published Monday, February 13th, 2012

Off the Couch: Things to do for Valentine's Day

LISA DENTON: Barry, since Valentine's Day is almost upon us, I thought I'd start off with a poem.

Eh-hem (that's me clearing my throat) ...

Roses are red.

Chin hair is stubble.

To visit Nantucket

Would get me in trouble.

So instead of a limerick

With my message today,

I'll use eight lines to wish you

Happy Valentine's Day.

OK, so Edna St. Vincent Millay I am not.

I won't ask what you've got planned for V-Day, but I can tell you there are a couple of big shows later in the week if you want to gift your lady love with tickets.

(Here's where you get to say, "I would, but what if my wife finds out." Hahahaha.)

BARRY COURTER: A poem and a joke. You're on a roll. Let's see if I can answer in kind.

It's Valentine's Day

And there is plenty to do.

Ol' Dave said to get out of the cave

Or you'll spend the day blue.

Finding something to do should be easy

From Zeppelin "IV" to cake wars and more

The choices are plenty

But what rhymes with Mambazo?

I'm not a poet, and I know it. But there are some great things on tap this week.

LISA: Definitely one of the highlights is Ladysmith Black Mambazo, so much so that Thursday's show, part of UTC's Patten Performances series, has sold out. The singers in this South African choral group first gained notoriety in the United States when they collaborated with Paul Simon on his 1986 album "Graceland." Simon produced their 1987 recording "Shaka Zulu," which won them the first of three Grammy Awards.

As impressive as their resume is, though, one reason I like them has nothing to do with their music. I just like to say the name of their founder, Joseph Shabalala. It makes my tongue do fun things.

BARRY: I've seen Ladysmith twice. Great show. Black Jacket Symphony is coming back, and this time they will do Led Zeppelin's classic fourth album in its entirety. You'll remember they did "Dark Side of the Moon" awhile back. What makes these guys different is they bring enough people to play everything live note for note. There will be nine people onstage, with three people replicating Jimmy Page's licks. It's not one band, but one guy really who goes out and gets people from all over to participate based on need.

LISA: Fans will remember that "IV" is the one with "Stairway to Heaven" on it, and it's also No. 66 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. After playing through the album, the musicians will return after intermission for a greatest-hits retrospective.

They will be at the Tivoli on Friday, then humorist Jeanne Robertson will be there Saturday. A couple of years ago, someone sent me YouTube links of her performing -- telling stories, really. She's funny.

BARRY: She's very funny and hers is a great story. She was doing the speaking circuit, working motorcoach tours and conventions, when those videos went viral. Now, at age 68, she has a new career as a comedian doing large venues.

Like I said, there's plenty to do.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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