Selected Events (02/15) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West

Today’s “Fab 5″ / Selected NYCity Events – SUNDAY, FEB. 15, 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.”

New York City Ballet / “Romeo + Juliet.”  Ballet   (3pm)   (7:30pm)

John Zorn at the Vanguard —  Jazz?   (3pm)   (8:30pm)   (10:30pm)

“Music Before 1800″ Series: Blue Heron  —  Classical Music   (4pm)

“Let’s Zydeco!”  —  Cajun  Music   (8pm)

Billy Ocean and Patti LaBelle  Soul/Pop   (7pm)     

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide:

♦ “9 Notable Events-Feb.”, 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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Did you miss celebrating Valentine’s Day? Not to worry.
New York City Ballet / “Romeo + Juliet.”
12674_show_landscape_large_01“The timeless love story, set to Prokofiev’s effective 1935 score, was staged for the company by Peter Martins in 2007. The choreography is fast-paced and stylized—a Martins specialty—and the set designs, by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby, are relatively restrained. A single construction expands and contracts to become Juliet’s bedchamber, Friar Laurence’s monastery, and Verona’s town square. Watch for the “mandolin dance” in the second act, a little jewel performed by five boys from the School of American Ballet.” (NewYorker)
DHK Theater, Lincoln Center,
at 3pm and 7:30pm / $34-$184
212-496-0600, nycballet.com.

John Zorn at the Vanguard (last day)
“The composer, alto saxophonist and ringleader John Zorn made his first Village Vanguard incursion last fall, with results encouraging enough to demand this sequel engagement He’ll close out this repeat appearance in strong form with Bar Kokhba, a chamber-pop Masada ensemble, both sets on Sunday. (A special Sunday matinee, at 3 p.m., will feature the pianist Steve Gosling, the bassist Greg Cohen and the drummer Tyshawn Sorey interpreting an elaborate classical piano piece titled “In the Hall of Mirrors.” (Chinen-NYT)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village,
At 3:00, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. / $20-$30
212-255-4037, villagevanguard.com.

“Music Before 1800″ Series: Blue Heron
“Echoes of tradition and the vitality of new voices combine in this week’s early-music concerts. The conductor of this acclaimed Boston chamber chorus, Scott Metcalfe, is well known to New York audiences through his directorship (with Jolle Greenleaf) of the Green Mountain Project; he leads his colleagues here in what should be a vibrant program of sacred and secular works by Binchois, Ockeghem (including the “Missa De Plus en Plus”), and Dufay.”(NewYorker)
Corpus Christi Church, 529 W. 121st St. (E. of Broadway)
4pm / $15-$45
212-666-9266.

“Let’s Zydeco!”
imgresMardi Gras Party Featuring C.J. CHENIER & THE RED HOT LOUISIANA BAND
The concert series, which brings musicians from around New Orleans to town almost weekly, does its home city right with a pre-Mardi Gras party featuring C. J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

Chenier, the son of Clifton Chenier, known as the King of Zydeco, is a high-powered vocalist and accordionist who has appropriately been dubbed the Crown Prince. His shows are authentically rocking affairs.
Midtown Live, 251 W. 30th St. (btw 7/8ave), 2nd floor, the Red Room.
A large space with a large wooden dance floor, full bar & top sound system.
This room has a feel of “Old New York” crossed with “New Orleans Flair and Flavor”.
We will be catering in authentic Cajun Food by Cajun Chef Ken of J Gumbos Flatiron
7pm / $25
letszydeco.com.

Elsewhere, but sure looks worth the detour:
Billy Ocean and Patti LaBelle
“Get outta his dreams, get into his car. But first, get outta your apartment and get onto the train, then get outta the train and get above ground in Fort Greene. Then get into the spirit of seeing the Trinidad-born R&B singer Billy Ocean (purveyor of the ’80s hit “Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car”). He performs a double bill with the prolific soul-pop star Patti LaBelle, who has sold more than 50 million records in her long career and released a powerhouse concert album, “Live in Washington, D.C.,” in 2008. She also died a gloriously campy death on the most recent season of “American Horror Story.” (Anderson-NYT)
Howard Gilman Opera HouseBrooklyn Academy of Music,

30 Lafayette Ave. (btw St. Felix St. and Ashland Place)
subway: #2, 3 to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center (about 30 min. from TimesSquare)
At 7 p.m./ call for tickets
718-636-4100 / bam.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 a record 56 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 near the piano man; 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 now includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man. “tiny” we miss you.

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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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