NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/23) + 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:

Count Basie Orchestra (Aug.23-25)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $40+
“2015 marked the 80th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra. William J. “Count” Basie (1904-1984) started his orchestra in Kansas City in 1935 and proceeded to develop one of the greatest jazz groups in history.

Under Basie’s leadership — with a strong commitment to making sure every tune was danceable — the orchestra featured many of the greatest instrumentalists and vocalists in jazz including Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Joe Jones, Joe Williams, Snooky Young, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, and many more. They played for Kings and Queens, appeared in movies and television shows, and won 18 Grammy® Awards, the most for any orchestra. Today, under the leadership of director, Scotty Barnhart, The Count Basie Orchestra is traveling the world, swinging and shouting the blues with precision, in Count Basie’s unmistakable style of Kansas City swing.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Soukous All Stars – Music Stars of the Congo Basin
>> Zenizen
>> Daniel Reichard: Summer Playlist
>> Harold Mabern
>>  Michael Feinstein and Christine Ebersole:
>> Bill Frisell
>> Indie Beauty Expo
Continuing Events
>> 2018 U.S. Open Fan Week
>> Fear & Force: New York City’s Sons of Liberty
>> Candytopia
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Soukous All Stars – Music Stars of the Congo Basin
Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Join several generations of music stars from the Congo basin for a night of soukous, the fast-paced, highly danceable fusion of traditional Congolese melodies and Afro-Cuban rhythms. With guitars, percussion, vocals, and dancers, this 12-piece band shakes up the Atrium with the infectious dance music that has thrilled revelers from Kinshasa to Nairobi to Paris.”

Summer Thursdays: Zenizen
The Museum of Modern Art, Sculpture Garden
Free with Museum admission / 5:30–8:00 p.m.
Live music begins at 6:30 p.m.
“Pitchfork describes Zenizen as “a Brooklyn-based band that fuses soul, jazz, R&B, and rock into songs that celebrate both hedonism and mindfulness.” Band leader and songwriter Opal Hoyt sees the project as one “where I’m in control of a lot of elements but can bring in badass musicians to take the helm and make this their own too.”

Hoyt is invested in all things soulful and counts Minnie Riperton, Mariah Carey, and London nu-jazz as major influences. After a sojourn in Australia to write and record a debut EP, she is back in New York playing shows and working on the band’s first album.”

Daniel Reichard: Summer Playlist (Aug.23-25)
Birdland / 7PM, $40
“The sleek original costar of Broadway’s Jersey Boys—who has been touring the country with his erstwhile bandmates from that show, in a group called the Midtown Men—helps cure the summertime blues with a new set that ranges from Broadway and 1960s rock to contemporary radio hits. Musical director Jesse Vargas leads the backup band.” (TONY)

Harold Mabern (Aug. 21-26.)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM +10:30PM, $35
“This fluent and eminently soulful pianist is no stranger to New York clubs, but it’s always an event when he appears at this hallowed venue. A Memphis transplant who carried his deep blues roots up North with him in the early sixties, Mabern will be supported by two trusted associates: the bassist John Webber and the drummer Joe Farnsworth.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

 Michael Feinstein and Christine Ebersole: Two For the Road (Aug.21-31)
54 Below / 7PM, $85+
“Feinstein, the popular and polished standard-bearer of American song, returns to the club that bears his name for a long run that teams him with one of the best cabaret performers out there: Broadway leading lady Ebersole (Grey Gardens), who is equally skilled at comedy and sentiment and who moves with ease between her lustrous belt and legit soprano. Among the selections in their Great American Songbook–centered set are “Stormy Weather,” “Time After Time” and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” (TONY)

Bill Frisell (Aug.21-25)
The Stone / 8:30PM, $20
“Guitarist Bill Frisell, the cowlick on the towhead of jazzy Americana, begins a five-night residency devoted to duets with drummers. It’s a smart move: His floating, twanging, looping, and harmonically allusive style provides the perfect background for percussive pageantry. Frisell begins Tuesday alongside Gerald Cleaver, a drummer rooted in Detroit’s hard-bop heritage who can go just about anywhere. Kenny Wollesen, Frisell’s exquisitely laid-back drummer in a longtime trio with bassist Tony Scherr, joins him Wednesday for a set that may include some of Wollesen’s own percussion inventions. Expect fireworks August 23, when Andrew Cyrille brings his pioneering outside handiwork to the table. Johnathan Blake, who’s played with everyone from Robert Glasper and Oliver Lake to rapper Q-Tip and singer Monday Michiru, and man-machine Mark Guiliana, who played on Bowie’s Blackstar, fill out this ingenious week of strings and things that go bump in the night.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

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

Indie Beauty Expo
Pier 36, 299 South St./ $39 to $195, 5 to 9 p.m.
“Beauty gurus, listen up. More than 240 indie beauty, wellness and lifestyle brands from all around the world are going to be in one place this week (O’o Hawaii, Julie Mollo!, Moon Bath, Ikoo and Plant Apothecary among others). The expo, which will have exclusive show specials such as gifts with purchase, upgrades and discounts, will give shoppers an opportunity meet brand founders and other beauty lovers while getting a first look at the newest products.” (amNY)

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Continuing Events

2018 U.S. Open Fan Week (Aug.21-26)
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park /
“There’s going to be a lot of racket (swinging) at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park come August 27 during the U.S. Open, a two-week tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. Tickets for the usually star-studded matches (Bey and Jay-Z attended in recent years) tend to be steep ($65 to $100 for the cheap seats), but you can attend free of charge during U.S. Open Fan Week.

Just one week before the professional matches begin, head to the National Tennis Center to watch a qualifying tournament, where 128 women and 128 men compete. You can also check out the top dogs in tennis practice on the grounds (think Serena and Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal), and be just a few feet away from your favorite players. There’s even more tennis-related activities scheduled off the court, too. Get pumped for New York’s major summer sporting showdown during the U.S. Open Experience on Wednesday, August 22 and Thursday, August 23 at Brookfield Place. Players and special guests will make appearances and pose for selfies, and there will be food sampling and more sponsor-related activities at the scene. The event promises to be more fun than you can shake a racket at!” (TONY)

For a wonderful guide to the U.S. Open, try TimeOutNewYork’s guide.

Fear & Force: New York City’s Sons of Liberty
Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St./ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, $7
“We may not like paying taxes, but we would never think to tar and feather the tax collector. Yet as many of the colonists prepared for what would be the American Revolution, there was an organized group who opposed the government through violent resistance. Come see objects preserved from pivotal moments relating to the New York Sons of Liberty, like the tearing down of the King George statue in Bowling Green Park, and throwing chests of tea into the New York Harbor.”

Candytopia (thru Nov.15)
Candytopia @ Penn Plaza, 145 W. 32nd St./ 10AM-8:30PM, $34
“This interactive candy exhibit, which has drawn the likes of Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, James Corden and Wiz Khalifa from California, has more than a dozen rooms and art installations including a swimming pool filled with about half a million giant marshmallows; unicorn-pig hybrids that fart confetti; a candy-covered Sphinx sculpture; and candy recreations of such artworks as the “Mona Lisa,” Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and Rodin’s “The Thinker.” (amNY) &  (amNY)
DIVE INTO A HUGE MARSHMALLOW PIT AT CANDYTOPIA
“First it was in Los Angeles, and now it’s made its way to the east coast. Candytopia is officially open in NYC! Just like many other pop-ups, this one has uniquely designed rooms — except this one is all about candy. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to snag a ticket and enjoy the marshmallow pit and candy-filled rooms.” (bestproducts.com)

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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:

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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 08/21 and 08/19.

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