Music: Irish/Celtic music jam Sun., Jan. 19, 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The January jam takes place on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 2-4 PM. The jam, organized by musicians Jim & Willow Sirch, takes place on the third Sunday of each month (unless it needs to be rescheduled due to other Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming).

As with our bluegrass jams, feel free to come and join in or just sit and listen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

UPDATE 1/18: CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER Comedy: Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy Show, hosted by Stosh Mikita, Sat., Jan. 18, at 8 PM

UPDATE 1/18/20: Due to the bleak weather forecast, tonight’s Reel Life has been cancelled. Reel Life will return on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy Show on Saturday, Jan. 18. Reel Life is hosted by comic Stosh Mikita. It starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

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.

Mel V: 2016 Clash of the Comics winner Mel V’s hilariously quirky and irreverent style is a favorite of audiences all over the Northeast. She has performed at Comix Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun, The Funny Bone, Treehouse Comedy Club, The Elbow Room and many more, and was a finalist in the 2019 Funniest Person in Massachusetts Competition.

Mo Mussa: Mo Mussa is an up and coming comedian from Connecticut who has performed at the Hartford Funny Bone and Comix @ Mohegan Sun. He does comedy all over the East Coast. His delivery depends on his mood but either way he’ll leave you doubled over with laughter. While you’re laughing you might ponder, “what’s his problem?” He doesn’t know, and don’t ask him after the show.

Dan Kalwhite: Over the last 9 years Danny Kalwhite has shared the stage with some of the funniest people in comedy (Kyle Kinane, T.J. Miller, Big Jay Oakerson, Sebastian Maniscalco, Rachel Feinstein & Mark Normand to name a few). He’d love a chance to make you laugh and hopes that you won’t be disappointed by his dirty sneakers. Twitter @dannyboy3030

Mega Harrison: Like many successful comedians, Mega Harrison started doing stand-up comedy out of revenge! “Mega” is short for “Megatron,” which would be a pretty megalomaniacal name to use. Mega tells jokes about dating, her cat, and her mother. You can catch Mega slinging jokes and weaving tales all over Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

Music: Indie rock by Pond View, Tate & Silas, Anchor Fri., Jan. 17, at 7 PM

The indie rock bands Pond View, Tate & Silas, and Anchor play Best Video Performance Space Fri., Nov. 17. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Pond View is an indie-rock group from Branford, CT that was formed in March 2019. During their high school days, the trio would head to their basement and record songs on their phones. The band has released two EPs. Their debut EP “Basement Dwellers” and their latest project “All but Anything, but Anything is Fine.” With a full length album currently in the works.

Tate & Silas are a two piece band from New Haven, CT. Tate Brooks plays guitar, Silas Lourenco-Lang plays bass and kick drum. Writing songs in a shed and playing rambunctious shows around town, these rockers are more than meets the eye.

Anchor is an Alternative Rock band based out of Branford Connecticut. They write and perform all original songs. The band members include Taite Hodson (Bass & Vocals), Owen Calderwood (Percussion), Mateo Noble (Guitar), Sawyer Bouley (Guitar & Vocals), and Yann Calderwood (Keyboard & Alto Saxophone).

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

New releases 1/7/20

Top Hits
Joker (comic book drama, Joaquin Phoenix. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 59. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “To be worth arguing about, a movie must first of all be interesting: it must have, if not a coherent point of view, at least a worked-out, thought-provoking set of themes, some kind of imaginative contact with the world as we know it. ‘Joker,’ an empty, foggy exercise in second-hand style and second-rate philosophizing, has none of that.” Read more…)

Mine 9 (thriller, Terry Serpico. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 66. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “There’s some effective filmmaking in the central section of this picture written and directed by Eddie Mensore. These scenes depict the collapse of a section of a West Virginia coal mine, trapping nine men inside. Flooding and gas buildup combine with very cramped quarters as the men await rescue, unsure if anyone on the ground miles above them even knows they’re alive. The goings-on are grim, grueling and, eventually, grisly. Mensore shoots them with a sharp eye for maintaining coherent spatial relations, which enhances the suspense.” Read more…)

Girl on the Third Floor (horror, Phil “CM Punk” Brooks. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 65. From Simon Abrams’ RogerEbert.com review: “The impressive haunted house flick ‘Girl on the Third Floor’ is just as much a machine to produce seductive imagery as it is an effective deconstruction of those blatant symbols. Set in an abandoned home and mostly following a solitary character—ex-lawyer and expectant father Don [Phillip Jack Brooks, A.K.A. former pro-wrestler C.M. Punk]—this blackly comic horror movie is equally concerned with the repressed pleasures and anxieties that are embedded in fetish objects: faded tattoos, silk lingerie, and congealed blood.” Read more…)

The Lighthouse (drama/horror, Willem Dafoe. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 83. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Much as he did in his shivery feature debut, ‘The Witch,’ about an isolated family of fundamentalists coming unglued in early 17th-century America, [director Robert] Eggers makes the secluded world in ‘The Lighthouse’ at once recognizable and eerily unfamiliar, a combination that draws you in but makes you feel unsettled. [He shares script credit with Max Eggers, his brother.] The image of the lighthouse evokes visions of high seas and storms as well as the promise of safe passage and harbor. But here, that romantic idea soon sours.” Read more…)

Chained for Life (drama, Jess Weixler. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “‘Chained for Life’ aims to complicate ideas about what constitutes beauty and sincerity onscreen. It even hints at a loose parallel between plastic surgery, which can be seen as helping people look the way they feel inside, and filmmaking; both are mechanisms for creating illusions, but also have the potential for revealing hidden truths.” Read more…)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (comedy, Kate Blanchett. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The human dark cloud churning violently over ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ doesn’t much fit in anywhere, including in this comedy of crisis. That’s more or less intentional, but it presents a challenge for the director Richard Linklater, whose easygoing filmmaking style and vibe can feel out of sync with the gathering storm.’ Read more…)

The Goldfinch (drama, Ansel Elgort. Rotten Tomatoes: 24%. Metacritic: 40. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In many ways, ‘The Goldfinch’ approximates what we normally think of as a movie. There are actors — some good ones, too, well known and less so. Nicole Kidman. Sarah Paulson. Jeffrey Wright. Denis O’Hare. Willa Fitzgerald. Ryan Foust. There is music. There is furniture. There are themes and feelings, like loss and grief and the love of beauty and the pleasures of taking drugs, smoking cigarettes and looking attractive. All at once and in succession. But like those dodgy antiques — ‘changelings,’ as their maker supposedly calls them — this film is inauthentic without being completely fake.” Read more…)

Wolf Children (Japanese animated feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 71.)

New Blu-Ray
Wolf Children

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Holiday (1938, romantic comedy, Criterion Collection, Cary Grant & Katharine Hepburn. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New TV
Big Little Lies: Season 2 (crime/drama HBO series, Nicole Kidman. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 82.)

New Documentaries
Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous (art history, bio, Mark Rothko)

Music: Django’s Reserve plays gypsy jazz Thurs., Jan. 16

Django’s Reserve plays Best Video Performance Space Thursday, Jan. 16. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Django’s Reserve is an acoustic ensemble that performs jazz in the style of European gypsies, made famous by the great Sinti guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt in the 1930s through the 50s. This tradition continues throughout the world today, renowned for its spirited improvisation and driving rhythms.

While always paying homage to the greats, Django’s Reserve infuses each performance with original arrangements, personality, and a deep connection to the music as a living art.

The group is Luke Hendon, Preston Parish and Johnny Florio on guitars along with Jamie Doris on bass.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Big Fat Combo crank out rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll Wed., Jan. 15

One of the most popular bands to play the Best Video Performance Space, the Big Fat Combo return on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Big Fat Combo hail from Cheshire and offer their own, wry, well-crafted take on rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet is a classic rockabilly group: upright bass (Tom Murphy) and drums (John Murphy), rhythm (Tom Hearn) and lead guitar (Cary Pollick). Led by singer Hearn, the Big Fat Combo not only play their original tunes (“Tag Sale,” “Banned by Sam the Clam’s” and “Chicks Dig it,” among others) but also riff on classic rock ‘n’ roll, garage rock, punk, country and even some easy listening chestnuts (“Que Sera Sera,” “It was a Very Good Year”) that they make fully their own.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film Screening: Rob Harmon hosts Secret Cinema Mon., Jan. 13, at 8 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 Monday, Jan. 13, 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 and the name of the film, email Rob at secretcinemact@gmail.com or call at (203) 287-9286.

Film Screening: Hamden Tree Commission presents “Call of the Forest” Sun., Jan. 12, at 3 PM

The Hamden Tree Commission and the Town of Hamden present a screening of “Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. The screening is at 3 PM and is free and open to the public.

Take a walk in the woods with beloved Irish-Canadian scientist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, as she reveals our profound human connection to the ancient & sacred northern forests and the essential role that they play in sustaining the health of our planet.

We cut down billions of trees every year – Today only five percent of the world’s old growth forests remain intact. Yet trees are one of this planet’s most significant creators of food, new medicines, and oxygen. Forests hold the answer to many of the world’s problems; from climate change to human health and well-being. Visionary scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger explores the science, folklore, and history of this essential eco-system reminding us that when we improve our profound human connection to woodlands we can, not only, restore our health – we can restore our planet.

From the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan, the ancient Raheen Wood of Ireland, and the walnut and redwood trees of America, to the great boreal forest of Canada, Call of the Forest tells the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

Along the way Diana meets people who are taking the lead to replant, restore and protect the last of these great ancient species forests. We meet Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a worldwide specialist in the restoration of natural forest systems on degraded land, who shows us how a native forest system can be planted in the smallest street corner of Tokyo. Dr. Bill Libby, a pioneer in the field of forest tree genetics, tells us about the impacts of climate change on California’s coast redwood and giant sequoia. Since 2002 Andrew St. Ledger, founder of The Woodland League in Ireland, has dedicated his life to restoring native woodlands in Ireland. His work restoring the great forest of Aughty shows us all how old growth forests can be replanted and offers a glimpse into our cultural history with trees.

Woodlands are the beating heart of our ecosystem and Diana’s call to action – to protect the native forests of the world and for every person to plant one tree a year for the next six years – provides us with a simple and powerful solution for climate change. As she travels across the globe to tell the story of the life and the science of the global forest, she presents us with a revolutionary conception of their value to all life and a message that could, literally, save mankind from itself.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Too Blue plays eclectic blend of bluegrass, swing, & more Sat., Jan. 11, at 7:30 PM

Acoustic group Too Blue plays Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Jan. 11. The show starts at 7:30 PM and there is a $10 cover.

Traveling freely between bluegrass, swing, Celtic and jazz, a Too Blue show is a dynamic dose of serious fun. Smooth harmonies and adventurous musicianship bring stellar arrangements to life and leave the listener anything but “blue.” Original songs as well as fresh covers from Patsy Cline to Bill Monroe keep the show moving and toes tapping.

Seamlessly blending their vocals are guitarist Betsy Rome and banjoist Joan Harrison. Mandolin powerhouse Michael Sassano astounds and entertains, while jazz bassist Jamie Doris brings a creative perspective. Together, Too Blue makes exciting bluegrass that swings and entertains.

Of their second CD, “Trouble With the Grey,” Barry Mitterhoff (mandolinist with Jorma Kaukonen) said, “To quote Bill Monroe, ‘This is powerful music!’ … Swing-grass, original tunes, hot pickin’ & sweet singin.”

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Indie rock by Glambat, Perennial, Addy Edward Fri., Jan. 10, at 7:30 PM

The indie rock acts Glambat, Perennial, and Addy Edward heat up the winter at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Jan. 10, starting at 7:30 PM. The cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Glambat is a New Haven indie-folk band lead by Emily Alderman (vocals, guitar), creating sultry tunes for your listening pleasure.

Perennial is the new sound of the avant-garde. Hailing from New England, the art punk band’s debut album was entitled “The Symmetry of Autumn Leaves.” Their performances are brief, sharp, and ecstatic. Their influences include The Creation, Otis Redding, and The Raincoats. Their most recent release—a cassette on Redscroll Records—is “Food for Hornets.”

Addy Edward is the musical moniker of Adam Bensen. Addy weaves traditional and electronic sounds into deeply personal songs. His self-recorded album “Picture of Youth,” a compilation of songs written and recorded over the span of 8 years, was released in April, 2018, followed quickly by his “Sedative Gentleman [EP].

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.