Selected Events (01/16) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – FRIDAY, JAN. 16, 2015.
“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.”

Stacy Sullivan, ‘On the Air—Songs For Marian McPartland ’   —  Jazz   (9:30pm)

Jane Monheit: ‘Hello Bluebird’   —  Jazz   (8:30pm) (11pm)

“The Epic Of Everest”    SmartStuff/  Film   (7pm)

The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir —  Choral Music   (6pm) 

The Zlatne Uste Golden Festival  —  Balkan Music   (7pm)

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide:
♦ “9 Notable Events-Jan.”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
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Stacy Sullivan, ‘On the Air—Songs For Marian McPartland ’
imgres“Call this a “thinking person’s cabaret show.” Star Stacy Sullivan is a thoughtful and subtle singer, just as the woman she honors, Marian McPartland, was the most subtle and thoughtful of pianists, composers and radio hosts. Just as the late McPartland (1918–2013) represented an outpost of sanity and tranquility in a medium historically dominated by shock jocks and pseudo-scholars, Ms. Sullivan is neither fussy nor formal nor, at the other extreme, falsely folksky. The presence of accompanist and musical director Jon Weber, who has served as Ms. McPartland’s replacement for these last few years (even while the Queen Mum of Jazz herself was still with us) adds greatly to the authenticity of what is a very heartfelt and thoroughly realized project.” (WSJ)
The Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St.,
9:30pm / $25
(212) 206-0440

Jane Monheit: ‘Hello Bluebird’ (also Saturday)
imgres-1“Ms. Monheit is a jazz singer who has always fit the profile of an ingénue, though she has developed shades of complexity in her interactions with the standard repertory. She has recently made a second home at Birdland, where she now appears with the saxophonist Joel Frahm, the pianist Michael Kanan, the bassist Neal Miner and her husband, the drummer Rick Montalbano.” (Chinen-NYT)
Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton,
At 8:30 and 11 p.m.,
212-581-3080 / birdlandjazz.com.

c

“The Epic Of Everest”
imgres-2“The Rubin Museum’s Friday movie screening night this week features “The Epic Of Everest,” a 1924 film capturing the third attempt to climb Everest, which famously culminated in the deaths of two of the finest climbers of their generation, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. The film sparked an ongoing debate as to whether or not they reached the summit before their deaths.

The film is one of the earliest filmed records of life in Tibet.” (dnainfo.com)
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th St., West Village.
7 p.m. / $16

The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir /
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat Service
To commemorate the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Temple Emanu-El is pleased to host the Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III and the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir at a special Sabbath service — “An Inspirational and Musical Sabbath.”

The temple’s sanctuary is a magnificent interior, a special place for the choir’s performance.
Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue Sanctuary (Fifth Avenue at 65th Street)
6pm / FREE  (All are welcome to attend)

Elsewhere, but sure looks worth the detour:
The Zlatne Uste Golden Festival (also Sat)
imgres-3“Led by Brooklyn middle-school gym teacher Michael Ginsburg, the Zlatne Uste (“golden lips”) Brass Band is the country’s oldest Balkan combo. For thirty years, Zlatne Uste has hosted its annual Golden Festival, a pandemonium-inducing indoor Balkan bash that currently crams some 61 bands and 3,000 folk-dance fanatics into a Brooklyn bar mitzvah factory. The joyous, inclusive, and diverse four-stage lineup is anchored by a quintet of fine local brass bands augmented by dozens of Balkan, Turkish, Macedonian, and other Eastern European ensembles boasting varying degrees of authenticity and innovation, from a cappella to electronica.

This year’s out-of-town surprises include Detroit Balkan-soul combo Ornamatik, New Orleans Balkan-funk stew Blato Zlato (“swamp gold”), and Washington, D.C., Balkan-glam group Black Masala. Come for the complimentary meze, stay for the eternal circle dances.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)
Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave., btw Fifth and Sixth Aves
subway: R to Prospect Ave.
7pm / $35-$80 (2 day pass)
646-844-4653 / goldenfest.org.

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♦ 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.
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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.

lThose 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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