Save the dates! The Great Give® May 1-2, The Great Give® Happy Hours Apr. 24 & May 1

You can start giving now!

Have you dreamed of making history? Of course, we all have. And now we have a chance to be a part of greater New Haven’s day of giving, The Great Give®—an opportunity to unite our community around causes in which we truly believe and help nonprofit organizations connect to the larger community.

We need your help! Please join our campaign and help us raise the money necessary to continue—and expand—our programming and preserve—and expand!—our incredible film archive! We need you to tell your friends and family members about the value we have for the community and ask them to join us in helping to make a difference.

Get ready to give!

The Great Give®, organized by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, runs from May 1-May 2, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.. Advance gifts can be made for The Great Give® beginning April 19, 2019; advance gifts will count toward grand prize calculations, but will not be counted toward hourly prize incentives.

To contribute to Best Video Film & Cultural Center during The Great Give®, go to TheGreatGive.org and enter “Best Video” in the Search field to find our page. Or just click on the graphic in this post to be taken directly to our Great Give® page.

BVFCC will endeavor to stoke enthusiasm for The Great Give® with two Happy Hour events, one on Wed., Apr. 24, from 5-7 PM, and the second on the first day of The Great Give®, Wed., May 1, from 5-7 PM. Come on down to BVFCC on those days for drink specials, tasty snacks, socializing, and—if you can—your laptop or smartphone to make a Great Give® donation to support BVFCC!

Film screening: “The Village,” about Wooster Square Italian community, screens Tues., May 7, at 7:30 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center screens “The Village: Life in New Haven’s Little Italy” on Tuesday, May 7. The screening starts at 7:30 PM and admission is $7.

“The Village: Life in New Haven’s Little Italy,” tells the story of the city’s Wooster Square neighborhood, which for many years was a tight-knit Italian-American enclave. Using oral history interviews, photos from family albums, and historic films and photographs, the documentary explores the power of ethnic identity and reaffirms the importance of immigration to American society.

Today, few descendants of the immigrants still live in Wooster Square, but vestiges of their community remain—in the church, the ethnic societies and their festas, and the pizza joints and pastry shops. Most vividly, the village lives on in the fond memories of the people who grew up there.

“The Village,” directed by Steve Hamm, has been playing to packed houses in the greater New Haven area. Hamm, film editor Scott Amore and longtime Wooster Square resident Frank Carrano—who is featured in the film—will be on hand for a discussion after the one-hour showing.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Trivia 237, Best Video’s monthly movie trivia night, takes place Mon., May 6, at 7:30 PM

So you think you know movies?

Best Video Film & Cultural Center returns with its monthly trivia night, Trivia 237 (or “T-237” for those dystopian future-minded folk) on Monday, May 6. 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.

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 at Trivia 237. T-237 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: Hamden Land Conservation Trust presents “Journey of the Universe” Tues., Apr. 2, at 6:30 PM

Join the Hamden Land Conservation Trust on Tuesday, Apr. 2, at 6:30 pm at Best Video located at 1842 Whitney Avenue for a viewing of the film “Journey of the Universe,” a remarkable film that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, and biology with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.

Yale professors and producers of the film Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will offer their insights afterward. Viewers are sure to walk away moved and inspired.

“Journey of the Universe” narrates the 14-billion year story of the universe’s development, from the great flaring forth at the universe’s inception to the emergence of simple molecules and atoms to the evolution of galaxies, stars, solar systems, and planetary life of greater complexity and consciousness. This is a story that inspires wonder as we begin to understand such complexity through science and appreciate such beauty through poetry, art, history, religion, and philosophy. It also awakens us to the dynamic processes of evolution that are chaotic and destructive, as well as creative and life-generating.

The film is narrated by evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme, and was produced by Yale historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker and her husband, John Grim. Tucker and Grim teach in a joint master’s program in religion and ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES) and Yale Divinity School, where they also direct the Forum on Religion and Ecology.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Trivia 237, Best Video’s monthly movie trivia night, takes place Mon., Apr. 1, at 7:30 PM

This is no April Fool’s prank: Best Video Film & Cultural Center returns with its monthly trivia night, Trivia 237 (or “T-237” for those dystopian future-minded folk) on Monday, Apr. 1. 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.

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 at Trivia 237. T-237 will be held the first Monday of each month unless holidays or other reasons for shifting the date intrude.

Interfaith Youth Open Mic Sun., Mar. 31, from 5-7 PM

Youth from six New Haven-area churches of multiple denominations have organized an Interfaith Youth Open Mic Night on Sunday, Mar. 31, from 5-7 PM at Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

The Open Mic is welcome to all and open to teenage individuals, groups, or ensembles from the surrounding community who are interested in performing.  We are excited to bring youth together from many religious communities to share their talents, passions, faith, and joys with each other whether that is music, poetry, story-telling, quirky tricks, jokes, magic, athletic skills, etc.  If you’d like to be on the list to perform, e-mail youth@springglenchurch.org or sign up in person at the event!

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

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.