Halloween special event: “The Phantom Carriage” silent film screening with live score by Light Upon Blight Fri., Oct. 25, at 8 PM

Avant-garde rock group Light Upon Blight Ensemble returns for their fifth annual Halloween special on Friday, Oct. 25, this time improvising a live score to the 1921 silent film “The Phantom Carriage,” directed by Victor Sjöström. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range). Costumes and other Halloween trick or treatery are encouraged and welcomed.

“The Phantom Carriage” has been cited as the movie that inspired Ingmar Bergman’s career in cinema. (Decades later, director Victor Sjöström played a professor facing his own mortality in Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries.”) From the Chicago Reader synopsis: “The story, told through a complex flashback structure, resembles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: a self-destructive and irresponsible man has a brush with the “carriage of death,” which allows him to review his life.”

From Dave Kehr’s New York Times review of the 2011 Criterion DVD and Blu-Ray release:

Based on a novel by Selma Lagerlof, the film blends an Ibsen-like psychological naturalism with a cosmic, folkloric perspective… The morbid subject matter suggests the Expressionist films then being made in Germany (Fritz Lang’s “Destiny,” also released in 1921, immediately comes to mind), but Sjostrom avoids the stylistic extravagances of the Germans. There are no distorted sets or dramatic shadows but rather a kind of heightened intimacy: small rooms with rough walls and bare floors, cramped quarters for a filmmaker whose earlier work (“The Outlaw and His Wife,” 1918) was celebrated for its expressive use of open landscapes.

Light Upon Blight will be Jeff Cedrone (guitar, synth, piano), Bob Gorry (guitar), Lys Guillorn (lap steel guitar), Benjamin Hecht (bass), Rob Nelson (keyboards), Vance Provey (trumpet), and Peter Riccio (drums, percussion).

Previous Light Upon Blight live soundtracks: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, Nosferatu, Carnival of Souls, Eraserhead, and Faust.

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Music: Folk sounds from Sheldon Campbell and David Coller Thurs., Oct. 24, at 7 PM

Sheldon Campbell and David Coller play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Oct. 24. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Connecticut singer-songwriter David Coller is again playing local venues following a 14 year musical hiatus involving a wooden boat (if you’ve ever owned one you understand). He brings with him a variety of songs and styles: jazzy soon-to-be standards, new bluegrass tunes, sea-songs, a cowboy tune or two and plenty of straight-up folk performed on the guitar, banjo, and the odd bit of button accordion. If you have wide-ranging (not to say “scattered” or “aimless”) tastes in music, an appreciation for careful instrumental and vocal arrangements, and an enjoyment of polished lyrics, you’re bound to enjoy the show. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music from USC, and before vanishing into the world of splinters, sandpaper and sail, David played for many years in duos and bands in Connecticut and southern California. He now resides in the last rural smidgeon of Hamden, Connecticut.

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 (http://www.wshu.org/profiles/2011/pr111209.php), in classes at the Yale School of Medicine (where he’s an award-winning teacher), at national scientific meetings, and in local folk venues. He organizes a monthly folk-music House Hoot, and serves on the board of the Branford Folk Music society. He writes original songs about history, fatherhood, and even microbial disease. Look forward to an infectious evening of song from the silly to the dramatic, with plenty of opportunities to sing along.

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Music: Singer-songwriter Ginny Bales at Best Video Wed., Oct. 23

Singer-songwriter Ginny bales plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Ginny Bales graduated from Barnard College and has taught at Southern Connecticut State University, the College of New Rochelle, and Yale. She performed as a solo singer-songwriter in coffeehouses, concerts and music festivals on the East and West coasts. She played bass and piano with Night Angels, opened for Bonnie Raitt, and has appeared on 15 albums. She wrote book, music, and lyrics for the full-length musical Stanton Women’s Chorus, which had its first Equity production in May of 1989. She was named Songwriter of the Year for 1987 by the Connecticut Songwriters Association.

She was a Fellow at the 1999 Cabaret Symposium at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She began performances of her cabaret show “I Sang at Your Wedding” (original songs and commentary based on her years of experience as a wedding singer) in 2001, her Cole Porter show in 2003, and her Rodgers and Hart show in 2005. Her songs have been featured in the Washington, DC Cabaret Network showcases in 2001 and 2004.

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Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Mon., Oct. 21, 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. October’s jam is on Monday, Oct. 21, from 5:30-9 PM.

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

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Monthly Irish jam takes place Sun., Oct. 20, at 2 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The October jam takes place on Sunday, Oct. 20, 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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Sign up now for Best Cookie Contest, part of Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Nov. 16 Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza

On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Best Video Film and Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its fourth anniversary, will host its BVFCC Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. As part of that event, we will be hosting a Best Cookie Contest, set to occur from 1-4 PM.

Up to 16 bakers will be competing for the Best Cookie. If you want to be one of the bakers, send an email with the subject “Cookie” to bvfcc [at] bestvideo.com. Include your name, phone and type of cookie. The first 16 bakers to email us to sign up will be part of the contest. You will be emailed with full details once you sign up.

Want to be a taster? There’s no need to sign up—just come to Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Sat., Nov. 16, Open House & Fundraiser, get a ballot for $2, and vote for your favorite cookies.

We have some great prizes for the winners. Any kind of cookie is welcome!

Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts Anniversary Open House & Fundraiser Sat., Nov. 16

On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its fourth anniversary as a nonprofit, will host its Fall Open House & “Fun”draising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. If you attended last year’s Open House, you know you’re in for a treat.

Everybody is welcome to come and enjoy what Best Video has to offer that day. It is our main fall fundraiser—our main spring fundraiser is the online Great Give in May—and we count on it. There is no set donation amount but we encourage all to contribute whatever they can—and/or become a Best Video Film & Cultural Center member—to keep BVFCC open and running.

There will be a table run by staff and Best Video Board members to meet you, sign up new members, renew memberships and receive donations.

BVFCC, has been running the former Best Video as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization since November, 2015. The organization’s mission is to “bring film, music and people together.” BVFCC curates an archive of over 30,000 titles assembled by original owner Hank Paper; presents regular music, film-related and literary events; and maintains a welcoming space for the community.

We invite you to our celebration on November 17. Please join us if you can, help put the “fun” in “fun”draiser! And remember, we love seeing you all each and every day. And each day in November is a day that you can donate. Come in and see us. Please help to make our fundraising efforts a success. You always have! We thank you wholeheartedly.

More details to come!

This year’s Best Video student art contest announced, submissions due Mon., Nov. 4

Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC) announces a student art contest as part of the celebration of its fourth anniversary as a nonprofit organization and in conjunction with its Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza, which takes place Saturday, Nov. 16, from 9 AM-9 PM. Winners in four age categories—Kindergarten to 3rd grade, 4th through 6th grade, 7th through 8th grade and grades 9-12—will receive a $100 prize.

The deadline for submitting artwork is 6 PM, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

All submissions must be on 8 ½”x11″ paper and deal with either a movie- or music-related theme. They can be in color or black and white. They can be drawings, paintings, collage or any other flat, two-dimensional medium.

Prizes will be $100 in each age category. The Grand Prize winner will be published as the centerfold of BVFCC’s Open House program book. The other three winners will also appear in the book.

The rest of the submissions will be on display at the gala on November 16. Originals will be on display if space is available. If there is not enough space, the submissions will be displayed via video.

BVFCC has been running the former Best Video as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization since November, 2015. The organization’s mission is to “bring film, music and people together.”

Music: Fernando Pinto Presents Yves Lambert Trio, River Run Fri., Oct. 18, at 8 PM

Fernando Pinto Presents the Yves Lambert Trio and River Run at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Oct. 18. The show starts at 8 PM. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available through BrownPaperTickets.com.

Yves Lambert is a back country musician with a kamikaze style, whose 40 year career has been full of risks, adventures, and challenges. Over time, Yves Lambert has become a veritable patriarch of the revival of Quebec’s musical roots. His very personal manner of linking the relevance of his words with anecdotes and his concerns contribute to his great propensity for interpretation.

Lambert can sing it all, from Boisson d’avril with Groovy Aardvark (a hard rock Quebecois band), to children’s songs such as Gilles Vigneault’s Un trésor dans mon jardin, or by going blues on Petite fleur by Sidney Béchet. He also passionately supports the songs of poet Gaston Miron, all while maintaining his traditional music leadership role in La Bottine Souriante and his Bébert Orchestra. In fact, some Quebec critics portray Yves Lambert as a beacon in the aesthetics of Quebec’s cultural heritage.

It was in 1976 that the singer and multi-instrumentalist founded what became the legendary group La Bottine Souriante, with partners Mario Forest and André Marchand. Mr. Lambert’s natural talent and charisma, together with this growing group, has had a strong impact on the evolution of Quebec’s musical heritage as well as the revival of traditional music.

Throughout his 26 years as a member of La Bottine Souriante, Yves Lambert was the link between the various incarnations of the group and was their heart and soul. From 1976 to January 2003, he contributed to the group’s rise by participating in numerous shows, tours, and television programs in Quebec as well as around the world. The Bottine experience led him to share various awards with the group, including 3 Junos, 8 Félix Awards for Traditional Album of the Year, and 1 BBC Award for Traditional Album and Group of the Year, as well as Félix nominations in the following categories: Show of the Year, Group of the Year, and Most Successful Artist Outside Quebec

Lambert, Rondeau, and Gauthier experimented with the trio concept during their 23-concert summer circuit tour in Eastern Quebec in 2010. Strongly encouraged by charmed audiences and by the pleasure of the musical challenge, in fall 2012, the trio delivered an album where the “sound” achieved extraordinary mastery and affirmed the trio’s distinctive personality. The trio brilliantly demonstrates how traditional local music continually reinvents itself within a modern context.

Despite there being only three musicians, nothing of the sound is lost. The three multi-instrumentalists multiply the decibels as though there were many more than three members. Studio wizardry? Absolutely not! With a simple modification to his guitar, Olivier Rondeau added depth by expanding the instrument’s dynamic range. This process enables a new way of playing guitar and bass simultaneously. What we hear on the album can be 95% reproduced live on stage.

River Run is not your typical Americana family band. Based in New Haven, CT, their sound is rooted firmly in guitarist Bill’s classic rock influences, earthy vocals from lead singer Sam, and Kat’s intuitive and sonorous fiddle interludes. With soaring sibling harmony and original song writing, they create an undeniably enchanting musical experience.

Brian Slattery in The New Haven Independent:

Sam’s powerful voice made it clear why she took lead vocals, and yet her voice and Kat’s blended as only siblings’ voices can. Bill’s guitar provided the solid foundation for them both. The final element in the band’s sound was Kat’s fiddle playing, at which she excelled.

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Literary: “Stories of Youth” presented by CT Library Consortium and CT Storytelling Center Fri., 4-6 PM

Wind down your week with “Stories of Youth” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

The Connecticut Storytelling Center and the Connecticut Library Consortium have teamed to present a novel way to spend your Friday rush hour. Saul Fussiner, accompanied by Brian Slattery on violin, presents “Stories of Youth,” featuring storytellers Cynthia Rojas, Sharen McKay, Wendy Marans and Sara deBeer, Oct. 18th from 4-6 p.m. at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Ave., Hamden.

The audience can experience different forms and styles of storytelling; learn about Tellabration!, a month-long worldwide storytelling celebration that was founded by the Connecticut Storytelling Center; and learn about storytelling learning opportunities provided by the center and the CLC.

Fussiner is the director of creative writing at ACES School of the Arts in New Haven, and produces and hosts the “Songs + Stories at Next Door” series at Next Door in New Haven. His one-man show “The Ghosts of Poland” recounts his family connection and personal travels to Poland. His one-man show “I’ve Heard Those Drums All My Life” is about moments of deep connection in Ireland. Slattery is a novelist, journalist (arts editor at the New Haven Independent) and musician who’s involved in several projects.

Rojas has told stories at Chion Wolf’s “The Mouth-Off” storytelling series at Hartford’s Mark Twain House, as well as Institute Library in New Haven, the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, and Storytelling New Haven. She has shared in many storytelling gigs with all of the other tellers. McKay has told stories for many years. Besides some folktales, many of her stories recount her growing years in an Irish Catholic family in Rhode Island. Marans began storytelling in 2014, at New Haven’s Institute Library. She works with children who have speech and language disabilities, and is a board member of Music Haven. In her quieter moments, she can be found playing the cello and quilting. DeBeer has been a member of the storytelling community for over 40 years, and is vice president of the Board of Directors of the Connectcut Storytelling Center. Each November, with Arnold Pritchard, she leads the Institute Library storytelling workshops for “Tellabration!”

The program is free and open to the public. Snacks and drinks will be sold at the Best Video Coffee & Wine Bar. For more info, contact Amanda Stern, CLC Events & Special Projects Manager, at astern@ctlibrarians.org.

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