The Weekend Shortlist March 20 to 22

Friday March 20

Location: Midtown West, NYC
Bands: Lila Downs
Show time: 10 PM
Venue: Zankel Hall at Carnegie
Food: Havana Central
Drink: The Campbell Apartment
Miscellaneous: Kinokuniya Bookstore

Oaxacan born Lila Downs is a Mexican singer that takes her country’s traditional music and makes it her own with a gorgeous voice and the fearlessness to try new things like on her newest album Shake Away where she sings in English, Spanish, mixes with jazz and funk, even touching on hip hop. While Times Square is obviously an expensive mess of restaurants, Havana Central offers affordable Cuban food like Camarones con Coco – coconut dusted jumbo shrimp fried and breaded with pineapple ($12). The former office of 1920s mogul John W. Campbell, this utterly spectacular bar is in Grand Central Terminal. Who knew? For fans of Japanese pop-culture, Kinokuniya Bookstore has a large selection of Japanese themed books, videos, CDs, magazines, comics, and stationary.

Friday March 20

Location: Upper West Side, NYC
Bands: Drum & Dance of Guinea: Sidiki Conde & Tokounou
Show time: 8 PM
Venue: Symphony Space
Food: Swizz Restaurant & Wine Bar
Drink: Café des Artistes
Accessory: Magnolia Bakery

Join dancer/drummer/singer Sidiki Conde as he leads his ensemble of dancers Tokounou in a performance taking the audience inside the traditional arts of Guinea. Also know that Sidiki lost the use of his legs at the age of 14, which makes this all the more intriguiging. While Swizz has an extensive wine menu and a downstairs cave, it’s the cheese that people come here for. Fondue lovers, Swizz is the place to go and the menu is just as extensive as its wine. It’s romantic and cheesy. Get it! Café des Artistes is one of those old historic bars that’s as New York as it gets. This bar/restaurant was the meeting place of artists going all the way back to 1917. Today, it serves up new American dishes and cocktails to those in the know. To soothe your sweet tooth, check the uptown location of Magnolia Bakery and sink your teeth into one of the city’s best cupcakes.

Saturday March 21

Location: Lower East Side, NYC
Band: Morrissey Get Tickets Here
Show time: 8 PM
Venue: Bowery Ballroom
Food: Social
Drink: 151
Miscellaneous: Bereket

With a new album out called Years of Refusal, Morrissey still has plenty of the self-loathing literate lyrics that the Mozzer is known for. Plus he’s playing Bowery Ballroom, which is so much more intimate a place than MSG. To start a night that will no doubt rock, you may want to go straight to the bar, and that bar would be 151, where happy hour is 7 days a week from 6pm till 10pm and includes 2 for 1 drinks. For those that don’t want a liquid dinner first, check Social for comfort food including the Mac & Cheese (Macaroni covered in Three Cheese Truffled Mornay Sauce & topped w/Seasoned Bread Crumbs). For a late night eat, a favorite spot of mine is Bereket for falafels and to watch drunks succeed at spilling their food all over themselves and failing at picking up chicks. Not for the faint of heart!

Saturday March 21

Location: Midtown West, NYC
Bands: Cut Copy + Matt & Kim Get Tickets Here
Show time: 9 PM
Venue: Terminal 5
Food: Empanada Mama
Drink: Circus
Miscellaneous: Vintage

Australian act Cut Copy make really great electropop music that’s easy to dance to and sounds like 80s New Wave dance music. Joining them are NYC’s Matt & Kim, who are hard not to stare at considering they never stop smiling, but this punk dance duo also brings infectious dance grooves along with their sparkling personalities. Though small, Empanada Mama packs a hefty punch with more than 40 kinds of empanadas. Choose from a wheat or corn flour shell to start as ingredients include basic rice and beans to what they have dubbed “Viagra,” a wheat flour empanada stuffed with shrimp, scallop, and crab ($3). Appropriately, at Circus, you’ll get free hot dogs, peanuts, and popcorn without the animals, screaming babies, and clowns at this Rudy’s Bar spin-off that has beer just as cheap and a neighborhood feel. If cheap beer ain’t your thing, Vintage has a wine list with over 200 wines by the glass or bottle from most of the boutique wineries in Long Island and Upstate New York.

Sunday March 22

Location: Midtown East, NYC
Bands: KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Manga + Video Games
Show time: Tues – Thurs 11 AM to 6 PM, Fri 11 AM to 9 PM, Sat & Sun 11 AM to 5 PM,
closed on Mondays; Through June 14
Venue: Japan Society
Food: Peking Duck House
Drink: Blackstones Pub & Restaurant
Miscellaneous: New York Milkshake Company

This is New York’s first major exhibition where the Japanese phenomenon’s of Anime, Manga, and Video Games-three visual art forms that have been influencing generations-will be featured. Expect life-size blow-ups of your favorite characters from these genre’s, courtesy of the architects of Atelier Bow-Wow, along with six classic anime films and much more. At one of my favorite places to get duck, The Peking Duck House, the meat is succulent and the skin crunches like a potato chip. Sometimes you just want to grab a pint without paying a cover charge or playing host to a group of people after work, which is why I like Blackstones Pub & Restaurant. It looks like an old-time saloon and has two pool tables in the back and plenty of other games, while also being big enough to grab traditional American food from the menu. If you’re still hungry, check out the New York Milkshake Company for one of the best $6 shakes of your life.

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