Indie rock from Zoo Front Fri., Aug. 13

Zoo Front plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., Aug. 13. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Zoo Front is an eclectic original band based in New Haven, Connecticut. Drawing on a wide variety of influences throughout the history of rock n roll, Zoo Front specializes in upbeat music paired with poignant lyrics.

Zoo Front is: Ed Ekendu, Ju Dee Luna, Nancie Tatsapaugh, and Lisa Tonner.

Having mastered the art of file sharing, Zoo Front spent the first months of 2021 putting the finishing touches on the EP “I Need Time”, released in February. There is more new music in the works, as the band has dubbed this “The Return of the Year of the EP” and plans to release at least 2 more EPs before year’s end. Zoo Front is now booking live appearances as restrictions are lifted across Connecticut.

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.

Satchmo Jazz Phools play 1920s-style trad jazz Thurs., Aug. 12

The Satchmo Jazz Phools play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., Aug. 12, starting at 5 PM.

The Satchmo Jazz Phools are a New Haven based trio playing music of the 1920’s in the most charming way possible. The group is Brian Slattery (banjo & vocals), Nick Di Maria (trumpet), and Mike Pireano (clarinet).

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.

UPDATE—Postponed: Wally, Sam Bass play the Best Video deck Sat., July 31

UPDATE 7/31/21: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this show is being postponed. The tentative rescheduled date is Fri., Aug. 20. We hope to either confirm that or announce a different date in the next few days.

Rock band Wally plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sat., July 31. Sam Bass opens with a set at 5:30 PM.

Wally is a dream-pop/indie rock band from New Haven, CT. Blending many elements of shoegaze to pop, brothers Lucas and (Best Video staffer) Teo Hernandez along with lifelong friend Alex Blair share a tight relationship that reflect in their recordings and live shows. The trio’s combination of effortless harmonies, ethereal arrangement, and timeless songwriting is reminiscent of The Beach Boys, Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine.

Sam Bass is a finger-style guitarist and singer/songwriter. His pieces are largely influenced by singers like Elliott Smith and Jason Molina, with an added element of math rock, i.e. bands like Toe, Covet, and Don Caballero.

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.

UPDATE 2—Rescheduled to 8/11: Rich Moran sings from the Great American Songbook

UPDATE 2: Well, here we go again! Due to the prediction of thunderstorms, we are rescheduling this show with Rich Moran singing tunes from the Great American Songbook to Wed., Aug. 11, at 5:30 PM. And it is likely that if there are weather concerns on that date, we will move the show inside—with appropriate cautions—rather than reschedule.

UPDATE! Due to the potential—if you can trust meteorologists, which you can’t—for possibly inclement weather at or near showtime today (June 19), Rich Moran’s performance of tunes from the Great American Songbook has been rescheduled to Wed., July 7, at 5:30 PM.

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.

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.

For a full list of upcoming events, click here.

UPDATE: Ramblin’ Dan Stevens rescheduled to Wed., Sept. 15

George Haling Photo

UPDATE: Due to the strong threat of thunderstorms at show time today (July 29), Ramblin’ Dan Stevens has opted to reschedule his show on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck to Wed., Sept. 15. The show will start at 5 PM.

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., July 29. The show starts at 5 PM.

“Ramblin” Dan Stevens performs an eclectic mix of traditional fingerstyle blues, popular songs and originals and has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands. Of special interest is his unique style of “bottleneck” slide playing popularized by early Mississippi delta bluesmen including his use of a homemade, three stringed “Cigar Box Guitar” and one stringed “Diddly Bow”, both primitive blues instruments.

As a finalist in the International Blues Challenge ’08 on Beale St. in Memphis TN and protege of the legendary Dave Van Ronk, Dan has been lauded for his ability as a raconteur and for the authenticity of his approach gained by many years on the road as a traveling blues musician.

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.

For a full list of upcoming events, click here.

New releases 7/27/21

Top Hits
A Quiet Place: Part II (horror/suspense, Emily Blunt. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 71. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “And while this new installment is, like its predecessor, wonderfully acted and intuitively directed (by John Krasinski, who is solely responsible for the story this time around), it has also largely replaced the hushed horror of the original with full-on action. Faster, coarser and far noisier, “Part II” sacrifices emotional depth for thriller setups that do less to advance the plot than grow the younger characters.” Read more…)

Jakob’s Wife (horror, Barbara Crampton. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 59. From Erik Piepenburg’s capsule New York Times review: “Travis Stevens’s film layers feminism on top of comedy on top of vampire myth and gross-out splatter. It mostly clicks, and the reason is [actress Barbara] Crampton. With a decades-long career in out-there films including ‘Re-Animator,’ she’s as close to acting royalty as horror gets. Here she is fearless as a woman discovering her powers within.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
A Quiet Place: Part II

New Foreign DVDs
Le Crabe-Tambour (France, 1977, war drama. From Vincent Canby’s 1984 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “To come to the point immediately, ‘Le Crabe Tambour,’ Pierre Schoendoerffer’s 1977 French film based on his own French novel, is one of the grandest, most beautiful adventure movies in years. It may be somewhat old-fashioned in its emphasis on courage, honor and the glory of war, no matter what the cause. However, it’s also wonderfully old-fashioned in its convoluted, romantic narrative, which moves from Vietnam, during the collapse of France’s control of Indochina in the 1950’s, to East Africa, Algeria, Brittany, Newfoundland and the stormy fishing grounds on the Grand Banks.” Read more…)

La Piscine aka The Swimming Pool (France, 1969, mystery/suspense, Criterion Collection, Alain Delon. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review of the screening of the restored film: “‘La Piscine,’ made in 1969, is best known in the United States for its remake, Luca Guadagnino’s frisky, borderline frivolous 2016 ‘A Bigger Splash.’ The release of a pristine restoration of the original, directed by Jacques Deray and starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet and Jane Birkin, should bolster this striking movie’s reputation.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Gangs of London: Season 1 (action/crime series, Aled ap Steffan. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 70. From Simon Abrams’ New York Times article: “The other key components of the series, which premiered in Britain last year, are brutal, dynamic fight scenes that bear the unmistakable signature of Gareth Evans, who created the series with the writer and cinematographer Matt Flannery. Evans, a Welsh filmmaker, is known for his electric action sequences, and the set pieces in ‘Gangs of London’ stand out for their visceral impact, sophisticated choreography and extreme violence.” Read more…)

Unrelated (drama, 2007, Tom Hiddleston. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The first film directed by [Joanna] Hogg, ‘Unrelated,’ released in Britain in 2008 and shown here for the first time [in 2014], announced the debut of a significant writing and directing talent. Her more abstract and even chillier third film, ‘Exhibition,’ recently opened in Manhattan. As in ‘Exhibition,’ Ms. Hogg casts a cold eye on the manners of the British upper middle class at play. Except for their accents, these people are identical to a certain class of spoiled, supercilious New Yorkers who exude a smug sense of entitlement.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide (art history, pop culture. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The condition of being an artist and the significance of what an artist produces are two distinct things. The post-pop artist Kenny Scharf, who came out of the same downtown art and music scene as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Klaus Nomi, is someone whose critical and material stock has risen, fallen and risen again over decades. The documentary ‘Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide,’ directed by Max Basch and the artist’s daughter Malia Scharf, makes a considered and not entirely uncritical case for Scharf’s relevance.” Read more…)

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts (race, history, art, outsider art. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “This documentary, directed by Jeffrey Wolf, is a plain, sincere, nourishing account of the artist. Wolf makes excellent use of photo and film archives, laying out the territory that fed [artist and former slave Bill] Traylor’s vision: dirt roads, railroad tracks, backwoods. These places, the critic and musician Greg Tate notes in the film, lay the ground for the “mystical realm” of Traylor’s work: The deliberately two-dimensional figures and the limited but bold colors have the transfixing power of a waking dream.” Read more…)

UPDATE 7/8—Rescheduled to Aug. 8: The Dave Mazza Group plays jazz

UPDATE: Due to the (alleged) 50-70% threat of thunderstorms, tonight’s scheduled show with The Dave Mazza Group at Best Video Film & Cultural Center has been rescheduled to Sun., Aug. 8, at 5:30 PM.

The jazz quartet The Dave Mazza Group (formerly BadSlax) plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Thursday, July 8 Sun., Aug. 8. The music starts at 5:30 PM.

One of the area’s liveliest and groovin’est bands, The Dave Mazza Group is four seasoned musicians who love to play. Their eclectic-but-accessible repertoire which features tunes from some of the great contemporary and classic jazz composers (John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock)–along with some originals–is consistently funky, sometimes swinging, and always cooking.

They recently added a new drummer, Nick D’Errico. Nick joined the lineup of Mark Kaplan, tenor sax; Dave Mazza, guitar; and Jim Ludoviconi, bass.

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.

For a full list of upcoming events, click here.

Experimental music from Red Rainbow (Anne Rhodes), Carl Testa Sat., Aug. 7

Anne Rhodes aka Red Rainbow and Carl Testa share the bill for an evening of experimental and improvised music on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Aug 7. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Anne Rhodes is an experimental vocalist based in New Haven. She performs a broad range of experimental, improvised, and classical music, as a soloist and as a member of ensembles such as Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Vocal ensemble and Carl Testa’s Sway. Her solo project, Red Rainbow, incorporates voice and electronics, looping sounds as diverse as extended techniques and bel canto vocalises, to create layer upon layer of dissonance, harmony, and noise. As a composer, she creates unique embroidered graphic scores.

Carl Testa (b. 1984, Chicago, IL) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer at the intersection of improvised music, jazz, electronics, experimental music, and new media. As a performer/improviser, he is equally comfortable on string bass, electronics, lighting, and combinations thereof. As a composer, he has written acoustic and electronic music for configurations ranging from solo to chamber orchestra, including multimedia pieces that incorporate electronics, lighting, dance, and theater.

Rosalie Coleman is going to be joining Testa on Aug. 7, performing a live coding duo piece using laptops.

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.

Robert Messore’s Toddler Tunes Sat. morning, Aug. 7, outdoors at Best Video

Robert Messore brings his Toddler Tunes kids’ music show to Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s deck Sat., Aug. 7. The event starts at 10:30 AM.

Robert Messore puts on a high-energy sing-and-dance-along program for young children and their parents.

Voted “Best Entertainer for Toddlers” in the 2011 Kidhaven.com readers poll, Messore’s public “Toddler Tunes” program at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Haven is the place to be every week! The songs are a mix of the classics and some newer songs that folks love. He recognizes that these programs are a place for parents to get together as much as anything, so he encourages folks with newborns through 6-yr-old children to attend.

Suggested donation is $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

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.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Brian Ember, Psychic Newborns play the deck Fri., Aug. 6

Brian Ember plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., Aug. 6. Psychic Newborns open at 5:30 PM with their debut performance.

Classically-trained composer and singer, Brian Ember, hasn’t stopped making music since singing You Are So Beautiful to his mom as a toddler in the bathtub. He loved Elton John, Michael Jackson and Xanadu in a suburban ’80s neighborhood that tried to force KISS, Mötley Crüe and Stryper down his glammy, effeminate gullet.

With a host of works for string quartet, orchestra, and choirs under his belt, Ember started the string quartet-powered rock band, The Tet Offensive in New York City, fusing his love for counterpoint and gut-string with theatrics and thrashing.

Ember left the strings in the background for his first solo endeavour, The New Chastity, a full-on baroque pop album that takes inspiration from late ’70s musicians like Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Eric Carmen and Electric Light Orchestra to deliver a deeply personal record about divorce and lost love.

The follow-up EP, “Tomorrow Looked Better Yesterday” and second LP are coming soon.
Super-friends Tom Connolly and Joe Russo birthed a new project during quarantine! Come witness the debut performance of Psychic Newborns! Psych-pop wishes and waking dreams. Kaleidoscopic candy for the spirit world.

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.