Selected Events (05/30) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s TOP 10 – SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.”
We make it as easy as 1-2-3.  (click on links for complete event info)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
> Mary Stallings (also Sunday)
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, at 106th St. / 7PM, 9PM, 10:30PM, $45
“A jazz singer of soulful instinct and deep experience, Ms. Stallings’ fine new album “Feelin’ Good,” frames her voice against seasoned accompanists.” (Chinen – NYT)

> Bill Frisell: Up and Down the Mississippi
Appel Room,Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway & 60th St./7PM,$55-$75;9:30PM,$45-$65.
expect the blues, folk, jazz, and gospel from this master guitarist.

> Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature (also Sunday)
Joyce Theater, Chelsea, / 7:30pm. $10–$100.
described by The New York Times as “America’s greatest contemporary ballerina.”

> Betty Buckley: Dark Blue-Eyed Blues (also Sunday)
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. / 7PM, $25-$75
has been called “The Voice of Broadway,” and sold out her engagement last fall.

> “BOSSABRASIL,” Marcos Valle with Carlos Lyra
Birdland, 315 West 44th St. (btw 8/9 ave) / 8:30PM + 11PM, $40
“Forty years after it swept the world, Bossa Nova stands as as one of the enduring musical forms of the 20th century.”

> Bill Charlap Trio (also Sunday)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St. and Broadway / 7:30PM + 9:30PM, $45
this is one fine trio, who have played together forever and it shows.

> Beka Gochiashvili Jazz Party (also Sunday)
Iridium, 1650 Broadway at 51st St. / 8:30PM + 10:30PM, $25
acclaimed jazz pianist prodigy from Georgia (the country) lights it up.

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
> World Science Festival (May 27–31)
various locations, check the website: worldsciencefestival.com.
more than 50 events, spread over five days and the city’s five boroughs.

> Outdoor Fest (May 29 – Jun 07)
various locations and times
ten-day lineup of activities, classes and a range of outdoor opportunities.
“outdoor yoga, fishing, walks, nature-film screenings, trivia, bouldering, surfing and, naturally, beer drinking—can’t miss that.” (TONY)

> Ideas City (May 28–30)
too many events today to list – see the website. one highlight:
Municipal Art Society: Walking Tour: “On and Off the Bowery”
12:00 PM – 6:00 PM / FREE
Tours will explore a short section of the Bowery, highlighting the past, present, and future of the storied thoroughfare that was one of New York City’s first streets.

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> World Science Festival (May 27–31)
various locations, check the website: worldsciencefestival.com.
more than 50 events, spread over five days and the city’s five boroughs.

today’s highlight:
World Science U For a Day: Evolution of Mind and Matter
PARTICIPANTS: Lee Berger, Christof Koch, Alfred Mele, Adam Riess, Dimitar Sasselov

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Explore humankind’s grandest mysteries, from our accelerating universe to human consciousness, with some of the foremost experts in cosmology, neuroscience, anthropology, philosophy, and more. Immerse yourself in this live program, which offers a curated curriculum for serious enthusiasts who seek stimulating science that goes beyond a popular-level presentation.
CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, Auditorium / 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Price of ticket includes lunch with these scientific masters.

Bonus – Jazz Picks:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:
Greenwich Village:
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South — villagevanguard.com / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St., nr 6th ave. — bluenotejazz.com / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St., nr 7th ave.S. — 55bar.com / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9 ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway, nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St., nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

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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, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 56 million visitors last year and is TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2015.  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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