Alt is in.
Alternative rock, alternative movies, even alternative facts.
Why not an alt Valentine’s Day? Not that there’s anything wrong with the usual roses-dinner combo, but it’s not especially imaginative. Think outside the chocolate box. You don’t even have to celebrate right exactly on Feb. 14.
We’ve got alternative ideas for your creative consideration and — bonus — some don’t even require reservations:
Galentine’s Day: Fans of the dearly departed “Parks and Recreation” need no introduction but for the other five of you who missed the episode (for shame!), here’s the deal: Leslie (Amy Poehler) throws an annual Galentine’s Day to celebrate her BFFs the day before Valentine’s. To quote the divine Ms. Knope: “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” Why not have a waffle bar and perhaps chocolate fondue while enjoying a chick flick? Suggestions: “Thelma and Louise,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” or maybe just binge-watch “Sex and the City” episodes. A Leslie Knope-themed trivia contest would also be most appropriate.
Casa Video and Casa Film Bar’s “Spend Valentine’s Day w/Gosling”: Back off, Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling is public property. Casa, 2905 E. Speedway, is hosting a Ryan-centered affair featuring $1 off wines by the glass, no corkage fee for bottles opened that night and highlights from the Gosling oeuvre — “Crazy, Stupid Love,” “The Notebook” and “Lars and the Real Girl.” 6 p.m. Feb. 14. 326-6314.
Adult Spelling Bee: Nothing says “I love you” like beating the pants off your significant other in a competitive spelling contest. It happens the second Tuesday of the month, which this month just happens to be Valentine’s Day. The event features love-themed words, prizes (there’s no shame in being the first bounced out — in fact, you get a free drink!) and, of course, serious bragging rights. Bonus: A food truck will be on hand and since it’s also AZ Beer Week, a beer tasting with local Iron John’s Brewing Company. “You don’t need reservations, you don’t even need to have a date,” says Tap & Bottle co-owner Rebecca Safford. Spelling bee signup begins at 6:30 p.m. and the competition at 7 p.m. Feb. 14. The bee is free at Tap & Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave. 344-8999.
Wine tastings: Come on, what would celebrating love be without a glass or two of wine? CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room understands that and will host three tastings leading up to the big day. They are, natch, all V-day themed vinos, such as Sweetie Pie, Matchbook and Numero Uno. Six different wines will be poured in each tasting. You can sample, buy if you like, then stay at home and sip together on Valentine’s. The “Wines for Your Valentine” tastings are 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 through Saturday, Feb. 11 at CataVinos, 3063 N. Alvernon Way, 323-3063. Tastings are $10 a person, but there’s a 20 percent discount if you come in with your partner.
Buffed first responders and chocolate: Speaking of wine, the gals at Arizona Hops and Vines in Sonoita are back with their hugely popular and hugely hunky Chocolate Love, a celebration of chocolate and vino served to you by some pretty physically blessed — oh, heck, we’re just going to say it, they’re sexy — first responders. It’s from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the winery, 3450 Highway 82 in Sonoita, 1-520-955-4249. The cost is $20 and that gets you a Hops and Vines souvenir glass, six tasting tickets and chocolate, served up by calendar-worthy firefighters and law enforcement officers. Proceeds benefit Tucson firefighter charities.
Oooh, laaa Latin love: Tucson native Luis Coronel traded his boxing gloves for a mic when he was 16, and in the six years since, he’s become one of the hottest regional singers of Mexican romantic music. He has an impressive fan base on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border, appealing to a cross-genre/cross-generation of fans. He goes on stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Rialto, 318 E. Congress St., 740-1000. Tickets are $46 to $205 through ticketfly.com
Dog’s day: A few years back, a Reuter’s poll found that one in five people prefer to spend Feb. 14 with their pet. If you are among the one in five, grab the leash and head for a dog park. The areas in the city parks are fenced off, designated for dogs, and a few even have separate areas for big and small dogs. We suspect that your four-legged Valentine will reward you with many licks and tail wags. Get the details on dog parks at tucsonaz.gov/parks/dog-parks.
Yoga party: Limber up, stretch those muscles and celebrate the time for lovers a few days early at Barefoot Studio’s Valentine’s Day partner yoga. Bring loose clothing and an empty stomach — food and wine pairings are part of the afternoon. It’s happening 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. The cost is $60 a couple. That includes the Zen state you’ll leave in, of course. Barefoot Studio is at 7352 N. Oracle Road, barefootstudiotucson.com, 797-2881. Namaste.
What a dump: Why not a romantic tour of the Los Reales Landfill? The City of Tucson’s Environmental & General Services Dept. has lined one up for V-Day. You’ll cruise through the landfill, learn how it handles 1,500 tons of solid waste a day, and then get the inside scoop on how the recycling is done. Wear long pants. And closed-toe shoes. The tour starts at 8:30 a.m. and the tour should be done by noon. It’s free but you’ll need reservations: 791-3175, Ext. 6.
International Quirkyalone Day: Ummmm, come again? Yes, you read correctly — International Quirkyalone Day. Yeah, we only just heard about it, too, but it’s actually 14 years old and not anti-V day so much as an alternative to the commercialized buildup that is Valentine’s Day. According to its founder, Sasha Cagen, author of “Quirkyalone”: “It’s NOT a pity party for single people. It’s an alternative — a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine’s Day and an antidote to the silicone version of love presented in shows such as ‘The Bachelor.’ ” So, there you have it: It’s meant to be a DIY celebration of whatever you want. Go figure it out.
Arizona Statehood Day: Bag the hearts and schmaltzy cards. Instead, snap on a big ol’ belt buckle and plop a cowboy hat on your head to celebrate the day Arizona became a state, which is Feb. 14 for those of you who forgot what you learned in second grade. This calls for steak, two-stepping at The Maverick and birthday cake. Although truth be told, we think every occasion calls for birthday cake.