Music returns to Best Video, socially distanced, on the deck

Making the best of the situation, Best Video Film & Cultural Center will restart its music programming on the new outdoor deck, weather permitting. The Best Video cafe will expand its curbside hours to 4-8 PM Thursdays through Saturday and we will try to schedule acoustic music on the deck for as many of those evenings as possible.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

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.

The schedule so far is:

Thursday, Sept. 10, 5-7:30. Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar: Glenn Roth

Friday, Sept. 11, 4:30-7:30 PM. Bluegrass/Roots: David Sasso & Pete Kaufman (members of Five N’ Change)

Saturday, Sept. 12, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Anne Marie Menta & Richard Neal

Thursday, Sept. 17, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: The Bargain (featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, & Muddy Rivers)

Saturday, Sept. 19, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Shawn Taylor

Friday, Sept. 25, 6 PM. Harmony Pop: Pigeon English

Saturday, Sept. 26, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter Pop: Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone

UPDATE 3/12: Postponed Music: Pigeon English, Jeff Burnham play Thurs., Mar. 12

UPDATE 3/12: Due to concerns raised by COVID-19, tonight’s show at Best Video Film & Cultural Center is being postponed to a later date. Our apologies to all who were looking forward to the show, but the musicians and the staff of Best Video Film & Cultural Center think it is prudent to err on the side of caution. We look forward to rescheduling this event when circumstances allow.

Pigeon English, the harmony pop duo comprised of Rob Nelson and Brian Larney, play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Mar. 12. Singer-songwriter Jeff Burnham opens. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Pigeon English is a collaboration between songwriters Brian Larney (of Lines West) and Rob Nelson (of Elegant Primates), exploring close harmony vocals and the mysterious paths of melody. Drawing inspiration from The Everly Brothers and The Beatles, Larney and Nelson craft songs about love and misunderstanding.

When Pigeon English released their 6-song debut EP “Coo” in January, Rick Allison of Cygnus Radio called it “one of the new treasures of 2019.” Brian Slattery of the New Haven Independent wrote that Pigeon English “melodies, chords, and lyrics consistently make clever turns that feel both unexpected, satisfying — and emotionally complicated…thanks to songwriting this fun and sharp, complicated, agonizing relationship troubles have rarely been so catchy.”

In July, the band released its first full-length album, “Places, Everyone!” featuring 10 new songs.

Singer-songwriter Jeff Burnham takes listeners on a journey across a gritty, haunted landscape, where sunlight flickers through the rain, framed in the tradition of Americana and folk-rock. After several years writing for and performing with his band Tuesday Saints, Jeff has reoriented his sound with heartland rock elements, as a solo project called Jeff Burnham and the Insiders.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Irish/Celtic music jam Sun., Jan. 19, 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The January jam takes place on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 2-4 PM. The jam, organized by musicians Jim & Willow Sirch, takes place on the third Sunday of each month (unless it needs to be rescheduled due to other Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming).

As with our bluegrass jams, feel free to come and join in or just sit and listen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Big Fat Combo crank out rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll Wed., Jan. 15

One of the most popular bands to play the Best Video Performance Space, the Big Fat Combo return on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Big Fat Combo hail from Cheshire and offer their own, wry, well-crafted take on rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet is a classic rockabilly group: upright bass (Tom Murphy) and drums (John Murphy), rhythm (Tom Hearn) and lead guitar (Cary Pollick). Led by singer Hearn, the Big Fat Combo not only play their original tunes (“Tag Sale,” “Banned by Sam the Clam’s” and “Chicks Dig it,” among others) but also riff on classic rock ‘n’ roll, garage rock, punk, country and even some easy listening chestnuts (“Que Sera Sera,” “It was a Very Good Year”) that they make fully their own.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

First Second Wednesday Open Mic of 2020 takes place Wed., Jan. 8, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Jan. 8, 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.

Music: The Bossa Nova Trio with Isabella Mendes plays Fri., Dec. 27

The Bossa Nova Trio plays Best Video Performance Space Friday, Dec. 27. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

All Brazilian natives and musician, they will be bringing some Brazilian songs to warm up a winter night in our beautiful town of Hamden at one of their favorite venues. The trio is Isabella Mendes (piano, vocals), Fernanda Franco (percusion, vocals), and Flavio Lira (bass).

Isabella Mendes is a rising talent known for her sensitive interpretations of jazz, bossa novas, as well as the pop-tinged music and her own originals.

Isabella Mendes was born in Brazil, where she began her music studies at the age of 4. Four years later, she was composing and well advanced in mastering the piano, which earned her a scholarship to the world renowned conservatory of music Fundação Magda Tagliaferro, where she went on to earn several prizes in piano competitions and Master Classes.

In 1999, a career opportunity brought her family to the United States, where she continued her musical studies with noted instructors Rachael Elliott and Qi Liu, both then at Yale University. In her senior year of high school, Isabella received the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and was recognized for her musical achievements with a “2002 Hamden Salutes Young Artists” by the town of Hamden and the State of Connecticut. She further her studies at New Haven’s Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) and has performed at Yale University and Woolsley Hall.

Isabella Mendes’ multicultural musical interpretations and compositions can be enjoyed at her performances throughout Connecticut.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Irish/Celtic music jam takes place Sun., Nov. 24, 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The November jam takes place on Sunday, Nov. 24, from 2-4 PM. The jam, organized by musicians Jim & Willow Sirch, takes place on the third Sunday of each month (unless it needs to be rescheduled due to other Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming, as happened this month).

As with our bluegrass jams, feel free to come and join in or just sit and listen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: California art rock musician Eamon Fogarty, Drifting North play Wed., Nov. 20

Eamon Fogarty.

California-based musician and songwriter Eamon Fogarty plays Best Video Performance Space Wednesday, Nov. 20. Drifting North, an off-shot of No Line North, will open.

The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Eamon Fogarty is a singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist currently based in Santa Barbara CA.

The music blog Aquarium Drunkard featured Fogarty’s cover of Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos” this past August. About Fogarty’s most recent record, “Blue Values,” they wrote:

It’s a remarkable piece of art-pop, exhibiting the low slung ease of Tim Buckley’s jazz-rock, the shambolic grace of Beck, the progressive grandeur of Scott Walker, and the mystic yearning of Talk Talk. Produced and mixed by Chris Schlarb of Psychic Temple, the album finds Fogarty joined by a cast of players contributing woodwinds, percussion, and vibraphone. It’s an album reflective of an ever-changing landscape, a set of songs emboldened by ambiguity.

Drifting North debuts as an evolutionary off-shoot of No Line North. The group features Jon Schlesinger, Michael Kiefer, Brian Slattery, and Richard Brown. Drifting North sets their compass for the woozy boundary between folky Americana and the frontiers of psychedelic inner space.

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.

Second Wednesday Open Mic at Best Video Wed., June 12, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, June 12, 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.