Lots to get to this week. For starters Steven Kasher Gallery exhibits an incredible display of images by former Village Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah titled “Save the Village.” Also, Munch Gallery hosts a 24-hour nonstop solo recital mash-up of William S. Burroughs’s infamous Nova Trilogy to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday. This plus much more.
[Art] Whether photographing Robert Rauschenberg amid the street detritus he transformed into his “Combine” paintings; Norman Mailer grimacing pugnaciously in Village Voice editor Dan Wolf’s office; or Senator Bobby Kennedy touring a slum apartment a year before his murder, head bowed as he passes a portrait of Jesus crowned with thorns, Fred W. McDarrah (1926-2007) documented New York’s cultural and political heavyweights with wide-open eyes. “Don’t ever turn down an assignment,” the ex-Army paratrooper once told an art director at the Voice, where he worked for five decades. “If you don’t want to do it, tell ’em it’ll cost $10,000.” In grainy black-and-white, McDarrah combined noir contrast with zesty compositions — check out a declaiming Jack Kerouac, seemingly crucified in plaid — to go beyond photojournalism and discover a postwar New York that still inspires. –RB
Gallery opens at 11 a.m., Steven Kasher Gallery, free.
[Lit] There’s no shame in wanting to be with someone special on Valentine’s Day; after all, you’re not a robot. Perhaps author Christina B. Bryza can help. Her book Are You My Boyfriend? is a fully illustrated picture book for grown-ups that follows one woman’s journey from lonely to soulmate. Tonight’s talk includes dating stories by Katie Heaney (Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date), Chiara Atik (Modern Dating: A Field Guide), Elna Baker (The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir), Erin Barker (contributor to The Moth), and Caitlin Brodnick (contributor to Glamour).
At 7 p.m., Housing Works Bookstore, free.
[Lit] Author Armistead Maupin discuss The Days of Anna Madrigal, his latest and final installment to the Tales of the City series, featuring the legendary transgender landlady Anna Madrigal. The first three books were made into television miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney.
At 7 p.m., PowerHouse Arena, free.
[Film/Talk] The Caribbean Cultural Center, African Diaspora Institute, and El Museo del Barrio co-present a screening of Celia: The Queen. The film is a loving look at the amazing life and legacy of a woman whose voice symbolized the soul of a nation and captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Immediately following the film is a panel discussion with journalist and reporter Malin Falu, hair stylist Ruth Sanchez, and poet Felipe Luciano. Moderated by writer and salsa historian Aurora Flores.
At 7 p.m., El Museo del Barrio, free.
[Lit] Feeling low? Down in the dumps? The (sort of) good news is that you’re not alone. Jason Porter’s debut novel suggests that the answer to the age-old question, “Is it them or just me?” is: “It’s all of us.” In Why Are You So Sad? (Plume), Raymond, an instruction manual illustrator for an IKEA-like furniture conglomerate, determines that the entire world is caught in the throes of a clinical depression and takes it upon himself to find out why — much to the dismay of his friends and family, who are also afflicted by the epidemic, he suspects. Gary Shteyngart and other scenesters are already praising it as oddly hilarious, particularly for a book about being sad. Tonight, Porter reads and discusses with fellow literati Colum McCann, because nothing warms the soul like commiseration. –HB
At 7 p.m., McNally Jackson, free.
[Lit] William S. Burroughs died in 1997 at the age of 83, but his brilliantly deranged spirit lives on at Munch Gallery during a 24-hour marathon reading of his Nova Trilogy by the artist Marshall Weber. Weber begins at midnight tonight and continues for 24 hours, presumably pausing for the occasional bathroom break and speedball. Weber has been performing similar feats since 1994, when he spent 33 hours reading Ulysses in San Francisco, and says the sleep-deprivation leads to a “hallucinatory trance state.” That suits these viscerally unnerving, avant-garde Burroughs tomes derived from the same manuscripts as Naked Lunch and described by Jack Kerouac as “all scatological homosexual super-violent madness.” –KH
At midnight, Munch Gallery, free.
[Art] “Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for over three decades. As a child growing up, my dad, who worked all his life for General Motors, used to joke and say that we had motor oil in our veins. Even after all these years I still believe there is some small truth to what he said.” Those are the words by photographer Dave Jordano, who presents a solo exhibition, “Detroit: Unbroken Down,” which features recent images of his hometown.
Reception at 6 p.m., United Photo Industries, free.
[Benefit] The Bergino Baseball Clubhouse hosts “A found box of baseball cards. Now, they’re art” party and silent auction for a charity featuring art created out of donated baseball cards. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the auction benefit Phys Ed Plus, a program that “provide consistent, comprehensive fitness and health programs for children, parents and educators to enhance their awareness that health and physical activity is an important part of childhood development.”
At 6 p.m., Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, East Village, free.
[Art talk] Artists’ models are an essential part of academic studio practice, but their work is often overshadowed by the creative accomplishments of the painters and sculptors who employ them. In today’s talk, The Artist’s Model in Nineteenth-Century Russia: Images and Reality, Margaret Samu, Ph.D., examines the changing image of the female model in Russian cultural discourse, from the waif-turned-muse of the Romantic era to the rescued “fallen woman” of Realism, and how representations of artists’ models in Russia changed during the course of the 19th century from a Western European image to a distinctly Russian one.
At 6:30 p.m., Dahesh Museum, free.
[Party] What goes best with a cute little Rabbit vibrator? You and a glass of wine, of course! Tonight, Babeland, one of the most popular shops in town for sex accessories, celebrates BUST magazine’s Love issue at its annual Sexy Valentine’s Party. Guests are
invited to sip complimentary cocktails (from Tito’s Handmade Vodka) and make sexy DIY goodies like pasties; the first 50 attendees get gift bags filled with the latest issue of BUST and toys (wink, wink).
At 7 p.m., Babeland, free.