Selected NYC Events (04/18) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

What’s Happening This Week >

“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 the next two weeks we are going to try a different format – alternating between selected events in advance and a selection of the very best NYCity Instagram photos.

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

THE PHILIP GLASS ENSEMBLE (April 20, 8 p.m.). In 1994, the composer Philip Glass reworked the soundtrack to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film “La Belle et la Bête” with a stunning work of his own, which he has described as “an opera for ensemble and film.” Now, for the first time in over two decades, the Philip Glass Ensemble will revisit his sprawling tour de force, conducted by Michael Riesman; the evening will also feature a conversation with Mr. Glass and the Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris.

LINDA MAY HAN OH GROUP at Jazz Standard (April 19, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.). Ms. Oh extracts a wide and somber sound from the upright bass. Her tunes lace radiant melodies into airtight rhythms, but she lets big notes resound and permeate: Sometimes her playing seems to be emanating from a crater in the ground. She has a fine new album out Friday, “Walk Against Wind.” At Jazz Standard she will celebrate its release with some of the musicians from the record, and some others: Ben Wendel on tenor saxophone, Fabian Almazan on piano and keyboards, Matthew Stevens on guitar and Rudy Royston on drums.

MILES OKAZAKI at the Jazz Gallery (April 20, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.). Mr. Okazaki has been playing guitar for years alongside the alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, which is to say he’s apprenticed to a doyen of experimental improvising and rhythm. Mr. Okazaki’s potent new album, “Trickster,” features the bassist Anthony Tidd and the drummer Sean Rickman, also Coleman sidemen. The record has a rugged rhythmic twine that reflects their work in Five Elements, Mr. Coleman’s band, but it’s also looser and earthier than most of Mr. Coleman’s music. And everything is subtly recast by the piano playing of Craig Taborn, who sometimes scampers alongside Mr. Okazaki’s clean-toned guitar lines, and elsewhere issues cloudlets of harmony, gauzy but opaque.

(4/19-4/30) The Tribeca Film Festival returns.

(4/20) Aida at The Metropolitan Opera.

EIVIND OPSVIK’S OVERSEAS at Greenwich House Music School (April 19, 8 p.m.). Mr. Opsvik, a bassist who thinks with his pen, recently released “Overseas V.” It’s the latest installment in a series of albums featuring original compositions, most of them built around sighing harmonies and lissome textures. But this newest record leans on the twitchy guitar work of Brandon Seabrook and the sharp drumming of Kenny Wollesen; it includes some of Mr. Opsvik’s funkiest and most physically assertive music yet. He marks its release with a concert featuring the personnel on the album: Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone and Jacob Sacks on piano, as well as Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Wollesen.

TITO PUENTE RETROSPECTIVE: 50 YEARS OF ‘EL REY’ at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (April 20-22). Among the most important bandleaders of the 20th century, Tito Puente achieved fame onstage at the Palladium Ballroom in Manhattan in the 1950s, then brought Afro-Latin music to a global audience. This three-day celebration of Puente’s life — he died in 2000 — coincides with the 50th anniversary of the start of his so-called Latin jazz period. The events include film screenings, panel discussions, workshops, listening sessions and two major concerts: one on April 21, featuring a band of young Latin jazz scions led by the bassist Carlos Henríquez, and another the next evening, with a large ensemble playing tunes from Puente’s Palladium days.

WADADA LEO SMITH at the Stone (April 18-23, 8:30 p.m.). In the past five years the trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has experienced a late-career boom. His monumental “Ten Freedom Summers” suite was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, and last year he released two celebrated albums: the bristling, crepuscular “A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke,” in duo with Vijay Iyer, and “America’s National Parks,” an equally diffuse and ruminative recording, featuring a quintet. Mr. Smith, a hero of jazz’s avant-garde, has a heavyset, pulse-slowing trumpet sound. Over a week of shows at the Stone you can hear it in a range of contexts. Of particular note are Wednesday’s show with Angelica Sanchez on piano and Pheeroan akLaff on drums, and the April 21 performance featuring DarkMatterHalo, a trio of spectral sound architects.

New York City Ballet at the David H. Koch Theater; April 18–May 28; $30–$175
NYCB’s spring season at Lincoln Center begins with two programs of short works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins (Apr 18–23), then moves on to its centerpiece: The Here/Now Festival, 10 shows that comprises 43 recent ballets by 22 choreographers.

A Violin to Match Its Player’s Skill
Anne Akiko Meyers at the 92nd Street Y
Armed with one of the most coveted instruments in the field, this violinist has built her reputation on a polished sound and brilliant technique. For this Thursday-evening recital, at which she will be accompanied by the pianist Akira Eguchi, Ms. Meyers will put her Guarneri through its paces with new and recent compositions by Jakub Ciupinski, Morten Lauridsen and Einojuhani Rautavaara, alongside well-loved classics by Beethoven and Ravel. CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM

Dance Theater of Harlem at New York City Center
Long before Misty Copeland brought ballet’s enduring lack of diversity into the public eye, this company was carving out a home for black ballet dancers. Directed by Virginia Johnson, this 48-year-old troupe returns to City Center with four programs, Wednesday through April 22. Highlights include new works by Robert Garland and Francesca Harper, José Limón’s “Chaconne,” a new production of Glen Tetley’s “Dialogues,” and two chances to see Mr. Garland’s beloved “Return.” SIOBHAN BURKE

‘Harrison Greenbaum: What Just Happened?’ at the Cutting Room
Mr. Greenbaum is a stand-up comic and magician whose routine combines both of his talents into one creative show. In 2010 he received the Andy Kaufman Award, which recognizes distinctive and unorthodox comedic voices. His stand-up is fast-paced, smart and interactive, and his illusions reveal the same caliber of creativity and cleverness. Catch his one-of-a-kind blend at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. ELISE CZAJKOWSKI

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

(4/14-4/23) The 2017 New York International Auto Show takes place at the Javits Convention Center, with all the latest models available for exploration, plus demonstrations and automotive blasts from the future and past.

Monday, April 17. Explore some of the world’s most distinctive spots without leaving Fifth Avenue at this illustrated lecture with Atlas Obscura. Mid-Manhattan Library.

Monday, April 17. String theory expert Robbert Dijkgraaf comes to the Secret Science Club at The Bell House to ask some seriously intriguing questions. Come ponder black holes, the nature of the universe, and whether the Big Bang created time.

Monday, April 17. World-class athletes have reputations for their focus (at least on the field). Can that determination and precision help us mortals? Neuroscientist John Krakauer (Director of the Brain, Learning, Animation, and Movement Lab at Johns Hopkins) sits down with soccer star Patrick Vieira to find out.

Tuesday, April 18. Eat with your eyes at Food, Design, and Psychology, a talk exploring how our cuisine is affected by the way food products are designed. Prospect Heights Brainery.

Tuesday, April 18. “It’s not magicit’s science!” Bill Nye makes an appearance in support of his new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, which debuts April 21. Enjoy a two-episode preview plus a conversation with the man himself and some of his correspondents. Paley Center for Media.

Wednesday, April 19. Sustain yourself and explore the city’s environmental impact at Is New York’s Future Sustainable? Graduate Center, CUNY.

Wednesday, April 19. The new book by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy takes readers on “Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science.” Among those trips: What is the true beginning of time? Will we ever be able to predict the future? and Can what it means to be human really be located in the brain? Pioneer Works.

Thursday, April 20. Hear first-hand about the debates and conversations currently going on in and about the Muslim world at Letters to a Young Muslim. Asia Society and Museum.

Thursday, April 20.  The New School spends two days (Thursday and Friday) “looking” at Invisibility: The Power of an Idea. Correspondents include Simon Critchley, Wendy Doniger, Gerald Holton, Mona El-Naggar, Priyamvada Natarajan, and Darryl Pinckney.

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,, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave., 212-475-8592
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S., 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave.,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St., 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St., 212-989-9319

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — / 212-864-6662

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — / 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.

♦ 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 was 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):


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.

Here is one exhibition the New York Times really likes:

VIJA CELMINS (Through April 15)
Matthew Marks, 522 West 22nd St.

No natural elements are deeper and darker than the ones Vija Celmins paints: ocean and sky, specifically the rippling surface of the Pacific off California, and the night sky, seen through telescopes, as a dense, soft, pointillist field of thousands of individual stars. She magnifies the vastness of both by leaving out any framing, orienting references — a horizon line, say — to the element we’re most comfortable with: earth.

Born in Latvia, Ms. Celmins, now 78, has lived in the United States since 1948, having arrived here as a refugee after World War II. And in a tradition going back to the 19th century, she’s a landscapist of a peculiarly American kind, one for whom no visual detail is too small, no thought too big. (Within the context of contemporary art, she could be referred to as a cosmic super-realist.)

She is also a moral philosopher, which the subjects of nonlandscape paintings confirm: images of handguns, fighter planes, raw meat, television sets and, perhaps from her work table, worn-down rubber erasers. The erasers are apt symbols for an artist who is a perfectionist reviser, working on single small paintings — adding, subtracting, adding — for years.

This show at Matthew Marks includes a few trompe l’oeil sculptures modeled on real objects. She replicates small found stones in bronze and reproduces their surface markings, speck by speck. Seen together in the gallery, original object and sculpture are hard to tell apart. This is also the case with replicated versions, in wood and paint, of tablet-computer-size 19th-century slate blackboards she has collected. The real slates, also in the gallery, still carry faint ghosts of classroom lessons and calculations written and wiped out long ago. Ms. Celmins’s sculptures have the same marks and, in the funny way art works, turn erasures into additions.” (NYT-HOLLAND COTTER)


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 ( 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).

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 04/16 and 04/14.

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