NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/12) + 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:

Cassandra Wilson (July 12-15.)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $45-$65
“There may be other promising vocal talents nipping at her toes (Cecile McLorin Salvant, anyone?), but Wilson’s primacy as today’s female jazz singer par excellence remains a given. Wilson, who revelled in daring eclecticism before it became de rigueur, melds personality and chops with thrilling audacity. Don’t expect her to drift into the right lane anytime soon—recent projects have found her examining the Irish side of her ancestry.”
(Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Orquesta Akokán
>> Gato Preto
>> On Kentucky Avenue
>> CLAUDIA ACUÑA
>> Django Reinhardt NY Festival:
>> MUMMENSCHANZ
Continuing Events
>> French Restaurant Week
>>
World Cup viewing parties
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Orquesta Akokán
Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, Dance lesson at 6:30 pm,
Live music at 7:30 pm/ $0-$25
Style: Salsa
Dance Instructors: Christopher Rogicki and Nayelli Valencia Turrent teach Cuban Salsa and Rueda de Casino
DJ: Ron McGugins

“Blending vintage sound, original tunes, infectious rhythms, and endless heart, Orquesta Akokán extends the golden era of Cuban mambo to now. Following their critically acclaimed debut album on Daptone Records, power vocalist José “Pepito” Gómez and an orchestra of Cuban music all-stars bring the spirit of old Havana to the heart of Manhattan.”
“An explosion of brass and saxophone call the dancers to order then the rhythm rides on the pulse of the saxes, calling to mind the full-bodied sound of past masters Perez Prado and Tito Puente.” – NPR

Gato Preto
Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE, but get there early for a seat.
“Based in Germany with roots in Mozambique, Ghana, Portugal, and Germany, producer Lee Bass and MC Gata Misteriosa have been lighting up the global bass scene with their Afro-Futurist, masked mystique since 2013. Using synths and effects processors side-by-side with live Djembe rhythms and dancers, all underlaid by supersonic bass and breakbeats, Gato Preto blends the favela funk of Rio, Township grooves from South Africa, and kuduro-techno hybrid of Angola into an irresistible mix. Having played at clubs and festivals around the world, including the African Futures Festival in South Africa, Uganda’s Nyenge Nyege Festival, and South by Southwest this past March, Gato Preto (“Black Cat” in Portuguese) casts their spell over the Atrium in a rare NYC appearance.”

On Kentucky Avenue (also 8 dates thru July 28)
Aaron Davis Hall (at City College)/ 7PM, $25
“Ty Stephen, N’Kenge and Andricka Hall head the cast of this musical revue by Stephens and Adam Wade, inspired by the history of Atlantic City’s Club Harlem.” (TONY)

CLAUDIA ACUÑA (July 11-12)
at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $35
“The bold and clarion singing of Ms. Acuña, a Chilean vocalist based in New York, doesn’t line up exactly with the sound of Abbey Lincoln, who addressed spiritual and political matters in a rough, simmering tone. What they had in common were their convictions and an unbending devotion to investigating their respective musical traditions. When Lincoln, who died in 2010, first heard Ms. Acuña, she recognized a kindred spirit, accepting her as a mentee. Here Ms. Acuña will perform a selection of Lincoln’s songs with Pablo Vergara on piano, Juancho Herrera on guitar, Carlos Henderson on bass and Keita Ogawa on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Django Reinhardt NY Festival: Django Allstars w Romero Lubambo, Edmar Castaneda and Veronica Swift (July 10-14)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $50
“After a fabulous concert at Carnegie Hall, May 1st, titled FOREVER DJANGO “Passing the Family Torch”, The Django Festival Allstars hit the road again with a cross-country tour starting at their US home, Birdland, where it all started led by Samson Schmitt on Guitar It’s the Django Reinhardt Festival’s 19thyear and going strong.”

MUMMENSCHANZ (July 4-22)
at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College / 7PM, $25-$85
“The famed Swiss theater troupe, founded in 1972, returns to New York with its surreal sensibility — and, of course, plenty of props — to present “You and Me,” a new show created by Floriana Frassetto, one of the group’s founders. Using its usual ingredients of shadow, light, bodies and masks, the group conjures a magical world that is also, handily, good family fare.” (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 soon.

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Continuing Events

French Restaurant Week (July 02-15)
Various locations // $17.89-$178.90
“Mais oui, it’s the start of French Restaurant Week. Indulge in some of the city’s finest French bistros and brasseries offering prix fixe specials. Participating restaurants include La Sirene, Fig and Olive, and Bistrot Leo. French Restaurant Week actually runs longer than a week, ending on Bastille Day weekend, July 15th.” (Gothamist)

World Cup viewing parties (starting June 14 – thru July 15)
Championship Match Sunday July 15:
   France vs Croatia 11AM
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

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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.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.
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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 (thru July 20)

“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 07/10 and 07/08.

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