-liked enough that folks randomly walk up to Messore on the street throughout the year excitedly asking about the next one. So this year on June 2, Best Video hosts a “Halfway To Guitar Night” show for even more guitar loving goodness. The evening features Shawn Persinger, Nancy Tucker, Norman Plankey and Robert Messore, all of whom thrive on the multi-faceted love for all things guitar.

Robert Messore has passionately devoted himself to the guitar for 35 years. Voted Best Instrumentalist in a New Haven Advocate readers’ poll, 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). He also plays percussion and bass. Lately Robert performs with contra dance band Wry Bred, with singer-songwriter Chrissy Gardner, and he presents a program called Toddler Tunes, which is the largest weekly children’s sing-along in CT.

Robert Messore

Robert Messore

With a unique blend of acoustic folk, jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, humor, and the avant-garde, New Haven, Shawn Persinger is Prester John has a sound that is entirely his own. The Chicago Tribune once said, “Prester John has made a career out of balancing technical prowess with pop accessibility (and) a dash of punk-rock rawness. One minute you’re hearing a pop/rock song in the tradition of Cat Stevens or Jack Johnson, the next you’re listening to music that could have been composed by Stravinsky or Frank Zappa. When it comes to traditional and mainstream styles Prester John’s authenticity is also difficult to match; their bluegrass repertoire sounds straight out of Appalachia (no doubt due to Persinger’s West Virginia roots) and their swing tunes recall the bygone days of The Hot Club of France. The ease and flexibility they display traversing and transcending genres is practically unheard of in this day and age (if ever).”

Shawn Persinger

Shawn Persinger

Nancy Tucker blends outrageous squeaky clean comedy, spirited guitar instrumentals and moving songs of human experience in her shows for people of all ages. Her music and comedy center around a passion for life and laughter. Her guitar instrumentals have been compared to those of Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke, with a flair for unusual and kinetic compositions using every part of the guitar, including a guitar attachment of her own invention. No matter what the venue, Nancy captures each audience’s imagination and heart with gentle invitation and contagious lunacy.

Nancy Tucker. Photo ©Marilyn Catasus

Nancy Tucker. Photo ©Marilyn Catasus

Norman Plankey is an in-demand accompanist/guitarist living in Oxford, CT. He currently plays regularly with Swing du Jour (Gypsyswing), The Fiddleheads (contradance), Norman and the Rockwellians (traditional jazz and swing), as well as The Brooklyn Swing Ensemble and One World Contra. A perennial favorite at Roxbury Pickin’ & Fiddlin’ contest, Norman has won many blue ribbons while pushing the envelope of what the judges might allow.

Norman Plankey

Norman Plankey

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Thursday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. INDIE ROCK: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

New releases 5/24/16

Top Hits
Finest_HoursThe Finest Hours (action/drama, Chris Pine. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 58. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The waterlogged disaster movie ‘The Finest Hours’ is a moderately gripping whoosh of nostalgia that shamelessly recycles the ’50s cliché of the squeaky-clean all-American hero. In this Disney movie, adapted from a book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and based on real events in February 1952, Bernie Webber [Chris Pine], a Coast Guard sailor based in Chatham, Mass., leads a next-to-impossible rescue mission during the most fearsome nor’easter this side of ‘The Perfect Storm.'” Read more…)

Zoolander 2 (comedy, Ben Stiller. Rotten Tomatoes: 24%. Metacritic: 34. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “If you took away the extravagantly gaudy trappings of the overproduced, chaotic, not very funny comic circus that is ‘Zoolander 2,’ you would still have a surefire basic concept. Derek Zoolander [Ben Stiller], an airhead model forever pursing his lips, striking poses and practicing his telekinetic blue-steel glare in the mirror, is a Chaplinesque Everyman in a delusional bubble. The prevalence of outrageous male vanity was the dirty little secret in the first ‘Zoolander’ that lent the film its satirical bite. In the 15 years that have passed since then, it is anything but a secret in a world of competing buff, preening dandies.” Read more…)

Risen (Biblical-era drama, Joseph Fiennes. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 77. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unfolding like a clunky episode of ‘Law & Order,’ the biblical procedural ‘Risen’ confronts the Resurrection through the stiffly skeptical countenance of Joseph Fiennes, who takes on the role of Clavius, a Roman army tribune, as if it were a life sentence. Which it might have become had the producers [including Affirm Films, the faith-based corner of Sony Pictures], trying to appeal to believers and nonbelievers, extended their near-decade of tinkering and test screenings.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Zoolander 2

New Foreign
La_Juala_de_OroLa Jaula de Oro aka The Golden Dream (Mexico, drama, Brandon Lopez. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Buoyed by the wonderfully natural performances of its young leads, ‘La Jaula de Oro’ is a compelling social-realist drama that owes much to the style of the British social-realist filmmaker Ken Loach, for whom Mr. Quemada-Diez once worked as a camera assistant. The movie unblinkingly observes the hardships endured by these vulnerable children, who are harassed by soldiers and policemen, roughed up, robbed, forced to work as drug mules and imprisoned by kidnappers.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Flame_Barbary_CoastFlame of Barbary Coast (1945, period drama, John Wayne. From an unsigned 1945 New York Times review prequires log-in]: “‘Flame of Barbary Coast,’ which arrived at the Globe on Saturday, is a melodramatic excursion to that erstwhile sinful sector and a cinematic commemoration of Republic’s tenth anniversary as a corporate entity. The studio may be forgiven for its proud preening in public. It has done right well by itself during the last decade, but ‘Flame of Barbary Coast’ hardly is “the triumphant milestone of film achievement” company reports would indicate. For this handsomely caparisoned vehicle, lush as to décor and meticulous as to period detail, merely is the story of an indomitable cowhand’s lone fight for a beautiful lady’s hand against the gambling set of pre-earthquake San Francisco. And, as such, it suffers from the tedium of a tale told too often.” Read more…)

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1946, period drama set in Paris, George Sanders. From Bosley Crowther’s 1947 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Perhaps we had better advise you that “The Private Affairs of Bel Ami” reaches the peak of its excitement in a foreword which awesomely proclaims, “This is the history of a scoundrel—the time is 1880, the place is Paris.” If that portentous information doesn’t knock you out of your seat, you may be reasonably certain that nothing else in the picture will.” Read more…)

New Television
Outsiders: Season 1

New Documentaries
Janis_Little_Girl_BlueJanis: Little Girl Blue (bio, music, Janis Joplin. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “In Amy Berg’s documentary ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue,’ the sound that erupts from Janis Joplin singing the ’60s R&B classic ‘Cry Baby’ comes as close as I’ve heard to a grown-up singer capturing a baby’s primal squall. Heard today, this raw, insistent scream, from Joplin’s posthumously released 1971 album, ‘Pearl,’ is as disturbing and powerful as ever. But Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose the previous year at 27, wasn’t an infant. She had a woman’s voice. More than any rock star of her generation she fearlessly vented the emotions of her needy inner girl-child. The film sustains a double vision of both the child and the hard-living folk-blues mama Joplin became.” Read more…)

No No: A Dockumentary (sports, culture, race, bio, Dock Ellis. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Daniel M. Gold’s Times review: “The Dock of ‘No No: A Dockumentary’ is Dock Ellis, the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who famously claimed he had thrown his 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while on LSD. In recounting Ellis’s career, the director, Jeffrey Radice, deftly crosscuts interviews with Ellis, who died in 2008, with those of teammates, friends and former wives, to depict an occasionally volatile athlete who was more thoughtful than many assumed and who became a dedicated addiction counselor.” Read more…)

Music: The Birdmen fly back into BVFCC Fri, May 27

Birdmen_BVFCC_112715_02_WebThe Birdmen return to play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, May 27. The show starts at 8 PM and cover is $5.

The Birdmen are Johnny Java (bass), John Lindberg (electric guitar), Johnny Memphis (vocals/guitar/fiddle), and Dick Neal (vocals/guitar/mandolin/banjo). All four are longtime musical collaborators of James Velvet, a beloved figure on the New Haven music scene who passed away April of last year. They will carry on performing music either composed by James or associated with his many musical personas.

Johnny Java and Dick Neal performed with Velvet in his bands The Mockingbirds and The Lonesome Sparrows. John Lindberg played guitar with Velvet in the Ivory Bills; Java played drums in that group. Johnny Memphis, who played guitar and fiddle in The Lonesome Sparrows was a longtime collaborator with James Velvet.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, May 19. EXPERIMENTAL: RIVENER, CRETELLA|PAOLUCCI DUO, ID M THEFT ABLE & FLANDREW FLEISENBERG

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Thursday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. INDIE ROCK: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: Electronhic CD release show Thurs., May 26, at 8 PM

Electronhic_WebElectronhic plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, May 26. The show starts at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover. The group has just released their new CD, “Reaching Out.”

ELECTRONHIC is driven by Chapman Stick and Drums, with comments, noise, electronics, saxophones, whistles and guitars.

The group started with a directive to keep still and leave space. The music was allowed to present itself and breathe without being forced. Motion gradually crept in and flourished with rhythms and energetic counterpoint, but open space remained.  As the group continues to move, space is especially evident in certain pieces, but it remains an important element even in the pieces that veer towards avant-rock.

The new CD, Reaching Out, features a few riff-based workouts, some thoughtful meandering, and some aggressive, head-scratching, explorations.
www.music.nhic-records.com

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, May 19. EXPERIMENTAL: RIVENER, CRETELLA|PAOLUCCI DUO, ID M THEFT ABLE & FLANDREW FLEISENBERG

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Thursday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. INDIE ROCK: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

New releases 5/17/16

Top Hits
The_WitchThe Witch (New England Puritan Gothic horror, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Written and directed by Robert Eggers, ‘The Witch’ takes place in an America that in its extremes feels more familiar than its period drag might suggest. It’s set a decade after the Mayflower landed in Plymouth and tracks William’s family as it leaves the plantation to settle down alone at the edge of a forest. There, the family members build a farm, grow corn and commit themselves to God, a contract tested by a series of calamities that turn this story of belief into a freak-out of doubt. As the wind stirs the trees and the children taunt one another with talk of witches, you may remember that the movie’s subtitle is ‘A New-England Folktale.’ Something wicked this way comes?” Read more…)

Wildlike (adventure/drama, Bruce Greenwood. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 74. From Daniel M. Gold’s New York Times review: “In ‘Wildlike,’ Mackenzie [Ella Purnell], a 14-year-old from Seattle whose father has died and whose mother is in rehab, is sent to live with her uncle in Alaska for the summer. But when the creep starts molesting her, she runs away, alone and desperate in strange if beautiful country. Scrambling to stay ahead of her uncle, Mackenzie eventually attaches to Bartlett [Bruce Greenwood], a middle-aged backpacker headed to Denali National Park, in the unspoken hope that he’ll help her get home.” Read more…)

Southbound (horror anthology, Chad Vilella. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 58. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “‘Southbound’ is something you don’t see much anymore: an anthology horror film. Its five segments do what they’re supposed to do — unsettle you — but as a bonus, they also leave you wanting more. These are fragments more than complete stories, and the incompleteness is its own kind of creepiness.” Read more…)

Where Hope Grows (faith drama, Kristoffer Polaha. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 41. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Not to be flip, but ‘Where Hope Grows’ has the potential to be a decent inspirational film until God shows up. The movie, written and directed by Chris Dowling, begins with a clichéd character, the failed athlete with a drinking problem. He is Calvin [Kristoffer Polaha], who is brooding about his lost baseball career so much that all his personal relationships are in jeopardy, including the one with his teenage daughter [McKaley Miller]. But he begins to change when he strikes up a relationship with a stock boy at the grocery who has Down syndrome and whom everyone calls Produce… But just when their friendship catches your interest, Mr. Dowling reveals that he isn’t really interested in exploring its possibilities at all; he’s just using it to sell Christianity.” Read more…)

The Program (Lance Armstrong-fueled exposé drama, Ben Foster. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 53. From Stephewn Holden’s New York Times review: “Two scenes in ‘The Program,’ Stephen Frear’s patchy docudrama tracing the rise and fall of the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong tell you all you need to know about this crude cinematic demolition job. In one, the Armstrong character [Ben Foster] studies himself in a mirror while rehearsing different versions of the statement, “I’ve never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.” No matter how he says it, the words ring false.” Read more…)

Dirty Grandpa (raunchy comedy, Robert De Niro. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Dan Mazer’s crude, mindless ‘Dirty Grandpa’ is like watching a friend’s mediocre improv troupe do an extended spring-break sketch. And your friend just happens to be Robert De Niro… Most of the comedy is along the lines of phallic graffiti on a subway poster. You can’t question Mr. De Niro’s commitment, however: In one of many scenes played for shock value, he does a surprised-while-masturbating gag. Years of talking blue streaks in Martin Scorsese movies make him a natural for playing this alpha-male senior.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Witch

New Foreign
TheebTheeb (Jordan, adventure/drama, Jacir Eid. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “If you were a preadolescent boy stranded in the desert with a sinister grown-up stranger on whom you depended for your survival, what would you do? That question, posed in the spellbinding Jordanian adventure film ‘Theeb,’ drives a story set in the farthest reaches of the Ottoman Empire in 1916. The man, who is seriously wounded, and the boy play cat and mouse as they help each other stay alive in a do-or-die struggle.” Read more…)

The Naked Island (Japan, 1960, drama, Nobuko Otowa)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949, Inspector Maigret mystery, Charles Laughton)

New Television
Orange Is the New Black: Season 3

New Documentaries
Jackie_RobinsonJackie Robinson (Ken Burns PBS bio, Jackie Robinson, baseball, civil rights. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83.  From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Part 1 of ‘Jackie Robinson,’ Monday on PBS, revisits this history, with Robinson’s widow, Rachel, the principal guide. It remains one of the pivotal stories of 20th-century America, simultaneously stirring and infuriating, with Robinson blazing a trail despite blatant and entrenched racism. But it’s in Part 2 on Tuesday night that Mr. Burns and his co-directors, Sarah Burns and David McMahon [his daughter and son-in-law], venture into the less clear-cut part of Robinson’s life, when he became more outspoken about civil rights yet wasn’t always viewed heroically.” Read more…)

Last Summer Won’t Happen (1968 post-hippie political documentary, East Village, Abbie Hoffman, activism)
Investigation of a Flame (activism, Vietnam War, draft resistance, Daniel Berrigan)