Ah, Valentine's Day. It means something different (or nothing at all) to everyone. Whether you're a teddy bear-bearing, candy heart-consuming traditionalist, or an impassioned Hallmark holiday oppositionist, these handpicked events are fine alternatives to the dinner-and-a-movie song and dance.
Feb 8–15, Doubletree Hilton Hotel, various prices
In its 20th year, the annual Portland ValenTango is the largest and longest running tango festival on the continent. Learn the dance of seduction with 14 of Argentina's best instructors. Lectures, milongas, vendors, and plenty of dancing to ensue.
Valentine’s Kiss and Tell
7 p.m., Fri–Sat, Feb 10–11, Fremont Theater, $15–18
These five local storytellers are kissing and telling all. Two hours of real, raw, and romantic tales in an intimate theater setting. Includes dinner, drinks, music, and a raffle.
My Muddy Valentine 5K Fun Run
Sat, Feb 11, Lee Farms, $50–55
Wanna get dirty? Hosted by Terrapin Events, this 5K fun run will include semi-challenging obstacles, music, food, bonfires, a free beer or cider, and lots of MUD. Don’t worry, hot showers are available to clean up for post-run dinner plans!
Literary Lesbian Love: A Somewhat Romantic Book Fair
7 p.m. Sat, Feb 11, TaborSpace, FREE
Lesbian literature is in the spotlight at this cozy Valentine's affair, which will include author readings, book discussions, and…chocolate! Appearances by Lori L. Lake—author of The Gun Shy series—and local scribes, including Linda Vogt and Jeanine Hoffman. Giveaways, drawings, and prizes, too.
Mortified Portland: Doomed Valentine Show
7:30 p.m. Sat, Feb 11, Alberta Rose Theatre, $16–23
Tickets are going fast for this shame-sharing sensation, dubbed a “cultural sensation” by Newsweek. Laugh it up with this compilation of the good, the bad, and the ugly tales of dating told by fellow Portlanders.
Haunted Valentine’s Day Pub Tour
Feb 11–18, Old Town Historic District, $59
BeerQuest Walking Tours explores the dark side of romance, and Portland, with 2.5-hour haunted Valentine’s pub tours through the city’s Old Town Historic District. Including ghost stories of the Shanghai Tunnels, visits to haunted pubs, and—of course—seven craft beer samples (because Portland).
Anti-Valentine’s Dance Party
9 p.m. Sat, Feb 11, AudioCinema, $5
For the brokenhearted, hopelessly romantic, or good old-fashioned Valentine's Day haters comes this epic dance party hosted by the Heartless Heathers. Tunes provided by DJ Agent Meow, a raffle, spanking booth, and games including the Wheel of Misfortune will make for an evening of delightful debauchery.
The Cat’s Meow at Secret Society
9 p.m. Sun, Feb 12, Secret Society, $12–15
Party like it’s the 1920s! Dance, drinks, burlesque, and live jazz music collide in a classic speakeasy setting. Featuring music by Pink Lady and John Bennett Jazz Band.
Lovestruck: A Soloist Concert
3 and 6 p.m. Sun, Feb 12, The Old Church, $25
The annual solo concert by the always entertaining Portland’s Gay Men’s Chorus will feature an offering of love songs, local wine, and desserts.
The Mystery Box Show: Valentine’s Day Special
7 p.m. Tues, Feb 14, Alberta Rose Theatre, $20–25
Steamy storytelling heats up the Alberta Rose. From tales of twisted fetishes and fantasies to one-night stands and virginity-losing blunders, this 21+ event leaves nothing to the imagination.
Queer Horror: Bound
8 p.m. Tues, Feb 14, Hollywood Theatre, $7–9
Part of the bi-monthly Queer Horror festival—celebrating queer artists, filmmakers, and performers—Hollywood Theatre hosts a screening of Bound. Starring Jennifer Tilly, and directed by trans sisters Lana and Lily Wachowski, the 1996 film follows a female ex-con and her lover as they hatch a plan to steal two-million dollars in mob money. An opening pre-show, hosted by Portland drag queen Carla Rossi, will kick off the evening.
Valentine’s Night with Reva Devito
8:30 p.m., Feb 14, Holocene, $10–12
Portland’s soulful songstress sets the mood with entrancing, bass-heavy grooves. Joined by B. Bravo, BARISONE, Dj Lamar Leroy, and the Last Artful, Dodgr.
Under The Covers: A Valentine's Day Affair
8 p.m. Tues, Feb 14, Doug Fir Lounge, $10–12
Things are getting cozy under these covers with five bands: the Moody Dudes, Lost Lander, Melville, Spirit Lake, and the Harmed Brothers. Take your lover—or friend, self, etc—down the wood-lined stairwell to the Doug Fir basement, where musical magic is a nightly affair.
A Storm Large Valentine
7:30 p.m. Tues, Feb 14, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $35–200
The sultry vocal powerhouse takes the Schnitz by storm. Performing songs ranging from Cole Porter to Black Sabbath, accompanied by the Oregon Symphony, the Portland songstress will provide a titillating soundtrack fit for the occasion.