The countdown to spring (March 20, if you’re keeping track) begins this weekend. Spring means love and better weather, and both are in the air. Here’s how to celebrate them: Urban Park Rangers will host an evening of gazing at the stars with a “Night Sky” talk at Belvedere Castle, in Central Park. Also, in honor of PS1’s Spring Preview, Patti Smith will be in attendance to commemorate Christoph Schlingensief’s show, a one-night only Whitney (Houston) Biennial will take place at A.I.R. Gallery, and Jim Campbell’s exhibition that features interactive video, and LED technology, installations opens tonight at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.
(Reminder: daylight saving time will begin at 2 a.m. Sunday, you’re welcome)
Friday, March 7
[Art] Jim Campbell‘s “New Work” exhibition will focus on his most recent series of sculptural light installations. The work by the former filmmaker investigates the use of LED technology to produce immersive, illuminated, and sculptural environments “that vividly record and recalibrate the presence of time in relation to light, space, and the human condition.” Opening reception tonight at 6 p.m., Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, Chelsea, free.
[Art] Equal parts urban adventurer, stencil artist, and photographer, Brooklyn’s multitalented Logan Hicks has new work on display at a popup exhibition on the Lower East Side by PMM Art Projects. Known for stenciling surreal floating figures onto dark cityscapes, Hicks has titled his latest project “Love Never Saved Anything.” He promises photos that depict “forbidden areas of the urban environment and unique vantage points,” as well as intricately layered stencils inspired by underwater photography and the feeling of being “adrift in a sea of uncertainty.” At 6:30 p.m., PMM Art Projects, Lower East Side, free.
[Comedy] Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction, a comedy show and podcast based in Los Angeles, is happening tonight and guests include Bridget Everett, Travon Free, Max Silvestri, Claudia Cogan, Kara Klenk, Mike Drucker, Eli Sairs, Chesley Calloway, Kenny DeForest, and Will Miles. At 7:30 p.m., Union Hall, Brooklyn, $10
Saturday, March 8
[Festival] Japan Week 2014, a public-private partnership event promoting tourism through Japanese culture and cuisine, is bringing back its annual program, spotlighting unique features of Japanese culture from the last 100 years. Enjoy delectable regional foods, technology exhibits, traditional arts and performances that aim to inspire greater understanding of Japan. The festival will take place at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. At 10 a.m., Grand Central Station, Midtown East, free.
[Lit] Turkish P.I. Kemal Kayankaya has been hired to find the 16-year-old daughter of Valerie de Chavannes, who is alleged to be with an older conman posing as an artist in Frankfurt. This is how Tattoo, by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, begins, but of course this isn’t just a case of a missing upper class girl looking for adventure. So if you’re a fan of crime stories, travel, mysteries in exotic locales, today’s killer discussion: International Crime Book Group on Tattoo, is just for you! At 11:30 a.m., Housing Works Bookstore, SoHo, free.
[Film] Co-directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s follow-up to their 1991 Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children at times plays like a version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea directed by Terry Gilliam. The cast of characters is unpredictable and bizarre: a carnival strongman (Ron Perlman, speaking French phonetically in one of his breakthrough roles), a half-dozen clones (Dominique Pinon), a frightening dream-stealer (Daniel Emilfork), a resourceful little girl (Judith Vittet), and a talking brain (a voice turn from the great Jean-Louis Trintignant). The film is screening as part of Nitehawk’s series on the composer Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks, Lost Highway), and it’s saying something about Badalamenti’s enchanting talent that his score has no problem measuring up to the demented, distorted, effects-heavy images of cinematographer Darius Khondji. –Danny King. At 11:55 a.m., Saturday-Sunday, Nitehawk Cinema, Williamsburg, $9-$11.
[Burlesque] This is “our most experimental event to date…” or so we are promised by the presenters of Gypsy House, a one-night only party in a loft where “gypsies rule.” Expect electric burlesque, absinthe, Balkan electronica, and much more. “Kiss away your bad luck and party with your good fortune!” We can go for that. At 10 p.m., Gypsy House, West Village, $5/$10.
Sunday, March 9
[Art] MoMA PS1 is hosting a Spring Preview of its collections on view this season, including exhibitions by Christoph Schlingensief, Maria Lassnig and Korakrit Arunanondchai. Also, at 4 p.m., Patti Smith commemorates Christoph Schlingensief’s opening with a free performance! At 12 p.m., MoMA PS1, Long Island City, free-$10.
[Art] Move over Whitney Biennial, there’s a new Whitney Biennial in town, of the ’80s sort called the “The Whitney Houston Biennial.” Christine Finley, curator and founder of this exhibition, brings together a one-day show comprised of female artists. In a recent interview she said she was inspired by dominant female pop stars and artists, and says her show “celebrates the contributions of women artists currently working in New York City.” At 4 p.m., A.I.R. Gallery, DUMBO, free.
[Recreation] Since March is still pretty chilly, it may not seem the ideal time for a nighttime foray into Central Park. But, truth is, fall and winter are the best seasons to view meteor showers and many planets of the Milky Way. And even though you’re in the heart of NYC, many stars and planets can be seen with the naked eye. Tonight, the Urban Park Rangers host “The Night Sky,” a fascinating discussion of our solar system, mixing folklore in with the history. Bundle up! –Allen Barra. At 7 p.m., Central Park, Belvedere Castle, free.