Valentine’s Day is about more than just flowers, chocolates and saying “I love you” — it also offers a great opportunity to experience art and culture in the Twin Cities. There’s plenty to do to put you in the mood for love, from an evening of art and opera to a Victorian poetry reading with a humorous twist.
Victorian Poetry Slam
History buffs and literary lovers alike will enjoy this 21st-century twist on turn-of-the-century poetry. Actors in 1890s-era garb will perform classic poems by Dickinson, Poe, Longfellow, Browning and more in the drawing room of the historic James J. Hill House. With topics spanning love, temperance, sports, war and James J. Hill himself, the evening promises ample romance, drama, history and wit.
Where: James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
When: Feb. 14 from 7–8 p.m.
Opera Valentine’s Duets
Opera is considered the language of love, so it’s the perfect pairing for Valentine’s Day. Experience opera at the unconventional setting of the Weisman Art Museum with an evening of Valentine’s duets from Out of the Box Opera. The local company will perform opera classics and musical theater hits within the intimate Davis Gallery, followed by complimentary hot drinks and treats.
Where: Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Pkwy.
When: Feb. 14 from 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
“Dinner at Eight” Valentine’s Dinner
The Minnesota Opera previews its upcoming production of William Bolcom’s new opera, “Dinner at Eight,” a comedy of manners full of romantic entanglements, with a special five-course dinner at Dakota Jazz Club. Admission includes dinner, tax, gratuity, live performances of selections from the opera and a Valentine’s gift. The opera has its world premiere from March 11–19 at Orchestra Hall.
Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall
When: Feb. 14 from 5 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Merce Cunningham: Common Time
The groundbreaking work of influential American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham is the center of “Merce Cunningham: Common Time,” the largest survey of the artist’s work yet mounted. The Walker Art Center–organized show includes a broad range of multi-disciplinary installations made up of moving images, stage décor, costumes and contextualizing works by many his collaborators, including Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and composer John Cage. Related events include a performance of two of Cunningham’s dance works performed by France’s acclaimed CCN-Ballet de Lorraine on Feb. 16 at Northrop.
Where: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave.
When: Feb. 8–July 30
Cost: $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9 for college students, $7 for active military, free for Walker members and on Thursday evenings
Italian Film Festival
Italian film is best known its iconic cinematic auteurs of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, such as Visconti, Fellini, Rossellini and Argento. But Italian cinema is alive and well, a point illustrated locally by the Italian Film Festival. Its ninth-annual edition features nine films — eight of which are making their Minnesota premieres — spanning documentary, drama and comedy, plus a restored screening of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western classic, “Once Upon a Time in the West.”
Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE.
When: Feb. 16–19
Cost: $8–$10 screenings, $55–$65 opening night film and party, $95–$110 all-access pass
Every year, thousands of hardy Minnesotans are challenged to take the plunge, literally, during the Polar Plunge. After raising a minimum of $75 for Special Olympics Minnesota, participants jump into the frigid waters of Minnesota lakes at various locations throughout the state. Upcoming plunges include Rochester (Feb. 11), Duluth (Feb. 18) and downtown Minneapolis (Feb. 9), where a pool will be dropped into U.S. Bank Plaza.
Where: Various locations
When: Various dates through March 18
Cost: Free to attend
Louis Faurer: New York Photographs
Along with Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and William Klein, Louis Faurer was a key member of the New York school of street photographers active from the 1930s to the 1950s. The group rejected traditional documentary styles of photography in favor of one that showcased a grittier, more naturalistic side of city life, captured on 35mm cameras. While his career later included stints at fashion magazines such as Vogue and Mademoiselle, his earlier work is at the center of Weinstein Gallery’s “Louis Faurer: New York Photographs,” an exhibition of selected works also available for sale from the commercial gallery.
Where: Weinstein Gallery, 908 W. 46th St.
When: Feb. 10–April 1