NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/09) + 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:  “May 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.”


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

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through June 2)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“The season continues with repeats of premieres by Justin Peck and Pam Tanowitz, as well as several George Balanchine gems, including “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,” “Stravinsky Violin Concerto” and “Western Symphony.” But, really, isn’t it all about “Diamonds”? Suzanne Farrell, the magnificent ballerina and muse to Balanchine, has recently been coaching dancers in the 1967 work, which is set to Tchaikovsky and pays homage to Russian schooling. The tiaras will glitter even more brightly than usual.” (NYT)

“An evening of dances that highlights Balanchine, Robbins and Peck’s places in the NYCB repertory, and a brand-new creation from Pam Tanowitz.”


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
Lee Narae: A cursed woman, Ong-nyeo
>>  Mavis Staples
>> Now is the Month of Maying.
>> Maceo Parker
>> Panel: Future of Work
>> The Power of Lipstick

You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.


Music, Dance, Performing Art

Lee Narae: A cursed woman, Ong-nyeo
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Throughout her career as a traditional Korean singer (“sorikun”), Lee Narae has reflected on and problematized the representation of women in traditional pansori, a form of musical storytelling that developed under the influence of Confucian culture. In exploring this art form, she sheds new light on Byeongangsoe-ga—a pansori narrative that is a particularly strong example of patriarchal values—by shifting the perspective to the ill-fated female character, Ong-nyeo, and recreating this work through a variety of artistic styles.

Lee Narae combines a wide range of sounds with spoken word and transforms them through music, seamlessly incorporating other musical influences. She thus inherits the tradition of pansori while recharging it with contemporary creative energy.”

at the Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $35+
“This event continues with performances by Australian Dance Theater (Friday to Monday) and the Australian Ballet (May 9 to 12). For its program, Australian Dance Theater explores the natural world in “The Beginning of Nature,” which is set to a score sung in Kaurna, the first language of the Indigenous peoples of the Adelaide Plains of South Australia. The Australian Ballet wraps up the festival with a trio of dances: Alice Topp’s “Aurum,” Stephen Baynes’s “Unspoken Dialoguesfollows” and a yet-to-be-titled premiere by Tim Harbour.” (NYT)

Mavis Staples
Apollo Theatre, 253 W. 125th St./ 8PM, $ may be a tough ticket, try the secondary market, if necessary
“The Chicago soul aristocrat Mavis Staples spent her seventies recording albums—including “We Get By,” a forthcoming LP produced by Ben Harper—with starry young allies. She greets eighty with a bash that features, among others, Jon Batiste, Valerie June, and David Byrne, whose Talking Heads song “Slippery People” gave the Staple Singers a late-career hit. This flood of cameos is no fluke: Staples maintains a peer-approval rating roughly on par with sunny days and ice-cream cones. In an age of walls, she continues to see only bridges.” (Jay Ruttenberg, NewYorker)

Now is the Month of Maying.
Saint Thomas Church / 6PM, $10+
“Catch a program of chamber music within the lovely acoustical surrounds of midtown’s St. Thomas Church. Tickets start at $10 and include access to a reserved happy hour event just west of the church at Fogo de Chão, featuring $4 Brazilian bites and beers, $6 South American wines, and $8 Brazilian-inspired cocktails.” (cityguideny)

Maceo Parker (May 7-12)
Blue Note / 8PM, +10:30PM, $35-$45
“The saxophonist Maceo Parker’s fame was insured by his work as the Johnny-on-the-spot soloist for James Brown and by his later contributions to modern funk, but his affection for R. & B.-inflected jazz-horn work—a tradition that runs from Louis Jordan to Hank Crawford and beyond—is never far below the surface. At seventy-six, he remains a soulful instrumentalist and occasional singer who still bows to the majesty of the groove.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)


Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Panel: Future of Work
New York Live Arts, 219 W. 19th St./ 6PM, $10
“Foxconn’s Terry Gou says the company plans to replace 80% of workers with robots in 5-10 years.” – Samson Ellis

Remember the Luddites? The fear and resistance to change is not new. New technology has upended industries for millennia. Jobs were replaced or eliminated by machines and new ones were created. Remember the steam engine? So what makes it different this time in the age of artificial intelligence and automation?”

The Power of Lipstick
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 7PM, $29
“Lipstick is much more than just a beauty item. It’s been worn by women for centuries to feel bolder, stronger, and more confident; it’s equally loved by royalty, movie stars, and everyday people worldwide. Join Rachel Felder, author of Red Lipstick: An Ode to a Beauty Icon, to discuss the appeal, force, and glamour of makeup’s most beloved product.”

A book signing follows the event.

Continuing Events

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.


5/9 Strand of Oaks, Music Hall Of Williamsburg
5/10-11 Morrissey, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
5/10-11 Crossing Bridges Music Festival, The Schimmel Center
5/11 Rebirth Brass Band, Symphony Space
5/11 Lee Fields and the Expressions, Brooklyn Steel
5/12-13 Lizzo, Brooklyn Steel
5/13 The Who, Madison Square Garden
5/13 “Sound Mind” A Mental Health Benefit w/Langhorne Slim, Rough Trade NYC
5/14 My Brightest Diamond, Rough Trade NYC
5/14 Moby & John Hodgman, National Sawdust
5/15 Gordon Lightfoot, Town Hall

♦ 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.

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).
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.

“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.


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.,, 212-255-4037 (1st 8:30)
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave., 212-475-8592 (1st set 8pm)
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S., 212-929-9883 (1st 7pm)
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave.,646-476-4346 (1st 8)
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St., 646-476-4346 (1st set 7:30pm)
The Stone at The New School – 55 w13 St. (btw 6/5 ave) – (8:30PM)

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595 (1st set 7:30pm)
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — / 212-581-3080 (1st 8:30pm)
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — 212-864-6662 (7pm)
Jazz Standard – 116 E27 St. (btw Park/Lex) – – (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. — / 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., 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.


NYT Theater Reviews – Our theater critics on the plays and musicals currently open in New York City.


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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