NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/11) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s WestSide

“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-December”
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:

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.11-15)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $34+
“Presented by Gary W. Parr The Messiah of all Messiahs! The New York Philharmonic’s Messiah is the must-see, must-hear holiday event. Every bar of Handel’s greatest masterpiece — whether upon first encounter or at a yearly ritual — speaks to us with passion, beauty, spirituality, and joy. Dazzling solos, instrumental fireworks, and the most glorious choral writing of all time never fail to thrill.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
>> CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
>> Ikue Mori
>> La Traviata
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Taylor Mac: Holiday Sauce
>> CECIL TAYLOR MEMORIAL
Continuing Events
>>Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>>New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
at the Joyce Theater (Dec. 11-12, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 13, 8 p.m, through Dec. 30).
“This all-male troupe, dancing in point shoes and drag, has been honoring and skewering ballet since 1974. Now the formidable fellas in tutus return to the Joyce for a nearly three-week engagement with two programs. Program A includes their slapstick version of “Swan Lake, Act II” paired with a cheeky take on the 19th-century Petipa ballet “The Little Humpbacked Horse.” Program B features “ChopEniana,” a wink at Fokine, and “Stars and Stripes Forever,” an air kiss to Balanchine, set to the music of John Philip Sousa. Sure, it’s silly, but the dancing is impressively skillful, too.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
at Alice Tully Hall / 7:30PM, $75+
“The Chamber Music Society has long given performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos during the holiday season, and now that’s expanded into a larger Baroque project. Here the instrumental players are joined by the soprano Joélle Harvey in vocal music from Handel and Bach, as well as further pieces by Quantz and Vivaldi.” (NYT- David Allen)

Ikue Mori (Dec.11-15)
at the Stone, 55 W. 13th St. / 8:30PM, $20
“It’s hard to imagine New York’s experimental music scene—with its fertile mashup of avant rock, jazz, and new music—without the remarkable contributions of the percussionist and electronics visionary Ikue Mori. This residency finds her joining forces with her fellow sonic adventurers Mary Halvorson and Satoko Fujii as well as the luminaries John Zorn and Craig Taborn.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

La Traviata (next Dec.15, 1PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $37+
“Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Michael Mayer’s richly textured new production, featuring a dazzling 18th-century setting that changes with the seasons. Soprano Diana Damrau plays the tragic heroine, Violetta, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez returns to the Met for the first time in five seasons to sing the role of Alfredo, Violetta’s hapless lover. Baritone Quinn Kelsey is Alfredo’s father, Germont, who destroys their love. Later performances feature Anita Hartig, Stephen Costello, Artur Ruciński, and Plácido Domingo.”

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“In 1958, a small group of African-American dancers performed at the 92Y, and now, six decades later, that company is one of the largest and most popular modern dance troupes in the country. Still to come this season are works by Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang and a new two-act creation by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris called “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
    See a Sugar Plum-free ballet
“Skip The Nutcracker and its derivatives and catch the premiere weekend of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lazarus, instead. Hip-hop master Rennie Harris is the brains behind this two-act ballet, which addresses the racial inequality Ailey faced when he founded his dance company in 1958 — inequality that continues to plague America 60 years later.” (Thrillist)

Taylor Mac: Holiday Sauce
The Town Hall / 8PM, $51+
“A Fabergé radical—beautiful, ridiculous and full of hidden tricks—the sublimely freakish Mac pilots audiences through fantastical journeys, guided by the compass of his magnetic individuality. In the culmination of a five-year project, the writer-performer recently surveyed the past 250 years of American music in a 24-hour marathon that was immediately hailed as a history-making event in and of itself. At the Town Hall, with help from costume designer Machine Dazzle and music director Matt Ray, the 2017 MacArthur Fellow sleighs it with Christmas songs.” (TONY)

Elsewhere but this looks worth the detour, if you can get in:

CECIL TAYLOR MEMORIAL
at Roulette / 7 p.m., $wait list
“For the second week in a row, New York is mourning the loss of Cecil Taylor with a star-studded tribute concert. At this memorial event, presented by Arts for Art, the pianist and free-jazz pioneer — who died in April — will be celebrated with performances by dozens of musicians, including the drummer Andrew Cyrille, the pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, the alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and the trumpeter Jaimie Branch.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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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

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

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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: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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WHAT’S ON VIEW
My Fave Special Exhibitions – MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s WestSide
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museums,
and also to see their expanded reviews of exhibitions)

Whitney Museum of American Art

‘ANDY WARHOL — FROM A TO B AND BACK AGAIN’  (through March 31) and ‘SHADOWS’ at Calvin Klein Headquarters, 205 W. 39th Street (through Dec. 15). “Although this is the artist’s first full American retrospective in 31 years, he’s been so much with us — in museums, galleries, auctions — as to make him, like wallpaper, like the atmosphere, only half-noticed. The Whitney show restores him to a full, commanding view, but does so in a carefully shaped and edited way, with an emphasis on very early and late work. Despite the show’s monumentalizing size, supplemented by an off-site display of the enormous multipanel painting called “Shadows,” it’s a human-scale Warhol we see. Largely absent is the artist-entrepreneur who is taken as a prophet of our market-addled present. What we have instead is Warhol for whom art, whatever else it was, was an expression of personal hopes and fears.”  (Cotter)

Museum of Modern Art:

A special pat on the back to MOMA, who is now displaying art from the seven countries affected by Trump’s travel ban.

“Trump’s ban against refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations has sparked acts of defiance in NYC, from demonstrations across town, to striking taxicab drivers at JFK to Middle Eastern bodega owners closing their shops in protest. Recently, the Museum Of Modern added its two cents by bringing out artworks it owns from the affected countries, and hanging them prominently within the galleries usually reserved for 19th- and 20th-century artworks from Europe and the United States. Paintings by Picasso and Matisse, for example, were removed to make way for pieces by Tala Madani (from Iran), Ibrahim El-Salahi (from Sudan) and architect Zaha Hadid (from Iraq). The rehanging, which was unannounced, aims to create a symbolic welcome that repudiates Trump by creating a visual dialog between the newly added works and the more familiar objects from MoMA’s permanent collection.” (TONY)

‘BRUCE NAUMAN: DISAPPEARING ACTS’  (through Feb. 18)
“If art isn’t basically about life and death, and the emotions and ethics they inspire, what is it about? Style? Taste? Auction results? The most interesting artists go right for the big, uncool existential stuff, which is what Bruce Nauman does in a transfixing half-century retrospective that fills the entire sixth floor of the MoMA and much of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The MoMA installation is tightly paced and high decibel; the one at PS1, which includes a trove of works on paper, is comparatively mellow and mournful. Each location offers a rough chronological overview of his career, but catching both parts of the show is imperative. Nauman has changed the way we define what art is and what is art, and made work prescient of the morally wrenching American moment we’re in. He deserves to be seen in full.” (Cotter)

‘CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI SCULPTURE: THE FILMS’ (through Feb. 18).
“This show is built around works by the Romanian modernist (1876-1957) that have been longtime highlights of the museum’s own collection. But in 2018, can Brancusi still release our inner poet? The answer may lie in paying less attention to the sculptures themselves and more to Brancusi’s little-known and quite amazing films, projected at the entrance to the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition. MoMA borrowed the series of video clips from the Pompidou Center in Paris. They give the feeling that Brancusi was less interested in making fancy museum objects than in putting new kinds of almost-living things into the world, and convey the vital energy his sculptures were meant to capture.”(Blake Gopnik)

‘BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ: CITY DREAMS’ (through Jan. 1). “The first comprehensive survey of the Congolese artist is a euphoric exhibition as utopian wonderland featuring his fantasy architectural models and cities — works strong in color, eccentric in shape, loaded with enthralling details and futuristic aura. Mr. Kingelez (1948-2015) was convinced that the world had never seen a vision like his, and this beautifully designed show bears him out.” (NYT-Smith)
212-708-9400, moma.org

Rubin Museum of Art

Chitra Ganesh: The Scorpion Gesture (Through Jan. 7)
“The Brooklyn artist’s new animations ingeniously combine her own drawings and watercolors with historical imagery, peppering the journeys of bodhisattvas with contemporary pop-culture references. Five of these pieces are installed on the museum’s second and third floors amid its collection of Himalayan art, elements of which appear in her psychedelic sequences of spinning mandalas and falling lotus flowers. (Ganesh’s works are activated, as if by magic, when viewers approach.) In “Rainbow Body,” a cave, which also appears in a nearby painting of Mandarava, is filled with people in 3-D glasses, watching as the guru-deity attains enlightenment. “Silhouette in the Graveyard” is projected behind a glass case containing a small sculpture of Maitreya, from late-eighteenth-century Mongolia, for a cleverly dioramalike effect. Prophesied to arrive during an apocalyptic crisis, the bodhisattva is seen here against Ganesh’s montage, which includes footage of global catastrophes and political protests, from the Women’s March to Black Lives Matter.” (

‘THE FUTURE’ (through Jan. 7).
“It flies and flows and creeps. You measure it, spend it, waste it. It’s on your side, or it’s not. We’re talking about time, and so is the Rubin. It is devoting its entire 2018 season and all its spaces to time as a theme, with an accent on the future. There’s a fine historical show devoted to the Second Buddha, Padmasambhava (“lotus born”), subtitled “Master of Time.” Judging by the images and models of him, Padmasambhava was a genial, if mercurial, teacher, alternately baby-faced and beaming or stern in a nice-dad way. Before he moved on from the mortal realm to a mystical mountain palace, he left karmic extensions of himself called “treasure revealers” — also represented here in painting and sculpture — who reach from the past into the present to change the future. This era-leaping dynamic is operative in all parts of the Rubin’s multifloor thematic installation.” (Cotter)

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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/09 and 12/07.
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