Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Sun., Mar. 1, from 2-5 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sunday, Mar. 1, from 2-5 PM.

There is no cover—although donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center are gratefully accepted—so come on down—have a coffee, beer or glass of wine and enjoy the music. It’s all acoustic and mostly traditional. Any and all bluegrass players are welcome.

Bring your instrument or just bring your ears. Come to pick or just to listen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Fleurs, Alethea, Safety Meeting play indie rock Fri., Feb. 28, at 7:30 PM

Indie rock groups Fleurs, Safety Meeting, and Alethea play a triple bill at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Feb. 28. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).
Fleurs is a musical enigma. All shifty riffs and sticky words, Fleurs draws romance out of depravity, mining glitter out of gunk. Fleurs is the feeling of lighting a cigarette on a cold day, the smell of a one night stand, the sound of fine china shattering on concrete. Too smart to be rock, too hard to be pop, Fleurs’ music is a multi-headed serpent that strangles as it caresses.
Alethea is a three-piece punk band from New Haven, CT that features Kurt McGirt (guitar, vocals), Dan Halen (bass, vocals), and Matt Rossi (drums). Founded in 2018, the New York-based Safety Meeting is a four piece indie garage pop band.

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Music: Surf’s up with the rockin’ retro sounds of The Clams Thurs., Feb. 27

Surf’s up! Instrumental rockers The Clams play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Feb. 27. The waves of reverb start crashing at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Those hard-shell, salty, instrumental wise guys return to Best Video for an evening of fun retro instrumentals, soundtrack and pop favorites that end up sounding like retro instrumentals and Clams originals that somehow also end up sounding like retro instrumentals. Groovy Go-Go dancing gals, Vivienne and Kitty will really make this a show. The Clams have few new songs for a new album – lets see how far the album work progresses by showtime!

Straight from the beach party/clambake of your dreams, The Clams brought the driving sound of 1960s surf music to parties, clubs and events everywhere. This 3 piece group dished up tasty instrumental surf classics a la Dick Dale and the Ventures, surfed-up TV and movie classics and loads of Clams originals!

The Clams have provided reverb soaked, go-go powered instrumentals from Maine to Pennsylvania. The Clams have shared stages with The Nebulas, 9th Wave, SPF-4, The Rip Chords and Many more awsome bands. The Clams have played The Cutting Room NYC, Otto’s Shrunken Head, Cafe 9, Ralph’s Diner, Kirkland Cafe, Geno’s Rock Club, Yarmouth Clams Festival and many more groovy venues.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: The Howling Hound Dogs play jug band music Wed., Feb. 26

The Howling Hound Dogs play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Secret Cinema, hosted by Rob Harmon, screens a secret movie Mon., Feb. 24

Best Video Film & Cultural Center staffer Rob Harmon hosts a semi-regular cult film series under the rubric “Secret Cinema.” The next Secret Cinema takes place Monday, Feb. 24, at 8 PM. Along with the night’s movie, Rob shows relevant film trailers and cranks up the Best Video popcorn machine for cinema-appropriate snacking.​

Secret Cinema is free but donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center and its programming are always welcome. For more info, call BVFCC at (203) 287-9286 or email Rob at secretcinemact@gmail.com.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film screening: “Greenfingers” launches second annual 3-film “Garden In Film” garden-themed series Sun., Feb. 23, at 3 PM

Reprising a series concept from 2019, Best Video Film & Cultural Center member 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. 23, and continuing on alternate Sundays (Mar. 8 and Mar. 22). Admission for each screening is $7.

The series plants the seed on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 PM with 2000’s “Greenfingers,” starring Clive Owen and Helen Mirren. Seedlings break the earth on Sunday, Mar. 8, at 3 PM with “Tulip Fever” from 2017, starring Alicia Vikander. The final harvest occurs on Sunday, Mar. 23, at 3 PM with the screening of Hal Ashby’s “Being There” (1979), starring Peter Sellers.

Starring Clive Owen and Helen Mirren, Green Fingers tells the tale of a group in a minimum security facility in England who discover the joys of gardening as therapy, physical improvement and perhaps leading to a spot in the world famous Chelsea Flower Show. Based on a true story (aren’t all movies these days?) Green Fingers will help us swing into the gardening season with verve, elan and the added bonus of appreciating that we are not locked up in prison.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Comedy: Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy Show Sat., Feb. 22, at 8 PM, with host Stosh Mikita

Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy Show returns on Saturday, Feb. 22. It starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Reel Life is a monthly comedy showcase featuring a diverse cast of comics from New Haven, New England and New York City. Hosted by Stosh Mikita.

Stosh Mikita is a New Haven, CT based comedian whose comedy combines clever observations, self-deprecating humor, and dark personal stories from an unusual upbringing. Starting in 2013, Stosh has quickly become a regularly featured comedian all over New England.

Joining Stosh this month are Rob Santos, Darren Sechrist, Tricia D’Onofrio, Ish Gupta, and BJ Kwaygen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Vicki F, Brian Larney perform Fri., Feb. 21, at 7:30 PM

Singer-songwriters Vicki F and Brian Larney play sets Friday, 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).

Vicki F is a rock musician and songwriter who was the lead singer and founder of The Dini Band from 2010 to 2016, and was one of the the lead singers and guitar players for the 80s post-punk band, Troupe DiCoupe, that headlined at CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City, other NYC venues and also Ron’s Place, New Haven. She is now performing originals in and around Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Haunted by hooks and good old fashioned song-craft, Brian Larney is an eclectic, non-stop music-making machine. The Connecticut native and New England Music Awards nominee splits his time performing as a solo acoustic act, as the front-man of his band Brian Larney and The Town Hall, and as part of the harmony pop group Pigeon English. He’s an alternative folk-rock singer-songwriter with an honest and thoughtful style that has been described as “quirky, earnest, and vulnerable.” Larney’s music is as influenced by pop songs of the mid-1960s as it is by the contemporary artists he’s often compared to, such as Jason Isbell and The Decemberists.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Tiny Ocean plays Thurs., Feb. 20

Tiny Ocean plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Feb. 20. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Tiny Ocean is dreamy indie Americana. Front woman and songwriter, Kierstin Sieser’s songs are beautiful and strangely haunting dioramas that somehow feel familiar. They released their first album “Sometimes You’re Right” at the beginning of September. The group is Kierstin Joy Sieser, Jeremy Coster on guitar, Jon Morse on drums and Keith Newman on bass.

In a New Haven Independent report on a May, 2018 show, arts editor Brian Slattery wrote:

Coster, Neuman, and Morse together proved to be a subtle and supple band, always keeping the rhythm breathing. They sounded relaxed and confident, musicians making exactly the sound they wanted to hear. But the real hook was Seiser’s songwriting, an evocative Americana that was somehow frank and elusive, bitter and funny, all at the same time. She could take the vibe from dreamy to gritty in the space of a song or two, sometimes within a beat or two, the band always moving with her.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

New releases 2/11/20

Top Hits
Ford V Ferrari (true life drama.action, Matt Damon. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Quick: Who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966? If you know the answer without Googling, then I probably don’t have to sell you on ‘Ford v Ferrari,’ James Mangold’s nimble and crafty reconstruction of a storied moment in the annals of auto racing. You will probably go in prepared to spot torque differentials and historical discrepancies that escaped my notice. [Please let me know what you find.] If, on the other hand, you are [like me] a bit of a motor-sport ignoramus, then you might want to stay away from web-search spoilers and let the film surprise you. It is, all in all, a pleasant surprise.” Read more…)

Doctor Sleep (Stephen King “The Shining” sequel, Ewan McGregor. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Doctor Sleep,’ Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of the novel by Stephen King, catches up with Danny Torrance, who as a child was terrorized by demons and his own father at a spooky Rocky Mountain hotel. That was in ‘The Shining,’ published by King in 1977 and filmed by Stanley Kubrick in a movie released in 1980. The new film, depending on how you look at it, is a sequel, an update, a corrective or a disaster. King was never a fan of Kubrick’s cold, meticulous gothic, which has nonetheless gathered a sturdy cult following. Flanagan, while hewing more closely to the novelist’s ideas about evil, innocence and addiction, pays tribute to some of Kubrick’s visual signatures.” Read more…)

Wild Nights with Emily (comedy, Molly Shannon. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 74. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “In Madeleine Olnek’s ‘Wild Nights With Emily,’ the life and work of Emily Dickinson are subject to a delightfully droll — even gay — reinterpretation. For believers in the legend of the hermetic poet who never left her bedroom, it may come as a surprise that the Emily [Molly Shannon] of Olnek’s film is not a melancholic recluse, but the heroine of a romantic comedy. Olnek’s version of events is supported by studies of Dickinson’s poems which revealed that references to possible lovers were covered up.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Ford V Ferrari
Roma

New Foreign DVDs
Roma (Mexico, 2018, drama, Oscar winner, Yalitza Aparicio. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 96. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘Roma,’ the Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón uses a large canvas to tell the story of lives that some might think small. A personal epic set in Mexico City in the early 1970s, it centers on a young indigenous woman who works as a maid for a middle-class white family that’s falling apart. Cuarón uses one household on one street to open up a world, working on a panoramic scale often reserved for war stories, but with the sensibility of a personal diarist. It’s an expansive, emotional portrait of life buffeted by violent forces, and a masterpiece.” Read more…)

First Love (Japan, martial arts, Shota Sometani. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The ultra-prolific director Takashi Miike already had about 30 films under his belt at the end of the 1990s, when the one-two punch of the art-horror date picture ‘Audition’ and the ultraviolent art-horror gangster movie ‘Dead or Alive’ wowed Western audiences. Now he’s beyond his 100th movie. Not all of his efforts make it to the States but his latest, ‘First Love,’ demonstrates that his energy and inventiveness are still intact.” Read more…)

La Barraca (Mexico, 1945, drama, Domingo Soler)

New Documentaries
What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire (racial justice. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “In ‘The Other Side,’ the Italian-born filmmaker Roberto Minervini, who makes movies that exist on the edge of the documentary genre, presented an alarming portrait of life on the margins of Louisiana. He embedded with drug addicts and anti-government extremists who seemed to exist apart from society at large, perhaps oblivious even to the camera’s presence. Viewed one way, ‘What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?’ is a companion piece. Filmed largely in New Orleans in 2017 — with brief detours to Baton Rouge and Jackson, Miss. — it offers an urban-Louisiana counterpart to the rural setting of ‘The Other Side.’ Its subjects are African-American, unlike the men and women of ‘The Other Side,’ who were white.” Read more…)

Toxic Beauty (chemicals, makeup, health. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
McCarthy (bio, politics, Joseph McCarthy)