Whether you love Valentine's Day or loathe it, there's one thing you have to remember: It's an excuse to enjoy yourself. Grab your partner, a friend, or a new date (queer folks, see my LGBTQ dates guide) and hit the streets. Our guide to comedy, dance and theater shows—some naughtier than others—will get you off the sofa on this romantic holiday.
Get kinky with "KamaSutra"
Opens Saturday, February 14 at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret, 10:30 p.m. (open run)
Chicago may not be home to Kama Sutra's origins—that belongs to (duh) India—but our big-shouldered city is the birth place of "KamaSutra: The Musical." Buddy Reeder stars as Swami Comonowannagetonya, the 1800-year-old creator of Kama Sutra. Chicago audiences get a sneak peek at "Kama Sutra The Musical: Vegas Bound...and Gagged" before the play goes to—you guessed it—Vegas. With a new line-up of songs, and a raunchy plot to match, this version of our city's longest-running original sex comedy will get you in the mood for some Vajay Day lovin'.
Love Is For Suckers
February 9 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 8 p.m.
Three years after its premiere at the Apollo Theater, The Poetry Center of Chicago returns with its tongue-in-cheek anti-Valentine's Day show that questions the supposed "Sweetest Day of the Year" (after the Hallmark holiday "Sweetest Day," of course). Hosted by Time Out Chicago Books Editor Jonathan Messenger, this show features Rosie Forrest, Edward Thomas-Herrera, Robbie Q. Telfer and short filmmaker Steve Delahoyde. Together they bag the pink hearts, sappy flowers and overly sentimental Valentine's Day cards for an honest look at the real story behind love.
See dance, dance, dance February 13 & 14 at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 8 p.m.
photo: courtesy of River North Chicago Dance Company
Can't dance? We're with ya. Ditch the ballroom attitude and head downtown for one of two special performances at this Valentine's weekend engagement. River North Dance Company's Artistic Director Frank Chaves presents his racy "Sentir em Nos (Even for Us)" about an affair (no, this is not a foreshadowing of the months to come) set to the music of famous Tuscan tenor Andrea Bocelli, as well as the group piece "Tuscan Rift" featuring music by Chicago's own rockstar musician, Andrew Bird. Company dancer Monique Haley premieres "Uhuru", a full-company performance set to a warm combo of Afro-beats. Her show inaugurates the "New Beginnings Artistic Fund" program.
Valentine's Day jazz hands and feet
February 14 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 8 p.m.
Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago presents a special Valentine's Day performance of works by choreographers who worked with or were inspired by the company's late founder, Gus Giordano. The show originally premiered last October at the Harris Theater; now dance fanatics at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts can get a taste of the legend whose company is located in neighboring Evanston.
Puerto Rican-style lovin'
February 14 at Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m.
Think Valentine's Day is funny? So does Puerto Rican stand-up comedian Elizardi Castro. In his show, "Puerto Rico: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Spanglish," which the talented man wrote and directed, he tackles racial issues head-on, infusing his performance with an honest take on his place in the larger scheme of things. Presented by the Chicago Latino Network.