Friday, February 10, 2017

Treat your sweets to a play, concert, cruise, balloon for Valentine's Day

A theatrical Valentine awaits in "Freaky Friday," at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego.
 Wherever on the planet you are, consider a play or concert to create an artful, memorable Valentine's Day

Make your Valentine happy at a play -- here approaching La Jolla Playhouse's
 beautiful Mandell Weiss Theater. "Freaky Friday" is the current production. 


how about a wonderful musical, dinner on the water, picnic, reaching for the sky in a hot-air balloon?

"Freaky Friday" ensemble at LaJolla Playhouse. Thumbs, pointer fingers up.

and courtesy La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Musical Theatre, NorthCoast Rep  

LET THE ARTS and innovation be your motivation when you think of Cupid.  Aim your romantic's bow and arrow at a box office, dinner cruise or live music venue.
We have much that is artful from which to choose here in southern California. Wherever you are, let the arts expand your romantic horizons.
You may not be able to hit the Greek Isles, but a trip to the
water -- river, stream or sea -- is a sure romantic bet.
HERE IN sunny southern California, a dozen fine plays and musicals are on the boards now. A stunning new musical, "Freaky Friday" is a wonderful choice for a Valentine gift. It's a play about love -- mother daughter love primarily.  But it's about love and acceptance on many levels. There's romance, a wedding, grandparents, peer pressure and a touching sibling relationship. Based on the Disney movie of 1976, this new musical offers a wonderful score, lively dialogue and a profound examination of the complexities of love and relationships. Watch for it in your town. Better yet, get to San Diego and book it at La Jolla Playhouse. 
SAN Diego Repertory Theater is presenting just through this weekend "Our Great Tchaikovsky," with the brilliant Hershey Felder writing and acting the part of the tormented genius. "Sex With Strangers" is next up. Now that's a suggestive Valentine. At Cygnet, "Bad Jews" offers humor with a bite. It's edgy, funny and touching.
The brilliant Hershey Felder channels yet another great composer in
a fine original production, "Our Great Tchaikovsky" ending Feb. 12.
Whether you're in snow country, or a small town with limited music venues, there's nothing like live performance. Think outside the box to create a truly memorable Valentine for your sweetheart.
Gift certificates can be arranged for practically everything -- theater tickets, dinner cruises, airline travel, dinner on the town, a visit to a spa or hairdresser. One year, I gave my Valentine a gift certificate for a half-dozen piano lessons.
ANOTHER YEAR, my gift was an open-ended ticket to New York to see six Broadway plays.
A trip to the nearest body of water -- here Oceanside, Calif., -- is a perfect
Valentine.  Water's beauty and soothing quality is a gift any day. 
A Hornblower dinner cruise is our favorite treat. All of Hornblower's ports offer Valentine's Day special events -- so if you're in San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Long Beach, Sacramento, Berkeley, Marina del Rey or Newport Beach, problem solved for your Valentine's Day outing. Just go to and plug in your city. We also have Flagship which offers splendid Valentines . Check your own region for what's available. If you're lucky enough to live near water and can't afford a dinner cruise, pack a picnic and go watch the pelicans or seagulls. Even if it's winter where you are!
How about a hot air balloon treat? A gift card for golf on a green you've never tried?  Entrance to a new museum or a movie night out.
Hot air ballooning? An original Valentine!
If you have deep pockets, consider a handwritten note tucked in a deck of playing cards pledging a long weekend in Las Vegas. Or take your last Playbill and turn the cover into a promise of a trip to New York, Las Vegas or New Orleans. Sky's the limit. Even if you're watching the budget, be creative, unique. Think "homemade" and "heartfelt."
THINK OF IT this way: what does your Valentine want that would be special to provide? Reach beyond the cliches.
Flowers and candy are okay, but an evening out with your sweetie, seeing a play, concert or movie, hopping on a dinner cruise are superior, more artistic and memorable.
Both Hornblower and Flagship offer Valentine's cruises.
If your budget is modest, make the card yourself and promise to provide some service -- a home cooked meal or two (the Valentine can choose the main course), supper out and a night at the movies, doing the laundry for a month.  Dinner out doesn't have to be the expensive French restaurant; it can be a taco joint, neighborhood bar or pizza house.
I ALSO FOUND a fun website called Uncommon Goods, with clever and original gifts under $25.

Caminito Del Rey beckoned Keller -- so Cookie donned her hard hat, too.

UP NEXT: "King's Walkway," Spain's famous Caminito del Rey, took Cookie's and Keller's breath away. In a stretch of bravado and athletic acumen (and a wish not to spend the day alone) Cookie joined Keller to climb seven kilometers of ravines and rock arches. Take a train ride with the pair from Malaga to meet their guide and brave the remarkable path, which reveals the beauty of the landscape of southern Spain and explains the industrial history of Malaga. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Fridays when we post a fresh take on art, adventure and nature-driven travel.


  1. Wish I knew these two. What fun they must have cavorting around the globe, always with charm and enthusiasm. Thank you for today's delghtful piece.

  2. Saw Felder's stunning Tchaikovsky...Booked"Friday"despite goofy title. Well done. Quite the original round-up.

  3. Always thought the best gifts were artsy ones. Great suggestions. We are gilding the lily tonight here in Tulsa: Performing Arts Center tonight, dinner out, another concert tomorrow......wish we had a Hornblower here! We set sail for Singapore Saturday from west coast, so have relished your Singapore stories.

  4. Hot air and Hornblower, here we come. Good tips.