Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide (12/30) + Today’sFeaturedNeighborhood-Midtown West 

Today’s “Fab 5”/ Selected NYCity Events – MONDAY, DEC. 30, 2013

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “Notable NYC Events-Dec.”, (because the holiday season kicks into high gear in December)
and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦  For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.

Bach at One: Twelfth Night Festival
Trinity’s Twelfth Night Festival returns, celebrating the twelve days of the nativity with a full program of events from December 26 through January 6. Julian Wachner leads the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra in performances of seasonal Bach cantatas, and holiday-themed choral works by English composer Benjamin Britten, whose centennial Trinity has been honoring since September with “Celebrating Britten,” “a most exciting and worthy project” (New York Times).

Today’s performance is at St. Paul’s Chapel:
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity
Baroque Orchestra present the cantatas of J.S. Bach.
Julian Wachner, conductor

An Evening of Tango, Music, and Art 
Get an early start on your New Year’s festivities! Grab your dancing shoes and join us for a festive evening of tango, live music, beautiful art, and Argentinian inspired tapas and wine.

Start the evening with an after-hours viewing of artist Janet Ruttenberg’s monumental paintings of Central Park, including her dreamlike depiction of the tango dancers who congregate every summer Saturday night in Central Park. Enjoy a live performance by a group of master tango artists headlined by tango singer Pablo Pereyra, with dancers Jorge Torres and Maria Blanco, violinist Sergio Reyes, bassist Alexis Cuadrado, bandoneon player Ayelen Pais Negrin, and pianist Juan Manuel Santisteban. A group tango lesson will follow the performance — no experience required! Delicious empanadas, eggplant escabeche, Spanish cheeses, and Argentinian wine will be available from the Museum Café.

Co-sponsored by the Tango Factory, Malbec & Tango House, and the Astoria Tango School and presented in conjunction with Picturing Central Park: Paintings by Janet Ruttenberg.
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave.,
at 7:00pm / Reservations required.
$20 for Museum members & seniors; $30 general public.

“Happy Birthday, Maestro Giuseppe Verdi!”
With Cesare Civetta, the music director of the Beethoven Festival Orchestra in New York City and the author of “The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro.”

In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, this multi-media presentation highlights his life and work, including little known facts about his humanitarianism and philanthropy.  It features excerpts from Verdi’s operas Nabucco, La Traviata, Rigoletto, Macbeth, Don Carlo, Otello and La Forza del Destino.  The patriotic elements in Verdi’s operas played a significant role in the unification of Italy, a struggle for which Verdi fought, climaxing in the 1867 premiere of his operatic adaptation of Schiller’s play, Don Carlos
Mid-Manhattan Library (Map and directions)
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. / FREE

Nutcracker Rouge (through Jan 12, 2014)
Company XIV delivers a sexy Nutcracker for adults

“Even the most traditional “Nutcrackers” are treated as a young woman’s coming-of-age story with either a student or company member as the slipper-throwing mice slayer who saves her prince. Company XIV director Austin McCormick’s “Nutcracker Rouge” is no different…EXCEPT there are no mice, kids or snowflakes. They are not missed.

Pretty Marie Claire (Lauren Careless) gets lost in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve and wanders into a Burlesque House. Why not? They like celebrating, especially when performing their “Waltz of the Flowers” – a genuine waltz dressed in violet and danced with big smiles. The dancing, singing and acrobatic feats McCormick integrates has the same effect as opening presents on Christmas morning. His ability as a choreographer/director is so confident and creative that in the first act he sets dances to Tchaikovsky’s original score and adds an accompanying one from a pastiche of Big Band numbers, the Ellington/Strayhorn “Nutcracker”, and bawdy French songs (translations not necessary).

One example being Candy Cane (Courtney Giannone), who performs with and inside her Cyr wheel to the “Russian Dance” and a ballad about being someone’s candy cane. The second act is when he adds extra delicacies of champagne, macaroons, and cake. The other sweet Marie Claire discovers the Sweet Spot. There’s nothing new with sexing up the classics, but “Nutcracker Rouge” is different.” (Patricia Contino, Flavorpill)
Minetta Lane Theatre, 18-22 Minetta Ln, (btw W3rd St/Bleecker), just E of 6th ave
At 8PM / $48-$124 (ticketmaster says: “not many left tonight”)

Wynton Marsalis Septet* (through Dec. 31)
“Every now and again the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center steps into the center spotlight as a composer-bandleader, reminding everyone why he became such a force in the first place. Taking over the organization’s in-house club, Wynton Marsalis regroups the ensemble with which he has made some of his finest albums, like “The Marciac Suite,” from 2000.

It’s a special booking, with a special price structure: $125 per person includes $35 cover and a tax-deductible contribution of $90 (except of course on New Year’s Eve, when you’ll drop a cool $375 for the 7:30 p.m. set and $550 for the 11 p.m. set).” (Chinen-NYT)
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St. and Broadway,
Tonight at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.

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).


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.

“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges  – 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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