NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/12) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue

“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.”

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

New York: Big City Songbook
Birdland Theater / 7:30PM, $40+
“You can (literally) take the A train to this musical guidebook through New York City. From Billy Joel to Rodgers and Hart to Mary Chapin Carpenter, why have so many songwriters been compelled to write about life in Gotham? What is it about this city that fuels an endless supply of stories? Whether you’re a “Boy from New York City” or you just “Happen to Like New York,” join host Deborah Grace Winer and find out why Big City Songbook is attracting audiences from all over the globe to Birdland’s hottest monthly revue.” (cityguideny)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>
NEW YORK CITY BALLET
>> JEREMY PELT
>> Maceo Parker
>> Japan Day Festival
>> Murderous Mothers: A Dark Celebration of Mother’s Day
>> ‘What’s My Name| Muhammad Ali’ pop-up
>> David Sedaris

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through June 2)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 3PM, $35+
“For the first time, the work of City Ballet’s founding choreographer, George Balanchine, and that of its current resident choreographer, Justin Peck, are on a program together (Friday, Tuesday and Thursday), cementing Peck’s status as the heir apparent and the shaper of the company’s modern identity. In between, spread over two shows and mixed in with other Balanchine classics, Peck’s latest piece and new dances by Pam Tanowitz and Gianna Reisen enjoy a few encores. On Wednesday, Balanchine gets his own program that comprises the large-scale “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet” and “Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
Today: CLASSIC NYCB I
An afternoon of dances that highlights Balanchine, Robbins and Peck’s places in the NYCB repertory, and a brand-new creation from Pam Tanowitz.

JEREMY PELT (May 9-12)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $30
“Pelt’s trumpet tone can wander into the mist during a ballad, then come roaring out with a scorching solo when the energy rises. He spends a lot of time somewhere in between those two places on “The Rodin Suite,” a five-part work that dominates his most recent album, “Jeremy Pelt the Artist,” which came out earlier this year. While his nominal inspiration was the sculptures of Auguste Rodin, the musical influences are at least as apparent — particularly the 1970s fusion records of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. This weekend he appears with most members of the band that played on the album: Victor Gould on piano, Alex Wintz on guitar, Chien Chien Lu on vibraphone and marimba, Corcoran Holt on bass, Allan Mednard on drums and Ismel Wignall on percussion.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Japan Day Festival
Catch a glimpse of Japan in NYC
@ Central Park Bandshell / 9:30AM-4PM, free to enter
“An annual celebration of Japanese culture. The festival pops up around the Bandshell from 9:30am to 4pm, with drummers, dancers, readings, and live bands appear on three stages. Snap a photo booth pic, take a virtual reality tour through Japan, see origami calligraphy demos, and sample your way through food and drink tents.” (thrillist)

Elsewhere, but this seems like such a unique way to spend Mother’s Day:

Murderous Mothers: A Dark Celebration of Mother’s Day
Q.E.D., 27-16 23rd Ave., btw. 27th & 28th Sts., Astoria, Queens / 2PM, $10
“Tired of the Betty Crocker image of motherhood? The origins of Mother’s Day are darkly tragic so why not take a look at the darker side of mothers? This lecture will take you on a historical “tour” of mothers who murder that will leave you with a new appreciation of your own dear mom. The stories will range from the surreal to downright horrifying.

Marie Carter is an NYC-based writer and tour guide who hails from Scotland. She is a tour guide with Boroughs of the Dead, a macabre and ghostly historical walking tour company.”

‘What’s My Name| Muhammad Ali’ pop-up (May 11-12)
45 Grand St./ 12-7PM, FREE
“Learn about Muhammad Ali’s life in a two-day pop-up in SoHo that has eye-catching imagery, artwork, quotes and audio and three dedicated spaces that highlight different aspects of Ali’s life including: ” The Athlete,” “The Activist” and “The Orator.” The pop-up is being held in celebration of the debut of HBO’s two-part documentary “What’s My Name | Muhammad Ali.” (amNY)

David Sedaris (May10-12)
@ Town Hall / 7PM, $51+
“Humorist and author will regale the crowd tonight with stories at his “An Evening With” performances at Town Hall.” (BrooklynVegan)


Continuing Events

STREB (LAST WEEKEND)
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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COMING SOON (WFUV)
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

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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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WHAT’S ON VIEW
These are My Fave Special Exhibitions @ MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museum exhibitions,
and also see the expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

New-York Historical Society

‘BETYE SAAR: KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN’  (through May 27).

“Saar has been making important and influential work for nearly 60 years. Yet no big New York museum has given her a full retrospective, or even a significant one-person show, since a 1975 solo at the Whitney Museum of American Art. As this exhibition demonstrates, the institutional oversight is baffling, as her primary themes — racial justice and feminism (her 1972 breakthrough piece, “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima,” merges the two by transforming the racist stereotype of the smiling black mammy into an armed freedom fighter) — are exactly attuned to the present.” (Cotter-NYT)
212-873-3400, nyhistory.org

Morgan Library & Museum

‘TOLKIEN: MAKER OF MIDDLE-EARTH’ (LAST DAY).

“J. R. R. Tolkien did more than write books like “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy; he invented an alternate reality, complete with its own geography, languages, religion and an era-spanning history. This exhibition of his artwork, letters, drafts and other material reminds visitors that the stories Tolkien wrote, however impressive, represent only a fraction of his efforts, and it highlights his unparalleled ability to create an immersive experience using only words and pictures. After a visit you, too, may find yourself believing in Middle-earth and the hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs and wizards that live there. (NYT-Peter Libbey)
212-685-0008, themorgan.org

‘SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION’

“After a surgical renovation to its grand pile on Fifth Avenue, the Jewish Museum has reopened its third-floor galleries with a rethought and refreshed display of its permanent collection, which intermingles modern and contemporary art, by Jews and gentiles alike — Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, and the excellent young Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze — with 4,000 years of Judaica. The works are shown in a nimble, non-chronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilletantish. But always, the Jewish Museum conceives of art and religion as interlocking elements of a story of civilization, commendably open to new influences and new interpretations.” (Farago) 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org

Museum of the City of New York

NY AT ITS CORE (ongoing)
“Ten years in the making, New York at Its Core tells the compelling story of New York’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” The exhibition captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other and a subject of fascination the world over. Entertaining, inspiring, important, and at times bemusing, New York City “big personalities,” including Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, Jay-Z, and dozens more, parade through the exhibition. Visitors will also learn the stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Italian immigrant Susie Rocco. Even animals like the horse, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster, which played pivotal roles in the economy and daily life of New York, get their moment in the historical spotlight. Occupying the entire first floor in three interactive galleries (Port City, 1609-1898, World City, 1898-2012, and Future City Lab) New York at Its Core is shaped by four themes: money, density, diversity, and creativity. Together, they provide a lens for examining the character of the city, and underlie the modern global metropolis we know today. mcny.org” (NYCity Guide)

and you should be sure to check out these special exhibitions at that little museum on Fifth Ave., The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(open 7 days /week, AND always Pay What You Wish for NewYorkers)

“The Tale of Genji” (Through June 16)

“To detail the rich history of a Japanese literary epic, this stunning exhibition assembles artifacts and art works spanning nearly a millennium. Written in the early eleventh century by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, the fifty-four-chapter tale—a mix of entertainment, social commentary, and Buddhist philosophy—recounts the misadventures of an emperor’s son, who, excluded from the line of succession, seeks restitution through romantic liaisons. Colorful episodes describe the opulence of the Heian period and introduce iconic female characters. The fascinating objects on view include paired calligraphic texts and paintings drawn from the oldest-known complete “Genji” album, from 1510; an ornate, portable lacquered-wood cabinet, from the Edo period, made to house the tale’s many volumes; and a wedding palanquin (or covered litter), from the same era, whose exquisitely painted interior features motifs from the story. The visual literary tradition instigated by Murasaki’s classic was not just for the élite: modern translations, as well as books and popular prints, disseminated it to a wide audience. The show concludes with original drawings by the contemporary manga artist Yamato Waki, from his updated adaptation “Asaki Yume Mishi” (thirteen years in the making)—a testament to the saga’s enduring legacy.” (Johanna Fateman, NewYorker)

‘THE WORLD BETWEEN EMPIRES: ART AND IDENTITY IN THE ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST’ (through June 23).

“The Met excels at epic-scale archaeological exhibitions, and this is a prime example. It brings together work made between 100 B.C. and A.D. 250 in what we now know as Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. In the ancient world, all were in the sphere of two competing superpowers — Rome to the west and Parthia to the east — and though imperial influence was strong, it was far from all-determining. Each of the subject territories selectively grafted it onto local traditions to create distinctive new grass-roots cultural blends. Equally important, the show addresses the fate of art from the past in a politically fraught present.” (NYT-Cotter)

“In Praise of Painting” (thru Oct.4, 2020)

“How great are the Met’s holdings in the Dutch golden age? Very. This long-term installation rings the lower level of the Lehman Wing with scores of lesser-known gems from the mid-seventeenth century, many of them rarely on view before, amid masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Ruisdael. The period, vivified here, began in 1648, when the end of the Eighty Years’ War with Spain brought a boom in wealth and morale, expressed by genre paintings that exalt the national ideal of gezelligheid—social warmth, comfort, belonging. A key figure was Gerard ter Borch, who had travelled widely and worked at the court of Philip IV, in company with Velázquez. Ter Borch’s lustrous, ineffably witty domestic scenes inspired a generation of masters, notably Vermeer, whose genius rather eclipsed his elder’s. The pictures often star ter Borch’s younger sister Gesina, preening in satins or enigmatically musing. Herself a painter, she is cutely funny-looking—pointy nose, weak chin—and desperately lovable. There’s much to be said for a world with such a family in it.”

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Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Eight museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:
• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio (closed Sun-Mon)*
• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York (open 7 days /week)
•  92nd Street – The Jewish Museum (closed Wed) (Sat FREE) (Thu 5-8 PWYW)
•  91st Street  –  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (open 7 days /week)
•  89th Street –  National Academy Museum (closed Mon-Tue)
•  88th Street –  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (closed Thu) (Sat 6-8 PWYW)
•  86th Street –  Neue Galerie New York (closed Tue-Wed) (Fri 6-8 FREE)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
•  82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (open 7 days /week)*
*always Pay What You Wish (PWYW) for NewYorkers

Although technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection (closed Mon) (Wed 2-6pm PWYW; First Friday each month (exc Jan+Sep) 6-9pm FREE) on the corner of 70th St. and Fifth Avenue and the The Morgan Library & Museum (closed Mon) (Fri 7-9 FREE) on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave.
Now plan your own museum crawl (info on hours & admission updated June 2, 2015).
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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 05/10 and 05/08.
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Bonus Live Music  – NYC 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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NYT Theater Reviews – Our theater critics on the plays and musicals currently open in New York City.

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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