What's love got to do with it? Plenty when it comes to a pair of upcoming events timed around Valentine's Day. Rather than head out to dinner, you and your sweetheart (or your ex, let's be inclusive) can check out these unique options.
First up is Tuesday's My Creepy Valentine. Beale Memorial Library, as part of its Cinema Macabre Series, will screen the 1944 classic "Gaslight." The film stars Ingrid Bergman as a newlywed whose new husband (Charles Boyer) keeps her isolated and tries to convince her that the odd occurrences she is experiencing are of her own doing.
The film, based on the play "Angel Street" by Samuel French, coined the term "gaslighting," which means to psychologically manipulate someone into making her doubt her own sanity. Ariel Dyer, library associate who helped organize the film series, said that makes it an interesting option for couples.
"This film night works on several levels — it’s a good date night, it’s a good anti-date night, " she wrote in an email. "The film itself is a thriller that holds a romance at its center that is manipulative and controlling — essentially turning the idea of romance as beautiful and all-consuming on its head."
"For film buffs and people who might be over the whole Valentine’s Day craze, this event works because it’s a fun and free night out, which pointedly rejects romance."
That theme continues with the anti-valentines, designed by Dyer featuring quotes and pictures from the film. Those will be available for attendees to take and give to whomever they choose.
There will also be behind-the-scenes footage and interviews showing before the film. Dyer also compiles related reading material, which she anticipates this time will consist of mystery novels with a romantic twist (like "Cry in the Night" by Mary Higgins Clark).
The inaugural screening in the film series —"The Curse of Frankenstein" — last Thursday drew 34 people. Despite a power outage during the showing, Dyer is optimistic fans will return for this special event. (The auditorium can accommodate 205 people.)
Meanwhile, Ovation Theatre is offering something a bit more romantic. On the main stage, the theater is currently presenting a dark love story with its musical "Bonnie and Clyde" but for Valentine's Day, it's lightening the mood with "Love Bites." The one-night engagement, part of the Ovation Cabaret Series, features the sultry sounds of accomplished vocalists Kama Ruby and Jason McClain.
The powerhouse duo will present an evening of jazz, pop and standards backed by a quartet of key musicians (Doug Davis on keyboard, Mark Meyer on horn, Glen Fong on bass and Kyle Burnham on drums).
In addition to the performance, the event will include a catered champagne cocktail hour (from 7-8 p.m.). No-host bar service will be available in the Stage Left Bar during the performance, intermission and post-show, when guests can mingle with the performers. McClain, who does a mean Dean Martin tribute and has decades of cabaret experience, will surely have stories to share over a glass of wine.
Admission is $45 and includes the cocktail hour.