It was Peter Lehndorff’s first set at Best Video’s new Second Wednesday Open Mic.
“It’s my first time here, and I live in Hamden. And it’s my first time in Hamden,” he said.
Some confusion spread out through the audience before Lehndorff reported that he was from a town called Hampden in Massachusetts. The crowd of performers and patrons responded with laughter and welcomed their new “neighbor” — one example of the congenial tone and community fostered at the beloved video store turned cultural center on Wednesday evening.
Christoph Whitbeck, vocalist and guitarist for Lümp, asked the audience a question before proceeding to his band’s third and final song: “Do you like to rock?”
The audience responded with screams and applause.
It was the final song of Saturday night of Ideat Village’s 2017 edition of its Rock Lottery — and the culmination of two nights of musicians coming together to show not just their love of rock, but their love of the community that makes music and shares it as well.
I sat on the stage under the lights at Best Video Film and Cultural Center, and we were playing a song about prostitution. Drummer Mike Paolucci had just started up the beat. Singer Anne Rhodes was swinging it. Guitarist Chris Cretella, accordionist Adam Matlock, cellist Nathan Bontrager, and bassist Mike Tepper fell in. I was waiting for my part. In one hand I had my violin, and in the other I had a bicycle horn.
The song was “We Put the Spring in Springfield,” and we — Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps — were performing 23 songs from the animated series The Simpsons, a year of planning and one blizzard later.
Singer Leslie VanEtten Broatch apologized to the crowd for not being able to tell jokes well. Drummer Joe Rosano followed that up with the ba-dum-bum that usually tails a joke. The audience laughed. So began a night of good-natured musical chemistry from Parker’s Tangent.
When Connie Vereen first arrived on Cherry Ann Street 21 years ago, the neighborhood was dominated by Southern Connecticut State University students. As the university slowly shifted its campus, more and more young families filled the street’s apartment buildings. But the city line that runs in the middle of Cherry Ann Street fragmented the community — children on the Hamden side rarely crossed over to play with the kids in New Haven and vice versa.
The 13 local professional and non-professional actors performing in “Still Crazy After All These Years!” a new, touring festival of eight one-act plays, may all be AARP-eligible, but their performances deliver a message that busts stereotypes about their age group.
“It’s not all death, senility and arthritis,” said award-winning New Haven playwright, co-director, and co-producer Tom Coash.
“Country Boy,” the first song off Miracle Legion’s latest and probably last release, Annulment, starts with a single note from an electric guitar. It was recorded live in July 2016 at Codfish Hollow, a stage in Maquoketa, Ia., where Miracle Legion was on tour.
On the studio version of “Country Boy” — released in 1987 — that single note from the guitar is followed by a note from a harmonica and then a third note from a piano. Together they count off what the rhythm of the song would be. On the live 2016 recording, the only thing that follows that note for the rest of the measure is silence. The rhythm doesn’t need to be counted off anymore. It’s the guitarist, Ray Neal, who sets the pace, who decides how fast the song goes. Both band and longtime fans know where the beat is anyway.
Nine years after she started an innovative soccer-cum-academic mentoring program for immigrant and refugee students, Lauren Mednick threw a party to celebrate that first group of wings and strikers’ biggest goal yet: their graduation from college.