Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West (09/25)

Today’s “Fab 5”/ Selected NYCity Events – WEDNESDAY, SEPT 25, 2013.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦“Notable Events-Sept.”, “on Broadway”,  and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez, THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING
Presented by Greenlight Bookstore, the Colombian literary star’s only NYC appearance for his award-winning new novel, in conversation with author Richard Price.

What a combo! Mr. Price, a Bronx boy who made good, is well known as a novelist (The Wanderers, Clockers, and The Lush Life) and screenwriter (Color of Money, Sea of Love).
Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, (btw Houston/Prince)
AT 7:00PM / FREE
subway: 1-2-3 to TimesSq; transfer to N/R to Prince St; walk 1 block E, 1 block N

Hilary Gardner Quintet (Hilary Gardner – Vocals, Ehud Asherie – Piano, Jason Marshall – Sax, Elias Bailey – Bass, Kevin Kanner – Drums)
“Hilary Gardner is not only a fine singer but she has an original turn of mind.  She wouldn’t have been the first singer to create a mini-concert around the theme of THE GREAT CITY, but another singer might choose nostalgia and celebrate New York in formulaic terms of bygone neighborhoods and landmarks, the musical world of the double-decker bus and a pocketful of nickels for the Automat.

Hilary has her eyes open to this century as well as to its predecessor.  Her world didn’t begin in 1990, but she knows that intriguing songs keep being written about the city that so fascinates her. Her songs — glorious evidence of the swinging, witty rapport between her and pianist Ehud Asherie — stretch back to Vernon Duke and Leonard Bernstein, but forward to Nellie McKay and Dan Hicks.  Hilary has a beautiful voice and a clear, focused delivery — you can hear she’s thought about the lyrics and how they ring most effectively — and a natural swing, a keen ebullience.” (Michael Steinman, JAZZ LIVES blog)
Jazz at Kitano, 66 Park Avenue, at 38th St.
sets at 8:00 and 10:00 pm ($10 cover + $15 minimum)
212.885.7119 / kitano.com/Jazz-Schedule

sometimes you just have to go over to the EastSide
a Hillary Gardner performance is one of those times.
subway: #1-2-3 to 34th St.; walk E 4 blocks to Park ave, N 4 blocks to Kitano.

Yosvany Terry Quintet*
“The saxophonist and percussionist Yosvany Terry has a fine recent album, “Today’s Opinion” (Criss Cross), that solidifies his stature as one of the serious younger faces of Afro-Cuban jazz. His band here, as on the album, has Michael Rodriguez on trumpet and Osmany Paredes on piano; joining them are the deft bassist Hans Glawischnig and the authoritative drummer Jeff (Tain) Watts.” (Chinen-NYT)
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St. and Broadway
At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m./$30 cover, with a $10 minimum
258-9595, jalc.org

Zorn@60
The citywide celebrations of the 60th birthday of the indefatigable, brilliant John Zorn continue with a concert series at the Miller Theater, one of his longest-standing artistic homes.

Wednesday’s concert focuses on Mr. Zorn’s orchestral writing, including his 1999 violin concerto “Contes de Fées”; “Orchestra Variations” and “Kol Nidre” (both from 1996); and the American premiere of “Suppôts et Supplications.” (Woolfe-NYT)
Miller Theater, Broadway at 116th Street, Morningside Heights
at 8 p.m./ $25 to $40
(212) 854-7799, millertheatre.com

The Savassi Festival 
Rogerio Boccato Quarteto 
Dan Blake(Saxophone), Nando Michelin(Piano), Jay Anderson(Bass), Rogerio Boccato(Percussion)

“A ten-year-old Brazilian music festival makes its New York debut with more than a week’s worth of workshops and gigs, celebrating some of the nation’s leading composers in a jazz context. See ny.savassifestival.com.br for the full lineup.” (TONY mag)

55 Bar, 55 Christopher Street just east of Seventh Avenue.
At 7PM / FREE

Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm dates and check times, as schedules are subject to change.
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A PremierPub + 3 Good Eating places / Midtown West.

Russian Vodka Room  / 265 W 52nd St (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys”,  just down the block.

Those in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler, but that’s later in the evening. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing American pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the happy hour goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).

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Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th St.
Walk 2 blk N. on B’way to 52nd St.; 1 blk W. to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the  S. side of 52nd St.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. side of 52nd St.
Update: music some nights includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man.

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, cocktail lounges, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge.
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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