Selected Events (12/08) + Nutcracker Performances 2014

Today’s “FAB 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – MONDAY, DEC. 08, 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.”

Holiday Cheer for FUV with Conor Oberst & Friends – Pop/Rock

In Search of the True Universe with Martin Harwit  – SmartStuff/ Lecture

From Boccaccio to Shakespeare  – Theater

James Weidman and Harvie S  – Jazz

Angel Olsen – Pop/Rock


Holiday Cheer for FUV with Conor Oberst & Friends
“At 34, this polarizing singer-songwriter from Omaha boasts a dense catalog that includes eight albums with the emo-rock progenitors Bright Eyes and a consistent output as a solo artist. His recent solo record, “Upside Down Mountain,” is a sophisticated, earnest folk song cycle. Natalie Merchant, the Felice Brothers, Laura Marling and others also lend their voices to this evening, a benefit for the New York public radio station WFUV.” (NYT-Anderson)
Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, at 74th St.,
800-745-3000 /
8PM / $45 to $300.

In Search of the True Universe with Martin Harwit
This artist’s rendering shows a solar system that is a much younger version of our own. Dusty disks, like the one shown here circling the star, are thought to be the breeding grounds of planets, including rocky ones like Earth.

Astronomers are investigating the new frontiers of dark matter and dark energy, critical to understanding the cosmos but of indeterminate socio-economic promise. Astrophysicist and scholar Martin Harwit addresses these current challenges in view of competing national priorities and proposes alternative new approaches in search of the true Universe. Harwit examines how our understanding of the cosmos advanced rapidly during the twentieth century and identifies the factors contributing to this progress.
Harwit will sign copies of his book In Search of the True Universe—The Tools, Shaping and Cost of Cosmological Thought after the lecture.
AMNH, Hayden Planetarium, 79th St. and CPW
7:30pm / $15 Adults ($13.50 student, seniors)
212-769-5100 /

Theatrical Workshop Performance: FROM BOCCACCIO TO SHAKESPEARE
An evening of theater to uncover similarities and differences between Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Shakespeare.

Following their productions of Machiavelli’s The Mandrake Root and of the three Boccaccio novellas from the Decameron that inspired it, KIT – Kairos Italy Theater, Casa Italiana’s Company in Residence – is now exploring Shakespeare’s work to discover how much the great playwright was influenced by Italian theater and literature as well as what differences emerge in the work of these three giants.

During the past weeks, led by Three Time Obie Award actor Rocco Sisto, KIT has been working on scenes from Measure for Measure while learning about the relationship between Shakespeare and Italy. On December 8th, the actors will share the result of the workshop by presenting scenes from Measure for Measure together with scenes from The Mandrake Root and Decameron, introduced by Sisto himself.
Casa Italiana (NYU), 24 West 12th St.
7:30PM / FREE

James Weidman and Harvie S
“Mr. Weidman is a pianist of far-reaching capabilities, possibly best known as a sideman (to the saxophonists Joe Lovano and Marty Ehrlich, among others), though he has his own vision as a bandleader-composer. His most recent album, “Truth and Actuality,” features a trio with the bassist Harvie S, who joins him in duologue here.” (Chinen-NYT)
Jazzhaus at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, 119 West 56th St.
at 7:30 and 9PM / $30; $20 for hotel guests and 65+.

Elsewhere, but looks worth the detour:

Angel Olsen
“Her video for “Hi-Five” reminds us of the weird My So-Called Life Halloween special with the gym full of sock-hopping ghosts, minus the Claire Danes monologue. And this is only one reason we like her. Angel Olsen has managed to produce this vintage, ever-reverberating sound of what seems like all current indie pop, but still stays true to her St. Louis roots. She sports a haircut and style similar to what seems to be worn by all Urban Outfitters catalog models, but still makes it look consistently cutting-edge. In short, she knows this scene and she wears it well. But the songs on this year’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness speak, or rather sing, for themselves, glowing, opulent testaments to lost love. Wallow with her, and fellow heartland band Lionlimb, tonight.” (Heather Baysa, VillageVoice)
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street
8 p.m. / $20

♦ 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.

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.

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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