Children’s music with Val McKee Sat., Oct. 2, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids in the Best Video Film & Cultural Center parking lot on Saturday morning, Oct. 2, at 10:30 AM.

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.

Suggested donation is $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Mark Schenker returns with 10th “How to Read a Film” series Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is pleased to bring back Mark Schenker for the tenth installment of his popular “How to Read a Film” series, starting on Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM. Admission to each lecture is $7.

In previous installments of “How to Read A Film,” Schenker has zeroed in on a specific director’s oeuvre or focused on four films in a particular genre, like film noir. For this series, he will “focus more broadly on genre, and how a consideration of three great genres of American film can yield a greater understanding of one of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, “Inglourious Basterds,” which audaciously combines aspects of screwball comedy, film noir, and western.”

The schedule for the series:

Sun., Oct. 3, 2 PM: “Bringing Up Baby” (1938, screwball comedy, dir. by Howard Hawks)

Sun., Oct. 10, 2 PM: “Criss Cross” (1949, film noir, dir. by Robert Siodmak)

Sun., Oct. 24, 2 PM: “The Searchers” (1956, western, dir. by John Ford)

Sun., Oct. 31, 2 PM: “Inglourious Basterds” (2009, dir. by Quentin Tarantino)

Of “Bringing Up Baby,” the inaugural film in this series, Brian Tallerico wrote at RogerEbert.com:

Movies don’t get much more delightful and joyous than “Bringing Up Baby,” a film that honestly shaped my youth. Raised on classic musicals, my mother also loved classic comedies, and comedies don’t get more classic than this 1938 screwball masterpiece from Howard Hawks. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in a film that was reportedly so much fun to make that the production had to regularly stop for laugh breaks.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by screenings of the films to illustrate the points he is making—it’s like a live commentary track! His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

(Covid safety protocols for this event will be determined closer to the actual occurrence of the lecture.)

Little Silver return to the Best Video deck Fri., Oct. 1

Little Silver play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., Oct. 1, starting at 5:30 PM.

Little Silver released their debut album “Somewhere You Found My Name” July, 2017. Based in Brooklyn, and built around the ethereal vocals of married duo Erika Simonian and Steve Curtis, “Somewhere You Found My Name” is a gorgeous collection of original songs which confront the shifting landscape of gaining and losing loved ones, changes in perspective, and the uncertainty of life itself. Little Silver’s sparse arrangements and beautifully understated vocals bring these everyday truths to life.

Simonian and Curtis co-wrote all of the material on the new album. The experience of being partners in both life and music informs the themes of growth, loss, commitment, and the evolution of relationships that are woven throughout “Somewhere You Found My Name.” The beauty in Little Silver’s music is the way that they collaborate and create as a couple, working through life’s changes and encouraging the listener to process these experiences along with them.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Jim, Willow & David; David Coller play Celtic and folk-influenced music Sat., Sept. 25

Jim, Willow, and David play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Sept. 25. They are joined on the bill by singer-songwriter/folk artist David Coller. The show starts at 5 PM.

Join Jim, Willow, and David for songs and tunes that draw from Irish and old-time traditions that have been vigorously preserved and passed down over generations. Because more than half of the settlers that emigrated to Appalachia came from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Celtic influence in the music there was strong.

The repertoire of this New Haven-based group of musical friends reflects that connection with their eclectic mix of lively Irish dance tunes and instrumentals, Celtic ballads and old-time songs. The group features Willow Sirch on 5-string fiddle and vocals; Jim Sirch on Irish flutes, whistles, bodhran, clawhammer banjo, and vocals; and David Sasso on some combination of guitar, mandolin, octave-mandolin, cittern, tenor banjo, and vocals.

Connecticut singer-songwriter David Coller is again playing local venues following a 14 year musical hiatus involving a wooden boat (if you’ve ever owned one, you understand) followed by a year and a half of COVID purgatory. He brings with him a variety of songs and styles: jazzy soon-to-be standards, new bluegrass tunes, sea-songs, a cowboy tune or two, and plenty of straight-up folk performed on the guitar, banjo, and the odd bit of button accordion. If you have wide-ranging (not to say “scattered” or “aimless”) tastes in music, an appreciation for careful instrumental and vocal arrangements, and an enjoyment of polished lyrics, you’re bound to enjoy the show.

Before vanishing into the world of splinters, sandpaper and sail, David played for many years in duos and bands in Connecticut and before that, southern California. He now resides in the last rural smidgeon of Hamden, Connecticut.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

The Bargain plays the Best Video deck Fri., Sept. 24

The Bargain—a trio featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, and Michael Rivers—play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Friday, Sept. 24, starting at 5 PM.

A bargain was struck with the devil and each other to write, record, and perform the songs Frank Critelli, Muddy Rivers, and Shandy Lawson lasso while sitting around the kitchen table.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Norman & the Rockwellians get in the swing Thurs., Sept. 23

Norman & The Rockwellians play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., Sept. 23. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Originally formed as the house band for the Institute Library, Norman and the Rockwellians is comprised of members of Swing du Jour, Dr Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, the Brooklyn Swing Ensemble, and the Galvanized Jazz Band.

Collectively they play the music they love, from the heyday of the American songbook, highlighting Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller, George Gershwin, and more! The players are Norman Plankey (guitar), Brian Slattery (trombone & violin), Daniel Elias (clarinet), and Art Hovey (tuba).

Dancing may spontaneously occur. Music you can whistle on your way home.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Five ‘N Change show rescheduled to Sun., Sept. 26, due to rain

Due to the rain today (Sept. 9), the show with bluegrass quintet Five ’N Change has been rescheduled to Sun., Sept. 26, at 5:30 PM.

Five ‘n Change is a New Haven, Connecticut based bluegrass band that drives hard and carries a big pick. They respect the tradition. They respect the trailblazers. And they respect the renegade outlaws. Our final product is an eclectic balance of American roots music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of music that showcases the group’s strong vocals, musicianship, and passion for genre busting. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews and followed up with a self titled EP release. (Both CD’s are available in the MUSIC section of this website).

The group is Ken McEwen (guitar & vocals), Pete Kaufman (banjo), Dave Casali (bass), David Sasso (mandolin) with Ryan Mooney (dobro, guitar).

The Mandingo Ambassadors return with joyous West African jazz Sun., Sept. 19

The Mandingo Ambassadors, led by guitarist Mamady Kouyate, play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sun., Sept. 19. The music starts at 5:30 PM. (This show was rescheduled from Aug. 27 due to forecasted thunderstorms that never appeared.)

An African jazz band with beats to make chairs obsolete and melodies to put your mind at ease! Check out NYC’s magnificent Mandingo Ambassadors at this last of the old school video stores (turned non-profit cultural center)!

The Mandingo Ambassadors was founded in New York City by griot-guitarist Mamady Kouyaté in 2005. As a veteran of the great orchestras of the golden age of Guinean dance bands, Kouyate is a living library of musical science inherited from his ancestors and from a half century of experience as an arranger, band leader, accompanist and soloist.

Mamady Kouyaté carried this heritage with him to New York where he has collaborated with members of the West African diaspora and Western musicians to continue the great tradition and sound of Guinean Afro-jazz.

Since the summer of 2008 the group has been in residence at Barbes, performing every Wednesday night at this well-known Brooklyn venue. In addition, they have performed at many clubs, events and festivals including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Celebrate Brooklyn, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

In a review of a show at Barbès in 2008, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff wrote:

The music of the Mandingo Ambassadors has been structured to make you feel good. It puts dazzling vocal and guitar patterns over a rhythm section that is like a perfect system: a locked drum groove, much of it played on high-hat cymbal and drum rims; soft bass lines that fall short or start late, or leave gaps in a run of notes; fingerpicked rhythm guitar notes like clear fizz. In the small, square backroom of Barbès on Wednesday — as it will be next Wednesday and for Wednesdays to come — the music sounded loud and light and unfailingly right…

It could have gone on forever, and that was a nice thought.

Joining Mamady Kouyate on Aug. 27 will be rhythm guitarist Mamady Kouruma, bass player Emanuel Gatewood, drummer Jeremy Dion.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

The Moon Shells play Americana on the Best Video deck Sat., Sept. 18

The Moon Shells play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Sept. 18. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

The Moon Shells draw from the traditional music of Appalachia, Louisiana, West Africa and elsewhere to try to make something new. Whether performing as an acoustic stringband, a stripped-down trio, or a five-piece making modern sounds on traditional instruments at clubs and festivals, the Moon Shells move hearts and feet.

In 2019 they released two albums—Seaside Asylum, an album of original songs and tunes, and Screech Plank, an album of more traditional fiddle tunes. The Hartford Courant named Seaside Asylum one of its favorite regional albums of 2019. Their next album of original songs, House of Air, came out in 2020 to similar acclaim. Both albums have gotten radio airplay throughout New England. The band is currently finishing its next two albums for release later in the year and this gig will be one of the band’s first chances to play new songs for an audience.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Anne Marie Menta with Richard Neal and Cadence Carroll Fri., Sept. 17

Anne Marie Menta plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Friday, Sept. 17, starting at 5:30 PM. She will be joined by Richard Neal on guitar and mandolin and Cadence Carroll on harmony vocals and percussion.

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.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

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 optional outside but 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 Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.