Selected NYC Events (01/02) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s WestSide

“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+

Today is the official New Year’s holiday and a Monday, which means not too much going on. Come back tomorrow for a full selection of carefully curated events.

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

Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency (thru Jan.08)
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $50 Bar; $85-$115 Table
sidebox-botti-2016 “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)

4 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

The Magic Flute
NOCHE FLAMENCA
Jim Caruso’s Cast Party OR
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Mesopotamia: The Land Between Two Rivers

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Magic Flute (Holiday Presentation thru Jan. 05)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7PM, $20+
“The Met’s English-language family adaptation of Mozart’s sublime and mystical journey, a new holiday tradition in the city, returns in Julie Taymor’s fanciful production. Young stars Layla Claire and Ben Bliss are the fairy-tale princess and prince, and Christopher Maltman reprises his acclaimed interpretation of the bird-catcher Papageno.”

NOCHE FLAMENCA (Dec. 26-Jan. 28)
West Park Presbyterian Church, Amsterdam Ave & 86th St./ 8PM, $27.50+
“In the early 20th century, Arthur Schnitzler’s play “La Ronde” scandalized audiences with its vignettes of sexual encounters that breached class borders. The inventive and indispensable dance company Noche Flamenca interprets that work through a series of duets that explore the dynamics of loneliness and desire, feelings that flamenco captures well. Accompanying “La Ronde” in a 75-minute program, which will performed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 7, is “Creación,” inspired by the lives of Noche Flamenca’s incomparable star Soledad Barrio and the accomplished hip-hop dancer TweetBoogie (in a role also performed by Nubian Néné). The two will share the stage with younger women dancing both styles.” (NYT-Schaefer)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party (Cabaret)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St. (btw 8/9 ave) / 9:30PM, $25
the witty host attracts broadway stars on their night off, along with up and comers.
OR
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave. South (btw W11th/Perry St.) / 8:30Pm +10:30PM, $30
world class big band with 16 members on that small stage, a monday night institution.

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

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

Mesopotamia: The Land Between Two Rivers
Prospect Heights Brainery, 190 Underhill Ave. Bklyn./ 6:30PM, $10
“Kick off the new year with some old history at the Prospect Heights Brainery. The subject is three thousand years of Mesopotamia, where long before Operation Desert Storm the world first saw writing, cities, and the wheel.”
Mesopotamia, the “Land Between the Two Rivers” in present-day Iraq, is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization. The ancient peoples of this region developed the first cities and multicultural societies, invented writing and the wheel, and left behind incredible works of art and a rich and varied literature. Yet despite their amazing contributions to history, the Mesopotamians are often overlooked while the ancient societies of Greece, Rome and Egypt hog the spotlight. In this class, we’ll aim to rectify that a little.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

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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 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 Vivaldi32 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
My Fave Special Exhibitions – MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s WestSide
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museums,
and also to see their expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

Museum of Modern Art:
‘FROM THE COLLECTION: 1960-1969’ (through March 12, 2017)
“MoMA shakes up its sanctum sanctorum, installing half of its permanent collection galleries with works chosen by 17 curators from a single decade: the tumultuous 1960s. The limited time frame is balanced by unprecedented breadth and variety. As never before, the presentation mixes together objects and artworks from all six of the museum’s curatorial departments. The blend is alternately stimulating and bewildering, revelatory and infuriating: yet another symptom of the museum’s limited curatorial mind-set. 212-708-9400, moma.org.” (Smith)
 ‘TONY OURSLER: IMPONDERABLE’ (through April 16, 2017)
“This small exhibition is centered on a 90-minute film in which episodes from the history of spiritualist frauds and hoaxes are re-enacted by people in fanciful costumes while mystic flames, smoke and ectoplasmic phenomena come and go. At certain moments during “Imponderable,” you feel breezes wafting over you and hear loud thumping under the theater’s risers. The crudeness of these effects is part of the generally comical spirit. It’s all about the confusion between illusion and reality to which human beings seem to be congenitally susceptible. 212-708-9400, moma.org.” (Johnson)

 Whitney Museum of American Art:
‘CARMEN HERRERA: LINES OF SIGHT’ (LAST DAY)
“At 101, the artist Carmen Herrera is finally getting the show the art world should have given her half a century ago: a solo exhibition at a major museum in New York, where she has lived and worked since 1954. This compact but ravishing exhibition of about 50 works focuses on the pivotal period of 1948-78 — years in which Ms. Herrera developed her signature geometric abstractions, pared-down paintings of just two colors but seemingly infinite spatial complications. Although it’s not the full retrospective Ms. Herrera deserves, the Whitney’s show presents her as an artist of formidable discipline, consistency and clarity of purpose, and a key player in postwar art history. 99 Gansevoort Street, at Washington Street, 212-570-3600, whitney.org.” (Rosenberg)
‘HUMAN INTEREST: PORTRAITS FROM THE WHITNEY’S COLLECTION’ (through Feb.12, 2017)
“A year ago, the Whitney inaugurated its new downtown home with a permanent collection showcase called “America Is Hard to See.” Its even more immediately engaging successor, devoted entirely to portraiture, is now on view and might well have been subtitled “Americans Are Strange to Look At,” which, in the 250 images here, we sure are: funny-strange, beautiful-strange, crazy-strange, dangerous-strange, inscrutable-strange. The work is arranged by theme and spread over two floors. There are magnetic images everywhere. 99 Gansevoort Street, 212-570-3600, whitney.org.” (Cotter)

“DREAMLANDS: IMMERSIVE CINEMA AND ART’, 1905-2016′ (thru Feb.05, 2017)
“The Whitney’s new exhibit offers visitors a chance to explore more than a century of experimentation in cinema, mostly by American artists. See works that question and play with elements such as color, touch, music, spectacle, light and darkness, animation and dimension. There will be a film series in addition to the 18,000 square feet of gallery space devoted to the show.” (Newsday)

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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right sidebar dated 12/31 and 12/29.
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Holiday Windows

THE NYT “New York Today” column had 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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