Valentines Day will either fill us with girlish excitement or an overwhelming sense of dread. I suggest that we choose to forget about a holiday that alienates and disappoints, stop feeling sorry for ourselves and try to do something positive. Whether it's watching the cheesiest romance movies ever created just for kicks or perhaps trying to effect change in someone's life who has bigger things to worry about than whether or not they'll receive a heart-shaped box of chocolates, anything's better than moping around as Feb. 14 approaches.
The Place to Be This Weekend
The KMA Bash has gotten a makeover in its seventh year.
Held in the Bayside Ballroom at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., it will still include the usual festivities for the single, mingling or attached, one and all (over 21) - food, drinks, live music by Black Widow and sweet deals on hotel rooms. The big change this year is the reason for it all.
KMA Bash is donating proceeds to The Salvation Army Anew Center, which provides both residential and non-residential support services, advocacy and counseling to all domestic violence and or sexual assault victims countywide. The Anew Center is a not-for profit United Way agency which uses donations and grant funding to keep the programs running.
"I'm hoping to not only raise some well needed funds for an agency that kind of gets 'swept under the rug,' but create awareness for what people consider a 'taboo' topic ... a touchy, personal topic that people just don't want to talk about: domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault," KMA Bash Organizer Sara Dorogi explained.
Chautauqua County has the third highest rate of domestic abuse in the state of New York and the agency is struggling to keep up the level of services they provide, and has definitely taken a hit due to the ever-declining state of our economy.
Sara wrote to me, "Many of the women literally don't even have socks or pajamas ... basic things that most of us take for granted. Children are negatively affected too, which is the saddest part. The Children and Family Outreach Program, or CFOP- also part of Anew, helps with that aspect. While the agency provides support services county-wide, my hope is that a large portion of the proceeds raised will benefit those in need in the 'north county.'"
What began as a divorce party in 2004 with 50 family members and friends in attendance has grown to 300 guests at last year's party. The party's success led Sara to add the fundraising aspect to the event. I asked her what drew her to this cause and Anew in particular. She said she wanted to try to make a difference to not just one person but potentially many.
"The 'theme' of the party ties in with the overall dynamics of relationships," Sara said. "Face it, Valentines Day can pretty much suck if you don't have anyone to spend it with. While anyone is welcome, the party was created mainly for those who are single, heart-broken, separated or divorced. It gives people the opportunity to recognize the ups and downs of relationships in a celebratory atmosphere that lifts the spirits and empowers them to recover from past hurts and look toward a brighter personal future. Lovebirds and lonely ones unite to acknowledge the past, revel in the present, and celebrate the future."
Admission to KMA Bash is $15 per person and $25 per couple, and includes sustenance, live music, with raffles and giveaways as well. To learn more, e-mail Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 366-8350 to book a room at the Clarion at the special event rate. To find out more about Anew or make a donation, contact Diana Butcher at email@example.com. Anew's hotline is 1-800-252-8748.
If you go to the movies this weekend, romantic choices will be "Dear John" and "Valentine's Day." Let me help you lovebirds make an informed choice.
Because films based on books by Nicholas Sparks are so saccharine, romantic and melodramatic - truly in a league of their own - I felt it necessary to put "Dear John" into context instead of trying to compare it to a classic love story like "Casablanca." I have devised a (thoroughly subjective) scale upon which all Sparks adaptations can be rated based on five crucial criteria. Here's how three of his movies stack up:
Cheesiness: Cheddar. Several lines made me gag but for the most part, it was tolerable.
Star power: Nebula. Amanda Seyfreid has come a long way from playing the dumb blonde in "Mean Girls," and the success of "Dear John" on its first weekend - bumping "Avatar" from the top spot - proves she can open a movie.
Tearjerking factor: A few Kleenex. There is one scene in particular that will make even the most coldhearted moviegoers cry. Ladies, don't believe your boyfriend if he tells you it's just allergies.
Fashion: Sufficient. Since it's set in the turn of the millennium, Seyfreid's jeans are flared instead of skinny. Does that make it a period piece?
Desire to replay: Negligible. I enjoyed it but I'm not rushing to rent it when it comes out on DVD.
Cheesiness: Mozzarella. Cheese nonetheless, but delicious, crowd-pleasing cheese.
Star power: Supernova. This movie helped make Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling famous and my, didn't they look good together?!
Tearjerking factor: Hysterical sobs.
Fashion: Vintage and extra-fabulous. I'd watch it for the shoes alone!
Desire to replay: Extreme. In fact, I might watch it again tonight.
"A Walk to Remember"
Cheesiness: Limburger. Perhaps even more overwhelming.
Star power: White dwarf. Perhaps at the time of the film's release, when Mandy Moore was a semifamous pop singer making her first attempt at a crossover, her star turn was a bigger deal. Now, not so much. Watching Moore and Shane West (who played her beau, reformed bad boy Landon) attempt to act their way out of a paper bag was at least entertaining.
Tearjerking factor: I'd like to say I laughed to keep from crying, but I won't. It was just so bad.
Fashion: Abhorent. Mandy Moore's character dressed like a grandmother on laundry day.
Desire to replay: Moderate, strictly for mocking purposes.
While "Mean Girls" castmates Amanda Seyfreid and Rachel McAdams are burning up the box office, Lindsay Lohan is giving "Inside Edition" exclusive interviews in which she claims to be a celebrity hoarder, bites her bottom lip entirely too often and generally appears to be one pineapple short of a fruit basket. Where does that leave the adorable Lacey Chabert? Sadly, on the Hallmark Channel. Chabert stars as a "free-spirited woman" (code for Manic Pixie Dream Girl) in "Elevator Girl," who gets stuck in an elevator with a straitlaced lawyer (Ryan Merriman, "Taken"). The classic elevator meet cute! "Elevator Girl" - what an uninspired title! - will premiere on the Hallmark Channel Saturday, Feb. 13 at 9 p.m.
"Casablanca" will be on Turner Classic Movies at 8 p.m. on Valentines Day. Be a cheap date or watch it alone. "Casablanca" will be good no matter where, when or with whom you watch it.
"The Vagina Monologues" will be performed at SUNY Fredonia tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each night. The performances are part of the V-Day campaign, a global movement focused on eradicating violence against all females. Ninety percent of the proceeds will benefit The Salvation Army Agnes Home Women's Shelter in Jamestown. Tickets are $4 for students and $6 for the public - purchase at 673-3501 or go online at www.fredonia.edu/tickets or at the Ticket Office in the Williams Center.
See the ads below this column and on page B8, A6 to find Valentines Day dinner specials and numbers to call for reservations - ASAP.
At 41 West: Big Tone will play Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight. On Saturday, there will be live music by Rinky Dink from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and 41 West will wish Jill and AJ congratulations on their engagement with a toast at 7 p.m. For Fat Tuesday on Feb. 16, there will be specials and giveaways.
Intensify! Premium Dance Party will be held Saturday 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Mojo's in Jamestown. Get your groove on.
Mardi Gras festivities at BJ's are from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Feb. 16.