NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/17) + 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:  “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:

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour:

Zlatne Uste Golden Festival (Jan.17-18)
@ The Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave., Bklyn / 6PM, $35-$55
“Bask in Balkan beats at the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, which has been going strong for a whopping 35 years. Dance yourself silly to more than 60 bands on five stages over two days, like polyphonic Ukrainian folk singers Murmurosi, Macedonian group Gogofski, Armenian trio Zulal, Bulgarian a cappella group Yasna Voices, klezmer band Tsibele, traditional Anatolian singers Ta Aïdhonia, Greek brass band Kavala, Turkish pop musicians Wind of Anatolia, and many more. There will also be a Charshiya Balkan market filled with craftspeople and artisans, as well as all-you-can-eat Balkan meze and drinks all night long to fuel you up for more dancing.” (Gothamist)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> La Bohème
>> Cyrus Chestnut
>> Count Basie Orchestra 
>> Eataly’s Winter Wine and Food Festa
>> Under the Radar 2020
>> Black Comic Book Festival
You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Metropolitan Opera
La Bohème (next Jan.21, 7:30PM)
Metropolitan Opera House /7:30 PM, $30+
“Three casts of captivating artists bring Puccini’s classic tragedy of bohemian friends and lovers to life in Franco Zeffirelli’s immortal staging. Tenors Matthew Polenzani, Roberto Alagna, and Joseph Calleja trade off as the exuberant Rodolfo, alongside sopranos Ailyn Pérez, Hei-Kyung Hong, and Maria Agresta as the fragile Mimì. Marco Armiliato and Emmanuel Villaume share conducting duties.”

Cyrus Chestnut (Jan. 16-19)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway / 7PM, +9PM, $38
“The pianist Cyrus Chestnut exudes such cherubic ebullience in both his appearance and his playing that it’s sobering to learn he’s turning fifty-seven. His ever-joyous blend of jazz, blues, classical, and gospel influences may be best appreciated when he’s in charge of a trio; at this birthday celebration, he’s joined by the bassist Eric Wheeler and the drummer Chris Beck.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

at the Joyce Theater / 8PM, $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-)

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)

Eataly’s Winter Wine and Food Festa
Warm up with a sampling of Italian wines
Eataly / 6-8PM, $65
“As the days get colder and the sweaters get bulkier, an endless supply of pasta really has no downside — and Eataly’s Winter Wine and Food Festa is here to make the carbohydrates happen. Featuring a collection of comfort foods and over 20 kinds of wine and cocktails, a ticket lets you walk the space, sampling wintry wonders as you go. Warm up with a few glasses of wine, a bombardino (an Italian eggnog, and all the rage on Italian ski resorts), and pretend that you’re on an Alpine vacay instead of at a grocery store.” (thrillist)

Under the Radar 2020 (Jan.8-19)
See new works from the world’s best playwrights
Public Theater / various times and prices
“The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival presents cutting-edge contemporary work from artists around the world. This weekend, you can catch Grey Rock, written by Palestinian playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi, a play about a man who builds a rocket to the moon in a shed on the West Bank; a production of Samuel Beckett’s Not I that explores neurodiversity; or salt., the show that emerged from two artists boarding a cargo ship to trace the route of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle.” (thrillist)

Black Comic Book Festival (Jan.17-18)
Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd./ 10AM-8PM, FREE
“Don your best cosplay gear and zoom over to Schomburg for the eighth-annual Black Comic Book Festival, two days of panel discussions, film screenings, costume contests, and Black comic creators from across the country. There will be talks on Black anime, female leads, self-published comics, and graphic memoirs; audiences will hear from Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, scholar Eve Ewing, author Dhonielle Clayton, award-winning creators Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and Ron Wimberly, and many more.” (Gothamist)

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.”
(last day)  (Gothamist) 

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (last day)
“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.



1/16-19 Public Theater’s “Under The Radar” Festival
1/17 JD Souther, Sony Hall
1/17-18 Umphrey’s McGee, Beacon Theatre
1/18 The Smithereens, Sony Hall
1/19 Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl
1/19 Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven, Sony Hall
1/21 Temples, Webster Hall
1/22 Rufus Wainwright, Alice Tully Hall, NYC
1/22 J Roddy Walston, The Bowery Ballroom
1/22 Toshi Reagon, Joe’s Pub

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.


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)

‘Worlds Beyond Earth’
at the American Museum of Natural History. (thru Dec.31, 2024)

“The museum’s first space show in six years takes viewers on a tour of our solar system from the comfort of their seats in the Hayden Planetarium. Narrated by Lupita Nyong’o, the film explores the nature of the planets and moons in our solar system and the conditions that make life on Earth possible.” (NYT)

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)

at the American Folk Art Museum

“Outsider art” is more of a sociological phenomenon than a genre. But in this exhibition, you do find a certain consistency. Heckler, a trustee of the museum, began collecting around the time of New York’s first Outsider Art Fair, in 1993, and she’s assembled a comprehensive introduction to all the category’s varieties, from the stark, primordial silhouettes of Bill Traylor to the exacting architectural drawings of Achilles G. Rizzoli; from Henry Darger’s uniquely majestic epic of little girls battling evil to George Widener’s endless numerology. With about 160 works, from all over the world, the show can be hard to take in, unless you fix your attention on a few favorites. My own would be a handful of sublime paintings and drawings by Thornton Dial Sr. and by Martín Ramírez, the Mexican rancher who spent half his life confined to midcentury American psychiatric institutions. (Heinrich)


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.)

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 01/15 and 01/13.


15 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend – NewYorkTimes (01/16/20)


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 playsPlaybill’s “the Verdict”


For good, comprehensive, 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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