NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/25) + 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:  February NYC Events”
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.
To make your own after dinner plans TONIGHT, see the tab above;  “LiveMusic.”

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

JOHN MELLENCAMP (Feb. 25-27)
Beacon Theater / 8 p.m.; $55+
“This legendary rock singer and songwriter is best known for his ability to capture the heartland — as he describes in his biggest hit, “Jack & Diane” — in accessible, catchy songs. But since his 1980s heyday, Mellencamp has shed most of the trappings of commercial rock (including his myriad stage names) in favor of more straightforward blues arrangements courtesy of the super-producer T Bone Burnett. For his latest album, 2018’s “Other People’s Stuff,” Mellencamp produces and performs, revisiting a number of covers he had previously recorded in the rootsy style that is now his signature.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> BRITTANY ANJOU
>> Matthew Shipp Trio
>> RAMY YOUSSEF & FRIENDS

>> The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party 
>> The Astonishing Truth about Exercise and the Brain w/ Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki
>> Upgrade Your Brain, Body + Life

Continuing Events 
>> NYC Beer Week
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

BRITTANY ANJOU
at Le Poisson Rouge / 8 p.m.; $15-$20
“This pianist just released “Enamigo Reciprokataj,” a debut album with a double meaning: Translated from Esperanto, its title can mean “Reciprocal Love” or “Mutual Breakdown.” It makes sense that Anjou would speak in double-entendre, in a language that’s at once universal and abstruse. The album is full of broadly sourced melodies that are bright and lyrical and quick, and work by their own clever logic. (She has studied jazz in New York, Western classical in Prague, and gyil music in Ghana; she’s currently an artist in residence at Kuwait’s Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center opera house.) Anjou celebrates the release of “Enamigo Reciprokataj” with Greg Chudzik on bass and Shirazette Tinnin on drums. The bassist Ari Folman-Cohen will participate as a special guest.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Matthew Shipp Trio
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“Singular pianist Matthew Shipp returns with his trio to celebrate the release of the group’s anticipated new album, Signature. Shipp is a daring composer and improviser who is well-versed in jazz tradition and theory but also draws from the world of contemporary classical music, leaning towards a modern dissonance that ranges from playful to aggressive. The ensuing moments of clarity and resolution in his music make it all-the-more stirring thanks to this thoughtful contrast. Tonight’s trio, featuring his regular bandmates Michael Bisio and Newman Taylor Baker, promises a powerful and unpredictable journey through sound that must be heard—and felt—to be understood. Shipp’s music respectfully challenges the listener but also makes it impossible to turn away, resulting in a uniquely rewarding and engaging experience for the audience.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

RAMY YOUSSEF & FRIENDS
at Union Hall / 7:30 p.m.; $10
This may be your last chance to see this young comedian headline a live show before he becomes a streaming-TV star. “Ramy,” his semi-autobiographical sitcom about growing up as a first-generation Muslim American in New Jersey, debuts this spring on Hulu. Youssef and his funny friends hold court at this cherished comedy basement club in Park Slope, Brooklyn.” (NYT-Sean L. McCarthy)

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave. South (btw W11th/Perry St.) / 8:30Pm +10:30PM, $35
World class big band with 16 members on that small stage, a monday night institution.
“Almost exactly half a century ago, the trumpeter-composer-arranger Thad Jones and the drummer Mel Lewis began their Monday-night big band residency at the Village Vanguard, establishing what became a hallowed tradition.” (NYT)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party (Cabaret)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St. (btw 8/9 ave) / 9:30PM, $30
the witty host attracts broadway stars on their night off, along with up and comers.
“Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

The Astonishing Truth about Exercise and the Brain w/ Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki
The New York Society for Ethical Culture, Adler Study, Room 514 / 6:30PM, FREE
“Dr. Suzuki will describe the neuroscience behind why physical activity is the most transformative lifestyle change that you can make for your brain today. Dr. Suzuki is a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University. Her major research interest is brain plasticity. She is best known for her extensive work studying areas in the brain critical for our ability to form and retain new long-term memories. More recently her work has focused on understanding how aerobic exercise can be used to improve learning, memory and higher cognitive abilities in humans.”

Upgrade Your Brain, Body + Life
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave./ 7PM, $25
“The facts are in: Stress can make us sick, slow, and stupid. Join Emily Fletcher, founder of Ziva Meditation, and Max Lugavere, a filmmaker and health and science journalist, for an in-depth panel on how to upgrade your two most valuable assets: your body and your brain. Emily is an expert on meditation for peak performance and has been named one of the top women in wellness in America. Max is host of the health podcast The Genius Life and author of The New York Times best-selling book Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life.”

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Continuing Events

NYC Beer Week (Feb. 23-March 2)
The best week for craft beer lovers
“The NYC Brewers Guild’s annual celebration of all things hops, malt and a little madness, NYC Beer Week, returns with over 60 breweries taking part in more than 150 events, from walk-around tastings to tap takeovers, brewer talks and pairing dinners. With beers brewed special for the festival, it’s a chance to taste things you won’t find anywhere else in the company of people who love one thing above all else”. (Metro)

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 Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
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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♦ 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 65 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:

This trend-spotting group show, which is more than the sum of its uneven parts, registers a seismic shift from abstraction to representation among ambitious painters. It pertains to a mode, if not merely a mood, of handling images—be they realist, imagined, or appropriated—with some ratio of self-conscious deliberateness (not Expressionist) and shoot-the-works feeling (irony-free). The notion extends a magnetic field from a nocturnal cityscape by the chronically underrated poetic realist Lois Dodd, ninety-one years old, to a dreamily blurred floral still-life by the mid-career German Michael Krebber and a lividly harsh self-portrait by a tyro Italian, Giangiacomo Rossetti. Elizabeth Peyton shines with an agitated portrait, and so does Gillian Carnegie, with one that is uncannily calm. All the show’s artists impress as experimentally sincere.” (

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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 02/23 and 02/21.

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