Selected NYC Events (01/05) + 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.

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

Fred Hersch Trio
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30, +10:30PM, $30
images “This prime pianist’s instrumental touch only strengthens his acute composing and band-leading skills. See all three forces in play at this six-night stand, where Hersch expands his invaluable trio—with the bassist John Hebert and the drummer Eric McPherson—to include the trumpeter Mike Rodriguez and the saxophonist Dayna Stephens.” (NewYorker)

6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

Jomama Jones: Black Light
AMERICAN DANCE PLATFORM
Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency
NOCHE FLAMENCA
Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why
The Myth of Progress: Planned Obsolescence, Anti-Art, and the Violence of Linear Time

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Jomama Jones: Black Light (also Jan.08)
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater / 7PM, $25
“Decked out in sequined splendor, Jones is a paradigm of R&B-diva grandeur circa 1982, with impeccable posture and elocution that bespeak an old-school black-star dignity. Created and performed by Daniel Alexander Jones, Jomama has starred in a series of shows, most recently the fascinating Duat; now she joins forces with young pianist Samora Pinderhughes for a night of original “Afromystical” songs.” (TONY)

AMERICAN DANCE PLATFORM (Jan. 3-8)
Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave./ 7:30PM, $36
“This showcase of stylistically disparate domestic dance companies returns to the Joyce for a second year. Program A (Jan. 3 and 8 at 7:30 p.m.) features the New York-based Dusan Tynek Dance Theater and Company E of Washington. In Program B (Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.), RAWdance, a contemporary troupe from San Francisco, meets Contra-Tiempo from Los Angeles, which blends salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop and modern dance. Program C (Jan. 5 and 7 at 8 p.m.) features Davalois Fearon Dance and the mother-daughter Bharatanatyam artists Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy.”
(BRIAN SCHAEFER-NYT)

Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency (thru Jan.08)
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 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)

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)

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

Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why
New York Public Library—Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Ave./ 6:30PM, FREE
With Sady Doyle, a writer and blogger whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Slate, The Atlantic, Rookie, and other publications.
“Mass culture has opened up access to vast landscapes of once private territory, exposing “trainwrecks” of female star behavior. Although author Sady Doyle points out, there’s nothing new here: the lives of Amy Winehouse and Sinéad O’Connor can find precedence in the societal judgments passed on Mary Wollstonecraft and Charlotte Brontë. Catch Doyle speaking on gender expectations and “the feminist anatomy of the female trainwreck.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

The Myth of Progress: Planned Obsolescence, Anti-Art, and the Violence of Linear Time
Berg’n Beer Hall, 899 Bergen St. Bklyn / 7:30PM, $15
“This will be an epic evening that consists of three 20 minute Olios from some amazing professors, delicious beer, and a brand new perspective on what it means to make progress.
Is new synonymous with progress? As a species are we evolving? Devolving? Staying stagnant? Coming from the backgrounds of art, history, and philosophy, these professors will join up to give us their unique takes on the idea of progress and give us plenty of reasons to question this so called “new year.”

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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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