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February 2016 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 2016

Featured events in February 2016

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: Tazi Phillips

Mardi Gras in New York

Every year, New York's usual anxiety and chaotic charm turns laissez-faire via The Crescent City for Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras in NYC is a typically rambunctious affair, featuring jazz music performances, funky shows, rich cajun cuisine, king cake and some of the best parties in New York. So, for your celebratory pleasure, here's our roundup of the city's best Big Easy events.

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By: Jillian Anthony

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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NYC Restaurant Week

The twice-annual discount dining event NYC Restaurant Week offers cheap dining deals at more than 300 restaurants in New York

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Watching the Super Bowl in NYC

Throw on your shoulder pads, perform your weird football ritual and get into the game with our guide to the best bars in NYC to watch the Super Bowl, plus how to chow down like a champion

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New York Fashion Week guide

No ticket to the shows? Don't worry—feel like a fashion insider with our ultimate guide to NYFW

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By: Jennifer Picht

Free events in February 2016

“The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film”

From the very beginnings of the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks enlisted modern artist to promote the Soviet state. Initially, this effort included the likes of Malevich, El Lissitzky and Tatlin, figures whose radically futuristic art was deemed especially suitable for spreading the equally radical message of the new regime. After Stalin succeeded Lenin, however, he decided that abstraction was too confusing for the masses, and imposed the official figurative style we know as Socialist Realism.

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Until Sun Feb 7

“Greater New York"

Like the Whitney Biennial and the New Museum Triennial, MoMA PS1’s quinquennial “Greater New York” aims to capture that lightning in a bottle called the zeitgeist. That’s the hope anyway, since surveys of this type tend to be noisy affairs signaling—well, not nothing, exactly, but nothing terribly exciting, either, as the spirit of our age has been dispiriting for awhile now. Like the rest of their 0.01 percent cohort, collectors have been busily sucking up the world’s wealth, effectively reversing the revolution in culture, economics and politics that culminated in Modernism.

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MoMA PS1 , Long Island City Thursday February 11 2016 - Monday March 7 2016

“Unorthodox”

The venue and title for this show suggests some focus on religion, but in this case, unorthodox simply means "unconventional," which is certainly an apt descriptor for contributions here by 50 contemporary artists whose works “highlight the importance of iconoclasm and art’s key role in breaking rules and traditions."

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The Jewish Museum , Central Park Thursday February 11 2016 - Sunday March 27 2016

Sissy

Mark Dommu presents a weekly Wednesday night of flamboyance and fun in a femme-positive safe space where a queer can be a queer. American Horror Story: Hotel screens at 10, live performances (anything from alt drag to experimental music or stand-up comedy) start at midnight and rotating DJs spin until 4am.

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Macri Park , Williamsburg Until Monday February 29 2016

Jizz

You'll ejaculate, "Joy!" when you join DJs Josh Sparber and Anthony DiCapua and showgirl Charlene for their third-Thursdays shindig at this hipster homo haven.

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Metropolitan , Williamsburg Friday February 19 2016 - Friday March 18 2016

Music events in February 2016

Maria Stuarda

The Italian conductor Riccardo Frizza makes a triumphant return to the Met with Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda starring Sondra Radvanovsky as Mary Queen of Scots and Elza van den Heenver as Elizabeth I.

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Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center) , Upper West Side Thursday February 11 2016 - Saturday February 20 2016

Lianne La Havas

The graceful and thoroughly unpretentious Lianne La Havas has been the subject of tremendous buzz, especially in her native U.K. Following a 2012 debut that revealed a silky voice set over breathtaking yet simple jazz arrangements, La Havas arrives on the heels of Blood, her honeyed new sophomore effort.

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Mon Feb 1 - Fri Feb 5

Wilco

Jeff Tweedy and his band deliver four shows behind last year's well-received effort, the laid-back, freewheeling Star Wars. Nashville's William Tyler opens Feb 2; Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia crooner Steve Gunn kicks things off Feb 3 and Feb 6; setting the stage Feb 5 is the Bill Frisell Trio.

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Tue Feb 2 - Sat Feb 6

Buster Poindexter

Following a string of solo pursuits and a respectable New York Dolls reunion run, David Johansen has pulled the tux out of mothballs to resume his activities as boisterous cocktail-lounge lizard Buster Poindexter. Johansen's intoxicating mixture of sly patter and R&B gutsiness takes the persona well beyond parody.

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Tue Feb 2 - Sat Feb 6

Talib Kweli

Since emerging in 1998 to link up with Mos Def and form Black Star, socially conscious MC Talib Kweli has made a name for himself as a solo artist of true integrity. Even Jay Z referenced his verbal dexterity: “If skills sold/Truth be told/I'd probably be/Lyrically/Talib Kweli.” The underground hero takes the stage here with selections from his latest, Indie 500, which found Kweli teaming up with lauded producer 9th Wonder.

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Irving Plaza , Gramercy Friday February 12 2016 - Thursday March 3 2016

Jenny Lewis + Watson Twins + M. Ward

Former Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis marks the tenth anniversary of her solo debut, the folky, snarling Rabbit Fur Coat, with a tour featuring the same collaborators she traveled with a decade ago: the Watson Twins and M. Ward.

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Wed Feb 3 - Thu Feb 4

Oberhofer + High Waisted + granny + Junk Boys

Oberhofer's namesake, super-young Brad Oberhofer, creates the sort of ramshackle, one-man bedroom pop you'd think was the result of more sophisticated techniques. Sharing the bill is local surf rock group with pointed pop sensibilities, High Waisted.

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04 Feb 2016

Wolf Eyes

Michigan noise gods Wolf Eyes have unbelievably put out well over 100 releases—attesting to their value is Black Flag leader Henry Rollins' hardcore fandom, as the hardcore king claims to own nearly all of them. The guys lay down three nights of cartoonishly cacophonous assault here at Union Pool.

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Thu Feb 4 - Sat Feb 6

Lupe Fiasco

Skateboarder-storyteller cum political MC Lupe Fiasco is gearing up for a prolific 2016—the rhymesmith's just announced the names of 3 planned full-length releases this year right off the heels of last winter's witty, introspective LP, Tetsuo & Youth (check out its affecting, Ed Sheeran–graced single, "Old School Love"). Expect a sneak peak of the first upcoming album, DROGAS.

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05 Feb 2016

Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony is serving up his vibrato-intense, knees-to-the-floor croon twice in Feb, hitting MSG Feb 6, then heading over to Prudential Center Feb 13 to deliver his third-annual Valentine's Day show. Confirmed fans will sway along to the singer’s soap-opera-tastic ballads (of which there are many), impassioned salsa gems, midtempo pop hits and ravey dance numbers.

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Prudential Center Saturday February 13 2016
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Arts events in February 2016

Company XIV: Snow White

Having previously given an haute-burlesque twist to Cinderella and The Nutcracker, director-choreographer Austin McCormick invites us to take a bite of his latest nightlife-performance spectacle: an elaborate, adults-only version of Snow White, featuring Company XIV's signature blend of live music, decadent dance and luxuriant design.

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Minetta Lane Theatre , Greenwich Village Until Saturday March 12 2016

Lyrical Dances for a Lost Generation

Director-performer-choreographer and resolute Andy Warhol fan Raja Feather Kelly invites 13 choreographers to take the stage themselves and get moving to pop music. Kelly curates and hosts an evening devoted to celebrate the "J.O.D." (Joy of Dance).

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Fri Feb 5 - Sat Feb 6

Moira Dryer

Working during the 1980s, Dryer (1957-1992) was largely out of step with the such trends of the time as Appropriation Art, Neo-Expressionism and Commodity Fetishism, preferring instead a reflective, nuanced take on abstraction that softened quasi-geometrical or patterned schemes with a deft painterly hand applied to wood panels. She also wandered occasionally into shaped canvases. This show presents works created between 1985, the year before her first solo show, and 1992, the year of her death from cancer.

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Wed Feb 3 - Sun Feb 7

“Picasso Sculpture”

Whatever you may think of Picasso (1881–1973), his role in transforming Western art is unassailable, if poorly understood. Whenever most people consider his accomplishments, they usually think of his paintings, which is only natural since he studied as a painter. But as this magisterial survey at MoMA makes clear, he was as just as innovative in another medium, one in which he received no formal training: sculpture. Moreover, he revolutionized the field not in spite of this lack but because of it.

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Until Sun Feb 7

“The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film”

From the very beginnings of the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks enlisted modern artist to promote the Soviet state. Initially, this effort included the likes of Malevich, El Lissitzky and Tatlin, figures whose radically futuristic art was deemed especially suitable for spreading the equally radical message of the new regime. After Stalin succeeded Lenin, however, he decided that abstraction was too confusing for the masses, and imposed the official figurative style we know as Socialist Realism.

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Until Sun Feb 7

"Frank Stella: A Retrospective"

Any consideration of Frank Stella’s work should begin with his own description of it. “What you see is what see,” he once famously declaimed, by which he meant it was pointless to contemplate whatever was happening inside one of his paintings because there was no “inside” to speak of. They were things hung on a wall, as blunt in their physicality as pieces of sculpture, which they came to resemble more and more as the decades wore on. As this career survey covering 55 years amply demonstrates, Stella managed to wring increasingly ornate results from this formula, going from geometric abstractions to baroque gestural embellishments manifested as three-dimensional forms.

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Until Sun Feb 7

Jonathan Lasker

For nearly 40 years, Lasker has been parodying the mechanics of abstraction with cartoonish canvases featuring thick, impasto brushmarks taking shape as squiggles, crosshatching and other doodled flourishes. Flatter expanses of bright color or stark white backgrounds anchor these gestures, giving them glyph-like gravity.

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Cheim & Read , Chelsea Until Saturday February 13 2016

“Martin Wong: Human Instamatic”

The late, great Martin Wong (1946–99) arrived in New York in 1978 and quickly became a bard of the pre-gentrified Lower East Side, with moody depictions of burned-out tenements, often graced by hunky male Latinos. Big Heat (1988), for example, shows a pair of firemen kissing in front of abandoned buildings patchy with whitewashed graffiti. A self-taught painter, Wong cultivated an outsider artist’s obsessiveness, meticulously rendering every rough brick in his cityscapes and strange, nearly abstract pictures of blank walls. He was also given to esoteric sign systems, filling skies with star charts and chubby hands forming inscriptions in American Sign Language.

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Bronx Museum of the Arts , The Bronx Until Sunday February 14 2016

“Concrete Cuba”

Lying 90 miles off the Florida Keys, Cuba has been terra incognita for the past half century, a place made strange by geopolitics and proximity to these shores. The same could be said of Cuba’s art scene, though contemporary Cuban artists have occasionally shown in New York galleries during the past 20 or 30 years. Now, as the result of the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations and also of a larger project to backfill 20th-century art history (or, if you prefer, to introduce fresh product to the market), David Zwirner offers this museum-quality survey of paintings and sculptures by a heretofore unfamiliar group of midcentury modernists from the island nation.

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David Zwirner , Chelsea Until Saturday February 20 2016
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More events in February 2016

Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival

Unfriendly ghosts should steer clear of Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the first day of the New Year, when the Better Chinatown Society lights 600,000 firecrackers to welcome the Year of the Monkey and ward off evil spirits. In addition to the pyrotechnics, there will be lion dances and decorations giveaways, plus craft vendors and food booths where you can get your fill of traditional delicacies. It’s said that the more dumplings you eat at the celebration, the more money you’ll make in the year ahead. Grand St at Forsyth St.

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08 Feb 2016

Friends of Single People

Here's the chance to to represent your single friend live on stage in order to snag him/her a date. Put your friend up for auction and tell everyone why exactly they're so great. Answer Jo Firestone's (Punderdome 3000) questions as you believe your friend would, then wait for someone from the crowd to match up with your pal. Booze will do the rest.

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Littlefield , Gowanus Wednesday February 10 2016

Bloody Valentine Weekend

Give your babycakes goosebumps the Valentine’s Day weekend. Swap candy and flowers for bloody hatchets and gore-stained chainsaws at this special-edition jaunt through the Blood Manor haunted-house. And even the macabre organizers are mindful of tradition—most ticket packages include a single black rose to commemorate your tragic and doomed love.

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Blood Manor , Downtown Friday February 12 2016 - Sunday February 14 2016

Cupid's Undie Run

Join this scantily clad, one-mile Valentine’s Day dash to Brass Monkey bar to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Must register (and wear some form of undies)  to participate.

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Stage 48 , Hell's Kitchen Saturday February 13 2016

The Sweetheart Soiree

The Jazz Age Lawn Party’s Michael Arenella hosts this black-tie affair with cocktails, live music and even dance lessons in an 1847 townhouse that’s now an exclusive club.

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Norwood , Chelsea Saturday February 13 2016 - Sunday February 14 2016

Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade

Steel drums, acrobats, martial artists, dancers, ornate floats and, obviously, the iconic dancing lions and dragons snake through Chinatown’s crowded streets for the 17th annual Chinese New Year Parade. The mouth-watering smells from the neighboring restaurants and the sounds of the traditional music meld to create a joyous, immersive experience. Begins at Mott and Hester Sts.

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Chinese New Year Parade Sunday February 14 2016

Romance Under the Stars

Eschew the dinner date on Valentine's Day and snap up tickets to this swanky soiree at the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space. The night begins among the asteroids (have a "heavenly bodies" quip ready) with an open bar of cocktails and champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres and chocolate, while a jazz quartet sets the mood with standards. An hour later, cozy up in the Hayden Planetarium while an astronomer tells lovey-dovey stories based on the mythology of the cosmos.

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Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space , Upper West Side Sunday February 14 2016

The Wonderful World of Boning

Lux Alptraum reenacts old-timey sex-ed videos to communicate the sometimes-terrifying realities of human sexuality in the most awkward and unintentionally hilarious ways possible. In terms of exorcising your middle school gym-class trauma, this is a pretty fine start.

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Union Hall , Park Slope Sunday February 14 2016

"Superheroes in Gotham"

Masked marvels may be dominating Hollywood, but their real-life origin stories, inspirations and publishing history could only come from New York City. Witness the cosmic leaps superheroes like the X-Men and Thor have taken from the sketchbooks of struggling young artists like Jack Kirby in postwar Manhattan to radio, TV, film and beyond. This exhibit offers you the chance to look to the skies and around your neighborhood for world's mightiest Supergods.

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New York Historical Society Until Sunday February 21 2016
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