Devil’s Advocate: A Very Downtown Valentine’s Day


Heart-shaped petals on an inner bougainvillea flower. (Nicole Neri/DD)

If you’re going to make a Valentine’s Day reservation at an expensive restaurant, you should probably do that soon. (To my boyfriend, if you’re reading this: I’m talking to you.)

But if you’re looking for a creative Valentine’s date, downtown Phoenix has plenty of events that are outside the norm. Celebrating downtown is also a great way to support the local arts and small businesses.

So whether you want to win over your crush, drown your sorrows with friends or treat yourself to some me-time, here are a few ways to do it all downtown:

Vampire Ball, Love Bites

  • Friday, Feb. 9 (tonight!)
  • 8 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • The Grand, 718 N. Central Ave.

Are you feeling exhausted with the gushy love notes and sickly sweet bouquets of February? Would you rather it be Oct. 31? If so, you might appreciate an event where you can unleash your scary side. At this event, hosted by “Drag Divas” Stella Prince and Faris DuVal, the dress code is “vampire or goth with a valentine flair.” Contemporary aerial dance company Scorpius Dance Theatre will perform, accompanied by “gothic/industrial/techno” beats courtesy of DJs Betty BlackHeart and Self.Destrukt. Presale tickets are available for $24 online or $25 at the door. Proceeds support Scorpius Dance Theatre’s 2018 season.

Love in the Garden

    • Sunday, Feb. 11
    • 4 – 6:30 p.m.
    • Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, 1125 N. Third Ave.

Picnics: A classic date for lovers who enjoy the outdoors and food, or a combination of the two which can be found at the Japanese Friendship Garden. For Sunday picnickers, the Garden will provide a complimentary bottle of champagne, a candlelit table and an authentic, take-home ikebana flower arrangement. If you find that your date is a heavy drinker, more alcohol will be available for purchase. Pond-side blanket picnics are $80, while tables range from $150 to $200. Call 602-274-8700 to make a reservation. Keep in mind that space is limited.

Sips ‘N Screens: 10 Things I Hate About You

  • Monday, Feb. 12
  • 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St.

Channel your hatred for Valentine’s Day, and Mondays, by catching a classic ’90s rom-com” 10 Things I Hate About You” for $5 at the Science Center’s Irene P. Flinn Giant Screen Theater. You can purchase cocktails, beer and snacks before the show starts. “10 Things I Hate About You” stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Larisa Oleynik. It contains some adult humor.

V-Week & The Vagina Monologues

  • Tuesday, Feb. 13 – Saturday, Feb. 17
  • Events 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. each night (special matinee performance at 3 p.m. Saturday)
  • Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N. Third St.

Phoenix Center for the Arts is hosting a week of events dedicated to celebrating femininity. Weeklong passes are $30, with proceeds donated to Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and Spotlight on the Resistance. Or pick your favorites:

Tuesday: Feminist Variety Show and musical performance by Luz de la Luna
Wednesday: “You’re Really Pretty for a Girl in a Wheelchair” — billed as “candid and humorous insight into the life of a woman with a physical disability.”
ALSO: “Hot Mess Presents: Lady Time” — a comedic question-and-answer session for ladies.
AND: JaxN Reed — Performance from the Torch Theatre’s nationally known improv duo.
Thursday: “Honoring Indigenous Women, We Are Sacred” — Sharing stories about the “triumph, courage and the empowerment that comes from our individual cultures and traditional teachings that taught us all women are sacred.”
Friday: “Los Mon√≥logos de la Vagina” — Spanish-language performance of the beloved play.
Saturday: English-language performances of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Queerosity Teen Open Mic

  • Wednesday, Feb. 14
  • 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Phoenix Youth Hostel and Cultural Center, 1026 N. 9th St.

What’s more romantic than poetry? For a heartwarming Valentine’s evening, support your favorite adolescent at this “Louder Than A Bomb” poetry event, which invites teenagers to celebrate “curiosity, honesty, and queer love.” Teens who attend the writing workshop at 6 p.m. get first priority when signing up for an open mic slot between 7 and 8:30 p.m. The event is free.

Rom-Com Trivia

  • Thursday, Feb. 15
  • 7 – 9 p.m.
  • Carly’s Bistro, 128 E. Roosevelt St.

If you spent Valentine’s Day at home re-watching all your favorite rom-coms, you might feel like testing your film knowledge and spending the money you saved on a couple of happy hour drinks the next evening. Carly’s grants you the opportunity, awarding prizes to the teams who can answer the most trivia questions — on movies ranging from “‘Sabrina’ to ‘Something About Mary.'”

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