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Arts offerings

The ultimate aphrodisiac

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Forget Venus, Venice, Paris, or any other word ending in -is that conjures up love-ish ideas: there’s no better way to woo a would-be — or current — Valentine than with an evening of arts-related culture. And our lovely, love-filled Land of the T has you covered, whatever your heart desires.

You can start off impressing your crush early with a trip to the Grand Impromptu Gallery’s Evolutionary Tales. Tonight would be the ideal time to do that at the gallery’s combined birthday party/artists’ reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Like those of at least two other notable individuals, Charles Darwin’s birth happened to fall on this fine day, and that happenstance, combined with the 200th anniversary of his evolutionary discovery, means big brouhaha all the world over. Tacoma is no exception, with The Grand Impromptu Gallery staying true to its name and the topic at-hand, inviting members and guest artists to contribute artwork interpreting Darwin or his science. Tonight, meet up with those artists — 46 of them! — and sing “Happy Birthday” killing two (evolved) birds with one stone. Follow that up with a movie at The Grand — Oscar-nominated Doubt or Slumdog Millionaire, or Golden Globe winner The Wrestler — and you have the makings of a doubly Grand evening.

Of course V-Day also offers up a host of lover-ly theatrical offerings, including Absent Friends at the Lakewood Playhouse, and new-kids-on-the-theatre block Theatre Northwest Group’s The Final Toast at the Theatre on the Square.

If you’re not feeling particularly dramatic but want time and mood adjustment in a dark theater, the Tacoma Philharmonic will present A Universe of Dreams at the Pantages Theater. Sit and be mesmerized together as National Public Radio’s Neal Conan narrates a diverse set of non-news-related readings while Ensemble Galilei plays music with a distinctly Irish brogue. If that combination doesn’t strike you as disparate enough, add projected images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Then inhale deeply and squeeze your baby’s hand tight, reveling in how well the whole thing meshes.

Maybe you and the object of your affections would rather revel in the connectedness of a great Tacoma art party. The Mad Hat Tea Company will cover you there with Love Squared, a sort of artistic theatre-in-the-square where poets, musicians, and artists engage in a game of musical — and poetic — chairs, with art. Linda DeSantis, Laura Eklund, Mary K Johnson and Maureen McHugh will take turns working on four strategically-placed canvases, shifting positions in the square after singer-songwriters Angela Jossy, Sean Vandommelen, Scott Taylor, joined by poet Tammy Robacker, perform pieces. The $8 ticket price even gets you square sushi from TwoKoi Japanese Restaurant, along with other square foods, and a view of the brand new art in the space by Gretchen Bailey, Daniel F. Blue, Mike Capp, E. Cheney, Dave Davison, Linda DeSantis, Alicia Ferguson, James Hume, Randall Ireland, Dimitree Irish, Cara Jennings, Mary K Johnson, Robin Lapping and others. Buy a piece of artendin created that night in the silent auction, gift it to your date — along with a cup of Maureen’s Mad Aphrodesiac tea — and you might just net a very warm and snuggly Valentine’s Night, indeed!

[Grand Impromptu Gallery, Evolutionary Tales Artists’ Reception and Darwin’s Birthday Party, Thursday, Feb. 12, 5-8 p.m., free, 608 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.9232]

[The Grand Cinema, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Wrestler, various show times, 606 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.593. 4474]

[Lakewood Playhouse, Absent Friends, through March 1, 8 p.m., $14-$22, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, 253.588.0042]

[Theatre on the Square, Theatre Northwest Group’s The Final Toast, through Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m., $22-$34, 915 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5894]

[Pantages Theater, Tacoma Philharmonic presents A Universe of Dreams, Saturday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $32.50-$62.50, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.272.0809]

[Mad Hat Tea Company,Love Squared, Saturday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $8, 1130 Commerce St., Tacoma, 253. 441.2111]

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