Valentine’s Day events around Asheville

RED-HOT: Author and visionary Bobbi Williams, aka DJ Smokifantastic, will give an erotic reading and book signing from her ‘Zine Exotica’ at Asheville Raven & Crone. Photo courtesy of Williams

There are those who live for love, and those who think Cupid is stupid. Romance — at least the widespread and mainstream celebration of it — is as divisive as politics. One could reasonably argue that a baby brandishing a weapon is a weird mascot for l’amour, but, then again, any love is good love (so says Bachman-Turner Overdrive, those Eroses of ’70s rock).

In fact, there’s probably a deity for every romantic impulse — from lusty Aphrodite to Egyptian goddess Hathor (the patroness of wives) and from Hindu goddess Parvati (dynast of devotion) to the virgin Vesta (who represents purity and honor). Celebrate the multifaceted emotion this year with a multitude of local events.

Find more Valentine’s Day happenings in Clubland, Calendar and at

• It’s not just a slogan, it’s a directive. Love Asheville, Go Local Week runs Saturday, Feb. 10, to Saturday, Feb. 17. Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Asheville Downtown Association, Asheville Independent Restaurants, Lexington Avenue Merchant Association and the city of Asheville have teamed up to present eight days of affection for downtown shops, restaurants, arts, events and public spaces. On Feb. 10, businesses will stay open for late shopping (pick up a parking voucher, good at city decks, from the Asheville Downtown Association and participating businesses). Celebrate Mardi Gras on the South Slope on Sunday, Feb. 11; show up at City Hall for the Go Local proclamation on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m.; dine out at downtown restaurants on Valentine’s Day proper; and visit local artists and galleries on Thursday, Feb. 15. For more happenings, ideas and information, visit

• Here’s an event that gets right to the heart of the holiday: DJ and author Bobbi Williams, aka Smokifantastic, is a self-described “adventurer, guide, international scout and love goddess from the planet Venus,” according to her Facebook profile. Apropos of all these designations, she will read from her Zine Exotica to the accompaniment of cellist Lady Kindra. This erotic reading and book signing takes place Sunday, Feb. 11, 6-7 p.m. at Asheville Raven & Crone, 555 Merrimon Ave.

• The idea for a Feb. 14 show to benefit Helpmate, a local agency addressing domestic violence, came to singer-songwriter Alex Krug because “I wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year in a more meaningful way,” she says. “I see this event as a ‘love-fest’ for an outfit that works tirelessly every day to provide safety and resources for those in our city who are most vulnerable.” Krug and fellow musicians Lyric and Chelsea La Bate (of Ten Cent Poetry) will host a show at The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave., at 8 p.m. “In addition to live music, the benefit will also include complimentary refreshments, generously provided by Roots Hummus, Whole Foods and French Broad Chocolates,” says a press release. $12, all proceeds go to Helpmate.

• Because the night was made for (synth-dance-pop) lovers, Chicago-based dream-pop band Zigtebra visits The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road. “Local dance-inducers Tin Foil Hat and prettypretty will also be providing a soundtrack of sexy dance grooves for lovers and the forlorn alike,” says a press release for the Wednesday, Feb. 14 show. 9 p.m.

• In season 2, episode 16 of “Parks and Recreation,” Amy Poehler’s character threw a “Galentine’s Day” party — an annual event — for her female friends. Like Festivus but better, it gained legs IRL and is now celebrated on the day before V-day by women, for women, everywhere. Violet Owl Wellness, 62 Wall St., carries on the tradition with a Galentine’s Day Yoga & Art event on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 6-8 p.m. “Bring your best gal pal! Let’s come together to celebrate + hang out + be amazing,” says the wellness center.

FUNNY, HONEY: Local comedians dressed as lovelorn celebrities will stick a fork in romance at the Roast of Love. Moira Goree, pictured, will perform as Yoko Ono. Photo courtesy of Goree
FUNNY, HONEY: Local comedians dressed as lovelorn celebrities will stick a fork in romance at the Roast of Love. Moira Goree, pictured, will perform as Yoko Ono. Photo courtesy of Goree

• Student writers ages 13-19 are invited to participate in HomeWord’s upcoming Youth Slam — a performance poetry event. For those testing the waters of slam poetry, there’s a pre-slam open mic (no competition necessary). For those ready to throw down, bring two-three poems for the main event. And for those feeling the romance (or those wanting to tell Cupid, in verse form, where to stick his silly arrows), the Tuesday, Feb. 13, show has been deemed the Sweetheart SLAM. 7-9 p.m. at N.C. Stage, 15 Stage Lane. $5 students/$7 adults/free for performing poets.

• There’s a lot to love at Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road. On the main stage, the incomparable local vocalist Kat Williams reprises her recent collaboration with The Richard Shulman Trio for  “Gimme Some Lovin,’” a night of jazz and R&B. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. with some tables available for dinner reservations. $20. And earlier in the evening, Jeff Thompson and Aaron Price perform in the venue’s upstairs lounge. 7-9 p.m., $12.

• Going by his stand-up routines alone, one could be forgiven for assuming Andy Woodhull doesn’t like romance or women very much, even though he is married. “We are late to everything, it’s a problem for us as a couple … and I am not the problem,” he jokes of himself and his spouse. “She’s late to everything — she was once late to watch Netflix in our own home.” Nonetheless, Woodhull, who has appeared on “Conan” and premiered a special on Comedy Central, will share his insights on love at a Valentine’s Friday Comedy Special, presented by Funny Business at The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., on Friday, Feb. 16, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Up-and-coming comedian Maddie Wiener, a native North Carolinian, opens the show. $15 advance/$18 at the door.

• “This workshop is designed to strengthen and enhance your relationship, increase intimacy and manage conflict,” says the description of The Art & Science of Love Couples, a weekendlong experience. For “couples of every type,” the workshop, led by Gottman therapists, offers tools and exercises to confirm, strengthen or restore love. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18, at Doubletree Biltmore Hotel, 115 Hendersonville Road. $750 per couple.

• “Valentine’s Day is the worst, and love is a lie. Let’s roast the shit out of it,” says a press release for Roast of Love. The tongue-in-cheek event promises comics dressed as celebrities known for their troubled relationships to romance. The lineup includes Chesney Goodson as Kanye West, Kira MagCalen as Britney Spears, James Harrod as Justin Timberlake, Cody Daniel Hughes as Brad Pitt, Kelly Morgan as Taylor Swift, Moira Goree as Yoko Ono, Blaine Perry as Russell Brand, Emily Kidd as Jennifer Aniston, Mario Trevizo as Ricky Ricardo, Lily Campbell as Marilyn Monroe and Cary Goff hosting as Cupid. Thursday, Feb. 15, 9 p.m. at Fleetwood’s, 476 Haywood Road. $15.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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