The first official hump day of February has come and gone and you know what that means. If you’re fortunate enough to have a significant other (or perhaps you have your eye on your future Mr. or Mrs.) you should officially have started planning how to spend your Valentine’s Day (February 14th, just in case it slipped your mind) by now.
As the Princess of Artsalot, I of course always try to encourage my friends to concoct as artful a date as possible. Be it a first date, that all important “third date” a special anniversary or just another opportunity to hang with your beau/bird/besties, putting the ART in HEART makes for a memorable and locally impactful date choice.
Here are a few ways you can support the arts and melt hearts at the same time, ranging in location, artful activity, budget and calendar dates in case you can’t wait to celebrate or have to postpone the holiday a bit. In chronological order (in case you are in a hurry…)
LOVE ITALIAN STYLE
That’s Amore Concert presented by Mission Chamber Orchestra
Le Petit Trianon in San Jose
Saturday, February 9th 7:30pm
I’m a total sucker for all things Italian (I should be an honorary Italian if truth be known) and tomorrow night it’s an Italian Extravaganza. Verdi, Puccini, an Italian tenor backed by an orchestra set in an acoustical pleasure palace, it has the makings for quite the passionate night. Le Petit Trianon is a great space for all kinds of music and if you haven’t heard Pasquale Esposito (or Mission Chamber Orchestra) you are in for a treat. At a top price of $25, this concert is a STEAL, Pasquale is the featured entertainer at many fundraising events where the tickets run in the hundreds. Fill yourself up with pasta at any number of Downtown San Jose eating establishments to complete your theme. Paseano’s in San Jose’s “Little Italy” is authentic and enjoyable as is Il Fornaio at the Hotel Sainte Claire.
ROMANCE ON THE RAILS!
Two Valentine’s Wine-tasting Trains on the Niles Canyon Railway
Sunday, February 10, Departs Sunol Depot (6 Kilkare Rd) at 12pm & 3pm
Tickets $75 per person; limited seating
Enjoy Livermore Valley wines and delectable hors d’oeuvres aboard a luxuriously restored Art Deco Lounge Car. 1940s attire admired, but not required and boy isn’t this just the bees knees? The Niles Canyon is BEAUTIFUL and few things say romance better than getting dressed up and having wine and nibbles (you can take that however you like) on a train. Don’t want the date to stop there? Take in some great Our Gang and Laurel and Hardy films starting at 4pm at the Niles Silent Film Museum if you’d like to extend the day into the night!
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
Flamenco Guitar at Morocco’s Restaurant in Mountain View
$65 per person and worth every penny!
The warm and hospitable ambiance of this restaurant is matched only by its delicious food and the music for the night will be the amazing Danni Torres with his flamenco guitar and soothing voice. This is quite the artful night! Feed your heart, soul and loved one with a prefix menu (reservations required!) of: Spinach, nuts and fruit salad, semi-sweet garlic herb shrimp, Beef Tagine with prunes and apricots, Imperial couscous with chicken, caramelized red onions, raisins and the chef’s surprise dessert & aphrodisiac dessert shot! Vegetarians and allergy adjustment will be made for your pleasure! This can be a stand alone event for your big date or just the beginning. Be warned, magical things tend to happen at Morocco’s!
Sultry, bluesy, funky, smooth, edgy; this gig has got it all! If you’re looking for more of a rock star night out on the town, I suggest making it to the Blank Club to see Anya and the Get Down. Casual and low-key, Anya (and perhaps the beer on tap and the club lighting) will get you in the mood. Bar seating is limited and so plan on standing and getting your groove on while you rub shoulders with Anya’s large local following.
Flying Karamazov Brothers: 40 years of Wandering, juggling & Cheap Theatrics
San Jose Repertory Theater in San Jose
February 15th-24th, various times
$10-$67 with not a bad seat in the house. I love the balcony myself.
Oh, how I love a good laugh and the Flying Karamazov Brothers were a MAJOR highlight last year when they came to the Rep. I’ve seen jugglers. I’ve seen them all it seems. It can get old, right? You haven’t seen these guys. Brilliant. Amazing. Silly. Innovative. STUNNING ACTS OF JUGGLING. STUNNING. So much fun. If you like to laugh (and it’s been known to be perfect foreplay I’m told) this is as sure a thing as I can recommend. This is a super special night out for anyone, but couples you have to promise me to put that post show afterglow to good use.
IT’S A STORY…
Irish Story Teller & Celtic Harpist Patrick Ball
Presented by Pacifica Performances in Pacifica
Saturday, February 16th, 7:30pm
In Celtic Harp and Story Patrick Ball rekindles the fire and wonder of an evening of Irish storytelling. For in telling tales of wit and enchantment, and in playing the ancient, brass-strung harp of Ireland, it is said he not only carries on two of the richest traditions of Celtic culture, but blends them in concert to create “a warm and magical performance.” It’s a nice drive, a unique concert and could event include a walk on the beach and maybe even a bed and breakfast. It’s an adventure just waiting for you, yes?
THRILL YOUR DATE
Hitchcock Film Festival at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto
Thursday-Sunday, February 7th through April 7th! (no excuses, you have WEEKS)
$7 for Adults, $5 Seniors
The Stanford Theatre first opened in 1925 and it served for decades as Palo Alto’s premier movie house. You can hear our Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ played during the intermissions before and after the 7:30 shows. It’s a great space and a great nostalgic twist on your typical dinner and a movie date. Speaking of dinner, my two favorite higher end places to eat (RESERVATIONS REQUIRED) are the impressive and mouth-watering Joya (serving up amazing latin American tapas) and the always scrumptious Tamarine (Vietnamese fusion). Both have great, warm, business casual ambiance and are close enough to the Theater for a nice stroll. For those wanting something a bit more relaxed Spot a Pizza Place has tasty pizza, quick service, is very reasonably priced, is near parking and you really can’t go wrong.