NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/29) + 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:  “July 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:

Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza / 7PM, $50
“As part of the New York Asian Film Festival 2019, catch a rare screening and concert experience. Live traditional accompaniment will be performed by a 20-member ensemble from the National Gugak Center, who will play the score to the most recent film by Tae-yong Kim, Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels.

These artists have joined forces to acquaint Korean music and dance to an international audience by bridging several art forms and building a unique, heartwarming story of loss and redemption, steeped in local Korean folklore but with a universal appeal.”


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)

>> American Ballet Theatre
>> Sean Jones: Dizzy Spellz
>> Django Reinhardt Festival
>> Ann Hampton Callaway: Jazz Goes to the Movies

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


Music, Dance, Performing Art

Elsewhere, but this one sure looks worth the detour:
at Prospect Park Bandshell / 7 p.m.; FREE
“In the mid-90s, this renowned singer-songwriter became, as she told The New York Times last year, an “accidental feminist spokesperson.” That was due to the release of “Exile in Guyville,” a collection of scrappy guitar songs noted for what was then considered a brazen expression of sexuality and its condemnation of male apathy, penned in response to the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street.” More than a quarter-century later, Phair’s influence is manifest in young artists like Soccer Mommy and Lindsey Jordan (Snail Mail), who once played in a Phair cover band. In Prospect Park, she appears alongside the punk shape-shifter Ted Leo and the wry songwriter Caroline Rose.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

at Smoke / 7, 9 and 10:30 p.m.; $40
“Cowell can make the piano dance by playing in a jaggy rhythm, or simply by manipulating the tone of his harmonies, or by throwing his right and left hands into a thrashing repartee. This weekend run is billed as a look back at his 60-year career, and there’s a lot to celebrate: He came into the jazz consciousness in the 1960s, turning heads with his idiosyncratic style and bold compositional voice; co-founded the influential, independent label Strata-East; and has continued expanding ever since, composing short pieces and long suites, and sometimes experimenting with electronics. Joining him at Smoke are the trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, the saxophonist and flutist Bruce Williams, the bassist Tom DiCarlo and the drummer Vince Ector.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

American Ballet Theatre (through July 6)
Metropolitan Opera House / 2PM, +8PM, $25+
“The company winds down its spring season with two final full-length ballets on tap: This weekend is dedicated to “Swan Lake,” which closes on Saturday night with some power casting: Misty Copeland and David Hallberg perform the leads. Monday night introduces Alexei Ratmansky’s reconstruction of “The Sleeping Beauty.” In this opulent full-length dance, Aurora awakens from a 100-year sleep, but there’s another rebirth as well: The steps of Marius Petipa are brought back to life. Opening night will be led by Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside, and as the run continues, two new dancers will debut as Princess Florine: Katherine Williams on Tuesday night and Catherine Hurlin in the Wednesday matinee.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Gamelan Kusuma Laras Presents:
Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, 5 East 68th Street, New York City / 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, (45-minute intermission approximately at 7:30), FREE
“Gamelan Kusuma Laras presents an evening of Javanese music in the klenengan format – a kind of Javanese jam session, this one drawing on the classical repertoire. Guests are invited to move around, chat, enjoy Indonesian snacks, and come and go as they wish.” (ThoughtGallery)

As a former Gamelan player myself,  I think you will really enjoy this music.

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.”

Django Reinhardt Festival (LAST DAY)
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)

Ann Hampton Callaway: Jazz Goes to the Movies (LAST DAY)
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)


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)



6/27-29 Drive-By Truckers, Brooklyn Bowl
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

♦ 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.

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)


“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,

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.” (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)

“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.”

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).
For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 06/27 and 06/25.

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.,, 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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