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OFF THE BEATEN V-DAY PATH: Theatre, beer, pups, and Eurodance parties top the list

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Every Valentine’s Day, my single friends and I find ourselves bowling and drinking White Russians—because pretending to be the Dude is far better than recognizing a Hallmark holiday has left us alone again (naturally).

While there are plenty of fancy dinners taking place across town for lovers to dine on, below is a list of other activities happening that won’t leave singletons mournfully humming “one is the loneliest number” come tomorrow, Wed., Feb. 14. It’s time to think outside the proverbial chocolate-covered, heart-shaped box—here’s a run-down of some events we find a step off the beaten path, no matter if you’re single or a couple.



Remember raving through the ‘90s in Doc Martens and denim overalls? Arms flailing to “Be My Lover”? Body pumping to “S.O.S.”?

Yep, me, too.

Well, pull out your Converse and oversized tees! Lane McCray Jr. and his music partner Sophie Cairo are taking us back in time with a special Valentine’s Day show and dance party at the Wilson Center.

McCray actually has roots in NC: He was born on the base of Fort Bragg and went on to serve in the US Air Force. His passion, though, was to be an entertainer—he even performed in musicals like “A Chorus Line” and “La Bohéme.” Eventually, McCray left the air force to become a professional musician, and while in Saarbrücken, Germany, met Melanie Thornton. They founded a cover band before evolving into the ‘90s Eurodance duo La Bouche, whose popular pop and trance tracks, like 1995’s “Be My Lover,” could be heard at raves and dance parties worldwide.

In the early aughts, Thornton died in a plane crash and McCray was left to carry on the torch with various people sitting in her stead. It wasn’t until 2016, when McCray allocated a new member, Hungarian-born singer Sophie Cairo, to help move forward the dance group and release a remix of “Sweet Dreams” titled “Sweet Dreams 2017.”

Wilson Center will welcome the duo by opening doors early at 6 p.m. for a flashback ‘90s dance party with a guest DJ spinning the hits. “We’ll throw in a little Milli Vanilli since La Bouche’s producer went on to produce their ‘Sweet Dreams’ album,” VIP services coordinator Matt Musslewhite says. “We want to encourage festive and creative attire: ‘Express Yourself!’”

The party will include passed select chocolates, cupcakes from One Belle Bakery, and Valentine’s drinks, a la “Rosé Punch” and “Tickled Pink.”

Members from the LGBTQIA community are welcome to attend—as is anyone of any race, creed, ethnicity, relationship status, and gender. In fact,  local famed drag queens, like Tara Nicole, and her friends will be holding court in the opera boxes, too, for an added bonus of color.

While there is no word on the street as to whether La Bouche will be joining pre-party events, marketing director Brendan Cook promises a “dynamic stage show” soon not to forget. Even better: Tickets are buy, one get one free here: $25 plus taxes and fees. Just enter the code “twohearts2018″ at the time of purchase, or if purchasing in person or via telephone, simply tell your ticket agent you’d like the BOGO special.

Also, the dancing continues at Ibiza after the show.



While prix-fixe dinners galore exist for couples today (Cast Iron Kitchen, Dram + Morsel, Sweet n Savory, Bluewater Waterfront Grill, Oceanic, Shark Bar n Kitchen, to name but a few), singletons who head over to the Lazy Pirate will be rewarded for their acute sense of self-preservation in a dependent-heavy world. That’s right, head to the Carolina Beach sports bar and grill and get a free dessert with purchase of an entree. (Dare we state the obvious? This could be the place to pick up a few stranger kisses just in time for the Hallmark holiday.)

Folks who would rather celebrate beer than chocolate, welp, Waterman’s Brewing (1610 Pavilion Pl.) has you covered for only $35 a person. There will be two seatings, 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (must make reservations, 910-839-3103), and four courses. Three courses (including arugula salad starter, scallop appetizer and duck entree) are served with beer—Winterberry Wit, Shoal Digger, Abundant Sunshine. Dessert includes beer itself, too: a Moonlit Desent float with chocolate-dipped churro, vanilla ice cream, strawberry sugar rim, and chocolate-strawberry garnish!



Second Star Theatre Company has an old chip off the old block for V-Day celebrations, including the local premiere of “Murder Ballad.” The musical follows a love triangle into deadly territory, all told through live music and the actors singing the script. Read the full story here and get tickets to their special Valentine’s Day show half-off here!

TheatreNOW is hosting a special Valentine’s Day dinner show, local writer Don Fried’s “Senior Moments.” The play centers on the boomer age group and their twilight years, including sexcapades, dating and all the naughty bits between. The hilarity will keep all in stitches, while Chef Denise Gordon will feed everyone’s soul with delectable grub. Tickets are $52, which includes the show and a three-course meal, and can be purchased by calling 910-399-3NOW (3669) or going to



This. Is. A. Real. Thing.

Traffic Light Party.

And it’s the second annual one that Twenty-Two North has hosted for ye ol’ love day.

They’re turning bumper-to-bumper bump-and-grind into a chance for finding a sweetheart for the night … or forever. Singles and couples are welcome, but must come donned in either green (taken), yellow (it’s complicated) or red (taken). DJ Mikey and DJ Xxotic will be spinning tunes from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and ages 18 and up are welcome ($5 cover for underage). Select shots are $2, with $3 well drinks.



Only need endless love from your fur babies on Feb. 14? Treat them tenfold for being so loyal, by taking them across the bridge to Leland’s Pet Resort from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The resort is giving away goodie bags to the pups, and they will even have a kissing booth set up for pups and their humans to get pictures! Must visit or call (910) 703-7297 for daycare pricing.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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