The art lovers’ guide to Philly Valentine’s Day 2018

'Ex-Files' slam host Chris Lundy does the honors again this year. (Photo courtesy of First Person Arts.)

We at BSR believe it's okay to shelter in place on Valentine’s Day with your lover(s), your friends, yourself, or your cats. But we’re also saying that once the Super Bowl parade ends and you realize you want to share love with someone besides the Eagles, you don’t need an expensive dinner reservation.

Date-night options abound, even if some sound uncomfortable (we’re not judging; whatever gets you off is cool). Tickets are going fast for the eighth annual First Person Arts Ex-Files StorySlam, happening February 14 at 7pm at Fishtown’s Punch Line Philly. Last year’s show was funny, painful, and weird (just like your last relationship).

Improv and comedy

Over at the Adrienne on Friday, February 9, at 8pm, Tongue & Groove promises a performance for people who are celebrating or hating Valentine’s Day. In Lusted, Busted, or Trusted, the troupe solicits your anonymous “secrets of the heart” and creates instant improvised theater in their signature seriocomic style. The show is BYOB and BYO chocolate. Last year was standing room only, so get tickets now.

Good Good Comedy Theatre has a couple of shows that may or may not be a good idea. On Saturday, February 10, at 10pm, it’s Making Love with Ecks—A Valentine’s Affair. Host Robert Ecks offers a late-night talk show of “uneducated advice” about sex, plus a lineup of local comedians. If you want to keep it simpler, on the big night itself, Good Good presents Valentinos: Comedy + Free Beer for shows at 6:30 and 8pm, featuring more Philly comics.

PHIT Comedy is on the love train, too. Two troupes, Cups & a Half and "it’s the new.", team for Never A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride, Not Even Invited, happening on Friday, February 9, and Saturday, February 10, at 9pm. The cast promises “a tour of the bad, the worse, and the ugliest aspects of romance.” Also not for the faint of heart: Not Yet Rated: An Improvised Rom-Com, running February 8 through 15 (the Valentine’s Day show is at 10pm). A cast of 11, directed by Mike Marbach, improvises a romantic comedy before your eyes, based on an audience-suggested title. “All’s fair in love and comedy,” PHIT says, which isn’t true, but whatever.

Crafty love

For those who enjoy making love through making art, Fleisher Art Memorial and the Clay Studio offer fun options. Fleisher hosts its annual Print Love-In weekend of activities for all ages, where you can make your own valentines (no experience necessary; helping artists will be on hand). On Friday, February 9, from 7 to 10pm, it’s 21-and-over, with wine, make-and-take printmaking stations, and music by Dr. Love & the Love Supervisors. On Sunday, February 11, there are three family-friendly daytime sessions for the kids to make their own cards on the printing presses.

Meanwhile, the Clay Studio lets you go all Ghost with special “four-handed” throwing classes taught by candlelight, along with hors d'oeuvres, chocolate, champagne, wine, and romantic music. Session times vary by date, running February 9 through 14. 

Literature, the Magic Gardens, and Casablanca

If you’d rather commune with literature, head to the Rosenbach on Valentine’s Day for Love, Letters, and Libations, a 21-and-over cocktail-attire affair featuring the passions of the written word (and candy). The museum will be open, with crafts and light refreshments, and the rare-book library will showcase “some of the most personal and emotional letters in our collection.”

Other literature lovers should try the Free Library’s Skyline Room at 6pm on Valentine’s Day for Shakespeare in Love: Open Mic Poetry Night. Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre partners with the library for the free event, which requires all performers to choose pieces shorter than three minutes by a “known author,” with love as the theme (the Library suggests Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Pablo Neruda, and Langston Hughes, but surely there are some women writers worth visiting, too). Poems, monologues, and scenes are welcome.  

And if South Street calls you, the Magic Gardens has special Valentine’s Day tours (6:30 and 8pm), where guests can sip wine in the galleries and labyrinth and learn about Isaiah Zagar’s love story and how it influences his work. (Weather permitting, the outdoor sculpture garden will be open, too.)

Finally, for romantic film buffs, it’s Casablanca at the Roxy, screening at 7:30pm on Valentine’s Day, which oh-so-happily falls on the Roxy’s BYO Wednesday program this year. 

Above, at right: You can fantasize that you're Demi Moore or Patrick Swayze (sans tragic robbery) at the Clay Studio. (Image via IMDB.)

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