Selected NYC Events (03/20) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Sweet 6 NYC Events > MONDAY/MAR.20, 2017

“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 future NYC Events be sure to check the tab above: “Notable NYC Events-Mar.”

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

Women’s Jazz Festival:
Ella, Ella: A Centennial Celebration of Mama Jazz
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / 7PM, $30
“This annual tradition in honor of Women’s History Month features some of the best-known and unsung female performers in jazz today. Our 2017 festival will celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial birthday and continued influence on the evolution of jazz.

“Ella, Ella: A Centennial Celebration of Mama Jazz!” is slated for four consecutive Mondays–March 6, 13, 20, and 27. Each night will explore the multi-dimensional music, life, and legacy of this jazz legend.

March 20: WJF in Conversation: There’s Something About Ella
(To RSVP for this FREE talk, please click here.)

“The inaugural Women’s Jazz Festival (WJF) Conversation will feature an intimate discussion between scholars and musical artists discussing the legacy and life of Ella Fitzgerald. Joining the conversation are Candice Hoyes (jazz vocalist and executive producer of the album, “On a Turquoise Cloud”), Rommi Smith (poet, playwright, and a John Barnard doctoral research scholar at the University of Leeds, U.K. representing African-American jazz and blues women as agents of social change within civil rights movements), Aja Burrell Wood (ethnomusicologist, adjunct professor of African-American music, and guest curator of the 2017 Women’s Jazz Festival), and Craig S. Harris (trombonist) (jazz trombonist and composer).

Brent Edwards (Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and faculty at The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia) will moderate the conversation. The evening will be capped off with a special live performance from Ella Fitzgerald’s song book by Hoyes, accompanied by pianist Michael King.”

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>MCCOY TYNER
>>Steve Ross: My Manhattan
>>Sondheimas
>>Tristan Gooley: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
>>NYC COFFEE AND TEA FESTIVAL

Plus, don’t forget these Continuing Events:
>> New Directors / New Films festival
>>The Orchid Show

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

MCCOY TYNER
Blue Note Jazz Club, / 8PM, +10:30PM, $30-$45
“Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner is widely considered one of the finest and most influential pianists in jazz history. His signature booming left-hand and fleeting right created a unique sound that can be heard on his recordings as a sideman with the John Coltrane Quartet in the 1960s and on his 80-plus albums as a leader. Tyners most recent project for McCoy Tyner Music/Half Note Records is his first solo effort in almost a decade titled Solo: Live From San Francisco. The release is the third for his label and features eleven solo vignettes recorded at the Herbst Theater in 2007.

Tyners blues based piano style, replete with sophisticated chords and an explosively percussive left hand has transcended conventional styles to become one of the most identifiable sounds in improvised music. His harmonic contributions and dramatic rhythmic devices form the vocabulary of a majority of jazz pianists.”

Steve Ross: My Manhattan
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 7PM, $30-$40
“Steve Ross uses his polish and comic timing to conjure a vanished world of cultivated manners and deftly witty lyrics, but with a wistfulness that gives his work a moving third dimension. His return to Birdland finds him focused on the island of Manhattan, as rendered in songs by Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, George M. Cohan, Vernon Duke and others.” (TONY)

Sondheimas
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lfayette St./ 9:30PM, $25
“Lesli Margherita, Ariana DeBose, Ashley Blanchet and Lauren Patten and Janelle McDermothare among the celebrants at this fourth annual pageant honoring the nativity of Broadway idol Stephen Sondheim.’ (TONY)

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

Tristan Gooley: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
The Explorers Club, 6 E. 70th St./ 6PM, $25
“Explorer Tristan Gooley comes to The Explorers Club to talk about water, navigation, and his adventures (he’s the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic).

From wild swimming in Sussex to wayfinding off Oman, via the icy mysteries of the Arctic, natural navigator and bestselling author, Tristan Gooley, draws on his own pioneering journeys to reveal the secrets of ponds, puddles, rivers, oceans and more to show us all the skills we need to read the water around us.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York
Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St./ 6:30PM, $5
“The United States is a country built on immigrants, and New York has long been a defining port of entry for those looking to make this place home. Historian Tyler Anbinder shares the sweeping story of how newcomers have continually helped to define and redefine this city and country over the past few centuries, and shows how together, we have created a beautifully dynamic, deeply complex community.”

And don’t forget these continuing events:

New Directors / New Films festival (Mar.15 – 26)
Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art, @ various times
“Celebrating its 46th edition in 2017, the New Directors/
New Films festival introduces New York audiences to the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world. Throughout its rich, nearly half-century history, New Directors has brought previously little-known talents like Pedro Almódovar, Chantal Akerman, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Christopher Nolan, Laura Poitras, Spike Lee, and Kelly Reichardt to wider audiences. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating a group of filmmakers who represent the present and anticipate the future of cinema: daring artists whose work pushes the envelope and is never what you’d expect.”

This is a wonderful, only in New York, film festival that starts its first weekend. For full programming and ticketing information, please visit newdirectors.org.

The Orchid Show (thru April 09)
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., the Bronx.
“This edition of the New York Botanical Garden’s annual Orchid Show, now in its fifteenth year, focusses on Thailand’s rich history and the flower’s cultural status as one of the country’s leading exports. Held in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the display features blooming orchids by the hundreds in lush tropical environments, leading into an arched installment styled in the manner of a traditional Thai pavilion. The schedule includes several panel discussions, tours, and after-hours viewings with music and cocktails.” (NewYorker)

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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
(5 are underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – UG, 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 – UG, 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 60 million visitors last year and is TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2017.  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.
(Alas, no more. After 10 years, “Jersey Boys” closed Jan.15)

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 younger, trimmer piano man. “Tiny” we miss you.
Update#2: Rumor that “Tiny” is back playing only on Friday nights – need to check it out.

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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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