Richard Neal to play the Best Video deck Sat., Nov. 21, in final outdoors music show of the year

Richard Neal.

Singer-songwriter Richard Neal plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck in what is likely the last outdoors show of 2020. (It’s getting colder and darker.)

Richard Neal is a student of music, songwriting, record production, and live performance. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, dobro, slide), he has been privileged to make a living as a musician and to work in a wide variety of musical settings and styles.

Neal appears regularly in concert as a sideman for any number of acts, and also as a regular member of the bluegrass band HOE. As a solo artist and songwriter, he has released 2 CD’s of original music, HOE and Beacon. Several of his compositions have been recorded by other singers.

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.

Shellye Valuaskas & Dean Falcone play the deck Fri., Nov. 20, at 5 PM

Shellye Valauskas and Dean Falcone return for an acoustic performance on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Nov. 20, starting at 5 PM.

The Shellye Valauskas Experience is led by vocalist/guitarist Shellye Valauskas. By the time she formed the band, she was an established solo performer, winning the New Haven Advocate’s Grand Band Slam readers’ poll and rating a slot in New York’s CMJ Marathon. As her songwriting collaborator and bandmate, she enlisted ace guitarist Dean Falcone, who has earned a stellar reputation in the Connecticut music scene since starting out in the early 1980s with Jon Brion in The Excerpts.

Valauskas’ and Falcone’s shared love for the intelligent, heartwarming yet punchy pop of Crowded House, The Posies and Aimee Mann, as well as the burgeoning Americana movement, helped them nail a distinctive yet accessible radio-friendly sound from the start.

Their most recent release, 2018’s “History of Panic,” garnered a rave review at the online blog Pop Dose:

This is really good. I mean REALLY GOOD. This second album from The Shelleye Valauskas Experience, History Of Panic, which is anchored by singer-guitarist Ms. Valausakas and Mr. Dean Falcone on second guitar, took almost a decade to make and release, but it’s damned well worth the wait. Ten perfectly, meticulously crafted power pop (emphasis on “power”) tracks that shimmer and shine.

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.

(UPDATE: Thurs. show cancelled due to weather) Music on the deck Thurs. & Sat. (weather permitting) with Dr. Caterwaul; Mat & Erik from Goodnight Blue Moon

(UPDATE Nov. 12, 2020: Due to the uncertainty over the weather, tonight’s scheduled show with Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps has been cancelled. We hope, if possible to reschedule it for the near future.)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

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.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 6 PM. Eclectic World Folk: Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps. 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, or traditional music from the United States.

Saturday, Nov. 14, 4:30 PM. Americana: Mat Crowley & Erik Elligers from Goodnight Blue Moon. Goodnight Blue Moon is an Americana/indie-folk band that writes great songs and puts on an outstanding show. Whether it’s traditional sea chanties or through composed orchestral pop, their arrangements are thoughtful and their melodies are contagious. Mat plays mandolin and Erik plays acoustic guitars; both of them write songs, sing, and harmonize. (The full GNBM also features cello, bass, drums, electric guitar, and violin.)

Music on the deck 11/5-11/7: Rob Nelson, Dreamfield, Seth Adam

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

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.

 

Thursday, Nov. 5, 4:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Rob Nelson. Rob Nelson writes and performs original music in multiple genres. He began writing songs in 1979. Since 1981, he has performed as a singer, bassist, and guitarist in AQUA, The Mar-Tones, Out of the House, Up From Eden, The Wishing Years, The Hootchie Kootchie Cowboys, Elegant Primates, and Pigeon English.

Friday, Nov. 6, 4:30 PM. Jazz/Pop: Dreamfield. Dreamfield is a band consisting of Berklee College of Music and New School students—Ryan Peter Murphy on keyboard and vocals, Will Brennan on guitar, Max Pannella on bass, and Logan Sidle on drums! They play all genres and eras of music including Pop, American Standards, Broadway, Jazz and Original songs. They perform favorites ranging from the 50’s Era all the way up to 2020 Top 40 Pop. Their original music ranges from top 40 pop to Beach Boys, and 50’s inspiration.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 4:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Seth Adam. Seth Adam writes compelling, genuine songs with honest lyrics. The alt-country, Americana rocker draws comparisons to Counting Crows, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, and Jason Isbell.

(UPDATE: Dreamfield concert postponed one week) Music: Jazz and vocals from Dreamfield Fri., Oct. 30, and Halloween children’s special event Sat. with Robert Messore

(UPDATE, FRI., OCT. 30: Due to the snow and cold weather, the Dreamfield concert scheduled for this evening is being postponed. It has been rescheduled to next Friday, Nov. 6, at 4:30 PM.)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

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.

 

Dreamfield plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Oct. 30, starting at 5 PM. (See note above.)

Dreamfield is a band consisting of Berklee College of Music and New School students—Ryan Peter Murphy on keyboard and vocals, Will Brennan on guitar, Max Pannella on bass, and Logan Sidle on drums! They play all genres and eras of music including Pop, American Standards, Broadway, Jazz and Original songs. They perform favorites ranging from the 50’s Era all the way up to 2020 Top 40 Pop. Their original music ranges from top 40 pop to Beach Boys, and 50’s inspiration.

A planned concert of guitar music by Robert Messore scheduled for Thursday this week was cancelled due to predictions of rain. But Robert will be at Best Video Film & Cultural Center Saturday, Oct. 31, at 1 PM for a special Halloween event. Along with his regular Toddler Tunes songs, Robert will throw in some songs appropriate to the annual celebration of spookiness.

Robert Messore puts on a high-energy sing-and-dance-along program for young children and their parents. Voted “Best Entertainer for Toddlers” in the 2011 Kidhaven.com readers poll, Messore’s public “Toddler Tunes” program at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Haven is the place to be every week! The songs are a mix of the classics and some newer songs that folks love. He recognizes that these programs are a place for parents to get together as much as anything, so he encourages folks with newborns through 6-yr-old children to attend.

We know that the covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on Halloween plans and hope this event can make up in a small way for the disappointment. We will be closing off the parking lot and spreading tables and chairs out; Robert will use the deck as a stage. We certainly encourage children—and family!—to come in costume if you wish. If you have portable, lawn chairs, it might be worthwhile to bring them along.

Best Video presents acclaimed new film “Ham on Rye” in virtual screening

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is proud to partner with Factory 25 distribution to screen the acclaimed new independent feature film, “Ham On Rye” on its initial theatrical release. This is a virtual screening—Best Video’s first foray into streaming!—and tickets are $10 and available at this link. Half the proceeds go to BVFCC. The ticket price is good for a three-day rental period.

“Ham on Rye” is a coming-of-age comedy centered on the nervous excitement of youth and the strange horror of entering adulthood. Tyler Taormina’s directing debut uses an expansive ensemble of over one hundred performers, including non-actors, musicians, 90’s Nickelodeon child stars, and more, to explore a suburban community’s relationship with a prom-like ritual and the decay of the human spirit. It begins with the crowd-pleasing spirit of a John Hughes movie and fades slowly into an off-kilter dystopia with the energy of “Dazed and Confused.”

The recently-released movie is garnering ecstatic reviews. It currently boasts a 91% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. New York Times critic Glenn Kenny, in a review published on Oct. 22, designated “Ham on Rye” as a New York Times Critic’s Pick. According to Kenny, “With his first feature, the director and co-writer Tyler Taormina delivers something at first familiar and then increasingly — but never ostentatiously — strange. ‘Ham on Rye’ can be taken as an allegory for middle-class suburban life in America, but it’s got added value as a potent mood piece, accomplished with a bare minimum of means.”

The opportunity to showcase “Ham on Rye” came courtesy of longtime Best Video member and donor Kevin Anton, who was the film’s editor and an executive producer. Anton write in an email:

We like to think of this film as a love letter to suburban hometowns. Tyler, the director, based the film on his own experiences returning to the town he grew up in. He found an oppressive loneliness to the streets and houses of his youth, with many of his childhood friends gone off to the cities. I think there’s truth in that, but I also see the film as a celebration of local gathering spots and the ever-changing cycle of a community over time.

I think this year especially we’ve all developed a greater appreciation for the shared physical places that embody our community. I grew up going to Best Video and I am so grateful that it’s been able to stay around and grow into something so much more than a video rental store. I’m honored they agreed to screen our film, and I look forward to running into old friends in the New Arrivals aisle someday soon.

Music on the Best Video deck this week: Thurs., 10/22 (The Sawtelles); Fri., 10/23 (Little Silver); Sat., 10/24 (Chet, David, & Pete)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

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.

Playing this week:

Thurs., Oct. 22, 5 PM. Indie Rock: The Sawtelles. 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. It’s a CD release party for their newest CD release, “lost and last/zap.” If you have followed the duo over the last 20 years you know that almost every release is a different color. this one is purple.

Friday, Oct. 23, 4:30 PM. Indie Rock: Little Silver. Originally based in Brooklyn and now calling Hamden their home, Little Silver released their debut album “Somewhere You Found My Name” July, 2017. 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.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 4:30 PM. Bluegrass/Country: Chet, David, & Pete. 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.

Music, songs, & stories on the Best Video deck Thurs., Oct. 15, & Sat., Oct. 17

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 5 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

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.

Playing this week:

Thurs., Oct. 15, 5 PM. Singer-Songwriter Vicki F. Vicki F is a rock musician and songwriter who was the lead singer and founder of The Dini Band from 2010 to 2016, and was one of the the lead singers and guitar players for the 80s post-punk band, Troupe DiCoupe, that headlined at CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City, other NYC venues and also Ron’s Place, New Haven. She is now performing originals in and around Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Sat., Oct. 17, 4:30 PM. Songs + Stories. Host Saul Fussiner presents storytellers Kevin “RevKev” Ewing, Saul Fussiner, Cynthia Rojas, and Mike Isko, along with singer-songwriter Joe Flood.

(The show planned for this Friday with The Sawtelles has been rescheduled to Thursday, Oct. 22, due to expected rain this Friday.)

On the schedule for next week:

Thurs., Oct. 22, 5 PM. Indie Rock: The Sawtelles
Fri., Oct. 23, 4:30 PM. Indie Rock: Little Silver
Sat., Oct. 24, 4:30 PM. Bluegrass/Country: Chet, David, & Pete

Music this week on the Best Video deck: Seth Adam (10/8), The Red Hots (10/9), Thabisa (10/10)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 5 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).
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.
Playing this week:
Thurs., Oct. 8, 4:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter Seth Adam. Seth Adam writes compelling, genuine songs with honest lyrics. The alt-country, Americana rocker draws comparisons to Counting Crows, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, and Jason Isbell.
Fri., Oct. 9, 4:30 PM. Novelties, Swing, & Blues: The Red Hots. The Danbury-based The Red Hots are two beautiful and talented ladies who bring life back to many classic jazz standards, old blues tunes and feisty originals with their blend of unique vocals, ukelele/guitar and harmonica, mixed with driving organic percussion.
Sat., Oct. 10, 5 PM. Afro-Soul: Thabisa. Thabisa, a charismatic dynamo of Afro-soul song from South Africa and now New Haven’s songbird, shares her talents and journey through music and storytelling.

Black Film Mini-Series concludes this Sat., Oct. 3, at 6:30 PM, with Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”

Best Video Film and Cultural Center, Ignite the Light, and Spring Glen Church in collaboration with the Hamden Dept. of Arts and Culture are excited to host the Hamden Black Film Mini-Series and Discussion event. The series consists of three, Black-centered movies with universal themes of love, heroes, loss, immigration and more followed by community discussion with keynote speakers relating each movie to the issues, experiences, joys, struggles and achievements of the Black community in Hamden. Attendees are invited to come for the movies and stay for discussion if interested, otherwise, come out and enjoy films together in the company of community.

The first screening, of “42: The Jackie Robinson Story,” took place on Sept. 17, and “Brown Sugar” was shown Sept. 25.

All movies will be presented outdoors with social distancing on the lawn at Spring Glen Church, 1825 Whitney Avenue. The program starts at 6:30 PM.

The final film in this mini-series will be Saturday, October 3rd, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

Dr. Don C. Sawyer III will introduce and keynote the discussion of “Do the right thing.” Dr. Sawyer is the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. He is a tenured associate professor in the department of sociology, criminal justice, and anthropology as well as assistant clinical professor in the Frank H. Netter, MD, School of Medicine. He teaches courses on Race, Education, Popular Culture, Social Research Methods, and Visual Sociology, including the university’s first course dedicated to the sociological study of hip-hop culture. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology and M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University and a B.A. in Psychology from Hartwick College. His scholarly focus is on race, social justice, urban education, hip-hop culture, and the experiences of formerly incarcerated citizens.

Writing in 2001, film critic Roger Ebert declared “Do the Right Thing” one of the “Great Movies”:

I have been given only a few filmgoing experiences in my life to equal the first time I saw “Do the Right Thing.” Most movies remain up there on the screen. Only a few penetrate your soul. In May of 1989 I walked out of the screening at the Cannes Film Festival with tears in my eyes. Spike Lee had done an almost impossible thing. He’d made a movie about race in America that empathized with all the participants. He didn’t draw lines or take sides but simply looked with sadness at one racial flashpoint that stood for many others.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required but an RSVP to the Facebook event is appreciated. Please RSVP to this invitation so we may estimate the number of potential attendees (and calculate available lawn space).