Selected Events (12/23) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue

Today’s FAB 5 > WEDNESDAY / DEC. 23, 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 more complete event info.)

Have time for only one event today? Do this (I’ll be there):
Noche Flamenca: Antigona (through Jan. 23)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W86th St./
Mondays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with an additional performance at 3 p.m. on Dec. 26 (no performances on Thursday and next Friday)
“Traditional Spanish dance and ancient Greek theater are an unlikely but well-suited pair in Noche Flamenca’s sharp production “Antigona,” based on Sophocles’s famous tragedy. The dance lights a fire under the play while discovering in itself a knack for narrative drama. In the title role, the powerhouse Soledad Barrio is both fierce and fragile. The century-old church where the performance takes place is filled with striking sets, darkly amorous music played by a live band and a ferocious Greek chorus of dancers.” (NYT-Schaefer)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
NYCity Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (through Jan. 3)
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / 2PM +7PM, $40-$95+
“Thanksgiving leftovers are still in the fridge and yet Christmas is here since “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” is back on stage. Of the dozens of productions in town, none match the scale of City Ballet’s or the giddy sense of childlike awe it inspires. Pantomime dominates the first half but Act II culminates in a breathtaking pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. After all, this is a duet for Balanchine and Tchaikovsky, too, and it’s magical.” (Schaefer-NYT)

Norm Lewis Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas (thru Dec.24)
Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 9:30PM, $65-$85
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; last year, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his Feinstein’s/54 Below debut, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Party Ever!
City Winery, 155 Varick St./ 8PM, $55+
“With the staggering vocals of Ronnie Spector front and center, the Ronettes had hits like “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain.” It made them popular on both sides of the Atlantic, headlining over the Rolling Stones in the U.K. and opening for the Beatles on their final U.S. tour, but the girl group didn’t survive the decade. Ms. Spector’s solo career flagged in the ’70s. In the ’80s her career revived and she’s worked with the likes of Patti Smith, Keith Richards and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Her Best Christmas Party Ever has been an annual affair since 1988.” (WSJ)

‘Santasia’ (through Dec.23)
St. Luke’s Theater, 308 W46th St.(btw 8/9 ave)/ 2PM, $40-$60
“This holiday musical comedy takes both a snarky and sentimental look at Christmas and family. Written by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, with choreography by Tania Pearson-Loeser, the show incorporates songs, sketch comedy and even Claymation movies.” (NYT-SpareTimes)

Bonus – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are a few of my favorite music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:
City Winery – 155 Varick St. / citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St. / joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Metropolitan Room – 34 W22nd St. / metropolitan room.com, 212-206-0440
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St. / lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St. / beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237 W42nd St. / bbkingblues.com, 212-997-2144
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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WHAT’S ON VIEW
My Fave Special Exhibitions – MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museum exhibitions,
and also see the expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

Metropolitan Museum of Art:
‘Reimagining Modernism: 1900-1950’ (continuing)
“One of the greatest encyclopedic museums in the world fulfills its mission a little more with an ambitious reinstallation of works of early European modernism with their American counterparts for the first time in nearly 30 years. Objects of design and paintings by a few self-taught artists further the integration. It is quite a sight, with interesting rotations and fine-tunings to come. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.” (Smith)

‘Andrea del Sarto’s ‘Borgherini Holy Family’’ (through Jan. 10)
“This fascinating gem of a show runs concurrently with the larger exhibition “Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action” at the Frick Collection and adds important layers to it. It both places the Renaissance artist within the political context of his time, and it draws on modern imaging technology to reveal his method for transforming and recycling images. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.” (Cotter)

‘Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom’ (through Jan. 24)
“Ancient Egypt is box office gold: Do a show, and people will come. Why? Mummies, Hollywood and Queen Nefertiti contribute to its allure. Also, we tend to identify with Egyptians of thousands of years ago. In art, they look exotic, but not out of reach. They drank beer, collected cats and wore flip-flops. They yearned to stay young and to live forever, with loved ones nearby and snack food piled high. Who can’t relate to that? Few institutions have done a better job at illuminating Egyptian art than the Met. And it returns to the subject in an exhibition low on King Tut bling and high on complicated beauty, about a broad swath of history (circa 2030 to 1650 B.C.) that has never had a comprehensive museum showcase till now. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.” (Cotter)

Jewish Museum:
‘The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film’ (through Feb. 7) “Revolutions sell utopias; that’s their job. Art, if it behaves itself and sticks to the right script, can be an important part of the promotional package. That’s the basic tale told by this exhibition of photographs and vintage films of the 1920s and ’30s, but with a question added: What happens to art when the script is drastically revised? Russia was an experiment in progress in the heady years following the 1917 revolution, and avant-garde art, free-spirited by definition, was officially embraced. When Joseph Stalin came to power art became government-dictated propaganda and its makers, often under threat, towed the line. Remarkably, the show presents a dozen films — some familiar, some not — full-length, on a rotating schedule of four a day, in a small viewing theater built into one of the Jewish Museum’s galleries. 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street, 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.” (Cotter)

Frick Collection:
‘Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action’ (through Jan. 10)
“The big-guns highlights of the Frick show, this first major American exhibition devoted to the Renaissance artist Andrea del Sarto, (1486-1530) are three spectacular paintings, including “Portrait of a Young Man” from London and “St. John the Baptist” from the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. But the substance lies an array of 45 drawings, mostly in red chalk, in which we can follow del Sarto as he feels his way into compositions and molds figures into life with an angel’s hand, a scientist’s eye, and a striver’s drive for perfection. 1 East 70th Street, Manhattan, 212-288-0700, frick.org.” (Cotter)

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Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Eight museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:

• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio (closed Sun-Mon)*
• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York (open 7 days /week)
•  92nd Street – The Jewish Museum (closed Wed) (Sat FREE) (Thu 5-8 PWYW)
•  91st Street  –  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (open 7 days /week)
•  89th Street –  National Academy Museum (closed Mon-Tue)
•  88th Street –  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (closed Thu) (Sat 6-8 PWYW)
•  86th Street –  Neue Galerie New York (closed Tue-Wed) (Fri 6-8 FREE)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
•  82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (open 7 days /week)*
*always Pay What You Wish (PWYW)

Although technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection (closed Mon) (SUN 11am-1pm PWYW) on the corner of 70th St. and Fifth Avenue and the The Morgan Library & Museum (closed Mon) (Fri 7-9 FREE) on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave.
Now plan your own museum crawl (info on hours & admission updated June 2, 2015). ========================================================

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/21 and 12/19.
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