Music: WW (from NYC), Cretella/Matlock/Paolucci play Wed., Feb. 27

The Brooklyn, NY-based duo WW (Drew Wesely, Eli Wallace) play Best Video Performance Space Wednesday, Feb. 27. The trio of Cretella/Matlock/Paolucci (moonlighting members of Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps) opens. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is

WW play free improvised music. Wesely plays guitar and Eli Wallace plays piano.

Having performed together for years in New Haven’s band about town, Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, Adam Matlock, Chris Cretella, and Mike Paolucci have developed a damn-near telepathic means of playing together. Being that they are all heavily involved with the local improvised music community they realized in late 2017 that they have not really done that much improvising outside of Caterwaul’s Cadre. So…they decided to let it rip and do some improvising as a trio, taking all they know and love from their experience in Dr. Caterwauls and applying it, as well as the stuff that doesn’t make itself as obviously known in Caterwaul’s and putting it forth for you the listener.

Film screening: “Garden in Film” series continues with “Saving Grace” (2000) Sun., Feb. 24, at 4 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center and master gardener Eric Larson (formerly head of Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale) presents “Garden In Film,” a series of three garden-themed movies, starting on Sunday, Feb. 10, and continuing on alternate Sundays (Feb. 24 and Mar. 10). The series planted the seed on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 PM with 2014’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet. Seedlings break the earth on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4 PM with “Saving Grace” from 2000, starring Brenda Blethyn. The final harvest occurs on Sunday, Mar. 10, at 3 PM with the screening of “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2016), starring Mia Farkasovska. Admission for each screening is $7.

Set in Cornwall, England, “Saving Grace” pits a recently widowed but pugnacious survivor (played by Brenda Blethyn) against the debt collectors and official property appraisers who are circling for payment. She figures out the best path forward is to begin cultivating cannabis for sale. This film touches on the realities of excessive debt, the limits and strengths of friendship and on one woman’s ability to land on her feet in difficult circumstances.

In his 2000 New York Times review, critic A.O. Scott described “Saving Grace” as “[trying] to do for marijuana-dealing what ”The Full Monty” did for male striptease.” It was, he wrote, “this summer’s bait for the Anglophiles who keep shows like ‘Mr. Bean’ and ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ running on public television. Though it might be described as a BBC sitcom as imagined by Cheech and Chong, ‘Saving Grace,’ directed by Nigel Cole, springs from the imagination of Craig Ferguson.”

Remaining schedule:

Sun., Feb. 24, 4 PM: “Saving Grace”
Sun., Mar. 10, 3 PM: “This Beautiful Fantastic”

Best Video hosts annual pre-Oscars brunch & celebration Sun., Feb. 24, 10:30 AM-1 PM

Movie Trivia Contest! Guess the Oscars Winner Contest! Great Prizes! Mimosas, Bagels & more!

Best Video Film & Cultural Center celebrates the Academy Awards with a pre-Oscars Brunch on Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10:30 AM-1 PM. Originally scheduled as an afternoon event with a Chili Cook-Off, it was moved to the morning to avoid any conflict with an evening Pot Luck at Spring Glen Church.

Featuring complimentary mimosas, bagels & more! Oscar Trivia Contest with Masters of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White! A Guess the Most Correct Oscar Winners ballot contest! Prizes!

Everybody is welcome to come celebrate movie culture and community. Bring the kids!

Support for Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming is welcomed with suggested donations of $5-$25 (contribute what you’d like in that range, or more!).

Local state reps. Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter, Mike D’Agostino to hold community forum at Best Video Sat., Feb. 23, 10:30-11:30 AM

State Reps. Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter and Mike D’Agostino will hold a community forum at Best Video Film & Cultural Center to share legislative priorities and solicit feedback on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10:30 -11:30 AM.

The event is free and open to the public.


Music: Five In the Chamber returns with ace bluegrass chops Fri., Feb. 22

Bluegrass quintet Five in the Chamber play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Feb. 22. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Five in the Chamber is a New Haven, Connecticut based bluegrass band that drives hard and carries a big pick. They respect the tradition. They respect the trailblazers. And they respect the renegade outlaws. Our final product is an eclectic balance of unique music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of original catalog that showcase the group’s strong vocals, musicianship, and passion for genre busting. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews and is currently working on a new EP.

Five in the Chamber is Ken McEwen (Guitar, Vocals), Pete Kaufman (Banjo), Kat Wallace (Fiddle, Vocals), Dave Casali (Bass, Vocals) and David Sasso (Mandolin, Vocals). (Banjo player Pete Kaufman will not be available for this show.)

Music: Renegade Lounge, Pangalactic play retro & futuristic variations on surf music Thurs., Feb. 21, at 7:30 PM

Instrumental combos Renegade Lounge and Pangalactic play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Feb. 21. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Renegade Lounge marks the return of guitarist/singer Tim Goselin to his surf rock roots after an absence of five years. Formerly of North Shore Troubadours who crashed into the New Haven music scene and made their mark from 2008-2013, Goselin has formed a band to bring a combination of re-imagined hot-rodded NST songs along with a whole new wave of fretboard-burning tunes to the masses yearning for this rock & roll outlier – along with his Teenagers from Mars bandmates Chris Fasanella on keyboards and Brett Harris on bass, and Aaron Nobel on drums – with nods to punk, garage rock, rockabilly, and a healthy dash of lounge lizard-chic. Find yourself missing those hot July days sizzling down by the shore? Come to Renegade Lounge where the temperature is always perfect for a cold beer and a shot of badass rock & roll.

Pangalactic is a musical collective out of New Haven, Connecticut that has been together since 2012. Originally started as a power trio getting together for jam sessions reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, Explosions in the Sky, Slowdive, the band grew to play around CT as one of the premiere post-rock bands in the area. See, and hear, where they take you. Pangalactic are currently: Spencer O’Doy (guitars, keyboards), Bob Breychak (drums, percussion, keyboards) and Chris Serapiglia (bass guitars, keyboards).UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):

UPDATE 2/20—Cancelled due to snow concerns—Music: Jug band tunes from The Howling Hound Dogs Wed., Feb. 20

UPDATE 2/20:

Due to concerns over snow and the fact that band members live a good distance from Hamden, tonight’s planned show at Best Video Film & Cultural Center with The Howling Hound Dogs jug band is cancelled.

The Howling Hound Dogs play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

The Howling Hound Dogs are a fun, upbeat washboard trio who play swing standards from the 20’s to the 50’s as well as folk and blues tunes, modern arrangements and funny originals. Their shows include ukulele, guitar, kazoo, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, washboard, jug and even spoons!

As a band and as soloists they’ve appeared at festivals, town concerts, senior facilities, libraries, the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Nashville’s Bluebird Café and on TV and radio. Thew members of The Howling Hound Dogs are Peter Magrane, Lou Manzi and Tom McVerry.

“Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy Show” hosted by Kendra Dawsey Tues., Jan. 15, at 8 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents “Reel Life,” a new monthly stand-up comedy show that debuted in October, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 8 PM. Reel Life is hosted by Kendra Dawsey, a comic who also hosts a weekly open mic at Lyric Hall in Westville and has also performed at Best Video’s Second Wednesday Open Mic among other venues throughout New England. Cover is a sliding scale of $5-10—pay what you can within that range.

Also on the bill for Feb. 19 are comics Kwasi Mensah, David Perez, Carmen Washington, Dame FK and Caitlin Arcand.

Kendra Dawsey is an up and coming stand-up comic who has performed in clubs and showcases in NYC and all over New England, including Stonewall Inn, Comix @ Mohegan Sun, and ImprovBoston. She was also a featured comic on the Sirius XM radio program Paid or Pain. Kendra garners humor from her identity and experiences by blending anecdote with higher concepts. Never too proud to laugh at herself, Kendra endears audiences by inviting them to laugh with her.

• Caitlin Arcand — Hailing from Boston, Caitlin Arcand is a psychology student by day and a comedian by night. Her candid stories and brutally honest accounts of her daily life have been heard on stages all over the country, and will appear on season 7 of Amazon Prime’s “Comics Watching Comics.” This past November, her solo stand up musical “She Doesn’t Even Live Here” premiered at New York’s SOLOCOM festival, featuring original songs and hilarious tales from her weekly commutes to the city. Her second solo musical “Problem Child,” a retelling of her unconventional childhood, made its debut this May for an 8 show run at ImprovBoston. Aside from performing, Caitlin is also an active comedy producer and is responsible for creating several shows in Boston and New York, such as the comedy variety shows “Sketchy Stand Prov” and “Fancy Pants.” She currently produces and hosts the female dominated comedy show “Ladylike” at ImprovBoston every month.

• Kwasi bridges the gap between insightful observations about race and still thinking he could be a Power Ranger when he was 15. He’s opened for SNL’s Sasheer Zamata, Aparna Nancherla, and W. Kamau Bell. He also co-produces Laughing Liberally Boston, a show that combines comedy with progressive politics. He’s been featured in SF Sketchfest, the Boston Comedy Festival, The Comedy Exposition in Chicago, and just recorded his first hour of stand up titled “Not From Around Here.”

• Dame FK is an American born stand up comic who rose to prominence opening for Hannibal Burress. You can see his work online and live as he fashionably makes his way to a stage near you.

• David Perez – David Perez is a Brooklyn based writer, performer, comic, and breakfast sandwich eater. David produces the monthly show S.U.C.K. (Stand Up Comedy Klub). He has worked with places like Steppenwolf Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Teatro Vista, American Theatre Company, Upright Citizens Brigade, Joe’s Pub, The Goodman Theatre and a lot of bars where he was paid in drink tickets and doritos. He was the center of a popular internet experiment called ‘David on Demand’ where for seven days everything he did was controlled by tweets.

• Carmen Washington – Carmen Washington is a mainstay in CT Comedy and has performed in popular venues like Comix Mohegan Sun. She takes a no holds barred approach to topics like motherhood, dating, and her amazing rack.

Best Video hosts annual pre-Oscars Brunch & celebration Sun., Feb. 24, with trivia & Oscar contests (UPDATED 2/12/19)


Because of a perceived conflict with the evening Neighborhood Soup Pot Luck Dinner at Spring Glen Church, Best Video Film & Cultural Center has moved its pre-Oscars celebration event to the morning of Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10:30 AM-1 PM. We have shelved the Chili Cook-Off for now. The Oscars Brunch features complimentary mimosas and bagels as well as the previously planned Oscars Trivia Contest presided over by Masters of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White and Oscars ballot contest. Everybody is welcome to come and celebrate movie culture and community.

Support for Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming  is welcomed with suggested donations of $5-$25 (contribute what you’d like in that range, or more!).

The red carpet rolls out for bowls of red—chili, to those not in the know when Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts an afternoon pre-Oscars celebration and fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 12:30-3 PM 10:30 AM-1 PM. In the spirit of last fall’s Best Cookie Contest, we debut our “Chili Oscars Cook-Off,” a chili-making contest. Admission is $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for individuals and $25 for two adults (kids included for free).

The event will also feature a movie trivia contest with Best Video’s Master of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White. And, as in previous years, attendees will get Oscar ballots and can compete to see who can correctly guess the most winners. There will be prizes for all the contests.

BVFCC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people, film, and music together. For more information, check or call (203) 287-9286.

Music: Sambeleza reunion with Isabella Mendes Fri., Feb. 15

Sambeleza plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Feb. 15. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10. The show is notable for reuniting singer/piano player Isabella Mendes with bassist Jeff Fuller and guitarist Joe Carter. Graciliano Zambonim plays percussion.

Sambeleza performs a wide variety of Brazilian songs, both old and new, with a jazz twist. Featured composers include Tom Jobim and Ary Barroso, as well as younger composers like Djavan, Debora Gurgel and Arlindo Cruz. A few originals by group members are added to the mix.

Their first CD, “Sambeleza Live,” was released in the spring of 2015. It was recorded live at Summer Solstice Samba in June, 2014 at Voices Cafe of the Unitarian Church in Westport in association with WPKN-FM. Along with Sambeleza members Isabella Mendes, Jeff Fuller and Joe Carter on that date were special guests Ali Ryerson (flute), Adriano Santos (drums) and Ze Mauricio (percussion).

Brasil (spelled with an “s” in Portuguese) is well known for its rich heritage—a blend of indigenous, African and European cultures—from which the music has risen with fascinating rhythms, soaring melodies and colorful harmonies. The musicians of Sambeleza are outstanding U. S. and Brazilian interpreters of the great songs of the bossa nova and samba traditions, as well as outstanding jazz artists in their own right. Sambeleza derives its name from two words: samba, the national dance of Brasil, and beleza, Portuguese for “beauty.”