NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/15) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Elite 8  NYC Events > SATURDAY/JULY 15, 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-July”

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

Monty Alexander’s Junkanoo Swing (July 12-16)
Dizzy’s Club, 60th  St. & B’way  / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“With pianist Monty Alexander, bassist Hassan Shakur, drummer Obed Calvaire, electric bassist Joshua Thomas, guitarist Andy Bassford, drummer/percussionist Karl Wright, and special guests to be announced.

In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation by exploring and bridging the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica. In the process, he has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare. Combining classic, swinging jazz with the rhythms and vibrations of Jamaica, Alexander always makes good on his promise to “get everybody moving below the waist.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>MOMIX
>>ORRIN EVANS LIBERATION BLUES QUINTET
>>‘ASSASSINS’
>>Christine Andreas: Piaf—No Regrets
>>Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski
>>‘THE ART OF WATCHES’
>>CITY OF WATER DAY
>>French Restaurant Week  

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

MOMIX
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 2PM, +8PM, $51-$66
“Like some rarely blooming desert flower, “Opus Cactus,” from 2001, pops up in New York after a long hiatus. This particular parade of clever theatrical illusions, creative props, and picturesque vignettes has a Southwestern theme, incorporating columnar saguaros, a four-man Gila monster, and a giant gyroscope called a dream catcher. But the sensibility is standard MOMIX, with debased “ethnic” music accompanying primitivism befitting a vintage Las Vegas revue. Ingenuity, impressive acrobatic skill, and even visual poetry flicker like mirages in a desert of bad taste.” (NewYorker)

ORRIN EVANS LIBERATION BLUES QUINTET
at Smoke Jazz Club / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $40
“Mr. Evans, a Philadelphia-based pianist, makes a minefield out of the typical postbop form — impishly twisting up a song’s flow or washing out the harmonies with big, dissonant chords. “Liberation Blues,” the 2014 album he recorded live at Smoke, is a master class in outside-the-box bluesiness and ear-catching contemporary composition. He appears here with the front line from that recording, although with a different rhythm section: Sean Jones on trumpet, J. D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Ben Wolfe on bass, and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums.” (NYT – GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

‘ASSASSINS’
“Getting inside the head of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald and a host of other killers of U.S. presidents was no easy task, but leave it to Stephen Sondheim to find a way in that’s both musical and mesmerizing. Written with John Weidman, the show is part of the Encores! Off­Center season and features “Rescue Me” star Steven Pasquale, pictured, as Booth.” (JOSEPH V. AMODIO, Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Wednesday, July 12, through Saturday, July 15, at New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St.
INFO $25­$125; 212­581­1212, nycitycenter.org

Christine Andreas: Piaf—No Regrets
54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 7PM, $50
“Broadway leading lady Andreas could coast on her pure, silvery soprano, but she is also a strong storyteller who knows how to dip beneath the pretty surfaces. In her new show, she pays homage to great French songbird Edith Piaf, putting her own stamp on such classic chansons as “La Vie en Rose,” “Hymne à L’Amour,” “Milord” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.”” (TONY)

Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski (July 14-15)
Jazz at Kitano, 66 Park Ave., at 38th St./ 8PM, +10PM, $32
“When it comes to extraordinarily gifted musicians like the pianist Hyman and the clarinettist and saxophonist Peplowski—men who can tackle any idiomatic jazz you might throw at them—the term “traditionalist” seems a tad limiting. Yet both of these virtuosos exhibit a remarkable fluency with early jazz and swing styles. Though Hyman is Peplowski’s elder by a few decades, these musical soul mates seem to have been born to duet with each other.” (NewYorker)

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

‘THE ART OF WATCHES’
“Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe has been practicing its art and science for 178 years. Now, visitors can immerse themselves in the past and present of the company’s timekeeping traditions with historical timepieces ­­ such as the astronomical pocket watch, pictured ­­ and their contemporary counterparts. The exhibition inhabits several rooms of a two­ story structure set up within Cipriani specifically for the occasion.” (STAV ZIV, Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Thursday, July 13, thru July 23 at Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 E. 42nd St.
INFO FREE; 212-­218-­1240, patek.com

CITY OF WATER DAY
“There’s water all around New York City. Here’s a day to “revel in the opportunity and beauty of this precious resource,” says Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. “It’s a day to play, and also a day to acknowledge our shared responsibility.” Enjoy boat tours, kayaking, sailing and paddleboarding lessons, as well as games, science experiments and “The Rejuvenary River Circus,” a puppet and mask performance for kids.” (STAV ZIV, Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Governors Island and in various venues
INFO FREE; 212-­935-­9831, waterfrontalliance.org ­­

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CLOSING ALERT: These two special exhibitions at the Met will be closing soon, and they are both don’t miss events. “Age of Empires” is especially noteworthy, it’s almost as if you had travelled to Xian in China to see the terra cotta warriors in situ.

‘AGE OF EMPIRES: CHINESE ART OF THE QIN AND HAN DYNASTIES (221 B.C.-A.D. 220)’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through July 16). No one does epic better than the Met, and this hypnotic, glow-in-the-dark exhibition of 160 objects from 32 museums in mainland China is in that line. Of the museum’s several recent showcases of Chinese antiquities, this may be visually the most dramatic and emotionally the most accessible. It features a type of art the Met is a bit too comfortable with: imperial bling. But here the material feels purposeful, evidence of a time in China when the very idea of empire, and branding, was an experiment. (Holland Cotter)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

‘IRVING PENN: CENTENNIAL’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through July 30). In this crystalline exhibition, nearly every gallery exhales its own delicious breath, offering up concentrated views of Penn’s innovative still-life and fashion work for Vogue; his portraits of cultural luminaries and tradesmen, as well as of indigenous Peruvians; his nearly abstract close-ups of voluptuous nudes; and his colossal cigarette butts, with their tragicomic evocations of Roman columns, tombstones and even corpses. Also on display: his perfectionism, curious eye and innate classicizing style. (Smith)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

Let’s not forget these marvelous continuing events:

French Restaurant Week  (thru July 16)
VARIOUS HOURS AND LOCATIONS
“Can’t make it to Paris this summer? Do the next best thing and eat like a Parisian in your own city. Part of a full slate of Bastille Week festivities, the annual French Restaurant Week is an opportunity to taste your way through some of the city’s best bistros and brasseries. Special prix-fixe menus will be available at dinner (and at lunch, at some locations) at dozens of spots across the area, including Le Cirque and La Sirene (in Manhattan) and Bar Omar (in Brooklyn). Three menu options may be available at each: $17.89, $38, or $178.90. At Les Halles, for instance, they forgo the top-price option but offer a glass of wine and a choice of housemade pork confit spread or merguez au couscous for $17.89; for $38 there, you can pick an appetizer (salad or garlic-butter roasted escargots), an entreé (coq au vin or roast trout in a lemon-caper sauce), along with a glass of wine. It’s enough to make you say oh là là.” (Mary Bakija, VillageVoice)

New York Asian Film Festival (thru July 16)
“Catch more than 50 new films, including blockbusters, art films and beautiful historical dramas, plus appearances from more than 20 international filmmakers at this 17-day festival. This year’s stellar lineup, which features films hailing from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia, features films like Chinese romance Soul Mate on July 7, fantastical Japanese drama Vanishing Time: a Boy Who Returned on July 13, and wraps with the U.S. premiere of Jung Byung-gil’s acclaimed assassin film, The Villainess, on July 16.” (TONY)

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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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