Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide (02/28)+ Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West

Today’s “Fab 5”/ Selected NYCity Events – FRIDAY, FEB. 28, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “Notable NYC Events-Feb”, 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.

Mimulus Companhia de Dança (also Sat)
“In June, the world’s eyes will turn to Brazil and the athletic prowess on display there at the World Cup. Starting this week, a bit of Brazilian bravura comes to New York with the Joyce Theater’s three-week festival of contemporary Brazilian dance. The first of four participating troupes is Mimulus Companhia de Dança. It will perform “Dolores,” inspired by the music and themes of the films by the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, known for his outrageous, melodramatic and uniquely poignant style.” (Schaefer-NYT)
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, at 19th Street, Chelsea,
at 8 p.m. /$10 to $49
212-242-0800, joyce.org

“LET’S ZYDECO!”
“Leroy Thomas, born in Lake Charles and raised in Elton, Louisiana, began his musical journey by taking up the drums, like his father, Leo. But the lure of the accordion was too strong, and now he leads his own group, the Zydeco Roadrunners, flashing a distinctive squeezebox with an American-flag design. They’re in town Feb. 28. C. J. Chenier takes over on March 2.” (NewYorker mag)
Connolly’s, 121 W. 45th St.
letszydeco.com.

Band of Horses
“Seattle’s rousing, blues- and country-tinged band of furry-faced men plays Town Hall behind its latest disc, Acoustic at the Ryman. Not surprisingly, the quintet will be pulling the plug for this set, performing acoustic versions of its dreamy, roots-rocking hits from the past decade.” (TONY mag)
The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St. btw Sixth Ave and Broadway
at 8pm / $40
212-840-2824 / thetownhall.org

“THE JOHNNY CASH 82ND BIRTHDAY BASH”
“For the tenth consecutive year, the New York country singer Alex Battles is throwing Cash a birthday party. Since the crossover legend died, in 2003, Battles has found several ways to tip his hat. He’s organized tribute shows and started the CasHank Hootenanny Jamboree, dedicated to Cash, Hank Williams, and country music before 1970.

In 2005, at a small bar in Red Hook, he began hosting the birthday parties, and on Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Bell House, the Man in Black will be celebrated by the Whisky Rebellion, Battles’s band, which morphs into Cash’s band when Battles morphs into Johnny himself to deliver those deeply sung tales of outlaws and sorrow. Expect country-music d.j.s, a “mixtape” of Johnny Cash movie clips, and a different set of Cash songs on each of the two nights.” (NewYorker mag)
Bell House, 149 7th St., Brooklyn.
This is way not Manhattan’s WestSide, but to honor the Man in Black, a necessary trip.
718-643-6510

The Stepfathers
Seven of the theater’s best players (including TONY resident hack Silvija Ozols) create smart, patient improv in this flagship show.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 307 W 26th St
btw Eighth and Ninth Aves
at 9PM/ $10
212-366-9176 / ucbtheatre.com

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

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A PremierPub / 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, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs  – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
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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