NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/19) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue

“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:

Megan Hilty
Live From Lincoln Center presents Stars in Concert
Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall / 7:30,9:30, $55+
“With an operatic voice range and sunny charm, Tony-nominated songstress Megan Hilty is the epitome of musical stardom. After making her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked opposite Idina Menzel to critical acclaim, Hilty went on to star in Noises Off, 9 to 5, and NBC’s musical drama Smash. For one night only, the multifaceted artist brings her immense talents and infectious charisma to the twinkling Appel Room with a versatile set of songs celebrating favorite musical-theater composers and classic standards.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Winter Rhythms 2018
>> The Magic Flute
>> Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
>> Pentatonix
>> Norm Lewis: Nutcracker Cool
>> Earthrise, Apollo 8
>> (Semi) Immersive Listening to EVERYTHING from this Year
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

Winter Rhythms 2018 (thru Dec.22)
Urban Stages / 7PM, +9PM, $30
“The tenth annual edition of Urban Stages’s cabaret festival comprises 22 shows, including sets devoted to Johnny Mercer, Madeline Kahn, Bea Lillie, Czechoslovak soprano Jarmila Novotná and the concept of hope. The starry December 17 performance, a celebration of Britwit Noël Coward, features Jim Dale, Jim Naughton, Jeff Harnar, Edward Hibbert, Simon Jones, Sidney Myer, Marissa Mulder, KT Sullivan, Eric Comstock and Coward lionizer Barry Day.” (TONY)

The Magic Flute (next Dec.22, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM
“Now a holiday tradition, Julie Taymor’s beloved production of Mozart’s enchanting fairy tale returns in its abridged, English-language version for families. Soprano Erin Morley, last seen at the Met as a brilliant Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, is the empowered Pamina, and tenor Ben Bliss is the valiant Tamino. Baritone Nathan Gunn is the comic birdcatcher Papageno, and soprano Kathryn Lewek reprises her hair-raising rendition of the malevolent Queen of the Night. Harry Bicket conducts.”

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
at the Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $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)

Pentatonix (Dec.18-20; Dec. 22)
Beacon Theatre, Broadway at 74th St./ 8PM, $65+
“The a-cappella group Pentatonix knows all about holiday cheer. Their first Christmas project, released in 2014, remains their highest-selling album, with their festive 2016 collection not far behind. In keeping with the tradition, this year’s “Christmas Is Here” runs the gamut of classics and pop-culture favorites, including a gorgeous cover of “When You Believe,” featuring Maren Morris, and an altogether jolly (and orchestral) version of “Jingle Bells.” The Grammy-winning quintet is nothing if not keenly aware of the unique and reliable power of a cappella to channel the energy of the season.” (Briana Younger, NewYorker)

Norm Lewis: Nutcracker Cool (thru Dec.22)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75+
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; in 2014, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his annual Christmas set at Feinstein’s/54 Below, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

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

Hayden Special Event: Earthrise, Apollo 8
American Museum of Natural History ,Central Park West at 79th St./ 4PM, FREE
“Fifty years ago our conception of the planet changed radically with the first visuals of earthrise above the Moon’s horizon. The American Museum of Natural History screens NASA’s short documentary about Apollo 8’s journey, augmented by the planetarium’s OpenSpace visualization software.” (ThoughtGallery)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

The Roast of 2018: (Semi) Immersive Listening to EVERYTHING from this Year
Nowadays, 56-06 Cooper Ave, Ridgewood / 7:30PM, $15
“Composer and conductor Whitney George leads a Think Olio session looking back at the year in pop music. An immersive listening session will also examine trends, narrative elements of music videos, and the criteria we use to separate quality from disposability.” (ThoughtGallery)

“What better way to celebrate the end of the year than with a review of the best (and the worst) of what’s happened musically in 2018. Composer/conductor Whitney George will put together a playlist that embodies the rollercoaster that was 2018 and we’ll ask that age-old question: what will withstand the test of time? Are there any potential classics that were introduced this year? What are some trends for 2019?” (ThoughtGallery)

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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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Bonus NYC events– Jazz Clubs:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. My favorite Jazz Clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide, feature top talent every night of the week.
Hit the Hot Link and check out who is playing tonight:

Greenwich Village:
(5 are underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – UG, 178 7th Ave. So., villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037 (1st 8:30)
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592 (1st set 8pm)
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883 (1st 7pm)
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346 (1st 8)
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346 (1st set 7:30pm)
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319 (6pm)

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595 (1st set 7:30pm)
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080 (1st 8:30pm)
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com/ 212-864-6662 (7pm)

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 (1st 7pm)
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 enjoyment and discovery.

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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WHAT’S ON VIEW
These are My Fave Special Exhibitions @ MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museum exhibitions,
and also see the expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Hilma af Klint : Paintings for the Future (thru 02/03/19)

“Convinced that the world was not ready for her artistry in 1906, particularly as an underrepresented female in her field, af Klint of Sweden kept her work private. Her paintings anticipated by years “breakthroughs” by Kandinsky, Mondrian and others and were unseen before 1986. The Guggenheim rediscovers her.”

“Recognized as one of the art world’s earliest abstract painters, Hilma af Klint was a steadfast believer that her work was inspired by the spiritual. The new Guggenheim exhibition, “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future,” showcases the work of this groundbreaking Swedish artist (1862-1944), whose work was rarely seen until the 1980s.” (Newsday)

See our art critic’s top pick of the year.
“Luckily, the number-one pick in Jerry Saltz’s best art shows of 2018 is still running. Hilma af Klint’s Paintings for the Future at the Guggenheim Museum examines the work of the unacknowledged Swedish visionary and makes a case for her being the first modernist abstract painter. Saltz is especially enamored with the first gallery, so make sure you spend some time there.” (NYMagazine)

Jewish Museum

‘CHAGALL, LISSITZKY, MALEVICH: THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE IN VITEBSK, 1918-1922’ (through Jan. 6). This crisp and enlightening exhibition, slimmed but not diminished from its initial outing at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, restages the instruction, debates and utopian dreaming at the most progressive art school in revolutionary Russia. Marc Chagall encouraged stylistic diversity at the short-lived People’s Art School in his native Vitebsk (today in the republic of Belarus), and while his dreamlike paintings of smiling workers and flying goats had their defenders, the students came to favor the abstract dynamism of two other professors: Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky, whose black and red squares offered a radical new vision for a new society. Both the romantics and the iconoclasts would eventually fall out of favor in the Soviet Union, and the People’s Art School would close in just a few years — but this exhibition captures the glorious conviction, too rare today, that art must serve the people. (NYT-Farago)

‘SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION’  “After a surgical renovation to its grand pile on Fifth Avenue, the Jewish Museum has reopened its third-floor galleries with a rethought and refreshed display of its permanent collection, which intermingles modern and contemporary art, by Jews and gentiles alike — Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, and the excellent young Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze — with 4,000 years of Judaica. The works are shown in a nimble, non-chronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilletantish. But always, the Jewish Museum conceives of art and religion as interlocking elements of a story of civilization, commendably open to new influences and new interpretations.” (Farago) 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org

Museum of the City of New York

NY AT ITS CORE (ongoing)
“Ten years in the making, New York at Its Core tells the compelling story of New York’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” The exhibition captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other and a subject of fascination the world over. Entertaining, inspiring, important, and at times bemusing, New York City “big personalities,” including Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, Jay-Z, and dozens more, parade through the exhibition. Visitors will also learn the stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Italian immigrant Susie Rocco. Even animals like the horse, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster, which played pivotal roles in the economy and daily life of New York, get their moment in the historical spotlight. Occupying the entire first floor in three interactive galleries (Port City, 1609-1898, World City, 1898-2012, and Future City Lab) New York at Its Core is shaped by four themes: money, density, diversity, and creativity. Together, they provide a lens for examining the character of the city, and underlie the modern global metropolis we know today. mcny.org” (NYCity Guide)

and you should be sure to check out these special exhibitions at that little museum on Fifth Ave., The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(open 7 days /week, AND always Pay What You Wish for NewYorkers)

‘ARMENIA!’ (through Jan. 13). The first major museum exhibition ever devoted to the art of Armenia — officially its “medieval” era, but in fact spanning nearly 1,500 years — bulges with weighty stone crosses, intricate altar frontals and flamboyantly illuminated Bibles and Gospel books unlike any manuscripts you’ve seen from that time. Armenia, in the Caucasus Mountains, was the first country to convert to Christianity, in the fourth century, and the richly painted religious texts here, lettered in the unique Armenian alphabet, are a testament to the centrality of the church in a nation that would soon be plunged into the world of Islam. By the end of the Middle Ages, Armenian artists were working as far afield as Rome, where an Armenian bishop painted this show’s most astounding manuscript: a tale of Alexander the Great that features the Macedonian king’s ship swallowed by an enormous brown crab, hooking the sails with its pincers as its mouth gapes. (NYT-Jason Farago)

Delacroix  (Now-1/6/19)
“This is the first comprehensive U.S. retrospective of the work of French artist Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863). The Met has teamed up with The Louvre, showcasing in chronological order some 150 pieces, including paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and prints.” (cityguideny)

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Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Eight museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:
• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio (closed Sun-Mon)*
• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York (open 7 days /week)
•  92nd Street – The Jewish Museum (closed Wed) (Sat FREE) (Thu 5-8 PWYW)
•  91st Street  –  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (open 7 days /week)
•  89th Street –  National Academy Museum (closed Mon-Tue)
•  88th Street –  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (closed Thu) (Sat 6-8 PWYW)
•  86th Street –  Neue Galerie New York (closed Tue-Wed) (Fri 6-8 FREE)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
•  82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (open 7 days /week)*
*always Pay What You Wish (PWYW) for NewYorkers

Although technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection (closed Mon) (Wed 2-6pm PWYW; First Friday each month (exc Jan+Sep) 6-9pm FREE) on the corner of 70th St. and Fifth Avenue and the The Morgan Library & Museum (closed Mon) (Fri 7-9 FREE) on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave.
Now plan your own museum crawl (info on hours & admission updated June 2, 2015).
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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/17 and 12/15.
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