Whether love makes your spine tingle or spurs immediate pangs of nausea, it's Valentine's Day Week, and Buffalo is strewn with classic dinner-and-a-movie offers for couples. Fortunately, there's plenty of other options, and that's what we're here for.
Consider a "Parks and Rec"-inspired Galentine's Day, a bluster of concerts - both sentimental and sad, and a dance party in one of the area's most beautiful new spaces.
One note: Robert DeLong, pegged to play Buffalo Iron Works on Tuesday, sold out a few days in advance.
Thin Man, which typically presents free music on Saturday nights, hosts a rare pay show featuring Upstate - formerly Upstate Rubdown - on Wednesday night on the loft area of the second floor. News contributor Mac McGuire has written about Upstate, which will be playing an unplugged set that caters to their harmony-heavy bent, on several occasions, most recently in his "3 can't-miss shows" series.
Special packages add luxury to the night, with a dinner buffet preceding the show and either two drinks or an open bar, for either $40 or $50, respectively.
Wendell Rivera Latin Jazz Ensemble at Hotel Henry Jazz Series, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at corner of Rockwell Road and Cleveland Circle, at Richardson-Olmsted Campus. Tickets are $15 in advance here; previous events in this series have sold out.
Progressive Latin jazz ambassador and esteemed percussionist Wendell Rivera is next on the schedule for the Hotel Henry Jazz Series, presented by JazzBuffalo, which sold out its Christmas show so quickly that it had to add a second date.
Rivera, who's performed with Aretha Franklin and was selected into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame back in 2000, will play the congas and be joined by six other musicians, including two trumpet players, for the show.
Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament skills competition, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Free to attend as a spectator. The tournament runs Feb. 15-17.
Whet your palate for the Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament, whose game-play officially begins in RiverWorks on Friday, but an open skills competition sets the event in motion on Thursday night. From the fastest skater to most dexterous puck handler to the hardest shooter, see what local competitors shine in individual challenges.
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Beer and Chocolate at Flying Bison, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 at 840 Seneca St. Cost is free to Sportmen's Americana Music Foundation, and $5 for non-members at the door.
Sportsmen's Americana Music Foundation will thank its members with a Valentine's Week party on Monday, featuring chocolate to sample (and for purchase) from Fowler's Chocolates and pizza from Buffalo's Best Grill. The Willies, a Buffalo rock-Americana band active since 1988, will handle the music.
The Matt Urban Hope Center will recognize three Buffalonians who've contributed to the nonprofit's mission: Office Dave Zarbo of Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Derek Malke of Alanerek and Kerri Howell of Wear 'n' Share. Live music by the Harvey Brice Trio, plus drinks and food, will fill out the event.
Galentine's Day, 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Community Beer Works (520 7th St.). Free to attend.
Modeled after the popular "Parks and Recreation" episodes and the trendsetting nature of Leslie Knope, this Galentine's Day event hits CBW with brunch fare, discounted drinks for women, live viewing of the featured TV show and a specialty cocktail dubbed You Beautiful Tropical Fish. Waffles are a must, and there will be waffles.
For every purchase of Frank, one of Community Beer Works' flagship beers, $1 will be donated to Planned Parenthood of WNY.
Five slightly off-beat Valentine's Day events:
*Tom Waits' "Blue Valentine" performed by local musicians, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at Duende at Silo City (85 Silo City Row). Cost is $10 at the door.
A local seven-piece ensemble will tackle the brooding 1978 album by Tom Waits in its entirety; it delivers haunting, twisted lyrics that touch on romance lost. (There's catharsis in here somewhere). Listen closely to each song, as Waits is known to be a superb storyteller, and his gravelly voice won't be an impediment with this cover band.
*Valentine's Dance at The Tabernacle at Sweet_ness 7, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at 211 Lafayette Ave. Presale tickets available at the Tabernacle for $20, cost rises to $25 at the door.
Oscar Alston, the bass player for the late Rick James, will cruise through Motown favorites and this dance that welcomes anyone, Valentine or not. The Tabernacle is a jaw-dropping artistic marvel and offers plenty of space to groove to Alston's hits. Here are five things to know about the Tabernacle.
If cinematic violence revs your Valentine's Day engine, don't let us stop you. Just support Thursday Night Terrors, which has a knack for the bizarre, spooky and gruesome. Check out Thursday Night Terrors' season schedule.
*Valentine's Movie Night package at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe, 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at 880 Alberta Drive in the Boulevard Mall. Cost is $49 per couple, here. Advanced purchase is required.
Romantic back-to-back flicks "Casablanca" and "The Princess Bride" let couples relax in the Screening Room, with popcorn, a bottle of wine or bucket of beer, and two (presumably adorable) mini chocolate sundaes to top it off.
*"Love Letters" by O'Connell & Company, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at The Park School (4625 Harlem Road, Snyder). Cost is $30 general admission, $25 for seniors; tickets here. Runs Thursday through Sunday through Feb. 24.
News contributor Melinda Miller handed this O'Connell & Company production 3.5 stars, and its rotating cast of lovers winds up with Mary Coppola Gjurich and Gregory Gjurich leading the Valentine's Day charge.
5 events to look forward to this weekend
Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament at RiverWorks
Cork Head Wine Festival at Hotel @ the Lafayette
Brian McKnight in Seneca Niagara Events Center
Buffalo SoupFest in Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
G Jones in Town Ballroom
Story topics: concert previews/ event previews/ Hotel Henry/ Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament/ Matt Urban Hope Center/ Sportsmen's Americana Music Foundation/ things to do/ this week in Buffalo/ upstate/ Wendell Rivera