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Nippon in New York: ‘Evangelion: 3.0,’ Stanley Clarke Trio, K-pop concert debuts

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Start 2014 off right by heading down to your local concert hall, cinema or arts center for some fantastic new year’s fare. Whether you enjoy cutting edge anime, a performance from Grammy-winning and pop sensations, or a classic film favorite of the legendary Donald Richie, treat yourself and catch a break from the cold.

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This month’s highlights include:

Sunday, Jan. 5, 7:00 p.m.

MIKA Samba Jazz Trio

Somethin' Jazz Club, 212 East 52nd Street, 3rd Floor

$12

Presented by Mar Creation, New York-based samba jazz pianist and recording artist MIKA will have her first concert in 2014 at midtown’s venerable Somethin’ Jazz Club, supported by Rafael Barata (drums) and Eduardo Belo (bass). A native of Rio de Janeiro, Barata brings the bossa nova, Belo brings the bottom, and MIKA knits it all together, evoking the warm, soothing sounds of Ipanema and beyond to kick off the new year in style.

Jan. 8-12

Niwa Gekidan Penino—The Room Nobody Knows

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$28/$22 Japan Society members

North American debut! Two brothers inhabit a mysterious, dreamlike apartment. On the day of the elder's birthday, the younger, who is supposed to be studying for college entrance exams, is preoccupied with creating unusual objects for the celebration. Meanwhile, in the upper room, the younger brother's alter egos—derived from his wild imagination and taking the form of two creatures, one with a sheep's head and another with pig features—help with the party preparations. Written and directed by psychiatrist turned most-talked-about theater artist Kuro Tanino and performed by his company Niwa Gekidan Penino, The Room Nobody Knows lures you into a weird yet funny world hidden deep within the Tokyo metropolis. Performed in Japanese with English subtitles. A MetLife Meet the Artists Reception follows the Jan. 8 performance.

Thursday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.

U-KISS: The First U.S. Tour

Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway

$50-$180

Forming in their native South Korea in 2008 and big in Japan (where they have toured and released albums since 2011), boy band U-KISS is finally touring America for the very first time! U-KISS (an acronym for Ubiquitous Korean International Super Star) consists of members Kevin, Eli, AJ, Soohyun, Kiseop, and Hoon. The band will kick off a new series of concerts titled "THE HEADLINERS," which promises to bring spectacular 360-degree content of these rising pop princes.

Jan. 10, 11, 14

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

Big Cinemas Manhattan, 239 East 59th Street

Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue

$14

An anime event not to be missed! Fourteen years after nearly ending the world in the “Third Impact,” Shinji Ikari awakes to a devastated world. Though he was once this world’s last hope, he is seen now as a harbinger of destruction. Enter Kaworu Nagisa, a mysterious pianist who understands Shinji on a level that nobody has ever done before. As Shinji returns to his life, the battle for humanity rages on. Will Shinji ever pilot the Evangelion Unit-01 again? Or does his very awakening herald the final destruction of all mankind? Evangelion: 3.0 You Can.(Not) Redo is an all-new story following the events of Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. Written and directed by the legendary Hideaki Anno, Evangelion 3.0 delivers a new chapter in the Rebuild of Evangelion saga.

Sunday, Jan. 12, 8:00 p.m.

Stanley Clarke Trio feat. The Harlem String Quartet + Bettye LaVette

Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street

$25-$45

Four-time Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Stanley Clarke returns with drummer Lenny White and pianist Hiromi (who performed on Clarke’s 2011 Best Contemporary Jazz Album The Stanley Clarke Band). Clarke co-founded the seminal fusion group Return to Forever with Chick Corea and White in the 1970s, and his creativity has been recognized and rewarded in every way imaginable: gold and platinum records, Emmy nominations, virtually every readers and critics poll in existence, and more.

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 7:00 p.m.

CNBLUE: Blue Moon World Tour

Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway

$70-$150

CNBLUE consist of four members, Yong-Hwa Jung, Jong-Hyun Lee, Min-Hyuk Kang, and Jung-Shin Lee. The band’s fourth mini album that was released in January of this year was a premonition of the tour’s success. The album and its title track “I’m Sorry” not only swept all the major music charts in Korea but also topped internationally renowned pop charts such as Billboard World Album Chart, Japan’s Tower Record Chart, Taiwan’s Omusic and MYX Daily Chart in the Philippines. The band kicked off its world tour in Taiwan in April 2013, and continued its journey through Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, Philippines, China, Malaysia and Indonesia. Now, the band is further expanding its musical territory to the U.S., Mexico, Peru, Chile and Europe to pursue its never-ending ambition.

Jan. 21-26

Hanafuda Denki: The Dance of Death

HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue

$25 general admission, $20 seniors/students

A 2012 New York International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award winner, Hanafuda Denki: The Dance of Death is a high-voltage Japanese underground musical based on The Threepenny Opera, set in a funeral parlor in Tokyo during World War I. In it, a dead girl who loves a living boy adventures between two worlds—the dead and the living. It's a gleeful, thought-provoking meditation from the late Shuji Terayama on how we view death and life, brought colorfully to life (and death) by the Ryuzanji Company.

Friday, Jan. 24, 7:00 p.m.

Himatsuri

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors and students

Part of the film retrospective Richie's Fantastic Five: A Tribute to Donald Richie (1924-2013), Part 1, the rarely screened Himatsuri (1985) is director Mitsuo Yanagimachi’s controversial fourth feature, revolving around a gruff and proud lumberjack who refuses to sell his land, set in the beautiful mountainous area of Kumano, and is eventually driven to commit horrendous, sacrificial acts against himself and his family as his desires merge with the fierce forces of nature surrounding him. Himatsuri is an enormously lush and mysterious film that is certain to leave a lasting impression, however confounding or unsettling. Dave Kehr of the New York Times called it “a work of exquisite sensitivity, corrosive wit, and great technical prowess, [Himatsuri] established Yanagimachi as the leading Japanese filmmaker of his generation.” Includes an introduction by author Ian Buruma (Year Zero: A History of 1945).

Friday, Jan. 24, 8:00 p.m.

East Winds Ensemble: Live

Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space

$25, $19 members/seniors, $15 students/children

East Winds Ensemble presents a unique concert by two amazing masters of Japanese music, Marco Lienhard and Masayo Ishigure, with an evening of shakuhachi, koto, shamisen and piano that will dazzle your senses. A concert that presents the timeless beauty of Japanese and contemporary music, the performance will feature Charles Tang on piano and will showcase classical music arranged for piano and shakuhachi along with traditional and modern compositions.

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