Literary reading: Connecticut Poetry Society presents Laura & Victor Altshul Tues., Mar. 26, at 7 PM

The Connecticut Poetry Society presents a reading by poets Laura and Victor Altshul at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Tuesday, Mar. 26. The event starts at 7 PM. Admission is free but donation’s to support BVFCC’s programming are encouraged.

The Connecticut Poetry Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of poetry. Its mission is to encourage a community devoted to poetry through chapter meetings, education and events. Laura and Victor Altshul co-Chair the New Haven branch of the CPS, which meets monthly to workshop poems and to encourage programs in the area.

A retired educator, Laura Altshul tutors and serves on non-profit boards focused on providing educational and arts experiences for New Haven’s children whose families don’t ordinarily have access to these opportunities. Her two books of poetry are Searching for the Northern Lights and Bodies Passing. Her poems have won prizes from The Connecticut Poetry Society, The Hamden Arts Commission, The New York Poetry Society, and The Tennessee Poetry Society. She was the featured poet in Speaking of Poetry Episode 36.

Victor Altshul is a psychiatrist in private practice affiliated with Yale Medical School. His four published poetry books are: Stumblings, Singing with Starlings, Ode to My Autumn, and the most recent Strange Birds. His poems have been published in numerous journals and he was the featured poet in the half-hour public television program Speaking of Poetry Episode 43. He and his wife Laura have given numerous readings in Connecticut.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Comedy: Reel Life—A Stand-Up Comedy show hosted by Kendra Dawsey on Tues., Mar. 19, 8 PM

Kendra Dawsey.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents “Reel Life,” a monthly stand-up comedy show that debuted in October, on Tuesday, Mar. 19, at 8 PM. Reel Life is hosted by Kendra Dawsey, a comic who also hosts a weekly open mic at Lyric Hall in Westville and has also performed at Best Video’s Second Wednesday Open Mic among other venues throughout New England. Cover is a sliding scale of $5-10—pay what you can within that range.

Also on the bill for Feb. 19 are comics BJ Quagan, Caitlin Reese, Rebecca Rush, Ben Bosunga, and John Saponaro.

Kendra Dawsey is an up and coming stand-up comic who has performed in clubs and showcases in NYC and all over New England, including Stonewall Inn, Comix @ Mohegan Sun, and ImprovBoston. She was also a featured comic on the Sirius XM radio program Paid or Pain. Kendra garners humor from her identity and experiences by blending anecdote with higher concepts. Never too proud to laugh at herself, Kendra endears audiences by inviting them to laugh with her.

• BJ Quagan JUST wants you to have a good time. He’s been performing live comedy for 6 years. He is extremely critical of himself and is wondering if this is a good enough biography as you read if. He is one of the associate artistic directors at the Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford and believes firmly that the world is more enjoyable when we all laugh together while it burns.

• Caitlin Reese is a Connecticut based stand up comedian, improviser, and sketch writer. She has been featured on Comics Watching Comics Season 8 on Amazon Prime, Last Comix Standing at Mohegan Sun, and PAID or PAIN on Sirius XM. She has opened for Kevin McDonald from Kids in the Hall and selected to perform in the Women in Comedy Festival. She was also a finalist in the 2018 National Ladies of Laughter Competition at Gotham Comedy Club. Her sense of humor is offbeat, quirky, and always feminist.

• Rebecca Rush is a comic and writer. She has been featured on Funny or Die and VICE, has appeared on YKWD & RAP, and has done numerous festivals including Portland Maine Comedy Festival, Cinder Block Comedy Festival, Bechtel Test Fest, Skankfest, and Mutiny Radio Fest. She has worked with Fortune Feimster, Bobby Kelly, Deon Cole, Ben Bailey, Laurie Kilmartin, Chris DiStefano, and recently featured for Joe List. She’s performed at Greenwich Village Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, LA Comedy Club, Palm Beach Improv, Chicago Laugh Factory, The Ice House, The Comedy Store, The Stand, Funnybone Comedy Clubs in multiple states, and many more. She produces the show Raised by Wolves at Henrietta Hudsons the 2nd Thursday of the month in Manhattan’s West Village, and will soon be producing Escape from LA bimonthly in Santa Cruz.

• John Saponaro is a comic, actor, writer, and voiceover artist based in New York City. He spends his nights performing at some of the most well known comedy clubs in the country. He is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and the voice of the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series. John is an active contributor to the parody news site absrd Comedy.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Second Wednesday Open Mic comes back around Wed., Mar. 13, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Mar. 13, starting at 7 PM. Admission is a Suggested Donation of $3-5 to support BVFCC.

Poet Karen Ponzio — who writes for the New Haven Independent and has a show on Cygnus RADIO — is the host for this show.

We are doing sign-up differently 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.

Literary: A reading for Al-Mutanabbi Street with Daisy C. Abreu & Stephen Vincent Kobasa Tues., Mar. 5, at 7 PM

On the anniversary of the 2007 bombing of the booksellers’ market in Baghdad, and in defiance of the ongoing attacks throughout the world against reading and readers, excerpts from the anthology “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” will be read by Daisy C. Abreu and Stephen Vincent Kobasa at Best video Performance Space on Tuesday, Mar. 5, starting at 7 PM. onations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center will be welcomed.

On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of Baghdad bookselling. More than 30 people were killed and over 100 were wounded. In response to this attack upon a cultural treasure of the Iraqi people, the San Francisco poet and bookseller Beau Beausoleil founded the al-Mutanabbi Street Project which to date has assembled 130 broadsides by letterpress artists, 260 artist books, and a literary anthology “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” with contributions by over 125 writers from around the world.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

(UPDATE 3/4/19: CANCELED for tonight) Trivia 237, monthly Best Video movie trivia night takes place Mon., Mar. 4, at 7:30 PM

Update 3/4/19. Due to circumstances beyond our control, Trivia 237 is being canceled this evening. Your favorite movie trivia night at Best Video Film & Cultural Center will return the first Monday of April, April 1.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center returns with its monthly trivia night, Trivia 237 (or “T-237” for those dystopian future-minded folk) on Monday, Mar. 4. The event starts at 7:30 PM and admission is a suggested donation of $5.

Trivia 237—named after the infamous Hotel Stanley room in “The Shining”—is hosted by Best Video café manager Lena Olive.

Trivia 237 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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film screening: “Garden in Film” series continues with “Saving Grace” (2000) Sun., Feb. 24, at 4 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center 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. 10, and continuing on alternate Sundays (Feb. 24 and Mar. 10). The series planted the seed on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 PM with 2014’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet. Seedlings break the earth on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4 PM with “Saving Grace” from 2000, starring Brenda Blethyn. The final harvest occurs on Sunday, Mar. 10, at 3 PM with the screening of “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2016), starring Mia Farkasovska. Admission for each screening is $7.

Set in Cornwall, England, “Saving Grace” pits a recently widowed but pugnacious survivor (played by Brenda Blethyn) against the debt collectors and official property appraisers who are circling for payment. She figures out the best path forward is to begin cultivating cannabis for sale. This film touches on the realities of excessive debt, the limits and strengths of friendship and on one woman’s ability to land on her feet in difficult circumstances.

In his 2000 New York Times review, critic A.O. Scott described “Saving Grace” as “[trying] to do for marijuana-dealing what ”The Full Monty” did for male striptease.” It was, he wrote, “this summer’s bait for the Anglophiles who keep shows like ‘Mr. Bean’ and ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ running on public television. Though it might be described as a BBC sitcom as imagined by Cheech and Chong, ‘Saving Grace,’ directed by Nigel Cole, springs from the imagination of Craig Ferguson.”

Remaining schedule:

Sun., Feb. 24, 4 PM: “Saving Grace”
Sun., Mar. 10, 3 PM: “This Beautiful Fantastic”

Best Video hosts annual pre-Oscars brunch & celebration Sun., Feb. 24, 10:30 AM-1 PM

Movie Trivia Contest! Guess the Oscars Winner Contest! Great Prizes! Mimosas, Bagels & more!

Best Video Film & Cultural Center celebrates the Academy Awards with a pre-Oscars Brunch on Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10:30 AM-1 PM. Originally scheduled as an afternoon event with a Chili Cook-Off, it was moved to the morning to avoid any conflict with an evening Pot Luck at Spring Glen Church.

Featuring complimentary mimosas, bagels & more! Oscar Trivia Contest with Masters of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White! A Guess the Most Correct Oscar Winners ballot contest! Prizes!

Everybody is welcome to come celebrate movie culture and community. Bring the kids!

Support for Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming is welcomed with suggested donations of $5-$25 (contribute what you’d like in that range, or more!).

Local state reps. Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter, Mike D’Agostino to hold community forum at Best Video Sat., Feb. 23, 10:30-11:30 AM

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. 23, from 10:30 -11:30 AM.

The event is free and open to the public.

 

Best Video hosts annual pre-Oscars Brunch & celebration Sun., Feb. 24, with trivia & Oscar contests (UPDATED 2/12/19)

UPDATE:

Because of a perceived conflict with the evening Neighborhood Soup Pot Luck Dinner at Spring Glen Church, Best Video Film & Cultural Center has moved its pre-Oscars celebration event to the morning of Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10:30 AM-1 PM. We have shelved the Chili Cook-Off for now. The Oscars Brunch features complimentary mimosas and bagels as well as the previously planned Oscars Trivia Contest presided over by Masters of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White and Oscars ballot contest. Everybody is welcome to come and celebrate movie culture and community.

Support for Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming  is welcomed with suggested donations of $5-$25 (contribute what you’d like in that range, or more!).

The red carpet rolls out for bowls of red—chili, to those not in the know when Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts an afternoon pre-Oscars celebration and fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 12:30-3 PM 10:30 AM-1 PM. In the spirit of last fall’s Best Cookie Contest, we debut our “Chili Oscars Cook-Off,” a chili-making contest. Admission is $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for individuals and $25 for two adults (kids included for free).

The event will also feature a movie trivia contest with Best Video’s Master of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White. And, as in previous years, attendees will get Oscar ballots and can compete to see who can correctly guess the most winners. There will be prizes for all the contests.

BVFCC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people, film, and music together. For more information, check bestvideo.com or call (203) 287-9286.

Second Wednesday Open Mic comes around again Wed., Feb. 13, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, February 13, starting at 7 PM. Admission is a Suggested Donation of $3-5 to support BVFCC.

Poet Karen Ponzio — who writes for the New Haven Independent and has a show on Cygnus RADIO — is the host for this show.

We put out a sign-up sheet for designated slots at 6:30 PM and performers can choose their slot on a first-come, first-serve basis. 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.