Atlanta may be known as the “city that’s too busy to hate,” but it sure isn’t too busy to love. INtown has curated a list of alternatives that stay in the holiday spirit without the awkwardness or breaking the bank. Whether it be comedy, horror, live music, or art, just be sure to share the day with someone you care about.
What’s more romantic than roses? A monster designed by an alien transvestite scientist for sex, casual dinner-time cannibalism, and tacky dialogue of course. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is by no means family friendly, but it’s captivated audiences since 1975 with its blend of sci-fi, comedy, and musical elements. Beyond the film itself, which is shown at midnight each Friday at the Plaza Theatre, a shadow cast has helped bring the story to life for more than two decades. Perhaps culled from the ashes of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Lips Down on Dixie, a nonprofit organization of actors who strive to create a safe space, takes to the stage to perform under the big screen, mirroring the exact motions and dialogue of the movie with costumes, props and witty retorts. Friday, Feb. 14 at 11:55 p.m. plazaatlanta.com, $15.
What began as an idea scribbled on a napkin by co-founders Micah Dalton and David Berkeley has expanded into a full concert experience that brings together local musicians and community through recreating classic records. The nonprofit recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary and shows no sign of slowing down. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, ATL Collective brings Sade’s Love Deluxe to City Winery. Released in 1992, the record is Sade Adu’s ode to desire and heartache, as displayed in “No Ordinary Love,” when she sings “I gave you all that I had inside and you took my love/You took my love” over the sensual sounds of R&B, jazz, and a dash of bossa nova. Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 p.m. citwinery.com/atlanta, $30-$40.
Valentine’s Day Improv Shows
In the wise words of Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, “nothing gets the love juice flowing faster than laughter.” For two nights, the theatre welcomes love in all shapes and forms. During the first night, Feb. 13, the company will play improvisation games based on your stories of love gone right or wrong. On Feb. 14, Vavianna Vardot’s burlesque and improve show takes over the early show, and at 10 p.m. the Sweater Puppies, an improv group featuring Amber Nash, Megan Leahy, Karen Cassady, and Whittney Millsap, will take old clothes brought in by audience members to inspire a scene. After the show the clothes are donated to charity. Friday, Feb. 13 & 14 at 8 & 10:30 p.m. dadsgarage.com, $12.50-$26.50.
If all things spooky is your forte, a date night in the historic Oakland Cemetery is the ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day. Purchased in 1850, early city officials bought six acres to be a public burial ground for a young, growing town of Atlanta. The cemetery is now 48 acres and welcomes close to 50,000 visitors to its eerie grounds each year. Starting a dusk on Feb. 14, visitors can enjoy more than 20 tour stops throughout Oakland’s Victorian garden cemetery. Tour guides will inform of the symbolism of love found on the monuments throughout the cemetery and stories of devotion that span 6 feet under and beyond. Complimentary hot chocolate and desserts will be served prior to the 75-minute tour. Friday, Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. oaklandcemetery.com, $16-$24.
Young love, fueling families, and death make up the classic tale that is Romeo and Juliet. The date Shakespeare’s famous tragedy premiered is a mystery (sometime in the late 1500s), but it has since been adapted numerous times for stage, film, musical, and opera venues. Shakespeare Tavern subscribes to an “original practice” approach to the material, which attempts to stage the work as close to the original, Elizabethan style as possible. Lovers can enjoy food, wine, and draught beer while watching a timeless tale. Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. shakespearetavern.com, $32-$42.
Women to Watch
Nothing is sexier than awareness. Women to Watch, an exhibition that is held every few years, features emerging and underrepresented women artists from around the globe. Developed for the National Museum of Women in the Arts national and international outreach committees, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) has been selected to showcase the exhibition this year. With paper as the medium, the exhibition focuses on the transformation into complex works of art. This year’s artists include Jerushia Graham, Sanaz Haghani, Imi Hwangbo, Lucha Rodriguez, and Whitney Stansell. On display through March 7. Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. mocaga.org, Free-$8.
ECMSA Beethoven 2020: Violin and Cello Works I
Artists sometimes talk about how “every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” Composing never came easy for Beethoven, who may have sacrificed his sanity in the search for perfection. The Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta’s next installment of its year-long celebration of the German composer’s 250th birthday include Variations for Cello, Violin Sonata No. 3, and the Romance in G. A triple threat lineup of Sissi Zhang on violin, Roy Harran on cello, and William Ransom on piano will perform. Featured in concert will be the complete Cycles of 16 String Quartets, 10 Piano and Violin Sonatas, 5 Cello and Piano Sonatas, and the 32 Piano Sonatas performed by Emory faculty, students and guest artists. Friday, Feb. 14 at noon. carlos.emory.edu, Free.
If getting down and dirty is your thing, Mudfire Pottery is the perfect way to spend the holiday. The Valentine’s Day package for two includes clay, firing, glaze, instruction, and snacks. The shop also boasts active art exhibitions, which represents nationally acclaimed potters as well as emerging Southeastern artists, and an artist in residency program. Friday, Feb. 14. Time slots available from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. mudfire.com, $110.
Valentines in the Garden
Enjoy the flora, fauna, food, and drinks of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This year’s theme is “Decades of Love,” in which attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite decade. Events include a ‘50s sock-hop, ‘60s flower power decor, ‘70s disco dance floor, ‘80s live music, ‘90s snacks and cover boy band, and ends with DJ and Y2K inspired treats. Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. atlantabg.org, $45-$165.
Often, Valentine’s Day is shared with more than a significant other. The Atlanta Ballet’s performance of Swan Princess welcomes families to a production geared for audiences aged 12 and under at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. In line with the classic Swan Lake composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Swan Princess is designed as an introductory ballet. The one-hour performance follows Prince Siegfried and Odette, who under the spell of a sorcerer, turns into a swan by day and human by night. Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Feb. 15-16 at 2 p.m. atlantaballet.com, $10-$64.