The Best of New York

By Nanci Callahan
Nanci Callahan
Nanci Callahan
December 6, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

A look at the multifaceted arts and entertainment life of New York City: This column starts a journey to share with you, the reader, a bird’s eye view of the best New York has to offer. Of course there is plenty going on to fill many columns every day, but hopefully you will garner some of the joie de vivre of our city life, and maybe some ideas here, in this column.

Theatre: “Lady Day” Billie Holiday is a legend encapsulating the good the bad and the ugly, but superseding all is that soulful voice that comes from a place so painful that most people either can’t or choose not to visit. “Lady Day” is a musical tribute to Billie Holiday by Dee Dee Bridgewater for 8 shows a week at the Little Shubert Theatre on 42nd St. As much as this is a trip down memory lane by a great singer performing Billie’s diverse and moving (she really knew how to select the best) songbook, you are not spared the heartaches that Billie Holiday endured. Definitely not a haha show as you are embarrassed for her when Bridgewater slurs her way through the London concert that is Act 2. More info at

Cabaret: Andrea Marcovicci, “The Chatty Chanteuse” has been entertaining her loyal New York fan base for years. Until the classy Oak Room at the Algonquin shuttered in 2012, she would play a sold out 2 months there every year. Now celebrating her 65th Birthday {she doesn’t look it) at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, named after founder Joe Papp, to start her Northeast Tour. She spends months researching each new show, and always manages to discover unknown tidbits to make it unique and special. Her latest show, “Moonlight Cocktail” honors the singers and songwriters of the forties and fifties. All the dates can be found on, her official website and if you can get to one you will not be sorry!

Jazz: George Cables is a premier jazz pianist who is known far and wide by the primo jazz musicians. This being a week for birthdays, George Cables is celebrating his 69th birthday at the classiest jazz club in New York, Dizzy’s Coca Cola. Dizzy’s, named for the great Dizzy Gillespie, overlooks Central Park with perfect ambience to appreciate the talented musicians who play here.(tasty southern style food is a plus) Info can be found at and George Cables will be playing with his trio November 14-17th, Victor Lewis on drums with Essiet Essiet on bass. Throughout his long career, pianist George Cables has played with artists such as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper, Sarah Vaughan, and Dizzy Gillespie, and has earned a much deserved reputation as everyone’s favorite sideman. Current shows include material from his new album “The Muse.”

Film: An American Revolutionary: This is a strong documentary portrait of Edna Lee Boggs, Chinese activist who has spent most of her life in Detroit fighting racism, bankruptcy, hunger and homelessness with her husband James until he passed years ago.  Boggs is 98 and wheelchair bound, but according to her she has “most of my marbles,” and by others she is still as articulate and feisty as ever.  The film will be shown on “Point of View” and is worth watching her powerful journey. This type of activism has decreased considerably in recent years so this may be a surprising inspiration for viewers. When seen at a recent screening of the film, she had just come from an interview with Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now.” Goodman also cameos in the film. Producer/director Edna Lee (no relation) spent the better part of 10 years shooting and accumulating relevant footage on Boggs for this impressive doc.