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

“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:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
City Center, 131 W55th St./ $25+
“You don’t just see an Ailey performance, you feel it. This December, engage your emotions as the world’s most popular dance company returns with five weeks of premieres, new productions, and returning favorites. Highlights include: Hope Boykin’s r-Evolution, Dream., which draws inspiration from the speeches and sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Kyle Abraham’s Untitled America, an unflinching look at the impact of the prison system on African-American families, a work created with the support of commissioning funds from City Center; Mauro Bigonzetti’s Deep, which soulfully melds international influences; and Johan Inger’s Walking Mad, a daring contemporary take on Ravel’s Bolero. And, of course, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations returns as an enduring masterpiece that unites us in hope.”

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

Norm Lewis: I’ll Be Home for Christmas
‘A DARLENE LOVE CHRISTMAS’
Michael Feinstein: A Holiday to Remember
Kenny Barron
Winning Elections in the 21st Century
bonus pick: METROPOLITAN OPERA

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Norm Lewis: I’ll Be Home for Christmas (also Sat.)
54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 9:30, $65+
“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; in 2014, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. Now he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

‘A DARLENE LOVE CHRISTMAS’
“The former Crystals singer’s annual show has become as much of a holiday tradition as the Yule Log. And you can be certain she’ll perform her Christmas chestnut “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. (also Dec. 23, 26 and Jan. 6) at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St.
INFO $45; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com” (DANIEL BUBBEO, Newsday)

Michael Feinstein: A Holiday to Remember (Dec.22-30, no Dec.26)
Feinstein’s at 54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 7PM, $85-$115,
“Last year, Feinstein added his name to the marquee of 54 Below, the city’s most esssential venue for classic supper-club entertainment. Now the popular and polished standard-bearer of American song returns to the club for his annual holiday set, which is devoted this year to the songs of Judy Garland.” (TONY)

Kenny Barron (thru Dec.25)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $30
“The dean of mainstream jazz piano gets to display two sides of his multidimensional musical personality during this two-week residency. First, he calls on Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Johnathan Blake, who complete the sleek trio that finally débuted with this year’s album “Book of Intuition.” He then beefs up the band with the saxophonist Dayna Stephens and the vibraphonist Steve Nelson, gaining hard-bop muscle in the process.“ (NewYorker)

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

Winning Elections in the 21st Century
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 12PM, $25
“Join Dick Simpson, professor of political science at the University of Illinois in Chicago, for a fascinating inside look at the most important elements of political campaigning — including campaign organization, raising money, mobilizing voters, media relations and more.

Dick Simpson is professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the co-editor with Dennis Judd of The City, Revisited: Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York”

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

Tonight: The Magic Flute @ 7:30PM
The Met’s English-language family adaptation of Mozart’s sublime and mystical opera returns in Julie Taymor’s fanciful production.
‘SALOME’ (Dec. 24, 6 p.m.; Dec. 28, 8 p.m.).
“Two last chances to hear Patricia Racette’s Salome in this production by Jürgen Flimm, which dates to 2004. Johannes Debus makes for a solid, though not revelatory, conductor; Gerhard Siegel is Herod, and Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Herodias. The steadfast baritone Zeljko Lucic is Jochanaan on Dec. 24, but Greer Grimsley takes over on Dec. 28.”
212-362-6000, metopera.org (David Allen-NYT)
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Bonus NYC Events – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues, almost all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W54th St., 54below.com, 646-476-3551
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Metropolitan Room – 34W22ndSt., metropolitan room.com, 212-206-0440
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St., thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237W42nd St., bbkingblues.com, 212-997-2144
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com,
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474

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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WHAT’S ON VIEW
These are 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)

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM:
‘AGNES MARTIN’ (through Jan. 11, 2017)
Agnes Martin was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1912, lived in New York City in the 1950s and ’60s, and spent the rest of her life in New Mexico, where she died in 2004. More than 100 of her paintings and drawings now float up the ramps of the Guggenheim Museum’s rotunda in the most out-of-this-world-beautiful show in this space in years. Her art is about faint colors and subliminal lines; to see it requires sustained looking and some moving around: Stand back, then move up close. By the time you reach the final painting, high up under the museum’s great skylight, you’ve been through a rich life, and had a spirit-lifting, body-lightening lesson in what abstraction can be and can do. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street, 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org. (Cotter)

MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM:
‘HANS MEMLING: PORTRAITURE, PIETY AND A REUNITED ALTARPIECE’ (through January 2017)
“When it comes to jewels, there are Taylor-Burton rocks and discreetly cut heirloom stones. With museum shows, it’s the same. This one, at the Morgan Library, is a minute but invaluable gem. Set in a 20-by-20-by-20-foot gallery known as the Cube, it reunites, for the first time in the United States, dispersed sections of an altarpiece by the 15th-century German-born, Flanders-based Memling and adds some of his exquisite portrait paintings. 225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street, 212-685-0008, themorgan.org.” (Cotter)

and you should be sure to check out the special exhibitions at that little museum on Fifth Ave., The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(open 7 days /week, AND always Pay What You Wish)

at the very least you will want to see these two:
‘CELEBRATING THE ARTS OF JAPAN: THE MARY GRIGGS BURKE COLLECTION’ (through May 2017)
“This lavish collection of 160 objects came to the Met from the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation in early 2015. The Burkes loved Japanese art — all of it — and the exhibition is close to compendious in terms of media, from wood-carved Buddhas to bamboo baskets, with a particular strength in painting, early and late. The quality of the work? Japan thinks highly enough of it to have made the Burke holdings the first Japanese collection from abroad ever to show at Tokyo National Museum. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.” (Cotter)

‘JERUSALEM 1000–1400: EVERY PEOPLE UNDER HEAVEN’ (through Jan. 8, 2017)
“Three major faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — have called Jerusalem their own, and its varying histories as a sacred space, a theater of conflict and a cosmopolitan cultural emporium are reflected in this exhibition modeled along classic Met epic lines: 200 fascinating objects from 60 international collections, with a time frame in the past and context in the present (in the form of short videos in each gallery). If much of the art is small, the effect is not. We see a city otherworldly and monumental, but also one of appetites, personalities and ethnic tensions as real today as they ever were. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.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).
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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/21 and 12/19.
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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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