NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/05) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue

“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-January”
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.
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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Shanghai Dance Theatre – Soaring Wings ((Jan.05-07)
NYS / DHK Theater / 8PM, $22+
“Environmental protection meets exquisite Chinese dance in Soaring Wings, a new dance drama about the crested ibis, viewed in China as “the bird of good fortune.” The Shanghai Dance Theatre makes its New York debut in this opulently costumed piece directed and choreographed by Tong Ruirui, to traditional Chinese music composed by Guo Sida. The work, which dramatizes the interdependence between people and nature, was written by Luo Huaizhen after Chinese scientists discovered the birds in the wild and doubled down in efforts to protect them.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, Vilage Voice)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> 44 Charlton: A Variety Show
>> Ali Jackson
>>The Merry Widow
>>MONTY ALEXANDER
>>Orrin Evans
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

44 Charlton: A Variety Show
The Greene Space, 44 Charlton St./ 7PM, $25
“Bite into a hot slice of NYC life every first Friday of the month at 44 Charlton — the world’s first and only variety show smashing together the gutsiest comedy, music, dance, theater, spoken word, and genre-bending performances on a single stage, hosted by the sometimes salty, always sexy Julian Fleisher.

Come for the cheap drinks. Stay to become a part of spontaneous genius. The wheels might come off! The clothes might come off! Bring your expectations to the door, then pick them up again after the show. We promise not to rifle through them while you’re tripping on our awesomeness.

On this month’s show: critically acclaimed mentalist and mind reader Vinny DePonto, legendary performance artist Penny Arcade, and vocalist Joseph Keckler.”

Ali Jackson (Jan. 5-7)
Dizzy’s Club Broadway at 60th St./ mm mm
“UptownDrummers, Miles Davis once said, can make good composers—this engagement by the longtime drummer for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra might make a reliable testing ground for the theory. Jackson, who also finds room for jazz classics in his repertoire, will front a quartet that includes the guitarist Peter Bernstein and the bassist Omer Avital.” (NewYorker)

The Merry Widow (next performance Jan.11)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $
“Susan Graham sings the title role of the fabulous woman of the world who sets out to conquer glamorous old Paris and get the one thing that has eluded her—a commitment from her playboy first love. Lehár’s delightful score of lush waltzes and beautiful ballads will sparkle with a supporting cast of Andriana Chuchman, Paul Groves, and the inimitable Thomas Allen. Ward Stare conducts.”

MONTY ALEXANDER (Jan. 2-6)
at Birdland / 8:30 and 11PM, $40
“Mr. Alexander, a pianist, mingles the rhythms of his native Jamaica with his talents as a gospel-tinged jazz improviser. With his Harlem-Kingston Express, he brings together musicians versed in both reggae and straight-ahead jazz, creating a brew that’s danceable and lilting and often ramps up from hypnotic to electrifying.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Orrin Evans (thru Jan.06)
Jazz Standard / 7:30PM, 9:30PM, $30
“Multifaceted keyboardist-composer Orrin Evans joins jazz-pop trio the Bad Plus this year and performs in just about every other configuration known to jazz. Expect smart, hard-swinging, and emotionally nuanced arrangements when the Philadelphian cranks up his Captain Black Big Band, a six-horn nonet plus two singers, for a relatively rare appearance Tuesday–Wednesday. The group’s most recent album, 2014’s Mother’s Touch, includes an oblique reimagining of Wayne Shorter’s “Water Babies” alongside gospel-tinged originals and a resistance-resounding “Prayer for Columbine.” Evans downsizes Thursday and Friday with a foolproof sextet consisting of JD Allen (tenor sax), Bill McHenry (tenor sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), James Genus (bass), and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. The leader plays piano in gusts of ideas, blending head and heart while exploring subtleties of difference and repetition.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

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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. (LAST DAY)
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 Clubs:
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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WHAT’S ON VIEW
These are My Fave Special Exhibitions @ MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museum exhibitions,
and also see the expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

ART AND CHINA AFTER 1989: THEATER OF THE WORLD,  (through Jan 7, 2018). “New York is still behind the curve in terms of familiarity with the explosion of contemporary art produced in China between the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This dynamic, canon-affirming Guggenheim survey reprises much of what we already do know, but also adds fresh information about large group projects and, usefully, shift the focus away from auction-favored painting onto Conceptualism. (After protests from animal-right activists, three works in the show, including “Theater of the World” by Huang Yong Ping, appear in altered form.)” (Holland Cotter)

Frick Collection

‘MURILLO: THE SELF-PORTRAITS’ (through Feb. 4, 2018). “Two flawlessly executed selfies by one of the leading painters of the Spanish Golden Age are united for the first time in centuries in this revealing, somewhat melancholy exhibition on mastery and aging. Around 1650, the thirtysomething Bartolomé Esteban Murillo painted himself as an ambitious young painter with pursed lips and arched eyebrows, staring out incongruously from a block of ancient marble. The young painter was already imagining himself as a man for the ages, but success seems to have worn down Murillo in the later self-portrait, from about 1670. His hair has grown thinner, he’s developed a double chin, and he extends his hand as if desperate to connect to us.” (Farago)

 Neue Galerie

‘WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, 1903-1932: THE LUXURY OF BEAUTY,’ (through Jan. 29).”Fruit bowls, umbrella stands, swanky wallpapers, lavish curtains: The only thing the Wiener Werkstätte couldn’t make is a profit. This substantial exhibition on the most important design firm in early-20th-century Vienna brings together more than 400 works of Modernist applied arts, designed in a new kind of studio that united artists and artisans in a single enterprise. Their rational, rectilinear creations, made of silver or pricey oak, won a following among imperial Vienna’s bourgeoisie, but perpetual cost overruns and the coming of war pushed the Wiener Werkstätte into decline. The 1920s were the last gasp for the firm, under the blingier designer Dagobert Peche, whose mirrors and cruets were as florid as his predecessors’ were straitlaced.” (Farago)
212-628-6200, neuegalerie.org

Museum of the City of New York

NY AT ITS CORE (ongoing)
“Ten years in the making, New York at Its Core tells the compelling story of New York’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” The exhibition captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other and a subject of fascination the world over. Entertaining, inspiring, important, and at times bemusing, New York City “big personalities,” including Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, Jay-Z, and dozens more, parade through the exhibition. Visitors will also learn the stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Italian immigrant Susie Rocco. Even animals like the horse, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster, which played pivotal roles in the economy and daily life of New York, get their moment in the historical spotlight. Occupying the entire first floor in three interactive galleries (Port City, 1609-1898, World City, 1898-2012, and Future City Lab) New York at Its Core is shaped by four themes: money, density, diversity, and creativity. Together, they provide a lens for examining the character of the city, and underlie the modern global metropolis we know today. mcny.org” (NYCity Guide)

Morgan Library & Museum

‘DRAWN TO GREATNESS: MASTER DRAWINGS FROM THE THAW COLLECTION’  (through Jan. 7, 2018). “This major group drawing show constitutes a grand summing-up of a career, of an art form and of an institution’s holdings. During the past 60 years, the New York art dealer Eugene V. Thaw and his wife Clare Eddy Thaw amassed a phenomenal drawing collection notable for its chronological breadth, running from the early Renaissance to the near present. This year they gave more than 400 items outright to the Morgan Library, expanding and deepening its range. The 150 works on view include a super-rare Andrea Mantegna, an unearthly Samuel Palmer and a soulful Vincent Van Gogh.”  (NYT-Holland Cotter)

and you should be sure to check out these special exhibitions at that little museum on Fifth Ave., The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(open 7 days /week, AND always Pay What You Wish)

‘MICHELANGELO: DIVINE DRAFTSMAN AND DESIGNER,’ (through Feb. 12).”A monument to a monument. With 133 drawings by the beyond-famous artist on loan from some 50 front-rank collections, this show is a curatorial coup and an art historical tour de force: a panoptic view of a titanic career as recorded in the most fragile of media: paper, chalk and ink. And it demands that you be fully present. Drawing is more than a graphic experience; it’s a textural one, about the pressure of crayon and pen on a page; the subliminal fade and focus of lines; the weave and shadow-creating swells of surfaces. These are effects that can’t be captured by a smartphone.” (Cotter)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

‘STREAMS AND MOUNTAINS WITHOUT END: LANDSCAPE TRADITIONS OF CHINA’  (through Jan. 6, 2018). “If you’ve seen only ash-aired Beijing, or that architectural Oz Shanghai, you haven’t seen China. Most of the country is wide-open space, green and blue: hills, plains, water. And it was for an escape to that openness that some Chinese urbanites yearned in centuries past. Their dream: to sit in on a terrace halfway up a mountain, with tea steeping, an ink-brush at hand, a friend at the door, and a waterfall splashing nearby. Not just for vacation. Forever. One way they could live the dream was through images of the kind seen in this show. Technically, it’s a collection reinstallation spiced with a few loans. But the Met’s China holdings are so broad and deep that some of the pictures here are resurfacing for the first time in almost a decade; one is finally making its debut a century after it was acquired. And there’s more than just paintings on view: ceramics, textiles and scholar’s rocks fill out the panorama.” (NYT-Holland Cotter) 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

‘JAPANESE BAMBOO ART: THE ABBEY COLLECTION’  (through Feb. 4, 2018). “This fabulous show celebrates Diane and Arthur Abbey’s gift of some 70 bamboo baskets and sculptures, which nearly doubles the Met’s already outstanding holdings in this genre and brings them into the 20th and 21st centuries. The curator has embedded this trove within what is essentially a second exhibition that traces bamboo’s presence through folding screens, ink paintings, porcelain, netsuke, kimonos and more.” (NYT-Roberta Smith) 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

DAVID HOCKNEY (through Feb.25, 2018) “For nearly 60 years, David Hockney (British, born 1937) has pursued a singular career with a love for painting and its intrinsic challenges. This major retrospective—the exhibition’s only North American venue—honors the artist in his 80th year by presenting his most iconic works and key moments of his career from 1960 to the present.

Working in a wide range of media with equal measures of wit and intelligence, Hockney has examined, probed, and questioned how to capture the perceived world of movement, space, and time in two dimensions. The exhibition offers a grand overview of the artist’s achievements across all media, including painting, drawing, photography, and video. From his early experiments with modernist abstraction and mid-career experiments with illusion and realism, to his most recent, jewel-toned landscapes, Hockney has consistently explored the nature of perception and representation with both intellectual rigor and sheer delight in the act of looking.” (Metropolitan Museum)

“Give it up for David Hockney, one of painting’s elder statesmen, and for his crystalline retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which proceeds in a string of perfectly curated mini-exhibitions. Check at the door the usual caveats and tsk-tsks regarding this wildly popular Anglo-Californian — that he’s a lightweight; that his “moment” was the ’60s; that he’s obvious. Suspend at least briefly the belief that a tragic vision, or abstraction, is essential for entry into art history’s pantheon.

No, Mr. Hockney, at 80, is not Jasper Johns or Gerhard Richter. But he has his own greatness, which flows from openly following his own desires — including his attraction to other men — while rigorously exploring the ways art and life feed each other, visually and emotionally. Full disclosure, forthright joy and forward motion are the dynamos of his art, which in my book at least, gives him an edge over Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.” (NYT)

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Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Eight museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:
• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio (closed Sun-Mon)*
• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York (open 7 days /week)
•  92nd Street – The Jewish Museum (closed Wed) (Sat FREE) (Thu 5-8 PWYW)
•  91st Street  –  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (open 7 days /week)
•  89th Street –  National Academy Museum (closed Mon-Tue)
•  88th Street –  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (closed Thu) (Sat 6-8 PWYW)
•  86th Street –  Neue Galerie New York (closed Tue-Wed) (Fri 6-8 FREE)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
•  82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (open 7 days /week)*
*always Pay What You Wish (PWYW)

Although technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection (closed Mon) (Wed 2-6pm PWYW; First Friday each month (exc Jan+Sep) 6-9pm FREE) on the corner of 70th St. and Fifth Avenue and the The Morgan Library & Museum (closed Mon) (Fri 7-9 FREE) on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave.
Now plan your own museum crawl (info on hours & admission updated June 2, 2015).
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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 01/03 and 12/14.
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