Black Film Mini-Series continues Fri., Sept. 25, at 6:30 PM with “Brown Sugar”

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.

All movies will be presented outdoors with social distancing on the lawn at Spring Glen Church, 1825 Whitney Avenue. NOTE that the time has changed: The program for the final two films will start at 6:30 PM, which is moved up from the 7:30 start time for “42: The Jackie Robinson Story.” The remaining movie line-up is as follows:

Friday, September 25th: Brown Sugar
Saturday, October 3rd: Do the Right Thing

Dr. Siobhan Carter-David from Southern Connecticut State University will lead the discussion for “Brown Sugar.”

Dr. Carter-David is an Assistant Professor in History, teaching in the areas of fashion/beauty studies, American culture and identity politics, and African American, urban, and recent United States history. Her research explores the “new” politics of racial uplift as represented in the fashion instruction of post-Civil Rights African American print media, as well as more broadly, American fashion, beauty culture, and the politics of presentation. She has written and given numerous talks on hip-hop music, black nationalism, youth culture, culture and clothing, and urban style. She also curated an exhibit, “Strong Shoulder: Revisiting the Women’s Power Suit,” which explored the meaning of “power dressing,” its position within third-wave feminism and corporate culture, and the evolution of women’s professional fashions in the 1980s.

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).

Prof. William Foster addressing the audience at the Sept. 17 screening of “Brown Sugar.”

Weather permitting, music already booked on the BVFCC deck Thursdays-Saturdays through Oct. 10

Anne Marie Menta and Richard Neal playing the Best Video deck to a safely socially distanced crowd Sept. 12, 2020.

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.

This is what is booked as of Sept. 16, 2020:

Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 17-19:

Thursday, Sept. 17, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: The Bargain (featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, & Muddy Rivers)

Friday, Sept. 18, 4:30-6:30 PM. Roots Singer-Songwriter: Buzz Gordo

Saturday, Sept. 19, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Shawn Taylor

Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 24-26:

Thursday, Sept. 24, 5-7 PM. Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar: Glenn Roth

Friday, Sept. 25, 6 PM. Harmony Pop: Pigeon English

Saturday, Sept. 26, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter Pop: Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone

Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 1-3:

Thursday, Oct. 1, 4:30-6:30 PM. Swing Music: Leg Up feat. Leo & Brian Slattery

Friday, Oct. 2, 4:30-6:30 PM. Jug Band: Washboard Slim Trio

Saturday, Oct. 3, 4:30-6:30 PM. Jazz: Warren Byrd & David Chevan

Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 8-10:

Thursday, Oct. 8, 5-6:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Seth Adam

Friday, Oct. 9, 4:30-6:30 PM. Swing: The Red Hots

Saturday, Oct. 10, 5 PM. Afro-Soul: Thabisa

Also on the schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4:30 PM. Songs + Stories, Hosted by Saul Fussiner

Also on the BVFCC schedule, being held across the street at the Spring Glen Church: (in collaboration with Hamden Department of Arts and Culture, Spring Glen Church, Ignite the Light):

Thursday, Sept. 17, 7:30 PM. Film Screening at Spring Glen Church: “42: The Jackie Robinson Story” (1st in the Black Film Mini-Series sponsored by BVFCC, Hamden Department of Art & Culture, Spring Glen Church, and Ignite the Light)

Friday, Sept. 25, 7:30 PM. Film Screening at Spring Glen Church: “Brown Sugar” (2nd in the Black Film Mini-Series sponsored by BVFCC, Hamden Department of Art & Culture, Spring Glen Church, and Ignite the Light)

Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:30 PM. Film Screening: “Do the Right Thing” at Spring Glen Church (3rd in the Black Film Mini-Series sponsored by BVFCC, Hamden Department of Art & Culture, Spring Glen Church, and Ignite the Light)

 

Upcoming music on the Best Video deck

Once we got over the hiccup of the rainout of a our scheduled first night, the launch of our new series of music on the Best Video Film & Cultural deck went great. Thanks to the musicians David Sasso and Pete Kaufman (Friday night) and Anne Marie Menta and Richard Neal (Saturday night) for great sets. And thanks, also, to everybody who came out and for responsibly wearing your masks!

Here is a list of our currently scheduled shows:

Thursday, Sept. 17, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: The Bargain (featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, & Muddy Rivers)

Saturday, Sept. 19, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Shawn Taylor

Thursday, Sept. 24, 5-7 PM. Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist: Glenn Roth (rescheduled from 9/10)

Friday, Sept. 25, 6 PM. Harmony Pop: Pigeon English

Saturday, Sept. 26, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter Pop: Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone

Fri., Oct. 2, 5 PM. Jug Band: Washboard Slim & The Blue Lights Trio

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks 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.

Due to the rain, this evening’s scheduled Glenn Roth performance on the deck has been postponed to Sept. 24

Mother Nature has intervened and our first music on the deck happy hour has been cancelled. Guitarist Glenn Roth will instead perform (weather permitting!) on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 5-7:30 PM.

But forecast is looking good for tomorrow’s music with David Sasso and Pete Kaufman. Sasso and Kaufman are bandmates in the bluegrass quintet Five N’ Change and they will be playing as a duo from 4:30-7 PM (with some breaks.

The Best Video Film & Cultural Center cafe will be open for coffee drinks, beer and wine. Respect social distancing and wear masks. (Yes, you can pull them down to take a drink—but pull them back up again!)

Black Film Mini-Series begins Thurs., Sept. 17, with “42” at Spring Glen Church

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.

All movies will be presented outdoors with social distancing on the lawn at Spring Glen Church, 1825 Whitney Avenue. All movies start promptly at 7:30pm with discussion to follow directly after. Movie line-up is as follows:

Thursday, September 17th: 42 – The Jackie Robinson Story
Friday, September 25th: Brown Sugar
Saturday, October 3rd: Do the Right Thing

Prof. Bill Foster is a long time Comic Book and Film Historian, who specializes in the “Changing Image of African Americans.” He has presented to audiences both nationally and internationally on these topics.

He is the author of 15 books and 10 plays. He will provide a historical context for the movie “42”, a biopic about sports legend, Jackie Robinson.

Future keynote speakers TBA.

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).

Music returns to Best Video, socially distanced, on the deck

Making the best of the situation, Best Video Film & Cultural Center will restart its music programming on the new outdoor deck, weather permitting. The Best Video cafe will expand its curbside hours to 4-8 PM Thursdays through Saturday and we will try to schedule acoustic music on the deck for as many of those evenings as possible.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks 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.

The schedule so far is:

Thursday, Sept. 10, 5-7:30. Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar: Glenn Roth

Friday, Sept. 11, 4:30-7:30 PM. Bluegrass/Roots: David Sasso & Pete Kaufman (members of Five N’ Change)

Saturday, Sept. 12, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Anne Marie Menta & Richard Neal

Thursday, Sept. 17, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: The Bargain (featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, & Muddy Rivers)

Saturday, Sept. 19, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Shawn Taylor

Friday, Sept. 25, 6 PM. Harmony Pop: Pigeon English

Saturday, Sept. 26, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter Pop: Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone

The Resch Family Fund’s “You’ve Got Friends” 40 Fundraising Champions Challenge

COUNTDOWN TO THE GREAT GIVE® MARATHON!

While advance giving began on April 6, the heart of The Great Give® begins in earnest this Tuesday, May 5, at 8 AM. The 36-hour online fundraising marathon—coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to support hundreds of area non-profits—continues through Wednesday, May 6, at 8 PM.

The Great Give® is Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s most important fundraiser of the year and, with the loss of income due to our temporary, pandemic-mandated closure, it take on even more importance in 2020.

What are some ways you can maximize the impact of your best gift to BVFCC in The Great Give®?

ACCEPT THE RESCH FAMILY FUND CHALLENGE TO BE A “FUNDRAISING CHAMPION” FOR BEST VIDEO!

The Resch Family will make a matching donation of $2,000 if 40 (or more) Fundraising Champions each raise $200 before 8pm on Wednesday May 6th. Reaching that goal enhances our chances of winning up to $5,000 in additional prize money for Best Video. Are you up for the challenge?

Become a Fundraising Champion by clicking the “Fundraising” button (see photo) on the Best Video Film and Cultural Center Great Give page or make a donation via a BVFCC Fundraising Champion who you know.

If becoming a fundraiser is a stretch for you or outside your comfort zone, there is another way you can raise the impact of any donation you might make—by going through the list of “fundraising champions” on the right side of our Great Give® page and donating through the page of one who hasn’t yet reached the $200 benchmark.

ARE YOU AN EARLY BIRD?

GENEROUS DONORS ARE CONTRIBUTING MATCHING FUNDS UP TO $500 IF YOU DONATE BETWEEN 8 and 9 AM ON MAY 5 & 6!

Want to make your donation go even farther? Of course you do!

Make your donation through one of our “Fundraising Champions” (see information above) between 8 and 9 AM on Tuesday, May 5, or Wednesday, May 6. The more donations we get during those time frames, the better our chance of winning an additional $1,000 prize.

The Rabbi Herb & Elin Brockman May 5 Early Bird Match Challenge:

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is the appreciative beneficiary of a $500 match from Rabbi Herb and Elin Brockman. The Brockmans will match up to $50 of every donation up to $500 for the hour of 8-9 AM on May 5. Make your donation dollars go farther by donating during the Early Bird time frame on May 5th!

The May 6 Early Bird Match Challenge:

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is the appreciative beneficiary of a $500 match from an anonymous donor. The donor will match up to $50 of every donation up to $500 for the hour of 8-9 AM on May 6. Make your donation dollars go farther by donating during the Early Bird time frame on May 6th!

Enjoy music from Best Video Film & Cultural Center on our YouTube channel!

While most of us are social distancing, Best Video Film & Cultural Center is taking this opportunity to share wonderful musical moments from shows here on YouTube. These are videos shot be Executive Director Hank Hoffman over the past several years and are chosen to showcase the diversity of music that we present.

We created the Best Video Film & Cultural Center YouTube channel in December and have posted six videos so far with many more to come. Subscribe to the channel to get notified when new videos are uploaded.

For our first video, we posted a tune by Tariku, a local offshoot of the NYC-based Mandingo Ambassadors. Tariku is fronted by Aaron Latham Greenberg and features the great Guinean guitarist Mamady Kouyate. Frank Brocklehurst is on bass, Matt Dean is on percussion, and Dylan McDonnell plays flute. This was from an August, 2019 show.

The next video features New Haven rock ‘n’ roll legends The Furors playing their song “Twistin’ In the Wind” on may 11, 2017. The Furors are Derek Holcomb on guitar and Tom Dans on drums. They have been playing the New Haven area since the late 1970s.

Afro-soul dynamo Thabisa graced our stage on July 25, 2019, accompanied by Lamar Smith (guitar), Sam Oliver (drums), Jim Lawson (bass), and Timothy Kane (trumpet). This is Thabisa’s song “Ndithanda Wena.”

The Tony Purrone Trio—led by internationally known jazz guitarist Tony Purrone—plays his original tune “Lost and Found” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center in Hamden, CT December 19, 2019. Accompanying Tony Purrone are Preston Murphy on upright bass and Ray Marchica on drums.

Americana/country band Plywood Cowboy play the song “Stray” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center August 10, 2017. “Stray” was written by band leader, singer, and guitarist Steve Dedman. Plywood Cowboy for this show was Dedman (vocals, guitar, piano), Austin Gray (lead guitar, vocals), Kat Wallace (violin, vocals), Shane Tanner (bass), and Jason Apostoleris (drums).

Bluegrass star Tim O’Brien, accompanied by Jan Fabricus on vocals, performs at Best Video Film & Cultural Center in Hamden, Connecticit November 15, 2017, part of a sold-out two-night stand. The concert was presented by Chris Wuerth’s GuitarTownCT Productions. O’Brien and Fabricus perform the song “Grandma’s Hands,” composed by Bill Withers.

Events canceled through April 14

We have canceled all events at Best Video Film & Cultural Center through April 14 due to the public health crisis. While it may be necessary to cancel further events—and perhaps likely will be—we are leaving them on the calendar for now to maintain flexibility.
 
Stay safe, everybody.

Update on COVID-19 impacts on Best Video: cafe goes to takeout only, closing time at 6 PM

Dear members and friends,

Pursuant to Gov. Ned Lamont’s order, the Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s cafe will be moving to takeout only for the foreseeable future.

I have consulted with the Quinnipiac Valley Health District and this plan is consistent with Gov. Lamont’s directive.

The plan now is to continue receiving deliveries of pastries from Bread & Chocolate and donuts and bagels from Whitney Donut. You can come in and pick up specialty coffee drinks and baked goods but, unfortunately, not stick around for hearty conversation. There is a hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance and we are regularly cleaning all touchable surfaces with disinfectant cleaners and wipes.

We are also closing earlier, at 6 PM rather than the previously announced 7 PM. We have had quite a few people express gratitude at being able to get movies to keep themselves occupied in these times. And we are moved at the expressions of support and donations we have received.

We do STRONGLY encourage folks—particularly if you have one of the monthly or annual 1-Movie, 2-Movie, or 4-Movie Plans—to call ahead and tell us what you would like to rent. That way we can have them checked out and ready to hand off to you when you get here. Additionally, to reduce the number of times you need to go out, you can rent an additional movie at no extra charge if you have the 1- or 2-Movie Plans.

Of course, if circumstances change, we will keep everyone posted.

We wish all of our friends and neighbors good health in these difficult times.

Sincerely,
Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
& Staff and Board of Directors of Best Video Film & Cultural Center