Dynamite things to do
Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival Sara D. Roosevelt Park; Feb 8; 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.
“Funky Fat Tuesday” Celebrationg with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic B.B. King Blues Club & Grill; Feb 9; $39.50–$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.
Cupid’s Undie Run Stage 48 Feb 13; $40–$55
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.
The Sweetheart Soiree Norwood; Feb 13; $95
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.
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Piers 92/94; Feb 15, 16; $15–$190
As fun as they are, puppy cams and viral videos can’t compare with real-life specimens as a cuteness delivery system. Coo over more than 3,000 dogs representing hundreds of breeds and varieties at the 140th annual caninefest, where dogs are judged across seven divisions (hound, toy, nonsporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier).
Major movie and theater premieres
The Coen brothers are back! You need more? Fine: Claiming 2016’s Grand Budapest Hotel slot, the siblings' first film since the immortal Inside Llewyn Davis looks like what might happen if you tossed all their movies into a blender. A comedy set during Hollywood’s golden age, Hail, Caesar! tells the cockamamy tale of a bumbling movie star (George Clooney, making all the faces) who is kidnapped off the set of his latest historical epic and ransomed back to the studio. We know Scarlett Johansson plays a femme fatale, and Channing Tatum factors in as a dancing sailor, but how it all plays out is still a mystery. Hail, Caesar! opens on February 5.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
In 2009, author Seth Grahame-Smith discovered the virtually unlimited potential of taking a classic work of literature and adding the words “and Zombies” to its title. Following the path blazed by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this big-screen adaptation stars Lily James as beloved Jane Austen heroine Elizabeth Bennett, forced to juggle finding a proper suitor with fending off the undead. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opens on February 5.
Tangentially connected to the X-Men franchise, this origin story about the most irreverent antihero in the Marvel universe introduces Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a cancer patient whose experimental treatment leaves him disfigured and sarcastic. If you like your spandex red and your superheroes potty mouthed, this could be the comic-book movie you’ve been waiting for. Deadpool opens on February 12.
We can’t believe it’s actually happening, but 15 years after he first blew our minds with Blue Steel, Derek Zoolander is back in action. Plot details are sketchy, but this sequel to Terrence Malick’s favorite movie (for real) promises to reunite beloved faces from the action-packed world of male modeling. Hansel, Mugatu and even Billy Zane are all slated to appear. Zoolander 2 opens on February 12.
It’s been several months since Robert Eggers’s astonishing horror debut first cast its spell on us at Sundance 2015, but few movies are so worth the wait. The story of a 17th-century family banished from a village and forced to resettle on the border of some very haunted woods, The Witch isn't being released close to Halloween. But when a film is this scary, it doesn’t matter. The Witch opens on February 19.
Hilarious comedy shows
Gad Elmaleh Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Feb 2, 4, 7, 9, 11; $25
You've probably never heard of Gad Elmaleh, but over in France he's a house-hold name. The Parisian stand-up is the country's most famous comedian—think Jerry Seinfeld in the ‘90s big. Elmaleh worked obsessively to translate his show to English and to perfect American-comedy timing for his stay in New York, and he doesn’t disappoint.
A Night of Comedy with Jane Fonda Carolines on Broadway; Feb 7; $75–$250
The indefatigable star of 9 To 5 and Grace & Frankie takes to the stage to support the Fund For Women's Equality and ERA Coalition at this blowout benefit event. She'll be joined for stand-up sets by 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander, SNL star Sasheer Zamata, Key & Peele's Michelle Buteau, stand-up Gina Brillon and The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenac.
Road to the White House Peoples Improv Theater; Feb 2, 9; $5
Master impersonator David Carl made a name for himself with renditions of over-the-top personalities like Gary Busey. But now Carl’s taking on his most bonkers challenge yet: the 2016 presidential candidates. Carl plays all the parts in the debates, including the moderators, politicians and hard-hitting journalists like Miss Piggy, in a whirlwind of gaffs, insults and botched policy proposals that rival the onstage antics of the real thing.
Tinder LIVE! with Lane Moore Union Hall; Feb 13; $10–$12
The writer, whose work has been featured in The Onion and McSweeney’s, comes to the stage to show off her Tinder profile, swipe left, message those guys that pique her interest and even call them live. Then she’s joined by Mara Wilson, Selena Coppock, Akilah Hughes and Amy O'Leary to evaluate strangers’ profiles.
The Rejection Show Littlefield; Feb 14; $10–$12
After he had just been dumped and passed over for a job at Comedy Central, Jon Friedman decided to make a show out of his misery. Focusing on heartbreaks and sad single life, Friedman exposes the sorrows that come with break ups on stage in comedic pride. With a team of other comedians Friedman finds the funny in failure and produces the pleasure in pain by sharing rejected moments and stories from his life.
Awesome shows and concerts
Wilco Capitol Theater, King's Theatre; Feb 2–6; $45–$95
Alt-country notables Jeff Tweedy and Co. celebrate last year's comically-titled, laid-back Star Wars with two nights at both Capitol Theater and Kings Theatre featuring a range of special guests (William Tyler, Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia crooner Steve Gunn and Bill Frisell Trio).
Maxwell + Nas Barclay's Center; Feb 14, 15; $49.50–$299.50
R&B legend Maxwell returns to the stage for the first time in five years, which hopefully signals he'll be soon releasing the long-incubating followup to 2009's BLACKsummers'night. For these two stadium gigs, he brings along another '90s superstar: pioneering hip-hop icon Nas of Illmatic fame.
Best Coast + Wavves + Cherry Glazerr Terminal 5; Feb 18; $27.50, at the door $30
Three raucous sun-drenched indie outfits converge at this big-room gig. Bethany Cosentino’s surf rock gang Best Coast reunites with noise punks Wavves for their Summer is Forever II tour, with hazy Cali kids Cherry Glazerr in the opening set.
Animal Collective Irving Plaza; Feb 23, 24; $35
Experimental indie kingpins AnCo hit Irving Plaza in support of the newest release, Painting With, which is sure to deliver all the calamitous squawking, kaleidoscopic synths and wonky songcraft that made them alt-pop experts in the first place.
Future Hammerstein Ballroom; Feb 27; $45–$125
The relentless spitfire of Future's two releases last year—his third studio album, DS2, and the fiery Drake-collab mixtape, What a Time to Be Alive—launched both into many a "best of the year" list. With that much solid new material, and the fiery Ty Dolla $ign in tow as the opener, you can be sure this gig will be a hit.
Marvelous theater performances
The Humans Helen Hayes Theatre; various dates and times; $39–$125
Stephen Karam’s beautifully observed family portrait shows a group of people grappling with bad luck and even tragedy. The year’s best new American play transfers to Broadway.
Hughie Booth Theatre; various dates and times; $55–$149
This lesser known drama by Eugene O’Neill concerns a petty gambler (played by Forest Whitaker) and a hotel night clerk (Frank Wood). Last seen on Broadway 20 years ago with Al Pacino.
Eclipsed John Golden Theatre; various dates and times; $77–$146
After a scorching run at the Public Theater last year, Danai Gurira’s Liberia-set drama transfers uptown, starring a sensational Lupita Nyong’o (20 Years a Slave).
Disaster! Nederlander Theatre; various dates and times; $59–$145
Do you like trashy disaster flicks of the '70s? Do you like funk and disco from the same era? Put them together and you have this groovily retro camp musical extravaganza!
Blackbird Belasco Theatre; various dates and times; $39–$145
Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams star in a gut-punch of a play about a middle-aged man and the woman he slept with—when she was barely a teenager.
Can’t-miss LGBT events
Medium of Desire: An International Anthology of Photography and Video Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; through March 16; free
This erotic new show by fourteen artists from nine countries bridges cultural differences with the unifying theme of desire.
White Elephant Burlesque Rockbar; through May 25; $5
Viktor Devonne’s weekly downtown affair gets saucy and sexy with a rotating roster of the burlesque boys and girls of NYC.
Benjamin Fredrickson Bureau of General Services—Queer Division at the LGBT Center; through March 20; free
In this mesmerizing exhibit, the local artist documents his time as a sex worker in the Midwest with stark, unflinching Polaroids, including several self-portraits as well as shots of other young men engaged in similar professions.
Doodz The Living Room; Feb 12; $5 suggested donation
Chris of Hur presides over a menagerie of alternative drag performers at this monthly Williamsburg art party.
Distorted Diznee Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Cafe; Feb 19; $20 plus $20 drink minimum
A host of maniacal drag dames slap on clamshell bikinis, yellow ball gowns and Maleficent horns to parody and praise their favorite Disney princesses and evil queens.
Delicious food and drink opportunities
NYC Winter Wine Festival The PlayStation Theater; Feb 6; $67 early bird, $79 GA, $199 VIP
Head to New York Wine Event's indoor vineyard takeover of Times Square's PlayStation Theater for this three-hour booze fest where you'll be able to sample over 250 wines culled from across the globe by Vintry Fine Wines. Complementing pours from wineries such as Cascade Mountain and Lakeland Winery are pair-ready eats such as cheese from Beecher's Handmade Cheese and chocolate from Li-Lac Chocolates. Between sips, soak up the sound of soothing jazz from pianist Alex Bugnon.
Brooklyn Chocolate TakedownThe Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club; Feb 14; $20
Cook-off king Matt Timms takes on Valentine's Day with this annual sweets showdown featuring over 15 amateur chefs going head to head with creative recipes ranging from pull-apart cookies to frosted cakes. For two hours, feast your way through each contender's offerings before casting your ballot for the one that stole your heart (and stomach).
Lunar New Year Festival Terminal 5; Feb 20; $60, VIP $120; V-VIP $280
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey at this annual, Xi'An Famous Foods-hosted bash showcasing Asian food, drink and music to raise funds for Apex for Youth, a non-profit providing opportunities for low-income immigrant youth in NYC. Nosh on snacky nightmarket-style bites ($2-$6) including cumin lamb burgers from Xi'An Famous Foods, dim sum from Nom Wah Tea Parlor and rice burgers from Yonekichi, all while enjoying performances from the likes of hip-hop group Far East Movement and Youtube sensation Kina Grannis.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Various locations; Feb 19-28; $40-$75
The New York City Brewers Guild joins forces with the New York State Brewers Association to present this seventh-annual, nine-day affair showcasing booze-soaked offerings from more than 40 of New York's state breweries, including over a dozen of Gotham's finest homegrown crafters (Threes Brewing, Sixpoint Brewery). Kick off the 200-event lineup an all-you-can-eat-and-drink opening day bash where you'll get a good preview of what's to come.
Copenhagen Street Dog Winter Championship Jimmy's No. 43; Feb 21; $20, $25 at the door
Seek out the top dog at this second-annual Danish sausage showdown featuring inventive takes on a street-style dog. Last year's competitors ranged from a Mexi-Dog (guacamole, pickled jalapeños) to a Hot Hanoi (sriracha mayonnaise, mint) and the winner, a God Morgen Dog (jalapeño coleslaw, deviled egg cream). Stuff your face through a host of all-new contenders to help crown this year's winner, who'll take home a glorious pig trophy, while testing your own luck during a mystery raffle session.
Spectacular dance performances
The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company: Alwin Nikolais Celebration Joyce Theater; Feb 9–14; $20–$60
Utah's Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performs pieces by one of America's foremost 20th-century innovators in dance and multimedia performance, including Tensile Involvement (1955), Gallery (1978), Mechanical Organ III (1983) and Crucible (1985).
Company XIV: Snow White Minetta Lane Theatre; through March 12; $40–$105
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, featuringCompany XIV's signature blend of live music, decadent dance and luxuriant design.
Le Ballets de Monte-Carlo: Cinderella New York City Center; Feb 18–20; $50–$100
Monaco's national ballet company visits New York to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a performance of artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot's unsentimental take on the Cinderella story, in which Ella's late mother plays a prominent role. The piece is set to music by Prokofiev, and features a set by Ernest Pignon-Ernest.
Lyrical Dances for a Lost Generation Gelsey Kirkland ArtsCenter; Feb 5, 6; $20
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).
Pacific Northwest Ballet New York City Center; Feb 24–27; $35–$125
The Seattle company, led by Peter Boal, returns to New York with a pair of programs. The first (February 24, 25) presents three works by George Ballachine, including Square Dance (1957). The second (February 26, 27) comprises David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin, William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and Crystal Pite’sEmergence.
Manhattan Vintage Show Metropolitan Pavilion; Feb 5, 6; $20
This two-day expo is every retro-sifter’s dream, featuring more than 90 clothing and textile dealers. As always, you can browse a range of price points starting around $20. Trendheads should beeline for styles from our local favorites, including La Poubelle Vintage, Claw & Co. and Amarcord. But the $15 ticket is definitely worth it, since you’re getting access to prime vintage from out-of-towners.
Patricia Field sale Patricia Field boutique; through March; free to attend
We’re sad to report that infamous costume designer Patricia Field is closing the doors to her beloved Soho boutique. But as a token of her gratitude for shopping, she’s marking her stock 50 percent off, with great buys from small designers including new one-of-a-kind pieces.
Shwick Love Market House of Yes; Feb 7; free
The Market is back with love at The House of Yes! Schwick hosts gifts and shopping alike for your signficant other's needs. Make your V-Day shopping easier by put your lover's mind to rest as over 40 local vendors sell their most creative products.