Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wed., Oct. 9, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Oct. 9, starting at 7 PM. Admission is a Suggested Donation of $3-5 to support BVFCC. Poet Karen Ponzio (aka KP The Word) — who writes for the New Haven Independent and has a show on Cygnus RADIO — is the host 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.

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Music: The Elm City Ramblers play bluegrass & traditional folk Tues., Oct. 8, at 7:30 PM

The Elm City Ramblers, led by Phil Rosenthal, play Best Video Performance Space on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The music starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $5.

The Elm City Ramblers are a talented group of bluegrass/folk musicians, led by local bluegrass legend Phil Rosenthal, playing an assortment of classic, contemporary and original songs. They meet weekly at the Neighborhood Music School, but make occasional appearances in the area, and are delighted to bring their music to Best Video! The group includes Mike Milano on banjo; Lenore Hammers on fiddle; Barbara Dobay Ljungstrom on autoharp; Bill Kaplan, Thom Peters, Rich Walser and Phil on guitar; Brian Funaro, Estelle Baik, Ruth Lively and Matt Light on mandolin; and John Jarvis on bass.

Phil Rosenthal was lead singer and guitarist in the seminal bluegrass band the Seldom Scene. His compositions have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Nick Cave and others. He was selected Connecticut State Troubadour in 1994, and has been called “a roots master” by Billboard Magazine and “one of the most expressive singers in traditional country music” by the Washington Post.

He has performed with Jerry Douglas, Bill Monroe, Emmylou Harris, Jonathan Edwards and many others in his career in folk and bluegrass music.

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Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Sun., Oct. 6, from 2-5 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sunday, Oct. 6, from 2-5 PM.

There is no cover so come on down—have a coffee, beer or glass of wine and enjoy the music. It’s all acoustic and mostly traditional. Any and all bluegrass players are welcome.

Bring your instrument or just bring your ears. Come to pick or just to listen.

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Children’s Music: Peter Menta aka “Washboard Slim” plays Sat., Oct. 5, 10:30 AM

Peter Menta—also known as Washboard Slim of Washboard Slim and the Bluelights—brings his kids’ music show to Best Video Performance Space Saturday, Oct. 5. The event starts at 10:30 AM.

There’s a suggested donation of $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. This show is for children of all ages. Peter will invite the children to sing and play fun instruments to classic children’s songs.

Musician and elementary school teacher-librarian, Peter Menta began his career as the New Haven Free Public Library’s first bookmobile librarian, serving ten of New Haven’s neediest schools. He followed that assignment by becoming children’s librarian at the Stetson Branch of the N.H.F.P.L system where he won first prize in an American Library Association contest for best story time using an African-American Children’s Book.

These days, he offers his interactive music and literature fusion: “Books That Inspire Songs-Songs That Inspire Books” to diverse audiences in schools and libraries. Mr. Menta often begins a program by reading an engaging feature story with original and traditional music. In the “Blues of Flats Brown,” for example, he has created songs for children to sing along to which help reinforce the main ideas and themes of the story: Building a better world through friendship, understanding and music. Children engage in a discussion about how to change an enemy into a friend. Children are also exposed to America’s rich heritage of blues, folk music and rock ‘n’ roll.

Mr. Menta has created songs to enhance books by authors such as Tomie DePaolo, Helen Lester and Mo Willems. He also offers a program that is strictly songs inspired by books or songs that have turned into books; such as “This Land Is Your Land” (inspired by the famous Woody Guthrie song). The program concludes with an introduction to homemade musical instruments and an on the spot creation of that uniquely “Made in America” musical ensemble: The Jug Band. Children from the audience are selected to play kazoos, a washtub bass, washboards and other homemade or “found” instruments.

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Music: Frog Hollow plays bluegrass & blues Fri., Oct. 4, at 7:30 PM

Frog Hollow plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Oct. 4. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $15.

Frog Hollow is Phil Rosenthal, Chris Wuerth, Peter Menta and Bobo Lavorgna, local bluegrass and blues musicians. They played together for the first time recently on Phil’s monthly radio show on ICRV Radio. They had such a good time, they decided to form a band. The music is classic bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and some original songs.

Phil Rosenthal was lead singer and guitarist in the seminal bluegrass band the Seldom Scene. His compositions have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Nick Cave and others. Peter Menta is the longtime leader of Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights. Bassist David “Bobo” Lavorgna has played bass for some well known regional acts such as Jake & The Family Jewels, Stormin’ Normin and Suzy, Blake Street Gut Band, 1917 Jazz Band, Swingin Jazz, Robert Silverman, Mike Cappezone, Tony Mason and the list goes on, and on and on. Chris Wuerth has played with the bluegrass ensembles Ragweed and the East Rock Ramblers and is well known for helming the popular GuitarTownCT concert series.

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Music: Bronson Rock, The Split Coils performs roots rock Thurs., Oct. 3, 7:30 PM

The Split Coils and Bronson Rock play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Oct. 3. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (Pay what you can in that range).

Bronson Rock is a four piece rock and soul band featuring Buzz Gordo (aka Gary Mezzi) on guitar and lead vocals, Eric Bloomquist on bass, Lou St. John on organ, and Tom Smith on drums. Individually, the seasoned musicians in Bronson Rock have performed with a “who’s-who” of Connecticut artists, and continue to maintain busy schedules as players. The band featured the songwriting talents of Gordo, who was the main songwriter for New Haven’s illustrious Big Bad Johns. Two of his songs from those days have been featured in a recent season of HBO’s True Blood.

The band plays a tight, danceable mix of original garage soul sounds, with some choice obscure covers thrown in, owing a debt to groups like the Rascals and Booker T. and the MG’s.

The Split Coils are the current brain child of songwriter/ multi instrumentalist J.Russell (Hot Rod Circuit, Diamond J and the Rough). Joined by his wife Katelyn Russell on percussion and harmony, Joseph Ballaro on Bass guitar and Jon Scerbo on Drums. The songs (it’s all about the songs) are a straight forward mix of Rock and Roll, Soul and Country. Independently recorded and produced at home.

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Music: James BonTempo (from Baltimore), Christopher Bousquet, Frank Critelli Wed., Oct. 2, at 7:30 PM

Singer-songwriter James BonTempo (from Baltimore, MD) along with locals Christopher Bousquet and Frnk Critelli play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

James BonTempo is an indie folk-rock singer/songwriter from Baltimore, by way of Chicago, Philadelphia, several small, southern California desert towns, and the Connecticut shoreline. He has been singing since the first family road trip he can remember, and has been writing songs almost as long. James’s music has been likened to everything from the Velvet Underground to Nick Drake, R.E.M., Pavement, Belle and Sebastien, and the Avett Brothers. These days he makes music with a rotating cast of friends, “Truth Tables.”

American Elm is the nome de guerre of Chris Bousquet, a singer-songwriter from Connecticut. He is the former leader of the internationally acclaimed High Lonesome Plains. He has performed with such luminaries as Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Mercury Rev, Howe Gelb, Miracle Legion, John Sebastian, Asleep at the Wheel, Rhett Miller, Mark Mulcahy, The Turtles, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, J. Geils, and Susan Cowsill.

Frank Critelli writes and performs songs, talks on the radio, pours the beer, and does the dishes. But really, he’s just a gardener.

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Music: Naomi Sommers & Dan Tressler play Fri., Sept. 27, at 8 PM

The duo of Naomi Sommers and Dan Tressler play Best Video Performance Space Friday, Sept. 27. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Naomi and Dan draw from the traditions of American folk music, bluegrass and blues, using skills honed in their respective family bands. Their repertoire includes original songs, traditional and old-time country tunes. The pair first started as a duo 20 years ago and have now reunited for new musical adventures, featuring sweet vocal harmonies, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, flute, banjo.

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Music: Jeff Piscitelli & Karen Hogg Duo, Serafina Thurs., Sept. 26

The Jeff Piscitelli and Karen Hogg Duo and the trio Serafina play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Sept. 26. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Guitarist Jeffrey Piscitelli and mandolinist Karen Hogg (pictured, left) are two local musicians who play a diverse blend of swing, gypsy jazz, bluegrass, blues, and all points in between. Piscitelli plays in the Connecticut rock group Outside Reality and has studied guitar with Shawn Persinger. While he has performed in many local rock bands over the years, his love of classical and jazz led him to explore sounds beyond the typical classic rock fare. His influences range from Miles Davis to Bela Bartok to Randy Rhoads.

Multi-instrumentalist Karen Hogg is a prolific performer, author, and educator. Her influences are wide-ranging with a foundation in American Roots music. As a mandolinist, she has listened to greats such as Jethro Burns, Norman Blake, and Simon Mayor. A sought-after side-person as a mandolinist and guitarist, Hogg plays with several area groups. Piscitelli and Hogg bonded together over a shared interest in pushing musical boundaries and exploring new sounds.

Serafina is a musical trio born in a magical, invisible forest somewhere in the deep wilderness of Fair Haven. Equal parts whimsy, chaos, tradition, and sorcery, they aim to lead listeners down a sonic yellow brick road. Serafina is Anne Cherry on violin/piano/vocal, Shula Weinstein on cello/guitar/vocals, and Karen Hogg on mandolin/guitar/vocals.

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Music: Rock from Straight 2 VHS, Slyne & The Family Stoned, Addy Edward Wed., Sept. 25, at 7:30 PM

Straight 2 VHS, Slyne & The Family Stoned, and Addy Edward play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Formed in 2009, Straight to VHS has long been a staple of the vibrant music scene in New London.

Straight to VHS released “Weekend Weekend Weekend” in 2014 and watched it garner positive press and airplay on some of the top college radio stations along the east coast. The album helped earn the band a Connecticut Music Award and even caught the attention of CBS Connecticut, who named the trio one of its top five bands to watch in 2015. Straight to VHS released the “Landmind” E.P. in June, 2016. The 11 minute jaunt boasts a variety of styles, from poppy garage love songs to spacey psychedelic jams. Their 5th record, “Friend Music” is set for release in October 2019.

Slyne and The Family Stoned is a caravan of punk hippies from New London, CT. Remember when Neil Young and Sonic Youth toured together back in ’91? Imagine if Neil ditched Crazy Horse and took Sonic behind him instead?

Addy Edward is the musical moniker of Adam Bensen. Addy weaves traditional and electronic sounds into deeply personal songs. His self-recorded album “Picture of Youth,” a compilation of songs written and recorded over the span of 8 years, was released in April, 2018, followed quickly by his “Sedative Gentleman [EP].

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