Enjoy music from Best Video Film & Cultural Center on our YouTube channel!

While most of us are social distancing, Best Video Film & Cultural Center is taking this opportunity to share wonderful musical moments from shows here on YouTube. These are videos shot be Executive Director Hank Hoffman over the past several years and are chosen to showcase the diversity of music that we present.

We created the Best Video Film & Cultural Center YouTube channel in December and have posted six videos so far with many more to come. Subscribe to the channel to get notified when new videos are uploaded.

For our first video, we posted a tune by Tariku, a local offshoot of the NYC-based Mandingo Ambassadors. Tariku is fronted by Aaron Latham Greenberg and features the great Guinean guitarist Mamady Kouyate. Frank Brocklehurst is on bass, Matt Dean is on percussion, and Dylan McDonnell plays flute. This was from an August, 2019 show.

The next video features New Haven rock ‘n’ roll legends The Furors playing their song “Twistin’ In the Wind” on may 11, 2017. The Furors are Derek Holcomb on guitar and Tom Dans on drums. They have been playing the New Haven area since the late 1970s.

Afro-soul dynamo Thabisa graced our stage on July 25, 2019, accompanied by Lamar Smith (guitar), Sam Oliver (drums), Jim Lawson (bass), and Timothy Kane (trumpet). This is Thabisa’s song “Ndithanda Wena.”

The Tony Purrone Trio—led by internationally known jazz guitarist Tony Purrone—plays his original tune “Lost and Found” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center in Hamden, CT December 19, 2019. Accompanying Tony Purrone are Preston Murphy on upright bass and Ray Marchica on drums.

Americana/country band Plywood Cowboy play the song “Stray” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center August 10, 2017. “Stray” was written by band leader, singer, and guitarist Steve Dedman. Plywood Cowboy for this show was Dedman (vocals, guitar, piano), Austin Gray (lead guitar, vocals), Kat Wallace (violin, vocals), Shane Tanner (bass), and Jason Apostoleris (drums).

Bluegrass star Tim O’Brien, accompanied by Jan Fabricus on vocals, performs at Best Video Film & Cultural Center in Hamden, Connecticit November 15, 2017, part of a sold-out two-night stand. The concert was presented by Chris Wuerth’s GuitarTownCT Productions. O’Brien and Fabricus perform the song “Grandma’s Hands,” composed by Bill Withers.

Events canceled through April 14

We have canceled all events at Best Video Film & Cultural Center through April 14 due to the public health crisis. While it may be necessary to cancel further events—and perhaps likely will be—we are leaving them on the calendar for now to maintain flexibility.
Stay safe, everybody.

COVID-19 update: Closing by state order as of Sun., Mar. 22, at 6 PM

Dear members and friends,

Pursuant to Gov. Ned Lamont’s orders, we will be closing Best Video Film & Cultural Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as of Sunday, Mar. 22, at 6 PM. We hope and plan to reopen as soon as civil and scientific authorities declare it is safe to do so.

We have been deeply moved that many of you have literally told us you consider us “essential” as events have unfolded.

If you wish to check out movies between now and 6 PM this Sunday, we ask that you please call ahead (203-287-9286) so that we may have them checked out and ready for you when you come. If you need to browse, we ask that you do so quickly and NOT TOUCH any of the DVDs—we will pull those you want from the shelves. If you enter the premises, please respect social distancing advisories of six feet from other individuals and try to refrain from touching surfaces. Your cooperation in this lowers everyone’s risk.

Checked-out movies can be returned to the drop box just in front of our entrance or to the boxes at the Willow Street Shell at the corner of Nicoll and Willow streets in New Haven or to the box on the porch of Lyric Hall at 827 Whalley Avenue in New Haven.

Serving the community in this team of crisis and fear is an honor for us. And to reopen and be able to play that role again—as a signpost to a longed-for return to normal life—is our aspiration.

The Great Give—the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s annual online fundraiser, which is scheduled for the first week of May—is our most important income source of the year. The two months leading up to it were bound to be tight financially; the closure will only make that situation more challenging.

We recognize that the impacts of this crisis are global and everyone is feeling the financial pinch. But if you can help by donating through our Web site or suggesting sources of COVID-19 emergency funds for non-profits and small businesses, that assistance will be much appreciated.

For those of you who have monthly or annual membership plans, we reach out to ask for your help, partnership, and patience. These membership plans are foundational revenue streams for us and critical to our survival until we reopen. If you have a monthly plan and can continue it on a temporary basis as a gift, that will provide crucial support. If your circumstances don’t allow for that, you can email us at info [AT] bestvideo.com top have the charges paused. If you have an annual plan, we will gladly extend that plan when we reopen for the amount of time in which we were closed.

Our motto is “Bringing film, music, and people together.” The arts are the heart of a community. We wish all of you safety and good health in these difficult times.

We will meet again, and let us hope soon.

Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
& the Staff and Board of Directors of Best Video Film & Cultural Center

UPDATE on COVID-19 impacts on Best Video as of 3/19/20

Dear members and friends of Best Video Film & Cultural Center:

As with everybody, we are constantly making adjustments as the evolving situation requires.

Due to new guidelines from the Quinnipiac Valley Health District (QVHD) and in the interests of caution and safety, we are instituting the following changes in regard to service from our cafe:

• According to the QVHD, all takeout orders from the cafe must be “curbside” or through the door.

• If you want a coffee drink or baked good from the cafe, please call (203) 287-9286 to place your order. (Bagels will not be available until the situation returns to normal.) If at all possible, please pay with your credit card over the phone.

• QVHD does not allow self-service, so we will need to add whatever milk, cream or sweeteners you need to your drink.

• If you know what you want to rent, please call (203) 287-9286 and we will get them ready. If you have a monthly or annual membership plan, they will be checked out for you and ready to pick up. If you pay per rental, please use a card if you can.

• If you wish to browse, you may but we ask two things:

(1) Please respect social distancing from others by keeping a distance of 6- feet between you and other members.

(2) PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE DVDs. If you see something that you want, let our staff know and they will get it off the shelf for you.




Thank you for your cooperation and support. We aspire to be a source of solace and a reminder of community in these difficult times but to be so in a safe and responsible way.

Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
& The Staff and Board of Directors of Best Video Film & Cultural Center

Update on COVID-19 impacts on Best Video: cafe goes to takeout only, closing time at 6 PM

Dear members and friends,

Pursuant to Gov. Ned Lamont’s order, the Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s cafe will be moving to takeout only for the foreseeable future.

I have consulted with the Quinnipiac Valley Health District and this plan is consistent with Gov. Lamont’s directive.

The plan now is to continue receiving deliveries of pastries from Bread & Chocolate and donuts and bagels from Whitney Donut. You can come in and pick up specialty coffee drinks and baked goods but, unfortunately, not stick around for hearty conversation. There is a hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance and we are regularly cleaning all touchable surfaces with disinfectant cleaners and wipes.

We are also closing earlier, at 6 PM rather than the previously announced 7 PM. We have had quite a few people express gratitude at being able to get movies to keep themselves occupied in these times. And we are moved at the expressions of support and donations we have received.

We do STRONGLY encourage folks—particularly if you have one of the monthly or annual 1-Movie, 2-Movie, or 4-Movie Plans—to call ahead and tell us what you would like to rent. That way we can have them checked out and ready to hand off to you when you get here. Additionally, to reduce the number of times you need to go out, you can rent an additional movie at no extra charge if you have the 1- or 2-Movie Plans.

Of course, if circumstances change, we will keep everyone posted.

We wish all of our friends and neighbors good health in these difficult times.

Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
& Staff and Board of Directors of Best Video Film & Cultural Center

A message from Best Video on cancellations and revised hours due to COVID-19 virus

Dear members and friends,

Due to COVID-19, Best Video Film & Cultural Center will be suspending events through the end of March. (The status of currently scheduled programming beyond March will be reevaluated as required by circumstances.) We are taking direction from the recommendations of the town and civil authorities and acting in the interests of caution. As others are, we will continue monitoring the information coming from the CDC and knowledgeable public health experts.

Considerations for the health and welfare of our members, staff, and performers are paramount.

Our cafe and video rental archive will remain open. But, in addition to suspending events, we are temporarily scaling back our hours on the video side of our organization. Our cafe will continue to be open from 7 AM-7 PM Monday through Friday and 8 AM-7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. On the video side, we will open as usual at 9 AM but close—starting today, Mar. 12—at 7 PM each night.

During this time when all of us will be following recommendations to avoid large public gatherings, access to our amazing archive of movies could be a source of diversion and pleasure. As a benefit to members, we are initiating a special for the month of March: If you have a 1-Movie monthly or annual plan, you may take out two movies at no extra charge through March.

Additionally, for members with the 1-, 2-, or 4-movie plans, we will expand our service for your convenience. If you call ahead with a request, we’ll grab your movies for you and hand them to you at the door when you get here.

This is a challenging and, yes, frightening time for many of us. We wish all good health and hope for the best.


Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
Best Video Film & Cultural Center
& The staff and Board of Directors of BVFCC

Movie trivia night with Rob Harmon & Kate Bellmore Mon., Mar. 2, at 7:30 PM

So you think you know movies?

Best Video Film & Cultural Center returns with a monthly movie trivia night—yet to be given a catchy name—on Monday, Mar. 2. The event starts at 7:30 PM and admission is a suggested donation of $5.

The Best Video Movie Trivia Night is hosted by BVFCC staffer Rob Harmon and BVFCC member Kate Bellmore.

This is a team trivia event comprised of four rounds of quizzing with ten questions per round, for a total of forty questions. Questions cover a wide range of cinema-related (and “cinema-adjacent”) material: film facts, box office statistics, store facts, film score, television, reviews, among others.

No portable electronic devices of any kind may be used during gameplay under any circumstances. Competitors may not shout out answers during gameplay, attempt to look at answer sheets of other teams, or approach the executive producers’ table during gameplay. If a team is suspected of violating any of these rules, the executive producers reserve the right to disqualify the entire team for the individual round in which the offense occurred or the entire competition. Teams will be limited to a six-player maximum to allow as many people as possible to participate.

Teams write their answers on a prepared form provided by BVFCC. Answers must be written legibly in English. The executive producers reserve the right to disqualify any answers they judge to be too illegible to be considered correct.

Where proper names of film/tv/musics are concerned, a correct answer requires that the full name be given. For example, if the correct answer is Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, an answer of “The Grinch” is marked incorrect. In the case of people, giving the last name is acceptable except in cases where there are multiple people with the same last name and the intent is unclear. For example, if the correct answer is “Kevin Smith,” an answer of “Smith” is not specific enough and marked incorrect. But, if the correct answer is “Martin Scorsese,” a response of “Scorsese” is considered correct.

Each question will be worth one point, with any extra credit questions being worth an additional point. Scoring points for extra credit questions requires answering the base question correctly in order to be eligible.

Every team has one joker to use. The Joker, when used, allows a team to double the total points earned in a round. Jokers do not double extra credit points. After a team writes all of their answers down, if they wish to use their joker, they must write “JOKER” in large, unmistakable print on their answer sheet before it is turned in for scoring. The Joker may only be used once.

After all questions are asked in a round, teams are allowed one minute to complete their answer sheets and submit them to the executive producers for scoring. Any late answer sheets will not be scored and the team will score zero points for the round. Cumulative totals of all teams will then be read before the next round begins.

After all rounds are scored, the team with the highest overall score is declared the winner. All scoring, as decided by the executive producers, is final.

Bring your friends and test your knowledge of film trivia! The trivia night will be held the first Monday of each month unless holidays or other reasons for shifting the date intrude.

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.

Best Video Oscars Happy Hour party Sun., Feb. 9, 4-6 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center always marks Oscars Sunday with a party/fundraiser and this year is no different. Unlike the two previous years, rather than having an Oscars brunch, we will host a 4-6 PM Happy Hour to lead into the streaming of Oscars programming at 6:30, which will be hosted by staffer Rob Harmon.

The Happy Hour will feature drink specials, a delicious spread of snacks, an Oscar Ballot contest and prizes, and a short Oscars trivia contest presided over by Rob and Kate Bellmore, who also host our monthly movie trivia night.

All are welcome. There is no set entry fee but we welcome donations of $5-25 to support our year-round programming. Oscar ballots are $5 and we will be available to purchase at BVFCC in advance of the event starting tonight.

Local state legislators Martin Looney, Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter, Mike D’Agostino to hold community forum at Best Video Sat., Feb. 8, 10 AM-noon

State Sen. Martin Looney and State Reps. Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter and Mike D’Agostino will hold a community forum at Best Video Film & Cultural Center to share legislative priorities and solicit feedback on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 10 AM-noon.

The event is free and open to the public. Best Video Film & Cultural Center has made the room available for this event as a public service to the community.