Simpsons fans, this reference is for you: Have you ever known a Ralph Wiggum? You know, the one who never got any red-and-pink-cardboard Valentines when it was time to pass them around and invariably ended up with a coughing fit from eating too many cinnamon hearts at once? Admit it: sometimes we all feel a little like him on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re single, in a relationship or embroiled in some torrid love-rhombus, there’s nothing like the 14th of February to bring on the lonely blues. Maybe your special someone is out of town, or working; maybe you’re okay with being single, but don’t appreciate being bombarded with pink teddy bears clutching I-Love-You hearts and glittery Be-My-Valentine cards every time you pop into Pharmaprix to buy a party-size bag of Doritos and the latest copy of In Touch (there’s noshame—everyone has to cope).Whatever your situation, there are about as many reasons to dislike Valentine’s Day as there are to like it. That’s why I’m proposing we make this week one of emphasizing the positives instead of the negatives, the love instead of the hate. Welcome to your Valentine’s Day arts survival kit. Don’t worry, Ralphie. We’ll get through this together.
If you’re reading this on Valentine’s Day and you’re dreading going straight home after classes—no fears. If nothing (and nobody) else is keeping you busy tonight, consider the following options: If you want something casual and fun, head over to Café Campus’ Les Mardis rétro with DJ Miracle Mark for an old-fashioned, non-Valentine’s Day-themed, dancing good time. Like bumming around the Mile End? You can catch some great music and relax with a coffee and some meat-free fare at Le Cagibi’s Mardi Spaghetti Jazz Improv. Maybe strike up your own hipster Missed Connection: “Saw you at Cagibi. Grey sweater, Dali tattoo, reading Kierkegaard. Let’s have an existential crisis together.” Bonus points: “I usually never do this kind of thing.”
Les Mardis rétro goes down at Café Campus (57 Prince Arthur E.). Entrance is free before 10 p.m., and $6 after. Mardi Spaghetti Jazz Improv takes place at 9:30 p.m. at Le Cagibi (5490 St- Laurent) and costs $5.
For photography amateurs looking for the sexier side of portraiture, Galerie-Atelier Crystal Racine in the Plateau wants you to get in touch with your inner boudoir vixen at VI Photography’s Inspiration Burlesque exhibit. Featuring portraits of dolled-up, just-dressed-enough ladies who aren’t models, actresses, Russian gymnasts or under the age of 20, the exhibit proves that garters and coy smiles aren’t reserved for the likes of Dita Von Teese. Taking its cues from the burlesque rules of “having fun in your own skin, revealing that which is usually hidden, and most importantly…leaving a little to the imagination,” VI’s exhibit may just deliver the inspiration it seems to promise.
The exhibit runs most days from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m at Galerie-Atelier Crystal Racine (1701 Gilford St.) Free admission. Check out www.galeriecrystalracine.com for more details.
If you’re up for a more…adventurous evening, Café Cléopâtre’s anti-Valentine edition of Club Sin is the perfect opportunity to ditch the Valentines and the social hang-ups that can make Feb. 14 so miserable. Atta girls!
Club Sin takes place at Café Cléopâtre (1230 St-Laurent).
If Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, there’s no reason it can’t be brotherly love. The Douglas Mental Health University Institute, the Wellington Rehabilitation Centre and Les Impatients artist group present the 14th annual Parle-moi d’amour exhibit at the Wellington Centre in Verdun. Educating the public about good mental health and spreading a message of hope and tolerance, the Douglas and Wellington have collaborated with celebrated artists like Julie Arkinson, known for her chalky, ethereal portraiture, and Léo Rosshandler, whose paintings evoke a slightly-twisted storybook feel, to organize a three-week silent auction that benefits mental health research and treatment projects. Promote healthy love and healthy minds by stopping by Parle-moi d’amour.
The vernissage takes place on Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. at Wellington Centre (4932 Wellington St.) The exhibition runs Wednesday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Go to impatients.ca for more information.