NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/28) + 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:  “June 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:

Ann Hampton Callaway: Jazz Goes to the Movies (also June 29)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $50-$80
“A swinging fixture of the cabaret world, Ann Hampton Callaway has also branched into jazz and TV theme songs (The Nanny). She has a reassuringly mellow way with the standards, sung in a wry, dark-toned contralto. Her latest set explores intersections of jazz and film, from silver-screen classics like “As Time Goes By” to songs that she herself she has recorded for soundtracks.” (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> DORIAN WIND QUINTET AND OLGA VINOKUR
>> Wadada Leo Smith

>> BELLE BRASS
>> Sean Jones: Dizzy Spellz
>> Ethan Iverson
>> Pilobolus
>> Django Reinhardt Festival

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Elsewhere, but this is Brooklyn’s WestSide and worth the detour:
DORIAN WIND QUINTET AND OLGA VINOKUR
at Bargemusic / 7 p.m.; $35
“Whatever you choose to see on Brooklyn’s concert hall barge, you’re assured of a unique atmosphere and a pretty good view. On Friday evening, hear Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452; Roussel’s Divertissement; Messiaen’s “Le Merle Noir”; and transcriptions of organ works of Bach, by Mordechai Rechtman. If that doesn’t float your boat, on Sunday at 4 p.m. there’s a clever program from the pianist Jeffrey Swann, with nature-themed works by Mahler, Liszt, Messiaen and Debussy.” (NYT- David Allen)

Wadada Leo Smith (June 25-29)
The Stone at the New School, 55 W. 13th St./ 8:30PM, $20
“Best known as a magisterial improvising trumpeter, Wadada Leo Smith has, in recent years, begun to receive his due as a composer of substantial large-scale works, including “Rosa Parks: Pure Love,” the ambitious, moving oratorio he brought to the Kitchen in April. His five-night Stone residency includes chamber music, intimate tributes to Thelonious Monk and Ed Blackwell, and a cosmos-storming electric band anchored by the bassists Melvin Gibbs and Bill Laswell.” (Steve Smith, NewYorker)

BELLE BRASS
Catch a summer sunset
Hudson River Park Pier 45 / 7PM, FREE
“Watch the sun fall over the Hudson River as you’re serenaded by Belle Brass, New York’s new all-female brass band. Commissioned by The Hum — a female and non-binary concert series that offers the chance for artists to create “dream bands” — Belle Brass will have their world premiere along with vocalists to set the summer scene. Bring a blanket and a sandwich, or just watch from along the pier. A sunset in the city doesn’t need a lot of trappings — it’s perfect on its own.” (Thrillist)

Sean Jones: Dizzy Spellz (June 27–29)
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40
“Tonight we welcome modern trumpet icon and former Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Sean Jones back to Dizzy’s Club! In the unique program called Dizzy Spellz, the music and life story of Dizzy Gillespie are used as a lens to explore an intersection of cultural and spiritual dilemmas within the African Diaspora. Created with choreographer, tap dancer, and vocalist Brinae Ali, Dizzy Spells offers an innovative, Afro–futuristic fusion of jazz, tap, and bebop.

From Dizzy’s coming of age through the racial and social dynamics in the Deep South, to his creating and curating the bebop movement in New York, to his spiritual journey to Africa, and, finally, his delving into Afro-Cuban music and the Baha’i Faith, Dizzy was a complex man well ahead of his time and with plenty of stories to tell. Don’t miss the debut performance of Dizzy Spellz at Jazz at Lincoln Center, also featuring Wendell Patrick, Obed Calvaire, and the Curtis Brothers.”

Ethan Iverson (June 25-29)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Ethan Iverson, the former pianist of the Bad Plus—which, in a new incarnation, is playing at Jazz Standard this week—goes minimal for the first three nights of this engagement, pairing up with the tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, with whom he cut the engrossing duo recording “Temporary Kings” last year. For the remainder of the residency, Iverson fronts a quartet and delves into standards with another challenging soloist, the trumpeter Tom Harrell.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Pilobolus (through June 29)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave. / 7:30PM, $55+
“For a long time, summer at the Joyce was synonymous with a monthlong encampment by this popular troupe of acrobat-illusionists. But five years have passed since the company’s last visit. How has the group evolved in the meantime? Its two comeback programs don’t offer many chances to find out; the most recent item is “Branches,” an ebb-and-flow nature study, from 2017. The most reliable selections, in any case, come from the better, stranger early period: “Day 2” (1980), with its primordial creatures and Slip ‘N Slide coda; “Walklyndon” (1971), with its silly stage crossings; and, best of all, “Untitled” (1972), a Victorian picnic for giantesses.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

Django Reinhardt Festival (June 25-29)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, $40-$50
“Django Reinhardt, the original guitar hero, was a Belgian-born Romany who, despite a seriously damaged fretting hand, set a template for virtuosic jazz guitar that still casts an expansive shadow over the European musical community. This annual lovefest features the French guitarist Samson Schmitt and includes such improvisers as the saxophonist Grace Kelly and the trombonist Chris Washburne.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More smart stuff coming soon


Continuing Events

RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL at various locations (through June 29).

“Hurricane Sandy hit South Street Seaport hard in 2012. Now that event is part subject and that site is part performance space for Jennifer Monson’s new work, “Ditch,” which also explores gentrification and income inequality. One performance takes place at sunrise on Sunday at Pier 35 on the East River Esplanade; two more occur at the South Street Seaport Museum on Wednesday and June 28 at 7 p.m. Also this week, the witty, rigorous Sarah Michelson presents the New York premiere of “june2019:/\” for three performances on Monday and two on Wednesday, the location of which will be divulged only to those who R.S.V.P.” (NYT-Brian Schaeffer)
lmcc.net/river-to-river-festival

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

6/27-29 Drive-By Truckers, Brooklyn Bowl
6/28 Jackson Browne w/Lucius, Beacon Theatre
6/28, Gov’t Mule, Stone Pony Summerstage
6/29 Liz Phair w/Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
6/29 Garland Jeffreys, City Winery
7/2 Midsummer Night Swing w/ Joe McGinty & Loser’s Lounge and Silent Disco w/FUV’s Rita Houston, Damrosch Park Lincoln Center
7/2 Matisyahu, City Winery
7/3 Bedouine, Brooklyn Mirage

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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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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.”
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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 FALL 2019).
◊ Order before NOV. 30, 2019 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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Bonus: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

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

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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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