NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/15) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“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:  “January 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:

Brazilian Icon | Honoring Traditions, Blurring Boundaries | Latin Grammy Winners!
Joe’s Pub / 9:30PM, $20
“Xenia França hails from Bahia, the birthplace of Brazil’s most iconic musicians — Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, and Gilberto Gil to name a few. França continues in that distinguished lineage, building a career that’s captivated audiences at home and abroad. Her sound honors the roots of African diaspora in Brazil, blending traditional percussion with electronica, jazz, and R&B. She was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2018 both for her debut album Xenia and for the single “Pra Que Me Chamas?”

Check out the New York Times’ coverage from last week’s epic globalFEST, where França brought “volcanic drama to songs about love, hope, transcendence, and pride.”


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Porgy and Bess
>> Beth Leavel: It’s Not About Me
>> Count Basie Orchestra 
>> Drawing NYC: A Conversation with Kim Deitch
>> It’s All Legal on the Upper West Side
You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Metropolitan Opera
Porgy and Bess (next Jan.18, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $85+
(Has proved so popular that the Met has added three performances to this second run of the season.)
“One of America’s favorite operas returns to the Met for the first time in nearly 30 years. James Robinson’s stylish production transports audiences to Catfish Row on the Charleston waterfront, vibrant with the music, dancing, emotion, and heartbreak of its inhabitants. “If you’re going to stage Gershwin’s opera, this is how,” raved the Guardian when the new production premiered in London in 2018. David Robertson conducts a dynamic cast, featuring the sympathetic duo of Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles and an all-star ensemble that includes Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Alfred Walker, and Ryan Speedo Green.”

Beth Leavel: It’s Not About Me (Jan.14-20)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $85
“The gutsy, funny Tony-winning star of The Drowsy Chaperone (and survivor of Baby, It’s You!) does her Leavel best to entertain in a show that surveys the ups and downs of her three-decade career onstage.” (TONY)

at the Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $35+
“After a brief, recent visit to New York for Fall for Dance, this South African choreographer returns for an evening of his own as part of Prototype, the opera-theater festival. His contribution, “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro,” is a shadowy production set in a graveyard and inspired by the Zakes Mda novel “Cion,” which juxtaposes the story of a professional mourner from South Africa and the legacy of slavery in the United States. What qualifies this show for an opera celebration are the Isicathamiya singers, performing an a cappella style that originated among South African Zulus. The singers deliver a haunting rendition of Ravel’s illustrious score to accompany Maqoma’s grounded, gripping movement.” (NYT-)

CHES SMITH (Jan. 14-18)
at the Stone / 8:30 p.m.; $20
“Spend more than a few days bopping around New York’s improvised-music scene, and you’ll surely come across Ches Smith. He’s among the most-called-upon drummer and percussionist on the avant-garde today. Seeing him lead his own projects is uncommon, so this residency at the Stone is something of a turning of the tables. And they’ll be spun in a lot of directions: He appears with a different group each night. Of particular note are Tuesday’s show — featuring the pianist Craig Taborn, the violinist Mat Maneri and a special guest to be named on guitar — and Thursday’s program, titled “Drums and Songs,” for which Smith and the bassist Nick Dunston will be joined by a number of vocalists and players of the tanbou, a Haitian drum.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Count Basie Orchestra  (Jan.14-18)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $40+
“2020 marked the 85th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra. William J. “Count” Basie (1904-1984) started his orchestra in Kansas City in 1935 and proceeded to develop one of the greatest jazz groups in history.

Under Basie’s leadership — with a strong commitment to making sure every tune was danceable — the orchestra featured many of the greatest instrumentalists and vocalists in jazz including Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Joe Jones, Joe Williams, Snooky Young, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, and many more. They played for Kings and Queens, appeared in movies and television shows, and won 18 Grammy® Awards, the most for any orchestra. Today, under the leadership of director, Scotty Barnhart, The Count Basie Orchestra is traveling the world, swinging and shouting the blues with precision, in Count Basie’s unmistakable style of Kansas City swing.”


Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Drawing NYC: A Conversation with Kim Deitch
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave./ 6:30PM, $20
“Join graphic novelist and Underground Comics legend Kim Deitch and jazz critic and historian Gary Giddins for a discussion of the factual and fictional New York geography created by Deitch in his latest book, Reincarnation Stories (Fantagraphics, 2019). With settings ranging from Central Park to the surface of the moon, and a cast of characters including a feline jazz pianist, cartoonist Spain Rodriguez, Jesus Christ as an intergalactic conqueror, Frank Sinatra, and Deitch himself, Reincarnation Stories blends the familiar with the fantastic.”

It’s All Legal on the Upper West Side
Landmark West!, 45 W. 67th St./ 6:30PM, $15
“A candidate for President – the presumptive favorite – goes to bed thinking they’ve swept the election, only to wake to find they’ve lost the White House… An UWS legal icon known for unwavering honesty had a parent forced to resign a judgeship due to political scandal…

Sound familiar? History often does.

Robert Pigott takes us on a “hidden in plain sight” virtual tour of incredible people, places and it-happened-here events in legal history on the streets of the UWS and the City generally, drawn from his book, New York’s Legal Landmarks. We’ll find courthouses past and present that were sites of sensational trials (both actual and in film), locations that figured in the nation’s constitutional history, law firms where great Americans practiced law and local ties to (guess how many) UWS Supreme Court Justices. Anyone interested in local history, lore, architecture and trivia will love this toboggan ride through all the legal (and not so legal) landmarks of the UWS!”

Continuing Events

Winter Jazzfest
Various venues // Various prices
“Since 2009, the Winter Jazzfest has grown from a single evening to a multi-night, multi-venue, multi-disciplinary showcase of the cutting edge of jazz and its many stylistic subcategories, from hot swing to avant-garde to jazz-inflected world music. This year’s festival features more than 600 artists in 150 groups on 20 stages over 10 nights. There will be a British Jazz Showcase, a celebration of Detroit’s jazz history, plus talks, panels, and workshops focused on social justice, immigration, gender balance, and more. The fest also includes three all-night marathons at some 20 venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.”
(Jan.9-17)  (Gothamist) 

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (Jan.9-17)
“Ever watched a squash game in a train station? The 23rd annual J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (ToC) arrives in Grand Central Terminal, bringing together the world’s greatest squash stars for an exciting week of international competition and live spectator events. The matches are played beneath the iconic chandeliers in Vanderbilt Hall in a state-of-the-art glass squash court with stadium seating for 500 and a free standing room area for commuters and passersby. Gracing the courts with their talent will be all of the world’s top-ranking men’s and women’s players, representing 24 nations and six continents.” (

Opera but make it fashion.
“Theater and opera aficionados know that January is the right time to get a hit of all the wildest, newest experiments in music-performance: The Prototype festival has been blowing minds for seven years. Even if you’re not typically an operagoer, you should dabble here. You like poetry? Try Ellen West, with a libretto by Frank Bidart. You like taiko drumming and puppetry? It’s got Ellen McLaughlin and Garrett Fisher’s Blood Moon. There’s even a confrontation between Zakes Mda’s novel Cion and Ravel’s Boléro by the South African choreographer Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, which should tick every single box a culture vulture’s got. ” (Helen Shaw, NYMag)
Various locations, January 9 to 19.



1/14-15 Hamilton Leithauser, Cafe Carlyle

Fall Concerts (

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.”

♦ 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.


Chelsea Art Gallery District*

Chelsea is the heart of the NYCity contemporary art scene. Home to more than 300 art galleries, the Rubin Museum, the Joyce Theater and The Kitchen performance spaces, there is no place like it anywhere in the world. Come here to browse free exhibitions by world-renowned artists and those unknowns waiting to be discovered in an art district that is concentrated between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. Afterwards stop in the Chelsea Market, stroll on the High Line, or rest up at one of the many cafes and bars and discuss the fine art.

Here are a few exhibitions the Vulture (NY Magazine) likes:

One Hundred Drawings
New work from Jasper Johns.
“Matthew Marks curates exhibitions as well or better than most museums.
Witness the dazzling, harmonic optical convergence of 100 drawings spanning three centuries, starting with a Degas from 1859-60 and a late-19th-century ink-and-gouache drawing of a tiger hunt with elephants from northern India. Pros will be astounded at unearthed treasures; art lovers are guaranteed to be transported, surprised, enraptured, and enriched.” (Jerry Saltz, NY Mag)
Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street, through January 18.

See Jordy Kerwick
Beautifully bizarre.
“This gallery right in the belly of the Chelsea beast deserves more attention. Currently there are the oddities of painter Jordy Kerwick, who gives us strange still-lifes of flowers in vases that sit on art books. Your eye zooms in on the florals, the text on book jackets, then gets completely bombarded by the vibrant color, primitive but wonderful touch, and collaged bits.” (Jerry Saltz, NY Mag)
Anna Zorina Gallery, 532 West 24th Street, through January 18.

Ugo Rondinone
A tribute to his love.
“Ugo Rondinone honors his late husband, the legendary poet and former Andy Warhol superstar John Giorno. In a multichannel video installation, Giorno reads a poem speaking to all his friends, lovers, and enemies from the grave. It is as riveting as it is beautiful, filled with love, irony, and triple-edged intensity. He wishes everyone more sex, more drugs, more revelations of life. Amen, poet.” (Jerry Saltz, NY Mag)
Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21st Street, through January 18.

Mike Kelley
‘As organized by the vastly undersung curator Jenelle Porter, this survey of work by the late artist Mike Kelley, “Timeless Painting,” gives us so many different ideas about what a painting could and still can be. Packed with passion and visual wisdom, this could inspire scores of future artists, just as his decades-long oeuvre did. ‘(Jerry Saltz, NY Mag)
Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street, through January 25.

Rashid Johnson
“At 42, Rashid Johnson is a world-famous artist whose work sells for around a half-million dollars apiece and is featured in museums, biennials, outdoor installations, and more. Johnson’s sheer ambition pushes him to keep expanding his scale, subject matter, and materials (which have included paints, plants, CB radios, shea butter, and mosaics) so much so that his art takes on a shining life of its own.” (Jerry Saltz, NY Mag)
Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street, through January 25.


For a listing of 25 essential galleries in the Chelsea Art Gallery District, organized by street, which enables you to create your own Chelsea Art Gallery crawl, see the Chelsea Gallery Guide ( Or check out TONY magazine’s list of the “Best Chelsea Galleries” and click through to see what’s on view.

*Now plan your own gallery crawl, but better plan your visits for Tuesday through Saturday; most galleries are closed Sunday and Monday.

TIP: After your gallery tour, stop in Ovest at 513W27th St. for Aperitivo Italiano (Happy Hour on steroids). Discuss all the great art you have viewed over a drink and a very tasty selection of FREE appetizers (M-F, 5-8pm). OR try this NYT recommendation: “When you’re done, adjourn to the newly renovated Bottino , the Chelsea art world’s unofficial canteen on 10th Avenue (btw 24/25 St.) “

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 01/13 and 01/11.

15 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend – NewYorkTimes (01/09/20)

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

10 must-see Off-Broadway shows (amNY)


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

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

For good, comprehensive and current info:

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

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

Everything You Need to Know About TKTS Broadway Tickets


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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