4 unusual ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Atlanta

Burlesque shows, cemetery tour, comedy and other alternative ways to celebrate
Steve Pearson of Decatur shared this photo he called, “Valentine’s Day Roses.” Contributed.

Steve Pearson of Decatur shared this photo he called, “Valentine’s Day Roses.” Contributed.

A fancy dinner for two may be the preferred way most couples choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but what about those couples who aren’t the mushy type — or people don’t have significant other and still want to honor the universal day of love? Here are some not-so-typical ways to honor love.

Boxers or briefs

Put on your best skivvies and go for a short run for a good cause at Cupid's Undie Run, then party down at Park Tavern on Feb. 15. Proceeds go to the Children's Tumor Foundation to fund research of neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic tumor disorder. Only registered participants can attend the pre- and post-run party, participate in the costume contest and award ceremony, and win prizes like a commemorative T-shirt or open bar status at the party. Established in 2010, Cupid's Charity has raised $18.9 million to date for NF research. Runners — and they use that term loosely; the course is only about one mile — are encouraged to get creative with their costumes and to keep it PG-13 clean.

Cupid’s Undie Run, noon-4 p.m. Feb. 15. $40. Park Tavern. 500 10th St., Atlanta. 404-249-0001, parktavern.com.

Cupid’s Undie Run at Park Tavern raises research money for neurofibromatosis. Contributed by STEVE SCHAEFER

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Romance isn’t dead

Oakland Cemetery's Love Stories of Oakland tour on Valentine's Day is so popular, it sells out well in advance every year. But those who like to mix a little macabre with their amour can take a self-guided stroll through the Victorian-era burial grounds and check out highlights from the tour. Start with the gravesite of Margaret Mitchell. In addition to her novel "Gone with the Wind," with its tempestuous, unrequited relationships between Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley and Melanie, Mitchell qualifies for the tour based on events from her own life. Her first love was killed in World War II, and after her unhappy first marriage ended, she wed the best man from her first marriage.

Tour guide Joan Fountain talks about the man and wife statue tombstone to her group at Oakland Cemetery during Love Stories of Oakland’s hourlong tour in Atlanta GA. February 9, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

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No one will ever know for sure what the relationship was between 19th-century poet Orelia Key Bell, the daughter of a prominent Atlanta family, and her friend and muse Ida Ash. What is known is that they shared a special bond, lived out their days together in Pasadena, California, and are buried side-by-side in Oakland Cemetery.

But perhaps nothing is as romantic as the marker by local sculptor Martin Dawe erected in 2006 by Gerald Fazzari in honor of his wife Deborah, who died at age 46 of breast cancer. The piece beautifully captures the couple’s nighttime ritual of Gerald combing his wife’s long hair before bed.

If you want to catch Oakland Cemetery’s official Love Stories tour, it will be offered again in May and August, too.

Oakland Cemetery, 248 Oakland Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-688-2107, oaklandcemetery.com.

Martin Dawe sculpted this marker erected in 2006 by Gerald Fazzari in honor of his wife Deborah, who died at age 46 of breast cancer. It captures the couple’s ritual of Gerald combing his wife’s hair. File

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Bodacious burlesque

Put a little spice in your Valentine's Day weekend, and some bawdy humor and music, too, by attending one of several burlesque shows taking place in Atlanta. Presented by performer Ariel Allegro, the Sweet & Sultry show brings a variety of acts including music, comedy, skits and burlesque to the Red Light Café Feb. 14. A revival of an old-fashioned form of entertainment dating back to the Victorian era, burlesque puts the tease in striptease, so there's no nudity in the show. But because of its adult nature, attendees must be 18 or older. VIP tickets guarantee seating upfront.

While you’re there, enjoy the cafe’s large selection of craft beers, ciders, sodas and coffee drinks, as well as a small supper menu of soups, salads and sandwiches.

RELATED: Valentine's Day 2020: What to do if you're single in Atlanta
Consider starting your celebration early with the Syrens of the South's Tease Tuesday: Hearts & Heartbreakers show Feb. 11, also at Red Light Café. In addition to burlesque acts, expect singers, jugglers, aerialists and acrobats. Closing out the weekend will be Vixen's Valentine Vaudeville and Variety Show on Feb. 15 at Variety Playhouse. Also presented by the Syrens of the South, the show will feature performances by Annette Coquette, Bonnie Bodacious and Risky Sour, among others.

Sweet & Sultry. 9 p.m. Feb. 14. $25, VIP $45-$35. Tease Tuesday: Hearts & Heartbreakers, 9 p.m. Feb. 11. $10 advance, $15 door, $20 VIP. Both show at Red Light Café, 553-1 Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta. 404-874-7828, redlightcafe.com. Vixen’s Valentine Vaudeville and Variety Show, 8 p.m. Feb. 15. $25, $40 for two, $30 VIP. Variety Playhouse, 1105 Euclid Ave., Atlanta. 404-524-7354,variety-playhouse.com. All shows for ages 18 and up, and cash only at the door.

Syrens of the South present two burlesque shows over Valentine’s weekend. Contributed

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Love to laugh

Let's laugh about our romantic foibles instead of crying. And what better place to do that than Dad's Garage, where there are four Valentine's Day improv shows? Scheduled Feb. 13-14, both nights kick off with the "Valentine's Improv Variety Show" featuring improv games based on love stories that ended well — and not so well. At the late show on Feb. 13, speed dating gets the improv treatment in "7 Minutes in Heaven." On Feb. 14, the late show features an all-woman cast in a show called "Sweater Puppies Valentines Show." Attendees are encouraged to bring lightly used clothing and goods to donate.

“Valentine’s Improv Variety Show,” 8 p.m. Feb. 13-14. $25 and up. “7 Minutes in Heaven,” 10:30 p.m. Feb. 13. $12.50 and up. “Sweater Puppies Valentines Show,” 10:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $25.50 and up. Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, 569 Ezzard St., Atlanta. 404-523-3141, dadsgarage.com.