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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 01/31/2010

14 days of valentines from us to you

By Lavanya Ramanathan

Whether you believe Valentine's Day is a sincere celebration of love or an evil conspiracy by greeting-card companies to bully you into spending, it does have a way of bringing some much-needed heat to the February social calendar.

From performances to chocolate tastings, slow-jam dance parties to "shred your ex" parties, the Valentine's (and anti-Valentine's) revelry is varied enough for both the coupled-up or happily cynical -- uh, single -- to take part.

Beginning today, we're delivering 14 little valentines -- one a day -- with the best offerings for Feb. 14 and the days leading up to it. Read on for the first installment: two date ideas worth booking in advance.

Some Valentine's dates require meticulous planning. You order flowers, make reservations, sprinkle rose petals, etc. The same amount of planning is needed for some other events, too: Get tickets now if you're dying to see one of the Mariinsky Ballet's Valentine's weekend performances of "The Sleeping Beauty" at the Kennedy Center. The renowned Russian company (formerly known as the Kirov) is a perennial favorite, and fans are quickly snapping up seats. The Valentine's Day performance is a matinee, so you'll still have time for a long romantic dinner that night.

If you're looking for something offbeat, don't miss storytelling collective Speakeasy DC's "Sucker for Love" confess-a-thon. Last year, organizers added a third show after the first two nights sold out, so reserve a spot now for one of this year's performances. Nine "suckers" tell their real-life love/lust/breakup stories Feb. 12-14 at Chief Ike's Mambo Room. Tickets are $18.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

By Lavanya Ramanathan  | January 31, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Valentine's Day  
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