For the purposes of this list, and because this is an arts and entertainment section, there’s nothing strictly food-related so you’re on your own for dinner. But after dinner is when all the fun starts, anyway.
Love& Romance Get your Valentine’s Day started early with this concert in the Cameron Art Museum’s Jazz @ The CAM series. It features the Wilmington group Stardust, which plays a mix of jazz and classic rock and pop, and features the knockout vocals of Laura McFayden. Naturally, the CAM Cafe will be open during and after the show to cater to all of your food and beverage needs. Details: 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 (cafe is open 5-9 p.m.), 3201 S. 17th St., Wilmington. $12, $8 members, $5 students with valid ID. 395-5999 or CameronArtMuseum.com
‘Driving Miss Daisy’ There’s no love quite like an enduring friendship, and no play expresses that better than “Driving Miss Daisy,” Arthur Uhry’s comedic drama about a Jewish woman who forms an unlikely bond with her black driver in the pre-Civil-Rights-era South. Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre is bringing the play to Brunswick County’s Odell Williamson Auditorium for one show on Friday. Details: 7:30 p.m., 150 College Road NW, Bolivia, on the campus of Brunswick Community College. $30, $28 seniors and students, $11 children 12 and under. 755-7416 or bccowa.com
Valentine’s Day Dance Unless you’re still in high school, I’m going to bet that you haven’t been to a dance in a while. There’s no better day to remedy that situation than Valentine’s, when the Justin Lacy Swing Quartet brings jazz standards from the Big Band era into Bourgie Nights for some swing dancing action. (Just so you know, Lacy writes about visual arts for the StarNews, but he’s also a crack guitarist.) Stand-up comedian (and stand-up guy) Johnny Gray will open the show with jokes. Details: 10 p.m. at Bourgie Nights, 127 Princess St., downtown Wilmington. $10 per couple. 763-5252
Addendum: It would’ve been perfect to have former Wilmington indie rock the Love Language, who are now based in Chapel Hill and are on Merge Records, playing in town on Valentine’s Day, but it wasn’t to be. The good news is that the band, which is led by Stuart McLamb, will play Bourgie Nights on Saturday. Check 6D for a story on show opener Ryan Gustafson.
Raiders Ball If you want to go large on Friday, consider dropping your dimes at the 1940s-style, USO-themed Raiders Ball at the Brooklyn Arts Center. A benefit for the Raising Raiders Initiative, a grant program that aims to support the families of Marine Special Operations Command, $65 gets you dinner, two drink tickets and live music by Atlanta’s Gwen Hughes & The Retro Jazz Kats. And while it’s not in an actual former USO like the one at Second and Orange streets, the historic, refurbished church occupied by the Brooklyn Arts Center is pretty swank in its own right. Details: 6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner, 516 N. Fourth St. in Wilmington. Advance tickets at RaidersBall.BrownPaperTickets.com.
Cinematique Many romances are short-lived, but whether that’s your fate or not, you could find a worse way to spend Valentine’s than by taking in the Oscar-nominated short films at Cinematique, the film series of Thalian Hall and public radio WHQR. The nominated documentaries and animated films have been screening all week, and Friday features an encore showing of the movies nominated for Best Short Film, live-action style. Details: 7:30 p.m. in Thalian Hall’s studio theater, 310 Chestnut St., downtown Wilmington. $8. 632-2285 or ThalianHall.org.
‘Suessical Jr.’ My 2-year-old is a massive Dr. Suess fan – he’s in a bit of a Lorax phase right now – so if you have young kids, they might appreciate, even love, “Suessical Jr.,” the latest musical production from Thalian Association Children’s Theater. Billed as “a fantastical conglomeration of the best-loved Seuss story lines and characters,” it’s a Valentine’s Day date for the whole family. Details: 7 p.m. at the Community Arts Center, 120 S. Second St., downtown Wilmington. $13.59. 251-1788 or Thalian.org
Get hypnotized Some might argue that love itself is a bit like being hypnotized, but if you go to see one of hypnotist entertainer Gary Conrad’s shows at the Browncoat this weekend, you might get to see the real deal. Conrad, who’s been featured on such TV shows as “The View,” has been coming to Wilmington for several years now and hasn’t been tarred and feathered yet, so that’s a good sign.
He’s performing a special Valentine’s Day show geared toward couples in which attendees may be convinced to make an anonymous romantic phone call, participate in a bawdy Valentine’s caper or revisit events from Valentine’s Days past.
Details: 8 p.m. at Browncoat Pub & Theatre, 111 Grace St., downtown Wilmington. $15, $10 for students. 341-0001
The Breakfast Club Love the ’80s? And, more importantly, does your significant other? If so, feel free to get retro on Friday night at Ziggy’s By the Sea with this longtime cover band, which will be cranking out everything from hard rock (AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”) to New Wave (A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away)”) and everything in between. Details: 9 p.m. doors, 10 p.m. show, 208 Market St., downtown Wilmington. $10 in advance, $12 day of show. 769-4096 or ZiggysByTheSea.com
VooDoo Valentine It’s the fifth year for this epic event at the Juggling Gypsy, an entertainment venue dedicated to keeping Wilmington weird. There will be a photo/kissing booth staffed by photographers from around the state; DJs from Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington; a fire dome (?); a love cave (!); and a “voodoo ceremony” to open the festivities. Details: 9 p.m., 1612 Castle St., Wilmington. $10, $15 per couple if they kiss each other (for reals). Facebook.com/ProjectChalk
The Phantom Playboys If you want to get a little wild and crazy on Valentine’s Day but still get home before last call, Wilmington rockabilly band The Phantom Playboys will be turning it out for an early show at the Whiskey. The band’s first album, recorded by Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids, is due out this spring. Details: 9 p.m., 1 S. Front St., downtown Wilmington.
Valentine’s sleepover For some couples with kids, the perfect Valentine’s Day gift might just be a night without them. To help parents in Southeastern N.C. achieve that dream, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher will host the “Hugs and Fishes Valentine’s Lock-In” for children ages 5 to 12. And honestly, what 5-year-old wouldn’t want to sleep with a hungry shark circling nearby? (Just kidding, kind of; the first-ever event has already been nicknamed “sharks and hearts.”) Dinner, snacks and breakfast will be provided, and children will play games, make crafts and, if they’re not careful, even learn something about marine animals. Details: 6 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Saturday. $45 per child, preregistration required. 458-7468 or ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher
V-Day benefit If you like your partying to have a positive impact, downtown Wilmington rock club Orton’s is having a Valentine’s Day throwdown to benefit the New Hanover County Special Olympics. The bands Red Light Picture Show and Archimedes will play, and some local artists will have their work on display. Details: 6 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. music, 133 N. Front St., downtown Wilmington. Facebook.com/OrtonsMusicandBilliards
A Heartbreaker’s Holiday The Valentine’s Day dinner theater production of “Check Please” is all sold out, but there’s still time to get your V-Day on at TheatreNOW if you so desire. Vaudeworld presents “A Heartbreaker’s Holiday,” a very Cirque du Soleil variety show featuring all kinds of weird and wild performances, including burlesque, aerial acrobatics, sideshow acts, comedy and more. Details: 9:30 p.m. doors, 10 p.m. show, 19 S. 10th St., downtown Wilmington. $15, $10 with student or military ID. 399-3669 or TheatreWilmington.com
V-Day Double Feature There’s a trio of new romantic films opening on Valentine’s Day (see the movie pages, 4-5D), but the multiplexes and all their remakes have nothing on UNCW’s Lumina Theater, which is having a Valentine’s Day double feature made up of the recent releases “About Time” and 2003’s “Love Actually.”
Nothing says “I love you” like sitting through not one, but two chick flicks in a row. Am I right, guys? Details: “About Time” screens at 7 p.m. and “Love Actually” at 10 p.m., Fisher Student Center, UNCW campus. $4 (per movie), $1 for UNCW students with ID. 962-4045 or UNCW.edu/Lumina
John Staton: 343-2343