The Very Best of NYC Music

Betty’s Annual Holiday Show, Isle of Klezbos, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Patti Smith, Aretha Franklin, Burlesque to Broadway

Every holiday season, you can count on a few things. The streets will be cold and crowded with tourists and shoppers; Santa will bring you lots of presents (if you believe in him, that is); pumpkin pie will be eaten; fruitcake will be gifted and BETTY will take the stage for another rocking holiday show! This year they’re bringing it to a new level with special guest Gloria Steinem. BETTY’s Annual Holiday Show is designed to infuse you with girl-power spirit and make you forget about holiday stresses. Get lost in the beautiful sounds of one of pop rock’s longest-running success stories. And there’s always the chance they’ll sing The L Word theme song, fingers crossed! Catch Betty at City Winery Dec 23rd.

The fun-loving, all-female sextet Isle of Klezbos performs the inaugural concert in the Vox Hebraica series, a new concert tradition at The Actors Temple Theatre. This tag-team klezmer show features the Klezbos players joined by the Metropolitan Klezmer octet. The band’s energetic compositions fuse “neo-traditional folk dance, mystical melodies, Yiddish swing and retro tango, late Soviet-era Jewish drinking song, regrooved standards, and genre-defying originals.” The show takes place in the heart of the theatre district on Jan 10.

Let’s be honest: Ms. Lauryn Hill, formerly of the Fugees and a multiple Grammy-winning solo artist, has been a tad unpredictable in her recent live appearances in the New York area. We’re sure she’ll pull it together for a concert at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester on Dec 28, part of a mini-tour of the Northeast dubbed “Homecoming.” The mom of six is focusing her lyrics on social justice and radical politics these days, but there’s a good chance she’ll rock “Doo Wop (That Thing)” or “Ex-Factor” from her landmark (15- year-old!) solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Patti Smith tore down boundaries in the 1970s, paving the way for women in rock with classic albums like Horses and Easter. A National Book Award winner for the powerful memoir Just Kids, and a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Smith is a commanding artist on stage, and an inspiring songwriter whose influence comes from poetry, blues, rock, jazz and soul. This year she celebrates her 67th birthday at Webster Hall, playing a special concert on Dec 30th, backed by her legendary band. (There will also be another show the following evening, for New Year’s Eve.)

It’s not every day that you can waltz over to Midtown and have your mind blown by a bona fide American legend. Aretha Franklin performs for two nights only at Radio City Music Hall, Jan 17-18, and she is armed with an arsenal of R&B and pop hits from the past 40 years. Sure, some radio somewhere is probably playing “Respect,” “Chain of Fools” or “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” at this very moment. Imagine, though, being in the same room when the Queen of Soul lets loose.

Vocalist Quinn Lemley brings you a theatrical concert that celebrates the retro glamour of old burlesque and the stunning power of Broadway, with songs by Tom Jones, Irving Berlin, Lesley Gore and more in Burlesque to Broadway, happening at the Gramercy Theatre Feb 5th through the 8th. Lemley has toured her show throughout North America, decked out in glamorous outfits by Wendall Goings, and working with Steve Rawlins, Bette Midler’s arranger. Expect jokes, sizzle, show-stopping drama and much more in a show full of boas, sequins and pure talent!

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