Love is strange: Cupid, schmupid: Some people just hate to have those sappy hearts and flowers jammed down their throats every Valentine's Day, and you're two of them. Don't fret--there are plenty of ways to go against the flow today, some of which might involve swinging your blue-jeaned baby at a barn dance or chaining your nose rings together at a bondage art show.
Aficionados of the jitterbug, polka and schottische can dance the night away to the sounds of Ron Jones and Cowboy Calypso at a Cowboy Cotillion, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl St. And if you don't know a waltz from a Texas two-step, don't be a wallflower--free lessons kick things off at 7. Admission is $10 to $12; call 1-800-444-SEAT.
To help you romance your honey with dance of a loftier sort, the Colorado Ballet offers one-day-only, two-for-one ticket prices for tonight's 7:30 performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Featuring choreography by ballet marvel Christopher Wheeldon, the gorgeous interpretation continues at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, through February 23. Tickets normally run from $14 to $50 each; call 830-TIXS for reservations.
Offer her the old song and dance, as well as the whole ball of yarn, tonight at Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St., where a trio of verbose folks from the Rocky Mountain Storytellers Guild deliver Love, Sweet Love: A Heart-Warming Evening of Stories and Songs for Adults. The odd mixture of folk tales, flamenco dancing, Bette Midler-esque humor and quilting songs begins at 7:30. To reserve tickets, $5 to $6, call 477-8339.
Promising an opposite effect on your heart is actor Chazz Palminteri's dark stab at playwriting, Faithful, a black comedy in which a husband sends his wife a hitman for their twentieth anniversary. The show opens this evening at 8 at the Avenue Theater, 2119 E. 17th Ave., and continues Fridays and Saturdays, through April 26. Call 321-5925 to reserve tickets; they're $15. In the mood for something darker still? Then dare to visit Planet Off Gallery, 2021 W. 32nd Ave., where an opening reception for Trussed/Trust: Images of Bondage & Release--featuring works, erotic and otherwise, by Lindsey and guest artists--takes place tonight from 7 to midnight. The show continues through March 2; call 480-9781.
Last, but not least, keep in mind that someone, presumably a member of the American Social Health Association, had an utterly brilliant idea, proclaiming today not just Valentine's Day, but also National Condom Day. So have a good time--but remember to cover up when you go out.
Fit as a fiddle: The latest in a long, fortuitous chain of Celtic music events in the area brings two of the genre's brightest stars--Scots Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham--to Cameron Church, 1600 S. Pearl St., tonight at 8. Bain, an astonishing Shetland-style fiddler known for his work with Boys of the Lough, and Cunningham, whose lilting piano accordion has been heard with Silly Wizard and a host of others, join forces for an evening of traditional ditties, waltzes and airs; for tickets, $12 to $14, call 1-800-444-SEAT.
Film clips: Differing views from local independent filmmakers can be sampled tonight at venues in Denver and Boulder. Joel Haertling's experimental 16mm works, composed of images hand-painted and scratched straight onto the film's surface, hit the screen tonight at 8 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th St., Boulder. Haertling, also an electronic musician and composer, will be joined by the grand old man of experimental film, Boulder resident Stan Brakhage, to introduce a collaborative work, Through Wounded Eyes, as well as a number of eye-catching, impressionistic solo reels; admission is $5 ($3 BMoCA members, $4 students). Call 443-2122.
African-American heritage and culture are the overriding themes at today's fifth annual Black History Month Film and Video Festival, an afternoon-long event presented by Davon E. Johnson Filmworks at the East Denver YMCA, 3540 E. 31st Ave. The festival begins at noon with Johnson's own tribute to historian Paul Stewart of the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center and concludes with a world-premiere film, The Final Message, by Brian Charles; also included are bows to black entertainers and Denver's Hue-Man Experience book store and the screening of a flick directed by actor Blair Underwood. The program wraps up with a directors' reception; all-day passes are $5. Call 322-7761 for additional information.
Jungle fever: Here's something to get all hot and steamy about, in preparation for planned renovations at the Denver Botanic Gardens conservatory that will force the closure of the indoor facility to the public beginning February 18 and continuing throughout 1997. A Tropical Escape Weekend, which starts today and ends Monday, should provide a fitting farewell for all. Behind-the-scenes tours, given hourly from 10 to 3, and hands-on craft workshops for kids will turn the whole educational shebang into a pleasant celebration. Activities are included in the regular DBG gate admission, which ranges from $1 to $3 (children five and younger free); call 370-8187.