Where to celebrate, laugh about or find romance this Valentine’s Day

MAKE A PLAY: The residents of Almost, Maine — in a production named for the small town — “find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways.” The show runs through Sunday, Feb. 19, at 35below.
MAKE A PLAY: The residents of Almost, Maine — in a production named for the small town — “find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways.” The show runs through Sunday, Feb. 19, at 35below. Photo courtesy of Asheville Community Theatre

Lest you believe Feb. 14 is all about romance and chocolate truffles, according to corsinet.com, “Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone … on Valentine’s Day, 1876.” (He probably then gave his wife a new washboard.) In a really not-so-sweet turn of events, the guy for whom the holiday is named was beheaded in 270 A.D. for performing marriage ceremonies. But somehow that bloody beginning was downplayed along the way and, by the Middle Ages, men and women were drawing names from a bowl to see whom their sweetheart would be. “They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week,” says the website — and that’s where the phrase “to wear your heart on your sleeve” comes from.

All things considered, flowers and candy aren’t so bad. And, in and around Asheville, there’s also plenty of music, comedy, dancing, dining, volunteering and even Drag Queen Bingo to commemorate Valentine’s Day.

Here’s a list of places where you can be with the one you love, or love the one you’re with, however the cards fall.

For more Valentine’s Day events, visit Clubland, Calendar and mountainx.com

• If you hated high school and you’re not too big a fan of Hallmark holidays, PROM 2017! might not be for you. Or it might be the perfect immersion therapy. Or — and we really hope this is the case — you’re all in when it comes to adult proms and either reliving or redoing that most hallowed of teenage experiences. Rent your limo and your powder-blue tux: The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., brings its own version of prom back on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The all-ages evening starts at 8 p.m. $12 advance/$15 day of show. thegreyeagle.com

DAUBERS READY: Comedian, DJ, actress and singer-songwriter Lady Bunny was the creator and emcee of drag festival Wigstock. The larger-than-life personality comes to Asheville to host Drag Queen Bingo, a fundraiser for Brother Wolf. Photo courtesy of Lady Bunny
DAUBERS READY: Comedian, DJ, actress and singer-songwriter Lady Bunny was the creator and emcee of drag festival Wigstock. The larger-than-life personality comes to Asheville to host Drag Queen Bingo, a fundraiser for Brother Wolf. Photo courtesy of Lady Bunny

Sweethearts of the Rodeo is the theme for the night at The Crow & Quill, 106 N. Lexington Ave. “Two fantastic lady-fronted honky-tonk bands will be giving us a reason to put tears in our beers this Valentine’s Day,” says a press release for the show, which features classic country-inspired quartet Cindy Lou & the Want To and country collective Hearts Gone South in one of the band’s only appearances scheduled before the spring. Tuesday, Feb. 14, 9 p.m., $5-$10 suggested donation. thecrowandquill.com

• Here’s one just for teens: The Biggest Valentines Party of the Year, aimed at those ages 15-19, takes place at the Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway. DJ Migo and Ron Tune spin, and there’s a dress code: “Singles wear black, ‘just having fun’ wear white and couples wear red,” according to a show flier. Saturday, Feb. 18, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m., $12. facebook.com/fortunetellerent

• You don’t ever need to leave the house for this one: Youth chorus The Celebration Singers of Asheville will deliver love songs — along with roses and chocolate — to your sweetie’s door. The serenades are a fundraiser for the choral group. Deliveries are made on Tuesday, Feb. 14, between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Packages range from $40 to $80. Place orders at 828-424-1463 or charmsfloral.com

•  The Asheville Barbershop Quartet also offers singing valentines in the greater Asheville area on Monday, Feb. 13, and Tuesday, Feb 14. To order, call 866-290-7269 or visit ashevillebarbershop.com

• Local jewelry maker Amber Hatchett and photographer Sara Hooker have teamed up on a Valentine’s Day pop-up shop. The two will transform Engaged Asheville, 41 N. Merrimon Ave., Suite 107, into a curated boutique with floral bouquets, handwritten valentines, gifts made by local artists, local chocolates and baked goods, a gift-wraping station and more. The pop-up will be open Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. avl.mx/3d1

• “Most people who know him would say Bengt [Washburn] is a logistically impaired ditz,” says a press release for his upcoming Valentine’s Day show in Asheville, “but his comedy is described as intelligent, surprisingly universal considering the content matter, and profoundly funny.” The comedian, who has performed on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Live at Gotham” on Comedy Central and “Conan,” is known for making fun of love (like his story about a canoe trip he took with his wife). He’ll bring the romance to The Grey Eagle on Saturday, Feb. 11, 7 and 9:30 p.m. $15. avl.mx/wordcant

• Everything about the Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11, Drag Queen Bingo shows adds up to big love. First, the Valentine’s Day-themed events, presented by O.Henry’s, feature “the famous Lady Bunny from NYC as event emcee, drag queens from near and far, aerialists, hoopers, bingo games and other entertainment.” Even better, the shows — held at the U.S. Cellular Center, 87 Haywood St. — benefit Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. 8 p.m. both dates, $44. ticketmaster.com

• “On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote mythical town of Almost, Me.,” says a description of the play named for the chilly town. “As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways.” Asheville Community Theatre brings Almost, Maine to the 35below stage, 35 E. Walnut St. The show stars Ellen Soderberg, Dylan Murray, Heather Nicole Bronson and John O’Neil, and is directed by Reeni Lindblom Dowd. It runs through Sunday, Feb. 19, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m. $15. ashevilletheatre.org

• Show some love for talented youth artists at the CommUnity Youth Spotlight with GlocalSoul Edutainment. While the monthly event, held first Tuesdays, is not specifically Valentine’s Day-themed, local musician and host Jonathan Santos discusses topics like self-acceptance and contributing to community. His aim is “creating safe spaces for youth, especially youth of color, to make their voices heard.” The open mic takes place at partnering business The Hop West, 721 Haywood Road, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 6:30-8 p.m. Free. avl.mx/3b7

• Really, the best valentines are small, fuzzy, cute and K9. That’s why Brother Wolf Animal Rescue’s Puppy Grams are back, with two options. For $65, you or your sweetie gets a balloon, a cupcake, a rose, a personalized card and 15 minutes of puppy cuddle time at a location of your choosing. For $150, add a box of truffles, another 11 roses, and two puppies to snuggle. All Puppy Gram deliveries take place on Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 9 a.m.-noon, noon-3 p.m., or 3-6 p.m. bwar.org

•  “Come sip a glass of wine and nibble on chocolates while you and your partner explore the sensual aspects of clay,” says an invite to Valentine’s Day pottery for couples, led by Cayce Kolstad and Kelsey Sickmeyer. “We’ll even help you re-enact the scene from Ghost.” Work made during the event will be glazed and fired by Kolstad and Sickmeyer “so you can have a permanent reminder of your passion for each other.” The pottery dates take place at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, 236 Clingman Ave., on Friday, Feb. 10, Saturday, Feb. 11, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, 7-9 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 12, 4-6 p.m. $95 per couple. odysseyceramicarts.com

• Not your average blind date: The Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity hosts a Singles Build on Saturday, Feb. 11. Participants ages 21-40 volunteer a day’s work on a Habitat construction site, building a home for a local family in need, followed by a happy hour. No experience is necessary, and a $20 donation covers lunch and building materials. Register at vhub.at/AVLconstruction

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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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