Music: Naomi Sommers & Dan Tressler play Fri., Sept. 27, at 8 PM

The duo of Naomi Sommers and Dan Tressler play Best Video Performance Space Friday, Sept. 27. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Naomi and Dan draw from the traditions of American folk music, bluegrass and blues, using skills honed in their respective family bands. Their repertoire includes original songs, traditional and old-time country tunes. The pair first started as a duo 20 years ago and have now reunited for new musical adventures, featuring sweet vocal harmonies, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, flute, banjo.

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Music: Jeff Piscitelli & Karen Hogg Duo, Serafina Thurs., Sept. 26

The Jeff Piscitelli and Karen Hogg Duo and the trio Serafina play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Sept. 26. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Guitarist Jeffrey Piscitelli and mandolinist Karen Hogg (pictured, left) are two local musicians who play a diverse blend of swing, gypsy jazz, bluegrass, blues, and all points in between. Piscitelli plays in the Connecticut rock group Outside Reality and has studied guitar with Shawn Persinger. While he has performed in many local rock bands over the years, his love of classical and jazz led him to explore sounds beyond the typical classic rock fare. His influences range from Miles Davis to Bela Bartok to Randy Rhoads.

Multi-instrumentalist Karen Hogg is a prolific performer, author, and educator. Her influences are wide-ranging with a foundation in American Roots music. As a mandolinist, she has listened to greats such as Jethro Burns, Norman Blake, and Simon Mayor. A sought-after side-person as a mandolinist and guitarist, Hogg plays with several area groups. Piscitelli and Hogg bonded together over a shared interest in pushing musical boundaries and exploring new sounds.

Serafina is a musical trio born in a magical, invisible forest somewhere in the deep wilderness of Fair Haven. Equal parts whimsy, chaos, tradition, and sorcery, they aim to lead listeners down a sonic yellow brick road. Serafina is Anne Cherry on violin/piano/vocal, Shula Weinstein on cello/guitar/vocals, and Karen Hogg on mandolin/guitar/vocals.

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Music: Rock from Straight 2 VHS, Slyne & The Family Stoned, Addy Edward Wed., Sept. 25, at 7:30 PM

Straight 2 VHS, Slyne & The Family Stoned, and Addy Edward play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Formed in 2009, Straight to VHS has long been a staple of the vibrant music scene in New London.

Straight to VHS released “Weekend Weekend Weekend” in 2014 and watched it garner positive press and airplay on some of the top college radio stations along the east coast. The album helped earn the band a Connecticut Music Award and even caught the attention of CBS Connecticut, who named the trio one of its top five bands to watch in 2015. Straight to VHS released the “Landmind” E.P. in June, 2016. The 11 minute jaunt boasts a variety of styles, from poppy garage love songs to spacey psychedelic jams. Their 5th record, “Friend Music” is set for release in October 2019.

Slyne and The Family Stoned is a caravan of punk hippies from New London, CT. Remember when Neil Young and Sonic Youth toured together back in ’91? Imagine if Neil ditched Crazy Horse and took Sonic behind him instead?

Addy Edward is the musical moniker of Adam Bensen. Addy weaves traditional and electronic sounds into deeply personal songs. His self-recorded album “Picture of Youth,” a compilation of songs written and recorded over the span of 8 years, was released in April, 2018, followed quickly by his “Sedative Gentleman [EP].

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Literary Reading: Connecticut Poetry Society presents Kathleen McIntosh, Peter Ulisse Tues., Sept. 24, at 7 PM

The Connecticut Poetry Society presents a reading by poets Kathleen McIntosh and Peter Ulisse at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The event starts at 7 PM. Admission is free but donations to support BVFCC’s programming are encouraged.

The Connecticut Poetry Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of poetry. Its mission is to encourage a community devoted to poetry through chapter meetings, education and events. Laura and Victor Altshul co-Chair the New Haven branch of the CPS, which meets monthly to workshop poems and to encourage programs in the area.

Kathleen McIntosh grew up in various parts of the Midwest as well as Texas and California. Following this peripatetic childhood, she attended college in Massachusetts and then remained in the Northeast, anchored by graduate school, work and family, as three siblings also migrated to New England. In 1980 she received a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and thereafter was a professor of Hispanic Studies for over thirty years at Westfield State University. Beginning in the early 1980’s, she also helped to establish and taught in a Women’s Studies program. She began to write poetry when retirement opened up a space for this dormant passion, and has been pleased to discover on her Connecticut doorstep a large and welcoming community of lovers and writers of poetry.

Peter Ulisse has been writing poetry for over 40 years and has published over a hundred poems in literary magazines, journals, and books throughout out the country. He has read many of them in libraries, schools, and in the media, both radio and public television. In addition, he has turned out several chapbooks and the Edwin Mellen Press published hardcovers of his Memory Is An Illusive State and the very well reviewed Vietnam Voices.

Peter is a former President of the Connecticut Poetry Society and editor of the Connecticut River Review as well as having reviewed poetry for Small Pond of Literature. A retired English professor at Housatonic Community College, he also chaired the Humanities Department there for 20 years twice serving as Acting Academic Dean. He is married to former colleague Sheila Anderson and has three adult children-Chris, Rebecca, and Justin—as well as three grandchildren—Tyler, Austin, and Naomi. He practices daily meditation and enjoys tai chi, yoga, pickle ball, painting, movies, and just about anything to do with nature.

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Music: Fernando Pinto Presents the Nordic folk of SVER, Americana by local duo Kat Wallace & David Sasso Sat., Sept. 21, at 7:30 PM


Promoter Fernando Pinto presents the Norwegian/Swedish Nordic folk act SVER at Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Sept. 21. Doors are at 7:30 PM and the show starts at 8 PM. Local Americana duo Kat Wallace & David Sasso open. Advance tickets are $20 and tickets are $25 the day of the show.

SVER play epic Nordic folk music with relentless energy and seductive spark taking you on a fantastic musical journey guaranteed to excite you. Ranging from fiddle-driven tunes from Norway and Sweden and melds them with wild, lonesome songs from old Scandinavia and the Appalachians and fiery, inventive force of SVER’s fiddles, accordion, guitar and drums, to a swinging, pounding and sweaty madness – you are invited to the party, greeted by a welcoming primal force that pulls you into the dance. Since the group’s inception, SVER has gone from strength to strength, playing extensively throughout Europe and the US, gaining a reputation as one of the most acclaimed live acts in the Nordic folk scene.

SVER has often been described as “sounding electric without electricity”, and their flexible musicianship has also made them an attractive backing band for some of Scandinavia’s leading singers in different genres. That has lead to them playing on TV-shows, at large festivals, as well as securing positions on radio charts with the music ranging from folk to reggae/dancehall and rap. Their imaginative soundscapes, grooves, and melodies will take you on a journey over the Norwegian fjords and mountains, into the lively pubs and back out into the deep forest of their musicality.

Kat Wallace and David Sasso met playing hard and fast bluegrass with New Haven string band Five in the Chamber. Their shared background in classical music and affinity for all things trad brought them together to form an intimate and virtuosic duo. Both singers and multi-instrumentalists, Wallace and Sasso orbit around traditional folk, original songwriting, and the ever-evolving Americana movement. Their effortless vocal lines and innovative harmonization command the stage while allowing space for each song to tell its story. Their debut album, Stuff of Stars, is set to release in August 2019.

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Music: GuitarTownCT Concerts presents John Reischman & the Jaybirds Fri., Sept. 20, at 7:30 PM

GuitartownCT presents John Reischman and The Jaybirds on Friday, September 20, at 7:30 PM, at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT. Tickets are $30 at

John Reischman was a member of the legendary Tony Rice Unit for 7 years in the 1980’s, recording the albums Mar West, Backwaters, and Still Inside. He has been based in Vancouver for twenty-five years, and an appearance on the East Coast is a rare treat! With a fifth critically-acclaimed album and expanded touring schedule, John Reischman and the Jaybirds are a top-flight band delivering a truly fresh blend of original songs and instrumentals, old-time heritage, and bluegrass power.

In a marketplace flooded with virtuosic bluegrass ensembles, John Reischman & The Jaybirds have found a recipe to stand out from the rest; they go back to the roots of bluegrass and old-time music for their inspiration, then spin these roots into a new sound.

On their new album, Vintage & Unique, this twice Juno Nominated band covers songs and tunes from Bill Monroe, Hobart Smith, and Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, but the real gems of the album are the band’s originals. While these songs and tunes are clearly informed by the tradition, John Reischman & The Jaybirds have an eclectic creativity that guides their refreshing excursions in acoustic roots music. Throughout, the bluegrass harmonies are spot-on, and each instrumental break crackles with energy. Being such a tight band, John Reischman & The Jaybirds don’t need to play fast to show off. They vary tempos, and some of the most compelling tracks on the album are the slower tunes, where they can really get at the heart of the music. This is bluegrass done right, true to the roots but not afraid to look forward to new ideas.

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Music: The blues rock of Parker’s Tangent Thurs., Sept. 19

Parker’s Tangent plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday., Sept. 19. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale $5-10 where people pay what they can in that range.

Parker’s Tangent based out of New Haven, CT plays blues and roots based original art rock. The music can be poetic, quiet and touching to bluesy to out and out rocking. This is a professional group that has a lot of fun performing and that fun is picked up by the audience.

The band’s lineup is comprised of a female lead singer whose wonderful, warm sultry voice has been compared to Grace Slick and Norah Jones, drums [also female] guitar, bass, and violin! This is a professional all-star group with each of the musicians having many, many years of experience in other local bands. While the group plays primarily electric they are able to perform acoustically [“unplugged”] as well.

The group for this show is Leslie Broatch (lead vocals), Ken Ryu (violin), Joseph Battad (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Joe Rosano (drums, backing vocals,) “Malibu” Ken Ahlstrom (piano/keyboards), Thomas Fortuna Sr. (percussion), James Baldoni (bass, backing vocals), Arthur Bargar (lead/rhythm guitar, backing vocals, songwriter).

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JCC of Greater New Haven presents a talk & book signing by Saul Austerlitz, author of book on “Friends” TV show, Wed., Sept. 18, at 7 PM

In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering about sex, relationships, jobs, and just about everything else. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to the show’s immensely talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, “Friends” has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. “Friends” has never gone on a break, and this is the story of how it all happened.

Please join the JCC of Greater New Haven in welcoming author Saul Austerlitz for a discussion of his new book, “Generation FRIENDS: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Tele­vi­sion Era”, featuring clips from the show and a “nostalgic, fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the blockbuster success of NBC’s Friends, including brand-new interviews with the series creators, published for the 25th anniversary of the show’s premiere.”

Austerlitz is a pop culture historian who has written for many publications (the Boston Globe, NYT Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Slate and the LA Times), as well as authoring such books as “Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes” and “Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes.”

The program takes place from 7-9 PM on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at Best Video Film & Cultural Center. Advance tickets are $10 for JCC members and $15 for non-members. They are available through the JCC’s Web site.

The program is part of the JCC’s Jewish Author Series. The JCC previously presented Mike Reiss, a writer for “The Simpsons,” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center last November.

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Music: GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam on Mon., Sept. 16, at 5:30 PM

The monthly first Sunday GuitarTownCT bluegrass jams became so successful that Chris Wuerth added a new jam to the schedule. For those who need to twang community-wise more than once a month—or can’t make the Sunday afternoon events—we now have a bluegrass jam (usually) on the Third Monday of every month from 6-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. September’s jam is on Monday, Sept. 16, from 5:30-9 PM.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening.

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September Irish/Celtic music jam takes place Sun., Sept. 15, from 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The September jam takes place on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 2-4 PM. The jam, organized by musicians Jim & Willow Sirch, takes place on the third Sunday of each month (unless it needs to be rescheduled due to other Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming).

As with our bluegrass jams, feel free to come and join in or just sit and listen.

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