NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/18) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s WestSide

“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:  “December 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:

Norm Lewis: Naughty and Nice (Dec.17-22)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75+
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; in 2014, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his annual Christmas set at Feinstein’s/54 Below, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>  JACK QUARTET
>> The Queen of Spades 
>> Handel’s Messiah
>> Chris Botti Holiday Residency
>> Hot for the Holidays
>> Winter Rhythms 2019
>> Science in the Headlines: 2019’s Discoveries, Disappointments, and Downright Weirdness

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

JACK QUARTET
at the Tishman Auditorium / 7 p.m.; FREE
“As if the nation’s leading contemporary-music quartet did not have enough to do, they have started JACK Frontiers, an annual free series showcasing some of the many new works they have had a hand in helping create. On Tuesday, they give the premiere of Catherine Lamb’s “Divisio Spiralis,” before a program of Clara Iannotta, Lester St. Louis and Tyshawn Sorey on Wednesday. Sorey’s willfully ungenred music also makes an appearance this week in a sprawling concert by the McGill/McHale Trio at the 92nd Street Y.” (NYT-David Allen)

The Metropolitan Opera
The Queen of Spades (next Dec.21, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 3PM, $200+
“Tchaikovsky’s eerie thriller of imperial Russia has its first performances at the Met since 2011. Tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko is Hermann, the fanatical gambler whose obsession with a powerful secret drives him to madness. Soprano Lise Davidsen makes her highly anticipated Met debut as his long-suffering lover, Lisa, with mezzo-soprano Larissa Diadkova as the otherworldly Countess. Baritone Igor Golovatenko is Yeletsky, baritone Alexey Markov is Tomsky, and Vasily Petrenko conducts.”

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.17-21)
David Geffen Hall (at Lincoln Center) / 7:30PM, $31+
“Give in to the holiday spirit when British conductor Harry Bicket oversees some of the best choral music on earth in David Geffen Hall. Prepare for your soul to be soothed.” (TONY)

Chris Botti Holiday Residency
Blue Note / 8PM, +10:30PM, $55-$95, may be a tough ticket, try the late set
“This trumpet players’s skills are actually as good as his telegenic looks, even if he rarely puts them to use playing the kind of bop he cut his teeth on. A consummate showman, Botti presents his blend of smooth jazz-funk, glossily Miles-ian ballads and assorted pop and classical chestnuts at the Blue Note for his 13th annual holiday residency.” (TONY)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

Hot for the Holidays
Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn/ 8PM, $64+
“During this time of year, the city comes even more alive with light displays, themed markets, and every kind of festive event, effectively transforming into a sea of red and green. Hot 97’s “Hot for the Holidays”—on Dec. 18 at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre—offers a counterbalance to the commotion with a mellowed assemblage of singers, including the pop phenom Khalid, the bruising R. &. B. vocalist Layton Greene, and the rising stunner the Bonfyre. They’re joined by the rapper Wale, whose latest album, “Wow . . . That’s Crazy,” is also his most soulful and self-aware record to date. These artists all fashion generous portions of their catalogues around love and romance, making this concert an excellent opportunity for one last date night before friend-and-family duties call.” (Briana Younger,NewYorker)

Winter Rhythms 2019 (Dec.12-21)
Urban Stages / 7PM, +9PM, $30
“The 11th annual edition of Urban Stages’s cabaret festival comprises 20 shows, with artists including Karen Akers, Sue Matsuki, Carly Ozard, Meg Flather, Sally Darling, Sean Harkness, Lina Koutrakos and Marcus Simeone.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Science in the Headlines: 2019’s Discoveries, Disappointments, and Downright Weirdness
Caveat, 21 Clinton St./ 6PM, $15
“Ira Flatow, host of Science Friday, leads science journalists and storytellers on a journey through Science in the Headlines: 2019’s Discoveries, Disappointments, and Downright Weirdness. Catch up on a strange year that included youth-led climate protest, mysterious vaping diseases, and the first-ever image of a black hole.” (ThoughtGallery)


Continuing Events

NYC holiday markets – five to explore.  (Newsday)

HOLIDAY SHOPS AT BRYANT PARK

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 31-Jan. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 40th Street and Sixth Avenue
INFO bryantpark.org/eat-drink/holiday-shops

UNION SQUARE HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Union Square Park’s southern side
INFO urbanspacenyc.com

COLUMBUS CIRCLE HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN | WHERE Dec. 4-24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, 59th Street and Central Park West
INFO urbanspacenyc.com

GRAND CENTRAL HOLIDAY FAIR

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 18-Dec. 24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (closed Thanksgiving; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve), Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal, 89 E. 42nd St.
INFO grandcentralterminal.com

GRAND BAZAAR NYC

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 100 W. 77th St.
INFO grandbazaarnyc.org

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Holiday windows in NYC you won’t want to miss

“‘Tis the season! As Thanksgiving draws near, New York City’s department stores are unveiling their holiday windows. Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, American Girl and others are each putting their festive foot forward for the holidays.” (amNY)

Here is the extensive Holiday Windows rundown from amNY.

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GEORGE BALANCHINE’S THE NUTCRACKER
NEW YORK CITY BALLET (THRU Jan.5)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center/ TODAY: 2PM, +8PM,; $95+
“’Twas the day after Thanksgiving and all through the land, ballet companies began trotting out productions of “The Nutcracker,” a holiday dance tradition most grand. And in New York, the grandest among them is City Ballet’s, formally known as “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” which has been performed since 1954. That title rightly emphasizes this version’s secret weapon: Act II’s glorious choreography, particularly the breathtaking final pas de deux between the Sugarplum Fairy and her cavalier. Act I has its own virtuosic feat in the form of a supersize Christmas tree, which captures all the magic and wonder of this familiar tale.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

‘THE NUTCRACKER’ SIX WAYS

“The Waltz of the Snowflakes becomes a nor’easter this week with a deluge of “Nutcracker” productions around town. Among them are Dances Patrelle’s “The Yorkville Nutcracker,” set in 19th-century New York (Friday to Sunday, the Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College); New York Theater Ballet’s hourlong “Keith Michael’s the Nutcracker” (Friday to Sunday, Florence Gould Hall); a hip-hop infused “The Brooklyn Nutcracker” by Brooklyn Ballet (Saturday, Kings Theater); the wacky “Nut/Cracked” by the Bang Group (Dec. 19-21, the Flea Theater); a traditional staging by National Ballet Theater of Odessa (Saturday, New Jersey Performing Arts Center); and, of course, the splendid “George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker” by New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater, through Jan. 5). ” (NYT)
dancespatrelle.org
nytb.org
brooklynballet.org
thebanggroup.com
njpac.org

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COMING SOON (WFUV

12/18 James Blake, BAM

Fall Concerts (nycgo.com)

David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway
October 4­, 2019–January 19, 2020
Hudson Theatre
“The Talking Heads frontman hits Broadway with a show based on his latest album—but you can expect some old favorites as well.”

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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 2019 – the ninth consecutive year. 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
My Fave Special Exhibitions – MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s WestSide
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museums,
and also to see their expanded reviews of exhibitions)

‘BETYE SAAR: THE LEGENDS OF “BLACK GIRL’S WINDOW”at the Museum of Modern Art (through Jan. 4).

“Black Girl’s Window,” which consists of an old window frame that Saar filled with a constellation of images, is the focus of this exhibition, one of several helping to reopen MoMA. Concentrating on Saar’s early years as an artist, it tracks the experiments in printmaking and assemblage that led her to arrive at the titular work. Despite the unusual color of the gallery’s deep purple walls, the show is relatively modest — a scholarly study of a specific period, anchored by MoMA’s recent acquisition of a group of 42 of her works on paper. Two pieces from 1972 that represent her shift from the mystical to the political — “Black Crows in the White Section Only,” which brings together a variety of racist advertisements, and “Let Me Entertain You,” which shows a minstrel singer with a guitar transforming into a black liberation fighter with a rifle — serve as a kind of coda. Their appearance at the end offers a tantalizing glimpse of the iconoclastic artist Saar was on her way to becoming. (Jillian Steinhauer-NYT)
212-708-9400, moma.org

‘T. REX: THE ULTIMATE PREDATOR’
American Museum of Natural History (through Aug. 9, 2020).

“Everyone’s favorite 18,000-pound prehistoric killer gets the star treatment in this eye-opening exhibition, which presents the latest scientific research on T. rex and also introduces many other tyrannosaurs, some discovered only this century in China and Mongolia. T. rex evolved mainly during the Cretaceous Period to have keen eyes, spindly arms and massive conical teeth, which could bear down on prey with the force of a U-Haul truck; the dinosaur could even swallow whole bones, as affirmed here by a kid-friendly display of fossilized excrement. The show mixes 66-million-year-old teeth with the latest 3-D prints of dino bones, and also presents new models of T. rex as a baby, a juvenile and a full-grown annihilator. Turns out this most savage beast was covered with — believe it! — a soft coat of beige or white feathers.” (Farago-NYT)

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‘AUSCHWITZ. NOT LONG AGO. NOT FAR AWAY’
at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (through Jan. 3).
“Killing as a communal business, made widely lucrative by the Third Reich, permeates this traveling exhibition about the largest German death camp, Auschwitz, whose yawning gatehouse, with its converging rail tracks, has become emblematic of the Holocaust. Well timed, during a worldwide surge of anti-Semitism, the harrowing installation strives, successfully, for fresh relevance. The exhibition illuminates the topography of evil, the deliberate designing of a hell on earth by fanatical racists and compliant architects and provisioners, while also highlighting the strenuous struggle for survival in a place where, as Primo Levi learned, “there is no why.” (NYT-Ralph Blumenthal)


In the Company of Harold Prince
A prince with no heir.
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (through March 31)

“Losing Hal Prince this year meant the end of an era. No other producer-director will ever again have Prince’s string of stupendous hits; no one man will ever again become so closely identified with Broadway stagecraft. He worked on everything, from West Side Story to The Phantom of the Opera, from Cabaret to Sweeney Todd, and if not everything he touched turned to gold — nonetheless, he did have the golden touch. This exhibition at the NYPL is a dragon’s hoard of scripts, photographs, set models, and even re-creations of his paperwork. Study it closely and you might become the next great theatrical mind … if not a Prince, then possibly a really talented duchess.” (Vulture, NY Magazine-H.S.)

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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/16 and 12/14.

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4 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend – NewYorkTimes (12/13/19)

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Must-see theater coming to New York City stages this fall (amNY)

10 must-see Off-Broadway shows (amNY)

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

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and, drum roll, here are all the media critics opinions on all the plays – Playbill’s “the Verdict”

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For good, comprehensive and current info:

Broadway Shows: What to See and How to Get Cheap Tickets (NYT)

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finally, lot’s of useful info on TKTS discount tickets from the headout blog:

Everything You Need to Know About TKTS Broadway Tickets

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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