Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wed., Mar. 11, at 7 PM, hosted by Karen Ponzio

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Mar. 11, 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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Film Screening: Director Alice Millar presents her “Summer in the Shade” Mon., Mar 9, at 7 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents a special screening of the unreleased independent movie “Summer in the Shade” on Monday, Mar. 9, at 7 PM. NYC-based Director Alice Millar will be on hand for a Q&A as will BVFCC members Gabrielle Muller and David Lackner, who were responsible for illustrations used in the film and the music score, respectively.


Summer, 1997. Twelve-year-old Grace and eleven-year-old Asta have been friends for as long as they can remember. When her father suddenly leaves, Grace’s fascination with religion and the supernatural becomes an obsession. At the end of the school holidays, the girls go to stay in a cottage in the Cornish countryside with Asta’s bohemian mum, Kate. There, troubled Grace is forced to confront her demons.

From Alice Millar’s director’s statement:

“Summer in the Shade” is a psychological thriller about the terror experienced by a girl as she transitions from a child to a woman. Set in 1997 on a summer vacation in Cornwall, we follow troubled Grace and her best friend Asta as they explore the ancient forests and their changing bodies…

What unfolds is an exploration into the trauma of puberty and the experience of self-disgust experienced by most women as they deal with changing from a little girl to a sexualized being. Universally this is a diffcult time and for many, is accompanied by deep psychological fear and existential revulsion. The body swells and starts to bleed. Often, men look at you with hunger rather than affection and women with jealousy rather than protection in their eyes.

In the vivid imagination of our protagonist Grace, who is also dealing with her father abandoning her family for the cliché of a younger woman, these themes lead her to see religion as a comfort. However, the religion she finds merely reinforces a sense of shame and guilt, as well as igniting fears of supernatural and biblical terrors, demons, original sin and the concept of participating in evil.

Award-winning Alice Florence Millar is a filmmaker from London, England based in New York City. She is a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School where she created the individualized degree ‘Mesmerizing the Masses.’ Millar has worked as a Director of Photography for six years, shooting in the Americas, the United Kingdom, France, Bangladesh and Thailand. She is best known for her handheld camera style, which is fluid and meditative; her images oscillate between naturalism and highly constructed surrealism. Millar is attached to four independent features about to be released, including a co-direction on psychological thriller Attendant. Her directorial work focuses on women, violence and identity. Millar will make her feature length directorial debut with Summer in the Shade, a dark mystery about puberty inspired by her childhood holidays in seaside Cornwall.

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Film Screening: Garden in Film series continues with “Tulip Fever” on Sun., Mar. 8, at 3 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents the 2017 film “Tulip Fever” as part of a three-movie “Garden in Film” series put together and hosted by master gardener Eric Larson. The movie will be shown on Sunday, Mar. 8, at 3 PM, and followed with an open discussion and ice cream made by Eric’s wife Linda Sarro. (Linda makes ice creams using floral and other ingredients inspired by the day’s film.)

Admission is $7.

Directed by Justin Chadwick and written by Tom Stoppard and Deborah Moggach, “Tulip Fever” is set in the Netherlands during the 17th century against a backdrop of desire, obsession, and betrayal. This historical romantic drama illustrates the frenzy of tulip mania, a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which extortionist prices for certain bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionably prestigious tulip reached extraordinarily high levels, only to collapse in February, 1637.

The movie stars Dane DeHaan, Alicia Vikander, Christopher Waltz, and Judi Dench.

The final film in the series is Hal Ashby’s 1979 “Being There,” starring Peter Sellers, on Sun., Mar. 22.

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Secret Cinema—hosted by Rob Harmon—screens a double feature Sat., Mar. 7, at 7 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center staffer Rob Harmon hosts a semi-regular cult film series under the rubric “Secret Cinema.” The next Secret Cinema takes place Saturday, Mar. 7, at 7 PM. Along with the night’s movie, Rob shows relevant film trailers and cranks up the Best Video popcorn machine for cinema-appropriate snacking.​

For this edition of Secret Cinema, Rob hosts a double feature.

Secret Cinema is free but donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center and its programming are always welcome. For more info (including what the movie titles are), call BVFCC at (203) 287-9286 or email Rob at

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Children’s Music: Val McKee plays Sat., Mar. 7, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Saturday morning, Mar. 7, at 10:30 AM.

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

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.

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Music: Roots, bluegrass & Americana from Last Fair Deal Fri., Mar. 6, at 7:30 PM

Last Fair Deal play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Mar. 6. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Last Fair Deal continues to redraw the map of American roots music with fluid energy and creativity. Performing as a trio, guitarist Paul Howard, fiddler Tom Hagymasi and banjo/mandolinist Phil Zimmerman fan the flame that has kept this band relevant since the 70’s. They’re enjoyment of performing together is palpable and captivating!

Their live performances, with stellar vocals and unique acoustic synergy draw from an eclectic repertoire of old-time string-band, bluegrass, swing, and popular music. The band’s shows feature originals from their current and previous three albums and they also put their own spin on tunes by John Hartford, Gillian Welch, Dan Hicks, Lennon/McCartney, John Hiatt, The Band and Bob Dylan.

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Music: Glenn Roth, Shawn Taylor play Thurs., Mar. 5

Guitarist Glenn Roth and singer-songwriter Shawn Taylor play Best Video Film & Cultural Center Thursday, March 5, 2020. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10. Advance tickets are available at

Glenn Roth is not your typical commuter from Connecticut. Instead of a briefcase, he carries a gig bag. His workspace is the vaulted splendor of Grand Central Terminal or the tunnels and platforms of the New York City subway system. A literal underground sensation, Glenn is a licensed performer in the MTAs Music under New York program, playing for the most distracted and demanding audience in the world: legions of workers rushing to jobs throughout the Big Apple. And his fingers work magic, creating a soundscape of compelling melodies that invite them to leave the cityrush behind on an aural escape.

Glenn is a fingerstyle guitarist, his thumb riding the bassline and the melody driving all. His compositions suggest multiple guitars, but its really just one guy, ten flying fingers, one instrument. All instrumental, Glenns songs suggest moods and narratives that compel the listener to fill in the details.

Glenn has released six CDs to date: Innovations (2005), Busker (2006), Into the Unknown (2010), Welcome Home (2016), and a holiday CD. His original compositions have been hailed as sheer virtuosity and delicate, accomplished solo acoustic guitar work (PLAY: New Haven Arts & Entertainment Weekly). Glenn has shared bills with Stephen Bennett, Monty Montgomery, Tuck & Patti, Bucky Pizzarelli, Carl Verheyen, Don Ross, Antoine Dufour, and Vicky Genfan, among others.

Glenn plays regularly throughout the northeast and tours nationally & internationally to bring his music to new fans and locales. Glenn just released a new “Got It Covered” CD in June 2017 & Jazzed CD in September 2018.

With a thumping thumb, dancing fingers, wailing harp, deep, gritty, soul stirring vocals and poetic blue collar lyrics, Shawn Taylor’s songs ooze American roots; wandering roots. He’s drawn comparisons from Tom Waites to Ray Lamontagne, Bruce Springsteen to Chris Smither, but his original songs are colored by the experiences of his own working class, wandering roots. He’s been an oysterman, carpenter, hitchhiker, homeowner, familly man, Appalachian Trail ‘thru-hiker’ and a performing musician and song writer, for over twenty years.

He plays venues from New England to Nashville and has shared the stage with artists such as, Maria Muldaur, Sarah Potenza, Peter Mulvey, Vance Gilbert, Garnet Rodgers and Caravan of Thieves.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Movie trivia night with Rob Harmon & Kate Bellmore Mon., Mar. 2, at 7:30 PM

So you think you know movies?

Best Video Film & Cultural Center returns with a monthly movie trivia night—yet to be given a catchy name—on Monday, Mar. 2. The event starts at 7:30 PM and admission is a suggested donation of $5.

The Best Video Movie Trivia Night is hosted by BVFCC staffer Rob Harmon and BVFCC member Kate Bellmore.

This is a team trivia event comprised of four rounds of quizzing with ten questions per round, for a total of forty questions. Questions cover a wide range of cinema-related (and “cinema-adjacent”) material: film facts, box office statistics, store facts, film score, television, reviews, among others.

No portable electronic devices of any kind may be used during gameplay under any circumstances. Competitors may not shout out answers during gameplay, attempt to look at answer sheets of other teams, or approach the executive producers’ table during gameplay. If a team is suspected of violating any of these rules, the executive producers reserve the right to disqualify the entire team for the individual round in which the offense occurred or the entire competition. Teams will be limited to a six-player maximum to allow as many people as possible to participate.

Teams write their answers on a prepared form provided by BVFCC. Answers must be written legibly in English. The executive producers reserve the right to disqualify any answers they judge to be too illegible to be considered correct.

Where proper names of film/tv/musics are concerned, a correct answer requires that the full name be given. For example, if the correct answer is Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, an answer of “The Grinch” is marked incorrect. In the case of people, giving the last name is acceptable except in cases where there are multiple people with the same last name and the intent is unclear. For example, if the correct answer is “Kevin Smith,” an answer of “Smith” is not specific enough and marked incorrect. But, if the correct answer is “Martin Scorsese,” a response of “Scorsese” is considered correct.

Each question will be worth one point, with any extra credit questions being worth an additional point. Scoring points for extra credit questions requires answering the base question correctly in order to be eligible.

Every team has one joker to use. The Joker, when used, allows a team to double the total points earned in a round. Jokers do not double extra credit points. After a team writes all of their answers down, if they wish to use their joker, they must write “JOKER” in large, unmistakable print on their answer sheet before it is turned in for scoring. The Joker may only be used once.

After all questions are asked in a round, teams are allowed one minute to complete their answer sheets and submit them to the executive producers for scoring. Any late answer sheets will not be scored and the team will score zero points for the round. Cumulative totals of all teams will then be read before the next round begins.

After all rounds are scored, the team with the highest overall score is declared the winner. All scoring, as decided by the executive producers, is final.

Bring your friends and test your knowledge of film trivia! The trivia night will be held the first Monday of each month unless holidays or other reasons for shifting the date intrude.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Sun., Mar. 1, from 2-5 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sunday, Mar. 1, from 2-5 PM.

There is no cover—although donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center are gratefully accepted—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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Fleurs, Alethea, Safety Meeting play indie rock Fri., Feb. 28, at 7:30 PM

Indie rock groups Fleurs, Safety Meeting, and Alethea play a triple bill at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Feb. 28. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Fleurs is a musical enigma. All shifty riffs and sticky words, Fleurs draws romance out of depravity, mining glitter out of gunk. Fleurs is the feeling of lighting a cigarette on a cold day, the smell of a one night stand, the sound of fine china shattering on concrete. Too smart to be rock, too hard to be pop, Fleurs’ music is a multi-headed serpent that strangles as it caresses.

Alethea is a three-piece punk band from New Haven, CT that features Kurt McGirt (guitar, vocals), Dan Halen (bass, vocals), and Matt Rossi (drums). Founded in 2018, the New York-based Safety Meeting is a four piece indie garage pop band.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.