Local events are planned this week leading up to Valentine’s Day Wednesday, February 14th, to help inspire the mood for romance among lovers.

VALENTINE’S TEA FESTIVAL — On February 11th, the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, the Electric Lodge performing arts center will be redesigned as a microcosm of exotic teas, flavors, art and entertainment celebrating the culinary and cultural influences of Japan.

The Valentine’s Tea Festival is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Tickets are $15, and children under 12 years old are admitted free.

The event will focus strictly on things Japanese, including contemporary art, cuisine and refinements of the traditional tea ceremony. A tea ceremony will be hosted by tea master Sinton Stranger.

Entertainment will include interactive displays and workshops on the art of origami by Peggy Hasegawa; song, dance and drumming by the troupe TYT; contemporary art and installation by Masami Tsuchikawa and Kotaro Hatch; and additional performances and workshops by Claudia Choi, Kokoe Johnson, Florence Lang and Karen Linderman.

This is the seventh year of the Valentine’s Tea Festival, and each year, a different country with a strong tea tradition is honored, according to KulovPresents, the organizer of the event. Last year’s event explored the spices and teas of India. This year it shifts east to Japan.

“I’m always fascinated with how other communities interact with and re-interpret my own culture, and this festival promises to be an interesting fusion of Japanese and Western sensibilities,” says Yuki Machida, the Japanese consultant for the event.

“We’re trying to create a mixed cultural event, not necessarily totally authentic, more like a re-interpretation of Japanese culture,” says Kulov.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Electric Lodge, a local solar-powered nonprofit performing arts venue.

Information, (310) 306-1117.

HEART ART — Valentine’s Day without hearts is like Christmas without Santa Claus and Heart Art, a group show with works by Katy Allgeyer, Ruth Bornstein, Debra Kagan, Kami Lerner and JD Schultz, will make sure there are hearts galore on display to the public this holiday. The heart-themed art exhibit will be on display through Valentine’s Day until Sunday, March 4th, at the Rose CafÈ, 220 Rose Ave., Venice. Admission is free.

Karen Black, curator of exhibits at the Rose CafÈ, says the show represents a break from the type of fine art exhibits she usually organizes.

“This show is particularly pop art. I’ve never shown acrylic on plexiglass works before,” says Black, who says she usually sticks to more classical art media at the cafÈ.

Information, (310) 399-4736.

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