NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/13) + 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, check the tab above: NYC Events-JUNE”
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:

Lucinda Williams + Steve Earle + Dwight Yoakam
Beacon Theatre / 8PM, $59+
“Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and Dwight Yoakam make the second stop on their two-month LSD Tour, which, cleverness aside, is something of a misnomer. Williams, who will likely highlight material from her newly re-recorded 1992 album Sweet Old World, is inevitably described as possessing a bourbonic rasp of voice, which is in full effect on her recent collaboration with saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s band the Marvels (alongside Bill Frisell). The famously recovered Earle is likewise celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of his influential country-rock album Copperhead Road. And Yoakam, whose SiriusXM radio show “The Bakersfield Beat” launched in April, plays an unreconstructed sort of country music that holds no truck with psychedelic silliness. OK, Williams has been known to cover Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel.” But any tripping these three country greats is more likely to involve poorly sized footwear.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> N.Y. Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks
>> Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with Sheryl Crow
>> Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
>> Mazzie and Jason Danieley: Heart to Heart
>> Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas
>> American Ballet Theatre 
Continuing Events
>> Othello

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

N.Y. Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks
“Performing alfresco in Van Cortlandt Park, Central Park, Cunningham Park, and Prospect Park, the orchestra plays a sequence of irresistible dance numbers by Saint-Saëns, Bernstein, and two preteens from the company’s Very Young Composers program. James Gaffigan conducts Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” a rapturous evocation of four tales from “A Thousand and One Nights.” The tour concludes with an indoor gig, at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, in Staten Island.” (Oussama Zahr, Village Voice)

Elsewhere, but this looks worse to detour:
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with Sheryl Crow
at Forest Hills Stadium / 6:15 p.m., $
“At 69 years old, the legendary Led Zeppelin frontman can’t seem to stay off the road — or out of the recording studio. In 2017, Mr. Plant released the reflective, modern “Carry Fire,” his 11th solo album, and is already on his second North American tour supporting the project. For the New York stop, he’s joined by Ms. Crow, whose bright, beachy pop rock has recently found a fresh audience that includes some of country music’s young stars: Maren Morris cites Ms. Crow as one of her biggest influences, and Kacey Musgraves recorded her latest album, “Golden Hour,” in Ms. Crow’s barn.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (thru June 17)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center/ 7:30 p.m., $29+
“Alvin Ailey’s brief spring season at Lincoln Center features three thematic programs. “Celebrate Women” (on Wednesday and June 16) includes work by the former artistic director Judith Jamison, the acclaimed dance maker Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Jessica Lang with her first piece for the company. “Ailey, Then and Now” (on June 15 and 17) pairs Talley Beatty’s 1982 disco romp “Stack Up” with two works by Robert Battle, the current artistic director. “Musical Icons” (June 16-17) comprises pieces set to John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and David Byrne. The Ailey staple “Revelations” closes each program, and June 14 has been set aside for a special gala performance with its own eclectic lineup.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Marin Mazzini and Jason Danieley: Heart to Heart (also Jun 15-16)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $60+
“Golden-voiced Broadway power couple Mazzie (Ragtime) and Danieley (The Full Monty) have songs in their hearts and “heart” in their songs in their latest set of standards from the Great American Songbook. Expect “My Heart Stood Still,” “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” and other cardiac classics.” (TONY)

PHILADANCO (June 12-17)
at the Joyce Theater / 7:30 p.m., $30+
“Since 1970, the Philadelphia Dance Company, known as Philadanco, has used dance to address social issues that affect people of color in this country. The company returns to the Joyce with a typically poignant and powerful program of four works: “Folded Prism” by Thang Dao; “A Movement for Five” about the Central Park Five, by Dawn Marie Bazemore, a company alumna; “New Fruit” about the cycle of racism and violence in the United States by the resident choreographer Christopher L. Huggins; and a piece in which the current artist in residence Tommie-Waheed Evans is said to weave “spirituality and sorrow.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas (June 12-17)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“A shared passion for expansive jazz and the music of Wayne Shorter brought together two questing figures—the trumpeter Douglas and the saxophonist Lovano—resulting in the 2015 recording “Sound Prints,” and, subsequently, an occasional working ensemble. Linda May Han Oh, on bass, Joey Baron, on drums, and Lawrence Fields on piano, form the kind of enviable support team that could hold its own even without these illustrious co-leaders.” (NewYorker)

American Ballet Theatre (Jun 11-16)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $22+
“Audiences never tire of “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s tale of teen-age lovers in Renaissance Verona, or of its lustrous score, by Prokofiev. A.B.T.’s version, by Kenneth MacMillan, is more than half a century old, but it continues to make its point with its violent street scenes, ardent pas de deux, and tear-inducing resolution. Misty Copeland, who first danced Juliet in 2015, returns to the role on June 12 and for the June 16 matinée. Devon Teuscher and Stella Abrera will dance Juliet at the June 13 matinée and on June 14, respectively. Teuscher is a thrilling actress; Abrera, a touching and pure dancer. Teuscher will be partnered by a new Romeo, Aran Bell, only nineteen years old and in the corps de ballet; many will remember him as an eleven-year-old boy in the movie “First Position.” (NewYorker)


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

More smart stuff coming soon.


Continuing Events

Othello (May28-Jun24)
Shakespeare Delacorte Theater, Central Park / 8PM, FREE* (the Bard is off on Mondays)
“Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jitney) directs the first offering of the Public Theater’s 2018 season of Shakespeare in the Park: an account of the Bard’s fast-paced tragedy of jealousy and misplaced trust, in which a villain preys on the insecurities of a Moorish war hero married to a white woman. The cast is headed by Chukwudi Iwuji as Othello, Corey Stoll as Iago and Heather Lind as Desdemona.”
*tickets are free (two per person) and may be picked up after noon on the day of performance (be prepared for long lines.) Some tickets are also distributed via online lottery.
See TONY’s complete guide to Shakespeare in the Park tickets for details.

‘THE LET GO’ (June 7-July 1)
at the Park Avenue Armory
“This large-scale, site-specific multiweek event is masterminded by the interdisciplinary artist Nick Cave, who transforms the armory into a vivid dance landscape in which spectators are invited to do just what the title says they should: let go. Within this dance hall environment are performances, an installation in the form of a Mylar sculpture, dance-based encounters and music provided by D.J.s. For some programs, Mr. Cave works with the choreographer Francesca Harper; for others, there will be dancing by community groups. On June 26, as part of “An Evening of Artistic Responses: The Let Go,” the musician Nona Hendryx, the vocalist and artist Helga Davis, Ms. Harper and Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and his company, D.R.E.A.M. Ring, respond to the installation, which references issues of social justice, with site-specific performances.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

♦ 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.

Bonus NYC events– 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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