NYC Events,”Only the Best” (04/11) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

“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:

THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS
at Bowery Ballroom / 8 p.m.; $22
“Because of their tightly woven harmonies and rockabilly influences, this band of brothers from Minneapolis has racked up comparisons to two of music’s most celebrated siblings: the Everlys. This year, the group, comprising Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, released “Easy Way,” a record that ever-so-slightly mussed up the clean-cut sound of their 2016 label debut, but maintained a sunny outlook and retro coziness. One highlight, “Got a Lotta Love,” was written with Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys. With its heart-on-its-sleeve lyrics, it illustrates their songwriting strategy. As Torrey told Rolling Stone, singing about love is “more attractive than singing about divisive subjects.”
(NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Arturo Sandoval
>> Stephen Petronio Company
>> Y LA BAMBA AND HABIBI
>> The Mason Brothers Quintet
>> James Carter Organ Trio
>> Are the Machines Taking Over? Artificial Intelligence Today and Tomorrow
>> Annual Celebration of the Library: “How the Voice Made Us Human”

Continuing Events
>> SOUNDTRACK OF AMERICA
>> STREB

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Arturo Sandoval (Apr.11-14)
Blue Note / 8PM, +10:30PM; $30-$45
“A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.

He is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and has been seen by millions at the Oscars, at the Grammy Awards, and the Billboard Awards.”

Stephen Petronio Company (Apr.11-13)
N.Y.U. Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Pl./
“Of late, modern and postmodern dance companies have been thinking about ways to preserve the legacy of American twentieth-century dance. Petronio, a former Trisha Brown dancer who founded his own company in the eighties, has joined this trend with his project “Bloodlines.” His dancers will perform Merce Cunningham’s “Tread” (1970), a lighthearted piece with a set of whirring fans designed by Bruce Nauman, and “Coverage” (1970), a solo by Rudy Perez, an experimental choreographer associated with the Judson Dance Theatre movement. Petronio’s new piece “American Landscapes” is a large-scale meditation on the American experience, with projected images by Robert Longo, set to a score developed by the composer Jozef Van Wissem in collaboration with Jim Jarmusch.’ (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

Elsewhere, but this one looks worth the detour:

Y LA BAMBA AND HABIBI
at BRIC House Ballroom / 8 p.m.; $18
The BRIC Sessions wrap up thier 2019 season with this terrific double bill of Y La Bamba (led by indie folk singer Luz Elena Mendoza) and garage pop band Habibi.

“Luz Elena Mendoza’s Mexican heritage has long informed her songwriting: As the frontwoman of Y La Bamba, she sings in both Spanish and English, taking cues from traditional musica mexicana as well as American folk songs and dream pop. Her band’s most recent album, “Mujeres,” grapples with what it means to be Mexican in the current political climate, and with the machismo entrenched in Mexican society. At this Brooklyn arts center, Y La Bamba share a bill with Habibi, another group for whom multicultural identity is a central concern. Their “Cardamom Garden” EP from last year was recorded partly in Farsi, celebrating their lead singer’s Iranian roots, and cultivated a distinctly American surf-rock vibe.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

The Mason Brothers Quintet
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“Brothers Brad and Elliot Mason share a truly unique musical bond and vision when performing together. Described as “one of the most important trombone voices of today’s generation,” Elliot is a longtime member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Brad has proven himself as one of New York’s highly respected trumpet players and educators. Their past several performances at Dizzy’s Club generated glowing reviews and increasing demand for a return performance, which we are excited to present tonight. For the first time at Dizzy’s, the Mason Brothers will perform a program of music written by all-time jazz greats John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Duke Ellington.”

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)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Are the Machines Taking Over? Artificial Intelligence Today and Tomorrow
Schafler Forum, 7 West 83rd St.(located in Congregation Rodeph Shalom) / 7-9PM, $95
Kartik Hosanagar / Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
“Whither free will? According to Wharton professor and tech entrepreneur Kartik Hosanager, technology is increasingly driving our associations, from dating to dining to staying informed. At a One Day University session, Hosanagar will reveal hidden biases and show how better understanding real AI can protect our own interests. Tickets include a copy of Hosanager’s new book, A Human’s Guide to Machine Intelligence: How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control.” (ThoughtGallery)

Annual Celebration of the Library: “How the Voice Made Us Human”
The New York Academy of Medicine,1216 Fifth Ave./ 6PM, FREE
“Although other animals communicate vocally, they can’t sculpt the sounds into language. Our amazing, naturally selected control over our breathing, our vocal cords, and our lips and tongue—resulting in the ability to communicate with spoken language—is what made a scattered band of small, biped primates in sub-Saharan Africa the dominant species on Earth. The theory of universal grammar, which sees language as a phenomenon that evolved for thought rather than communication, virtually erases the role of voice and speech in our evolution. In this talk, journalist and author John Colapinto will discuss his new book, which explains why this role is so important. All attendees are invited to a reception with the speaker after the event. Light refreshments will be served.”

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Continuing Events


SOUNDTRACK OF AMERICA
at the Shed  (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 – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Hit the Hot Link and 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. (btw 6/7), thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
Sony Hall – 235 W 46th St. (btw 7/8), sonyhall.com, 212-997-5123
and one more, not exactly 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.”

In Memoriam:
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.

See Below.
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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker St./W4th St.)

Café Vivaldi is a classic, intimate club located in Greenwich Village on Jones Street, the street featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s second album, “Freewheelin’. ”

maxresdefaultEach night Ishrat, the long time proprietor and impresario, carefully curates and schedules an eclectic series of musicians. You can often see him at his table in the corner, hard at work reviewing music videos and listening to cd demos on his laptop, scouting out future bookings. Musicians come from all over to play and sing in a club in Greenwich Village. Some are local New Yorkers, others are just passing through, in town for a few days.

There is a small bar, seating maybe 10. It’s close to the stage and I find it’s a perfect spot to sip a glass of red wine while listening to the music. The room itself has the performance area at one end and a cozy fireplace at the other. The performance area here is small, dominated by a large black Yamaha Grand piano. Tables are bunched together and most people at the tables are eating lite meals or sampling the wonderful desserts.

There is also a good selection of fairly priced wines,  but you are here because of the music. You can never be quite sure what you’re going to find, and that’s half the charm of this place. It’s not a home run every night, but many nights it’s pretty special.

I remember the night I saw the most talented bossa nova group, just in from San Paulo. As I listened, I wondered if there was any better music playing anywhere else in New York City that night. And at Caffé Vivaldi there is never a cover charge. Their recently redesigned web site does give you a better idea of the type of music playing each night.

At one time Greenwich Village was filled with clubs just like this, but times change. Real estate interests have impacted the village, and not for the better. Even Caffé Vivaldi had a rough time recently, when a new landlord raised the rent exorbitantly. Fortunately, Ishrat has built a loyal following over the years, and a fund raiser and slightly more reasonable rent has kept Café Vivaldi in business.

When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village they came to Vivaldi. It’s important that we keep this special place alive, for if we lose Cafe Vivaldi, NYCity will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

CAFFE VIVALDI HAS CLOSED, VERY SAD.
I HAVE LEFT THIS REVIEW ON MY SITE AS A KIND OF MEMORIAL.
As reported in the “Gothamist”:
“Caffe Vivaldi, one of the last bohemian bastions of the West Village, is set to close this weekend. During its 35 years on Jones Street, the casual cafe won the hearts of locals and celebs alike, including Oscar Isaac, Bette Midler, and Al Pacino.

Despite that friendly communal atmosphere, the owners ultimately struggled to survive under their notorious vulture landlord Steve Croman, who they say waged a harassment campaign against the restaurant, and eventually tripled their rent.”

Website: http://caffevivaldi.com/
Phone #: (212) 691-7538
Hours: Music generally 7:30PM – 11PM, but varies
Lunch/Dinner 11AM-on
Subway: #1 to Christopher St.
Walk 1 blk S. on 7th ave S. to Bleecker St., 1 blk left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards left on Jones St. to Caffe V.
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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.

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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3 Good Eating places

It’s not difficult to find a place to eat in Manhattan.
Finding a good, inexpensive place to eat is a bit harder.
Here are a few of my faves in this neighborhood:

Fish – 280 Bleecker St. (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $9 gets you 6 of the freshest oysters or clams + a glass of wine or beer. Don’t know how they can do it, but I tell everyone I know about this place. And it’s located right in the heart of some of the best no cover music in town.

Bleecker Street Pizza – 69 7th ave S. (corner of Bleecker St.)
The place is tiny and not much to look at, but this is one good slice. They like to brag that they have been voted “Best pizza in NY” 3 years in a row by the Food Network. I believe them. I would have voted for them.

Num Pang – 21 E 12th St. (btw. University Place/5th ave.)
This is a Cambodian banh mi sandwich shop that kept me well fed while I was in class nearby recently. It’s cramped, even for NYCity, but usually there is room up the spiral staircase to sit down and eat. In good weather carry your sandwich a few blocks to Union Square park. You may have to wait a few minutes, because everything is freshly made, but it’s worth it. Can you believe – an unheard of 26 food rating by Zagat.

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“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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NYCity is the most diverse and interesting place to find a meal anywhere in the world. With more than 24,000 eating establishments you might welcome some advice.

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, and essays on my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods on Manhattan’s WestSide, order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($4.99, available SUMMER 2019).
◊ Order before AUG. 31, 2019 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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