Selected Events (07/15) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Elite 8+ – WEDNESDAY / JULY 15, 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

> Penn & Teller on Broadway
Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway at 46th St. / 8PM, $47-$147
“It’s been almost 25 years since the great magic-comedy team last brought their deconstructive illusionism to the Great White Way. Now they’re back with more shocking awesomeness.” (TONY)

> Lowdown Hudson Music Fest – The Word, The Wood Brothers
Brookfield Place, Waterfront Plaza, 230 Vesey St./ 6:30-10PM, FREE
The Word is an improvisational rock-gospel supergroup, and The Wood Brothers music combines blues, folk, and roots-music styles. Two different styles that should satisfy everyone.

> Henry Threadgill’s Zooid (through July 18)
Village Vanguard, 178 7th St S @ 11th St./ 8:30PM, 10:30PM; $30 plus one drink
“a superb composer, saxophonist and flautist, Threadgill is a true master musician. With Zooid, he teams up with several other jazz instrumentalists to bring the funk to the Village Vanguard.” (TONY)

> Momix (through Aug 1)
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave at West 19th St. / 7:30PM, $10+
“Moses Pendleton’s whimsical troupe, a hybrid of modern dance, circus and visual spectacle, celebrates its 35th anniversary with a nearly monthlong run of the new work “Alchemia.”

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

My City Book Club:
‘The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City’
Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 103rd St. / 6:30PM, $16
“The sociologist William Helmreich’s book is about four years he spent walking nearly every street in New York’s five boroughs. (He went through nine pairs of shoes, in case you were wondering.) He will discuss it with Ariel Kaminer, a former reporter for The New York Times who is now an editor at BuzzFeed, as well as the relationships between immigrants and gentrifiers and how both are essential to the city’s success.” (NYT)

> Word for Word: Novel Novelists
Bryant Park, 6th Ave, at 42nd St. / 12:30PM, FREE
this monthly storytelling/reading series combines some of New York’s best storytellers, humor writers, memoirists, and character performers.
today’s talk: “Julia Fierro (Cutting Teeth), the founder of the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, leads a lively conversation with a group of buzzed-about novelists: Dennis Mahoney (Bell Weather), Sophie McManus (The Unfortunates), Patricia Park (Re Jane) and Erika Swyler (The Book Of Speculation).”

> Ask Me Another: Celebrating 30 Years of SummerStage
SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield, Fifth Avenue/69th St. entrance /7-10PM, FREE
“Ask Me Another is a rambunctious live show from NPR and WNYC that blends brainteasers and local pub trivia with comedy and music. Host Ophira Eisenberg invites guests and listeners alike to stretch their noggins, tickle their funny bones and enjoy witty banter and guitar riffs from the Ask Me Another one-man house band, Jonathan Coulton.”

> French Restaurant Week 
Various locations and times, prix-fixe meals for $17.89 and $178.90
“Celebrate French Independence Day the American way: by eating. Dine on special prix-fixe dinner menus for $17.89 or $178.90 at more than 40 NYC bistros and brasseries (Mirabelle, Triomphe) as part of Bastille Week. In addition to dining deals, restaurants will also be hosting fetes including a Pétanque tournament sponsored by Tribeca’s Cercle Rouge.” (TONY)
for the full list see:

Have time for only one event today? Do this:
It’s elsewhere, but worth the detour:

> George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Queensboro Bridge, 41 Rd., 40 Ave. bet. East River,Vernon Blvd.,, 21 St. / 7-9PM, FREE
“Lace up your dancing shoes and come prepared to sweat when one of the most influential figures of funk, George Clinton, takes the stage.” “George Clinton, the one and only Uncle Jam and author of the recent memoir (deep breath) Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? lands the mothership for a night of ass-liberating funk.”

“Recording both as Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton revolutionized R&B during the ’70s, twisting soul music into funk by adding influences from several late ’60s acid heroes: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Sly Stone. The Parliament/Funkadelic machine ruled black music during the ’70s, capturing over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and recording three platinum albums. Clinton and many former Parliament/Funkadelic members continued to tour and record throughout the ’80s as the P-Funk All Stars, but the decade’s disdain of everything to do with the ’70s – especially the sound of disco – resulted in critical and commercial neglect for the world’s biggest funk band, one which in part had spawned dance music. The early ’90s saw the rise of funk-inspired rap which re-established the status of Clinton & Co. as one of the most important forces in the recent history of black music. Parliament/Funkadelic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.”

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 — / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St., nr 6th ave. — / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St., nr 7th ave.S. — / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9 ave) — / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway, nr.106th St. — / 212-864-6662
Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St., nr Bleecker St. — / 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.

♦ 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.

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).


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.

“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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