Goodnight Blue Moon on the Best Video deck Thurs., June 24

Goodnight Blue Moon plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thursday, June 24, starting at 5 PM.

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 Crowley plays mandolin and guitar; Erik Elligers plays acoustic guitar. Their voices blend in fine harmony. They play this show in their quartet format with Nancy Matlack on cello and banjo and Vicki Hayes Wepler on violin.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are required inside Best Video.

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. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Songs + Stories 12 on the Best Video deck Sun., June 20, at 5 PM

SONGS + STORIES returns to the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck, Sunday, June 20, starting at 5 PM. There is a suggested $5 donation to the tip jar for the performers.

The event is hosted by Saul Fussiner and this edition’s theme is “Mothers and Daughters.” Paticipating storytellers are are Laura Hurwitz, Sharen McKay, Elisabeth Anton.

Stefanie Clark Harris and Sarah Dunn will offer the songs and music for the event.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are required inside Best Video.

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. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Rich Moran sings from the Great American Songbook Sat., June 19

Rich Moran returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sat., June 19, with his longtime backing band of Judy Webber, Jeff Webber and Mike Bimonte to play popular and jazz music from the 1920s through the 1980s. The show is an outside show and starts at 5 PM.

If you turn your radio dial on a Saturday evening at 6 and come across a Standard being performed by a classic artist such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, there’s a very good chance that you are listening to the One Great Song program hosted by Rich Moran on WMNR. He also writes and produces many of the episodes for the popular series which focus on a particular song, singer, or songwriter from the Great American songbook era.

As a singer, Rich, has brought his neo-traditional take on that same Standards repertoire to venues throughout New Haven County. Just as he does on One Great Song, his performances feature entertaining anecdotes about the history behind the music being played. As a member and neighbor of Best Video, he has brought a variety of themed programs to our space including celebrations of different eras of movie music and the career of Frank Sinatra.

The performers are donating their tip jar proceeds to the Aid For Orphans Relief Foundation, a Connecticut-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide orphans and other at risk children around the globe and in Connecticut with proper healthcare, nutrition and wellness treatments that would otherwise be unavailable.

The Best Video cafe will be open from 4-8 PM, serving coffee drinks, beer, and wine.
We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

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. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.
Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Happy Ending plays semi-unplugged show Fri., June 18

Rock band Happy Ending—which features current and former BVFCC executive directors Hank Hoffman and Richard Brown—plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Fri., June 18, with music starting around 5:30 PM. (A limited edition handmade silkscreen poster for this show lists the start as 5 PM; that time has been changed.)

The quartet will be playing semi-unplugged—while Richard Brown will be on electric guitar and saxophone and Randy Stone will play electric bass, vocalist Hank Hoffman will play acoustic guitar throughout the show and drummer Tom Smith will work a stripped-down kit. This will be a quieter version of Happy Ending but with 100% of the energy.

Happy Ending has released three albums. The most recent, “Electricity for the Youth of Today,” was recorded live at Best Video Performance Space in December of 2013. The vinyl LP and 45 “Have A Nice Day” came out in 1984 and the compact disc “Smile for the Camera” in 1996. John Foster, editor of Op Magazine, described “Have A Nice Day” as a “future cult item for the collectors.” Happy Ending’s music is influenced by 1960s pop, garage rock and psychedelia as well as punk and free jazz.

The group will play six songs they’ve never done live before, including two new songs, two songs from Hank Hoffman’s solo project released last year under the name The Alex Butter Field, and two cover songs.

Writing about a Happy Ending show at Lyric Hall in June, 2017, New Haven Independent arts editor Brian Slattery observed, “With kaleidoscopic projections of faces, hands, drawings, and landscapes swirling behind the band, Happy Ending was at its best during its guitar freakouts, when [guest keyboardist Scott] Amore, Stone, and Smith created tossing waves of rhythm and Hoffman and Brown traded off solos and rhythm work seamlessly, giving the music a chance to fly.”

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

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. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

New releases 6/8/21

Top Hits
Shoplifters of the World (comedy, Helena Howard. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 52. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘Shoplifters of the World,’ a loving gift to superfans of the English band The Smiths, is, we are told at the beginning, ‘based on true intentions.’ I can’t argue with that: Written and directed by Stephen Kijak [who made the fantastic 2008 documentary ‘Scott Walker: 30 Century Man’], this sweetly nostalgic look at lost boys and lonely girls feels like it comes straight from the heart.” Read more…)

City of Lies (true crime/procedural, Johnny Depp. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic: 44. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “At heart a movie about one man’s self-destructive obsession [Poole was forced to resign two weeks shy of his pension], ‘City of Lies’ has an underlying, unexpected poignancy. The look is grimy and the atmosphere is grim; but what could have been a moody character study or a taut conspiracy thriller is instead a dreary procedural, a misbegotten mush of flashbacks, voice-overs and dead ends.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Center Stage (China, 1992, drama, Maggie Cheung. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Chain Lightning (1950, drama/adventure/romance, Humphrey Bogart. From A. Weiler’s 1950 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Make no mistake about it, Warner Brothers, who obviously want audiences to know where they’re going, are aware that we’re living on a supercharged planet. And, in ‘Chain Lightning,’ which, zipped into the Strand on Saturday, they are proving that they are first on the jet-propelled bandwagon with Hollywood’s initial excursion into the wild blue yonder aboard the propellerless, supersonic aircraft. Like its title, this vehicle moves with exciting speed when it is airborne, but it slows down to a plodding walk as routine as a mailman’s rounds when it hits the ground.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Busting (1974, action, Elliott Gould. From Vincent Canby’s 1974 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “[Peter] Hyams, who wrote and directed ‘Busting,’ brings off something of a feat by making a contemporary cop film that is tough without exploiting the sort of right-wing cynicism that tells us all to go out and buy our own guns. It is also comparatively humane. That is, it acknowledges that when cops and robbers are shooting it out in public places, the bystanders often get hurt.” Read more…)

Crescendo (1970, mystery/suspense, Stefanie Powers)

New Documentaries
Stray (feral dogs in Istanbul. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “As simple as its title and as complex as the city it briefly illuminates, ‘Stray,’ Lo’s sharp-eyed documentary about the street dogs of Istanbul, unspools without narration or anything like a plot. Instead, the restless rhythms of the mutts’ uncertain existence lend a poetic randomness to a movie that’s more contemplative than cute.” Read more…)

Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words (politics, legal system, race, bio, Clarence Thomas. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 41. From Jennifer Szalai’s New York Times review: “The producers, Michael Pack and Gina Cappo Pack, spent more than 30 hours interviewing [Justice Clarence] Thomas and his wife, Virginia. Simply getting to watch Thomas expound on his thoughts for an extended length of time constitutes its own kind of novelty — a surprise that begins to wear off when it becomes clear that Thomas will mostly be rehashing the life story he already recounted in his 2007 memoir.” Read more…)

Punk The Capital: Building A Sound Movement (music, popular culture, punk rock)

RESCHEDULED TO Wed., June 30: Brooke Dougan, Justin Esmer play Best Video

UPDATE: Due to the likely threat of rain and possible thunderstorms, the Brooke Dougan/Justin Esmer show on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck that was scheduled for Fri., June 4, is being rescheduled to Wednesday, June 30, at 5 PM.

Brooke Dougan and Justin Esmer play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Fri., June 4. The show starts at 5 PM.

Brooke Dougan is a singer songwriter who has been performing all over Connecticut since she was 14. She has a laid back sound with a smooth voice. Brooke sings with an understated vocal style and writes sweet, simply arranged songs that are accented by interesting chord changes. The result are songs that feel familiar but have unexpected twists.

Justin Esmer is a rising 17 year old Filipino indie pop artist from Hamden, Connecticut. When creating music, Justin is inspired by dreaminess, nature, and nostalgia. He’s the lead vocalist in his high school band “Bad Habits” and is a solo artist for his independent project “Esmer.”

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

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.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Bluegrass, swing, and more from Too Blue Thurs., June 17

Too Blue plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., June 17, starting at 5 PM.

Traveling freely between bluegrass, swing, Celtic and jazz, a Too Blue show is a dynamic dose of serious fun. Smooth harmonies and adventurous musicianship bring stellar arrangements to life and leave the listener anything but “blue.” Original songs as well as fresh covers from Patsy Cline to Bill Monroe keep the show moving and toes tapping.

Seamlessly blending their vocals are guitarist Betsy Rome and banjoist Joan Harrison. Mandolin powerhouse Michael Sassano astounds and entertains, while jazz bassist Jamie Doris brings a creative perspective. Together, Too Blue makes exciting bluegrass that swings and entertains.

Of their second CD, “Trouble With the Grey,” Barry Mitterhoff (mandolinist with Jorma Kaukonen) said, “To quote Bill Monroe, ‘This is powerful music!’ … Swing-grass, original tunes, hot pickin’ & sweet singin.”

The Best Video cafe will be open from 4-7 PM, serving coffee drinks, beer, and wine.
The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are required if you go inside Best Video.

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. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

UPDATE—Rescheduled to 6/16: Jeff Burnham, Brother Other play Best Video deck

UPDATE: Due to the high likelihood of rain for the originally scheduled time frame for this show (5/28, 5-7 PM) by Jeff Burnham and Brother Other, it has been rescheduled to Wednesday, June 16, from 5-7 PM. See you then!

Jeff Burnham plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., May 28. The show starts at 5 PM with Litchfield band Brother Other opening.

Singer-songwriter Jeff Burnham takes listeners on a journey across a gritty, haunted landscape, where sunlight flickers through the rain, framed in the tradition of Americana and folk-rock with heartland rock elements.

Music journalist and author Chip McCabe describes Jeff’s first record, Hard Luck Town as “down home and soulful… the perfect complement to an album collection that includes acts like Son Volt and Wilco.” A 2019 track by track review of the “Lost and Found” EP by columnist Myemuisemo described various songs as “Americana … with a touch of 1990s-era alt-rock optimism” and “Outlaw workingman’s blues.”

“The Insiders” is a moniker for recording projects and live band shows. During the pandemic, Jeff has been writing and recording in his home studio. His latest single releases include “State of Mind,” “What You Learned,” “Jaded,” and “Doing Hard Time.”

“You and I and Everything,” Brother Other’s debut album, dives deep uncovering naked truth and raw emotion. It was recorded and mixed at Dirt Floor Recording & Production in 2020. Overcoming odds like COVID 19 interrupting sessions, Brother Other stayed the course and through great tenacity, completed their first album.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Washboard Slim & The Blue Lights play Sat., June 12, at 5 PM

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck as a quartet on Sat., June 12, starting at 5 PM.

After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country’s most versatile and original of jug bands incorporating pure Americana instruments like tub bass, washboard, jug, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle.

Adding drums and powerful vocal harmonies, this band rocks sold-out concerts, dance halls and family shows. Playing their own compositions as well as original arrangements of traditional gospel, blues, country and early rock n’ roll, their music is by turns playful, haunted and uplifting.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are required if you go inside at Best Video.

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. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Drifting North, Slyne & The Family Stoned play Fri., June 11

Drifting North and Slyne & The Family Stoned play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., June 11, starting at 5 PM.

Drifting North’s sonic explorations cover a lot of fertile ground — psychedelic folk/pop tunes and garage rockers can morph into motorik train beat jammers that bleed into meditative folk ragas. Paired with impressionist lyrics, the result is a beautiful sonic spread — a fresh take on the kind of cosmic Americana that’s been bubbling up from the the US underground the past few years.

Michael Slyne leads a group of punks and freaks and lovers and misfits and drifters and soul searchers and jazz cats and pseudo pop queens and tone benders black market salesmen. They try and make a glorious racket.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

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. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.