Please support Best Video Film & Cultural Center on GivingTuesday, Dec. 1

This December 1 is #GivingTuesday. Please support Best Video Film & Cultural Center on this day and throughout the final month of this historic and difficult year.

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. GivingTuesday was born and incubated at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City. GivingTuesday is now an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Consider renewing a soon-expiring membership, purchasing a gift membership for a friend and buying a gift certificate for anything and all we offer. Please consider a donation as well as year end nears. Remember, we are a not-for-profit charitable cultural organization and any donation to Best Video is completely tax deductible. You can join as a member or donate at BestVideo.com or in person at BVFCC.

We appreciate and thank all for another year of support in the midst of incredible difficulties, struggles, and tragedy for so many. We could not be making it without your interest and participation.

This holiday season please keep us in your holiday gift giving plans. Every little bit helps. The dead of winter is likely to be a challenge for us so coming out now for a coffee, a pop-up show when the weather permits, a holiday special order or purchase can all add up to a happy and sustaining season for Best Video Film and Cultural Center. Best Video t-shirts make for great gifts!

We wish all a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and hope to see you at BVFCC sometime soon. And thanks again for your continued support. We’ll give it all back to you in the coming year, adding more films to our vast library, more live music as circumstances permit, beautifying our space, and having a place for you, your families and neighbors to meet (safely!) and feel the sense of community that is yours and ours. Here at Best Video Film and Cultural Center.

Best Video will be closed for Thanksgiving

To allow our staff to enjoy the holiday (safely), Best Video Film & Cultural Center will be closed on Thanksgiving. We will reopen with regular hours on Friday—8 AM-1 PM for the cafe and 3-7 PM for curbside video pickup.

We wish all our members and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

And thanks to all for the tremendous support BVFCC has received throughout this year. We are truly grateful and humbled by your generosity and your continuing patronage.

Best Video hours for curbside video pickup changed; now 3-7 PM every day

Starting this weekend, Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s hours for curbside movie pickup on Thursday-Saturday will be changed from 4-8 PM to 3-7 PM. Cafe hours will remain 8 AM-1 PM.

Best Video will be closed Thanksgiving Day to give our staff a day to rest and celebrate—safely—the holiday.

Richard Neal to play the Best Video deck Sat., Nov. 21, in final outdoors music show of the year

Richard Neal.

Singer-songwriter Richard Neal plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck in what is likely the last outdoors show of 2020. (It’s getting colder and darker.)

Richard Neal is a student of music, songwriting, record production, and live performance. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, dobro, slide), he has been privileged to make a living as a musician and to work in a wide variety of musical settings and styles.

Neal appears regularly in concert as a sideman for any number of acts, and also as a regular member of the bluegrass band HOE. As a solo artist and songwriter, he has released 2 CD’s of original music, HOE and Beacon. Several of his compositions have been recorded by other singers.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Shellye Valuaskas & Dean Falcone play the deck Fri., Nov. 20, at 5 PM

Shellye Valauskas and Dean Falcone return for an acoustic performance on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Nov. 20, starting at 5 PM.

The Shellye Valauskas Experience is led by vocalist/guitarist Shellye Valauskas. By the time she formed the band, she was an established solo performer, winning the New Haven Advocate’s Grand Band Slam readers’ poll and rating a slot in New York’s CMJ Marathon. As her songwriting collaborator and bandmate, she enlisted ace guitarist Dean Falcone, who has earned a stellar reputation in the Connecticut music scene since starting out in the early 1980s with Jon Brion in The Excerpts.

Valauskas’ and Falcone’s shared love for the intelligent, heartwarming yet punchy pop of Crowded House, The Posies and Aimee Mann, as well as the burgeoning Americana movement, helped them nail a distinctive yet accessible radio-friendly sound from the start.

Their most recent release, 2018’s “History of Panic,” garnered a rave review at the online blog Pop Dose:

This is really good. I mean REALLY GOOD. This second album from The Shelleye Valauskas Experience, History Of Panic, which is anchored by singer-guitarist Ms. Valausakas and Mr. Dean Falcone on second guitar, took almost a decade to make and release, but it’s damned well worth the wait. Ten perfectly, meticulously crafted power pop (emphasis on “power”) tracks that shimmer and shine.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

(UPDATE: Thurs. show cancelled due to weather) Music on the deck Thurs. & Sat. (weather permitting) with Dr. Caterwaul; Mat & Erik from Goodnight Blue Moon

(UPDATE Nov. 12, 2020: Due to the uncertainty over the weather, tonight’s scheduled show with Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps has been cancelled. We hope, if possible to reschedule it for the near future.)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 6 PM. Eclectic World Folk: Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps. Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps plays music from around the world and uses it as a launching pad for improvisations that never lose their sense of groove—whether it’s Colombian cumbias, Ethiopian jazz, Romanian horas, Argentinian tangos, or traditional music from the United States.

Saturday, Nov. 14, 4:30 PM. Americana: Mat Crowley & Erik Elligers from Goodnight Blue Moon. Goodnight Blue Moon is an Americana/indie-folk band that writes great songs and puts on an outstanding show. Whether it’s traditional sea chanties or through composed orchestral pop, their arrangements are thoughtful and their melodies are contagious. Mat plays mandolin and Erik plays acoustic guitars; both of them write songs, sing, and harmonize. (The full GNBM also features cello, bass, drums, electric guitar, and violin.)

Best Video participating in Stop & Shop’s Giving Tag fundraising program—buy reusable bags & direct $1 of purchase to BVFCC

Best Video Film & Cultural Center, a non-profit committed to bringing film, music, and people together, has begun generating donations through the Stop & Shop Giving Tag Program.

The Stop & Shop Giving Tag Program, which launched in May 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work.

When a shopper purchases the $2.50 reusable Community Bag at any Stop & Shop store, they have the opportunity to direct a $1 donation to a local non-profit by using the attached Giving Tag. BVFCC has already begun generating donations through the use of the Giving Tag.

“We’re excited to be participating in the Stop & Shop Giving Tag Program. In tough times, every added income source is precious,” said BVFCC Executive Director, Hank Hoffman. “Funds raised through the program can help support the maintenance and expansion of our archive, the programming, and capital improvements.”

For more information on the Stop & Shop Giving Tag Program, visit stopandshop.bags4mycause.com.

Music on the deck 11/5-11/7: Rob Nelson, Dreamfield, Seth Adam

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

 

Thursday, Nov. 5, 4:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Rob Nelson. Rob Nelson writes and performs original music in multiple genres. He began writing songs in 1979. Since 1981, he has performed as a singer, bassist, and guitarist in AQUA, The Mar-Tones, Out of the House, Up From Eden, The Wishing Years, The Hootchie Kootchie Cowboys, Elegant Primates, and Pigeon English.

Friday, Nov. 6, 4:30 PM. Jazz/Pop: Dreamfield. Dreamfield is a band consisting of Berklee College of Music and New School students—Ryan Peter Murphy on keyboard and vocals, Will Brennan on guitar, Max Pannella on bass, and Logan Sidle on drums! They play all genres and eras of music including Pop, American Standards, Broadway, Jazz and Original songs. They perform favorites ranging from the 50’s Era all the way up to 2020 Top 40 Pop. Their original music ranges from top 40 pop to Beach Boys, and 50’s inspiration.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 4:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Seth Adam. Seth Adam writes compelling, genuine songs with honest lyrics. The alt-country, Americana rocker draws comparisons to Counting Crows, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, and Jason Isbell.

(UPDATE: Dreamfield concert postponed one week) Music: Jazz and vocals from Dreamfield Fri., Oct. 30, and Halloween children’s special event Sat. with Robert Messore

(UPDATE, FRI., OCT. 30: Due to the snow and cold weather, the Dreamfield concert scheduled for this evening is being postponed. It has been rescheduled to next Friday, Nov. 6, at 4:30 PM.)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

 

Dreamfield plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Oct. 30, starting at 5 PM. (See note above.)

Dreamfield is a band consisting of Berklee College of Music and New School students—Ryan Peter Murphy on keyboard and vocals, Will Brennan on guitar, Max Pannella on bass, and Logan Sidle on drums! They play all genres and eras of music including Pop, American Standards, Broadway, Jazz and Original songs. They perform favorites ranging from the 50’s Era all the way up to 2020 Top 40 Pop. Their original music ranges from top 40 pop to Beach Boys, and 50’s inspiration.

A planned concert of guitar music by Robert Messore scheduled for Thursday this week was cancelled due to predictions of rain. But Robert will be at Best Video Film & Cultural Center Saturday, Oct. 31, at 1 PM for a special Halloween event. Along with his regular Toddler Tunes songs, Robert will throw in some songs appropriate to the annual celebration of spookiness.

Robert Messore puts on a high-energy sing-and-dance-along program for young children and their parents. Voted “Best Entertainer for Toddlers” in the 2011 Kidhaven.com readers poll, Messore’s public “Toddler Tunes” program at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Haven is the place to be every week! The songs are a mix of the classics and some newer songs that folks love. He recognizes that these programs are a place for parents to get together as much as anything, so he encourages folks with newborns through 6-yr-old children to attend.

We know that the covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on Halloween plans and hope this event can make up in a small way for the disappointment. We will be closing off the parking lot and spreading tables and chairs out; Robert will use the deck as a stage. We certainly encourage children—and family!—to come in costume if you wish. If you have portable, lawn chairs, it might be worthwhile to bring them along.

Best Video presents acclaimed new film “Ham on Rye” in virtual screening

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is proud to partner with Factory 25 distribution to screen the acclaimed new independent feature film, “Ham On Rye” on its initial theatrical release. This is a virtual screening—Best Video’s first foray into streaming!—and tickets are $10 and available at this link. Half the proceeds go to BVFCC. The ticket price is good for a three-day rental period.

“Ham on Rye” is a coming-of-age comedy centered on the nervous excitement of youth and the strange horror of entering adulthood. Tyler Taormina’s directing debut uses an expansive ensemble of over one hundred performers, including non-actors, musicians, 90’s Nickelodeon child stars, and more, to explore a suburban community’s relationship with a prom-like ritual and the decay of the human spirit. It begins with the crowd-pleasing spirit of a John Hughes movie and fades slowly into an off-kilter dystopia with the energy of “Dazed and Confused.”

The recently-released movie is garnering ecstatic reviews. It currently boasts a 91% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. New York Times critic Glenn Kenny, in a review published on Oct. 22, designated “Ham on Rye” as a New York Times Critic’s Pick. According to Kenny, “With his first feature, the director and co-writer Tyler Taormina delivers something at first familiar and then increasingly — but never ostentatiously — strange. ‘Ham on Rye’ can be taken as an allegory for middle-class suburban life in America, but it’s got added value as a potent mood piece, accomplished with a bare minimum of means.”

The opportunity to showcase “Ham on Rye” came courtesy of longtime Best Video member and donor Kevin Anton, who was the film’s editor and an executive producer. Anton write in an email:

We like to think of this film as a love letter to suburban hometowns. Tyler, the director, based the film on his own experiences returning to the town he grew up in. He found an oppressive loneliness to the streets and houses of his youth, with many of his childhood friends gone off to the cities. I think there’s truth in that, but I also see the film as a celebration of local gathering spots and the ever-changing cycle of a community over time.

I think this year especially we’ve all developed a greater appreciation for the shared physical places that embody our community. I grew up going to Best Video and I am so grateful that it’s been able to stay around and grow into something so much more than a video rental store. I’m honored they agreed to screen our film, and I look forward to running into old friends in the New Arrivals aisle someday soon.