Cafe reopening set for Mon., June 15; Sunday video hours change from 4-8 PM to 3-7 PM

BVFCC cafe manager Matt Elliott and barista Graham Honaker getting the cafe ready for the Monday reopening.

Due to some unexpected complications, we were unable to reopen the cafe this week as expected (and announced). Our apologies to all who were disappointed. But we have gotten the kinks out and our cafe will reopen for curbside pickup this coming Monday, June 15.

Also, the Sunday hours for curbside DVD pickup is changing. Previously, Sunday hours were 4-8 PM. Starting this weekend, members can pick up their videos on Sunday from 3-7 PM. Members can also pick up DVDs 3-7 Pm on Monday-Wednesday and from 4-8 PM Thursday through Saturday.
Starting June 15, the cafe will be open daily from 8 AM-noon. PLEASE: debit or credit cards only for transactions for safety reasons. While cash will be acceptable for tips, the cafe—like the video side—will not be accepting cash or checks for transactions to lower the risk to staff and patrons.

We also ask that all patrons—for your safety and the safety of our staff—observe these precautions:

WEAR MASKS • Our staff will be wearing masks when they serve you. We ask that you respect them by also wearing masks when receiving your purchase. We understand that the masks will need to be lowered if you take a seat to drink your cappuccino or devour your croissant. That’s where social distancing becomes extra important!

OBSERVE SOCIAL DISTANCING IN LINE & WHEN SEATED AT OUTSIDE TABLES • Please maintain a social distance of 6-8 feet between you and others who aren’t members of your household. We know everybody wants to socialize again but let’s do it in a safe manner.

Cafe not reopening Mon., June 8; reopening (for curbside service) date to be announced soon

Due to a combination of circumstances, the Best Video Film & Cultural Center cafe will not return for curbside service this Monday, June 8. We will announce a reopening date soon.
 
Our apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this might cause.

Updated days/hours for curbside pickup of movies—adding Monday through Wednesday hours

With additional staff now available Best Video Film & Cultural Center is now adding curbside pickup hours on Monday-Wednesday for taking out DVDs. Curbside pickup Thursday though Sunday began on May 21. With this change, members can now access the riches of the BVFCC archive any day of the week.

Updated days and hours for picking up movies:

Monday-Wednesday: 3-7 PM
Thursday-Sunday: 4-8 PM

In our initial phase, we are geared towards making our film archive available again for our members who have the monthly and annual plans. To reduce risk to our members and to our staff, we will not be processing any in-person cash or card transactions. (Our cafe is still closed. We hope to open for curbside cafe service in the very near future and will post updates when that occurs.)

This is how it will work initially and what the hours will be for picking up DVDs:

CURBSIDE PICKUP ONLY • For now, patrons will not be allowed in the premises to browse. We recognize that browsing is one of the signature joys of the Best Video experience and we look forward to when that will be possible again. But at this point, we believe safety dictates that we deliver our movies curbside rather than having our friends inside.

EMAIL YOUR REQUESTS • Email your requests to us at orders@bestvideo.com. This will be an email address dedicated specifically to requests/orders. You may call in requests (203-287-9286) but—because we don’t have voicemail—you will only reach us when we are open.

DAYS & HOURS WE WILL BE OPEN • Because of staff limitations and just out of caution our initial hours will be limited. We will be open for pick-up Thursday-Sunday from 4-8 PM, and Monday-Wednesday 3-7 PM.

YOUR MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES DOUBLED! • For at least the next two months, members with monthly or annual plans will be able to take out double the number of titles to which your plan would normally entitle you. So 1-Movie Plan members may have two out at a time, 2-Movie Plan members may take four, and 4-Movie Plan members may take eight. In order to be fair to all members and ensure circulation of new releases, those titles from the “New Releases” section will be limited to the number of movies your plan would normally allow (1, 2, or 4). Please return those in a timely fashion.

GETTING YOU YOUR MOVIES SAFELY • Our staff will be wearing gloves and masks. We had the interior space cleaned professionally on Tuesday. When we gather your order, we will clean the cases and discs off with disinfectant cleaner and put them in paper bags with your name on them. When you arrive, you can call us to let us know you are here (and what car you are in) or come to the door and give your name. PLEASE: If you come to the door, make sure to wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance of 6-8 feet from anyone else. We will set a small table—which will be cleaned regularly—outside on which to place bags to be picked up if it doesn’t work for them to be put directly in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle.

HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE YOUR MOVIES? • You can search our film archive database by title on our Web site. Unfortunately, the online list has not been updated since 2014. We are currently working to get it up to date with all the titles we have on DVD and Blu-Ray and hopefully that will occur within the next few days. You can, of course, request movies made since 2014 and we will likely have them as part of our archive. Click here to go to the searchable (and downloadable) online list. You can check out what has come in over the past few months by scrolling through our New Releases page, also.

RETURNS • Returns can be put in the red drop box outside our front door (or at the Willow Street or Lyric Hall drop boxes; the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Yale may be currently inaccessible). We will have dedicated bins inside by day of return to which returned titles will be put first. After three days, they will be cleaned and returned to the shelf.

DON’T HAVE A MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP? • Now is a great time to become one of the hundreds of households in the greater New Haven area who support Best Video Film & Cultural Center—and get inexpensive access to our incredible archive—by becoming a monthly or annual member. The 1-Movie, 2-Movie, and 4-Movie plans (remember, you can access double that for the next two months) are respectively, $10, $20, or $30 per month in recurring charges. If you pay for a full year at once, you take 10% off ($108, $216, $324). You can join by clicking here.

Best Video takes first reopening step

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is taking the first step towards reopening!

In our initial phase, we are geared towards making our film archive available again for our members who have the monthly and annual plans. To reduce risk to our members and to our staff, we will not be processing any in-person cash or card transactions. (Our cafe is still closed. We hope to open for curbside service in the near future and will post updates when that occurs.)

This is how it will work initially and what the hours will be for picking up DVDs:

CURBSIDE PICKUP ONLY • For now, patrons will not be allowed in the premises to browse. We recognize that browsing is one of the signature joys of the Best Video experience and we look forward to when that will be possible again. But at this point, we believe safety dictates that we deliver our movies curbside rather than having our friends inside.

EMAIL YOUR REQUESTS • Email your requests to us at orders@bestvideo.com. This will be an email address dedicated specifically to requests/orders. You may call in requests (203-287-9286) but—because we don’t have voicemail—you will only reach us when we are open.

DAYS & HOURS WE WILL BE OPEN • Because of staff limitations and just out of caution our initial hours and days will be limited. We will be open for pick-up Thursday-Sunday from 4-8 PM.

YOUR MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES DOUBLED! • For at least the next two months, members with monthly or annual plans will be able to take out double the number of titles to which your plan would normally entitle you. So 1-Movie Plan members may have two out at a time, 2-Movie Plan members may take four, and 4-Movie Plan members may take eight. In order to be fair to all members and ensure circulation of new releases, those titles from the “New Releases” section will be limited to the number of movies your plan would normally allow (1, 2, or 4). Please return those in a timely fashion.

GETTING YOU YOUR MOVIES SAFELY • Our staff will be wearing gloves and masks. We had the interior space cleaned professionally on Tuesday. When we gather your order, we will clean the cases and discs off with disinfectant cleaner and put them in paper bags with your name on them. When you arrive, you can call us to let us know you are here (and what car you are in) or come to the door and give your name. PLEASE: If you come to the door, make sure to wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance of 6-8 feet from anyone else. We will set a small table—which will be cleaned regularly—outside on which to place bags to be picked up if it doesn’t work for them to be put directly in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle.

HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE YOUR MOVIES? • You can search our film archive database by title on our Web site. Unfortunately, the online list has not been updated since 2014. We are currently working to get it up to date with all the titles we have on DVD and Blu-Ray and hopefully that will occur within the next few days. You can, of course, request movies made since 2014 and we will likely have them as part of our archive. Click here to go to the searchable (and downloadable) online list.

RETURNS • Returns can be put in the red drop box outside our front door (or at the Willow Street or Lyric Hall drop boxes; the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Yale may be currently inaccessible). We will have dedicated bins inside by day of return to which returned titles will be put first. After three days, they will be cleaned and returned to the shelf.

DON’T HAVE A MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP? • Now is a great time to become one of the hundreds of households in the greater New Haven area who support Best Video Film & Cultural Center—and get inexpensive access to our incredible archive—by becoming a monthly or annual member. The 1-Movie, 2-Movie, and 4-Movie plans (remember, you can access double that for the next two months) are respectively, $10, $20, or $30 per month in recurring charges. If you pay for a full year at once, you take 10% off ($108, $216, $324). You can join by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing our friends again soon—albeit behind masks and at a safe distance! We hope you are all well and staying safe and let’s keep it that way!

Thanks to our supporters for an overwhelmingly successful 2020 Great Give!

We at Best Video Film & Cultural Center wish to express our deepest appreciation to the community for the tremendous outpouring of support we received in this past week’s Great Give. The generosity of the greater New Haven community—not just towards us but to hundreds of other organizations as well—is remarkable, particularly considering the struggles so many people are having.

Between the direct donations we received through The Great Give, the $3,000 we won in prizes for having the third highest number of peer-to-peer fundraisers who raised $200 or more, the approximately $3,000 in matching funds we got from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Bank of America, and the donations made directly to BVFCC through checks or our Web site, we raised more than $50,000.

That is almost double what we have raised in any previous Great Give. And we had considered those Great Gives to be successful.

Out of 398 organizations, we finished 12th in amount raised and a stunning 2nd place in number of unique individual donors. Clearly, our mission of “Bringing film, music, and people together” touches a powerful chord in a time of self-isolation and social distance.

At a time when our income stream has been drastically cut back due to the temporary closure, those funds will provide an invaluable lifeline and bridge to our return to fully serving the community that we embrace and that has embraced us in return.

Thanks to all who gave, who spread the word, who participated as fundraisers, who wished us well, and thanks also to The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven for its superb job organizing The Great Give. We look forward to hopefully seeing you soon as the state takes the initial steps to reopening. In the meantime, please stay safe.

The Resch Family Fund’s “You’ve Got Friends” 40 Fundraising Champions Challenge

COUNTDOWN TO THE GREAT GIVE® MARATHON!

While advance giving began on April 6, the heart of The Great Give® begins in earnest this Tuesday, May 5, at 8 AM. The 36-hour online fundraising marathon—coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to support hundreds of area non-profits—continues through Wednesday, May 6, at 8 PM.

The Great Give® is Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s most important fundraiser of the year and, with the loss of income due to our temporary, pandemic-mandated closure, it take on even more importance in 2020.

What are some ways you can maximize the impact of your best gift to BVFCC in The Great Give®?

ACCEPT THE RESCH FAMILY FUND CHALLENGE TO BE A “FUNDRAISING CHAMPION” FOR BEST VIDEO!

The Resch Family will make a matching donation of $2,000 if 40 (or more) Fundraising Champions each raise $200 before 8pm on Wednesday May 6th. Reaching that goal enhances our chances of winning up to $5,000 in additional prize money for Best Video. Are you up for the challenge?

Become a Fundraising Champion by clicking the “Fundraising” button (see photo) on the Best Video Film and Cultural Center Great Give page or make a donation via a BVFCC Fundraising Champion who you know.

If becoming a fundraiser is a stretch for you or outside your comfort zone, there is another way you can raise the impact of any donation you might make—by going through the list of “fundraising champions” on the right side of our Great Give® page and donating through the page of one who hasn’t yet reached the $200 benchmark.

ARE YOU AN EARLY BIRD?

GENEROUS DONORS ARE CONTRIBUTING MATCHING FUNDS UP TO $500 IF YOU DONATE BETWEEN 8 and 9 AM ON MAY 5 & 6!

Want to make your donation go even farther? Of course you do!

Make your donation through one of our “Fundraising Champions” (see information above) between 8 and 9 AM on Tuesday, May 5, or Wednesday, May 6. The more donations we get during those time frames, the better our chance of winning an additional $1,000 prize.

The Rabbi Herb & Elin Brockman May 5 Early Bird Match Challenge:

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is the appreciative beneficiary of a $500 match from Rabbi Herb and Elin Brockman. The Brockmans will match up to $50 of every donation up to $500 for the hour of 8-9 AM on May 5. Make your donation dollars go farther by donating during the Early Bird time frame on May 5th!

The May 6 Early Bird Match Challenge:

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is the appreciative beneficiary of a $500 match from an anonymous donor. The donor will match up to $50 of every donation up to $500 for the hour of 8-9 AM on May 6. Make your donation dollars go farther by donating during the Early Bird time frame on May 6th!

Support Best Video in The Great Give, May 5-6; advance giving has already begun!

Can you pledge to donate? Email us to let us know—details below!

The Great Give®—an annual 36-hour online fundraising marathon coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in the first week of May—is Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s most important fundraiser. Given the ongoing expenses we are incurring (rent, utilities, insurance, etc.) while having much of our daily income stream cut off, The Great Give® is more important than ever this year.

• GREAT GIVE RUNS MAY 5-6 BUT ADVANCE GIVING HAS ALREADY BEGUN

The Great Give® runs from May 5-May 6, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.. Advance giving for The Great Give® began April 6, 2020. We recognize times are difficult for many people—your best gift can to help us continue to bring film, music, and people together.

We need your help! Please join our campaign and help us raise the money necessary to continue—and expand—our programming and preserve—and expand!—our incredible film archive! We need you to tell your friends and family members about the value we have for the community and ask them to join us in helping to make a difference.

• CAN YOU PLEDGE TO GIVE?

Our intention—before we had to temporarily close our premises—had been to collect names, email address, and cell numbers on a pledge sign-up sheet so we could text supporters when the event was under way. If you want to pledge to donate—you needn’t say how much although it does have to be $5 or more—you can email us your info at info [AT] bestvideo.com. Put “pledge” in the subject line.

• HELP US AS A PEER-TO-PEER FUNDRAISER

Donating is great! But if you want to help us even more, become one of our fundraisers and let your friends and family know how important you feel Best Video is to you and the community. The more fundraisers we have, the better our chance of winning additional thousands of dollars in prize money.

Just go to our Great Give® page and click the “Fundraise” button right next to the “Donate” button. It will ask for your name, email address, and to create a password. When you press “Submit,” you have created YOUR page, which you can share on social media and emails.

It’s fun! It’s competitive! Rally your friends and family to support a local cultural icon.

Although it isn’t necessary, you can customize your page by clicking on “Toolkit” on your fundraiser page. At the top of your “Toolkit” is an option to “Tell your story.” Opening that allows you to put in a picture of yourself, personalize the text on your fundraising page, and put in an image that relates to the reasons why you support Best Video. (If you need help customizing your page, contact us at info [AT] bestvideo.com.)

Join us at the virtual video counter with our series “A Favorite Movie”: Best Video staff & friends make recommendations

One of the great things about Best Video Film & Cultural Center is exchanging recommendations about movies. While BVFCC is temporarily closed to support social distancing during the pandemic, we decided to solicit movie recommendations from staff and friends.

The premise of the series is “A Favorite Movie,” not necessarily “The” favorite movie of contributors. Members, friends, and supporters of Best Video Film & Cultural Center talk about movies they like—and why they like them.

Here are the contributions to date, starting with Best Video founder and original owner Hank Paper, talking about the Argentinian film “The Last Suit”:

Here’s composer and singer Brian Robinson talking up his un-ironic affection for “Hudson Hawk”:

Neal Damiano likes “Valley Girl,” featuring Nicolas Cage’s first starring role:

Best Video staffer Mike Wheatley recommends “Galaxy Quest” as both a great comedy and great sci-fi film for the family:

New Haven Independent arts editor and musician Brian Slattery hymns the virtues of Spanish director Julio Medem’s “Lovers of the Arctic Circle”:

Documentary filmmaker, musician, and DJ contributes with a paean to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul”:

BVFCC member Kevin Munley and his son Yan Patrick have a special place in their heart for Star Wars Episode V aka “The Empire Strikes Back”:

Storyteller, writer, screenwriter, and educator Saul Fussiner praises “Bottle Rocket,” director Wes Anderson’s feature debut:

BVFCC member and Institute Library Operations Manager Eva Geertz picks a Coen Brothers dark horse, “Intolerable Cruelty,” for her choice:

Writer, musician, and pie-maker Val McKee offers up an appreciation of the 1985 film “Fandango”:

Enjoy music from Best Video Film & Cultural Center on our YouTube channel!

While most of us are social distancing, Best Video Film & Cultural Center is taking this opportunity to share wonderful musical moments from shows here on YouTube. These are videos shot be Executive Director Hank Hoffman over the past several years and are chosen to showcase the diversity of music that we present.

We created the Best Video Film & Cultural Center YouTube channel in December and have posted six videos so far with many more to come. Subscribe to the channel to get notified when new videos are uploaded.

For our first video, we posted a tune by Tariku, a local offshoot of the NYC-based Mandingo Ambassadors. Tariku is fronted by Aaron Latham Greenberg and features the great Guinean guitarist Mamady Kouyate. Frank Brocklehurst is on bass, Matt Dean is on percussion, and Dylan McDonnell plays flute. This was from an August, 2019 show.

The next video features New Haven rock ‘n’ roll legends The Furors playing their song “Twistin’ In the Wind” on may 11, 2017. The Furors are Derek Holcomb on guitar and Tom Dans on drums. They have been playing the New Haven area since the late 1970s.

Afro-soul dynamo Thabisa graced our stage on July 25, 2019, accompanied by Lamar Smith (guitar), Sam Oliver (drums), Jim Lawson (bass), and Timothy Kane (trumpet). This is Thabisa’s song “Ndithanda Wena.”

The Tony Purrone Trio—led by internationally known jazz guitarist Tony Purrone—plays his original tune “Lost and Found” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center in Hamden, CT December 19, 2019. Accompanying Tony Purrone are Preston Murphy on upright bass and Ray Marchica on drums.

Americana/country band Plywood Cowboy play the song “Stray” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center August 10, 2017. “Stray” was written by band leader, singer, and guitarist Steve Dedman. Plywood Cowboy for this show was Dedman (vocals, guitar, piano), Austin Gray (lead guitar, vocals), Kat Wallace (violin, vocals), Shane Tanner (bass), and Jason Apostoleris (drums).

Bluegrass star Tim O’Brien, accompanied by Jan Fabricus on vocals, performs at Best Video Film & Cultural Center in Hamden, Connecticit November 15, 2017, part of a sold-out two-night stand. The concert was presented by Chris Wuerth’s GuitarTownCT Productions. O’Brien and Fabricus perform the song “Grandma’s Hands,” composed by Bill Withers.

Events canceled through April 14

We have canceled all events at Best Video Film & Cultural Center through April 14 due to the public health crisis. While it may be necessary to cancel further events—and perhaps likely will be—we are leaving them on the calendar for now to maintain flexibility.
 
Stay safe, everybody.