In 2023, Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday, which is kinda meh. In 2020, Valentine’s Day was on a Friday. (That rude year didn’t deserve such a lovely day.) But we can overcome this year’s early-mid-week snooziness! Browse this quick list of things to do, some of which don’t even happen on Tuesday.
A tip: Snag tickets fast. People are scrambling for date nights around here.
📸: Courtesy Mudlark Oddities & Curiosities
Valentine’s Market @ Mudlark Oddities & Curiosities
Saturday, February 11th • 4 – 10 pm
Mudlark Oddities is a hole-in-the-wall antique and curiosity shop that opened in Ravenna last October. They’ve got all the weird stuff you could want: taxidermic foxes and monkeys, a myriad of skulls (human and other), unnerving dolls, old photos with dead-eyed subjects staring directly into your soul, a lot of teeth, and more. And on Saturday, February 11th, they’re hosting a V Day market so you can get macabre gifts for your sweetie.
If that doesn’t jive with your chocolate-and-roses-pinks-and-reds idea of Valentine’s Day, I’ve got some news for you. Mudlark’s creepy Valentine’s Day market may honor the true roots of Valentine’s Day more than the Hallmark version we’ve all embraced. The day has a gross, brutal history: The Romans would celebrate the Lupercalia feast from February 13th through the 15th. During these days, men would sacrifice goats and dogs and then whip women with the freshly slain animals’ hides. (The Romans thought hitting women would increase their fertility.) They also executed two guys both named Valentine on two different February 14ths, which is likely where the holiday name comes from.
Something to chew on while you buy those chocolate and flowers. Or, surround yourself with the dark and the macabre at the Mudlark Oddities Valentine’s Day Market. NATHALIE GRAHAM
📸: Courtesy Can Can Culinary Cabaret
House of Hearts @ Can Can Culinary Cabaret
January 12th – March 26th • Wednesdays – Sundays • 7 pm
It’s the season of love, lust, and everything in between. The only way to celebrate is decadence. The Can Can, one of Seattle’s best spots for burlesque (and ghosts if you’re into that sorta thing), put together a brand-spankin’ new bespoke show for the Valentine’s Day season. Welcome to House of Hearts.
The story centers on the Land of Broken Hearts and the annual gathering, the aptly-named Broken Hearts Ball, where feeling or even speaking about love is not only banned but punishable by death. This is all fine and good until the queen’s daughter falls in love with the town fool at the ball. Will the queen change the rules to save her daughter? And what happens when chaos falls on the Land of Broken Hearts? I won’t spoil it, but expect lots of red and pink glittery lingerie, nipple pasties, and feathery boas.
A night at The Can Can’s House of Hearts promises to be steamy and fun. An important thing to remember is The Can Con has a full menu and bar. The food and drinks are good! If you shell out for one of the higher ticket prices, you’ll receive various perks, from preferred seats to entire three-course meals. Life is short and love is worth some extravagance whenever you can spare it. Go crazy! NATHALIE GRAHAM
📸: Courtesy Sailor St. Claire
Burlesque at the Hall @ Queen Anne Beerhall
Tuesday, February 14th • 10 pm
Nothing makes a date night like a steamy striptease in a Bavarian-style beer hall. This Valentine’s Day, go out for your traditional boring dinner and a movie, then scootch over to Queen Anne Beer Hall’s burlesque show at 10 pm to spice things up! You’re not living if you’re not lusting.
The evening includes performances from:
👠 Nox Falls, a performer billed as being known for “slow burn striptease productions that focus on kink, poetry, and seduction.”
👠 Dulce D’Jour, a dancer from Olympia who also makes handcrafted silk.
👠 Boom Boom L’Roux, who “favors a classic approach to Burlesque infused with her own spicy flavor that melts hearts and captivates souls.”
👠 Carson St. Clair, “the petite provocateur” who’s “known for her entrancing gaze… curves that kill and a bump and grind style that will leave you quivering for more.”
👠 Sailor St. Claire will emcee. You’ll be in good hands with Sailor, who has a “scintillating wit and copious charm.”
In Washington, due to puritanical liquor laws, which forbid drinking in strip clubs, the only real way to have a fun sexy time while tipsy is at a burlesque show. Burlesque is provocative and sexy, yes, but the artform has comedic roots, so it’s also simply a good time. A Valentine’s Day with burlesque and a menu full of German beer won’t disappoint. NATHALIE GRAHAM
📸: Courtesy John Early
John Early @ The Neptune
Tuesday, February 14th • 7 pm + 9:30 pm
Seeing John Early on Valentine’s Day sounds like the most fun you could have on V Day, but I can’t say it’ll be romantic. Early has a keen eye, and he really roasts us.
If you want to become acquainted with John Early quickly, I recommend his episode of the 2016 Netflix sketch show, The Characters. Or spend a little more time with him and his closest collaborator Kate Berlant watching their 2022 Peacock special, Would It Kill You to Laugh? I first saw Early in Tim Robinson’s sketch show I Think You Should Leave throwing a tantrum about paying for a group dinner. I then became a fan by watching him as a diabolical multi-level marketing CEO in the HBO comedy series Los Espookys. But I became obsessed with him in the TBS comedy Search Party. His Search Party character Elliott Goss will go down in history as one of the most unhinged characters on TV.
Based on previous shows, there may be a musical component to Early’s set, a popular move for the current class of Early’s peers like Megan Stalter and Cat Cohen. The show’s billed as featuring Vicky with a V, one of Early’s recurring characters first featured in his episode of The Characters. Vicky is a minivan mom with a Karen haircut. She sings in church on Sundays, chain smokes, and does stand up at her local dive bar. This separate billing for Vicky with a V suggests endless options. MIRANDA HARDY
📸: Courtesy Khu.éex’
After Hours: Valentine’s Day @ Seattle Aquarium
Tuesday, February 14th • 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Sometimes, the Seattle Aquarium opens its doors past closing and forbids anyone under 21 years old from entering. It’s tranquil and you can look at the otters without a bunch of kids putting their hands all over everything, or whatever kids do. The aquarium will host one of these magical nights for Valentine’s Day. I highly recommend you check it out.
There’s something eerie and exciting about being at the aquarium after dark. I’m convinced the after-hours aquarium is a liminal space. The perfect example of this is the underwater dome in the Seattle Aquarium. The Puget Sound waters outside the criss-crossed concrete dome turn inky black, and the bluish light in the room gives everything an ethereal feel. It’s magical.
From 6:30 to 9:30 pm on Valentine’s Day, you and your valentine can traipse through the aquarium, listening to music from Indigenous band Khu.éex’ and sipping drinks from the bar. Sneak a kiss in the underwater dome, stroll through the arch of moon jellies, and hang out with the river otters, who tend to be more nocturnal around humans.
The aquarium will also host “animal-themed activities” during the evening. I’m unclear about what those will be, but how could they be lame? It’s the aquarium! NATHALIE GRAHAM