Valentine’s Day: It’s a day some people love, while others recoil in horror at the very notion of its debatable existence. If you find yourself fortunate enough to love and be loved, you already have an anniversary, and what greater gift is there than love? But no, the masters of the corporate commercial complex have convinced our culture that this random (plus usually cold and/or appropriately bitter) day needs you to spend what little money you have on flowers, chocolate, dinners and diamonds.
This year, some local creative types want you to join them in their less traditional approaches to acknowledging this “holiday” that doesn’t let you skip a day of work. In downtown’s NuLu district, Revelry Boutique Gallery hosts one of their most popular annual shows, “Cuteopia!” The collection of Valentine’s-inspired, locally crafted paintings, jewelry, embroidery, cards and more highlights the work of 20 female artists, including shop co-owner and photographer Mo McKnight Howe, embroiderer Jenna Gordon, and artists Lyndi Lou, Miss Happy Pink, Melody Dennison and Sarah Tidwell, to name just a few.
It’s a “buy-and-take” show, meaning anything you want can be bought and taken home in real time during the show’s opening this Saturday, Feb. 6, from 6-10 p.m. Most art sold at galleries stays up until the show ends a month or more later, but this one functions like Revelry’s other, dominant identity as a boutique. You’d never forget to buy a gift for your cutie, of course, but someone will; this is their chance to get it right.
Other women doing it for themselves can be found in another downtown location on South Fourth Street. Block Party Handmade Boutique will host a “Galentine’s Day Celebration” on Friday, Feb. 12, from 6-10 p.m. Inspired by Louisville’s imaginary Indiana neighbor Leslie Knope of the dearly departed TV comedy series “Parks and Recreation,” Galentine’s Day is a celebration for gals, girls, dames, ladies and women to celebrate their female friendships.
Men are welcome to attend, and Block Party has filled the night with more than just their usual locally made gifts and art. While those latter offerings will still be available, the main attraction for this party is punk rock. Or waffles. Depends on which you think is more desirable.
A DIY waffle station will be located in the back, and DJ Shred/Destroy will spin music by female artists throughout the night. At 7:30 p.m., local trash punk band Hoe Garden will play. The trio of teen girls came together at the Louisville Outskirts Festival’s Rockshops for Girls, where adult, female-identifying musicians help instruct younger, aspiring musicians. At 8:30, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Kill, locals paying tribute to Olympia, Wash.’s hugely influential ’90s riot grrrl punk band Bikini Kill, will play at this free show.
Feminism is the theme of the art shown at the Block Party party, from locals including store owner Mary Levinsky, the prolific Miss Happy Pink, Shalan D. McGrinder, Jenn Meyers and others.
On the same night, women and men also will be gathering at Zanzabar for the 15th anniversary of Louisville is for Lovers, artist/musician/organizer John King’s series of compilation albums of local bands contributing love-themed songs. The Hot Wires, The Fervor, The Cut Family Foundation and King’s band The Gallery Singers play live this year to commemorate the date, with a throwback dance party following at midnight.
A Sunday brunch will be held on the actual V-Day, Feb. 14, again at Zanzabar, including an “endless buffet,” cereal bar, bloody mary bar, and live music from the Winger Brothers and Daphne Luster.
On Valentine’s eve, Saturday, Feb. 13, King can be found DJing along a few others at the Germantown-adjacent bar Kaiju as Do502 hosts its first “Valloween” (Halloween-inspired Valentine’s) party. Guests are “strongly encouraged to dawn their zombie garb.”
Earlier that evening, Mercury Ballroom hosts I Heart Heart’s “Heart for Lungs,” which involves another local band paying tribute to another band of Pacific Northwest trailblazers — this time, the Seattle rockers Heart. Vocalist Carly Johnson has gathered an all-star lineup, including members of Maiden Radio, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the Billy Goat Strut Revue, to raise money for the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.
Meanwhile, across town, the Ultra Pop store/gallery will host one of their popular annual events, the fifth annual “XXX Art Show,” an adults-only night from 6-9 p.m., which promises “the one night of the year Louisville’s finest artists can be as nasty as they wanna be!”
And if you can’t love Louisville after all this, it’s probably time for you to move.