Selected NYC Events (11/20) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

“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.
For future NYC Events be sure to check the tab above: “Annual NYC Events / Nov.”

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

HEADS OF STATE
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, at 106th St./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $
“The cumulative wisdom of this all-star collective — comprising the saxophonist Gary Bartz, the pianist Larry Willis, the bassist David Williams and the drummer Al Foster — simmers well throughout the band’s work on record. It should do the same this weekend, in the club where the band first formed.” (Chinen-NYT)

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

DARRAH CARR DANCE
DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL
The People vs. King David: Murder in the First Degree
The Five Greatest Movies Ever Made
One Day University Short Film Festival
bonus: Chick Corea 75th Birthday Celebration

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

DARRAH CARR DANCE
Irish Arts Center, 553 W51st St./ 3PM, $
“Since 1998, Darrah Carr has been presenting her unique fusion of modern and Irish dance (she named the special blend ModERIN). In a new production, “Celtic Jazz Tryst,” she adds additional ingredients: swing, tap and jazz vocals, courtesy of Tara O’Grady and the Black Velvet Band. Two of Ms. Carr’s works anchor the program, enhanced by “On the Six,” by Sean Curran, a Big Band-era romp with an Irish flavor (1:15).” (Schaefer-NYT)

DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL (LAST DAY)
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 8:30PM, +11PM, $50
“Dorado Schmitt, a French guitarist with the roguish charisma and pencil-thin mustache required of any Gypsy jazz paragon, is the inexorable star of the Django Reinhardt Festival. He’ll be joined by the accordionist Ludovic Beier, the violinist Pierre Blanchard and others.” (Chinen-NYT)

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

The People vs. King David: Murder in the First Degree
Temple Emanu-El, 1 E65th St./ 10AM, $36
“One of the most powerful and beloved rulers of all time, King David is a celebrated hero in Judaism. As a great warrior-poet, he defeated the Philistines, united the people of Israel and, through savvy battle campaigns, cleared the way for his son Solomon to build the Holy Temple. King David is praised to this day through story and song. But is everything he did worthy of praise?

One day, while strolling on the roof of his palace, King David spotted Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, one of his most committed soldiers, bathing. When Bathsheba became pregnant with King David’s child, he ordered Uriah to the front lines of the battle, where he was killed. King David then married Bathsheba. Their son, Solomon, went on to become one of Israel’s greatest leaders and is credited as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem.

Alan Dershowitz and Chris Cuomo will respectively serve as defense attorney and prosecutor. Presided over by the Honorable Judge Alison J. Nathan, opposing counsel will argue their cases, and you, the jury, will then render a verdict.”

Two Film events from One Day University @ Museum at FIT look interesting:

The Five Greatest Movies Ever Made (and Why They’re So Great!)
Museum at FIT, Seventh Ave. at 27th St./ 10AM, $69
“What are the five greatest movies ever made?
Well, actually…there’s really no single correct answer to that question. In fact, it’s difficult to even know what criteria to start with. How important is critical recognition vs. popularity over time? What about countries other than the U.S.? How does one factor in historical significance, cultural impact, groundbreaking new techniques, major awards won, etc.?

But hey, why not try!
On Sunday morning, November 20th, Yale Film Professor Marc Lapadula will do his best to explain his five choices, showing various clips of each film. He’ll outline his thinking on what he considered and discuss these five masterpieces:
Citizen Kane
Some Like it Hot
Psycho
The Godfather I & II
2001: A Space Odyssey”

One Day University Short Film Festival
Museum at FIT, Seventh Ave. at 27th St./ 2PM, $69
“Did you ever watch the Academy Awards when they were presenting the Best Live Action Short Film or Best Short Animation Oscars and say to yourself “where are these films, and why haven’t I seen any of them?”

This unique and entertaining event features 10 films that have won Academy Awards or Best of Show honors from such festivals as Sundance, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Melbourne and South by Southwest. Students will vote for a runner-up and a first place winner who will receive their prizes the following week.”

HOT TICKET

Chick Corea 75th Birthday Celebration
“Four decades on from practically founding electric-jazz, Corea continues to innovate with his distinctive blend of fusionista technical flash and subtle introspection. He celebrates his 75th birthday this year with a two-month stay at Blue Note, winding through a number of different combo and duet configurations, with such key players as electric bass wunderkin Victor Wooten, studio drumming icon Steve Gadd and saxophone nobility Ravi Coltrane. In the grand finale (12/8), Corea teams up with groundbreaking guitarist John McLaughlin for what the two call “Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu Orchestra”—a hybrid of the two’s quintessential chops-forward, dizzyingly notey fusion groups.” (TONY)

Chick Corea Duos with Mehldau, Hancock, and Rubalcaba (Nov. 18-20.)
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $55 bar; $85 table
late shows are best bet to find a ticket.

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Bonus NYC Events – Jazz Venues:
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 (all six are within walking distance of each other):
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 – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — 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 58 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2016.  Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just on day of performance.
NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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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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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 
Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

Subway Time 
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.
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