Weekly Fun: Events to Guide Your Free Time

Photo: wendycopley/Flickr/Creative Commons License

This is a week of opposites. On the one hand, the city is filled with delicate dinners and lovely nights of wine and chocolate, thanks to the unstoppable force of Valentine's Day. If the idea of a Hallmark Holiday filled with empty declarations of love makes you want to gag, there's a pretty strong pushback movement underfoot that you may just be interested. With the forces of good and evil, love and sweatpants, battling it out for the city's attention this week, the guaranteed winner is you.

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First, for the lovers (if you can't even stand to read about these Valentine's details, skip down a bit). On Thursday, the Echo Park Film Center will open their doors for a casual evening of Art for People in Love. Five dollars gets you admission in the door and the option (should you so choose) to stand on stage and rant, rave, scream or cry about the passion in your heart. There will be poetry readings, diatribes, acoustic guitars and lots of love in the air. Or if you'd like to take a date somewhere a bit more ... ahem ... choreographed, Japanese dancer / street performer Hiroaki Umeda will be presenting two of his strongest pieces all weekend long at downtown's REDCAT space. There will be moments of ballet, hip hop and butoh in each, as Umeda moves to the beats and lights that make up his unique productions.

You could also avoid the Thursday dinner crowds by making a reservation for LearnAboutWine's cheese, chocolate and wine dinner party at Eat Drink Americano in the Arts District. The Saturday affair pairs five international cheeses and five lavish chocolates with a curated selection of ten different wines from Spain, Italy, France and California.

ATTENTION DEBBIE DOWNERS: it's safe to return now. For you, the slighted masses hoping to avoid all mention of Valentine's Day, there is quite a week ahead. First things first, you can start your drinking early, thanks to Lucky Baldwins' ongoing Belgian Beer Fest. The annual event will feature some of the best abbey ales found in the entire world, including their own red ale. Or, you can stick to Hollywood, where Blue Palms Brewhouse will be hosting a Sour Valentine dinner on Wednesday night. Come alone or bring friends to the five-course meal, featuring sour beers from Avery Brewing out of Boulder, Colorado.

For the weekend, you can forget your woes at the noisy and colorful Chinese New Years festival. Now in its 114th year, the Chinatown party will feature a parade, kung fu demonstrations, music, food and a beer garden. And the best part? It runs all day Saturday and Sunday, so there's no reason to stop the party. Or, if you'd like to switch things up a bit on Sunday the 17th, L.A. Zine Fest is happening on Melrose. The DIY magazines are the perfect way to celebrate individual expression, and the hundred-plus exhibitors at the festival each bring their unique perspectives to their work. There are workshops and lectures on zine culture, or you can just peruse the offerings as you walk around Melrose and Heliotrope.

No matter what, this week will come and go like all the rest. If you're in love and looking to celebrate the fact, there are more than enough opportunities to do so. And if you'd rather just avoid the whole thing, there are beers and festivals to get you there. All in all, it's a great weekend to be living on Los Angeles, no matter who you love.

For more weekly events visit kcet.org/events.

About the Author

Farley Elliott is a freelance food writer and comedian. He currently writes for KCET.org, SeriousEats.com, LAist.com, and L.A. Weekly. You can catch Farley doing comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood.
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