NYC Events,”Only the Best” (04/14) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

“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-April”
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:

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour.

FESTIVAL OF MALI (April 14-16)
at Brooklyn Bowl / 8 p.m., $
“The offerings at this three-night festival provide a cross sample of the country’s music — from the kinetic churn of the Songhaï vocalist and guitarist Sidi Touré on Saturday to the gentler admonishments of the griot supergroup Trio Da Kali on Sunday. The series closes on Monday with Fatoumata Diawara, a beguiling talent on vocals and guitar whose music splits the difference between the other two headliners while admitting folk influences from around the world.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

“Rock isn’t dead; it just went back to Africa. And the World Music Institute’s Festival of Mali, a keenly curated three-night celebration of West African sounds straddling yesterday and tomorrow, should prove it. The fest kicks off Saturday with Sidi Touré, whose exciting new Toubalbero electroshocks the folk sounds of his earlier albums with the help of Djadjé Traoré’s overdriven electric guitar. Sunday, the stunning South African guitarist Derek Gripper, who translates classical Mali kora music to acoustic guitar, joins Trio Da Kali, which recently released an album of luminously expressive balafon (xylophone), ngoni (ancestor to the banjo), and vocal music with the Kronos Quartet. On Monday, singer Fatoumata Diawara wraps up the festival with an evening of music rooted in the distinctive female vocal style of Mali’s Wassoulou region.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Mickey Hart “Musica Universalis”
>>  SFJazz Collective: “The Music of Miles Davis”
>> Ballet Hispánico
>> Smoke’s 19th Anniversary Celebration
>> Collectors Night

Continuing Events
>> The Orchid Show

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Mickey Hart “Musica Universalis”
Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History; at 7 p.m., Tickets are $225, $75 with online code “MickeyFF”
“Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart wants to bring the sounds of the cosmos to Central Park West — and to your brain. His two-day site-specific performance at the Hayden Planetarium, called “Musica Universalis,” combines his work spanning over several years of eclectic, percussion-based musical experiments — from “Mysterium Tremendum” that turned the stars’ and the sun’s electromagnetic waves into sound, to “Superorganism,” which included base sounds converted from Hart’s own brainwaves.

All of the sounds that Hart has gathered over the years will have the opportunity to reach your ears with his instrument and musical database, “RAMU.” The event also includes a talk with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and curator Rob DeSallem and entry to the “Our Senses: An Immersive Experience” exhibit.” (amny)

SFJazz Collective: “The Music of Miles Davis”
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“There’s so much star power in this ambitious octet—including the saxophonists Miguel Zenon and David Sanchez, the trumpeter Sean Jones, and the pianist Edward Simon—that it could supply tingle to practically any given repertoire. The epochal work of Miles Davis, though, provides more than enough for any band to sink its teeth into. Davis, iconic as he is, will not be handled with kid gloves by this adventurous ensemble.” (NewYorker)

Ballet Hispánico (Apr.10-15)
Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $45+
“Two new ballets based on the life and work of Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca — alongside a third, flamenco-inflected piece — highlight the annual spring season of the country’s premiere Latino dance troupe. Gustavo Ramirez Sansano offers a look at Lorca’s life in New York in 1929. In Waiting for Pepe, Carlos Pons Guerra transforms Lorca’s House of Bernarda Alba using theatrical techniques from film and telenovelas. Completing the program is Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s two-year-old Línea Recta, which explores the odd absence, in flamenco, of physical contact between dancers. All these works are products of the company’s Instituto Coreográfico, a lab for Latino dancemakers launched in 2010 by company director Eduardo Vilaro.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice)

at Dizzy’s Club / 7:30 and 9:30PM, $45
Mr. McBride has more clean, fastidious power than almost any other bassist around — it makes him a kind of dream sideman. But most of his creative energy these days gets spent on his own ensembles, and the most recent of them is a big winner. The New Jawn quartet has a roguish, brawny sound, sprung from the earthy drumming of Nasheet Waits and the sharp-elbowed horn playing of Josh Evans on trumpet and J. D. Allen on tenor saxophone (on previous engagements, the saxophonist has been Marcus Strickland).” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

at New York City Center / 8PM, $35+
“This season, the Graham troupe unveils a premiere by Lucinda Childs — “Histoire” is an expanded version of a duet she created for the group in 1999 — and the company premiere of Lar Lubovitch’s “The Legend of Ten” (2010), set to a Brahms quintet for piano and strings. Of course, there will be Graham classics, from “Panorama” (1935), performed by young dancers selected by audition, and “Chronicle” (1936), an antiwar masterpiece, to “The Rite of Spring” (1984) and “Embattled Garden” (1958).” (NYT-GIA KOURLAS)

Smoke’s 19th Anniversary Celebration (also Apr.15)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, betw105th/106th Sts./ 7, 9, +10:30PM, $40
“Just short of its emerald anniversary, this uptown jazz haunt welcomes a swath of familiar faces to the stage, including the pianist Harold Mabern, the tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, and the drummer Louis Hayes, for a birthday blowout.” (NewYorker)


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

Collectors Night

Self-proclaimed archivists and packrats from around the city
Photo Credit: The City Reliquary

Self-proclaimed archivists and packrats from around the city will put their collections on display, which range from charming to the morbid (archival 16mm cartoons, retired city street furniture, sea life and more). Collectors will present an object from their collections in a rapid-fire show and tell. ($13, 6 p.m., New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring St., Manhattan, (amny)


♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

Continuing Events

The Orchid Show (thru April 22)
New York Botanical Garden; 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx; various dates and times; $20
“Now in its 16th year, this mesmerizing show displays thousands of orchids in geometric, illuminated sculptural presentations. Catch special Orchid evenings for dancing, music and drinks among the flowers.”

“With less than a month left to see the 16th edition of the Orchid Show, there’s no better time to go to the New York Botanical Garden. Marvel over Belgian floral artist Daniël Ost’s wabi-sabi installations, which find beauty in imperfection and impermanence.” (TONY)

The Orchid Show in NYC guide

Bonus NYC Jazz Clubs:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. My favorite Jazz Clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide, feature top talent every night of the week.
Hit the Hot Link and 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. So.,, 212-255-4037 (1st 8:30)
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave., 212-475-8592 (1st set 8pm)
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S., 212-929-9883 (1st 7pm)
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave.,646-476-4346 (1st 8)
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St., 646-476-4346 (1st set 7:30pm)
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St., 212-989-9319 (6pm)

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595 (1st set 7:30pm)
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — / 212-581-3080 (1st 8:30pm)
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — 212-864-6662 (7pm)

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — / 212-691-7538 (1st 7pm)
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.


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):


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” finally closed, now it’s “Mean Girls.”)

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).
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.

“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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