Valentine’s Day is on Friday. But before you get all squirmy and pissed off about love, or the concept of celebrating love on one particular day, this week’s best round-up of events isn’t about that. Not really. Yes, V-Day events are already underway, but don’t fret, we only honor the idea of being bitter about love. The Moth at Housing Works Bookstore is titled “Love Hurts” this week, and will include ten stories all about love’s pain (!). Also, at Con Artist Gallery, its V-Day show “Beyond The Pale” features artwork not about love, but about infatuation and lust. This, plus much more non-V-Day-related events, you cynic.
[Fashion] Are you feeling left out of New York Fashion Week? Tonight at the Gap Garden Party get a true sense of Fashion Week with a preview of the Gap’s Spring 2014 collection. The party will include complimentary bites, music by DJ May Kwok, and custom floral accessories and build-your-own terrariums by Flour LA. At 6 p.m., Gap, Flatiron, free.
[Valentine’s Day] Fact: Love is the most incredible feeling in the world, but tonight is not about that, it’s love’s brutal pain. Tonight’s Moth Story SLAM: Love Hurts will be intense, no doubt, and will feature ten stories, three teams of judges, and one winner. Oh, the pressure! At 7 p.m., Housing Works Cafe, SoHo, free
[Art] Sometimes, love is masked by feelings of infatuation and the desire of lust. Tonight’s group art show “Beyond the Pale,” a Valentine’s Day exhibition, celebrates love in its most intense manifestations. The artists aim to showcase the taboo side of infatuation. “They explore the twisted connections between affection and violence, the narrative of two young lovers in a struggle against the world, the fervent agony of unrequited devotion, and the awkward ignorance of the martyred saint who gave Western culture its cheesiest holiday.” Gallery opens at 11 a.m., opening reception will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, Con Artist Gallery, Lower East Side, free.
[Lit] David Byrne, Ed Park, Rivka Galchen, Zadie Smith, Lynne Tillman, and Colm Tóibín — it would be a treat to see just one of these writers (or, in Byrne’s case, make that writer-musician-producer-artist-activist) in-person. But Bookforum is doing much better than that. The venerable publication has managed to bring all of them together for a night of readings at the New Museum titled The Night We Called It a Day. And it’s completely free. File this one under: only in New York. At 6:30 p.m., New Museum of Contemporary Art, SoHo, free. –AA
[Lit] Are we ready to have the Clintons in the White House again? According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Democrats certainly are. The poll showed Hillary Clinton currently holds a six-to-one lead over anyone else in her party. HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, the new biography by Jonathan Allen (the White House bureau chief for Politico) and Amie Parnes (White House correspondent for Washington paper The Hill), explore whether she can go all the way this time, taking readers from her devastating defeat in 2008 through her transformative period as Secretary of State. Bring your most burning questions about the Clintons for what should be an insightful conversation. At 7 p.m., PowerHouse Arena, DUMBO, free. –AA
[Film] Screen goddess Catherine Deneuve is the main attraction in Roman Polanski’s sickening 1965 English language debut, Repulsion. As a Belgian manicurist consumed by sexual confusion and frustration (gross men leer at her on the harsh London streets; her in flagrante delicto sister moans through the apartment walls), Deneuve generates a paranoid psychosis that gives the movie its erratic form. A definitive work of claustrophobic horror, Repulsion offers some of Polanski’s most famous, insidious images: an uncooked rabbit left to rot, molesting arms protruding from the apartment walls, a split-second apparition in a mirror. At the time, the film seemed a bravura Hitchcock riff; it’s clear by now that its blend of alarming surrealism and dime store Freudian thinking deserves its own place in the pantheon. At 1 p.m., Museum of Modern Art, West Midtown, $5-$12. –DK
[Valentine’s day] If you want to conquer love, first you have to look good, at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Ricky’s is hosting a NYC Speed-Styling Pre-Valentine’s Day Party tonight with free style tips by celebrity hair stylist Michael O’Rourke and makeovers by Smashbox Cosmetics. You’ll be lucky in love in no time. At 4 p.m., Ricky’s, Times Square, free.
[Theater] Still Acts is an exhibition that brings together artists engaged with stillness, stoppage, and slowing down in the context of performance. Artists featured in the exhibition employ gestures that turn away, inward, and upward, upending our expectations for the continuity of dance compositions and lines of movement and thought. Participating artists include Sol Aramendi and Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Tamar Ettun, Brendan Fernandes, Liz Magic Laser, Jeanine Oleson, Clifford Owens, and Emily Roysdon.At 6 p.m., La MaMa, La Galleria, East Village, free.
[Art] “Sons of the Pioneers” is Robin F. Williams’ second solo exhibition at PPOW Gallery. In this show Williams’ paintings challenge the roles of American masculinity and traditional portraiture by replacing the idyllic female, or odalisque, with romanticized scenes of men in various states of idleness. Opening reception at 6 p.m., PPOW Gallery, Chelsea, free.
[Comedy] The Upright Citizens Brigade presents: Shuffle at the Seaport and will use the “soundtrack” form of long form improv. Guests are asked to participate by providing playlists on their mobile device that will be shuffled and played as inspiration for the scenes that the improvisers will perform. At 7 p.m., South Street Seaport, free.