February 2015 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, Valentine's Day events and our picks from theater, the arts and music

Photograph: Shutterstock

After a monastic January (giving up all your vices and spending nothing because the holidays cleared you out), it's time to cut loose. Use our events calendar to guide you to the best things to do this month: Get a delicious meal at NYC Restaurant Week, re-tox yourself at New York City Beer Week with our guide to NYC's best beer events, and check out Broadway’s latest musical-theater offering.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

Featured events in February 2015

Valentine's Day in New York

To help you have an enjoyable time on and around February 14, we've come up with Valentine's Day ideas that should help you plan the Goldilocks of dates: one that's not too cheap, not too expensive, not too over the top and not too uncaring—it'll be just right.

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By: Time Out editors

Chinese New Year in New York City

Ring in the Year of the Sheep by exploring the numerous Chinese New Year happenings offered in New York! Chinatown hosts the annual Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, where crowds gather to enjoy food vendors, traditional lion and dragon dances, vibrant floats and multicolored confetti for days. In addition to festive celebrations occurring across the boroughs, learn about traditional Chinese arts and culture by attending one of the calligraphy workshops at Flushing Town Hall.

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"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs"

Critics' pick

The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and quaint these days. Despite his immense popularity, Matisse’s emphasis on formal innovation and aesthetic pleasure may make him the modern master most alien to the dry, over-intellectualized “conceptual” maneuvers that fill so many New York galleries. Thus, this rather glorious exhibition feels tonic. Matisse first took scissors to paper in the 1930s to work out figural compositions for murals and theater curtains, representing dancers with schematic forms alternately sinuous and angular, and counterintuitively achieving a remarkable feeling of movement and gravity with ostensibly unwieldy materials. During World War II, he used the technique to create the great artist book Jazz (1947). The book’s circus theme, bright hues, and delightfully recognizable flat shapes evoke picture books for children, masking its suggestions of wartime violence: Starbursts in red and yellow on and around bodies evoke open wounds and exploding shells. The 20 maquettes, all of which are on view, appear wonderfully handmade compared to the final stenciled pages, a fact noted by the artist himself, which led him to consider the possibilities of the cut-outs as independent works of art. During the decade before his d

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Until Tuesday February 10 2015

They Might Be Giants

Critics' pick

The quirk-rock masters come off last year's expectedly weird-but-charming Nanobots to play a special series of NYC dates: one MHOW gig per month for five months, starting with a sold-out show in January. Each of the following concerts is devoted to one of the band's classic releases: They Might Be Giants, Lincoln, Dial-A-Song and Flood, respectively.

Read more
Music Hall of Williamsburg Sunday February 22 2015 - Sunday May 31 2015

Sleater-Kinney

Critics' pick

A mysteriously unmarked 7" (containing a heretofore unknown song) in Sleater-Kinney's recent career-spanning box set was all it took to get the blogosphere buzzing with reunion rumors, and days later, it was official—the band's back. The riot-grrrl torchbearers and indie-rock luminaries released their eighth LP, No Cities to Love, in January, their first in 10 years, and are playing a slew of 2015 dates, including this big one at T5. While the gig is as good as sold-out, we're keeping an eye out for more dates to be announced.

Read more
Terminal 5 Thursday February 26 2015 - Friday February 27 2015

The River

Critics' pick

The River. Circle in the Square (see Broadway). By Jez Butterworth. Directed by Ian Rickson. With Hugh Jackman, Cush Jumbo, Laura Donnelly. Running time: 1hr 25mins. No intermission. The River: In brief Hugh Jackman may not be singing and dancing, but we still can't wait to see his new gig on Broadway. The charismatic Aussie stars in a mysterious new piece by Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) about a fisherman in a remote cabin and the two women (Cush Jumbo, Laura Donnelly) he entertains there. Ian Rickson directs. The River: Theater review by David Cote Jez Butterworth’s elliptical chamber drama is a mystery play in the purest sense: no answers, no closure. As Hugh Jackman (identified only as the Man) interacts with Cush Jumbo (the Woman) and Laura Donnelly (the Other Woman), you may worry over the gals’ well-being: Is Jackman playing a serial womanizer—or something more sinister? Next moment, your heart goes out to the lonely guy, connected more to the stream outside his cabin than his appealing houseguests. Then there’s the fact that the ladies switch places midscene with the Man, making the action seem both continuous and fractured. Crime thriller? Erotic memoir? Ghost story? Yes and no. Wriggling slickly through all these categories, The River is a metaphysical piece, despite visceral business (the Man guts and cooks a trout). The language often grows heightened, with aria-like monologues about water, fish, the weather and furious lovemaking (“It was beyond hunger, beyond need

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Circle in the Square Until Sunday February 8 2015

Free events in February 2015

16th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival

Critics' pick

Ring in the Year of the Horse at the 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival. According to Chinese astrology, people born under the equine sign (if you’re turning a multiple of 12 in the next year, that’s you) love entertainment and carnivals; whether that translates into a larger-than-usual turnout remains to be seen. Either way, you can expect crowds, food vendors, traditional lion and dragon dances, costumes, floats and multicolored confetti that you’ll be picking from your hair days later. While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to eat some auspicious New Year foods, like noodles for longevity and a whole fish for abundance. Begins at Mott and Hester Sts.

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Various locations Sunday February 22 2015 Free

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink

Critics' pick

Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you’ll have to shell out $19 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours. Through Mar 1. RECOMMENDED: More rinks for ice skating in NYC

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Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Until Sunday March 1 2015 Free

Le Freak

Critics' pick

DJ Tyler Stone spins all manner of disco at this weekly hump-day throwdown. Trey LaTrash serves as host and helps ensure that you have a wonderfully awful Thursday morning.

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LoveGun Wednesday February 4 2015 - Wednesday March 25 2015 Free

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

Critics' pick

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by the viewer and will physically alter over time. His Untitled (Thermochromic bench), for example, changes color due to heat generated by sitters or the intensity of sunlight. A maze has been painted with multicolored layers of powder-coated aluminum; one side has protective UV coating while the other doesn’t, so that the piece will partially fade from exposure. But as it does, another layer of paint will eventually emerge and regenerate the original color. A set of teeter-totters feature geometric forms that collect rainwater, thus changing the distribution of weight. A giant wind chime is too big for an ordinary breeze to move it, so visitors do the job instead by pushing the chimes around. A more solitary experience is provided by a pair of white, aluminum shelters with tiny entrances and stained-glass skylights. The ambience within each of these “light rooms,” as the artist calls them, will change with the weather. Playful and thought-provoking, these laboratories of fun seek to engage the curious child inside all of us.—Paul Laster

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Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons Until Friday May 29 2015 Free

Music events in February 2015

Napalm Death + Voivod + Exhumed + Iron Reagan + Black Crown Initiate

Critics' pick

U.K. vets Napalm Death, who helped establish the grindcore subgenre with seminal statements such as 1987's Scum, have proven remarkably durable. No original members remain, but the current lineup—more or less intact since the early ’90s—has evolved into one of the underground's finest live acts. The band is joined by proggy Canadian vets Voivod, coming off last year's return to form Target Earth, for this tour dubbed Through Space and Grind. Opening are death-metal outfit Exhumed, punk-metal throwbacks Iron Reagan and Reading, PA's Black Crown Initiate.

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Gramercy Theatre Monday February 2 2015

Sharon Van Etten + Leon Bridges

Critics' pick

Brooklyn's own Sharon Van Etten plays a one-off hometown show before getting back on the road in support of her exceptional fourth album, Are We There. On top of her heartrendingly raw tunes, the lady's got some jokes up her sleeve; expect laughs squeezed in between the emotionally bare songs.

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Warsaw at the Polish National Home Wednesday February 18 2015 - Thursday February 19 2015

Ariel Pink

Critics' pick

Los Angeles DIY pop king Ariel Pink promotes his latest weirdo, lo-fi disc, Pom Pom. With the album, Pink drops the Haunted Graffiti moniker used for his last two excellent records; the resulting LP is more raw and wiry, like a Russ Meyer romp set to four-track.

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Terminal 5 Wednesday February 25 2015

Sleater-Kinney

Critics' pick

A mysteriously unmarked 7" (containing a heretofore unknown song) in Sleater-Kinney's recent career-spanning box set was all it took to get the blogosphere buzzing with reunion rumors, and days later, it was official—the band's back. The riot-grrrl torchbearers and indie-rock luminaries released their eighth LP, No Cities to Love, in January, their first in 10 years, and are playing a slew of 2015 dates, including this big one at T5. While the gig is as good as sold-out, we're keeping an eye out for more dates to be announced.

Read more
Terminal 5 Thursday February 26 2015 - Friday February 27 2015

They Might Be Giants

Critics' pick

The quirk-rock masters come off last year's expectedly weird-but-charming Nanobots to play a special series of NYC dates: one MHOW gig per month for five months, starting with a sold-out show in January. Each of the following concerts is devoted to one of the band's classic releases: They Might Be Giants, Lincoln, Dial-A-Song and Flood, respectively.

Read more
Music Hall of Williamsburg Sunday February 22 2015 - Sunday May 31 2015

Arts events in February 2015

"El Greco in New York"

Critics' pick

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco (1541–1614), surely one of the most popular of the Old Masters, not only due to the devotional nature of his work, but also because much of it anticipated modern Expressionism (or, more accurately, influenced it). To mark the occasion, the Met brings out its considerable El Greco holdings, including the superlative View of Toledo, painted around 1597, and The Hispanic Society of America has loaned its El Grecos to the show (while the Frick has likewise dusted off its examples of the Greek-born Spanish painter). In all, this trove represents the single largest group of El Greco’s art outside of the Prado in Madrid.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Until Sunday February 1 2015

"On Kawara—Silence"

Critics' pick

Over the 40 year span of his career, On Kawara has been best known for his “Today” series of paintings, one created each day in a single day and bearing, simply, the date of its making. Starting in 1966, he’s maintained this daily practice even while traveling, marking the location of each place a painting was created by covering the back of the canvas with the front page of the local newspaper from the same day. However, as this Guggenheim retrospective demonstrates, he’s undertaken other projects as well, some involving postcards or maps. But all share the same deep commitment to concretely taking the measure of time and place. The survey is the first full presentation of his work ever undertaken.

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Friday February 6 2015 - Monday May 4 2015

"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs"

Critics' pick

The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and quaint these days. Despite his immense popularity, Matisse’s emphasis on formal innovation and aesthetic pleasure may make him the modern master most alien to the dry, over-intellectualized “conceptual” maneuvers that fill so many New York galleries. Thus, this rather glorious exhibition feels tonic. Matisse first took scissors to paper in the 1930s to work out figural compositions for murals and theater curtains, representing dancers with schematic forms alternately sinuous and angular, and counterintuitively achieving a remarkable feeling of movement and gravity with ostensibly unwieldy materials. During World War II, he used the technique to create the great artist book Jazz (1947). The book’s circus theme, bright hues, and delightfully recognizable flat shapes evoke picture books for children, masking its suggestions of wartime violence: Starbursts in red and yellow on and around bodies evoke open wounds and exploding shells. The 20 maquettes, all of which are on view, appear wonderfully handmade compared to the final stenciled pages, a fact noted by the artist himself, which led him to consider the possibilities of the cut-outs as independent works of art. During the decade before his d

Read more
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Until Tuesday February 10 2015

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

Critics' pick

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by the viewer and will physically alter over time. His Untitled (Thermochromic bench), for example, changes color due to heat generated by sitters or the intensity of sunlight. A maze has been painted with multicolored layers of powder-coated aluminum; one side has protective UV coating while the other doesn’t, so that the piece will partially fade from exposure. But as it does, another layer of paint will eventually emerge and regenerate the original color. A set of teeter-totters feature geometric forms that collect rainwater, thus changing the distribution of weight. A giant wind chime is too big for an ordinary breeze to move it, so visitors do the job instead by pushing the chimes around. A more solitary experience is provided by a pair of white, aluminum shelters with tiny entrances and stained-glass skylights. The ambience within each of these “light rooms,” as the artist calls them, will change with the weather. Playful and thought-provoking, these laboratories of fun seek to engage the curious child inside all of us.—Paul Laster

Read more
Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons Until Friday May 29 2015 Free

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe"

Critics' pick

People—women and men alike—can't seem to get enough of high heels, and the higher the heel, the more likely that it will attract attention. That ability to captivate is the driving principle behind this show, which argues that, whatever the sexual connotations of high heels, they are also art objects. To illustrate this very sharp point, the exhibit trots out examples of fetishy footwear from the 16th century to the present, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

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Brooklyn Museum Until Sunday February 15 2015

Wang Jianwei, Time Temple

Critics' pick

Installation, painting, film and live theater are all part of this Chinese artist’s exhibition, his first in America and the first of three major works commissioned by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative for the Guggenheim. The piece, which will become part of the Gugg’s permanent collection, is the latest example of the artist’s ongoing examination of social order and the individual’s relationship to it. His work also often alludes to China’s modern history.

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Until Monday February 16 2015

"Thomas Struth: Photographs"

Critics' pick

These 25 photos by Struth, dating from 1978 to the present, are exemplary of the German artist's panoramic, empirical treatment of subjects, which range here from deserted New York streets to a robotically assisted surgery in progress.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Until Monday February 16 2015

"Sturtevant: Double Trouble"

Critics' pick

When this Ohio native began to copy the work of her Pop Art betters and claim it as her own, she was dismissed as an eccentric at best, a crackpot at worst. But Sturtevant (1924–2014)—whose first name was Elaine, but who went by her last name only—was simply carrying the logic of both the readymade and Pop Art to its radical conclusion, answering in the affirmative the following question: If the entire buffet of low-cultural signs and products was available for artistic consumption, why not artworks as well? In the bargain she anticipated 1980s appropriation tactics. Although she didn't necessarily cast her approach as feminist, she eventually became embraced as one, with her work seen as a critique of the male-dominated, market-oriented art world. This retrospective covers her 50-year career and its remarkable journey from margin to center.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Until Sunday February 22 2015

More events in February 2015

The River

Critics' pick

The River. Circle in the Square (see Broadway). By Jez Butterworth. Directed by Ian Rickson. With Hugh Jackman, Cush Jumbo, Laura Donnelly. Running time: 1hr 25mins. No intermission. The River: In brief Hugh Jackman may not be singing and dancing, but we still can't wait to see his new gig on Broadway. The charismatic Aussie stars in a mysterious new piece by Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) about a fisherman in a remote cabin and the two women (Cush Jumbo, Laura Donnelly) he entertains there. Ian Rickson directs. The River: Theater review by David Cote Jez Butterworth’s elliptical chamber drama is a mystery play in the purest sense: no answers, no closure. As Hugh Jackman (identified only as the Man) interacts with Cush Jumbo (the Woman) and Laura Donnelly (the Other Woman), you may worry over the gals’ well-being: Is Jackman playing a serial womanizer—or something more sinister? Next moment, your heart goes out to the lonely guy, connected more to the stream outside his cabin than his appealing houseguests. Then there’s the fact that the ladies switch places midscene with the Man, making the action seem both continuous and fractured. Crime thriller? Erotic memoir? Ghost story? Yes and no. Wriggling slickly through all these categories, The River is a metaphysical piece, despite visceral business (the Man guts and cooks a trout). The language often grows heightened, with aria-like monologues about water, fish, the weather and furious lovemaking (“It was beyond hunger, beyond need

Read more
Circle in the Square Until Sunday February 8 2015

"Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection"

Critics' pick

Peruse vintage European trains at this premiere museum exhibition of the Jerni toy collection. A display of mini choo-choos, bridges, carousels and Ferris wheels, as well as the first-ever model of an elevated train station, creates a diorama populated by figurines in colorful 19th-century garb.

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New-York Historical Society Until Sunday February 22 2015

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink

Critics' pick

Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you’ll have to shell out $19 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours. Through Mar 1. RECOMMENDED: More rinks for ice skating in NYC

Read more
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Until Sunday March 1 2015 Free

Movement Research at the Judson Church

Critics' pick

Judson Mondays are here again. Pop by for a free evening of movement experimentation, curated by Neal Beasley, Bradley Ellis, devynn emory, Malcolm Low and Molly Poerstel.

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Judson Memorial Church Monday February 9 2015 Free

The Last Ship

Critics' pick

The Last Ship. Neil Simon Theatre (see Broadway). Music and lyrics by Sting. Book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey. Directed by Joe Mantello. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. The Last Ship: In brief Longtime rocker Sting tries his hand at the Broadway musical with this semiautobiographical tale set in the working-class seaside town of Wallsend. An ambitious young man leaves his roots behind but finds himself caught in the wake of his past. Joe Mantello (Wicked) directs a fine cast that includes Michael Esper, Jimmy Nail and Sally Ann Triplett. The Last Ship: Theater review by David Cote To use shipbuilding as an analogy for crafting musicals, the songs are the hull—the most visible part of the thing, taking up the most space. But you won’t sail far without a strong, even keel, the beam around which the hull is constructed—the book, in other words. With The Last Ship, a fervent, rollicking and often glorious new musical scored by Sting and inspired by the town of his youth, the hull is magnificent, the keel has problems. When the muscular ensemble is tearing into Sting’s rueful ballads or jaunty barroom reels, you almost forget that the narrative stakes are exceedingly attenuated—unemployed shipwrights in a northern-English town occupy a decommissioned factory to build one final vessel as an act of defiant solidarity. It’s a nice gesture, a symbolic blow for the working man priced out of his profession, but book writers John Logan and Brian Yorkey

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Neil Simon Theatre Until Sun Mar 29

The Business NYC

Critics' pick

A team of four promising comics—Alex Koll, Michelle Wolf, Kara Klenk and Jared Logan—produces this biweekly New York edition of the popular West Coast stand-up showcase. Use promo code "BUSINESS" for $10 tickets.

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The Stand Tuesday February 3 2015 - Tuesday June 9 2015

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

Critics' pick

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra. Daryl Roth Theatre (see Off Broadway). Conceived and directed by Diqui James. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. Wayra: In brief Fuerza Bruta returns in the third installment of the De La Guarda trilogy. If it's anything like the first two, you can expect a visually impressive dance-rave thrill ride that merges striking imagery with techno music and aerial showboating. Wayra: Theater review by David Cote When the sensory-wraparound rave known as De La Guarda swung into town 16 years ago, it was the only show of its kind. Even in 2007, when environmental-kinesthetic mastermind Diqui James unveiled a sequel, Fuerza Bruta, there was no Sleep No More, Then She Fell or Queen of the Night. So has James tried to reinvent the wheel and beat the competition—say, by introducing narrative or literary allusions? Not a chance. Fuerza Bruta: Wayra is of a piece with its predecessors, still offering unique thrills for a remarkably young and diverse audience that, I’m guessing, doesn’t get to Playwrights Horizons very much. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a palate cleanser for theatergoers tired of living rooms and family secrets, Wayra is a bona fide thrill ride. Immersive theater may be more common now, but no one blasts through boundaries like these guys. As usual, James’s nonverbal episodic spectacle (with an eclectic score by Gaby Kerpel that glides from techno and drum ’n’ bass to world) is a direct challenge to we poor critics’

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Daryl Roth Theatre Until Thursday December 31 2015

The Sherry Vine Show

Critics' pick

New York drag institution and brilliant comedian Sherry Vine brings you her song parodies, viral videos and acid wit every week at this popular Hell's Kitchen drinkery.

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Industry Bar Wednesday February 4 2015 - Wednesday June 24 2015 Free

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