NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/30) + 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:

The Avenue Q 15th Anniversary Reunion Concert
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, +9:30PM, $65+
“Alums of the beloved puppet musical Avenue Q gather for a deeply felt reunion, sharing anecdotes and performing cut and alternate versions of songs from the show’s score. Scheduled participants include original cast members John Tartaglia, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Jordan Gelber, Rick Lyon and Jennifer Barnhart, along with songwriter Bobby Lopez, former cast members Barrett Foa, Rob McClure and Maggie Lakis, and the show’s current cast at New World Stages.” (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Shoshana Bean: Spectrum Live
>> Lakecia Benjamin Quartet Plays Coltrane
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
>> An Evening with Nimrod Kamer & Friends
>> A Secret History of Ice Cream:
>> PATSY TARR IN CONVERSATION WITH ABBOTT MILLER
>> Harper’s Presents “How Bernie Won”
Continuing Events
>>
NYC Restaurant Week 
>>
Twelfth Night
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Shoshana Bean: Spectrum Live
Apollo Theater / 7:30PM, $35+
“Best known to theater audiences for replacing Idina Menzel as Elpheba in the Broadway cast of Wicked, the big-voiced Bean dips into the Apollo to promote her fourth studio album, Spectrum, which finds her fronting an 18-piece big band. Expect standards, modern pop and a sprinkling of original songs, along with guest appearances by Tony winner Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and jazz singer Ledisi.” (TONY)

Lakecia Benjamin Quartet Plays Coltrane
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“Rising star saxophonist and Essentially Ellington alumna Lakecia Benjamin takes the Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola stage as a headliner. Benjamin has developed a reputation for energetic, genre-crossing performances, and she has played with musicians ranging from Jimmy Heath, Joanne Brackeen, Charenee Wade, and Harry Belafonte to Macy Gray, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and The Roots. For this performance, she will lead her quartet through an evening of John Coltrane repertoire, celebrating and exploring one of her influences on the saxophone. Come check out one of the instrument’s freshest new voices perform her own take on this timeless music.”

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Birdland, / 9:30PM, $30
Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly soiree that brings a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night. It’s a cool cabaret night-out enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show. Showbiz superstars, backed by Steve Doyle on bass, Billy Stritch on piano and Daniel Glass on drums, hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.” (broadwayworld)

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

An Evening with Nimrod Kamer & Friends
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St./ 7PM, $6+

“Better to be blacklisted than to not be on the list at all.”

Some people are obsessively invested in climbing the social ladder. Author, satirist, comedy writer, and journalist Nimrod Kamer undermines this from within by inserting himself in political and celebrity events. His resume of shamelessness includes: Uber trolling, penetrating members clubs, and blackmailing Kanye West. He has pestered the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Pierce Brosnan, and numerous other celebrities. In THE SOCIAL CLIMBER’S HANDBOOK: A Shameless Guide, Kamer collects his findings, so you too can learn the ropes of his mischievous trade.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Elsewhere, but this is ice cream, surely worth the detour:
A Secret History of Ice Cream: Presented by Masters of Social Gastronomy
Caveat, 21 Clinton St./ 7PM, $12
“Historic gastronomist” Sarah Lohman tells the stories behind some favorite flavors, and some flavors left behind by time. Co-host Soma provides a look at the tricks of major manufacturers and the science behind making the perfect home batch.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

PATSY TARR IN CONVERSATION WITH ABBOTT MILLER
at McNally Jackson Books / 7 p.m., FREE
“Ms. Tarr, the publisher of 2wice Books, and Mr. Miller, who has designed her publications for the past three decades, join forces for a discussion. The talk coincides with the upcoming revised edition of “Mah Jongg: Crak, Bam, Dot,” created in homage to the tile-based game. But Ms. Tarr has a longtime love of dance, and the conversation will veer into such territory: Along with creating performance apps featuring dancers that give users the chance to choreograph, she has published dance-themed books and magazines, including the treasured “Dance Ink.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Harper’s Presents “How Bernie Won”
Book Culture on Columbus, 450 Columbus Ave./ 7PM, FREE
“Get an inside look at the Bernie Sanders presidential run from Jeff Weaver, Sanders‘ campaign manager, who has worked with the senator for over 30 years.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

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Continuing Events

NYC Restaurant Week  (July 23-August 17)
“The summer edition of NYC Restaurant Week has arrived. You can make reservations now for deals at 386 participating restaurants through August 17th. How can a ravenous New Yorker whittle down the choices? Depends on what you like. Among this year’s offerings are nearly a hundred American Traditional spots, followed by 86 Italian restaurants, dozens of steakhouses and French bistros and brasseries, nearly as many Mexican joints, a smattering of Chinese, Greek, Indian, seafood, soul food, vegetarian, and Vietnamese options, and two places with the nerve to identify as “eclectic.”

Weekday lunch specials are down a few dollars and a few calories. Twenty-six bucks now buys a two-course midday meal — nobody has time for dessert on a work day, anyway. Three-course dinners still run $42. These four weeks in the throes of summer are like a culinary leap year — free celestial time to be bold, take a risk and try something new. Realistically though, you’ve maybe got the time and money to try, what, like five of these places? And remember the bi-annual NYC Restaurant Week refrain: tax, tip, and drinks not included.’ (Thrillist)
Here are the best of the best.

Twelfth Night (July 17 – August 19)
Shakespeare Delacorte Theater, Central Park / 8PM, FREE* (the Bard is off on Mondays)
“This musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy began in 2016 as a one-weekend run under the auspices of the Public’s civically ambitious Public Works program, which collaborates with NYC communities to create large-scale theater. Director Kwame Kwei-Armah is joined by Public honcho Oskar Eustis to helm the production’s return engagement; Shuler Hensley and  Ato Blankson-Wood joins original cast members Nikki M. James, Andrew Kober and Shaina Taub—who also wrote the songs—alongside less seasoned actors and local residents.” (TONY)

*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.

Brasil Summerfest
Brazil’s beats and bites come to NYC
“Brasil Summerfest, the largest music and arts fest of its kind, returns this week with its biggest year yet and runs through Aug. 12. Starting off Sunday at the Hester Street Fair are DJs Gaspar Muniz and Greg Caz, as well as choro music by Regional de NY, samba by Manhattan Samba and drumming from Fogo Azul. Food will include traditional fare like churrasco, coxinhas, feijoada and more, plus beer and sparkling wine. It’s free for all ages.” (Metro)

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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 you may like:

Dime-Store Alchemy (Through Aug. 17)
“Drawing inspiration from the boxes of Joseph Cornell, this group show gathers artworks that array ordinary objects within cabinets or other types of containers. The theme is simple, but applied liberally and intelligently by the curator Jonathan Rider, it brims with reminders of the feats of transmutation that artists can perform.” (NYT-JILLIAN STEINHAUER)  Flag Art Foundation, 545 West 25th 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 07/28 and 07/26.

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