NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/18) + 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:

JANELLE MONAE
at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden / 7:30 p.m., $65+
“Ambitious, persuasive performance is Ms. Monae’s strong suit, whether onscreen in Oscar bait like “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures” or onstage singing futuristic R&B and funk that never loses its pop gloss. But Ms. Monae willfully resists genre limitations: Her third studio album “Dirty Computer,” released earlier this year, features both the superstar hip-hop producer Pharrell Williams and the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson. Given her omnivorous taste, it’s fitting that Prince was a longtime admirer and even had a hand in producing “Computer.” The album’s lead single, “Make Me Feel,” is stripped-down, sensual funk that functions as a tribute to the Purple One.” (NYT – NATALIE WEINER)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Brave Combo
>> ERTEGUN HALL OF FAME FESTIVAL
>> MUMMENSCHANZ
>>  Thumbscrew
>> The Witch of Lime Street
>> The Making of Fiddler on the Roof
Continuing Events
>> New York Television Festival

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Brave Combo
Bryant Park / 5:30PM, FREE
“Carl Finch’s Texas quintet, Brave Combo, continues its longtime musical mission to squinch together myriad vernacular styles into a giant, multicolored Play-Doh ball of polka-scented fun. Founded in 1979, the accordionist’s combo draws upon an encyclopedic and irrepressibly perky repertoire of border styles and rootless cosmopolitanisms, from cumbia, merengue, and norteño to klezmer, polka, and hard-core hokey-pokey. They’ve played David Byrne’s wedding reception, served as Oktoberfest entertainment on The Simpsons (“Fill the Stein”), and recorded “Hey Jude” with Tiny Tim. Their music has become increasingly unpredictable over the decades, with art-rock ditties like “The Best Sunsets Are in the West” and punky accordion rave-ups like “Hop to It” adding salsa to their repertoire. This gig features a rare reappearance by fan-favorite former members Bubba Hernandez and Jeffrey Barnes.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

ERTEGUN HALL OF FAME FESTIVAL (July 17-19)
at Dizzy’s Club/ 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $40
“At this series of concerts, Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrates the three newest inductees into its Ertegun Hall of Fame. Things kick off on Tuesday, when the bassist Ben Wolfe pays tribute to Jimmy Blanton, who expanded the role of the bass in large-ensemble jazz during his time with Duke Ellington. On Wednesday, the vocalists Shenel Johns and Vuyo Sotashe perform pieces from Nina Simone’s repertoire, and on Thursday, the pianist and vocalist Freddy Cole plays in honor of his brother Nat King Cole.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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)

Thumbscrew (July 17-22.)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St. / 8:30 and 10:30 p.m, $35
“Proudly of the moment, the new jazz trio Thumbscrew is also mindful of the tradition that it so diligently messes with. Last month, the band, which features Mary Halvorson, on guitar, Mike Formanek, on bass, and Tomas Fujiwara, on drums, concurrently released “Ours,” a collection of spiky originals, and “Theirs,” which interprets the work of an eclectic array of composers, including the jazz exemplars Wayne Shorter, Stanley Cowell, and Benny Golson.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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

The Witch of Lime Street
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West / 7PM, $10
“Catch a suspense story of scandal and the supernatural—Harry Houdini’s investigation of spiritualist Mina Crandon, whose séances left even scientists guessing, in this New-York Historical Society talk by David Jaher, author of The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Her most vocal advocate was none other than Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Her supernatural gifts beguiled many. There was only one left to convince—acclaimed escape artist Harry Houdini! History comes alive in this riveting account of the rivalry between Harry Houdini and the so-called Witch of Lime Street, whose iconic lives intersected at a time when science was on the verge of embracing the paranormal. Book signing after the program.

The Making of Fiddler on the Roof
Museum of Jewish Heritage/ 6:30PM, $5
“Explore Fiddler’s rich history through a conversation featuring Sheldon Harnick, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof, and Alisa Solomon, acclaimed author of Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof.”

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Continuing Events

New York Television Festival (July 14-20)
“Pop into screenings for the 59 selections in the pilot competition that anchors the 14th annual fest, and you’ll generally pay no more than $5 (with advance registration); same with special events like the exclusive preview for Bobcat Goldthwait’s new anthology series. The $150 festival pass option is for creatives hoping to work in television and includes panels including one for writers with scribes for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (pictured) and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” (nytvf.com)  (amNY)

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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 07/16 and 07/14.

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