NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/09) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

“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-February”
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:

Awa Sangho
Lincoln Center, Rubenstein Atrium / 7:30PM, FREE, but get there early for a seat.
“Following collaborations with Cuban percussionist Róman Díaz and Iraqi American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, the Brooklyn Raga Massive continues its “Outside (In)dia” series with the excellent Mali singer Awa Sangho. Born in Bamako and raised in Diré, just south of Timbuktu, Sangho is an effortlessly powerful singer who has opened up the praise-singing tradition to lyrics about political and feminist issues. She recorded several albums with the female trio Les Go de Koteba — if you need an extra-sassy “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” look no further — and released her solo debut, Ala Ta, in 2014. Here traditional West African instruments, including the kora harp, balafon xylophone, and djembe drums, will merge with Indian classical music’s violin, bansuri flute, and tabla, as a dozen musicians explore African music’s rhythmic fundament amid Indian music’s improvisatory flamboyance and droning heart.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> BASSDRUMBONE
>> BILLY HART QUARTET
>> Carmen Cusack
>>Miguel Zenon
>> NEW COMBINATIONS
>> Joe Lovano
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

BASSDRUMBONE
Mark Helias, bass; Gerry Hemingway, drums; Ray Anderson, trombone
Cornelia Street Cafe / 8:30 & 10:00PM, $10
“BassDrumBone is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017. Three improvisors, composers, bandleaders and friends are touring and performing music from their new double cd, The Long Road as well as the pieces from their nine previous recordings.

“Four decades on and still going strong, this venerable group, comprised of established musicians who share aesthetic outlooks and common histories, is something of a rarity by contemporary standards.”–Troy Collins, All About Jazz”

BILLY HART QUARTET (through Feb. 11)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30PM, $35
“Mr. Hart developed a reputation in the 1970s as one of the most adaptive and sympathetic drummers in jazz, adding subtle shading and suspense-building mobility to Herbie Hancock’s electric fusion, Pharoah Sanders’s avant-garde spiritualism and Billy Harper’s Afrocentric postbop. Mr. Hart is a slow burner with no particular interest in clean resolution, and he’s long produced engrossing work as a bandleader who lives by those principles. In the past dozen years, he has led this esteemed quartet, performing his own dusky compositions and those of his younger band mates: the tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, the pianist Ethan Iverson and the bassist Ben Street.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Carmen Cusack (Feb. 8-10)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75
“Cusack’s miraculous range let her play roles as disparate as Elphaba in Wicked, Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and Nellie in South Pacific before making a wonderful Broadway debut in 2016’s Bright Star. We look forward to seeing what she does next—which, based on her history, could be anything.” (TONY)

Miguel Zenon (Feb. 6-11)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Tipico,” Zenon’s current album, is a dedicatory project that celebrates the unity and inventiveness of the alto saxophonist’s longtime quartet, now completing its second decade as a fierce modernist ensemble. The leader’s lapel-grabbing style of playing may remain the focus, but his bandmates—the pianist Luis Perdomo, the bassist Hans Glawischnig, and the drummer Henry Cole—are invaluable contributors, having thoroughly absorbed Zenon’s integration of Latin musical sources and jazz. They are all worthy of his obvious pride.” (NewYorker)

NEW COMBINATIONS (Feb.8,9,11)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“NYCB Founder George Balanchine famously said, “There are no new steps, only new combinations,” and each year the Company pays homage to that affirmation with a world premiere. Sharing the stage with this new work are Martins’ The Red Violin, set to a violin concerto at turns faint or frenzied, and Ratmansky’s critically-acclaimed first NYCB ballet, Russian Seasons, an ensemble piece embracing life in myriad emotions.”

Joe Lovano (Feb.6-10)
Birdland / 8:30PM, 11PM, $40
“Us Five surrounds genial saxophonist Joe Lovano with a sophisticated piano man, James Weidman, plus the red-hot rhythm team of bass phenom and all-around polymath Esperanza Spalding, drummer Otis Brown III and percussionist Francisco Mela (bassist Peter Slavlov fills in Feb 6). Settling into Birdland for a five-night run, Lovano’s crew shares tunes from its broad-minded, querying catalogue.” (TONY)

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

More SmartStuff tomorrow.

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BONUS: (LAST DAY)
NYC Restaurant Week (Jan.22-Feb.9)

NYC Restaurant Week® guide (TONY)

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Continuing Events

‘MICHELANGELO: DIVINE DRAFTSMAN AND DESIGNER’
Metropolitan Museum of Art (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-NYT)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

The art world has been agog about this exhibition for sometime. One critic after another exclaims that it is the “Exhibition of a lifetime!” The hype has been over the top. Usually that means you’ll be disappointed when you actually experience it, because it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. Not this time.

This is a huge and marvelous exhibition that shows the evolution of Michelangelo from a young artist to a mature, divine genius. An exhibition that you will remember for sometime. Even the works of other artists that are included for contrast and context are amazing.

Here are a few reviews from the critics to give you a fuller flavor of this exhibition. They strongly encourage you to make the time to see this “once in a lifetime” exhibition. I also encourage you to see it.

Only 4 days left, because the exhibition closes February 12.

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Let there be light!
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 – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W54th St., 54below.com, 646-476-3551
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Metropolitan Room – 34W22ndSt., metropolitan room.com, 212-206-0440
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St., thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237W42nd St., bbkingblues.com, 212-997-2144
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com,
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474

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 discovery and enjoyment.
See Below.

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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.

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker St./W4th St.)

Café Vivaldi is a classic, intimate club located in Greenwich Village on Jones Street, the street featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s second album, “Freewheelin’. ”

maxresdefaultEach night Ishrat, the long time proprietor and impresario, carefully curates and schedules an eclectic series of musicians. You can often see him at his table in the corner, hard at work reviewing music videos and listening to cd demos on his laptop, scouting out future bookings. Musicians come from all over to play and sing in a club in Greenwich Village. Some are local New Yorkers, others are just passing through, in town for a few days.

There is a small bar, seating maybe 10. It’s close to the stage and I find it’s a perfect spot to sip a glass of red wine while listening to the music. The room itself has the performance area at one end and a cozy fireplace at the other. The performance area here is small, dominated by a large black Yamaha Grand piano. Tables are bunched together and most people at the tables are eating lite meals or sampling the wonderful desserts.

There is also a good selection of fairly priced wines,  but you are here because of the music. You can never be quite sure what you’re going to find, and that’s half the charm of this place. It’s not a home run every night, but many nights it’s pretty special.

I remember the night I saw the most talented bossa nova group, just in from San Paulo. As I listened, I wondered if there was any better music playing anywhere else in New York City that night. And at Caffé Vivaldi there is never a cover charge. Their recently redesigned web site does give you a better idea of the type of music playing each night.

At one time Greenwich Village was filled with clubs just like this, but times change. Real estate interests have impacted the village, and not for the better. Even Caffé Vivaldi had a rough time recently, when a new landlord raised the rent exorbitantly. Fortunately, Ishrat has built a loyal following over the years, and a fund raiser and slightly more reasonable rent has kept Café Vivaldi in business.

When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village they came to Vivaldi. It’s important that we keep this special place alive, for if we lose Cafe Vivaldi, NYCity will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

Website: http://caffevivaldi.com/
Phone #: (212) 691-7538
Hours: Music generally 7:30PM – 11PM, but varies
Lunch/Dinner 11AM-on
Subway: #1 to Christopher St.
Walk 1 blk S. on 7th ave S. to Bleecker St., 1 blk left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards left on Jones St. to Caffe V.
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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.

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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3 Good Eating places

It’s not difficult to find a place to eat in Manhattan.
Finding a good, inexpensive place to eat is a bit harder.
Here are a few of my faves in this neighborhood:

Fish – 280 Bleecker St. (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $9 gets you 6 of the freshest oysters or clams + a glass of wine or beer. Don’t know how they can do it, but I tell everyone I know about this place. And it’s located right in the heart of some of the best no cover music in town.

Bleecker Street Pizza – 69 7th ave S. (corner of Bleecker St.)
The place is tiny and not much to look at, but this is one good slice. They like to brag that they have been voted “Best pizza in NY” 3 years in a row by the Food Network. I believe them. I would have voted for them.

Num Pang – 21 E 12th St. (btw. University Place/5th ave.)
This is a Cambodian banh mi sandwich shop that kept me well fed while I was in class nearby recently. It’s cramped, even for NYCity, but usually there is room up the spiral staircase to sit down and eat. In good weather carry your sandwich a few blocks to Union Square park. You may have to wait a few minutes, because everything is freshly made, but it’s worth it. Can you believe – an unheard of 26 food rating by Zagat.

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“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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NYCity is the most diverse and interesting place to find a meal anywhere in the world. With more than 24,000 eating establishments you might welcome some advice.

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, and essays on my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods on Manhattan’s WestSide, order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($4.99, available Spring 2018).
◊ Order before May 31 28, 2018 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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