Various Valentine ventures for the wild-and mild-at heart.

***image1***St. Valentine was stoned to death. Now doesn't that make for a romantic image? The fact is, the origin of this bathetic holiday remains disputed. The popular belief is that Valentine was a third century Roman priest. At the time, Emperor Claudius II issued a decree outlawing marriage for young men, surmising that married men would make poor soldiers. Valentine, fancying the decree unjust, rejected it and continued to perform these ceremonies in secret.

***image2*** When the Emperor discovered this betrayal, he had Valentine imprisoned. Legend has it that Valentine became enamored with the jailer's daughter. Herein lies the romantic part: Before being martyred on Feb. 14, 269 AD, he left behind a love note signed, "From Your Valentine." Today, almost 800 years later, this is the second largest card-selling holiday of the year.

***image3***Now that the pressure is on, we're here to guide you through potential activities for this historical day. Whether you plan to spend it alone, with someone special, or perhaps even with someone who will just do, here are some suggestions.


Love & Ruckus

Yes, this is a shameless plug for SFR's annual pre-Valentine's Party, this year co-sponsored with Avant Garde. "Sleeping Around with Avant Garde" features popular local band Amazing Larry, DJ Feathericci, plus toys, treats, fortune telling and more. Here's your chance to meet a new Valentine, or celebrate with the one you've already got.

6:30-10 pm Thursday, Feb. 9. $2. Museum of International Folk Art, 706 Camino Lejo, 476-1200


Love Sucks

In a DJ all-star extravaganza, this dance party features an eclectic range of stylings from local DJs Feathericci, Miss Ginger, Phylli, Carlisle McQueen and Dynamik. The Mineshaft kicks off Valentine's weekend with an array of vibes guaranteed to get your booty shaking.

9 pm Friday, Feb. 10. No cover. The Mineshaft Tavern, 2846 NM 14, Madrid, 473-0743


Playing with Hearts

Don't miss an opportunity to create personalized Valentine cards in anticipation of Tuesday. Handmade Valentines are always a success, and this Saturday afternoon, Hunt+Gather offers a collaborative workshop titled "Matter of Heart, Making of Hearts." The workshop is followed by an inspirational reception featuring antique Valentines from the 1930s.

1 pm Saturday, Feb. 11. Hunt+Gather Bookstore, 311 Aztec St., 989-9105


Sweetheart Auction

No gift for the Valentine's day date? The Sweetheart Auction provides relief for your romantic woes. The auction benefits The Cancer Institute of New Mexico Foundation, featuring artwork of all kinds by various artists, including Heidi Loewen, Arlene Cisneros Sena, Vicki Snyder and Lonnie Vigil. Romantic interludes, spa services, vacations and gourmet experiences also are offered for the bidding.

5 pm Saturday, Feb. 11. $25. Cancer Institute of New Mexico Foundation, 490-A W. Zia Road, 955-7958


Sex on Vinyl

Two DJs and four turntables will make this pre-Valentine bash a hit. Local DJs Melanie Moore and Donovan spin at Pachanga's Black Room on their favorite mixing holiday. In addition to the rare blends of beats, expect complimentary chocolate strawberries, champagne and a few mixed CDs for the taking.

9 pm Saturday, Feb. 11. $15. Pachanga's Black Room, 416 Agua Fria St., 988-5991


Awkward Romance

The Lensic Performing Arts Center has arranged a screening of the 1977 classic

Annie Hall

. No one can pass up an opportunity to witness the sweet fumbling of Woody Allen's neurotic character, Alvy Singer, alongside the young Diane Keaton, and on the big screen no less. Of course, the film is more of a breakup story than a sweetheart tale. So, if you're quietly desiring a quick conclusion to your ardent endeavors, this may just be the thing for you.

7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 14. $5. The Lensic, 211 W. San Francisco St., 988-1234


Shakespeare in Love

What's more apropos for Valentine's Day than poetry? Gary Mex Glazner, a well-known local poet and director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, reads from

Sparkling Memories: The Alzheimer's Poetry Project Anthology

at Collected Works Bookstore. Although not necessarily an amorous choice,

Sparkling Memories

features poems by writers such as Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Coleridge; surely there will be a sentimental tone in there somewhere. The book is actually a collection of popular poems that many people learn as children. Glazner has found that poems such as these trigger memories and, thus, even in late-stage Alzheimer's, people often can recall words or lines from poems they learned in their youth.

7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 14. Free. Collected Works Bookstore, 208-B W. San Francisco St., 988-4226


Potent Paint

The Karan Ruhlen Gallery on Canyon Road hosts a series of artists in

The Power of Red

. The show's artists employ sculpture, oil and watercolor pigments and other media to interpret the dynamic color, resulting in a collection of work that should inspire concupiscence in any viewer.

Friday, Feb. 10-Friday, Feb. 24. Karan Ruhlen Gallery, 225 Canyon Road, 820-0807


Moonlight Ride

Perhaps you're in search of a more traditionally tender activity. You may want to take a tasteful evening train ride hosted by the Santa Fe Southern Railway. For a little more than an hour, you and your date can share a glass of champagne as well as chocolates and light hors d'oeuvres. This may be a unique, yet also sufficiently effusive, treat.

6 pm Tuesday, Feb. 14. $33-$53. Santa Fe Southern Railway, 410 S. Guadalupe St., 989-8600

***image6*** If these local events don't tickle your fancy, you can always throw your loved one a private lingerie or sex toy party arranged by Au Boudoir (614 Agua Fria St., 988-7700). However, the one thing you must do, without failure, is stock up on those essential little heart candies that read "I Do," "Be Mine," and, a personal favorite, "Prenup Okay?"