If you just read the title above, don't be too freaked out.
The massive pond hockey tournament is the city's marquee event this weekend, but mental images of Cupid dashing about scantily clad, followed by whatever your mind stumbles upon when it processes "alien abduction," likely have you both intrigued and concerned. It will all be OK.
Only two major events are sold out for this weekend, which eliminates them from contention in The 10: Snowshoeing & Cocoa at the Darwin Martin House and the Nickel City Chef battle between unattached-but-acclaimed chef Edward Forster and Oliver's Ross Warhol.
1) Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament, 1 to 11 p.m. Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 19 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Free to attend as a spectator. Competing teams are already full. See the weekend's event schedule here.
Commentary: Mary Kunz Goldman explained why it's worth attending the amateur ice hockey tournament in last week's 100 Things. Nearly 150 teams are registered, with names ranging from clever (Mid-Ice Crisis) to historic (Lake Erie Ice Boom) to mildly inappropriate (we're looking at you, Easton Infection and Soft Dumps in the Corner), and the 4-vs.-4 games run deep into the night all weekend. Kids activities, Labatt products and live music are all on tap, too.
2) Cupid's Undie Run, noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 18 in and around Big Ditch Brewing Company (55 E. Huron St.). Registration fee is $35 and can be completed here or on-site. The run begins at 2 p.m. and the event is 21+.
Commentary: The Undie Run falls on a perfect weekend this year. With weather in the 40s, it will be downright wonderful to be scantily clad in raising money to fight neurofibromatosis and back the Children's Tumor Foundation. Awards will be given out for the most money raised, and various levels of fundraising have earned an open bar.
This is not a competitive race - the un-timed, unofficial jaunt is roughly a mile and begins at 2 p.m. outside Big Ditch, sandwiched by a party inside the brewery where local brews are a dollar off. Here's more info about the Buffalo version of the touring event.
Commentary: The peculiar basis of an alien signal's return to earth after not being seen for a decade makes this party quirky, and a solid array of electronic dance music producers in Levitation Jones, Yheti and The Widdler highlight a laundry list of entertainers, local and national. The music will rage until 6 a.m., so you might want to get an afternoon nap in to prepare.
4) Inaugural Brewski, noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 18 in Knox Farm State Park (437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora). Day-of registration is $25, or you can pre-register for $20. Parking available by the Knox soccer fields.
Commentary: Refresh editor and craft beer aficionado Scott Scanlon covered every detail of the athletic-drinking festivities in East Aurora through his interview with John Cimperman, managing partner of 42 North Brewing.
The Brewski challenges attendees to cross-country ski along a two-mile course, stopping periodically at four beer stations to hydrate. If there's no snow (probable, at this point), hiking or fat-biking along the trail is fine. Eventgoers can explore the Knox Farm stables, too, which will have local vendors perched inside.
Participants receive a voucher for one free beer at 42 North, which will debut its Five Cow Farm maple porter as well as host an outdoor, dog-friendly barbecue in its beer garden.
5) Annual Guinness Toast, 6 to 11 p.m. in Buffalo Irish Center (245 Abbott Road). Tickets are $12 cash at the door.
Commentary: South Buffalo has a rollicking good time at the annual toast. Six Irish folk bands - including Penny Whiskey - two local Irish dance companies (Rince na Tiarna and Clann na Cara) and ample food and drink inside the Irish Center are the major draws for what's deemed a warmup for St. Patrick's Day.
Commentary: Holton, an established name in the local soul and jazz communities, is keen on bringing together talents old and new, and his series "Love Cadenza" has furthered his mission.
While the humble saxophone player is at the heart of Saturday's performance, attendees will appreciate the talents of MzErinn, Mia Riot and Maya By Name, among others, who've joined Holton in the powerful project. Read Jeff Miers' interview with Holton and get to know the supporting cast in this week's Gusto cover story.
7) "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," 8 p.m. Feb. 17, 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 18, 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in Shea's Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.). Additional shows on Feb. 21 and 22. Tickets range from $30 to $65 and can be purchased here.
Commentary: Theater and film are the only places where it's encouraged to mix comedy and murder (perhaps there are others of which I'm unaware). Ben Siegel, who handed the play 3.5 stars in his review, sets the stage beautifully (see what I did there):
"For the D’Ysquith family of London, so is death. Eight of them drop dead in the hilarious musical 'A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.' This much is not a spoiler. Like so many great murder-mysteries, we know who the killer is, and we know why they committed their crimes. What we really want to know, with shameless fascination, is how."
Commentary: Although the event name might suggest otherwise, no athletic prowess is required to participate in Gene McCarthy's annual beer event, which unites 13 local breweries in pouring samples of their most hoppy beers.
Is there a noticeable difference between hoppy beer face and bitter beer face? As a fan of dark beers, that's a genuine question I have. Read Alex Placito's preview of the event here.
9) Four new solo exhibitions in Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.). Free sneak preview from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 17, then prices range from $6 to $12 during regular gallery hours.
Commentary: First of all, it's Colin Dabkowski's birthday! That is exciting. Also, The News' art and theater critic introduced the four unheralded artists who assume prime position at the AKAG, replacing the vaunted Pablo Picasso exhibition. Big shoes to fill! (Maybe not literally - I don't know how big Picasso's feet were).
10) Winter Blues Ice Crawl, 4 to 11 p.m. Feb. 18, meets at Gianni Mazia's (10325 Main St., Clarence). Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 on-site. Registration runs from 3 to 4 p.m.
Commentary: It's a beautiful weekend for a bike ride through Clarence. Discover Main Street, the Clarence Chamber of Commerce and the Clarence Hollow Association have joined forces to organize a crawl through the northern suburb, featuring stops at Hollow Bistro and Brew, Cornerstone Bar & Grill, Clarence Grille, Clarence Bowling and Penny Lane.
A post-ride party settles in at Gianni Mazia's for a buffet dinner and entertainment from the Mercury Blues Band.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who's truthfully intrigued by many of these, at firstname.lastname@example.org