NYC Events,”Only the Best” (04/09) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

“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:  “APRIL 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.
OR 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:

MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY
at the Joyce Theater / 7PM, $45+
“A century ago, the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was submitted to the states for ratification. In honor of that anniversary, the Graham company presents the EVE Project, a robust collection of work from several generations of female choreographers, spread over a half-dozen programs. There are Graham classics, like “Herodiade,” “Errand Into the Maze” and “Chronicle,” as well as pieces by Annie-B Parson and Lucinda Childs. Two new works will be introduced, too: one by Pam Tanowitz and one by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Julien Labro & the Chanson Experiment
>> SFJAZZ Collective
>> Keren Ann w/ Chris Garneau
>> AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
>> James Carter Organ Trio
>> Jeff Tweedy
>> Don Giovanni

Continuing Events
>> SOUNDTRACK OF AMERICA
>> STREB

COMING SOON (WFUV)
4/9 Charlotte Gainsbourg, Brooklyn Steel
4/10 Melissa Etheridge, Town Hall
4/10 The Wallflowers & Mott the Hoople, Beacon Theatre

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Julien Labro & the Chanson Experiment
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“Julien Labro is one of the most in-demand accordionists for a wide range of bandleaders, from straight-ahead jazz to music from around the world. The Chanson Experiment, Labro’s most recent project, is an exploration of his French roots. In this program he composes and arranges traditional French chansons with a 21st century perspective, bringing a modern harmonic sophistication to the heart-on-your-sleeve themes. The accordion, the cornerstone of the French chanson, shines bright at the forefront of this program thanks to Labro’s jaw-dropping virtuosity. Enjoy Labro’s adventurous new project, which simultaneously embraces, challenges, and reimagines French classics for a contemporary audience.”

SFJAZZ Collective (April 9-14)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“The SFJAZZ Collective doesn’t waste its time on lightweights. Refashioning the work of the jazz master Miles Davis and the genius Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim, this eight-piece aggregate flaunts its stellar arranging chops and the star power of such soloists as the saxophonists David Sánchez and Miguel Zenón and the trumpeter Etienne Charles.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Keren Ann w/ Chris Garneau
City Winery / 8PM, $20-$25
“Keren Ann is an artist, singer-songwriter but also an artist who’s songs have been sung or performed by such eclectic and international artists : David Byrne, Iggy Pop, Luz Casal, Rosa Pasos, Anna Calvi, Jane Birkin, Henri Salvador ou Françoise Hardy.

In parallel of her records and numerous tours, she works on original soundtracks for films (La femme la plus assassinée du monde by Franck Ribière, among others) but also for theater or contemporary danse (Collaborations with choreographs Sharon Eval or Damien Jalet). Bleue is her 8th solo album.
Melancholy, Keren Ann and folk’s music fellow traveller, dominates in this new album where the artist tells the ephemeral. How love, attachment, as immense as it is, disintegrates and gets scuttled.”

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
at the Rose Theater / 7:30 p.m.; $45+
‘This fine, exuberant ensemble is led from the violin by Richard Tognetti, who also made two of the arrangements on this program, namely the first four fugues from Bach’s “The Art of Fugue,” and Beethoven’s mammoth Op. 130 quartet, with “Grosse Fuge” as its ending. Also on the bill is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, with Inon Barnatan at the keyboard.” (NYT-David Allen)

James Carter Organ Trio (April 9-13)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, 11:00PM, $30-$40
It’s been nearly thirty years since James Carter hit the scene as a rough and tough tenor with a heart of gold, but there’s still plenty of brawl left in the backstreet saxophonist. This lean, serrated trio, with organ and drums, is just the setting to hear Carter in all his swaggering glory.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Jeff Tweedy (Apr.8-9)
The Town Hall / 7:30PM, $45+
“Jeff Tweedy of Wilco plays two shows behind his second studio album WARM following his acoustic retrospective Together at Last (2017) and his band’s 2016 LP, cheekily titled Schmilco. The record sort of acts as a companion to Tweedy’s highly-praised memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) in which the scribe reflects on stories about his past, the formation of Wilco, his song-writing process, overcoming hardships and more. Expect a sprawling, deep set stacked with new and stellar tracks from WARM and hopefully a few classics.” (TONY)

Don Giovanni (next Apr.12, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $30+
“Baritone Peter Mattei and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni star as opera’s most notorious seducer in Mozart’s masterpiece of dark comedy. Cornelius Meister makes his Met debut conducting performances that also include sopranos Rachel Willis-Sørensen and Guanqun Yu as Donna Anna, sopranos Federica Lombardi and Susanna Phillips as Donna Elvira, and basses Ildar Abdrazakov and Adam Plachetka as Leporello.”

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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Continuing Events


SOUNDTRACK OF AMERICA
at the Shed
(April 9, 8:30 p.m.; through April 14).
“For its opening, this flashy new interdisciplinary arts space — a cultural counterweight to the surrounding commercial development in Hudson Yards — will host five nights of concerts honoring the influence of African-American musicians. Developed by the filmmaker Steve McQueen, the series aims to explore the story of black music in America from early spirituals to today’s diverse forms. To that end, the performances in the coming week feature artists such as the jazz pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste, the rappers Smino and Rapsody, the avant-pop cellist Kelsey Lu and the R&B singer Emily King.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

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STREB (weekends through May 12)
Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, 51 N. 1st St., Bklyn. / Sat.5PM, Sun.3PM; $25
“The shows that STREB Extreme Action puts on at its Williamsburg headquarters  have a carnival atmosphere, and not just because eating and drinking are encouraged. Will the Action Heroes, as the intrepid dancer-acrobats are styled, collide as they hurl themselves off a trampoline? Will they get whacked by swinging cinder blocks or huge metal contraptions? Probably not, but they want you to cringe. Their newest machine is the Molinette, a giant bar that revolves like the blade of a windmill.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

The Streb performers are absolutely amazing and so worth the detour.
I try to see them every year, can’t get enough.

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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 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:
(4 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)
The Stone at The New School – 55 w13 St. (btw 6/5 ave) – thestonenyc.com (8:30PM)

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)
Jazz Standard – 116 E27 St. (btw Park/Lex) – jazzstandard.com – (1st set 7:30)

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

In Memoriam:
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 surprised with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It was 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.
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319
And more recently we have lost Cornelia Street Cafe. After 41 years, it too became another victim of an unreasonable rent increase.

 

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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A PremierPub / Midtown West

Russian Vodka Room / 265 W 52nd St (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys,” just down the block.
(Alas, no more. After 10 years, “Jersey Boys” finally closed, now it’s “Mean Girls.”)

lThose in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler, but that’s later in the evening. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing American pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the happy hour goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room near the piano man; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).
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Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th St.
Walk 2 blk N. on B’way to 52nd St.; 1 blk W. to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the S. side of 52nd St.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. side of 52nd St.
Update: music now includes a younger, trimmer piano man. “Tiny” we miss you.

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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