NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/15) + 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-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:

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
at the Joyce Theater / 3PM, +8PM, $45+
“The all-male Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, which will be at the Joyce through Dec. 30, is cherished, mostly, for its drag jokes: the beefy thighs under the tulle skirts, the chest hair peeping out over the bodices. But the company’s erudition should also be noticed. In its version of the underwater scene from the 1864 piece “Little Humpbacked Horse,” you can see all manner of sea life—corals, squid, starfish—in dainty configurations: rosettes of emboîtés (the box step), lines of pas de cheval (the prancing step). Underneath the guys in tutus, it’s that kind of thing that makes for the comedy and, not seldom, the serious art of the Trocks.” (Joan Acocella, NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Joe Farnsworth Quartet
>> La Traviata
>> Cyrus Chestnut Trio
>> Luciana Souza
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Handel’s Messiah
>> CHARLES LLOYD & THE MARVELS
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

Joe Farnsworth Quartet (Dec.14-16)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $25-$40
With pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Gerald Cannon, drummer Joe Farnsworth, and tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton.

“Joe Farnsworth is regarded as one of the top jazz drummers in the world, but as far as he is concerned, he is just getting started. Farnsworth is dedicated to the great tradition of jazz drumming as conceived by artists like Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, and Arthur Taylor, with whom he studied. A true jazz mainstay, Farnsworth has left his indelible mark on more than 70 albums with such diverse musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Horace Silver, Diana Krall, and Benny Golson. Tonight’s performance features Farnsworth’s regular group of elite musicians, a prestigious band including Harold Mabern, Gerald Cannon, and Eric Alexander.”

La Traviata (next Dec.18, 7:30PM)
The Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera House / 1PM, $20+
“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.”

Cyrus Chestnut Trio (Dec.13-16)
Smoke Jazz Club /
“Although his most recent album, “Kaleidoscope,” finds Cyrus Chestnut reconfiguring compositions by Erik Satie and Deep Purple, it’s safe to say that this mainstay pianist—a passionate stylist who is deeply informed by the spirit of gospel music—will dip into a roomier jazz repertoire at this engagement. He’s joined by the album’s rhythm team: Eric Wheeler on bass and Chris Beck on drums.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Luciana Souza (Dec.14-16.)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $30
Poetry has always been the marrow of the gifted singer Luciana Souza’s art. Her latest recording, “The Book of Longing,” adapts work by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, and, in his literary guise, Leonard Cohen, amid Souza’s apposite originals. Here, she reunites with the guitarist Chico Pinheiro and the bassist Scott Colley, both of whom brought their own poetic grace to the project.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 2PM, +8PM, $30+
“This troupe continues its run at City Center with its “Three Visionaries” program, opening on Friday. It spotlights dances created by the artistic directors who have presided over the company since its formation in 1958: Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison and Robert Battle. From Jamison, the artistic director emerita, are excerpts from “Divining” and “Forgotten Time.” Battle, its current artistic director, offers “Mass” and “Ella,” and from Ailey, its founder, there are the classics “Cry” and “Revelations.” Another program pick is “Timeless Ailey” (on Saturday), a presentation of rarely seen Ailey dances, including “Pas de Duke” and “The Lark Ascending.” Both are gems.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Handel’s Messiah (LAST DAY)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $67+
“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.”

CHARLES LLOYD & THE MARVELS
at the Rose Theater / 8 p.m., $40+
“Lloyd, a tenor saxophone luminary and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, maintains Zen-like control, whether searing through a climactic solo or playing a smoothly searching melody at medium tempo. It’s a skill he’s had since the mid-1960s, when he was briefly hailed as jazz’s next great crossover star (he eschewed the spotlight soon after). In the last few years, he has released a series of winning albums on Blue Note, including this year’s “Vanished Gardens,” featuring his country-tinged band the Marvels, joined by the vocalist Lucinda Williams. They will play repertoire from that album at this two-night run at Jazz at Lincoln Center.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

Some bonus Brooklyn stuff.

See where the bubbles are made
“Egg creams and other seltzer-based drinks used to be huge in Brooklyn, but today there’s only one seltzer company left in Brooklyn still making fizzy goodness. Tour the Gomber Seltzer Works with the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys and the City Reliquary (then check out their vintage seltzer bottle collection) and learn all about the process and business of fizz — and yes, there’s an egg cream for everyone. Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m., 855 E. 92nd St., Brooklyn, $25, artful.ly”

Find a perfect handmade gift
“The best of Etsy, the ultimate online indie craft market, comes to the brick-and-mortar world inside the Brooklyn Historical Society with more than 60 vendors selling everything from natural beauty products to handmade clothing and more. Dec. 15-16, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, free, handmadecavalcade.com” (Metro)

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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 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

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

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 is one exhibition the New Yorker likes:

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 12/13 and 12/11.

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