December NYC events, Only the Best (12/29, continued)

Pre Covid-19 we searched the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you didn’t have to.” We made it as easy as 1-2-3.

Covid-19 has required some changes. Stay Safe.

Earlier today we covered NYC on YouTube. Scroll down the site for a bit to find it. Now, how about some more useful information.


New York magazine is biweekly these days and every issue has a wonderful section, “The Culture Pages,” which includes a “To Do” list – 25 things to see, hear, watch, and read. Here are my favorites from the current issue (Dec.23 – Jan.06).


“Salman Toor: How Will I Know”
Queer Rococo.
The first museum solo of Salman Toor gives us an artist who beautifully records, in iridescent color, sensitive scenes of secret and intimate lives of gay men at home. With an assured, almost conservative approach, Toor skillfully renders young queer brown men from his own lived experience. These sharings branch out so that all the freighted weight of history or violence fades, as paintings become vehicles of visual pleasure, intellectual wit, and radical vulnerability. —Jerry Saltz
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort, through April 4.

“In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at the Met”
The ultimate balm to the soul in all of Western painting may be the Dutch works that include Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals. Thanks to the very deep pockets of the collectors and robber barons of New York, the Met has them and is now displaying 67 of these masterpieces. Get lost in some of the finest brushwork and deepest color in all of painting; glimpse infinity. —J.S.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue.


Under the Radar Festival
Let’s get weird.
Every year, the Radar Festival welcomes adventurous international art, avant-garde local heroes, and Highly Odd Work from across the U.S. to scramble our willing brains like eggs. This year, 600 Highwaymen’s gentle, inspiring A Thousand Ways (Part One), in which audience members speak to each other by phone, starts December 21; you’ll need to wait till January 6 for the festival proper, which will include digital performances by U.K. poet Inua Ellams, a cooking show–whodunit by Piehole, and Javaad Alipoor’s comedy Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran. —Helen Shaw, January 6 to 17.


New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Jeté into the new year.
George Balanchine’s legendary 1954 staging of The Nutcracker is the ne plus ultra of balletomaniac excess: a massive cast (including 63 dancing children), the lush designs of another age (Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s exquisite cutout sets), and neoclassical perfection. In 2019, the New York City Ballet filmed the production at Lincoln Center, and so this year the Land of Sweets is available via Marquee TV on your favorite streaming device, a magical portal that even the Rat King (a.k.a. 2020) cannot close. —Helen Shaw, through January 3.

Classical Music

Narrated by Beethoven superfan Stephen Fry.
Stephen Fry joins the Philharmonia Orchestra in a new video concert performance of the Prometheus story complete with adorable animated drawings. “The outraged ruler of the gods hurled thunderbolts,” Fry declaims. Cut to Esa-Pekka Salonen on the podium, who raises his arm and hurls the thunderbolt chords that open Beethoven’s ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. —Justin Davidson


Verdi’s last opera.
The Bavarian State Opera, an online leader, keeps a select repertoire up for a month at a time. Director Mateja Koležnik made her company debut with a production, set in a casino and inspired by the films of Paolo Sorrentino, that played to an empty house and a worldwide audience. —Justin Davidson, through January 5.

Fragments Part I: Traviata
Scenes from the Verdi masterpiece.
The pandemic has given new life to the classical-music video. The fanatically demanding conducting dynamo Teodor Currentzis and the St. Petersburg-based orchestra he founded, musicAeterna, have used their enforced sabbatical to hole up in a recording studio and record chunks of opera scenes, starting with the melancholy opening of the last act of Verdi’s La Traviata, enriched by NOIR Films’ moody black-and-white film. —J.D.

*This article appears in the December 21, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!


NYC-Arts Top Five Picks: December 25 – December 31

Interesting. Unusual. Uniquely NYC. Highlights of this week’s top events include P.S. Art 2020, John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance, The Pleasure Pavilion: A Series of Installations, and more. Get the NYC-ARTS Top Five in your inbox every Friday and follow @NYC_ARTS on Instagram or @NYCARTS on Twitter to stay abreast of events as they happen.

John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance

John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance

Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn / Fri, Oct 23, 2020 – Sun, Aug 08, 2021

“John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance” is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition to date, featuring new and recent photographic portraits and still lifes of Central and West African sculptures that explore representation and Black identity in the African diaspora. For this exhibition, Edmonds engaged directly with the Museum’s Arts of Africa collection, photographing select objects donated to the Museum in 2015 from the estate of the late African American novelist Ralph Ellison. As the recipient of …

P.S. Art: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids 2020

P.S. Art: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids 2020

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Manhattan / Thu, Oct 08, 2020 – Sun, Feb 14, 2021

Returning to The Met for the 13th consecutive year, the exhibition “P.S. Art: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids” features works of art in a variety of media created by public school students in New York City. The exhibition is on view until February 14, 2021, at The Met Fifth Avenue in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. The 121 artworks in this year’s exhibition represent 122 students ranging from prekindergarten …

Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night 2020

Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night 2020

Apollo Theater

Manhattan / Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

“Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night” brings together dance, music, and poetry to honor the seven core principles of Kwanzaa including family, community, and culture. On Sunday, December 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET, the Apollo’s “Kwanzaa Celebration” will feature special performances by Abdel R. Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre with special guests spoken word artist Mumu Fresh, poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and members of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and Harlem Children’s Zone Youth Academy of Dance and Wellness, hosted by award-winning radio host …

Dreaming Together

Dreaming Together

New-York Historical Society

Manhattan / Thu, Oct 29, 2020 – Sun, Jul 25, 2021

As part of the Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone—a multi-venue festival of art, ideas, and innovation—the New-York Historical Society and Asia Society Museum opens their first ever collaborative exhibition, “Dreaming Together.” More than 35 interwoven works drawn from both art collections generate dialogue about the urban and natural environments, protest and rebellion, individuals and identities, borders and crossings. Highlights include the Canal Street diptych (1992) from Martin Wong’s Chinatown series, 98-foot hanging scrolls by …

The Pleasure Pavilion: A Series of Installations

The Pleasure Pavilion: A Series of Installations

Luhring Augustine Gallery

Brooklyn /  Thu, Sep 17, 2020 – Sat, Mar 13, 2021

Luhring Augustine is pleased to announce “The Pleasure Pavilion,” a series of installations that bring together artists from the gallery program in dialogue with the façade of a late 18th or early 19th century Indian pleasure pavilion. The arcaded portico pavilion, most likely part of an Indian palace or resort, was believed to have been originally used for recreational activities, such as enjoying musical and dance performances, entertaining guests, or admiring the surrounding gardens. The sandstone and …


Watch Broadway Performances During Social Distancing

GD: Unfortunately, fans of Broadway will have to wait a little longer for shows to resume — until at least late May 2021. That hurts!


Broadway theaters closed on March 12 as New York City enacted rules to promote social distancing and slow the spread of Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a show. The NYC theater community has responded with initiatives and online shows to help support its members and entertain audiences via the internet while we’re staying away from crowds.

We’ve put together a sampling of streaming performances you can watch from your laptop or phone:

Broadway, NYC, Virtual NYC

Broadway HD  Starting in 2015, this online service began offering HD versions of classic and recent Broadway plays and musicals. You can try it out for free (with a one-week trial) or buy a subscription (from $9 a month) to watch some of your favorite shows. You can see stars like Katherine Hepburn in 1973’s televised version of The Glass Menagerie as well as musical hits like Kinky BootsAn American in Paris and Cats.

Stars in the House  Broadway actor, director and writer (and radio host) Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley, host two shows a day from their house on YouTube. The hourlong shows, which air live at 2pm and 8pm (the usual Broadway start times), raise money for the Actors Fund, helping to provide emergency relief for those unemployed in the theater community.

Living Room Concerts has started posting daily concert videos from an array of performers, mainly those whose shows were running before the recent closure of Broadway. They’re posting a new video every day—stars featured include Carolee Carmello (Hello, Dolly!), Kathryn Gallagher (Jagged Little Pill) and teenager Andrew Barth Feldman, the former lead in Dear Evan Hansen.

Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar This West Village bar, known for sing-alongs to Broadway show tunes, has taken the experience online. They’re streaming two main sets of songs each evening, usually starting at 4pm, with different pianists tickling the ivories. To watch, join their Facebook group and tune in to “Sing out, Louise” (in the comfort of your own living room). You can also tip the piano players via Venmo or PayPal, with details during each performance.

Download recent shows, like the SpongeBob SquarePants musical, on Amazon   Many recent shows are available to rent or buy on Amazon and other online streamers, usually in the range of $3–12. Highlights include Rent, taped just before it ended its Broadway run; 2013’s Carousel, via Live from Lincoln Center; 2010 Tony Award winner Memphis; and the original Broadway production of Into the Woods, starring Bernadette Peters.

Virtual Hal Prince Exhibit at Lincoln Center  In December 2019, the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts opened an exhibit on the late Harold Prince, the legendary Broadway producer behind megahits like The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd. While the library is closed, you can take a virtual walk-through and 30-minute guided tour of the gallery with Doug Reside, the show’s curator.

Broadway Dreams Live Lessons  The Broadway Dreams Foundation is hosting free daily lessons, led by some accomplished Broadway-caliber talent, for aspiring actors, singers and dancers. Their lineup has included actors from FrozenHead Over Heels and Chicago. To watch, get the Zoom link from their Facebook page. Sessions begin at 1pm; each day’s links are posted five minutes before class begins, though the schedule is listed earlier than that.

Viral Monologues from 24 Hour Plays  Every year, the 24 Hour Plays event presents a series of shows that are written, cast, directed and performed in one day with the involvement of talent from the NYC theater community. Now they’re doing a mini version, with online monologues, on their Instagram account. They’re performed by actors like Denis O’Hare and penned by playwrights like David Lindsay-Abaire.

Groove to disco versions of Stephen Sondheim songs Broadway Records just released the digital version of Losing My Mind, a compilation of Sondheim songs with a dance beat. Conceived by Broadway performer Joshua Hinck and arranger Scott Wasserman, the 12-song album is an expanded version of a popular concert they put on in 2018. The album features singers like Alison Luff (Waitress) and Chip Zien (from the original Into the Woods). You can preview a track, “Unworthy of Your Love,” from Passion; hear the collection on Spotify; or order a copy from the Broadway Records site.

Broadway Backwards 2020 Encore  Broadway Cares, which produces number of annual AIDS fundraisers, has put together a special encore series of recent star-studded performances from Broadway Backwards, at which performers belt out famous show tunes with gender-swapped roles. They’re also asking viewers to support an emergency fundraiser for actors affected by the Covid-19 crisis—you can make a donation at

Watch Broadway classics like Cabaret for free on YouTube  These days you may be wondering, “What good is sitting alone in your room?” You can get a very direct answer on YouTube by watching the 1993 version of Cabaret, featuring Alan Cumming in his breakout role. Other star turns worth checking out for free are Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in American Playhouse‘s 1986 broadcast of Sunday in the Park with George;  Carol Burnett in 1964’s Once Upon A Mattress; Nell Carter in a 1982 broadcast of Ain’t Misbehavin’; Lauren Bacall in 1973’s Applause; Gregory and Maurice Hines in 1980’s Eubie!; and Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra in 1954’s Anything Goes.

Jason Alexander sings on Twitter  While most people know Jason Alexander as George from Seinfeld, he got his big break on Broadway in a Stephen Sondheim musical (Merrily We Roll Along). He recently went on Twitter to sing a song from the show that got him interested in theater, Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin. The beautiful ballad, “With You,” has a message of love and support we can all use today.


Stay home a bit longer. Mask up, stay smart and stay safe.

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