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50 amazing things to do in NYC in February

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Dynamite things to do 

TimesTalks: A Final Farewell to the Cast of Girls, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts; Feb 1 at 7pm; tickets start at $48
Catchup with the Girlsthemselves—LenaDunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet—beforethe sixth and final season of the groundbreaking show premieres on Feb 12. Fans won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear the stars talk feminism, womanhood and what’s next for Hannah and co.

Tattooed New York; New York Historical Society; Starts Feb 3–April 17; Free with museum admission
The New-York Historical Society presents over 250 items, including rare photos, early 20th-century tattoo machinery and designs by tattoo pioneers like Sam O’Reilly and Lew Alberts, documenting the city’s long love affair with body art—oh, and that nearly four-decade period from 1961 to 1997, when tattooing was illegal in NYC.

Target First Saturdays; Brooklyn Museum; Feb 4; free
For this month’s edition of its free Saturday series, the Brooklyn Museum presents vocalist and percussionist Courtnee Roze, neo-soul and hip-hop duo OSHUN, DJs mOma, Rich Knight and Lola Chung, selections from Jinah Parker's choreoplay SHE and much more. When you're not taking in top-notch performances, learn ways to become more active in your community at the event's Community Resource Fair, attend pop-up gallery talks and get made into a comic book character at Black Gotham Experience's photo booth.

Love, Loss and What I Wore, KaufmannConcert Hall at 92nd Street Y; Feb 5 at 8pm; tickets start at $167
This one-night-only reading of Nora and Delia Ephron’s play features a star-studded cast: Rosie O’Donnell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Natasha Lyonne, Carol Kane and Lucy DeVito. Ladies in the audience will find the vignettes about women’s lives told through their wardrobes funny, poignant and perhaps a bit too familiar. 

Chinese New Year Parade Chinatown; Feb 5; free 
During one of the best events in February, Chinatown, NYC is stormed by dragons and dancers, while some of the best Chinese restaurants serve delicious food in celebration of the Lunar New Year. But before you get lost in the bang of firecrackers, check out some fun things to do in the neighborhood. Brace yourself for what's sure to be a wild celebration, especially with the Chinese New Year Lunar Parade and Festival!

Love at the Tenement; The Tenement Museum; Feb 10; $30
Discover the affairs of the heart that played out among New York’s optimistic working-class immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries on this guided tour. You’ll be able to ease your real-estate anxiety on a stroll through Orchard Street the old-school lover’s lane of the LES: Orchard Street. View richly re-created apartments from the era, indulge in sweet treats, and hear the most salacious and sweet tales of late-night fire escape rendezvous, renter-boarder romance and neighborhood scandal since Sex and the City. 

Central Park Conservancy Ice Festival; Naumburg Bandsell, Central Park; Feb 11; free
After it was canceled because of high winds last year, the Ice Festival returns with ice-carving artists from Astoria-based Okamoto Studio, who transform 6,000 pounds of the cold stuff into replicas of statues in New York’s backyard. No big deal, right? The real party starts after, though. A free silent disco (with live DJs) lets you choose between ’80s, ’90s and Top 40 hits so you can dance the night away.  

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show; Piers 92/94 and Madison Square Garden; Feb 11-14; various prices.
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 141th annual caninefest, where dogs are judged across seven divisions (hound, toy, nonsporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier). If you can’t score a ticket, you can still get your fix via online streaming during the day and TV coverage of the evening competitions.

Dita Von Teese, Gramercy Theater;Feb 14-18 at 7:30pm; tickets start at $114
Don’t miss the queen of burlesque on the New York leg of her “Art of the Teese” tour. She’ll debut brand new acts and bust out some favorites—including her famous performance with a giant martini glass.

Amateur Night at the Apollo: Opening Night, the Apollo Theater; Feb 22 at 7:30pm; tickets start at $39
Watch aspiring musicians, dancers, comedians, spoken word artists and more battle it out at the first night of the Apollo’s annual live talent competition, now in it’s 83rd year. The winner will receive $20,000 and the prestigious title of Super Top Dog.

Hilarious comedy shows 

Showgasm Ars Nova; Feb 2 ; $5–$20
Joel Kim Booster hosts this eclectic neovaudevillian variety show, which features a lively mix of music, comedy and burlesque. This edition features performances by Amber Alert, Sonia Denis, Mo Fry Pas, Mitra Jouhari, Talkboy and Jaboukie Young-White. The show starts at 8pm, but we recommend arriving early for Foreplay, the pre-show happy hour from 7–8pm with killer specials ($20 gets you two drinks, a slice of pizza and a ticket to the show). As with all Showgasm shows, you never know when a famous face will drop by for a wild and queer night.  

Comedy at Stonewall The Stone Wall Inn; Feb 4; $5, at the door $10, plus two-drink minimum
Chrissie Mayr hosts this monthly showcase of stellar queer and queer-appealing comics at the historic Stonewall. Get down to killer sets from Tim Dillon, Exiene Lofgren, Von Decarlo, Joel Kim Booster, Eman El Husseini and Josh Carter. 

Tinder Live: Valentine’s Day Spectacular The Bell House; 8pm; $15
Comedian, writer and musician Lane Moore takes the stage in this critically-acclaimed comedy show to open up her Tinder profile, swipe left, message guys that pique her (and the audience's) interest and even call them live. During this special Valentine's Day show, Moore is joined by Naomi Ekperigin, Dan Soder and Amy Rose Spiegel. 

Keeping My Kidneys The PIT Loft; Feb 8; $7
TV writer hyper-prolific NYC comedian Mindy Raf stars in her acclaimed manic romantic comedy solo show, which throws her into queer three-ways, uncomfortable medical exams and beyond. 

Never Sleep Alone; Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Feb 14; $45, participants $35, plus $12 minimum
Outrageous character actor and cabaret comic Roslyn Hart inhabits her alter ego, "sexual psychologist" Dr. Alex Schiller in this interactive bash. The doctor’s goal: getting the audience in the mood with a few choice tunes and making sure all the single people in the audience hook up. Make sure you've made your bed before heading to Joe's Pub, as you're likely to bring a new friend from this show home with you. 

Can't-miss LGBT events

Cakes Metropolitan; Feb 1, 8, 15, 22; free
Head to Metro for a weekly debaucherous romp with your hosts Elizabeth James and the legendary Untitled Queen. Get on stage and show off your booty bounce for the best ass contest, which guarantees a stacked dance card at the end of the night and $50 for the winner.

Q-Train Sycamore; Feb 2; Free
Ditmas Park's ever-growing queer populace is invited to mix and mingle at this monthly shindig. Play dirty bingo with host Ariel Speedwagon and dance to jams by everyone from Tina Turner to Fergie as DJ GoGo Gadget and drag boss Ariel Italic take over the dancefloor.

Between Two Queens Gold Sounds; Feb 2, 9, 16, 23; free
If you're tired of reading Facebook rants on culture and politics from your aunt Beth, try hearing them from the beglittered lips of some of the city's sharpest drag queens. This weekly get down, hosted by Thee Suburbia and Hannah Lou, welcomes drag entertainers to share their best and worst facebook posts, then destroy the stage with performances. After the show, Lou takes over as DJ for a late night of sickening beats.

Troupe429 Mayfair New York Times Square; Feb 4; 10pm; free
For its first birthday party, this always-chill queer throwback party is hosting a Three Kings (and Kweens) Day Celebration. While you jam to Britney Spears and Tiffany, you can revisit classic N64 games, snag cheap drink specials and even play some sloppy beer pong, with prizes from Smirnoff Sourced. 

Reloaded Saturdays Phoenix; 10pm; free
The always-reliable East Village joint throws this packed Saturday night party of booming pop jams, boys on the dancefloor taking their clothes off and fetish and glam items available to buy in the backroom. 

Major movie premieres 

I Am Not Your Negro
Based on an unfinished book by memoirist James Baldwin (voiced here by Samuel L. Jackson, who triumphs in a hushed register), this superb documentary charts the crushed dreams of black activism during the civil rights movement. The takeaway is an electric sense of outrage, one that’s depressingly timely. I Am Not Your Negro opens Feb 3

Call it a mark of our attachment to the frightening 2002’s Naomi Watts–starring original (itself a remake) that we’re ready for another go-around with the cursed VHS tape. This sequel doesn’t have major stars—no stars at all, really—and it’s been delayed a zillion times. Still, that girl with the stringy black hair comes out of the laptop nicely. Rings opens Feb 3.

John Wick: Chapter Two
Another sequel? Believe us—we were just as shocked when we watched 2014’s John Wick and declared it to be one of the most exhilarating action movies in years. The linchpin, of course, is Keanu Reeves, hardening into total Charles Bronson badassery (there’s nary a “whoa” in earshot) while upping his unspoken charm via staggering gun-fu athleticism. John Wick: Chapter 2 opens Feb 10.

The Lego Batman Movie
Animation has a pretty high bar to meet these days, especially after 2016’s stellar crop (Zootopia, Sing, Kubo and the Two Strings). But we trust the quality control on this project, given the love and attention that went into 2014’s The Lego Movie. And it can’t be worse than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, right? The Lego Batman Movie opens Feb 10.

Get Out
Key & Peele is a show that we mourn deeply. But the guys have moved on: Keegan-Michael Key builds his impressive big-screen career, while his partner-in-comedy, Jordan Peele, has chosen an unusually ambitious route, writing and directing an original horror film about an interracial couple and the extreme troubles they encounter. It's equal parts funny and creepy. Get Out opens Feb 24.

Amazing concerts and shows 

Isaiah Rashad at Highline Ballroom; Feb 1; $15
The singer, an associate of fellow Top Dawg Entertainment acts including Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, visits NYC behind his R&B-soaked hip-hop debut, The Sun's Tirade.

Sampha at Terminal 5; Feb 9; $25
The UK soul-pop singer—best known for crooning the hook on Drake's "Too Much”—airs his own music from his just released debut, Process, at this big gig.

Hamilton Leithauser at Music Hall of Williamsburg; Feb 23, 24; $25
The Walkmen singer performs tunes from his acclaimed collaboration with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij. The record, I Had A Dream That You Were Mine, mixes Leithauser’s patented charismatic crooning with Rostam's ear for polished melody.

Japandroids at Terminal 5; February 23; $25
The rock duo, hearts firmly on sleeves, return with their second LP, Near to the Wild Heart Of Life, for what’s sure to be a sing-along-filled night. 

Ariana Grande at Madison Square Garden; Feb 23, 24; $60–$200
The pop star belts out the hits—from “Break Free” to the recent reggae-inflected “Side to Side”—at this stadium blowout.

Delicious food and drink events 

NYC Winter Wine Festival PlayStation Theater; Feb 4; $75-85 general admission, $132 premium early access, $235 VIP Suite
Pretend you’re on holiday at this makeshift “indoor vineyard" and taste more than 250 wines. Along with vino born in locales as diverse as South Africa, Chile, Japan and Portugal, you can also enjoy hors d’oeuvres and live jazz.

Art of Food Sotheby’s; Feb 4; $105 general admission; $185 VIP
Hosted by American Iron chef Geoffrey Zakarian and his wife Margaret, this event brings together food and art, with dishes that mimic art pieces curated and displayed at Sotheby's. 

Kosher Food & Wine Experience Pier 60; Feb 13; $125 general admission
You don’t have to follow kashrut to take part in the Kosher Food & Wine Experience. The festival dubs itself as the most comprehensive kosher wine tasting in the nation, but it's not all drinking—there's plenty of grub to eat, too.  

NYC Beer Week Brooklyn Expo Center; Feb 24-March 5; Prices vary
Beer lovers, rejoice! The annual brew celebration kicks off with an opening bash where local beer makers invite their favorite breweries from all over the world for guests to try unlimited samples. Rounding out the fest is the first-ever Fermentation Festival, as well as workshops and seminars. 

Women Chefs Rule The Beard House; Feb 27; $160 for members, $210 for non-members 
Join gastro geniuses from all over the country for this female-fronted dinner. The chefs and restaurateurs hail from places like Salty Tart in Minneapolis, n/naka in Los Angeles and Dirt Candy in NYC to create a well-rounded menu that includes dishes like pumpkin pad thai, carnitas fat-whipped potatoes and scallop sashimi. 

Spectacular dance performances 

New York City Ballet Winter 2017 David H. Koch Theater; Jan 17–Feb 26; $30–$175
City Ballet’s winter season includes premieres of dances by Pontus Lidberg and resident choreographer Justin Peck, as well as a two-week run of The Sleeping Beauty, a romantic full-length work by company ballet master Peter Martins. 

Batsheva Dance Company: Last Work at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; Feb 1–4; $25–$70
Israel's Ohad Naharin and his Bathsheva Dance Company present their seventh BAM engagement: an evening-length 2015 work that continues to explore the possibilities of Naharin's dance vocabulary, which is known as Gaga.

Vim Vigor Dance Company: Future Perfect at Baruch Performing Arts Center; Feb 2–11; $21–$29
Vim Vigor gets physical in a new show choreographed by founder Shannon Gillen, in which five dancers bounce and slide on a surface that evokes the ground at a campsite in the woods.

Andrea Kleine: My Dinner with Andrea—The Piece Formerly Known as Torture Playlist at New York Live Arts; Feb 9–11; $15–$25
In a new work commissioned by New York Live Arts and inspired by Wallace Shawn and André Gregory's discursive 1981 film, My Dinner with André, Kleine examines the difficulty of making art about torture, or indeed about anything at all. 

Martha Graham Dance Company: Sacred/Profane at the Joyce Theater; Feb 14–26; $26–$66
The Graham company keeps the modern dance master's legacy alive with three programs in rep. Among the dances are selections from Graham's Dark Meadow (1946), Clytemnestra (1958) and Diversion of Angels (1948), alongside premieres by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Annie-B Parsons.

New York Theatre Ballet at the 92nd Street Y; Feb 24, 25; $25–$29
The troupe presents an installment of its Legend & Visionaries series, featuring three ballets by Antony Tudor (Soirée MusicalsLes Mains Gauches, the pas de deux from Romeo & Juliet) and two by his mentee Martha Clarke, the romantic trio The Garden of Villandry and the solo Nocturne.

Marvelous theater experiences  

Evening at the Talk Houseat the New Group; Jan 31–Mar 12; $75–$95
Though Wallace Shawn may be best known for his adorable persona as a character actor, he is cherished by theater fans as the author of smart, dark and menacing plays. Matthew Broderick stars as a playwright is his latest dystopian drama, directed by Scott Elliott for his New Group.

Sunset Boulevard at the Palace Theatre; Feb 2–May 28; $65–$199
Glenn Close returns to the role she last played on Broadway more than 20 years ago: the delusional, fading film star Norma Desmond. Andrew Lloyd Webber continues his renaissance on the Great White Way with this stripped-down but lushly orchestrated revival, staged by Lonny Price.

The Glass Menagerie at the John Golden Theatre; Feb 7–July 2; $39–$149
Tennessee Williams's oft-revived family drama, last seen on Broadway in 2014, returns starring Sally Field as Amanda Wingfield. Joe Mantello plays Tom, haunted by days gone by, and Madison Ferris is the delicate, damaged Laura. The ingenious Sam Gold directs.

Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theatre; Feb 11–Apr 23; $59–$295
Jake Gyllenhaal, who revealed surprising musical-theater chops in 2015’s Little Shop of Horrors, stars opposite Broadway it girl Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots) in a revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's 1984 musical, a gorgeous portrait of artistic ambition and compromise.  

Joan of Arc: Into the Fire at the Public Theater; Feb 14–Apr 16; $90–$115
After the success of their 2013 pop musical, Here Lies Love, art-rock icon David Byrne reteams with director Alex Timbers for a rock-concert take on the life of Joan of Arc. Downtown badass Jo Lampert stars as the teenage 15th-century French visionary, rabble-rouser and martyr. 

Amazing art shows 

Katharina Grosse Gagosian Gallery; through Mar 11; free
You might have caught this German artist’s public art project this summer out Rockaway Beach, where which she transformed an abandoned building into a kind of 3-D gestural painting. Bold gestures on the menu again for her latest show, this time on regular canvas.

“Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space” The Met Breuer; through May 7; suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free
Merz was the sole female member of Italian Arte Povera, the late-’60s movement that took a somewhat nihilistic approach to form and material. Merz followed suit but added some feminist flavor to the recipe. This 50-year career survey is the first major retrospective of her work in the United States.

“Richard Oelze: 1900–1980” Michael Werner; through Mar 11; free
This now-forgotten Surrealist from Germany was a reclusive visionary who actually destroyed a considerable portion of his work.

“Wangechi Mutu: Ndoro Na Miti” Gladstone Gallery; through Mar 25; free
Mutu tackles feminism, globalism and multiculturalism with a flamboyant mix of African folklore, Western Art History, pop culture and pornography. Her large environmental installation here consists of a sort of indoor landscape populated by works that include a pair of large figurative bronzes that reflect on the meaning of diversity in both the biological and cultural sense. 

“Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s” Whitney Museum of American Art; through May 14; $22; seniors, students $18; 18 and under free
Mutu tackles feminism, globalism and multiculturalism with a flamboyant mix of African folklore, Western Art History, pop culture and pornography. Her large environmental installation here consists of a sort of indoor landscape populated by works that include a pair of large figurative bronzes that reflect on the meaning of diversity in both the biological and cultural sense.

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