Smile Politely

Get your Culture here: Valentine’s edition

A man in a red shirt and black pants is standing on a stage with a guitar. A few feet away is a woman in a black dress and red boots. There is a rainbow sign hanging behind them that says Love Always Wins.
Uniting Pride on Facebook

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. You may have no interest in participating in this Hallmark holiday in any sort of way, and that’s a totally understandable position to take. However, I am going to pose some suggestions for taking advantage of the opportunities that the holiday provides, regardless of your relationship status. There really are some worthy experiences to have that go well beyond the traditional roses/chocolates/romance vibe (though it’s also totally fine if you are into that vibe). If you are planning for this to be an especially romantic time for you, be sure to look back at Tom’s suggestions for make-out spots in Downtown Champaign and Urbana. He offers some pitfalls to avoid, as well as perfect lip-locking locations.

Urbana Free Library on Facebook

Craft and listen to harp music at Urbana Free Library

This actually sounds like a very soothing way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Classical harpist Sabrina Vaughan will provide the background music while you color hearts or make paper hearts for nursing home residents. This is meant for all ages, so you can bring kiddos along. You can also just enjoy the quiet time by yourself or with a friend! Harps and Hearts will take place in the Busey Mills Reading Room and MacFarlane-Hood Reading Room on February 11th from 11 to 12 p.m.

A man in a red shirt and black pants is standing on a stage with a guitar. A few feet away is a woman in a black dress and red boots. There is a rainbow sign hanging behind them that says Love Always Wins.
Uniting Pride on Facebook

Join Uniting Pride for Love Fest

I attended this event last year, and it was really enjoyable — some really talented performers, and such a spirit of welcome and inclusivity, as Uniting Pride does so well. This year they’ve moved from The Station Theatre to a larger venue. On February 11th at the City View Ballroom*, you’ll enjoy an appetizers and dessert dinner (amazing) from Dish Passionate cuisine along with music, drag, and comedy performances. You can find the full list of performers on the Uniting Pride website. There are three levels of tickets, depending on how fancy you’d like to be. Ticket sales close at 2 p.m. on February 8th, so grab them now!

A graphic with a black background and two red hearts in the center. Across the hearts, in white letters, it says Heart Strings & Heart Breakers. In small pink letters it says A Burlesque and Vaudeville Show underneath the hearts.
Carnivale Debauche on Facebook

Tug at your heartstrings with Carnivale Debauche

Carnivale Debauche shows are always a fun time, and I am sure this one will be no different. The theme for this show on February 11th at Rose Bowl Tavern is Heartstrings & Heartbreakers, and will be filled with unique performances from burlesque and vaudeville performers, followed by music from the band Bruiser Queen. If you are a little unsure about what to expect (though to be fair, you never know quite what to expect) check out our review of their show from this summer. You be sure to find an “uninhibited safe space” that will leave you with all the good feelings. Get your tickets now. Seated spots are sold out, but you can still snag some general admission standing room tickets. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show will begin at 8 p.m.

Cannabis treats called Marshmellow love bites sit on a wooden tray with the product's bag behind it. Photo from nuEra Champaign's instagram.
nuEra Champaign on Instagram

Eat all the Valentine’s treats

One of my favorite parts about this time of year is the array of special, tasty treats that local establishments have on hand. Last week, Alyssa shared some of the highlights, so be sure to take a look at what she recommends. You can even find treats with a little something extra, to help your Valentine’s chill.

If you want to take things a step further, Champaign Center Partnership is doing a Sweet, Treats, and Lattes promotion this year where you can actually win prizes for going out and trying Valentine’s treats in various Downtown, Midtown, and Campustown restaurants. You can play along using this bingo card, by collecting stickers, or by submitting photos and testimonials of the items you consume. Prizes range from gift cards to Pirates of Penzance tickets. Find all of the information on the CCP website. The promotion will run from February 13-19.

A row of people are leaning over a board game on a table. they are all smiling or making surprised faces.
Cudo Plays on Facebook

Play games with CUDO

Head on over to Hyatt Place in Downtown Champaign on February 13th from 6:30 to 9 p.m. to gather with fellow board game enthusiasts. Not an enthusiast, but more of a dabbler? This is for you too! The theme of the evening is Games With Hearts, but you are welcome to bring any sort of game along with you.

Wednesday Adams, in long dark braids and a black dress with white polka dots, is in the center of a graphic with a black background and gray vignette around her. It says Anti-Valentine's Day in white lettering.
Bentley’s on Facebook

Be anti-Valentine’s at Bentley’s

If you’d rather just say eff it all, but gather with other people who would like to eff it all, this is your event. Spend the evening immersing yourself in drinks and dark music on February 14th from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

*Editor’s note: We previously incorrectly named City Center as the location for this event.

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