Local bar and venue refuse to give into traditional Valentine’s Day celebrations

Trocadero Theatre and Howl at the Moon are against Valentine’s Day.

Instead of flocking to a fancy restaurant this Valentine’s Day, some in Philadelphia will be ripping up photographs of their exes in public.

“We’re having a big ex-bashing party,” said Tess Montalvo, promotional manager at Howl at the Moon Restaurant and Bar in Center City.

Howl at the Moon and Chinatown’s Trocadero Theatre are celebrating the anticipated yet dreaded holiday in their own unique ways – snubbing it as well as embracing it with separate “anti-Valentine’s Day” events on the night of Feb. 14.

Howl at the Moon, the dueling piano bar at 15th and Manning streets, has had guests belting sing-along classics and  new hits since its opening in October. Guest song requests are common.

“It’s a mixture of live entertainment and dancing and drinking,” Montalvo said. “We want people to interact with each other.”

The bar is making its way into Philadelphia’s nightlife scene with not only its dueling piano, but its events as well.

Howl at the Moon will host the Philadelphia location’s first “Love Sux” anti-Valentine’s Day party.

In addition, Howl at the Moon will offer $500 in cash and prizes to people most willing to do ex-bashing feats, such as ripping up a previous lover’s photograph onstage. Guests will gain free admission before 10 p.m. if they have a “mutilated” photograph of their ex in tow.

The heartbroken or the heartbreaker can sip on the evening’s specialty drinks: $6 “F-Bombs,” which are Red Bull and vodka shots, $9 “Ex-Boyfriends” or “Bone Drinks,” made of bone-shaped plastic containers consisting of passion-fruit liquer, mango juice, orange juice and vodka.

“I think everyone thinks that it’s a pretty neat idea,” Montalvo said about the event. “We’re trying to make it a place where singles can come to where they don’t have to have all that lovey-dovey stuff shoved in their faces that night.”

The Trocadero Theatre is also dedicating the night to begrudging cupid’s holiday. The “Skeletor Karaoke Gong Show” will feature Skeletor, played by Carmen Martella III, a performer who makes occasional appearances as the character at other events in the city. His character, mixed with karaoke performances, result in a Halloween take on the February holiday.

Skeletor, a throwback character from the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” cartoon series of the ‘80s, will separate the good from the bad. Fearless karaoke fanatics have more than 6,000 songs to choice from, but some might not last long – less fortunate singers must exit the stage at the sound of Skeletor’s gong.

“There are a few instances where people do get through the song,” Martella said.

The “Skeletor Karaoke Gong” shows have drawn a crowd at the Troc for almost seven years, but the anti-Valentine’s Day rendition offers a different take on love songs.

“I think it’s more of a celebration of the goofiest love songs you can possibly try to sing onstage,” Martella said. “It gives people a chance that didn’t want to go out on a date on Valentine’s Day to get together and have fun.”

Whether singing along with the musicians at Howl at the Moon or trying to get past Skeletor’s rejection, Philadelphia proves safe for Valentine’s Day’s ultimate contenders.

“It’s a fun night instead of the whole typical dinner, roses and chocolates and stuff like that,” Martella said. “You can get gonged by Skeletor [instead].”

Kerri Ann Raimo can be reached kerriann.raimo@temple.edu.

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