NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/24) + 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:

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (thru Jan.5)
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $29+
“If you have never seen the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, then this would be the perfect season to start — the monthlong residency at City Center will include classics from the Ailey repertory (check out “Revelations” if you never have) as well as premieres by super of-the-moment dancemaker Camille A. Brown (the genius who choreographed Choir Boy on Broadway) and Donald Byrd, whose new work, “Greenwood,” is about the 1921 attack on “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa — the same act of terrorism that opens the first season of Watchmen.” (NYMag, H.S.)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>  Freddy Cole Quartet
>> Michael Feinstein: Home for the Holidays
>> Yo La Tengo
>> The Magic Flute
>>  Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch: A Swingin’ Birdland Christmas
>> DORRANCE DANCE
>> Countdown 2020

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Freddy Cole Quartet
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $40-$50, may be a tough ticket, try the late set.
“The New York Times calls Freddy Cole, “the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.” People Magazine praises his, “gorgeous autumnal baritone, expressive phrasing and pitch-perfect feel for jazz standards, pop tunes and love ballads.” Uncle to Natalie Cole, brother of Nat “King” Cole, pianist and vocalist Freddy Cole doesn’t apologize for sounding a little bit like his iconic elder brother as he tantalizes listeners all over the world. Cole’s annual visit is the perfect blend of jazz and great American standards.”
GD: just as good as his brother, for jazz fans maybe better.

Michael Feinstein: Home for the Holidays (Dec.23-30)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $85+
“The popular and polished standard-bearer of American song returns to the club that bears his name for his annual holiday set. Expect classics like “White Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” alonside more recherché Great American Songbook fare.” (TONY)

Yo La Tengo (Dec.22-29)
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St./ 8PM, $50
“In 2017, Yo La Tengo brought its eight-night Hanukkah showcase to New York after a five-year hiatus. In doing so, the band wasn’t just rekindling the popular celebration it had originally started in Hoboken—it was giving the city a new tradition, which now doubles as a variety show packed with comedians and special performers. Last year’s events included John Oliver, Perfume Genius, and an unexpected Strangeloves reunion; the 2019 guest list is still under wraps, but there are surprises guaranteed every night.” (Julyssa Lopez, NewYorker)

The Metropolitan Opera
The Magic Flute (next Dec.26, 11AM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $80+
“A beloved holiday tradition continues as Mozart’s delightful fairy tale returns in the Met’s abridged, English-language version for families, perfect for younger audiences, with no intermission and a running time of less than two hours. Lothar Koenigs conducts a dynamic cast of standout Mozarteans in Julie Taymor’s magical production, an enduring Met classic with its eye-popping puppetry and stunning visuals.”

Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch: A Swingin’ Birdland Christmas
Birdland /7PM, $30
“Three Birdland mainstays—the clarion-voiced Klea Blackhurst, the waggish host Jim Caruso and the velvety pianist-crooner Billy Stritch—get into the swing of the holiday season with a jazzy set of Christmas classics.” (TONY)

DORRANCE DANCE (thru Jan.5)
at the Joyce Theater / 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; $85, may be a tough ticket, try another day.
“For a Christmas treat that’s more Cotton Club than winter wonderland, see “The Nutcracker Suite,” a new work by Michelle Dorrance, Hannah Heller and Josette Wiggan-Freund performed to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s effervescent rendition of Tchaikovsky’s score. This week, through Dec. 29, it’s paired with “Elastic Time,” an excerpt from last year’s “Elemental,” which was created by Dorrance and Nicholas Van Young. In it, sound comes from every part of the body in snaps, slaps and scats — all in the service of finding dynamic, surprising rhythms.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Countdown 2020 (Dec.19-25)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway / 7, 9, 10:30PM, $45
“Musicians have been celebrating the iconic saxophonist John Coltrane since well before his untimely death, in 1967. Countdown 2020, a nearly monthlong tribute to the post-bop genius, continues with Countdown Quintet II (Dec. 19-22), featuring a pair of passionate tenor saxophonists, Eric Alexander and George Coleman, and Countdown Quartet III (Dec. 23-25), which joins Alexander with the pianist George Cables and the drummer Al Foster.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More Smart Stuff coming soon.


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

12/22-25 Yo La Tengo – 8 Nights of Hanukkah, Bowery Ballroom

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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