Music: The Bucket Fillers, neighborhood super-group with covers that run the gamut Sat., Mar. 30

The Bucket Fillers play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Mar. 30. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Bucket Fillers are a band of Spring Glen Elementary School parents, formed for the school’s Winter’s Night PTA fundraiser. They are coming together again to entertain the masses with their favorite covers, from Gnarls Barkley to Elvis Costello! Catch them for one last fandango!

The Bucket Fillers are: Bruce and Loralee Crowder (Mercy Choir), Steve Curtis and Erika Simonian (Little Silver), Sarah Dunn, Gerry Giaimo (The Mold Monkies), Evan Green, Dustin Kreidler (Tuxedo Junction), Val McKee (Junebug Saddle), and Brian Slattery (The Moon Shells and Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps)—Along with some very special guests!

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Music: All in the family Americana from River Run Fri., Mar. 29

Americana band River Run plays Best Video Performance Space show Fri., Mar. 29. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

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

River Run is currently recording its first EP with Grammy-nominated Ira Sokolsky at Riverway Studios. The album is an intimate look into heartbreak and healing, captured with driving strings and tight harmonies.

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Music: Bluegrass & (sometimes) Pink Floyd from Dudley Farm String Band Thurs., Mar. 28

The Dudley Farm String Band plays the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Mar. 28. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

While they have roots in bluegrass, Dudley Farm String Band brings together bluegrass, traditional and progressive styles. You might hear them playing old-timey standards one minute, and progressive folk or rock-‘n-roll sets the next. They have a great time when they play together, and it shows.

They pull tunes and styles from the likes of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, The Soggy Bottom Boys (from “O Brother Where Art Thou?”), Doc Watson, Bela Fleck, Pink Floyd, Irving Berlin, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. The group has also developed a substantial collection of original tunes.

The five band members play a range of folk instruments: Mat Crowley – mandolin; Irv Hagwood – banjo; Stan Hershonic (who is unavailable for this show, unfortunately) – resonator slide guitar, mandolin, banjolin and harmonica; Mike Sinclair – bass and harmonica; and Brian Young – guitar, banjo and bass. They all sing from time to time, with Brian, Mat and Stan most often featured.

They’ve played in venues around the state, including: The Podunk Bluegrass Festival, East Hartford, CT; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Medad Stone Tavern Museum, Guilford; Madison Historical Society and Bauer Park, Madison, CT; Night of a Thousand Stars (Guilford Free Library); North Branford Library; The International Festival of Arts & Ideas, New Haven, CT; The Durham Fair, and, of course, performances at Dudley Farm. Dudley Farm String Band also recorded traditional music for the soundtrack of a Dudley Farm video showing a recent barn-raising at the farm.

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Music: Singer-songwriters Bob Csugie, Frank Critelli, Richard Neal & Mark Mirando trade off tunes Wed., Mar. 27

The singer-songwriters Mark Mirando, Richard Neal, Frank Critelli and Bob Csugie will trade off tunes at Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Mar. 27. The show starts at 8 PM and attendees can pay what they can afford between $5-10.

Mark Mirando started his music career in New Haven Connecticut playing in the legendary “Dogs”, a group that was well know for their originals as well as carefully chosen, well crafted covers

Mark concentrates on original music now, although he’ll pull out a Beatles gem on occasion – and he’s recorded with no less than Beatle Ringo Starr. Mark played guitar and sang backup vocals on Ringo’s releases, “Ringo-Rama”, “Choose Love”, and two of Ringo’s greatest hits CD’s, “Photograph” and “Ringo 5.1”.

He performs the east coast singer songwriter circuit working both solo and also with his band and also travels to Nashville to write, record and perform with Nashville’s top songwriters including Georgia Middleman and Connecticut’s own Gary Burr. Mark’s latest CD is titled “Now That You Mention It” and it features such guest artist as Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman, Jim Photoglo, Victoria Shaw and Stealing Angels (Caroline Cutbirth, Jennifer Wayne, Tayla Lynn). One of Mark’s song’s, “What More Do You Want?” was recorded by Kristin Chenoweth and was released on her latest CD titled “Some Lessons Learned.”

Dick 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.

Dick 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.

Bob Csugie has been performing as part of the bluegrass and acoustic scenes in Connecticut for over 20 years. Among his roles has been playing upright bass with The Anne Marie Menta Band.

Frank Critelli writes songs. He dabbles in haiku and other short poetry. Sometimes he writes other stuff too. Like postcards. His songs are available on compact disc and for download at places like CD Baby. Frank Critelli often performs live. Sometimes he performs solo, and sometimes he is accompanied by one or more musical co-conspirators. Over the years he’s played in streets and subways, clubs and coffeehouses, barrooms and classrooms, colleges, festivals, theaters, and (most recently) in his kitchen.

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Literary reading: Connecticut Poetry Society presents Laura & Victor Altshul Tues., Mar. 26, at 7 PM

The Connecticut Poetry Society presents a reading by poets Laura and Victor Altshul at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Tuesday, Mar. 26. The event starts at 7 PM. Admission is free but donation’s to support BVFCC’s programming are encouraged.

The Connecticut Poetry Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of poetry. Its mission is to encourage a community devoted to poetry through chapter meetings, education and events. Laura and Victor Altshul co-Chair the New Haven branch of the CPS, which meets monthly to workshop poems and to encourage programs in the area.

A retired educator, Laura Altshul tutors and serves on non-profit boards focused on providing educational and arts experiences for New Haven’s children whose families don’t ordinarily have access to these opportunities. Her two books of poetry are Searching for the Northern Lights and Bodies Passing. Her poems have won prizes from The Connecticut Poetry Society, The Hamden Arts Commission, The New York Poetry Society, and The Tennessee Poetry Society. She was the featured poet in Speaking of Poetry Episode 36.

Victor Altshul is a psychiatrist in private practice affiliated with Yale Medical School. His four published poetry books are: Stumblings, Singing with Starlings, Ode to My Autumn, and the most recent Strange Birds. His poems have been published in numerous journals and he was the featured poet in the half-hour public television program Speaking of Poetry Episode 43. He and his wife Laura have given numerous readings in Connecticut.

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Music: The Mandingo Ambassadors, led by Guinean guitarist Mamady Kouyate, to play authentic African dance music Fri., Mar. 22

Mamady Kouyate of The Mandingo Ambassadors.

The Mandingo Ambassadors, led by Guinean guitarist Mamady Kouyate, play Best Video Performance Space Friday, Mar. 22. The show starts at 8 PM and tickets are $10. Advance tickets are available through BrownPaperTicket.com.

An African jazz band with beats to make chairs obsolete and melodies to put your mind at ease! Check out NYC’s magnificent Mandingo Ambassadors in their CT debut at this last of the old school video stores!!!

The Mandingo Ambassadors was founded in New York City by griot-guitarist Mamady Kouyaté in 2005. As a veteran of the great orchestras of the golden age of Guinean dance bands, Kouyate is a living library of musical science inherited from his ancestors and from a half century of experience as an arranger, band leader, accompanist and soloist.

Mamady Kouyaté carried this heritage with him to New York where he has collaborated with members of the West African diaspora and Western musicians to continue the great tradition and sound of Guinean Afro-jazz.

Since the summer of 2008 the group has been in residence at Barbes, performing every Wednesday night at this well-known Brooklyn venue. In addition, they have performed at many clubs, events and festivals including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Celebrate Brooklyn, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

In a review of a show at Barbès in 2008, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff wrote:

The music of the Mandingo Ambassadors has been structured to make you feel good. It puts dazzling vocal and guitar patterns over a rhythm section that is like a perfect system: a locked drum groove, much of it played on high-hat cymbal and drum rims; soft bass lines that fall short or start late, or leave gaps in a run of notes; fingerpicked rhythm guitar notes like clear fizz. In the small, square backroom of Barbès on Wednesday — as it will be next Wednesday and for Wednesdays to come — the music sounded loud and light and unfailingly right…

It could have gone on forever, and that was a nice thought.

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Music: The Brian Dolzani Band, Seth Adam play Best Video Thurs., Mar. 21

The Brian Dolzani Band plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Mar. 21. The music starts at 8 PM with singer-songwriter Seth Adam opening. The cover is $8.

Brian Dolzani mines his personal life and experiences to create songs that cut deep upon first listen. Through his unique vocal tone (a ‘smoother Neil Young’) and individualistic writing style, you can tell Brian is putting himself on the ledge with every song and performance. His music reflects his heartache and perseverance through early life tragedy, as well as the daily complexities of family life and deep existential issues we all face (if we know how to look and feel). Despite the often confessional and weighty issues that he writes about, Brian’s music is inspiring, healing, and a testament to the human ability to engage life at a deep, spiritual level, and live to tell the tale.

Dolzani—singing and playing guitar—will perform with his full band on Mar. 21. George Ramirez plays, guitar, John Macchia is on drums, and Bill Conroy plays bass.

Singer/songwriter 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.

2016 was a turning point in his career as he wrote and recorded songs out of a hobbled together, home studio space. Playing all of the instruments, engineering, producing, and everything else-ing on his own resulted in an EP called East Rock. The experience inspired him to continue to do much of the same for the foreseeable future, foregoing using the formal recording studios. In January 2018, he released a single (and video) called ‘Anytown,’ written in response to the events in Charlottesville VA the summer before. Currently, he is writing and recording songs for a full-length album as well as wrapping up an all-acoustic version of his 2007 release, Where You Come From, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the original.

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Music: Jellyshirts play rock Wed., Mar. 20

Rock trio Jellyshirts return to Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Mar. 20. The show starts at 8 PM.

Looking for a frame of reference for Jellyshirts’ music? Try the Velvet Underground and the Byrds. But the band–led by guitarist/vocalist Bret Logan for over 20 years, ably joined by drummer Scott McDonald and bass player Nick Appleby–has a sound determinedly their own.

From the band’s press packet: “Letting the wash of live sound influence each song, without anybody thinking ‘jazz’ or ‘improvisation.’ Never doing covers of our songs. Trying to get you to levitate about one-and-a-half feet off your chair (willingly, of course).”

The short version: They’re loud and they play bars with a mystical need to reach the audience.

From a 2009 Shoreline Times article by late musician and WPLR Local Bands radio show host James Velvet: “The band has been held in awe by its fans over the years for its sometimes soaring, sometimes droning sound, always played with intensity and skill. A good example is the current lead tune on their MySpace page, a recent live recording of a song they first performed 15 years ago, ‘Disinclined.’ Ten minutes of dynamic live jamming. ‘Pick and soar’ is how their longtime champion Gary Vollono of IndepenDisc.com describes the sound. To which I would add, ‘…and feedback sometimes.’”

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Comedy: Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy show hosted by Kendra Dawsey on Tues., Mar. 19, 8 PM

Kendra Dawsey.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents “Reel Life,” a monthly stand-up comedy show that debuted in October, on Tuesday, Mar. 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 BJ Quagan, Caitlin Reese, Rebecca Rush, Ben Bosunga, and John Saponaro.

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.

• BJ Quagan JUST wants you to have a good time. He’s been performing live comedy for 6 years. He is extremely critical of himself and is wondering if this is a good enough biography as you read if. He is one of the associate artistic directors at the Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford and believes firmly that the world is more enjoyable when we all laugh together while it burns.

• Caitlin Reese is a Connecticut based stand up comedian, improviser, and sketch writer. She has been featured on Comics Watching Comics Season 8 on Amazon Prime, Last Comix Standing at Mohegan Sun, and PAID or PAIN on Sirius XM. She has opened for Kevin McDonald from Kids in the Hall and selected to perform in the Women in Comedy Festival. She was also a finalist in the 2018 National Ladies of Laughter Competition at Gotham Comedy Club. Her sense of humor is offbeat, quirky, and always feminist.

• Rebecca Rush is a comic and writer. She has been featured on Funny or Die and VICE, has appeared on YKWD & RAP, and has done numerous festivals including Portland Maine Comedy Festival, Cinder Block Comedy Festival, Bechtel Test Fest, Skankfest, and Mutiny Radio Fest. She has worked with Fortune Feimster, Bobby Kelly, Deon Cole, Ben Bailey, Laurie Kilmartin, Chris DiStefano, and recently featured for Joe List. She’s performed at Greenwich Village Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, LA Comedy Club, Palm Beach Improv, Chicago Laugh Factory, The Ice House, The Comedy Store, The Stand, Funnybone Comedy Clubs in multiple states, and many more. She produces the show Raised by Wolves at Henrietta Hudsons the 2nd Thursday of the month in Manhattan’s West Village, and will soon be producing Escape from LA bimonthly in Santa Cruz.

• John Saponaro is a comic, actor, writer, and voiceover artist based in New York City. He spends his nights performing at some of the most well known comedy clubs in the country. He is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and the voice of the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series. John is an active contributor to the parody news site absrd Comedy.

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Music: Monthly GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam takes place Mon., Mar. 18, from 6-9 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. March’s jam is Monday, Mar. 18, from 6-9 PM.

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

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.