Selected NYC Events (12/07) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“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 those wonderful, only in NYCity Holiday Windows scroll to bottom of today’s post.
For very best Holiday Shows and Music Events see tab above: NYC Holiday Shows+

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

New York City Ballet / “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / 7PM, $30+
“People like to say they’re sick of “The Nutcracker,” but once the music starts, and little Marie catches a glimpse of that tree, who can resist it? Tchaikovsky loved children, and that love is audible in the score; an early critic called it a “symphony of childhood.” What makes it so good is that it doesn’t eschew darkness, or grandeur. George Balanchine, who created his now classic version in 1954, understood this, and made a ballet that has a bit of everything: cozy family dances, conflict, drama—enter Dewdrop with her urgent leaps—and sugarplums, too.” (NewYorker)

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

FRESH 102.7 HOLIDAY JAM 2016 
Karen Akers in Vive La Chanson!
MARIAH CAREY
JUILLIARD DANCES
SELECTED SHORTS FEATURING PAUL GIAMATTI
bonus picks: Chick Corea 75th Birthday Celebration
METROPOLITAN OPERA

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

FRESH 102.7 HOLIDAY JAM 2016 
Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W34th St./ 8PM, $
“The New York City radio station Z100 typically dominates the holiday-concert circuit each year with its seasonal Jingle Ball concerts, featuring performances by the Gagas and Mileys of the pop universe. But other FM stations are hosting their own holiday bashes, including Fresh 102.7, whose comparatively mellower holiday concert features adult contemporary crowd pleasers like the pop-rock group O.A.R. and the British singer-songwriter James Bay. The rock band Train, however, is this year’s main attraction; expect a set list spiked with songs from the group’s 2015 holiday album, “Christmas in Tahoe.” (O’Donnell-NYT)

WINTER RHYTHMS 2016 (thru December 11)
today: Karen Akers in Vive La Chanson!
Urban Stages – 259 W30 St./ 7PM, $30
“Join one of Broadway and cabaret’s finest singers as she returns to one of her first loves, the French Chanson. Ms. Akers will celebrate the melodic charms and heartfelt emotions of music made famous by Piaf, Aznavour and more, while mixing in some American songs with the same passionate excitement. Musical Director: Alex Rybeck.”

MARIAH CAREY
“It just wouldn’t feel like the holidays without the Greenlawn, L.I. native’s annual “All I Want for Christmas” concerts. Join Carey as she performs holiday classics, including her own hits “Christmas (Please Come Home),” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and, of course, the show’s title tune.” (DANIEL BUBBEO, Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Wednesday, Dec. 7, Thursday Dec. 8, Saturday, Dec. 10, and Sunday Dec. 11; also Dec. 13-14 and 16-17 at the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway
INFO $60.50-$256; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

JUILLIARD DANCES (through Dec. 11)
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W42nd St./ 7:30PM, $
“The wunderkinds of the Juilliard School present their winter showcase, featuring four original works, three with live music performed by their peers. The freshmen dance a piece by the Juilliard graduate John Heginbotham to a Schubert string quintet; the sophomores present work by the alumna Katarzyna Skarpetowska to a Chopin cello sonata; Pam Tanowitz created work for the juniors to a string trio by Andrew Norman, while Matthew Neenan has made a piece for the soon-to-be grads to songs by Rufus Wainwright (2:00).” (Schaefer-NYT)

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

SELECTED SHORTS FEATURING PAUL GIAMATTI
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, at 95th St./ 7:30PM, $
Paul Giamatti’s professional adventures never bore, so it’s unsurprising — though thrilling — that he will team up with Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”), Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) and Kathryn Erbe (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) to perform selections from NYRB Classics’ archives for the latest installment of Selected Shorts. The series, which marries literature and stage performance, remains one of Public Radio International’s most popular productions, and tickets rarely last long, even without Mr. Giamatti’s name attached. Here, alongside his co-stars, he’ll pull from Auden, Chekhov, du Maurier and more.” (NYT-AroundTown)

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)

“This weekend he leads an acoustic edition of his popular band Return to Forever, with partners including the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, the drummer Lenny White and the flutist Hubert Laws. On Wednesday he performs a duo set with the guitarist John McLaughlin, and on Thursday he begins a four-night stretch with Mr. McLaughin, Mr. White and the bassist Victor Wooten.”
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $55 bar; $85 table
late shows are best bet to find a ticket.

Plus, for all you Opera fans, this week looks special:

METROPOLITAN OPERA (all week)
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center
“Perhaps the most anticipated production of the season opens this week: Kaija Saariaho’s mesmeric “L’Amour de Loin” (Thursday at 7:30 p.m.). More important, the production will be the return, after an embarrassing hiatus, of a female composer to the house. But it’s also notable for the reappearance of the director Robert Lepage, and the debut of the conductor Susanna Malkki. Susanna Phillips and Eric Owens are the lovers, Tamara Mumford the Pilgrim. Otherwise, Anna Netrebko continues in the title role of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” (Friday and Wednesday at 8 p.m.). Alongside Marcelo Álvarez’s Des Grieux, she’s the shining light in Richard Eyre’s uninspired production. If that’s not enough, there’s more Puccini in the form of the Zeffirelli “La Bohème” (Saturday at 1 p.m., Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.). Still chugging along, it currently has a little more power than usual thanks to the star voltage of Kristine Opolais as Mimì and Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo. Just one performance of “Aida” to round things off (Saturday at 8 p.m.): Latonia Moore is the heroine, Ekaterina Gubanova is Amneris, and Marco Berti, Radamès.” (David Allen-NYT)

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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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Chelsea Art Gallery District*

Chelsea is the heart of the NYCity contemporary art scene. Home to more than 300 art galleries, the Rubin Museum, the Joyce Theater and The Kitchen performance spaces, there is no place like it anywhere in the world. Come here to browse free exhibitions by world-renowned artists and those unknowns waiting to be discovered in an art district that is concentrated between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. Afterwards stop in the Chelsea Market, stroll on the High Line, or rest up at one of the many cafes and bars and discuss the fine art.

One current exhibition the NewYorkTimes likes:
‘Implosion: 20’ (through Dec. 22)
Anton Kern Gallery, 532 West 20th Street, Chelsea

“Adroitly scrunched into a midsize gallery, “Implosion: 20” is an excellent group show of 39 artists that feels like a mini-biennial in its sweep and diversity. It celebrates the Anton Kern Gallery’s 20th anniversary, the conclusion of its Chelsea lease and its pending relocation to 55th Street, near Fifth Avenue.

The exhibition represents nearly every artist to whom the gallery has given a solo show; their efforts tend to be impressive. Sometimes the work is new, like Nicole Eisenman’s portrait of Richard Hell, which channels Michael Jackson by way of Ed Paschke. Sometimes it’s old, like Marcel Odenbach’s four-minute video, from 1977-79, “The Eternal Creative Hands or for All Art Historians,” which features the artist’s fidgeting hands.

Perhaps most important, this gathering also celebrates unusually ecumenical, eyes-first ways of looking — the search for convincing ratios of innovation to authenticity. In a time overrun with artists who simply go through the motions, this is very refreshing.” ROBERTA SMITH

One current exhibition TimeOutNewYork likes:
Elmgreen & Dragset, “Changing Subjects”
FLAG Art Foundation, 545 W25th St, 9th Floor (closes Sat. Dec.17)

“The Scandinavian artist duo present works old and new for this mid-career survey show. Among the offerings are set pieces featuring morose, uncannily realistic figures, like those of a body in a morgue locker and a baby left in a basket under an ATM machine, as well as an enigmatic installation of large glass vessel filled with pastel blues, greens and pinks.”

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For a listing of 25 essential galleries in the Chelsea Art Gallery District, organized by street, which enables you to create your own Chelsea Art Gallery crawl, see the Chelsea Gallery Guide (nycgo.com) Or check out TONY magazine’s list of the “Best Chelsea Galleries” and click through to see what’s on view.

*Now plan your own gallery crawl, but better to plan your visits for Tuesday through Saturday; most galleries are closed Sunday and Monday.

TIP: After your gallery tour, stop in Ovest at 513W27th St. for Aperitivo Italiano (Happy Hour on steroids). Discuss all the great art you have viewed over a drink and a very tasty selection of FREE appetizers (M-F, 5-8pm).

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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 12/05 and 12/03.
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Holiday Windows and Tree Lightings

THE NYT “New York Today” column has a nice summary of the city’s department store holiday windows (BTW, I always start my day by reading this wonderful, quirky column):

Most beautiful: Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, at 58th St.
The store’s decadent, travel-themed windows, titled “Destination Extraordinary,” are like a high-fashion fairy tale transporting you out West with cactuses, to a jungle with gorillas, or atop the rolling hills of a medieval castle. Go at night, and you’ll see the entire block glowing green.

Most child-friendly: Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue, at 39th Street; and Macy’s Herald Square, at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue
At Lord & Taylor, look out for ice-skating bunnies, dancing raccoons and mice on skis. A big, snugly bear, too. The display, “Enchanted Forest,” feels ethereal and dreamlike. The sparkling blue, night-sky backdrop and soft lullaby bells might make you want to crawl into the window and drift into a deep winter’s sleep, no matter your age.

Macy’s is the best spot to see Santa Claus. Close in tow are Santa’s helpers, his reindeer and the lovely Mrs. Claus. Watch as Santa and his elves assemble gifts at the North Pole and use a special machine to determine who is nice, merry, jolly, ho-hum or naughty.

Best music: Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, at 49th St.
So loud you can hear it from over a block away — even above the honking traffic. The windows, the “Land of 1,000 Delights,” mix eye candy with real candy: over-the-top outfits alongside lollipops twice the size of the mannequins.

Best lights: Tiffany’s, 727 Fifth Avenue, at 57th St.
The building’s facade is covered with jewel-like lights that are probably larger than anything you’ll find in the store. Do they look like diamond brooches? Diamond insects? Diamond eyes with fluffy lashes and bushy brows? Depends where you stand.

Most creative: Barney’s, 660 Madison Avenue, at East 61st St.
In 2015, the store had real people carving ice sculptures in the windows. And this year, the display doesn’t disappoint.

Another must see over the holidays:

WINTER VILLAGE AT BRYANT PARK (through Jan. 2)
It’s that time of year when the twinkling glow of the Winter Village takes over Bryant Park. Allow yourself to be beckoned by a smooth expanse of ice on the skating rink; the holiday shops full of clothes, jewelry and other gifts; and the warm beverages and treats that come with the coldest season.
WHEN | WHERE at Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues. skating rink through March 5.
INFO Free; 917-438-5166, wintervillage.org (STAV ZIV, Newsday)

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