UPDATE: POSTPONED Music: SAP, The Knife Kickers, Daniprobably play Fri., Mar. 13, at 7:30 PM

UPDATE 3/12: Due to concerns raised by COVID-19, Friday’s show at Best Video Film & Cultural Center is being postponed to a later date. Our apologies to all who were looking forward to the show, but the musicians and the staff of Best Video Film & Cultural Center think it is prudent to err on the side of caution. We look forward to rescheduling this event when circumstances allow.
The indie rock acts SAP, Knife Kickers, and Daniprobably play Best Video Performance Space on Friday the 13th. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).
SAP is a four piece indie pop band fronted by Amber Kristjansson accompanied by Chris Killbourn on guitar, Cameron Schmitt on bass and Rich Figlewski on drums. Emotionally driven lyrics flow over twinkling guitar, driving bass and jazz drums.
The Knife Kickers are a folk punk band out of Woodbury, CT. Daniprobably play guitar and drum indie rock.

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UPDATE 3/12: Postponed Music: Pigeon English, Jeff Burnham play Thurs., Mar. 12

UPDATE 3/12: Due to concerns raised by COVID-19, tonight’s show at Best Video Film & Cultural Center is being postponed to a later date. Our apologies to all who were looking forward to the show, but the musicians and the staff of Best Video Film & Cultural Center think it is prudent to err on the side of caution. We look forward to rescheduling this event when circumstances allow.

Pigeon English, the harmony pop duo comprised of Rob Nelson and Brian Larney, play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Mar. 12. Singer-songwriter Jeff Burnham opens. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Pigeon English is a collaboration between songwriters Brian Larney (of Lines West) and Rob Nelson (of Elegant Primates), exploring close harmony vocals and the mysterious paths of melody. Drawing inspiration from The Everly Brothers and The Beatles, Larney and Nelson craft songs about love and misunderstanding.

When Pigeon English released their 6-song debut EP “Coo” in January, Rick Allison of Cygnus Radio called it “one of the new treasures of 2019.” Brian Slattery of the New Haven Independent wrote that Pigeon English “melodies, chords, and lyrics consistently make clever turns that feel both unexpected, satisfying — and emotionally complicated…thanks to songwriting this fun and sharp, complicated, agonizing relationship troubles have rarely been so catchy.”

In July, the band released its first full-length album, “Places, Everyone!” featuring 10 new songs.

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. After several years writing for and performing with his band Tuesday Saints, Jeff has reoriented his sound with heartland rock elements, as a solo project called Jeff Burnham and the Insiders.

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New releases 3/3/20

Top Hits
Dark Waters (true life corporate crime thriller, Mark Ruffalo. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 72. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Outrage mixes with despair in ‘Dark Waters,’ an unsettling, slow-drip thriller about big business and the people who become its collateral damage. It’s a fictional take on a true, ghastly story about a synthetic polymer that was discovered by a chemist at DuPont, which branded it Teflon.” Read more…)

Playmobil the Movie (animated feature, Adam Lambert [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 25. From Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review: “The Lego Movie franchise has been one of the funniest, smartest things in the cinema and even the Angry Birds movies were pretty good – so hopes were counterintuitively pretty high for ‘Playmobil: The Movie.’ Disappointingly, it is a borderline dopey, sentimental children’s adventure mostly without the wit and spark that converted grownups and kids to the Lego films.” Read more…)

Queen & Slim (crime/romance, Daniel Kaluuya. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Queen & Slim’ is full of violence and danger, but it isn’t a hectic, plot-driven caper. Its mood is dreamy, sometimes almost languorous, at least as invested in the aesthetics of life on the run as it is in the politics of black lives. Not that the two are separable. The image of Queen and Slim that is reproduced on protest T-shirts and murals shows them striking stylized poses in borrowed clothes, leaning against the vintage Pontiac that carries them on the second half of their journey.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Queen & Slim
Dark Waters

New Foreign
By the Grace of God (France, crime/drama based on pedophile priests controversy, Melvil Poupaud. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Ozon’s approach in ‘By the Grace of God’ is not plain, but it is straightforward. The movie is not replete with what you’d call stylistic flourishes — although when one character ascends a spiral staircase, Ozon doesn’t restrain himself from doing as he always does in this situation, which is to include an overhead shot of the structure. And Ozon exerts his command of cinematic language throughout, in ways that are less immediately obvious. He crafts a film that is engrossing from the start, while building to something greater and more emotionally encompassing.” Read more…)

Max & The Junkmen (France, 1971, crime/romance, Michel Piccoli. From A.O. Scott’s 2012 New York Times review on the film’s belated American opening [requires log-in]: “Shot [by René Mathelin] in harsh, grainy color in grubby, workaday locations in and around Paris, ‘Max et les Ferrailleurs,’ adapted from a novel by Claude Néron, has the matter-of-fact look and careful pace of a precinct-house procedural. The film’s central crime is the robbery of a bank branch by a gang of small-timers, and most of the cops are beleaguered, cynical bureaucrats.” Read more…)

Line of Demarcation (France, 1966, French occupation, Jean Seberg)

New British DVDs
Perfect Friday (1971, crime/comedy, Ursula Andress. From Vincent Canby’s 1970 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In ‘Perfect Friday,’ [director Peter] Hall and his script writers observe all the conventions of the genre, up to and including the final obligatory twist that must always be a variation on failure. It’s this obligation to fail that makes the caper movie, ultimately, so tiresome. Without it, the movie is left open-ended, without shape, but with it, the movie can only hope to be a basic exercise.Within these very important limitations, Mr. Hall has made an intelligent and quietly funny film about three eccentrics, who are as attractively written as they are played.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street (bio, film history, gay & lesbian, Mark Patton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 61. From Michael Ordoña’s Los Angeles Times review: “Horror movies usually end with the hero facing down the big, bad demon that has haunted him or her for the previous 90 minutes. For ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’ star Mark Patton, it took 30 years, but that catharsis finally happened in real life. The new documentary ‘Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street,’ directed by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen, was there.” Read more…)

CT Librarians Tell: A Storytelling Showcase at Best Video Thurs., Mar. 12, 4-6 PM

The Connecticut Library Consortium presents CT Librarians Tell: A Storytelling Showcase at Best Video FILM & Cultural Center on Thursday, Mar. 12, from 4-6 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Hear favorite and original stories provided by a lineup of CT librarians trained by award-winning storyteller Jennifer Munro.

Jennifer Munro grew up in a small village in the heart of the industrial Midlands of England where she learned the rules of engagement that have resulted in a collection of original stories about rascals, rogues, and heroes. Her stories, funny and poignant, will have you cheering one moment and weeping the next. Her repertoire also includes original myths and adult fairy tales, which resonate with a deep and abiding truth that speaks to the here and now.

Jennifer has performed on national public radio, at libraries, schools, coffee houses, conferences, and major festivals across the nation, most notably the national festival in Jonesborough, TN, and the Timpanogos Festival in Utah.

Her CDs, Relatives and their Body Parts and Beginnings are both Storytelling World Winners as is her collection of short stories, Aunty Lily and other Delightfully Perverse Stories, published by Parkhurst Brothers in 2016. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Barbara Reed award for distinguished and outstanding service to the Connecticut Storytelling Center.

The Connecticut Library Consortium is a statewide membership collaborative serving all types of Connecticut libraries by helping them strengthen their ability to serve their users. CLC achieves its mission by initiating and facilitating cost-effective services, creating and supporting educational and professional development, and fostering innovation.

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Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wed., Mar. 11, at 7 PM, hosted by Karen Ponzio

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Mar. 11, starting at 7 PM. Admission is a Suggested Donation of $3-5 to support BVFCC. Poet Karen Ponzio (aka KP The Word) — who writes for the New Haven Independent and has a show on Cygnus RADIO — is the host for this show.

The sign-up sheet will be put out at 6:45 PM in order for prospective performers who haven’t been able to get here earlier to have a chance at performing slots. No sign-ups will be taken before 6:45.

Each slot is 10 minutes or two songs (whichever is shorter) with a 5-minute break between each performer. We have a total of 10 slots from 7-9:30 PM if people use their maximum time. We will play it by ear after that with any “extra” performers getting time as available in order of signing the sheet. While 9:30 PM is the official cut-off time, we may at our discretion continue with performers up to 10 PM.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film Screening: Director Alice Millar presents her “Summer in the Shade” Mon., Mar 9, at 7 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents a special screening of the unreleased independent movie “Summer in the Shade” on Monday, Mar. 9, at 7 PM. NYC-based Director Alice Millar will be on hand for a Q&A as will BVFCC members Gabrielle Muller and David Lackner, who were responsible for illustrations used in the film and the music score, respectively.

Synopsis:

Summer, 1997. Twelve-year-old Grace and eleven-year-old Asta have been friends for as long as they can remember. When her father suddenly leaves, Grace’s fascination with religion and the supernatural becomes an obsession. At the end of the school holidays, the girls go to stay in a cottage in the Cornish countryside with Asta’s bohemian mum, Kate. There, troubled Grace is forced to confront her demons.

From Alice Millar’s director’s statement:

“Summer in the Shade” is a psychological thriller about the terror experienced by a girl as she transitions from a child to a woman. Set in 1997 on a summer vacation in Cornwall, we follow troubled Grace and her best friend Asta as they explore the ancient forests and their changing bodies…

What unfolds is an exploration into the trauma of puberty and the experience of self-disgust experienced by most women as they deal with changing from a little girl to a sexualized being. Universally this is a diffcult time and for many, is accompanied by deep psychological fear and existential revulsion. The body swells and starts to bleed. Often, men look at you with hunger rather than affection and women with jealousy rather than protection in their eyes.

In the vivid imagination of our protagonist Grace, who is also dealing with her father abandoning her family for the cliché of a younger woman, these themes lead her to see religion as a comfort. However, the religion she finds merely reinforces a sense of shame and guilt, as well as igniting fears of supernatural and biblical terrors, demons, original sin and the concept of participating in evil.

Award-winning Alice Florence Millar is a filmmaker from London, England based in New York City. She is a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School where she created the individualized degree ‘Mesmerizing the Masses.’ Millar has worked as a Director of Photography for six years, shooting in the Americas, the United Kingdom, France, Bangladesh and Thailand. She is best known for her handheld camera style, which is fluid and meditative; her images oscillate between naturalism and highly constructed surrealism. Millar is attached to four independent features about to be released, including a co-direction on psychological thriller Attendant. Her directorial work focuses on women, violence and identity. Millar will make her feature length directorial debut with Summer in the Shade, a dark mystery about puberty inspired by her childhood holidays in seaside Cornwall.

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Film Screening: Garden in Film series continues with “Tulip Fever” on Sun., Mar. 8, at 3 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents the 2017 film “Tulip Fever” as part of a three-movie “Garden in Film” series put together and hosted by master gardener Eric Larson. The movie will be shown on Sunday, Mar. 8, at 3 PM, and followed with an open discussion and ice cream made by Eric’s wife Linda Sarro. (Linda makes ice creams using floral and other ingredients inspired by the day’s film.)

Admission is $7.

Directed by Justin Chadwick and written by Tom Stoppard and Deborah Moggach, “Tulip Fever” is set in the Netherlands during the 17th century against a backdrop of desire, obsession, and betrayal. This historical romantic drama illustrates the frenzy of tulip mania, a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which extortionist prices for certain bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionably prestigious tulip reached extraordinarily high levels, only to collapse in February, 1637.

The movie stars Dane DeHaan, Alicia Vikander, Christopher Waltz, and Judi Dench.

The final film in the series is Hal Ashby’s 1979 “Being There,” starring Peter Sellers, on Sun., Mar. 22.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Secret Cinema—hosted by Rob Harmon—screens a double feature Sat., Mar. 7, at 7 PM

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 Saturday, Mar. 7, at 7 PM. Along with the night’s movie, Rob shows relevant film trailers and cranks up the Best Video popcorn machine for cinema-appropriate snacking.​

For this edition of Secret Cinema, Rob hosts a double feature.

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

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

New releases 2/25/20

Top Hits
Frozen II (Disney animated feature, Kristen Bell [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 64. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The ensuing adventure is lively, amusing and predictably predictable with revelations, reconciliations and some nebulous politics for the grown-ups. It’s never surprising, yet its bursts of pictorial imagination — snowflakes that streak like shooting stars — keep you engaged, as do Elsa and Anna, who still aren’t waiting for life to happen. They’re searching, not settled, both active and reactive, which even today makes them female-character outliers on the big screen.” Read more…)

Daniel Isn’t Real (horror, Patrick Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 61. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “If the thriller ‘Daniel Isn’t Real’ were a recipe, it would call for unappealing ingredients — psychiatric stereotypes, jumpy editing, a mopey protagonist — simmered together until they crackle, pop and blister. What starts as a mediocre psychological thriller finishes as a surprisingly toothsome and creative horror film, complete with creature features and journeys into the abyss.” Read more…)

Knives Out (murder mystery, Daniel Craig. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 82. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review; “A sleek game of cat and mouse, ‘Knives Out’ begins the hunt with a mysterious pool of blood and ends, well, telling wouldn’t be fair. The press screening that I attended was preceded by a brief video in which the writer and director Rian Johnson asked viewers not to spill the movie’s secrets. The entreaty suggests how seriously Johnson takes his own cleverly deployed twists and the challenges of keeping ostensible spoilers under wraps. The twists are kinked and amusing, although far less striking than the obvious pleasure he had making this exactingly machined puzzle box.” Read more…)

Color Out of Space (H.P. Lovecraft horror/sci-fi, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 64. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Color Out of Space,’ apparently, is blindingly bright and magnificently malevolent. In this bonkers yet weirdly beautiful science fiction-horror hybrid [directed, with retro panache, by the great Richard Stanley], the light is a throbbing lilac and blood is Schiaparelli pink. And if I tell you that Nicolas Cage’s eyeballs will turn into ultraviolet high-beams, then you’ll know immediately if you’re in or out. Lovers of aberrant, gooey B-movies will be all in.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Frozen II
Knives Out

New British
Years and Years (mini-series, drama, Emma Thompson. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 78. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “Ever feel like there’s too much happening? That the news is out of control? That there’s barely time to process one outrage before another replaces it, leaving just the faint memory and a little bit of scar tissue from the previous Worst Thing to Ever Happen? ‘Years and Years’ is not the escape for you. The HBO limited series, from the British writer Russell T Davies, is about a lot of ideas: runaway technology, European nationalism, the failure of liberal democracy. But its overarching idea, driven home by its pell-mell narrative, is, ‘Man, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on these days.’” Read more…)

Ray & Liz (drama, Richard Ashton. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 81. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Written and directed by the artist Richard Billingham, ‘Ray & Liz’ is an extension of his work as a photographer, which subsists largely of portraits of his own family. This is a fiction film, with actors playing all the real-life characters, but Billingham has crafted it with a documentary concern for detail. Ray’s life in his lonely room is the frame for two extended flashback sequences.” Read more…)

New TV
Yellowstone: Season 1 (western series, Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 54. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “The surface layer of ‘Yellowstone’ is part modern-day Western, part family business saga — a kind of cowboy ‘Dynasty’ with some dark-cable ambitions. Standing atop it is the flinty personage of John Dutton [Kevin Costner, in ornery-cuss mode], the owner of Yellowstone Ranch, an expanse of grass, hills and testosterone the size of Rhode Island.” Read more…)

Children’s Music: Val McKee plays Sat., Mar. 7, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Saturday morning, Mar. 7, at 10:30 AM.

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

Val McKee is a writer, musician, and teacher of both. While Val fronts the band “Junebug Saddle” and has been lucky enough to share a stage or two with some of the area’s finest musicians, she is far more popular with the toddler and preschool audience.

To see just how many little friends Val has made in her ten years of teaching Music Together, join her for a trip to Stop & Shop and wait for the inevitable toddler squeal down an aisle “It’s MISS VAL!” According to Val, being a children’s musician in New Haven is the greatest version of rock star status–like an adorable, fun-sized Beatlemania.

A Tennessee native and mom of three boys, Val’s performances are full of folk and children’s music classics, with plenty of play, education, and humor–heavy on the silly.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.