NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/08) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“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 better check the tab above: “NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.
The curated list of events you will find in the “This WEEK” tab ain’t bad, either.

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

Loses Lounge Tribute to Burt Bacharach (Dec.7-9)
@ Joe’s Pub / 7PM, +9:30PM, $30
“Joe McGinty has been leading the Losers Lounge for about 20 years, and this week at Joe’s Pub they’re toasting classic songwriter Burt Bacharach whose laid-back style is about as perfect a fit for LL as you can get. Surprise guest vocalists, brought out to sing favorites like “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “Walk on By,” are the icing on this cake.” (TONY)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>Jimmy Heath Big Band
>>STANLEY COWELL QUARTET
>>Norma
>>ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>>Bill Frisell  Thomas Morgan
>>RENEE ROSNES
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Jimmy Heath Big Band (Dec. 7-10)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $20-$35
“Never a star yet long an honored lodestar to fellow-musicians, Heath has attained reverential stature in the jazz community as a saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator. Still spunky at ninety-one, this diminutive polymath will front a sixteen-piece big band that’s sure to provide vivid tonal color to his enduring tunes.” (NewYorker)

STANLEY COWELL QUARTET (Dec. 8-10)
at Smoke / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $40
“Mr. Cowell, a pianist, made his biggest mark in the 1970s, when he led the record label Strata-East and developed a personal piano style that bent the corners on straight-ahead jazz. But he has never slowed down; his latest recording, “No Illusions,” features seven graceful originals and one cover of a John Lewis composition. Here he heralds its release with a weekend of performances featuring the personnel from the album: Bruce Williams on alto saxophone, Jay Anderson on bass and Billy Drummond on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Norma  (next performance Dec.11)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $32+
“Ponselle, Milanov, Sutherland, Callas … after last night, Radvanovsky can add her name to the list,” declared the Huffington Post when Sondra Radvanovsky made her Met role debut as Norma in 2013. The 2017–18 season opens with a new production of Bellini’s masterpiece, starring Radvanovsky as the Druid priestess and Joyce DiDonato as her archrival, Adalgisa—a casting coup for bel canto fans. Tenor Joseph Calleja is Pollione, Norma’s unfaithful lover, and Carlo Rizzi conducts. Sir David McVicar’s evocative production sets the action deep in a Druid forest where nature and ancient ritual rule.”

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 31).
at New York City Center / 8PM, $29+
“Ailey’s monthlong winter season continues with a batch of premieres. Joining the repertory on Friday is the John Coltrane-inspired “Members Don’t Get Weary,” the first work for the company by one of its most captivating dancers, Jamar Roberts. On Tuesday, the troupe welcomes back “Shelter,” a 1992 work by the esteemed choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar examining the effects of homelessness. On Wednesday, Talley Beatty’s ode to disco-era Los Angeles, “Stack-Up,” returns to the stage. And, of course, more “Revelations,” the company’s staple, created by Ailey in 1960 to a playlist of spirituals, gospel and blues.” (NYT-BRIAN SCHAEFER)

Bill Frisell  Thomas Morgan (Dec. 7-10)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30, +9:30PM, $30
“Small Town,” a live duet recording released this year, by the guitarist Frisell and the bassist Morgan, is a quiet masterpiece, its intimate interplay an example of the seismic power that occurs when two exceptional musicians truly listen to each other. A repertoire that spans the Carter Family’s “Wildwood Flower” and Paul Motian’s haunting “It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago” demonstrates the duo’s genre-embracing range.” (NewYorker)

RENEE ROSNES (Dec. 7-10)
at Dizzy’s Club / 7:30 and 9:30PM, $
“Ms. Rosnes’s piano playing has an unflashy appeal, focused and energetic and light of touch. As a composer, she can channel the insider language of postbop to broadly compelling effect. Ms. Rosnes appears here with a straight-ahead jazz dream team: the tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, the vibraphonist Steve Nelson, the bassist Peter Washington and the drummer Lenny White.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Continuing Holiday Events

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (6th Ave. & 42nd St.)
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Enjoy Bryant Park through the winter with the Holiday Shops food and gift boutiques (thru Jan.02), Danny Meyer’s pop-up rinkside eatery Public Fare (thru Mar.04), and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 28, 2017 – March 4, 2018
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting)
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 31)
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / various times and prices
“As a young dancer in St. Petersburg in the nineteen-tens, George Balanchine performed the lead in the Harlequins’ “Hoop Dance” in the Mariinsky Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” By all accounts, he was rather proud of his performance, and in 1954, when he created his own “Nutcracker” for the New York City Ballet, he included the dance verbatim in the second act, and renamed it “Candy Cane.” With its double hoop jumps, it is still one of the most beloved sections of the ballet, performed by one adult dancer and eight children from the school. This merging of past and present, adult prowess and youthful flair, has helped insure this production’s enduring appeal for more than sixty years. It returns for a monthlong run.” (NewYorker)

“George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” continues performances throughout the month. It never disappoints, from its onstage snowstorm to the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. And there’s also, of course, Balanchine’s remarkable choreography, which brings the Tchaikovsky score to dancing life. This week, many of the principal dancers get a shot at Sugar Plum — Sara Mearns, Megan Fairchild and Lauren Lovette, among them — but not to be overlooked is the soloist Indiana Woodward, who is scheduled to do the honors on Dec. 7 opposite Chase Finlay as her Cavalier. She’s a delight.” (NYT 12/01-Gia Kourlas)

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(11/10/17-1/1/18) The NYC perennial holiday favorite Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes® returns. Fan favorites include “New York at Christmas,” where the Rockettes® board a real double-decker bus, and the high-energy tap number “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Of course, beloved classics like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity” will also be back. rockettes.com/christmas

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Let there be light!
Luminaries installation at Brookfield Place in the Winter Garden, a stunning holiday arrangement, comprising 650 LED lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Make sure to pack your skates and enjoy ice-skating next door, along the waterfront.
AND
Erwin Redl’s Whiteout, a newly commissioned public art project, will light up in Madison Square Park. It consists of hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a white LED light, and suspended from a square grid of steel poles. The swaying sequence of light will be on display until April 2018.

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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 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):

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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 are two exhibitions that the New Yorker likes:
“L.A. Invitational”    (thru Dec.16)
Gagosian, 555 W. 24th St.
“An armada of West Coast art stars, both old and new, visits New York in the marketing equivalent of gunboat diplomacy. Battleships: installations by Mike Kelley and Chris Burden. Cruisers: huge sculptures by Nancy Rubins, Thomas Houseago, and Robert Therrien. Destroyers: big paintings by Ed Ruscha, Mark Grotjahn, Sterling Ruby, and others. Small craft: whimsical whatnots by Frank Gehry and Piero Golia. What’s Californian? Nonchalant confidence, as an evident rule. Not much else unites these fourteen artists. But each performs at the museum-ready top of his or her game.”

Emma Amos  (thru Dec.16)
Ryan Lee, 515 W. 26th St.
“The political is poetic for this New York artist, who, at seventy-nine years old, is absurdly under-known. Eight large paintings, made across four decades, ring buoyant variations on a theme: “Black Bodies,” as Amos has titled her show. Hung like banners, and often incorporating African fabrics and Amos’s own weavings, they picture athletic, dancing, heroic, and comic figures, with twisty references to art history and racial imbroglios. One adapts a nude photograph of Paul Robeson, taken by Nickolas Muray, in 1926; in another, Amos appears as Wonder Woman, holding up a T-shirt that bears an erotic image by Gauguin. Coming to comprehend the artist’s slow-burn meanings is like learning to dance.”

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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 (nycgo.com) 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). OR try the NYT recommendation: “When you’re done, adjourn to the newly renovated Bottino , the Chelsea art world’s unofficial canteen on 10th Avenue (btw 24/25 St.) “

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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 12/06 and 12/04.

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