Music

Valentine’s Day

Love it or leave it

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Valentine’s Day is a polarizing holiday.

First of all, it’s not really a holiday at all. No one gets Valentine’s Day off of work unless they already had it off. No one gets time and a half on Feb. 14 save for those folks who are working overtime. It’s really more of an occasion than anything else. However, unlike other similar non-holiday occasions that come with pomp, circumstance and sweet treats—Halloween being the obvious example—there are a lot more ways to do Valentine’s Day wrong than right.

It’s a lot of pressure. But it doesn’t have to be.

I’m fairly agnostic on the subject of Valentine’s Day. I like to hand out conversation hearts (RIP) and force people to eat them in front of me. I’ll take advantage of a cut-rate fancy dining special of one comes my way. I’m also happy to partake of whatever entertainment options the “holiday” affords me.

Whether Valentine’s Day fills you with romance or rancor—or nothing at all—I’ve got some suggestions for how you can mark the occasion. Take a date. Or don’t. It’s all fine by me.

Bellingham Handmade, the newish nonprofit that operates a retail space where a collective of artists sell their wares and learn the business end of being in the art business, is throwing a fancy dress party—and we’re all invited. Their Valentine’s Soiree takes place two days before V-Day proper, on Feb. 12, but do not be deterred by that tiny detail. The Handmade folks will trick out Lairmont Manor in their best speakeasy style, leaving you to trick out yourselves in your finest 1920s garb and complete the Jazz Age picture. Once you arrive at the historic Edgemoor mansion, you’ll find music by DJ Tricky Timbers, beer and wine to sip (owing to the constraints of modern-day liquor laws there won’t be bathtub gin to swill) and an art market where you can buy your sweetheart (or yourself) a Valentine’s Day gift. In the words of Bellingham Handmade, “Live life. Kick your feet up. Smooch by the fountain.” Cost: $18 Info: http://www.bellinghamhandmade.com

As always, the event invite for Make.Shift’s Valentine’s Day Cover Show—supposedly in its final year unless someone else takes it on (hint hint)—specifies that there is to be “NO PDA” at the two-night affair. And as always, that acts as a prompt for me to recall the inaugural V-Day cover show at which I saw a young couple make out for the duration, oblivious to the hundred-plus people in the room, possibly oblivious to the fact that loud music was happening mere feet in front of them. As with Valentine’s Day, I’m indifferent when it comes to other people making out in public. It doesn’t really titillate me, and I’ve done far too much of it myself to judge (sorry mom). However, I am nowhere near indifferent about the cover show. I love it when temporary bands form to play the songs of other bands. By and large, the outcome is surprisingly good and even when it’s not, it’s still fun. This (hopefully not) last go-round will see people take the stage on Fri., Feb. 14 as Heart, Jimmy Eat World, the White Stripes, Yellowcard, Bremerton’s own MxPx, and others. With Sat., Feb. 15 comes Green Day, Queen, the Cranberries, and more. The Valentine’s Day Cover Show never fails to have at least one offering that’s either inspired or completely mad, and this year the people taking on Tool have managed to encompass both of those things. Can you think of a more romantic band than Tool? Info: http://www.makeshiftproject.com

Officially speaking, WinterStock isn’t a Valentine’s Day event, but, officially speaking, Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday, so obviously we’ve entered some kind of lawless dimension where rules don’t apply. In this realm or any other, WinterStock, which is the Lincoln Theatre’s annual excuse to throw a party to counteract the mood-dampening effects of winter in the Pacific Northwest, makes for an excellent date night—and never more so than when it falls on Valentine’s Day as it does this year. Doing the musical honors will be WinterStock favorites Kuinka, as well as Sway Wild, which features Mandy Fer and Dave McGraw. Both acts, when combined with the lovely setting of the Lincoln and the local beer and cider that will be available, are capable of casting a spell you might just find to be irresistible. Be warned: WinterStock is perennially popular, and nothing puts a damper on date night quite like a big sold-out sign, so it is probably wise to buy tickets in advance or risk one of those regrettable Valentine’s Day outcomes I mentioned earlier. Cost: $25-$30 Info: http://www.lincolntheatre.org

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