Valentines and variety

By James Sanford

Parties, crafts, ’Avatar’ in IMAX — the choice is yours

Historical homes, hot poetry, Audrey Hepburn: Which option best suits your Valentine’s Day weekend needs?

All of those — and many more potential picks — are on the horizon next weekend. The good news is that with some careful scheduling you and your valentine can easily enjoy a variety of events. Here are a few worth considering.

“Avatar” in IMAX (Celebration! Lansing, 200 East Edgewood Blvd.): I see you — in IMAX: It’s been a bit of a wait, but Lansing audiences can finally enjoy director James Cameron’s blockbuster sci-fi-romance in all its IMAX splendor, starting at 11 p.m. Thursday. Non-night owls can catch it Feb. 12-18 at 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for kids. Order online at or call (517) 393-7469.

Red Dress Run: Warm up for Valentine’s Day with a run — OK, more like a pub crawl — for a good cause. But leave the gym shorts at home: The organizers are asking everyone who participates, male and female, to wear a red dress. “This can be a sexy little dress to a good old-fashioned grandma dress,” according to the press release.

The crawling begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at Michigan Brewing Co., 402 S. Washington Square. (Bring your ID and money for your own beverages.) All donations/contributions will go toward the Red Cross’ relief efforts in Haiti. For more information, email

Children’s Valentines Tea and Friends of Turner-Dodge House Annual Valentine Dinner (Turner-Dodge House, 100 E. North St.): Surround yourself in an atmosphere of vintage romance by dropping by the 152-year-old Turner-Dodge House. A Valentines Tea for kids is planned at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13; a chicken dinner will be held the same evening.

The adults’ party will begin around 6:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and musical entertainment from vocalist Sarah Wallace and harpist Kristen Aben. Dinner will be provided by Morton’s Fine Catering.

The children’s tea is $8 per person; the dinner is $25 for members of the Friends of Turner-Dodge House and $35 for nonmembers. Call (517) 483-4220 or email

“Burning Desires: An Afternoon of Love Poetry (Erotic and Otherwise)” (Studio 1210, 1210 Turner St.): Back in 1992, the owner of Otherwise Gallery asked Sam W. Mills to come up with a special promotion to get people into the gallery in February, maybe something along the lines of a themed reading.

“I figured Presidents’ Day wouldn’t do it, but Valentine’s Day might,” said Mills.

Otherwise Gallery is now long-gone, but “Burning Desires,” the poetry party Mills launched that year, is still as hot as ever.

On Saturday, Feb. 13, the lineup of poets and performers includes Ruelaine Stokes of Creole Gallery, Joseph Harris (a.k.a. LogicthePoet), Robert Rentschler, Zachary Jean Chartkoff, Tommy Blount and electric violinist Dixon. The program also includes a puppet show from Fred Englegau.

Doors open at noon; a $5 donation will be collected at the door. Call (517) 290-3929 for more information.

“Darwin Discovery Day” (Michigan State University Museum): The great (and still controversial) naturalist’s birthday was actually Feb. 12. But the MSU Museum has chosen Valentine’s Day as the right time to celebrate. “Avelution,” a new exhibition inspired by Darwin’s groundbreaking research in the world of birds, features special breeds of chickens and pigeons, bird skeletons and tours of the museum’s “Bug Room,” in which industrious beetles clean up bones. Birthday cake will also be served (and rest assured it will be neither bird- nor beetle-flavored).

Sunday hours are 1-5 p.m. and admission is free (although there is a suggested donation for $4 per adult). Visit or call (517) 355-7474.

“Sabrina” (Michigan Theatre of Jackson, 124 N. Mechanic St., Jackson): Sure, she may have won an Oscar for “Roman Holiday,” but for my money the best of the early Audrey Hepburn movies is “Sabrina,” the delectable tale of a chauffeur’s daughter who becomes Long Island’s answer to Cinderella as she bewitches both the scions of the wealthy Larrabee family. William Holden and Humphrey Bogart (who reportedly detested both the film and Hepburn) play her suitors.

The 1954 classic will be screened at Jackson’s stunning Michigan Theatre at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. To sweeten the deal — literally — chocolates from Gramer’s Candy and Gilbert Chocolates and champagne will be served before showtime.

Tickets are $20 per person, or $35 per couple. For more information, go to www. or call (517) 783-0962.

Other events:

Thursday, Feb. 11

“Valentine Suncatchers” — All-ages craft workshop. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. FREE, donations accepted. The Creation Station, 200 Museum Drive, Lansing. (517) 371-2451.

Troy Davis — Special Valentine’s comedy show. 8 and 10:15 p.m. $15. Connxtions Comedy Club, 2900 N. East St. Lansing. (517) 374-6581.

Friday, Feb. 12

Troy Davis — (See Thursday, Feb. 11) Valentine’s Day Family Night — Choice of desserts and screening of Christian drama “Fireproof.” Activities for children/childcare available. Make reservations and reserve childcare by Feb. 10 at (517) 485-9477. 7 p.m. FREE. Central United Methodist Church, 215 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing.

Saturday, Feb. 13

Valentine Swim — A Valentine-themed Splash Party. Hill Pool, 5825 Wise Road, Lansing. 12 - 2 p.m. FREE (ongoing every Wednesday). Southside Community Center, 5825 Wise Road, Lansing.

Cupid’s Ball Dance Party — An evening of dessert, music and dancing. Learn to salsa an hour prior to an open dance session. Couples and singles are welcome. Drop off your children at the Kid’s Klub for a Parent’s Night Out. 6-9 p.m., Lesson: Members $4, Guests $6; Open dancing: Members $8, Guests $11. Michigan Athletic Club, 900 Hannah Blvd. East Lansing. (517) 364- 8870.

Valentine’s Day Prep — Make those last-minute Valentines and play holiday games. 12-3 p.m. FREE. Foster Community Center, 200 N. Foster Ave. Lansing.