The Optimists|Provided1/6 The Optimists|Provided
Jordan Peele: The Art of the Social Thriller at BAM|"Get Out," Universal Pictures2/6 Jordan Peele: The Art of the Social Thriller at BAM|"Get Out," Universal Pictures
"Jagged Little Pill" at American Beauty|Maverick Records3/6 "Jagged Little Pill" at American Beauty|Maverick Records
"Repellant Fence" at Doc Fortnight|Provided by MoMA4/6 "Repellant Fence" at Doc Fortnight|Provided by MoMA
Joel McHale at Carolines on Broadway|Getty Images5/6 Joel McHale at Carolines on Broadway|Getty Images
"Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History"|Algonquin Books6/6 "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History"|Algonquin Books
There's no slacking this weekend, people — slow down and the cannibals will get you.
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Eating your own kind is not as exotic as we might like to pretend — it’s actually a fairly common practice, as American Museum of Natural History researcher Bill Schutt explains in his new book, “Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History” and during a discussion this Thursday. From its link to extinction to its evolutionary and reproductive advantages, this talk takes cannibals from the monsters of our imagination and reintroduces them to the natural order. Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m., American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St., $15
Explore the world around you at the Museum of Modern Art’s annual festival dedicated to the best of documentary film, with 20 full-length features and 10 short films ranging in style from animation to archival footage. Themes range from today’s New York to the future of documentary filmmaking, with plenty of politically relevant topics covered (though, what isn’t political these days?) Most nights feature post-show talks. Feb. 16-26, 11 W. 53rd St., $12
The cathartic 1995 debut album of anti-diva Alanis Morissette was the soundtrack of our teenage angst, so what better time to revisit it than just as we’re entering another dark moment in history? This Friday, a roster of local singers will take turns performing the full tracklist, from heartbreak banger You Oughta Know (screw you, Uncle Joey!) to the rare pop culture grammar lesson that is Ironic. The singers will be backed by Brooklyn powerfunk group Turkuaz and friends, and though their genres couldn’t be more different, drummer Mikey Carubba promises they’re keeping the music true to the album. A portion of proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Feb. 17, doors at 9 p.m.; show at 10 p.m., 251 W. 30th St.
After your Valentine’s treats, head to Manhattan’s oldest house for some sweet history. The Morris-Jumel Mansion’s new exhibit explores how cacao and chocolate became commodities in the 18th and 19th centuries; Col. Roger Morris, the home’s original owner, and Stephen Jumel, a later buyer, both imported chocolate during their careers, and at Friday’s opening night party (free with RSVP), curator Carol Ward will lead a chocolate tasting. Feb. 17, 6-8 p.m., 65 Jumel Terrace, $30
Next week sees the release of “Key and Peele” star’s “Get Out.” It’s not exactly a comedy — it’s a horror number, if one that continues the comic’s bracing exploration of American race relations. But first there’s BAM’s series of films, curated by Peele, allowing you glimpses of different parts of a movie’s DNA. Some of them send up the suburbs (Joe Dante’s eternally underrated “The ’Burbs”) or even apartment life (“Rosemary’s Baby”). Others take on race and class (“Candyman,” “The People Under the Stairs”). Others are simply greats (“Rear Window,” “The Silence of the Lambs”). And given that “Get Out” involves a white woman (Allison Williams) introducing her folks to her new black boyfriend (Daniel Kaluuya), it’s only fitting that Stanley Kramer’s clunkily well-intentioned “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is in here, too. Feb. 17-Mar. 1, BAM Cinematek, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn
This off-Broadway comedy gem (and that’s not just the free liquor talking) has been such a hit, it’s moving to a permanent home at New World Stages (where it will be in good company with “Avenue Q”). “The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking” begins with complimentary cocktails (for audience members 21+) before setting off into a sordid and sudsy history of one of our nation’s most revered pastimes. Begins Feb. 17, New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., $79-$99
If you want to be extremely well-informed ahead of your office’s Oscars betting pool, you can catch all of this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Picture on the big screen for one crazy-fair price (especially in NYC) of $35. Regal Movies hosts its annual Best Picture Film Festival, where you can get a pass to see all of the contenders in a local theater — in this case, Battery Park — for one flat rate (or upgrade for a package including snacks and beverages). Feb. 17-26, Regal Battery Park Stadium 11, 102 North End Ave., $35
His signature smarm is a singular pleasure, both on E’s “The Soup” and “Community.” But away from the small screen, Joel McHale is also known to tear up a live stage with his stand-up, which you can see for yourself this week at Caroline’s On Broadway. His current tour is part of a hot streak, following the premiere of his new CBS show last fall, “The Great Indoors,” and the subsequent release of his first book, “Thanks for the Money.” Feb. 17-19, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m., Caroline’s On Broadway, 1626 Broadway, $57.25-$133.50, carolines.com
The Ringling Bros. may be on its final tour, but circus arts are going strong thanks to new visions from groups like Atlas Circus Company, which combines aerial stunts, dance, magic, comedy and theater to create a transformative experience that’s not just for kids. “The Optimist” certainly speaks to the imaginations of grown-ups, addressing themes of love, sex and loss from the inside of a bar and the depths of one man’s memory. The two performances also take place at 10 p.m. Feb. 17-18, 10 p.m., Dixon Place, 161 Chrystie Place, $15-$18
Waking up on the morning after Election Day 2016 is one of those moments that we’ll always remember where we were and what we were thinking. Some of theater’s most recognized playwrights (from Terrence McNally to Theresa Rebeck) contributed monologues to “Morning in America, November 9, 9:00AM,” which examines that moment through a diverse set of voices from across the country. With just two benefit performances, proceeds support the Actors Fund. Feb. 18-19, Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., $10
Black History Month is not just a time to reflect, but a chance to think about how we can change its course. The causes of racial bias are not always obvious, but a University of Illinois study showed people were both faster and more likely to shoot at black targets than white ones. The #nomoreblacktargets is working to end the use of black human silhouettes as targets at shooting ranges and asked local and international artists to turn them into works of art; browse them at a gallery show on Sunday while planning social change over complimentary drinks. Feb. 19, 9 p.m.-midnight, free with RSVP, Richard Taittinger Gallery, 154 Ludlow St.
If you want to do more to engage politically but also destress enjoy yourself in the process, Not My President might be the right match for your activist ambitions. This new monthly gathering brings together a bunch of bands for a night of rockin’ in the (still) free world, with half of proceeds going toward a cause (this month, it’s Planned Parenthood). Performers include Christine Cherry, Amos Rose, Billy Conahan, Dylan Debiase, and host Roseann Fino and the Lovely Misfits. Rock the Button will be on hand to help raise extra funds. Feb. 19, 8:30 p.m., Legion Bar, 790 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, $10
The Moth is taking over the Lincoln Center stage to celebrate the release of its second book, “All These Wonders: True Stories of Facing the Unknown.” Celebrity readers include Ana Del Castillo, Andy Fischer-Price and Mazz Swift; the show will be hosted by The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik. Tickets go on sale Feb. 20 and are expected to sell out quickly for the show on March 29. 7:30 p.m., Alice Tully Hall, $30-$50
Two-for-one tickets are now on sale for Off-Broadway Week, which is a great way to check out some smaller shows that don’t get as much attention as their Great White Way counterparts. Included among the shows are the “Hamilton” parody “Spamilton,” new gangster musical “Cagney” and the ever-popular “Drunk Shakespeare.” Just book eligible seats and dates with code OBWW2017 to get the deal. Feb. 27-March 12, locations and prices vary