Selected NYC Events (12/19) + 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)

4 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency
GARY BARTZ: COLTRANE RULES
VIJAY IYER AND WADADA LEO SMITH
The New York Times Book of the Dead:
bonus pick: METROPOLITAN OPERA

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency (thru Jan.08)
Blue Note, / 8PM, +10:30PM, $50 Bar; $85-$115 Table
“Botti’s trumpet skills are actually as good as his telegenic looks, even if he rarely puts them to use playing the kind of bop he cut his teeth on. A consummate showman, Botti presents his blend of smooth jazz-funk, glossily Miles-ian ballads and assorted pop and classical chestnuts at the Blue Note for his 12th annual holiday residency.” (TONY)

GARY BARTZ: COLTRANE RULES
Smoke Jazz Club, / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $
“An alto and soprano saxophonist whose career has taken him through postbop, jazz funk and free jazz, Mr. Bartz continues to draw connections in his music. In this engagement — inspired by the music of John Coltrane, one of his primary totems — he’ll lead a working quartet with the guitarist Paul Bollenback, the bassist James King and the drummer Francisco Mela.” (NYT-Nate Chinen)

VIJAY IYER AND WADADA LEO SMITH
Harlem Stage, / 7:30PM, $35
“On “A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke,” the pianist Vijay Iyer and the trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith work with a common language of improvisation, austere and illuminating. The album’s title has to do with the geometric abstractions of Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-90), an Indian artist who has been recognized as a major figure in modernism. Mr. Smith and Mr. Iyer performed this spring at the Met Breuer, in conjunction with a Mohamedi retrospective.” ( NYT-Nate Chinen)

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

The New York Times Book of the Dead:
300 Print and 10,000 Digital Obituaries of Extraordinary People,
with William McDonald, the obituaries editor for The New York Times since 2006.
Mid-Manhattan Library,/ 6:30PM, FREE
“This lecture features the most important and influential obits from the newspaper’s archives.”

HOT TICKETS:

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Party Ever!
City Winery, 8PM
annual show, now in it’s 3rd decade.
looks like only standing room left for Dec 20, 21 performances.

Plus, for all you Opera fans, this week looks special:
METROPOLITAN OPERA (all week)
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center

“Four productions on the bill this week, including a continuation of Kaija Saariaho’s important “L’Amour de Loin” (Dec. 17 at 8 p.m., Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.), in a brightly illuminated production by Robert Lepage. Strauss’s unnerving, bloody “Salome” continues, too (Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.), with Patricia Racette in the title role, Zeljko Lucic as Jochanaan and Gerhard Siegel as Herod. Johannes Debus conducts. Elijah Moshinsky’s staging of “Nabucco” (Dec. 16, Dec. 19 and Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m.) is notable for the reappearance, wise or otherwise, of Plácido Domingo in another baritone role, and perhaps more so for Liudmyla Monastyrska’s Abigaille. James Levine has the baton. And last, “The Magic Flute” (Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.) begins its run as a holiday production, in Julie Taymor’s abridged production, and in English. The cast is young, but Christopher Maltman will be a marvelous Papageno.”
212-362-6000, metopera.org (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

 

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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 12/17 and 12/15.
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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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