NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/11) + 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-August”
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:

MAVIS STAPLES AND JOE HENRY
at Damrosch Park / 7:30 p.m., FREE
“Starting as the biggest voice in the legendary R&B and gospel group the Staples Singers, Ms. Staples has spent the past 60 years making songs that aren’t just musically spectacular but iconic for their unflinching yet optimistic assessment of racism in America. From 1965’s “Freedom Highway,” a much-covered tribute to that year’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. (her father and the group’s leader, Pops Staples, was close with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), up to her most recent album, 2017’s “If All I Was Was Black,” Ms. Staples has crafted soundtracks for liberation.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

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8 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> In the Name of the Earth
>> THE BREEDERS AND SPEEDY ORTIZ
>> Rachel Tucker
>> Mark Morris Dance Group
>> Nicole Mitchell
>> Momix
>> Summer Streets
>> Play NYC
Continuing Events
>>
NYC Restaurant Week 
>>
Twelfth Night
>>
Brasil Summerfest 
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

In the Name of the Earth
Central Park, South of Harlem Meer / 3PM, FREE
“Alaska composer John Luther Adams presents the world premiere of In the Name of the Earth, an “on-site” work for 800 singers who will invoke the Earth, the Waters, and the Holy Wind through a litany of names — Tahoma, Klickitat, Wy’east, Shasta, Mojave, Tumanguya — imbued with spiritual power. Luther, who describes his new work as “my musical map of North America,” writes music that is slow, sensual, and so sublime that it exists somehow beyond understanding and leaves us trembling. It’s a political work, too, a transcendent response to a planet upon which “too many of us … live so heavily.” Listeners, who are encouraged to stroll around the Harlem Meer (or “small sea”), will find themselves surrounded by the colossal choir. This Mostly Mozart Festival event will be moved to St. John the Divine in the event of rain.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
THE BREEDERS AND SPEEDY ORTIZ
at the Prospect Park Bandshell / 7:30 p.m., FREE
“Formed by the Pixies bassist Kim Deal and best known for the 1993 noise-pop single “Cannonball,” the Breeders returned in 2018 with “All Nerve,” their first album in a decade. It’s a testament to Ms. Deal’s endurance, as she continues to release scuzzy, captivating rock through years of reunions, hiatuses and changing band lineups with both the Pixies and the Breeders. Currently, her identical twin sister, Kelley, is the lead guitarist; Josephine Wiggs is the bassist; and Jim Macpherson is the drummer — the same lineup that was responsible for the group’s biggest hits. Speedy Ortiz, the Breeders’ musical heir apparent, opens.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

Rachel Tucker (Aug.10-11)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $45+
“Northern Irish singer-actor Tucker has played Elphaba to widespread plaudits on Broadway and in the West End., and was a standout as the female lead in Sting’s short-lived 2014 musical, The Last Ship. Now she reprises her 2017 New York solo cabaret debut.” (TONY)

Mark Morris Dance Group (Aug.09-12)
Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $75+
“The redoubtable choreographer Mark Morris displays his precious resources at Lincoln Center this summer, including an expensive showing during August’s Mostly Mozart festival. From August 9 to 12, make your way to the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where the Mark Morris Dance Group performs a program including Morris’s Love Song Waltzes and the world premiere of The Trout, to the Schubert quintet played live by the Ariel Quartet, joined by pianist Inon Barnatan. Tickets for this are scarce already, so don’t dally.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice)

Nicole Mitchell  (Aug.7-11)
The Stone at the New School, 55 W. 13th St./ 8:30PM, $20
“The jazz Afrofuturist and radical utopian Nicole Mitchell — whose 2017 albums Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds and Liberation Narratives raised her profile considerably — kicks off a five-night residency Tuesday alongside fellow flutist Robert Dick. The duo’s minimalism should sage the stage for the more elaborate collaborations that will follow. Wednesday, for example, she pursues “Rhythmic Liberation” alongside Haitian electronic musician Val-Inc and Chicago Underground drummer Chad Taylor. Following a palate-cleansing duet with cellist Okkyung Lee on August 9, and as part of a trio with Emma Dayhuff (bass) and Maria Grand (saxophone) the following evening, Mitchell will reprise her “Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler” on August 11 with a quintet featuring saxophonist Darius Jones and vocalist Fay Victor. Inspired by the “Lilith’s Brood” trilogy, Mitchell translates Butler’s thematic complexities into intense heroic abstractions.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

Momix (Aug. 7 – 12)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 7:30PM, $45+
The troupe of acrobatic illusionists returns with another of its prop-laden greatest-hits samplers. As usual, though the performers’ physical skill impresses and many of the images beguile, the thinness of the ideas grows ever clearer and the tasteless music grates. Three local premières stick to the group’s formula: cartoon cowboys with limbs of strange length, costumes made of paper or equipped with pulsing rods of light.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

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

Summer Streets (3 Saturdays in August)
Park Avenue up to Central Park / 7am-1pm, FREE
“Enjoy 7 miles of car-free roadways. The route winds from the Brooklyn Bridge to the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park, spanning Centre Street, Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue. There will be five “rest stops” with free activities, including a 165-feet-long zip line at Foley Square and an 8-feet-tall bouldering wall at Astor Place. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the open road with rented bicycles, roller skates or handcycles. The programming also includes cultural activities such as live music, kid-friendly art workshops and walking tours of Park Avenue architecture. There will also be water fountains and concession stands providing sustenance along the way.” (amNY)

Play NYC
Manhattan Center / $33 on Saturday, $28 on Sunday, with two separate sessions held each day (10AM & 3PM)
Game on, New York.
Play NYC, an interactive games convention for both players and creators, returns for the second year in midtown this weekend. Organized by Playcrafting, which touts itself as “the largest network of game developers in New York,” games of all types are playable at the con.

“We launched Play NYC last year to really give New York its own full-scale, all-games convention, and we delivered on it,” said Dan Butchko, founder and CEO of Playcrafting.

Describing Play NYC as a “carnival of games” that’s welcoming to both hard-core gamers and families looking for a fun outing, Butchko said the Manhattan Center will assume hosting duties through 2020 after last year’s Terminal 5 debut. After attracting an estimated 5,000 people last year and selling out the first day, the event moved to the larger venue, which can handle up to 10,000 visitors. More than 300 developers, publishers and streamers will be running booths, all featuring playable games.” (amNY)

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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  (thru Aug. 12)
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 08/09 and 08/07.

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