The Miser once made the mistake of scheduling a second date on Valentine’s Day. An attempt to keep things casual and minimize expectations instead turned into a horrifying glimpse at an unhappy domestic future. The evening didn’t make for a lasting relationship, but it later provided good material for a cautionary tale.
Don’t we all have stories like this — our misadventures in love? That, at least, is the premise behind Bookforum’s annual salute to St. Valentine, this year titled “Trial & Error.” This free event on Friday — in the New Museum’s Sky Room, which has a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan — features five writers sharing their romantic histories: the funny, the sad, the downright disastrous.
The lineup includes the novelists Mary Gaitskill and Christopher Sorrentino; A. O. Scott, the co-chief film critic for The New York Times; and Patricia Marx, a writer for The New Yorker and a “Saturday Night Live” alumna. Perhaps most at home with baring her personal history will be the memoirist Vivian Gornick, who explored various forms of relationships in her books “Fierce Attachments” and “The Odd Woman and the City.” Each person will read from published material, or from something written for “Trial & Error.”
Q.E.D., which bills itself as a diverse “after-school space for grown-ups” in Queens, has a snarky lineup of Valentine’s Day events that appeals both to couples looking for a laugh and to single people hoping to fill their calendar.
Its comedy begins at 9:30 p.m. on Friday with a storytelling show that doubles as a therapy session; a real therapist will be onstage. Hosted by the comedian Lynn Bixenspan and the raconteur Morgan Pielli, this event features guests who perform regularly on New York’s comedy club stages. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door.
Over the weekend, two more shows will offer stand-up and sketch comedy. On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the comedian Lauren Krass hosts her regular stand-up showcase “Laughter School Special” with several guests and a love theme for the holiday. Tickets are $8. On Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the comedians Laura Lane and Angela Spera host their sketch show, “This Is Why You’re Single,” with $5 tickets. This show is inspired by the hosts’ podcast and book of the same name, a dating guide that includes fables, quizzes and graphs. Onstage, that translates to sketches inspired by the book’s humorous takes on how we date now.
On Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., Marie Carter tells of romance gone awry in “Thwarted Loves of New York City History.” Tickets are $10. Thinking of that premise, the Miser’s mind immediately goes to the love affair in the movie “Carol.” But Ms. Carter’s interests are in fact, not fiction; she is known for sharing spooky stories in her Boroughs of the Dead tour, “Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria.” Surely there will also be ghostly characters here among the tragic lovers of New York’s past.
(27-16 23rd Avenue, at 28th Street, Astoria, Queens; 347-451-3873; qedastoria.com.)
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