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20 marvelous things to do in NYC this week

Valentine's Day in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

Mon 17

Secret Science Club The Bell House; 8pm; free
Apparently, mad scientists like to get down just as much as the rest of us, so join in on this brainiac throwdown at the Bell House, during which you can hear physicists, chemists, professors and more share lectures. Past talks have included examinations of the unknown creatures roaming NYC and other esoteric subjects. Between talks, watch live fusions of science experiments and performance art, try out custom themed cocktails and dance to futuristic beats.

The Decemberists Brooklyn Steel; 8pm; $45
Portland, Oregon's Decemberists attract a nerdily passionate following thanks to their knowing (and, to some, pretentious) indie antiquarianism. There's no certain plans on new material this time around, though the band did just release a tenth-anniversary edition of its ambitious concept album, The Crane Wife, an expansive five-record set that includes outtakes, demos and bonus tracks. The band will, however, be ringing in the opening of Williamsburg's brand-spanking new venue Brooklyn Steel over the course of three nights.

Tue 18

Earth Day at Union Square; noon; free
Helping the environment doesn’t have to feel like a chore—it can be a celebration! At Earth Day Initiative’s awesome block party in Union Square, you can learn about environmental campaigns while trying eco-friendly products and listening to local bands. Do your part by bringing any used clothing and electronics for the Department of Sanitation to repurpose. And if you’re feeling peckish, snack on samples of healthy sustainable grub from loads of vendors.

Bill Nye Saves the World: Special Screening and Discussion The Paley Center for Media; 6:30pm; $32
The ’90s icon screens his new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, just in time for Earth Day and in the face of new political challenges to the climate change movement. 

Trivia Tuesdays The Sackett; 8pm; free
Don’t let the Sackett’s stacked drink menu blur your trivia skills, because you need to bring your A-game for five unpredictable rounds. You have to keep up with music, visual and mystery rounds if you want to win eternal glory (at least, until the next game, two weeks later).

Couples Therapy HiFi; 8pm; free
Feeling insecure about your relationship? Put your romantic anxiety in perspective at this hilarious comedy night, hosted by real-life couple Naomi Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman. Watch stand-up couples—including Matt Koff and Emmy Blotnick, Jo Firestone and a friend, Sydnee Washington and Marie Faustin and Matt Fisher and John Murray—perform sets together. Just don’t try any of their lines on your loved one.

Brunch Night! With Jamie LeeLo Carolines on Broadway; 7pm; $22
LeeLo brings a vivacious daytime personality to a late-night setting in this live talk show. Expect celebrity appearances—like the Broad City creators and cast members of 30 Rock and Girls—baked goods, great tunes and fun surprises.

Wed 19

Tribeca Film Festival at various locations and times; various prices
Looking to go from average moviegoer to hard-core cinephile? A ticket to Robert De Niro’s spectacular, showing buzzworthy premieres, under-the-radar docs and breakout indies, will do the trick. Some passes—priced as high as $1,250—give you unfettered access to all the events and talks but ticket prices for essential screenings ($10 matinee, $21 evening/weekend) are thankfully a lot more budget-friendly. 

Needful Things Wise Men; 8pm; free
Nick Kelly, Fixx Invictus and friends serve deep house at this weekly soiree set in an eye-catching bar designed by sculptor and set designer Andy Harmon.

New York Travel Festival at various locations; 9am; $35–$160
Travel fanatics, industry professionals and dealhunters searching for an affordable getaway will convene in Brooklyn for nonstop panels, exhibitions and more at this enormous convention. Attend talks like "travel as a personal journey" and check out workshops, storytelling and more. By the end of the weekend, you'll have years' worth of trips to book.  

How Are Women Perceived in the Workplace? The Rubin Museum of Art; 7pm; $25
Former CEO of the Chanel empire Maureen Chiquet and psychologist Vivian Diller discuss Chiquet’s career and triumphs in a male-dominated world.

Humans Against Music Karaoke Freddy’s Bar; 9pm; free
With no teleprompter to nervously fix your eyes on, you’ll have to really bring it at this monthly low-tech karaoke showdown. Freddy’s has more than 1,000 tracks to choose from and plenty of paper printouts of the lyrics for you to cling to.

Comedians You Should Know The Gutter Bowling Alley and Bar; 9pm; $5
Beginning in Chicago in 2008 and eventually branching out to West Hollywood and NYC, this popular weekly stand-up showcase spotlights local names on the verge of making it big. Hosted by Mike Lebovitz, this edition features Joe Pera, DC Benny, Dan St. Germaine, Mehran Khaghani, Shalewa Sharp and more.

“Pretty Hurts” The PIT Loft; 9:30pm; $7
Being pretty is hard work too, you know. Comedic badass Lucy Shelby will tell you all about her beautiful people problems—in, like, a hilarious way—during this one-woman show, which covers Shelby’s addiction to being perfect. 

Thu 20

Dirty Thursday: Prince Anniversary House of Yes; 10pm; free
Toast the enduring legacy of the Purple One at this glorious House of Yes rager. Look out for plenty of classics and deep cuts, along with hits from the main Minnesotan's contemporaries, like George Michael and Madonna. 

Stoner Screenings at Syndicated; 7pm + 10pm; $4/screening
Enjoy some Mary Jane before you see some of the best stoner flicks of all time including The Big Lebowski at 7pm and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle at 10pm. The best part is, if you get the munchies, you can order food like burgers and nachos straight from your seat. Cool, man.

“420: The Musical” Kraine Theater; 7:30pm + 9:30pm; $15
John Kehoe and Co. return with their annual performance of pot-fueled hilarity, which follows Jerry, the uptight stoner, as he visits the Land of 420 to learn some important life lessons. Sit back and toke—ahem, take a trip into a fantastical realm where the laughs are plentiful and the munchies are free (really, complimentary snacks are provided).

Yum’s the Word Le Poisson Rouge; 7pm; $15
This ongoing storytelling series, produced and hosted by Robin Gelfenbien, is also a party: audience members are invited to feast on her multiple homemade ice-cream cakes. In addition to stories from a stellar lineup (past performers have included Broad City writer Naomi Ekperigin, UCB's Gastor Almonte, three-time Moth Story Slam winner Danny Artese and more), this "High-Ce Cream (Are You High?) Stories edition features Tracey Segarra, Gastor Almonte and more. 

PJ Harvey Brooklyn Steel; 8:30pm; $49.50, at the door $55
Alt-rock icon PJ Harvey’s latest release, The Hope Six Demolition Project, is another singular statement. The record balances weighty tone and musical simplicity, as when Harvey builds tracks like “The Ministry of Defence” and “The Words That Maketh Murder” around ominously bellowing horns and eerie chanting. As ever, it’s unclear just what makes Harvey tick creatively, The Hope Six Demolition Project being just the latest example of her penchant for dark, compelling songwriting rooted in odd moods. Nevertheless, her output is always arresting. Her gig is one of the best excuses to check out Williamsburg’s new, long-awaited cavernous concert digs, Brooklyn Steel, a 20,000-square-foot, 1,800-person-capacity converted warehouse run by Bowery Presents, the folks behind venues such as Terminal 5 and Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Dinner with the Divas Lips; 7:30pm; free
NYC's 20-year-old drag hub Lips welcomes you to enjoy a night of old-school dinner theater while master impersonator Jesse Volt buzzes on and off stage as Joan Rivers, Cher, Dolly Parton, Katy Perry and more. Try not to blink: you may miss a costume change. 

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