Kat Wallace & David Sasso play Fri., July 1

Kat Wallace and David Sasso play Best Video Film & Cultural Center Fri., July 1. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is $10.

Kat Wallace and David Sasso met playing hard and fast bluegrass with New Haven string band Five ‘n Change (formerly Five in the Chamber). Their shared background in classical music and affinity for all things trad brought them together to form an intimate and virtuosic duo.

With fiddle and a variety of mandolin-family instruments, Wallace and Sasso orbit around traditional folk, original songwriting, and the ever-evolving boundaries of Americana music. Their effortless vocal lines and innovative harmonies command the stage while allowing space for each song to tell its story.

Their debut album, Stuff of Stars, released in 2019 to critical acclaim, paved the way for their highly anticipated sophomore album, Old Habits, released on October 1, 2021. Both projects were recorded, mixed, and mastered by Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sound Studios in Boston.

This is an inside show so proof of vaccination and masks are required.

Rousing bluegrass from Five ‘N Change Sat., June 11

Bluegrass quintet Five ‘N Change play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., June 11. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Five ‘n Change is a New Haven, Connecticut based bluegrass band that drives hard and carries a big pick. They respect the tradition. They respect the trailblazers. And they respect the renegade outlaws. Our final product is an eclectic balance of American roots music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of music that showcases the group’s strong vocals, musicianship, and passion for genre busting. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews and followed up with a self titled EP release. (Both CD’s are available in the MUSIC section of this website).

The group is Ken McEwen (guitar & vocals), Pete Kaufman (banjo), Dave Casali (bass), David Sasso (mandolin) with Ryan Mooney (dobro, guitar).

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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

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.

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.

The Howling Hound Dogs play the Best Video deck Thurs., May 26

The Howling Hound Dogs play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Thursday, May 26. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

The Howling Hound Dogs are a fun, upbeat washboard trio who play swing standards from the 20’s to the 50’s as well as folk and blues tunes, modern arrangements and funny originals. Their shows include ukulele, guitar, kazoo, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, washboard, jug and even spoons!

As a band and as soloists they’ve appeared at festivals, town concerts, senior facilities, libraries, the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Nashville’s Bluebird Café and on TV and radio. Thew members of The Howling Hound Dogs are Peter Magrane, Lou Manzi and Tom McVerry.

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.

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.

Walkingwood Mandolin Quartet plays best Video deck Sat., May 21, 5 PM

The Walkingwood Mandolin Quartet plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., May 21. The show starts at 5 PM. (This show substitutes for the Jim & Willow Sirch & Gary Wikfors show, which had to be postponed.)

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.

The Walkingwood Mandolin Quartet (WMQ) was founded at the turn of the century to apply the quartetto classico version of the mandolin quartet to a completely new repertoire. Whatever your preconceptions are about what a mandolin quartet is like, forget them.

The current and founding, members of WMQ are: Ellen Cohn, mandolin; Colin Healy, mandola; Betsy Rome, mandolin; and Gary Wikfors, mandocello. “Walkingwood” is the name given the home of mandocello player Gary Wikfors.

Gary had acquired a chronic itch to arrange music for mandolin quartet, and eventually a mandocello and mandola to do so. After experimenting with multitrack recordings, Gary felt the need to impose this affliction on some musical friends. Betsy likes to joke that this is the first band she was invited to join by email.

All WMQ members are playing out of their normal elements in this group: Betsy is a well-known flatpick guitarist anchoring the bluegrass-swing quartet “Too Blue,” Colin is a fiddler and multi-instrumentalist at the center of the “Ash Creek String Band,” Ellen is a sought-after accompanist of traditional Irish and Quebecois tunes on piano and guitar, and Gary usually plays the wee-little mandolin with “The Fiddleheads” and others.

WMQ made its public debut in 1999 at the NOMAD festival in Newtown, CT. Since then, we have played other folk and traditional-music festivals, coffeehouses, concerts, apple orchards and private events.

Their influences? Not classical. Motown, TV themes, surf, O’Carolan, hard rock, traditional Swedish… A common response is “I can’t believe you can play that on mandolins!”

The David Chevan Klezmer Quartet debuts at Best Video Thurs., Dec. 9

The David Chevan Klezmer Quartet plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Thurs., Dec. 9. The show starts at 7 PM. The cover is $10.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: attendance of 30 max, masks and proof of vaccination required.

Bassist David Chevan arrives at Best Video with a Klezmer quartet featuring Dana Astmann on accordion, Will Bartlett on clarinet (and occasionally sax) and David Sasso on mandolin. The repertoire pulls very heavily from Klezmer and early swing.

This is the first time this group will be playing in public, though David has been getting together on and off since early this summer with Dana, Will and David and they’re beginning to put their own stamp on this material. Sometimes things are coming out straight Klezmer and sometimes it swings like crazy, and it never sounds the same twice—in a good way. Come raise a ruckus and shake your tuchus!!! Who knows? There may even be some special guests who pop in to join the group for a tune or two.

UPDATE: POSTPONED Anne Marie Menta with Richard Neal, Cadence Carroll play Sat., Nov. 20, at 7 PM

UPDATE NOV. 16: Due to illness this show by Anne Marie Menta has been postponed. We will announce a new date soon.

Anne Marie Menta plays Best Video Performance Space deck on Saturday, Nov. 20, starting at 7 PM. She will be joined by Richard Neal on guitar and mandolin and Cadence Carroll on harmony vocals and percussion. The cover is $10.

This is an indoor show so attendance is 30 max. Proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

Anne Marie Menta hails from New Haven, CT., where she has been a long time favorite singer/songwriter. She comes from a family of three brothers, where playing and listening to music was their great passion. Her musical credits include fronting various rock & roll, folk, and country bands as a singer/guitarist, including The Wanderers, Sugar Moon, Sky Riders, and Rodeo Radio. In the mid 90s, she decided to concentrate on her own original music, and those tunes of hers that she “snuck” into her cover band repertoire now became her main focus. But, the country, folk, and pop music that she loved continued to be an influence in her writing.

Her most recent CD, “Sky Tonight,” came out in the fall of 2019.

Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band plays Best Video Thurs., Oct. 7

Restless Mountain returns to Best Video. The band plays on Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s deck at an outdoor show on Thurs., Oct. 7. The music starts at 5 PM.

Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band is a Connecticut-based bluegrass band that always offers a fun mix of traditional standards, entertaining classics and originals that bring fond memories and a smile. In the tradition of bluegrass, Restless Mountain is an all-acoustic band, serving up heartfelt vocals, 3-part harmonies and spicy instrumentals. Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band has been active in Connecticut for over a decade, featuring veteran musicians who love to play and entertain.

Band members are Matt Fleury (vocals, banjo), Jerry Devokaitis (vocals, guitar), Gracin Dorsey (vocals, mandolin), Scott Camara (resophonic guitar), and Dave Aston (bass).

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

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. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

UPDATE: Norman & the Rockwellians get in the swing Wed., Oct. 6

UPDATE: Norman & The Rockwellians play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Wed., Oct. 6. The show starts at 5:30 PM. (This show has been rescheduled due to the expectation of rain on its original date of Sept. 23.)

Originally formed as the house band for the Institute Library, Norman and the Rockwellians is comprised of members of Swing du Jour, Dr Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, the Brooklyn Swing Ensemble, and the Galvanized Jazz Band.

Collectively they play the music they love, from the heyday of the American songbook, highlighting Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller, George Gershwin, and more! The players are Norman Plankey (guitar), Brian Slattery (trombone & violin), Daniel Elias (clarinet), and Art Hovey (tuba).

Dancing may spontaneously occur. Music you can whistle on your way home.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

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. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.