NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/30) + 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, check the tab above: NYC Events-JULY”
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:

Concert for America
Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 E. Seventh St./5PM, $25-$250
“Support charities that are standing up for basic civil rights and family reunification at the border while enjoying musical acts from some of today’s greatest talents at the Concert for America, taking place this Saturday at Cooper Union. This year will be hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, starring first-rate names from music, film, TV and Broadway, including Tina Fey, Jeremy Jordan, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Andrew Rannells, Chita Rivera and more.” (Metro)

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8 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> AL DI MEOLA
>> RICKY SKAGGS
>> 3 Sides of Damien Sneed:
>> SERGIO MENDES
>> BargeMusic
>> Adrian Cunningham Quintet
>> Ravi Coltrane
>> American Ballet Theatre
Continuing Events
>>
World Cup viewing parties
>> ‘THE LET GO’
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

AL DI MEOLA
at Town Hall / 8 p.m., $50+
“This irrepressible guitar virtuoso stepped forward in the late 1970s, when jazz-rock fusion’s first life cycle was nearing the end. His playing connected the flaying fireworks of John McLaughlin with the glossier radiance of 1980s stars like Mike Stern. But his dazzling, surefire electric playing is only half the story; he’s got an equal command, and perhaps even greater inquisitiveness, as an acoustic guitarist exploring the traditions of Spain and Latin America. Here Mr. Di Meola will perform a collection of pieces from across his career. The fusion band Brand X starts things off.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Elsewhere, but this is so worth the detour:
RICKY SKAGGS
at the Prospect Park Bandshell / 7 p.m., FREE
“Country music is often perceived as having two subgenres — the music you hear on country radio and the music you don’t. Few artists expose the futility of that division better than Mr. Skaggs, a winner of 14 Grammys who first rose to prominence as a mainstream country star in the 1980s before pivoting back to his first love in the 1990s: uncompromising, rootsy bluegrass. Since then, Mr. Skaggs, a master mandolin player as well as a singer-songwriter, has released more than a dozen bluegrass albums on his own label. This year, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

3 Sides of Damien Sneed: Classical, Jazz and Sanctified Soul and Jazzmeia Horn
at Rumsey Playfield / 7 p.m.,FREE
“An eminent, plush-toned vocalist and pianist, Mr. Sneed has a broad repertoire, encompassing Christian hymns and modern gospel, jazz standards and Western classical. Here he gives a concert drawing widely from across that range. Ms. Horn, a straight-ahead jazz vocalist who presents music from throughout the African-American canon with a searing, powerful delivery, will open.” (NYT- GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

SERGIO MENDES
at Sony Hall / 8 p.m., $65
“Nominally, Mr. Mendes’s music falls into the genres of bossa nova and Brazilian jazz; in execution, though, the Rio de Janeiro native’s nearly six decades of music span jazz, pop and traditional Brazilian music. Crossover, it would seem, is Mr. Mendes’s native language: His first albums were bossa nova collaborations with Cannonball Adderley and Herb Alpert, but the ones that followed included fairly reverent covers of everything from Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” to Dionne Warwick’s “I Say a Little Prayer.” The 77-year-old’s musically omnivorous streak has continued through to his last album, “Magic,” which was released in 2014 and features John Legend and Janelle Monáe.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER

Elsewhere, not Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is Brooklyn’s WestSide and worth the detour:
BargeMusic
“Music in Motion” Series — a one hour performance, including a Q & A session with the musicians (no intermission)
Fulton Ferry Landing, near the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn/ 4PM, FREE
(take the A or C train to High Street station, Brooklyn.)
“Concert at the coolest classical music concert location in NYC.
Classical music on a boat with an intimate and romantic setting and beautiful view of New York City. Program and musicians TBA.” (ClubFreeTime)

Adrian Cunningham Quintet with special guest vocalist Brianna Thomas (to June 30)
From My Fair Lady to Camelot: Music by Frederick Loewe and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40
“An evening celebrating the great musicals of Lerner & Loewe, including My Fair Lady, Brigadoon and Camelot.

With support from the Loewe Foundation, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola celebrates the great Lerner and Loewe musicals by revisiting Lowe’s timeless compositions in a swinging jazz context. This program will continue the popular and fruitful relationship between musical theater and jazz—a relationship in which Lerner and Loewe played an essential role.”

Ravi Coltrane (June 26-30)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, +11PM, $40
“At age fifty-two, the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane has had time to deal with any issues of personal and artistic identity arising from his illustrious family background. It’s been a few years since he’s released an album of his own, but Coltrane’s lyrical work on “In Movement,” with Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison, gained him a well-deserved Grammy nomination in 2017.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

American Ballet Theatre (thru July 7)
Tonight: Don Quixote
Metropolitan Opera House / 2PM, +8PM, $22+
“The spring season nears its conclusion with a weekend of “Don Quixote,” a comic ballet showcasing the debuts of Hee Seo as Kitri and Christine Shevchenko as Mercedes on Friday, as well as Sarah Lane’s first performance as Kitri at the matinee on Saturday. The final week of repertory is devoted to Alexei Ratmansky’s “Whipped Cream,” a fanciful ballet about a youngster and his love of sweets that features a score and libretto by Richard Strauss. On Wednesday, Gabe Stone Shayer makes his New York debut as the Boy, followed, on July 5, by Arron Scott in the same role. In that performance, there’s an extra treat: Calvin Royal III makes his mark as Prince Coffee.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas )

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

More smart stuff coming tomorrow.

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Continuing Events

World Cup viewing parties (starting June 14 – thru July 15)
Don’t miss the World Cup, which only comes every four years. Many bars and restaurants will be screening the games and offering food and drink specials across the city. Here are the best lists of where you can find them:
NYT – where to watch the World Cup in New York City.
Soccer Republic – best bars to watch the World Cup in NYC.
Thrillist – World Cup bars NYC
Remeczcla – the 10 Best Venues to Watch the World Cup in NYC
Metro – NYC’s best soccer bars to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018
NYCGO – Ways to Watch the World Cup in New York City
Daily News – The best bars in NYC to watch your favorite team

‘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)

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♦ 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.

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Bonus NYC 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
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St., thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
and one more, not quite WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com,

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.
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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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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 the New Yorker likes:

Damien Hirst (LAST DAY)

“Superabundant multicolored dot paintings, randomly composed in sizes from smallish to giant, are as perfectly dead as a trisected shark in formaldehyde-filled glass cases, which is also on view. There’s no formal structure or even optical dazzle, except by occasional accident. These aren’t active pictures. They’re passive slabs, yielding nothing to contemplation that they don’t impart at first glance. Neither good nor bad, they maintain an imperturbable, mortuary dignity—Hirst’s cynosure. He creates visual curios that look like art while dispensing with art’s pesky demands on thought, feeling, and perception. His works are aesthetic cryptocurrency. There are worse things in the world.” () Gagosian, 555 W. 24th St.

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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 (nycgo.com) 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 this 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.) “

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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 06/28 and 06/26.

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