Music: Gneiss Youth Improv Ensemble, Curmudgeon Corner play Wed., June 26, 8 PM

Gneiss and Curmudgeon Corner play improvised music at Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, June 26, starting at 8 PM. The cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

GNEISS is a collective of New Haven teen and young adult musicians exploring improvised music in collaboration with Anne Rhodes and Adam Matlock. Current members include Marquis Galbreth, Briana Chance, and Clifford Schloss.

Curmudgeon Corner (Rhodes, voice/electronics, and Matlock, accordion and voice) will open.

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Literary Reading: Connecticut Poetry Society presents Patricia Mottola, Tony Fusco Tues., June 25, at 7 PM

The Connecticut Poetry Society presents a reading by poets Patricia Mottola and Tony Fusco at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Tuesday, June 25. The event starts at 7 PM. Admission is free but donations 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.

Award-winning poet and Pushcart Prize nominee Pat Mottola teaches Creative Writing at Southern Connecticut State University, where she earned both an M.S. in Art Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. In addition to working with students at S.C.S.U., she is thrilled to teach both art and poetry to senior citizens throughout Connecticut. Her work is published in journals across the country. On a global scale, she has mentored Afghan women writers living in Afghanistan through the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Pat served as editor of Connecticut River Review from 2012-2017, and is currently Co-President of the Connecticut Poetry Society. Pat was recently awarded the CT Board of Regents Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Under the Red Dress (Five Oaks Press) and After Hours (Five Oaks Press).

Tony Fusco is the new and first Poet Laureate of West Haven, Connecticut, Co-President of the Connecticut Poetry Society. He has a Master Degree in Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University. He was the editor of Caduceus, the anthology of the “Yale Medical Group Art Place” and past editor of the Connecticut River Review, Long River Run. His work has appeared in many publications including the Connecticut Review, Louisiana Literature, the Red Rock Review, The South Carolina Review, Lips, and The Paterson Review.

He has published four books of poetry and three chap books, Extinction 2018, Java Scripture 2014, Droplines 2010, and Jessie’s Garden 2003. His poetry has won prizes in many contests including the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. Tony is a life long resident of West Haven, Connecticut; his writing is infused with the local flavor of growing up a Catholic Italian, and with memories of the now defunct Savin Rock Amusement Park and working at the Yale School of Medicine. He is married to Patricia White Fusco, has two daughters, Emily and Cyndi, and four grandsons.

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Mark Schenker launches new “How to Read a Film” series on film noir masterpieces Sun., June 23, at 2 PM

In this eighth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, presents four lectures on “A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces.” All four lectures will be held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 23. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series kicks off with the 1931 proto-noir, Fritz Lang-directed classic “M.”

Mark Schenker offers another installment of his “How to Read a Film” series, with works by four directors who are new to his presentations at Best. In movies that range from Peter Lorre’s sensational performance as a serial killer in the early talkie “M” by German director Fritz Lang, through two Hollywood films of the classic noir period of the 1940’s-50’s, through the neo-noir of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple,” the series covers more than a half-century of noir and showcases the acting talents (in addition to the 26-year-old Lorre) of Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frances McDormand and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh.

From M.H.’s 1931 New York Times review of “M”:

Based on the fiendish killings which spread terror among the inhabitants of Düsseldorf in 1929, there is at the Mayfair a German-language pictorial drama with captions in English bearing the succinct title “M,” which, of course, stands for murder. It was produced in 1931 by Fritz Lang and, as a strong cinematic work with, remarkably fine acting, it is extraordinarily effective, but its narrative, which is concerned with a vague conception of the activities of a demented slayer and his final capture, is shocking and morbid. Yet Mr. Lang has left to the spectator’s imagination the actual commission of the crimes.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. 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.


Sun., June 23: “M” (1931)
Sun., June 30: “Murder, My Sweet” (1944)
Sun., July 7: “In a Lonely Place” (1950)
Sun., June 14: “Blood Simple” (1984)

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Local state reps. Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter, & Mike D’Agostino to hold community forum Sat., June 22, at 10 AM

State Reps. Josh Elliott, Robyn Porter and Mike D’Agostino will hold a community forum at Best Video Film & Cultural Center to discuss the recent legislative session and take questions on Saturday, June 22, from 10-11:30 AM.

The event is free and open to the public.

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Music: Burning Sensations heat up Best Video Fri., June 21, at 8 PM

Burning Sensations play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 21. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

What would The Doors sound like if they met Weird Al in a brothel that they can’t afford? The Burning Sensations have cultivated their collective whimsy to beg the question. Scott Meikle sings in an uncanny sense of vaudeville pastiche beside Ronnie Demaio who delivers his own brand of enigmatic snarl on guitar. Joe Scialla anchors the quartet behind the drum kit while Will Iannuzzi simultaneously holds down the low end and endows his melodic wizardry on keys. The band relentlessly proves themselves live with their genre-bending compositions such as “Wanting More”, “Murky Waters”, and “Do Me” and on their upcoming debut album set for release in late summer 2019.

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Music: Marrakech, Inc. & Best Video present afternoon of music Fri., June 21, from noon-5 PM as part of Make Music Day

Best Video Film & Cultural Center and Marrakech, Inc. are hosting a community-based day of music celebrating diversity and inclusion. There will be over 19 performers entertaining from 11:45AM to 5PM. The cast of performers will include bands, singers of all types of music, guitar players, and even a WU-TANG affiliated speaker!

The individuals performing will include individuals with and/or without disabilities.

Come out and support our performers. Let’s Make Music TOGETHER!

11:45 – 12:00 PM: MARS HERNANDEZ
12:00 – 12:30 PM: Kyle Flynn
12:30 – 1:00 PM: Pious Mantis
1:00 – 1:15 PM: Frankie Gervasio
1:15 – 1:30 PM: James Wheatley
1:30 – 1:45 PM: Pasqual D’Amato
1:45 – 2:00 PM: SGRO
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM: Marchelle Davis
2:15 – 2:30 PM: eronica Alston
2:30 – 2:45 PM: YAS-kh, mc, zs, and marquel spoken word
2:45 – 3:00 PM: Gialana
3:00 – 3:15 PM: Robert Palmer
3:15 – 3:30 PM: Saharah
3:30 – 3:45 PM: Raymond Lindsey
4:00 – 4:15 PM: Bobby and Jamie Peterson
4:15 – 4:30 PM: Ben Barton and Anthony
4:30 – 5:00 PM: Bob Crelin

Marrakech is a diverse nonprofit organization that has been providing person-centered, unique, and cost-effective human services for children and adults with and without disabilities throughout Connecticut for over 47 years. The services provided and individuals the organization supports are diverse. But, there is a common goal: assist individuals with achieving greater self-sufficiency while they experience the best quality of life possible.

Marrakech’s caring, inclusive and supportive team serves over 1300 individuals each year. They are neighbors with disabilities, children transitioning to adulthood, friends battling with addiction, homelessness, and mental illness, and community members who need to acquire skills to find a job or make ends meet. Marrakech does this by providing homes, building skills, supporting families, and helping people reach their potential. The result: stronger communities.

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Music: Indie rock group Wally plays Thurs., June 20

Wally plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, June 20, starting at 8 PM. The cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Wally began in Hamden, CT in the Winter of 2014, as the first step into collaborative pop music by a few high school friends studying music together. Initially under the name Nothing Special, these friends played a variety of covers, slowly building a repertoire of original material.

The band has since gone onto release their EP, “Fred’s Got Slacks,” on iTunes and Spotify. Since the release of this EP the band has progressed immensely musically delving into softer Rock and Roll with traces of The Beach Boys, The Beatles and more modern bands such as Wilco and Radiohead. Following the departure of lead guitarist Rody Conway the band has shifted more from blues driven sound to a more high-reverb tone combined with layered harmonies.

Lead Singer Alex Blair, and Guitarist and Singer Teo Hernandez have had a long history of writing and and performing together. They were veterans of the aforementioned Nothing Special, having performed at Toad’s Place New Haven, The Festival of Arts and Ideas, The North Branford POCO Festival, among many other venues and events.

Wally for this show will feature Blair (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Teo Hernandez (lead guitar, vocals), Lucas Hernandez (synth, vocals), Jackson Roman (drums), Miles Keingstein (trumpet), Declan Sheehy-Moss (tenor sax, electric sax), and Matt Aranow (bass).

Samples of Wally’s music can be found on their website Wally.Band, on Spotify or iTunes still under Nothing Special or on Soundcloud and Facebook @Wallyusa and on Instagram @thoseguyswhoplaymusic.

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(UPDATED) Music: Experimental electronics from Red Rainbow, guitar by Lucas Brode, bass & electronics by Carl Testa Wed., June 19

Red Rainbow, Lucas Brode, and Carl Testa play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, June 19. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range). (This show was rescheduled from May 1. Conor Perreault and Derek Piotr, who were originally on this bill, will not be available for this night.)

Red Rainbow is the solo project of New Haven-based vocalist Anne Anne Rhodes. She incorporates voice and electronics in conjunction with embroidered graphic scores, looping sounds as diverse as extended techniques and bel canto vocalises to create layer up layer of dissonance, harmony, and noise.

Lucas Brode, a native of New York’s Hudson Valley, is a guitarist & composer working primarily with the concepts of memory, misplaced nostalgia, repetition, chaos, subtlety, and traversing spectral landscapes. He draws from jazz harmony, experimental rock textures, and African rhythms – having spent several years learning percussion from traditional Ghanian master drummer, Yacub Addy. Lucas often performs solo, leads his own trio, and is an active performer and improviser in the NYC and Hudson Valley experimental music scenes. Past and present collaborators include G. Calvin Weston, Kevin Shea, Luke Stewart, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Colin Fisher, Zach Cooper, Al Margolis, and many more. Lucas is also well known in the Northeast US for his years in the math-rock / post-rock hybrid band, Hannibal Montana.

Lucas tours regularly, performing at museums, galleries, cafes, DIY spaces, and traditional music venues such as the New Museum (NYC), Knitting Factory (NYC), the Mothlight (Asheville), Rhizome (DC), the Windup Space (Baltimore), Spread Art (Detroit), Cafe Mustache (Chicago), and Gallery 5 (Richmond) to name a few. He has shared bills with many well known rock bands and avant-garde musicians throughout his career, including The Antlers, Joe McPhee, Tatsuya Nakatani, Oneida, Hank Roberts, Kayo Dot, Brandon Seabrook, and others.

Carl Testa is a multi-instrumentalist and composer at the intersection of improvised, electronic, experimental music, and new media. As a performer/improviser, he is equally comfortable on string bass, electronics, lighting, and combinations thereof.

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Music: Evening bluegrass jam hosted by GuitarTownCT on Mon., June 17, at 6:30 PM

The monthly first Sunday GuitarTownCT bluegrass jams became so successful that Chris Wuerth added a new jam to the schedule. For those who need to twang community-wise more than once a month—or can’t make the Sunday afternoon events—we now have a bluegrass jam (usually) on the Third Monday of every month from 6-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. June’s jam is on Monday, June 17, from 6:30-9:30 PM.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening.

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Music: Clare Byrne plays LP release show for new record “Celestials” Sat., June 15

Singer-songwriter Clare Byrne plays Best Video Performance Space Saturday, June 15, as a release party for her new vinyl LP “Celestials.” The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Clare Byrne’s songwriting and music bring together folk, rhythm & blues, & gospel in an astral acoustic/electric mix, with incisive, poignant lyrics. Her 2019 double LP Celestials assembles a diverse and multi-talented group of New York City and Vermont musicians for a vinyl album release party on June 15, 2019 at Best Video & Cultural Center.

Celestials is a conceptual “chamber music” album, arranged in suites of songs. It features Byrne along with thirteen musicians in vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, hand percussion, cello, sleigh bells, piano, flute, saxophone, and synthesizer, recorded over a year of studio sessions in Burlington, VT. The twin albums, “Sister” and “Brother” take listeners on a journey across landscapes of relationship, gender, and race, ranging from Vermont to New York City to Italy to introspective chambers of the heart. It contains fourteen original songs by Byrne, a song by New York songwriter Rodrigo Alonzo, and the Irish traditional, “The Water is Wide.”

The limited vinyl pressing, with photographs by New York City photographer Hiroyuki Ito and design by Vermont graphic and font designer Alec Julien, will be available at Best Video for sale. The album includes a download card for digital download.

The release party will include performance by very special guests The Elm City Ramblers, led by local bluegrass phenom Phil Rosenthal. Other special New Haven musical guests TBA!

Clare is a dancer-and-choreographer-turned-musician who has performed and taught in New York City and environs, Burlington VT, and around the world. She began songwriting through guitar, harmonica and piano in 2011; her EP Seed was released in Vermont in 2017, after which she toured Ireland with Ink the Octopus (Dan Strauss and Remy DeLaroque).

In her career she has performed in many venues, including Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, The Joyce Theater, P.S. 122, Dixon Place in NYC and The Flynn Center for the Arts in Burlington, VT. Multi-year projects have included Weekly Rites (2007-2012), a weekly online video, dance, and writing improvisational blog, and The Poor Sister Clares Traveling Dancing Monk Show (2009 – 2013), an experiment in contemplative community, gardening and performance in Vermont. She is a recipient of grants and residencies through The Joyce Theater Foundation, Dixon Place, The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, The Dragon’s Egg, The Silo Residency, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Greywood Arts in Killeagh, Ireland, and the Bogliasco Foundation in Bogliasco, Italy, among others. Clare was a founding member of Nicholas Leichter Dance, the artistic director of Clare Byrne Dance for ten years, and has written dance reviews for the online publication Clare has taught dance at Muhlenberg College, Long Island University, Manhattanville College, and was a Senior Lecturer in Dance in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Vermont.

Clare currently lives in New Haven, studies music at the Neighborhood Music School, and is a member of the Elm City Ramblers.

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