Bluegrass, swing, and more from Too Blue Thurs., June 17

Too Blue plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., June 17, starting at 5 PM.

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.”

The Best Video cafe will be open from 4-7 PM, serving coffee drinks, beer, and wine.
The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

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 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 donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

UPDATE—Rescheduled to 6/16: Jeff Burnham, Brother Other play Best Video deck

UPDATE: Due to the high likelihood of rain for the originally scheduled time frame for this show (5/28, 5-7 PM) by Jeff Burnham and Brother Other, it has been rescheduled to Wednesday, June 16, from 5-7 PM. See you then!

Jeff Burnham plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., May 28. The show starts at 5 PM with Litchfield band Brother Other opening.

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 with heartland rock elements.

Music journalist and author Chip McCabe describes Jeff’s first record, Hard Luck Town as “down home and soulful… the perfect complement to an album collection that includes acts like Son Volt and Wilco.” A 2019 track by track review of the “Lost and Found” EP by columnist Myemuisemo described various songs as “Americana … with a touch of 1990s-era alt-rock optimism” and “Outlaw workingman’s blues.”

“The Insiders” is a moniker for recording projects and live band shows. During the pandemic, Jeff has been writing and recording in his home studio. His latest single releases include “State of Mind,” “What You Learned,” “Jaded,” and “Doing Hard Time.”

“You and I and Everything,” Brother Other’s debut album, dives deep uncovering naked truth and raw emotion. It was recorded and mixed at Dirt Floor Recording & Production in 2020. Overcoming odds like COVID 19 interrupting sessions, Brother Other stayed the course and through great tenacity, completed their first album.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Washboard Slim & The Blue Lights play Sat., June 12, at 5 PM

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck as a quartet on Sat., June 12, starting at 5 PM.

After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country’s most versatile and original of jug bands incorporating pure Americana instruments like tub bass, washboard, jug, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle.

Adding drums and powerful vocal harmonies, this band rocks sold-out concerts, dance halls and family shows. Playing their own compositions as well as original arrangements of traditional gospel, blues, country and early rock n’ roll, their music is by turns playful, haunted and uplifting.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

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 if you go inside at 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 donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Drifting North, Slyne & The Family Stoned play Fri., June 11

Drifting North and Slyne & The Family Stoned play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., June 11, starting at 5 PM.

Drifting North’s sonic explorations cover a lot of fertile ground — psychedelic folk/pop tunes and garage rockers can morph into motorik train beat jammers that bleed into meditative folk ragas. Paired with impressionist lyrics, the result is a beautiful sonic spread — a fresh take on the kind of cosmic Americana that’s been bubbling up from the the US underground the past few years.

Michael Slyne leads a group of punks and freaks and lovers and misfits and drifters and soul searchers and jazz cats and pseudo pop queens and tone benders black market salesmen. They try and make a glorious racket.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

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.

Ginny Bales plays Best Video deck Thurs., June 10

Singer-songwriter and cabaret chanteuse Ginny Bales plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., June 10, starting at 5:30 PM.

Ginny Bales graduated from Barnard College and has taught at Southern Connecticut State University, the College of New Rochelle, and Yale. She performed as a solo singer-songwriter in coffeehouses, concerts and music festivals on the East and West coasts. She played bass and piano with Night Angels, opened for Bonnie Raitt, and has appeared on 15 albums. She wrote book, music, and lyrics for the full-length musical Stanton Women’s Chorus, which had its first Equity production in May of 1989. She was named Songwriter of the Year for 1987 by the Connecticut Songwriters Association.

She was a Fellow at the 1999 Cabaret Symposium at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She began performances of her cabaret show “I Sang at Your Wedding” (original songs and commentary based on her years of experience as a wedding singer) in 2001, her Cole Porter show in 2003, and her Rodgers and Hart show in 2005. Her songs have been featured in the Washington, DC Cabaret Network showcases in 2001 and 2004.

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.

New releases 6/1/21

Top Hits

The Courier (drama/history, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 64. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘The Courier,’ a true life-based spy thriller set in the early 1960s — and staged to appeal to audiences old enough to have lived through them — stubbornly resists involving or affecting us until it’s almost over. By that time, though, you might have fallen asleep. Ideally, that shouldn’t happen while watching two stand-up guys — one British, one Russian — perhaps narrowly prevent a nuclear apocalypse. But the director, Dominic Cooke [whose 2018 feature debut, ‘On Chesil Beach,’ touchingly conveyed the tragedy of broken intimacy], is either unable to generate tension or simply chooses not to.” Read more…)

Boogie (sports drama/coming of age, Taylor Takahashi. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. Metacritic: 54. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “‘Boogie’ makes for a confident feature debut from the writer and director Eddie Huang, who is best known for creating the sitcom ‘Fresh Off The Boat.’ But ‘Boogie’ bears little resemblance to that earlier broad comedy. Boogie takes himself and his basketball ambitions seriously. And, taking cues from its protagonist, the movie doesn’t play around with cinematic craft or technique either.“ Read more…)

A Dark Song (horror/supernatural, Catherine Walker. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%,. Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘A Dark Song,’ the moodily intense first feature from the Irish director Liam Gavin, is a striking marriage of acting and atmosphere. Virtually a chamber piece with just two primary characters, the movie dives into the black arts with methodical restraint and escalating unease.” Read more…)

The World to Come (romance/gay & lesbian, Katherine Waterston. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “Though shot in Romania, ‘The World to Come,’ directed by Mona Fastvold, conjures an almost artisanal feeling of life in rural upstate New York in 1856. Generically, it plays like a western — a romance in untamed territory where snowy landscapes foster isolation, not explorative possibilities.” Read more…)

Greener Grass (comedy, Jocelyn DeBoer. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 69. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch that doesn’t know when to dial back the weird, ‘Greener Grass’ can be painful to watch. A deadpan take on suburban hell — I hesitate to call it a comedy, black or otherwise — the movie takes competitiveness to such excruciatingly surreal lengths that every would-be joke feels agonizingly strained.” Read more…)

Kinky Boots: The Musical (musical, Matt Henry)

New Blu-Ray

The Courier
Greener Grass

New Foreign

The Sweet Requiem (Tibet, drama. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The location shooting, with its nighttime shots of jam-packed multilane roads and eerily empty alleys, deftly conveys both the bustle and the quiet moments of Delhi working-class life. The plot intrigues are arguably appropriate to genre pictures, but ‘Requiem’ manages to play out as an urgent but understated drama. The film puts its points across with a delicacy and sobriety rare in moviemaking.” Read more…)

New British DVDs

The Mallorca Files: Series 1 (BBC procedural, Ele Rhys)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)

Nightmare Alley (1947, film noir, Criterion Collection, Tyrone Power. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Elvis Mitchell’s 2000 New York Times review of a “Nightmare Alley” theatrical re-release [requires log-in]: “I can’t understand how anyone could get so low,” the wily carny Stan [Tyrone Power] says of the gibbering geek, the chicken-head-biting freak who’s the lowest attraction at the sideshow. It’s an ominous piece of foreshadowing that begins ‘Nightmare Alley,’ the 1947 adaptation of the grim novel by William Lindsay Gresham. [Jules Furthman wrote the screenplay, adding a few shafts of optimism to the bleakness of the original material, in which no one gets off easily.]” Read more…)

New Documentaries

A Glitch In the Matrix (epistemology, technology, “reality”. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 62. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In the 1950s, Vladimir Nabokov asserted, not entirely playfully, that ‘reality’ is a word that should only ever have quotation marks around it. Contemporary technology has enabled thinkers to become more elaborate about the nature of the quotation marks. “‘A Glitch in the Matrix,’ directed by Rodney Ascher — who also made ‘Room 237,’ a 2013 film that gave certain Stanley Kubrick enthusiasts a platform to theorize about ‘The Shining’; many seemed to have too much time on their hands — explores the notion that we’re all living inside a computer simulation.” Read more…)

Best Video is the Hamden Stop & Shop’s Giving Bag recipient for June

We are so excited to share that Best Video Film & Cultural Center has been selected to be a part of the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment through use of reusable shopping bags.

For the month of June, each time a $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Stop & Shop located at 2335 Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, $1 will be donated to Best Video Film & Cultural Center, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag. This is a great way to raise awareness, support the environment and fundraise for our cause.

If you’re a member and/or supporter of Best Video, this month would be a good one to stock up on reusable “Give Back” shopping bags (as in the picture) from Stop & Shop.

UPDATE—Postponed to Sun., June 6, at 3 PM: Mercy Choir, Kierstin Sieser on the Best Video deck

UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather today, the Mercy Choir/Kierstin Sieser show is being rescheduled to an afternoon show at 3 PM on Sunday, June 6, rather than today, Sat., May 29.

Mercy Choir and Kierstin Sieser play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Saturday, May 29, starting at 5:30 PM.

Paul Belbusti is a musician, writer, visual artist currently based near the New Haven, Connecticut area of the United States of America. His main creative musical project is called Mercy Choir. He’s also one half of the experimental duo Rivener. He is the author of two chapbooks: Imperial Pools (Analog Submission Press) and Lucy (Good Cop/Bad Cop Press).

Kierstin Sieser is the songwriter and lead vocalist for Tiny Ocean. Her new solo ep, Little Shots of Pepper, was released on 3/19/2021.

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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Anne Marie Menta performs Sat., June 5, at 5:30 PM

Anne Marie Menta, Richard Neal and Bob Csugie play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Saturday, June 5, starting at 5:30 PM.

Anne Marie Menta hails from New Haven, CT., where she has been a long time favorite singer/songwriter. She comes from a family of three brothers, where playing and listening to music was their great passion. Her musical credits include fronting various rock & roll, folk, and country bands as a singer/guitarist, including The Wanderers, Sugar Moon, Sky Riders, and Rodeo Radio. In the mid 90s, she decided to concentrate on her own original music, and those tunes of hers that she “snuck” into her cover band repertoire now became her main focus. But, the country, folk, and pop music that she loved continued to be an influence in her writing.

Her most recent CD, “Sky Tonight,” came out in the fall of 2019.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

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.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Children’s music by Val McKee at Best Video Sat. morning, June 5, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids in the Best Video Film & Cultural Center parking lot on Saturday morning, June 5, 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 a complete list of upcoming events.