Selected Events (12/03) + Nutcracker Performances 2014

Today’s “TOP 3″/ Selected NYCity Events – WEDNESDAY, DEC. 03, 2014
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to. We make it as easy as 1-2-3.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Dance

Yo La Tengo  – Pop/Rock

The Italian Americans: A History – SmartStuff/ Book Talk


Sure, there is the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center tonight (7-9PM), if you can bear the crowds, but my picks are elsewhere.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (through Jan. 4)
“If any holiday dance tradition can rival “The Nutcracker,” it’s the Ailey company’s winter season at City Center. This year’s five-week run begins with an opening night gala featuring a new addition to the repertory, Hofesh Shechter’s stormy “Uprising,” and something more familiar to Ailey regulars, the evergreen “Revelations.” Thursday’s program reprises two of last season’s hits — Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma” and Bill T. Jones’s “D-Man in the Waters (Part I)” — which bring out different sides, cool and warm, of the troupe’s exceptional dancers.” (SIOBHAN BURKE-NYT)
City Center, West 55th St. (btw Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue)
Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 and 7:30 p.m.; no performances on Christmas and New Year’s Day
212-581-1212 /, / $25-$150

Yo La Tengo (also Dec.4)
“The conquering indie-rock troubadours of Hoboken, N.J., lost their favorite showroom, Maxwell’s, when it closed last year, but that hasn’t stopped them from performing around the area. They released their most recent studio album, “Fade,” last year, and that release’s cresting guitars paid homage to the surf-rock of Santo and Johnny and the Beach Boys. Next week, as the band members celebrate their 30th anniversary together, they will release a deluxe version of the 1993 classic, “Painful,” ahead of these shows.” (STACEY ANDERSON-NYT)
Town Hall,123 West 43rd St. (btw Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue)
at 8 p.m./ $32.50 to $42.50
800-982-2787 /

The Italian Americans: A History
This gorgeous companion book to the PBS series illuminates an important, overlooked part of American history.In this richly researched, beautifully designed and illustrated volume, Maria Laurino strips away stereotypes and nostalgia to tell the complicated, centuries-long story of the true Italian-American experience.Looking beyond the familiar Little Italys and stereotypes fostered by The Godfather and The Sopranos, Laurino reveals surprising, fascinating lives Italian-Americans working on sugar-cane plantations in Louisiana to those who were lynched in New Orleans; the banker who helped rebuild San Francisco after the great earthquake; families interned as enemy aliens in World War II.

From anarchist radicals to Rosie the Riveter to Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio; from traditional artisans to rebel songsters like Frank Sinatra, Dion, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, this book is both exploration and celebration of the rich legacy of Italian-American life.Readers can discover the history chronologically, chapter by chapter, or serendipitously by exploring the trove of supplemental materials. These include interviews, newspaper clippings, period documents, and photographs that bring the history to life.
Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway @ 82nd St.
212-595-6859 /

♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity (pop. 8.4 million) had 54 million visitors last year and quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.

editor’s note: a 2nd hard drive failure in 7 months (what’s going on here Apple!) requires a reduction in daily event info on this site until the hardware issues have been resolved. while we use borrowed equipment and until further notice, the daily “Fab 5” is now the “Top 3”. we look forward to restoring full service tomorrow – YAY!

For many the Holiday Season means a visit to the NYC Ballet to enjoy their performance of the “Nutcracker” ballet. Thought Gallery, a very fine site with event info on a range of NYCity cultural topics, surprises us with a comprehensive list of more “Nutcracker” performances around town than you ever imagined. Who Knew?

Going Nuts: A Roundup of Nutcracker Ballet Performances in NYC
By Troy Segal

“A FINELY AGED NUT Many a native NY-er has grown up with New York City Ballet founder George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday tradition since its debut in 1954. Balanchine based his version on the productions he himself danced in as a child in Russia. Act I serves up the spectacle: a rambunctious holiday party and an epic battle between the armies of the Nutcracker Prince and the multi-headed Mouse King. Act II is devoted to displays of dancing virtuosity by waltzing flowers, jumping candy canes and little clowns that emerge from a lady’s hoopskirt. Nov. 28–Jan. 3.

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN Returning for the last time to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s version of The Nutcracker takes a dramatic approach to the often-saccharine classic: “The Waltz of the Snowflakes,” for example, turns into a nearly fatal blizzard for our heroine Clara, and the Sugar Plum Fairy is explicitly a projection of her desire to be all grown up, rather than just the usual showy anonymous ballerina role. Not that there aren’t plenty of sweet moments, too, from the adorable baby mouse to the magically expanding Christmas tree to the dazzling turns by American Ballet Theatre’s artists. Dec. 12–21.

OLDE NEW YORK Every troupe gives The Nutcracker its own twist, but The Yorkville Nutcracker imparts an especially Gothamesque stamp to the ballet. Set in 1895, this version uses actual people and settings of the period: The children’s party is held in Gracie Mansion; the heroine is the daughter of Mayor William Strong; and she and her Nutcracker Prince ride a sleigh to Central Park and to the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx. Yorkville is the brainchild of Francis Patrelle, founding choreographer of Dances Patrelle, a small troupe dedicated to dramatic and narrative dance. Its performers range from ballet students to principals from other companies, including New York City Ballet’s Abi Stafford and Adrian Danchig-Waring as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier this year. Dec. 4–7.

DANCING IN THE STREETS In contrast to the productions above, The Knickerbocker Suite unfolds the familiar story in modern-day NYC. Those swirling snowflakes turn into shoppers, waltzing in and out of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s; Mother Ginger, traditionally a lady whose skirts house hidden little dancers, becomes the Statue of Liberty leading a host of immigrants. The concepts are as fresh as the cast, all students of Manhattan Youth Ballet. Dec. 12–14 & 19–21.

TINY BUT TASTY The New York Theatre Ballet is a chamber dance company specializing in streamlined stories for the littlest balletomanes. Its version, dubbed Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker (after is its resident choreographer) and set in an Art Nouveau world, runs only an hour, but packs in all the big turns, using its small cast in ingenious ways and with witty fashions (the Metropolitan Opera’s resident costume designer did the garments). Dec. 19–21.

RED HOT If ballet ever merged with burlesque, the result might be something like Nutcracker Rouge. This strictly-for-grownups version—by Company XIV, which loves to mash up music, Baroque dance and texts and acrobatics—has Marie (not so much a little girl as a nubile young thing) embarking on a discovery of the sweet things in life—and we’re not talking candy canes. The classically trained dancers pose, pirouette and gyrate to the Tchaikovsky’s greatest hits, as well as Madonna’s (we said it was a mash-up, didn’t we?). If you like your hot chocolate with a little spice, this is for you. Through Jan. 4.”

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