Music: GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam Mon., Nov. 18, at 5:30 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 5:30-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. November’s jam is on Monday, Nov. 18.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening. Meet your fellow fans of traditional acoustic music and strum, pick and sing up a storm.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker continues “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “The Awful Truth” on Sun., Nov. 17, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

The second lecture with film in this series will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series continues on Nov. 17 with the 1937 movie “The Awful Truth.” (The series began with the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10.)

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The remaining schedule:

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

From Bosley Crowther’s 1937 New York Times review of “The Awful Truth”:

To be frank, “The Awful Truth” is awfully unimportant, but it is also one of the more laughable screen comedies of 1937, a fairly good vintage year. Its comedy is almost purely physical- like that of the old Avery Hopwood stage farces- with only here and there a lone gag to interrupt the pure poetry of motion, yet its unapologetic return to the fundamentals of comedy seems, we repeat, original and daring.

Its obvious success with a modern audience is also rather disquieting. Just when it began to appear that an excellent case had finally been made out for spoken wit and adultness of viewpoint on the screen, the mercurial Mr. McCarey, who only a few months ago saddened us to the point of tears with his “Make Way for Tomorrow,” shocks us with a comedy in which speech is subsidiary, and maturity exists only to be deflated into abject juvenility.

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Music: Illinois fiddler Georgia Rae returns, Angry O’Haras play Fri., Nov. 15, at 7:30 PM

Illinois-based fiddle artist and Connecticut’s own bluegrass combo The Angry O’Haras play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 15. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Fiddle champ Georgia Rae has discovered the magic of the loop pedal and opened a treasure trove of original material and a one-man show. Quirky and catchy, these songs will invade your life if you let them. Watch her build and give flight to song right before your eyes. Inspired by contemporary artists from the Avett Brothers to Mungo Jerry, and a jazzy feel to her bow, with her loop or her band, Georgia Rae’s music and love for life will follow you out the door and into the next day.

Angry O’Haras use bluegrass as their compass to navigate many musical regions while employing fiddle, guitar, banjo and bass as the instrumental foundation for three- and four-part harmonies. The majority of their songs are reinventions of traditional folk, favorites you may have grown up with, plus lots of new music with an added twist. And it seems their music often makes people want to move their body parts around.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Mario Pavone 3Bass Quintet, GoBruCcio play Thurs., Nov. 14, at 7:30 PM

Mario Pavone.

Jazz bassist Mario Pavone celebrates his 79th birthday with a Thursday, Nov. 14, show at Best Video Performance Space featuring his Mario Pavone 3Bass Quintet. Also on the bill will be GoBruCcio (Bob Gorry, Peter Brunelli, and Pete Riccio) playing a short set. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Joining Pavone in the quintet are bassists Carl Testa and Zwelakhe Duma Bell de Pere along with trombonist Peter McEachern and drummer Michael Sarin.

Bassist/Composer Mario Pavone has been part of some of the most pivotal milestones in jazz over the past six decades. After being inspired by hearing John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard in 1961, Pavone began playing the bass, settling in New Yok City and making connections with pianist Paul Bley and trumpeter Bill Dixon, participating in what would eventually be called “the first loft era.” Pavone went on to tour and record with Bley and Dixon.

In New Haven, CT in the mid-70’s Pavone became involved with Wadada Leo Smith and Anthony Braxton as part of The Creative Musicians Improvisors Form (CMIF), a musician run collective based on some of the precepts of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), organizing and playing in large orchestra concerts featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Marty Ehrlich, Oliver Lake, Ray Anderson, Carla Bley, and many others.

In the mid ’80’s Pavone became involved in the groundbreaking downtown Knitting Factory scene, building a deep relationship with alto saxophonist Thomas Chapin and becoming part of his highly acclaimed power trio. From 1990 to 1996 the trio recorded extensively, toured in Europe and the U.S., and performed at major international jazz festivals.

After Chapin’s untimely passing in 1998, Pavone began a long recording career as a leader, beginning with the New World and Knitting Factory labels. Then touring widely in Europe with an enduring core group of A-list improvisors – Tony Malaby, Steven Bernstein, Gerald Cleaver, Peter Madsen, and Michael Sarin, the bassist was also collaborating on projects with guitarist Michael Musillami and recording over a dozen CD’s for Musillami’s Playscape Recordings label. At present Pavone has recorded 30 critically acclaimed CD’s as a leader, many placing on Top 10 year-end lists.

For 25 years Pavone has been associated with Litchfield Performing Arts, serving as a board member, an educator at its Jazz Camp, and bringing many of his innovative projects to the Litchfield Jazz Festival stage.

In 2010 Pavone was recipient of a significant Doris Duke Foundation composer’s grant resulting in multiple performances and a recording of Pavone’s compositions arranged by virtuoso trumpeter Dave Ballou. Pavone and Ballou enjoy an ongoing musical collaboration.

Recently, Pavone has focused his composing and performing energies on the classic piano trio format, reconnecting with Paul Bley for a recording, releasing a live disc with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver, recording 3 CD’s with his Dialect Trio featuring Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey, the latest to be released in July 2019 on Clean Feed Records. Among other recent activity this year Pavone has been touring and recording with legendary vocalist Patty Waters in a group featuring Barry Altschul and Burton Greene, and recording with long-time associate, trombonist, Peter McEachern on the trombonist’s new CD.

The trio GoBruCcio—Bob Gorry (guitar), Pete Brunelli (bass), Peter Riccio (drums)—is creating textures and rhythms, working in space and shadow, treading a line between minimalism and free ambient soundscape.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wed., Nov. 13, at 7 PM; hosted by Karen Ponzio

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Nov. 13, 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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film Screening and Q&A: Stephen Dest’s “I Am Shakespeare: The Henry Green Story” Mon., Nov. 11, at 7 PM

Filmmaker Stephen Dest screens his documentary “I Am Shakespeare: The Henry Green Story” at Best Video Performance Space on Monday, Nov. 11, at 7 PM. Admission is $7.

Join us for a viewing of one of the most talked about documentaries of the year. Filmmaker, Stephen Dest will have just returned from New Orleans where he screened the film at the 2019 Grantmakers for Education Conference. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say as he continues his journey to bring Henry’s incredible story to a schools nationwide.

Stephen Dest’s documentary “I AM SHAKESPEARE: The Henry Green Story” chronicles the true life story of 19 year old, Henry Green, living a dual life as a brilliant young actor and inner-city gang member, who was brutally shot and left for dead just shortly after his inspiring performance in Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” and his remarkable (less than 1% chance of survival) recovery/intestinal transplant received by a 13 year old boy (Jack) who was killed in a car accident on the other side of the country but who still managed to save Henry’s life.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker launches next “How to Read a Film” series on great screwball comedies Sun., Nov. 10, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

All four lectures will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, Nov. 10. The second lecture will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series kicks off with the 1934 multiple Oscar-winning “It Happened One Night.”

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The schedule:

Nov 10, 2 PM: It Happened One Night (1934)

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Roger Ebert’s capsule take on “It Happened One Night,” from 2009:

The surprise success of “It Happened One Night” made Frank Capra one of the screen’s top directors and provided the prototype for a decade of screwball comedies. Romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Sure Thing” draw on the rapid banter, outrageous comic situations and sexy road trip of “It Happened One Night.” The movie even provided inspiration for one of the screen’s most enduring characters, Bugs Bunny.

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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

 

Music: GuitarTownCT presents Joe Walsh & Grant Gordy Fri., Nov. 8, at 7:30 PM

GuitartownCT presents mandolinist Joe Walsh and guitarist Grant Gordy in concert at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 PM. Advance tickets are $25 and are available through GuitarTownCT.

Grant Gordy is best known for his six years as guitarist for the legendary David Grisman Quintet, a spot previously held by notables like Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Frank Vignola and Mike Marshall. Joe Walsh, after four award-winning years as mandolinist with bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers, splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr. Sun. featuring Darol Anger, Grant Gordy and Aidan O’Donnell, his duo with Grant Gordy, his own band Sweet Loam, and a full load of teaching at Berklee College of Music.

Guitarist Gordy and mandolinist Walsh are prominent voices in acoustic music, coming from the great tradition of guitar and mandolin duets. They draw heavily from bluegrass, but incorporate influences as varied as Jerry Garcia, Bill Frisell, David Grisman, and Django Reinhardt. Their music is an exciting romp through many acoustic styles. Fretboard Journal calls them, “one of the best acoustic duos performing today.”

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Rich Moran sings “Movie Songs and Standards from the Best Video Collection” Thurs., Nov. 7, 7:30 PM

Rich Moran returns Thursday, Nov. 7, to play “Movie Songs and Standards from the Best Video Collection”. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $5.

Join Rich Moran, host of WMNR’s “One Great Song” program, and his quartet as they celebrate the BVFCC’s fourth anniversary with a concert of standards selected from the extensive Best Video classic movie collection. Rich will also share informative commentary on the music being played and its place in film history.

The Rich Moran Quartet features Rich on vocals, accompanied by pianist Judy Webber, saxophonist Jeff Webber and drummer Mike Bimonte. They will be joined by my special guest performers: David Ortoleva, Michelle Johnston, Linda Martin, and Chloe Chauvot.

Rich has performed at Best Video on several occasions, each time bringing his neo-traditional interpretation to a different part of the Standards repertoire. Together with the Webbers, he has played venues throughout southern Connecticut.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film Screening & Director Q&A: Best Video and NHDocs present “Shift Change: The Future of Community Policing” Mon., Nov. 4, at 7 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center and NHdocs: The New Haven Documentary Film Festival present a screening of Steve Hamm’s documentary film “Shift Change” on Monday, Nov. 4, at 7 PM. Admission is a suggested donation of $7.

“Shift Change: The Future of Community Policing” in New Haven documentary: at a time when the United States is sharply divided over the use of force by police, New Haven practices an approach called community policing. The goal is to foster trust and open communications, and to avoid excessive force. At its core, community policing is about attitude—police officers who have a public service mentality, who empathize with the people, and who exhaust all alternatives before making arrests and using force. There are lessons here for police—and the people—in cities all across the country.

Writer and director Steve Hamm will be on hand to discuss the making of the film and the issues it raises.