Valentine's Day—ugh, right? It's become practically cliche to point out that Hallmark has turned the holiday into a consumerist farce, and people with dates resent the day for its attendant high expectations almost as much as those without dates resent it for its attendant Love Actually re-viewing. But it doesn't have to be that way! This February 14 (or thereabouts), Portland's event calendar offers something for everyone, from daunted date-planners to bitter boycotters.
Roberta Flack with the Oregon Symphony
Feb 14 at 7:30 R&B singer Roberta Flack had a string of hits in the ’70s, no small number of which had to do with amour: “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” “Where Is the Love.” In her paean to St. Valentine with the symphony, it’s these mushy-gushy selections from her catalog Flack will focus on. $32–128
It's Not Me, It's You: Stories from the Dark Side of Dating
Feb 12 at 7 Local lit luminaries including writer Michael Heald, Back Fence PDX producer B. Frayn Masters, and Sex Diaries Project author Arianne Cohen celebrate the holiday by telling bad-date stories for this Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon benefit. $18–20
Kiss & Tell
Feb 14 at 8 Portland Story Theater presents its annual Valentine’s Day show, an evening of amorous and amusing storytelling by some of the company’s most masterly narrative artists. Eric Stern, the theatrical front man of local cabaret ensemble Vagabond Opera, emcees. $18–36.
Mortified's "Doomed Valentine's" Show
Feb 12–13 at 8 Mortified, the live-storytelling event where people read selections from their teenage diaries and other "childhood artifacts," presents two evenings of presentations on the shudder-inducing theme of "doomed Valentine's." $12–15.
I Heart Improv
Feb 14 at 7:30 The improvisational-comedy vets of Brody Theater, prompted by call-outs from the audience, perform sketches around the theme of dating and romance—the good, the bad, and the ugly. $15
Wild at Heart
Feb 14 at 8 Here's a sure way to creep out your date (or please your creepy date): Hollywood Theatre is screening David Lynch's 1990 thriller/romance about a young outcast couple, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) and Lula Pace Fortune (Laura Dern) who run away from Fortune's overbearing mom but wind up pursued by the mafia. For $25, the theater will kick in champagne and chocolates. $7
Now that you've got one half of dinner and a show covered, head over to Culturephile's cousin blog, Eat Beat, for a bevy of recommendations on your pre- or post-show meal. Eat Beat also has a roundup of Valentine's events in wine country, while another member of our blog fam, Tripster, goes further afield with a daydream-inducing slideshow of the Northwest's most romantic retreats.