Whether you’ve been hit by Cupid’s arrow, are desperate to be a target, or are looking to fire back, Valentine’s Day is once again upon us and we have a smattering of events for everyone, from the lovelorn singles to the tediously tenured marrieds. The snow has finally melted so there’s no excuse not to dress up and treat your sweetheart—or your bitter best friend—to a night on the town. (Unless of course, your idea of celebration doesn’t involve clothes.)
For the starry-eyed lovers:
A Storm Large Valentine
Sat–Sun at 7:30 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Celebrated as Portland's most multitalented siren, Storm Large will make you (and probably your sweetie) weak in the knees. Once again she'll take the stage to sing with the Oregon Symphony, this time for a special Valentine's Day celebration that promises to be as large as its leading lady's charm.
Fri at 7:30, Venetian Theatre, Hillsboro
Hillsboro-based theatre group Bag&Baggage Productions has compiled nearly two hours of A-list cabaret performers specializing in contemporary dance, opera, music, comedy, and ballet. Make the trek out west into a full-tilt date night by starting your evening at the award-winning Japanese bistro Syun Izakaya, located in the basement of the Hillsboro library. Sip a few sakes to set the mood for performances by musical theater phenom Susannah Mars, dancing choreographed by former-OBT-director Christopher Stowell and former-ballerina Anne Mueller and executed by current OBT members, music by the Skidmore Bluffs, piano comedy by David Saffert, opera singing, and so much more.
The Carnival of Love
Sat at 9, Star Theater
The ultimate Valentine’s date night, Vagabond Opera joins forces with Wanderlust Circus for an exotic night of cabaret, sensuous aerial performances, Gypsy serenades, and psychic love readings. Between sampling sweets from Lulu’s Chocolates and winning prizes courtesy of Midway Games, experience the world famous Kissing Salon and learn over 40 lip-lock varieties. Dig out your garters, ladies: sexy carnival-themed costumes are encouraged.
For the sullen singles:
It's Not Me, It's You: Stories from the Dark Side of Dating
Wed at 7, Mission Theater
Soothe your lonely heart with a little commiseration. Join Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon as they host a special night of wooing gone wrong. Featuring dating disaster stories from Project Runway fashion designer Michelle Lesniak, the Portland Mercury’s Marjorie Skinner, and Live Wire Radio’s Jason Rouse, this event promises to leave you feeling better about your dating life—or at least less alone. Hosted by standup comic Stephanie Purtle.
Under the Covers: A Valentine’s Day Affair
Fri at 8:30, Doug Fir Lounge
Nothing says “I’m alone on Valentine’s Day” like drinking in a basement while listening to love songs. The Doug Fir Lounge understands your pain and rounded up some of the best local talent to perform their favorite romantic tunes. Listen to members from Blitzen Trapper, the Parson Red Heads, Melville, the Mynabirds, and the Ozarks croon about the pleasures and pitfalls of love. And who knows: whiskey in hand, sway-stepping to the beat, maybe you’ll bump into that special someone. (Just be sure to apologize for spilling your drink on her blouse before you ask her out.)
For the anti-Hallmark rebellion:
Oregon United Valentine's Dance Party
Sat at 11, The Melody Ballroom
Angry that same-sex couples can’t get married and celebrate Valentines Day the same way as boring straight couples? Then come dance the night away at a fundraising event with Oregon United for Marriage. Celebrate love—all love—while grooving to the hits of the 70s and 80s courtesy of DJ Jimbo. There will be a silent auction featuring items from the Wonder Ballroom, Por Que No, and TWIST, plus complimentary beer, wine, and Valentine’s-themed desserts.
Valentine’s Day With Mortified Portland
Thu–Sat at 8, Mission Theater
Revel in other people’s embarrassment and pain as they relive their teenage years through diary readings, home movies, and stories about their most romantically awkward experiences. Voyeuristic and hilarious, Mortified has won critical acclaim from Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly and public radio’s This American Life. Share in your fellow Portlander’s adolescent despair, and show your camaraderie for their shame.