Steve Nystrup Trio plays Fri., June 10, at 5:30 PM

The Steve Nystrup Trio plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., June 10, starting at 5:30 PM.

Steve Nystrup Trio is a true family affair. Steve on guitar and vocals, his son Aaron on bass guitar and wife Maureen Wasik on lead vocals “blend perfectly to make transcendent and uplifting music. Whatever they play becomes their own (not to mention their own compositions!).” The band plays a colorful mix of folk, blues, Americana and popular songs. The harmonies are tight and the interplay between father and son on guitar and bass is always compelling!

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar—suggested donation of $10. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Steve is an award winning guitarist, composer and educator. His music has been featured on several “Folk Next Door” CD”s from WWUH and on many CT Classical Guitar Society recordings. It has also been on NPR radio, and in theaters, commercials and films. He was hired by Peter Asher to play with Kate Taylor in the early days when he was playing with the Ogres on Marthas Vineyard. Steve received an Emmy award as composer with the producers of “Amistad Legacy” for CPTV.

Maureen has been singing all her life and is well know to audiences in NYC and along the CT shore where she has performed as a member of Acoustic Exile, Freefall, and Step Edna. She was an original member in NYC of the Bartlettes with comedian Rob Bartlett touring widely in the region.

Aaron has been playing bass guitar with his dad since he was 14 years old and appears on several recordings with him. He lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY and is a member of the very popular band Everest Cale. They just racked up over 1 million hits on Spotify for their song, “Before I Knew What Love Was”.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Goodnight Blue Moon plays the deck Thurs., July 9

Goodnight Blue Moon plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thursday, June 9, starting at 5:30 PM.

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.

This will be a full band show with Erik Elligers (acoustic guitar and vocals), Mat Crowley (mandolin and vocals), Nancy Latlack (cello, banjo, and vocals), Vicki Hayes Wepler (fiddle), Dan Liparini (electric guitar), Henry Lugo (bass), and Nick D’Errico (drums).

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar; suggested donation of $10. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income significantly reduced over the past two years. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

New releases 5/31/22

Top Hits
Ted K (bio/drama, Sharlto Copley. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 70. From Beatrice Loayza’s New York Times review: “The film is a tad reductive, leaning too heavily on currently fashionable explanations for why lonely white men resort to violence. But Stone makes up for it with some magnificently eerie moments.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Indemnity (South Africa, action, Jarrid Geduld. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 57. from Devika Girish’s New York Times review: “A South African thriller haunted by the ghosts of many Hollywood blockbusters past, ‘Indemnity’ trades plausibility and originality for a worthy substitute: a great deal of fun.” Read more…)

The Burning Sea (Norway, eco-thriller/disaster movie, Kristine Kujath Thorp. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. Metacritic: 47. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “If the machinations of the plot are a tad rickety, its geologic premise is inarguably stable. Tucking a simple romance inside a disaster thriller, the director John Andreas Andersen uses an oil-rig collapse off the coast of Norway to deliver a dire warning of environmental disruption.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Mississippi Masala (1991, drama/romance, Criterion Collection, Denzel Washington. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 78. From J. Hoberman’s 2022 New York Times “Rewind” column: “The pop iconography of chain restaurants, motels and gas stations [as well as Hindu shrines] is characteristic of 1980s independent films. But Nair’s storybook ending is more ’90s, recalling the post-Cold War golden age when it seemed that American notions of ‘freedom’ and self-invention reigned supreme.” Read more…)

Best Video founder Hank Paper screens “One Night in Miami” Tues., June 7

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which begins on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

The second film in the series is “One Night in Miami” (2020).

What do 4 Black icons talk about in a hotel room in Miami? In the aftermath of his surprising knockout of Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali meets with three friends (Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke) in a motel room to celebrate his win and discuss each’s trajectory and obligations in the crosshairs of history. Beautifully and inspiringly acted (Cooke’s songs are not only thrillingly entertaining but cleverly figure in the climax of the story), what could have been simply exploitative turns out to be thought-provoking and profound. Director Regina King’s powerful, multi-award-winning tour-de-force—a fictionalization of a real meeting, based on a 2013 play by Kemp Powers—couldn’t come at a better time. This is history written in lightning.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

GuitarTownCT hosts bluegrass jam Sun., June 5, 2-5 PM

The Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sun., June 5, 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.

David Coller with Rhonda Lehman Davenport Sat., June 4, at 5 PM

David Coller and Rhonda Lehman Davenport perform on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., June 4, stating at 5 PM.

Singer-songwriter David Coller and chanteuse Rhonda Lehman Davenport met at a memorable New Year’s music party back in 2020 where they heard each other sing and knew on the spot they would have to sing together. Since then, they have been working to bring you both David’s original songs and the very best cover tunes from the folk and singer-songwriter world, with occasional forays into jazz, bluegrass, and sea music.

Rhonda began as a folk/rock vocalist in her teens but after a stint at the University of Miami School of Music, moved to Hartford, CT and into the world of jazz. While in Hartford she had the opportunity to study with some of the great vocal coaches, at one point winning the Outstanding Performance Award at the Billy Taylor’s “Jazz in July” juried event by unanimous vote. Rhonda sang jazz for many years, but when she and her husband Herman moved to Newtown, Connecticut she found herself drawn back to her folk music roots.

David has been writing and performing in the folk genre since his teens while maintaining a parallel interest in classical music. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in music from the University of Southern California before moving on to the east coast and a career in the medical world. He continued to play in bands, duos and as a solo performer until being waylaid by a wooden boat (if you’ve ever owned one you understand) and then, on the cusp of a re-emergence, by COVID purgatory (we’ve all been there, haven’t we?)

There will be donation vases for the musicians and the venue. Please consider being generous in supporting musicians—opportunities to perform have been fewer the past couple of years. Suggested donation of $10.

The parking lot is closed off for seating. There is on-street parking on Thornton Street, as well as parking behind our building and across the street at Spring Glen Church.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Children’s music with Val McKee Sat., June 4, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids in the Best Video Film & Cultural Center parking lot on Saturday morning, June 4, at 10:30 AM.

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 time teaching preschool and 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.

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

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

The Bargain perform Fri., June 3, at 7 PM

The Bargain—a trio featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, and Michael Rivers—play Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Friday, June 3. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is $10. (Nick Marmor, originally scheduled to open this show, had to pull out due to unforeseen circumstances.)

A bargain was struck with the devil and each other to write, record, and perform the songs Frank Critelli, Muddy Rivers, and Shandy Lawson lasso while sitting around the kitchen table.

Nick Marmor is a singer-songwriter and lifelong musician from Hamden, CT. Initially trained in classical music, he began writing rock songs as a teenager while winning awards in classical vocal competitions, and has since written songs in a wide variety of genres. Now based in New York City, he performs his original songs as a solo singer and acoustic guitarist. His band, Wavey Jones, is currently in the process of recording their debut psychedelic reggae fusion album.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Love N’ Co play funk/rock fusion Thurs., June 2

Love n’ Co plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Thurs., June 2. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is $10.

Emerging from New Haven in 2019, Love n’ Co hopes to push their fans and audience members to shoot for the moon—to be the best version of themselves, which is a challenging task for most. With unapologetic lyrics and boastful melodies, Love n’ Co delivers powerful sonic waves that caress the soul, aiding in the journey of self-discovery and raw expression.

The core duo of the band consists of Lovelind Richards and Lamar Smith, the former born and raised in Florida while the latter grew up in Hamden, Connecticut. The band’s sound has been described to have a range, “from high-energy funk to surging pop.” These two are also on their own individual journeys to be the best version of themselves and want to take whoever else they can along for the ride, performing beautiful music all the while.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: masks and proof of vaccination required.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Acclaimed indie film “Ham on Rye” screens Wed., June 1, with editor & executive producer Kevin Anton as special guest

Best Video Film & Cultural Center screens the acclaimed independent film “Ham on Rye” on Wed., June 1. The event starts at 7 PM and admission is $7.

Kevin Anton, a Hamden-native and editor and an executive producer of “Ham on Rye,” will be on hand to discuss the film—how it got made, its journey through film festivals, and more.

The movie has a 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

New York Times critic Glenn Kenny chose it as a “New York Times Critic’s Pick.” Kenny writes:

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.

Rolling Stone writer K. Austin Collins awarded the film 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Collins writes:

The payoff is quiet, but grand. It is referential, but not merely so: “Ham on Rye” is more than just a catalog of our own pop culture memories. I definitely thought of Pennywise the Clown when a balloon got loose for no apparent reason; I thought more than once of “Blue Velvet,” too, if only because the movie’s sense of menace is, though tamped down, more than hinted at. Ultimately, “Ham on Rye”’s best point of reference is itself. It is, like the people therein, one of a kind and completely unforgettable.

The film scored 3 out of 4 stars from Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr. “Aspects of dreaming stick to the edges of this film,” Burr writes. “It’s never clear when we are, with music cues from the early ’60s and late ’90s, cars from the ’80s, an iPod from the turn of the millennium… “Ham on Rye” will frustrate literal-minded audiences, but it’s a work of gentle, genuine American surrealism — a lo-fi love song to those left behind by character and chance.”

Support for this screening has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.