NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/23) + 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.

==========================================================

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Sonnambula
Hear medieval Spanish holiday music at the Met Cloisters (a perfect setting)
“The Renaissance ensemble Sonnambula is putting on a pair of performances imbued with holiday spirit at the Met’s dedicated space for the culture and art of medieval Europe. All the music comes from the Cancionero Musical de Palacio manuscript, Spanish music written prior to the 16th century.”
WHEN | WHERE 1 and 3 p.m. 99 Margaret Corbin Dr., Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan
INFO $65 (includes museum admission); 212-923-3700, metmuseum.org (Newsday)

=========================================================

7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> COUNTDOWN 2019: JOHN COLTRANE FESTIVAL
>> Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
>> BARRY HARRIS TRIO
>> HOUSTON PERSON
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> FREDDY COLE QUARTET FEATURING JOEL FRAHM 

>> Kenny Barron Trio
Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes

===================================================

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

COUNTDOWN 2019: JOHN COLTRANE FESTIVAL
(Dec. 21-30 and Jan. 1-6; will be 7, 9 and 10:30 p.m.;
Dec. 31, 6:30 and 9:45 p.m.).
at Smoke / $45
“Smoke is uptown Manhattan’s trustiest home for world-class, straight-ahead jazz; the venue also runs its own in-house record label. For the next two and a half weeks, it will present a festival featuring all-star groups made up of some famed performers who typically grace its stage, and its albums. This Friday through Sunday, a quintet featuring the trumpeter Eddie Henderson and the pianist George Cables will play. From Monday through Wednesday, it’s another heavy-hitting five-piece, this time guided by the bassist Buster Williams and the drummer Louis Hayes. From Thursday through Jan. 2, the pianist Harold Mabern will lead his quartet. Throughout the festival, there will be separate performances at 11:45 p.m. and 12:45 a.m. each night, New Year’s Eve being the only exception. From Friday through Thursday, the pianist and vocalist Johnny O’Neal will play these midnight sets; for the rest of the festival, they will feature the pianist Marc Cary and his Harlem Sessions ensemble.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
at the Joyce Theater / 3PM, $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)

BARRY HARRIS TRIO (Dec.24,7 p.m.)
at Dizzy’s Club / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $40
“A tireless advocate for bebop and an unfailingly entertaining improviser, Harris has been a stalwart jazz pianist, organizer and educator since the 1960s. Now 89, Harris appears at Dizzy’s in a trio featuring the bassist Ray Drummond and the drummer Leroy Williams.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

HOUSTON PERSON
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $30 (may need to try late set)
“A rollicking tenor saxophonist with his feet firmly planted in the soul-jazz tradition, Person improvises with great fluency and creativity — treating blues clichés as valid ingredients, but mixing in plenty of lyrical originality as well. A former collaborator with Horace Silver, Etta Jones and Jack McDuff, he appears here in a quartet featuring Lafayette Harris on piano, Matthew Parrish on bass and Vince Ector on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 3PM, +7:30PM, $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)

FREDDY COLE QUARTET FEATURING JOEL FRAHM  (thru Dec.25)
at Birdland / 8:30 and 11 p.m.; $50
“Cole will never fully escape the shadow of his brother, Nat King Cole, who died in 1965 at age 45. But the younger Cole — also a pianist and singer with a low, lambent voice and a repertoire that centers on romantic balladry — has become a popular performer in his own right, particularly over the past few decades. He plays here in a quartet featuring Frahm, a luminous tenor saxophonist. On Dec. 24 and 25, the young vocalist Veronica Swift will join as a second special guest.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

This may be heresy, but I like Freddy’s voice just as much as his brother’s wonderful voice.

Kenny Barron Trio (LAST DAY)
Village Vanguard / 8:30, +10:30PM, $35 (may need to try standby)
“In 2001, the pianist Kenny Barron and the violinist Regina Carter released “Freefall,” a duet recording that found these two unleashed virtuosos romping through a program of standards and open improvisation. Carter, in a less intimate but equally stimulating setting, joins Barron’s immaculately crafted trio, featuring the bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and the drummer Johnathan Blake.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

=========================================================

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

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

=======================================================

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)
=============================================

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

==============================================

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.”

“Along with the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the Rockettes’s “Christmas Spectacular” is one of New York’s most colorful and popular holiday traditions. An army of beaming beauties in candy-cane colors participate in eight dance numbers that range from tap dancing to that famous razor-sharp kick line and other merry scenes of highly synchronized prancing. In a new ending this year, the dancers get aerial reinforcement from a unit of blinking drones.” (NYT- Brian Schaefer)

==========================================================================
♦ 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.

=====================================================
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.”

=========================================================

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

===============================================================================

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) “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)

Charles White: A Retrospective (thru Jan.13, 2019)
“White insisted. “It can’t simply mirror what’s taking place. … It must ally itself with the forces of liberation.” Over the course of his four-decade career, White’s commitment to creating powerful images of African Americans—what his gallerist and, later, White himself described as “images of dignity”—was unwavering. Using his virtuoso skills as a draftsman, printmaker, and painter, White developed his style and approach over time to address shifting concerns and new audiences. In each of the cities in which he lived over the course of his career—Chicago, New York, and, finally, Los Angeles—White became a key figure within a vibrant community of creative artists, writers, and activists.”

‘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)

==============================================================
For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/21 and 12/19.
============================================================

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s