NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/14) + 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.

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

The Making of West Side Story
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. /1:30PM, $45
Behind the Music with Louis Rosen
A Year of Bernstein — A 100th-Birthday Celebration

“Join us as we celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday with a yearlong, 12-lecture series exploring his extraordinary legacy as a composer of theater and concert music, a conductor and a teacher.

A once-in-a-lifetime collaboration: Bernstein, Sondheim, Robbins and Laurents created a once-in-a-lifetime work of musical theater, with a remarkable score that many have called the greatest in the history of the American musical. We’ll explore the making of the work via filmed interviews and rare footage shot on location during production of the film adaptation, and go deep inside selections of the score to understand how it achieves its rare combination of profound depth, sophistication and broad accessibility.”


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>Winter Solstice Celebration
>>Sunny Jain’s ExtravaJAMza
>>Trisha Brown Dance Company
>>Bria Skonberg
>>Big Band Holidays
>>TransitSlam 2017

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Winter Solstice Celebration (Dec.14-16)
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine / 8PM, $40+
“Having trouble deciding which one of your friends’ apartments to use to host this year’s solstice bonfire and ritual sacrifice? Avoid all that messy virgin blood, and try a more modern tradition: Paul Winter’s annual concert. You’ll see a slew of dance and musical guests, including the Paul Winter Consort—with Winter himself on sax, right where he belongs.” (TONY)

Sunny Jain’s ExtravaJAMza
Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Called “the Hendrix of the dhol” (Manchester Salon), Brooklyn-based drummer and composer Sunny Jain is best known as the founder and dhol player of Red Baraat, the Indian-American party band that delivers a fusion of jazz, hip-hop beats, rock muscle, funky go-go, and scalding hot bhangra. Tonight, Jain fuses his love of music and food to bring you an evening of performance in and out of the kitchen.”

Trisha Brown Dance Company (Dec. 12-17)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 7:30PM, $51+
“Even before Brown died, in March, after a slow retirement forced by illness, the future of her company, and the top-shelf choreography it preserves, appeared precarious. But the troupe seems to be bouncing back, touring busily and presenting more than the greatest hits. This program focusses on a less celebrated period in Brown’s work, from 2000 to 2009. The music is disparate: the Latin-tinged jazz of Dave Douglas in “Groove and Countermove,” the Baroque opera of Rameau in “L’Amour au Théâtre.” What’s consistent is Brown’s wit and invention.” (NewYorker)

Bria Skonberg
Dizzy’s Club / 9:30PM, $ maybe a tough ticket, try the secondary market
“With trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg, reeds player Evan Arntzen, pianist Mathis Picard, bassist Corcoran Holt, and drummer Darrian Douglas“Bria Skonberg plays trumpet like a red hot devil and sings like a dream.” – The Wall Street Journal

“Ms. Skonberg has become the shining hope of hot jazz, on the strength of a clarion trumpet style indebted to Louis Armstrong, a smooth purr of a singing voice inspired by Anita O’Day, and the wholesome glow of youth” – The New York Times

Trumpeter, singer, and songwriter Bria Skonberg is a local favorite taking her place in the jazz/pop lineage pioneered by artists like Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall, and Michael Bublé. Skonberg’s music is imbued with a hip, hot jazz vibe that keeps the energy high and provides ample opportunity to let loose with solos.”

Big Band Holidays (Dec.14-16 8pm, Dec.17 2pm)
Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 8PM, only seats left $155
“Continuing a beloved New York tradition, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis warms up the House of Swing with soulful renditions of holiday classics. With fresh arrangements, playful improvisation, and entertaining storytelling, they bring out the magic in such classics as Count Basie’s “Jingle Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and Billie Holiday’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.”

Jazz royalty Catherine Russell joins as special guest vocalist for the second year, continuing a spirited partnership that has spread Yuletide cheer in dozens of cities across the country. This year she’ll be joined by another Jazz at Lincoln Center favorite, fellow vocalist Kenny Washington, who recently brought his Home for the Holidays program to delighted audiences at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.”

YO LA TENGO (Dec. 12-19, but sold out Dec.15,16,19)
at the Bowery Ballroom / 8:30PM, $40
“Throughout the 2000s, indie-rock fans looked forward each winter to Yo La Tengo’s eight-night Hanukkah residency at Maxwell’s, a club in its native Hoboken, N.J. Maxwell’s closed in 2013, and so ended the band’s yearly tradition — but like the oil in the legend, Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah shows are burning bright once again this month, at a new location. All eight nights are sold out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the resale market for miracles.” (NYT-SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON)

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

TransitSlam 2017
TransitCenter, 1 Whitehall Street, 17th Floor / 6PM, FREE
“Passionate about New York City transit, or just transit in general? The TransitSlam brings in selected presenters to talk about their chosen transit topics in given exactly 6 minutes. They must complete their presentation in 20 slides at 18 seconds a piece! Presenters will have to compete for audience support by providing the most entertaining and educational presentation.” (Untapped Cities)

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)

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)


(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.


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.
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.

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 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.”


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). 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.) “

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 12/12 and 12/10.

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