Save the dates! The 2021 Great Give® is May 4-5; advance giving begins Fri., Apr. 23

Save the dates! The Great Give® 2021 takes place from 8 AM, May 4, through 8 PM, May 5. (Advance giving begins Apr. 23.)

The Great Give®, a 36-hour fundraising marathon coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, is a financial lifeline for hundreds of cultural and social action non-profits in the greater New Haven area. And BVFCC is no exception.

Last year, we raised some $50,000 in The Great Give®, almost doubling our previous best performance. (The Great Give® overall saw an outpouring of generosity in 2020.)

Those funds were crucial to sustaining us through the (still ongoing) lean pandemic months. They enabled us to:

• invest in a beautiful outdoor deck so we could present music shows safely last fall; the shows begin again in mid-April;

• help organize this past fall’s Hamden Black Film Mini-Series;

• and to continue to expand our renowned movie library.

Planning on supporting Best Video and like for your support to go even further? Please consider becoming one of our Best Video Great Give® “fundraisers.” There are thousands of dollars in additional prizes for the organizations with the most fundraisers raising $200 or more. Last year, BVFCC won $4,000 for second place in The Great Give®’s “You’ve Got Friends” prize by having over 60 fundraisers who brought in $200 or more. This year, we would like to get that number up to 100 fundraisers. Please contact us at info [AT] bestvideo.com for information on being one of our friendly fundraisers!

And please join us on our deck—paid for by the 2020 Great Give®—for Great Give® Happy Hours on Tuesdays, Apr. 27 and May 4!

We look forward to continue to work on our mission of bringing people, film, and music together and it’s your support in The Great Give® that makes that possible.

Double-your-membership plan rentals through end of April

When we reopened for curbside borrowing of videos last May, we recognized that not being able to browse our shelves was a real loss of value for our monthly and annual members. As a way of making up for that, we let all Best Video Film & Cultural Center members on the 1-movie, 2-movie, and 4-movie plans take out double the number of rentals their plans would entitle them to.

With in-person browsing restored as of April 9, we will continue this benefit through the end of April. In May, the plans will revert back so members with a 1-movie plan can have one film out at time and similar for those on the 2-movie (two movies out at a time) and 4-movie plans (up to four movies out at a time).

We appreciate everybody’s support and understanding as we have tried to navigate these challenges in a way that was both safe for our staff and attentive to our members’ needs.

RESCHEDULED! The Sawtelles play the Best Video deck Sun., Apr. 25, rather than Apr. 16 due to rain/cold forecast

UPDATE: The Sawtelles will play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sunday, Apr. 25, at 5 PM. This show was rescheduled due to predicted rain and cold for the original date of Friday, Apr. 16.

The Sawtelles play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Apr. 16, starting at 5 PM.

Husband and wife duo Pete and Julie Riccio are the foundation of the Sawtelles. They have added a new texture to their palette in recent years with the addition of guitarist and saxophonist Richard Brown but will play this show as a duo. Their music is a balance of four elements: alternate-tuned guitar, stand-up drum kit (ala Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker) and two voices. Peter plays guitar and Julie plays drums; they both sing. Their sparse but intricately arranged pop is as lush as it is captivatingly unique; what is played as important as what isn’t.

Their self-produced DYI philosophy aligns them more with the hand painted Sun Ra LP’s of 1950’s and 60’s then it does with those striving for mainstream commercial success.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

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.

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events.

RESCHEDULED! Shawn Taylor plays Wed., Apr. 28, instead of Apr. 15 due to rain forecast

Shawn Taylor.

UPDATE: Due to the strong expectation of rain on the originally scheduled date of Thursday, Apr. 15, the show by singer-songwriter Shawn Taylor on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Apr. 28, starting at 5:30 PM.

Singer-songwriter Shawn Taylor plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thursday, Apr.15, starting at 5:30 PM.

With a thumping thumb, dancing fingers, wailing harp, deep, gritty, soul stirring vocals and poetic blue collar lyrics, Shawn Taylor’s songs ooze American roots; wandering roots. He’s drawn comparisons from Tom Waites to Ray Lamontagne, Bruce Springsteen to Chris Smither, but his original songs are colored by the experiences of his own working class, wandering roots. He’s been an oysterman, carpenter, hitchhiker, homeowner, familly man, Appalachian Trail ‘thru-hiker’ and a performing musician and song writer, for over twenty years.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

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.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming shows.

S.G. Carlson, Patrick Dalton, Alex Burnet share bill Sat., Apr. 24, on Best Video deck

S.G. Carlson, Patrick Dalton, and Alex Burnet play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Apr. 24, starting at 4:45 PM.

New Haven Connecticut’s S.G. Carlson writes with an acerbic punch. With incisive and often satirical lyrics he explores a fascination with the mundane, good and bad uses of time, and a fist full of bummers. He has worked in different capacities with a variety of bands including but not limited to: Ports of Spain, Laundry Day, The Proud Flesh, 10K Blades, Rob Carlson and Benefit Street, and Winter White.

According to a New Haven Independent writer, “(Carlson’s) unassuming demeanor masks a rich musical background and artistic presence.”

Patrick Dalton doesn’t simply play guitar or write songs, he absorbs music, breathes it in, digests it and assimilates it.

Dalton’s own music, while strikingly original and nuanced, has a familiarity to it—there’s Delta blues in his studied finger picking, folk and hip hop in his storied lyrics and powerful, breathy voice, big band in his trumpet playing, and classic American songwriting in his melodies. His songs come to terms with everything from death to macro-politics to economics, and while his subject matter may be heavy at times, Dalton’s songs leave you pensive rather than downtrodden, interested rather than pessimistic.

Dalton has lent his talents as both musician and sound engineer to many musical projects, including The Proud Flesh, Sidewalk Dave, Elison Jackson, Ports of Spain, and Ceschi.

Carlson and Dalton are co-owners of Sans Serif Recording Studio in New Haven.

Alex Burnet is a song writer from New Haven CT. Her work with The Proud Flesh and Laundry Day has gathered regional and nation eyes. Coming off quarantine with new songs and the owner of Free As Birds Records she is ready to stretch her legs; see faces; and play music.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

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.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Chet, David & Pete on the Best Video deck Fri., Apr. 23, at 5 PM

Chet, David, and Pete play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Friday, Apr. 23, 2021, starting at 5 PM.

Chet Duke, David Sasso, and Pete Kaufman are three multi-instrumentalists taking turns on guitar, mandolin, and banjo. They sing old country songs. They pick fiddle tunes. And they play original string band music in the acoustic folk tradition. They have previously played Best Video as members of Five ‘N Change, On the Trail, and the Wallace and Sasso Duo.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

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.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Dr. Caterwaul’s, Leg Up play Best Video deck Thurs., Apr. 22, at 5 PM

Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps and Leg Up share the bill on the Best video Film & Cultural Center deck on Thursday, Apr. 22. The music starts at 5 PM.

Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps plays music from around the world and uses it as a launching pad for improvisations that never lose their sense of groove—whether it’s Colombian cumbias, Ethiopian jazz, Romanian horas, Argentinian tangos, traditional music from the United States, or original songs by accordionist and singer Adam Matlock.

The members of Dr. Caterwaul’s are Adam Matlock, Brian Slattery, Chris Cretella, Mike Tepper, and Michael Paolucci.

Leo and Brian Slattery (Leg Up) are two musicians—son and father—who have used the quarantine as a chance to work up their swing repertoire with son on violin and father on guitar. Come hang for a happy hour of tunes ranging from Louis Armstrong and Cole Porter to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Django Reinhardt, in all likelihood punctuated by banter filled with outrageous puns.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

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.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events.

Songs + Stories 11 on the Best Video deck Sat., Apr. 17, at 4:30 PM

SONGS + STORIES returns to live performance (but outdoors, with masks + social distance), Saturday, April 17th from 4:30 to 6:00 PM. There is a suggested $5 donation to the tip jar for the performers.

The event is hosted by Saul Fussiner and this edition’s theme: is “Friendship Stories.” Paticipating storytellers are Laconia Therrio, Wendy Dalton Marans, Val McKee, and Saul Fussiner. Singer-songwriter Brian Larney will provide the songs this evening.

Beer, wine, and coffee are available at the Best Video Cafe Window.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events.

We reopen for safe browsing (barring a serious covid surge) Fri., Apr. 9

Keeping our fingers crossed that covid rates don’t surge in Connecticut, we will be opening the Best Video premises for browsing Friday, Apr. 9!

Along with allowing browsing, we will expand the video hours from the current 3-7 PM to 1-7 PM. Cafe hours will expand from the current 8 AM-1 PM to 8 AM-4 PM (Sundays-Wednesdays) and 8 AM-5 PM (Thursday/Friday/Saturday). As our music programming begins again on Thursday, April 15, the Thursday-Saturday cafe hours will effectively be 8 AM-7 PM (or whenever the music show ends). Cafe service, however, will remain curbside for now with outdoor seating only.

We know that perusing the shelves at BVFCC is one of the signal pleasures of being a member. We will spend the next two weeks cleaning up, putting up signage about social distancing, and installing some barriers and equipment to improve safety for members and staff (there’s already a new touchless faucet in our restroom).

Guidance to make this reopening to browsing smooth and safe for all concerned:

• Social distancing will remain a must.

• Masks are 100% required, no exceptions.

• Only five members (couples or family units will count as one) will be allowed in at one time.

• We request that browsers limit the time they spend, particularly if there are other members waiting to get inside. We recognize that many of you just look forward to getting lost in looking around after being away so long but we want to accommodate as many people as safely as possible.

A cabinet displaying part of the expanded directors section. How many of these directors are YOU familiar with?!

And you can use the time leading up to April 9 to bone up on your directors! Staffers Rob Harmon and Teo Hernandez have spent the lockdown time expanding our directors sections and rearranging where other sections are. Over 80 directors have had their oeuvre added, with an emphasis on including previously overlooked women directors, directors of color, and international film directors.

If you want to know where a specific DVD or a section is, please ask a Best Video staffer.

Best Video co-sponsors virtual panel on “Hip Hop & Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline” Thurs., Feb. 25, 6:30 PM

Join us for an evening of thoughtful discussion on using Hip Hop as a tool to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, hosted by Hamden author and Quinnipiac University Sociology Professor, Dr. Don C. Sawyer III.

You can register for the Zoom event here.

This panel will feature themes, real stories and research from Dr. Sawyer’s book, “Hip-Hop and Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline” as well as input and community conversation with local community experts and academic researchers in the field of Hip Hop including Frank Brady, Lauren Kelly, Frederick Douglas Knowles, Dr. Tasha Iglesias, and Devon Glover (aka Sonnet Man).

“’Hip-Hop and Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline’ was created for K–12 students in hopes that they find tangible strategies for creating affirming communities where students, parents, advocates and community members collaborate to compose liberating and just frameworks that effectively define the school-to-prison pipeline and identify the nefarious ways it adversely affects their lives.”

Sponsoring Organizations: Ignite the Light, Best Video Film and Cultural Center, Spring Glen Church, Elm City Lit Fest, Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Hamden Dept. of Arts and Culture.