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20 incredible things to do in NYC this week

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Mon 8

Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival Sara D. Roosevelt Park; 11am; free
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.

“Fantastical Art China” Creative Festival Javits Center; 11am; free
China’s prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts teams up with the U.S.-China Cultural Institute for the second annual “Fantastic Art China” exhibit at the Javits Center. The free five-day show features the work of famed contemporary artists like Pan Gongkai and Duan Haikang, as well as pieces from promising young students from art institutes in China and the U.S.

Alan Cumming: Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs with Friends Carnegie Hall; 8pm; $45–$135
The bright-eyed, bouncy-kneed Scottish stage-and-screen actor plays fast and louche with the cabaret format, sprinkling naughty words into long comic stories and putting a completely fresh interpretive spin on familiar songs.

Sarah Stiles: Squirrel Heart Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 8pm; $20 plus two-drink minimum
The hilariously off-kilter Stiles has conquered the hearts of audiences as sexy puppetmasters in Hand to God and Avenue Q and as Little Red Riding Hood in the Central Park revival of Into the Woods, which she stole in her basket.

Tue 9

“Funky Fat Tuesday” B.B. King Blues Club & Grill; 8pm; $40–$45
George Clinton keeps it eccentric from his often colorful hair to his platform boots. For a lively Fat Tuesday, join the funky R&B innovator as he hosts a Mardi Gras celebration with his groovy band.

A Mardi Gras Bash The Bell House; 9pm; $15
Get down and party New Orleans-style with the Hungry March Band, Jonathan Toubin and Baby Soda. Hosted by "The Magician" MC Tanya Solomon, you'll feel like you're in the Big Easy without leaving the Big Apple. 

Mardi Gras at Duane Park; 6pm, 8:45pm; $55–$65
Duane Park is like Mardi Gras every day, and with this special affair (which includes a three-course meal especially for the occasion), it's like you've stepped directly into the magical city of New Orleans. See performances by Ripley's Believe It or Not magician Albert Cadabra and burlesque by Amber Bray.

Comedy Show at Alligator Lounge; 9pm; free
Sean Donnelly, Steve O'Brien, Kevin McCaffrey and Robert Dean pass the mike while hosting a weekly stand-up show where the venue provides its guests with free pizza.

8Players at various locations; 8pm; $75–$100
Camp classics like Death Becomes Her and sensually charged high school horror films mash up with old-school murder mystery games at this impeccable night of bedazzling DIY theatre. Register to participate in the "'90s Teen Horror" experience, show up in your pre-assigned character costume, and prepare to engage in a frightful showdown with seven strangers who will soon become chillingly familiar.

A Pizza My Heart with Artichoke Pizza Babeland; 7pm; free
Celebrate National Pizza day in a sexy way at this pleasure-filled naughty toy store in Brooklyn. Pop into the boutique, grab a slice of za from neighbors Artichoke Pizza and learn how to spice things up in the bedroom with tips from the sexperts. Make sure to get there early—the first ten guests will win prizes. 

Wed 10

Friends of Single People Littlefield; 7pm; $5–$8
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.

Love Bites: Best Duets Ever Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 9:30pm; $15
Cathy Cervenka and Amber Martin host the 12th annual edition of this Valentine's Week celebration of classic pop duets like "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," "I Got You Babe" and "Suddenly." Among this year's crop of lovebirds are Lena Hall, Molly Pope, Angela DiCarlo, Jill Pangalo, Brian Charles Rooney, Sophia Ramos, Daryl Glenn, Mardie Millit and Time Out New York's own Adam Feldman. 

“Fairy Tale Fashion” The Museum at FIT; noon; free
Cinderella's glass slipper was only the beginning. Immerse yourself in enchanted worlds where contemporary couture merges seamlessly with the imaginings of childhood. In vibrantly realized settings like "Castle," "Forest" and "Sea," you'll be able to see tales of Snow White, the Little Mermaid and more in fully realized runway majesty by designers including Thierry Mugler, Christian Louboutin and Manish Arora. You won't be able to choose which ruby slippers you'll want to take you home.

HOOK UP with Nate and Cacophony Laurie Beechman Theatre; 9pm; $10 plus $20 minimum
Those of us who didn't get a meet-cute in time for Valentine's Day can commiserate with comedian Nate Suggs and bawdy drag diva Cacophony Daniels at this defiant variety show. With comics like Josh Bardier, Aurora Black and Stephanie Estep slinging vitriol at the grim world of dating apps, you'll finally feel like you're in good (single) company. At least until the show ends, and the swiping starts anew. 

Happy Ending Music and Reading Series Symphony Space; 7:30pm; $15–$30
Storytellers and raconteurs like Samantha Hunt and Amanda Stern perform their most exciting material, alongside musicians like folk singer Suzanne Vega.

Thu 11

First Comes Love The Bell House; 8:30pm; $8–$10
Comedian Kyle Ayers posed as an adult film producer on Craigslist in order to get people to write short screenplays. The overwhelming response led to Ayers acting the scenes out on stage verbatim with the help of fellow comedians and volunteer audience members.  It will be a special blend of sexy and terrifying.

Laws of Nature Pioneer Works; 7:30pm; $10 (suggested)
Contemporaneous brings together four composers with deep roots in their different homelands with a premiere by Icelandic-born Canadian composer Fjóla Evans, a work by the stunning Anna Thorvaldsdottir (also from Iceland), a piece by the wonderfully crafty Australian composer Kate Moore and a new arrangement of a song by American pop singer Joanna Newsom. 

Etsy Craft Night Etsy Labs; 6pm; free with registration
Learn how to make your own fabulously colorful pop-up books from scratch under the tutelage of a Purgatory Pie Press master. You'll walk out of class feeling confident enough to zig-zag, fold and glue together your own holographic masterpiece. 

B-Side BRIC House; 7:30pm; free
At this free intimate weekly series, BRIC House features a range of Brooklyn's local artists at their studio space with taped performances and interviews. Expect an eclectic mix—on the calendar this season is everything from shred-heavy blues riffage (guitarist Marcus Machado on Jan 21) to soulful R&B rap (Chelsea Reject on Feb 18).

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